tv Politics Nation With Al Sharpton MSNBC March 18, 2018 5:00am-6:00am PDT
o your company's best ideas. we're gonna hit our launch date! (scream) thank you! goodbye! we help all types of businesses with money, tools and know-how to get business done. american express open. welcome to "politics nation." is president trump nearing a decision to shut down the mueller probe? one thing is for sure, this administration seems determined to tarnish the reputation of anyone involved in the investigation of donald trump. and while we are all busy with the stormy saga and the white house chaos, the president continues to rack up small victories that go unnoticed. look at the tax bill he's passed
that has disproportionately helped private companies, big corporations and the wealthy. look at how they began deregulating and chipping away at legislation that has in many ways limited banking abuses. little by little they're winning small victories while we're chasing tabloid stories. with me this morning are two former national committee chairman democrat howard dean and republican smiekal steele. but we start with the changes and the firings inside and outside the white house. joining us is alexi macomon. give us the update. the president on this whole situation with the firing of mccabe, which he clearly
politicized, rumors of shakeups that are to come. we saw the secretary of state rex tillerson fired the week. we saw such disarray it appeared to us, what's happening in the white house? >> complete chaos is what is happening in the white house. unfortunately, i can't give you more than that because no one really knows what is going to happen except for donald trump himself. we know that he revels in the chaos. he loves stirring the gossip himself sometimes. i mean on thursday i think it was h.r. mcmaster was rumored to be leaving the white house, john kelly has been rumored to be leaving the white house. no one really knows until it happens and that's because trump acts on impulse. what we can expect is this continuing revolving door within the white house where people are coming and going, but the ultimate decisioning ultimate decisionmaker is trump. >> those of us in new york that
have battled and worked with him, that comes as no surprise. i think what is surprising is people don't understand the gravitas of these decisions. you are talking about the secretary of state. you are talking about national security adviser. as you say, he is known to have a style of impulse, but the ramifications are wide-reaching here, alexy. >> they are. i think that's what people are going to the see as the high-level positions are treated by interim positions filled by people he doesn't care about. we have known trump values loyalty more than anything else. the second he feels someone is being disloyal or feels they're doing a job as good of a job as he wants personally, not even necessarily based on the role, he is willing to get rid of them. you're right, these have far-reaching implications. i think what will be interesting to see is whether or not he actually fills these positions that are becoming vacant after he is getting folks. >> alexi, hold it right here.
to continue the conversation i want to bring in howard dean and michael steele. let me go to you first, chairman dean, you know, you as chair of the dnc and as a governor dealt with health care as a central issue. they have really impacted the affordable care act. they've done other things. in this disarray, in this seeming instability of this administration they have hit some severe blows that have gotten through to a lot of the agenda under the previous administration of barack obama. >> well, one of the interesting things about that attack on obamacare really hurt the republican efforts in this congressional election we just had, the special election. conor lamb, a democrat, won a district trump won by 20 points and one of the major issues was health care. people were afraid they would
lose their health care under the republicans, which is actually something you should be afraid of. i think this one is coming back to bite them in the butt. >> now, i agree with you, but i'm going to return to that in a minute. let me ask you, chairman steele. the republican party seems to be leaning toward the big business community, their top 1%, and tone different to the popularism this candidate trump has promised and as president trump seems to be going the other way. how do you explain this, if you can explain it? >> well, it is a little bit -- it is made harder by the president's actions as you started the show with, reverend, when you have all of these other side dramas taking place. it has become increasingly more difficult for republican party leadership on the hill, the house and senate, to actually push forward an agenda. let's go back a year ago.
what was the strategy? they were going to come in with a newby president that was not a political animal, had no basis of policy or legislative operation, and that they were going to help shape and mold the president's agenda around the ultimate agenda that the republicans had laid out, which of course as you started was repeal and replace of obamacare, tax cuts and maybe some other things. but what has happened along the way? the whole health care effort has blown up in their face in large measure. yes, they cut out some of the mandates in the tax cut bill, but what they've left intact on the health care side has a big hole in it they have to deal with it. you have all of these other issues as well and the president is taking a completely different agenda, reverend, that i would kind of determine as a page six presidency where it is all about the tantalizing, you know, side shows that detukt from a real policy agenda and that's a big frustration for members on the
hill. >> governor dean, the reality is that as we are viewed upon by others around the world, this instability, this, as chairman steele says, page six account of presidency, this makes the rest of the world slightly to greatly nervous because we're dealing with a head of state that they don't know what his next among is going to be, we don't know. that canned be good during volatile times. >> it is actually extremely dangerous. right now putin is holding military maneuvers across the border from ukraine. you know, trump provides no security whatsoever for anybody in the world. i think people privately think he's crazy. they're afraid that the united states has lost their way, which we have. the europeans are going it
alone, which is not all bad. that was one of president obama's objectives, was to get the europeans to be more responsible for themselves, to have a multi-polar world and a multi-polar diplomacy existing. but the danger is that what trump has done is empower people like putin who are now getting ready to have some more military ventures of the kind they embarked on when they invaded georgia and when they invaded ukraine. that's very dangerous. the united states is -- we have no leadership. this president is deeply disturbed i think. he's all about himself and not about anything else or anybody else. there's no coherent policy of any kind in any area other than like me or i'm going to really stick it up your you know what. i think it is an appalling presidency. i'm notten an alarmist and i ha been somebody who wants to say we're not in a constitutional crisis or anything like that, but now i do really worry many i
think trump is trying to figure out how to fire mueller. i think the republicans have completely surrendered to trump and given up any shred of patriotism and we're in a lot of trouble in this country. it is the first time i have really felt that way. >> chairman steele, many of us agree with what chairman dean just said about firing mueller. what would be the fallout to the republican party in the midterm elections if this president found some kind of way to get rid of the special counsel mueller? i mean how does the party and the congressional and senate candidates, how do they fare if he does that? >> i think it is devastating. there is no appetite, despite what people may say or think on capitol hill for the president to fire mueller. there's a lot of back channel conversation, particular giving the recent machinations by the administration, to try to get the president to understand that firing robert mueller is a
devastating blow to any effort to keep the house and it actually would put the senate in play. that right now has been sort of the safeguard, is that the numbers work for the republicans on the senate side, certainly more difficult in the house. but everyone looking at this objectively, taking the part of some blinders off, recognizes that the rule of law still has to prevail. there's an ongoing federal investigation that was legitimately constituted, and from the very beginning this administration -- and particularly this president -- has done everything possible to undermine it and yet it has been able to prevail. if that wall falls, that wall of protection around mueller falls, it is going to be a lot of pressure on senate republicans, house republicans to demand from the white house a change of course and to then do something about that. what that something is becomes very problematic for republicans.
>> i want both former chairman to stay with me because i want to get into some sort of touchy subjects with them. alexi let me ask you this. we are seeing as these leave the administration either by force or receipts ig nation, gasignat rex tillerson, there seems to be a hard attempt to get grownups to even work for the administration? i mean general kelly has not been able to calm this president down totally. there seems to be those that are saying now that have some kind of grauf taus on their own, i don't know if i want to be part of this circus. is that the view you are getting from where you sit there and watching this every day, that he's becoming someone that pump really don't want to work for that has the kind of stature and the kind of stability that we really need in government? >> i think that's exactly right.
i mean people from the outside looking in and from the inside looking out that the white house is just a complete circus. the one person who is not going to change is the 70-year-old billionaire with his name on all of the buildings. he wants to be calling the shots for everything. he wants to run the show and he wants people who he considers to be the best, even if they're not objectively the best for these rolls. i think people who are qualified for these rolls in an objective way see that he doesn't really care about that, and when people are treated, you know, as they can come and go and not stay in these positions longer than a year, i think it is increasingly difficult for qualified people to say i want to work in the white house for president trump who is unpredictable and will act impulsively when i know i could go into the white house and not have proper job security. >> alexis, thank you for being with us. >> thanks. >> michael and howard are sticking with us, because after the break i want your thoughts on the future of your political parties after what we've seen in
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district that president trump won by 20 points in 2016. mixed in trump's historically low approval ratings and it is a recipe for the democrats to make significant gains in the mid terms. back with he me, two former national committee chairman, democrat howard dean and republican michael steele. now, how would you mention this stunning upset in pennsylvania? but we had a democratic cann candidate who was pro-gun, who in many ways has the same trade policies with the republicans, former marine, former prosecutor, against a bad candidate. is the formula -- you headed the dnc. is the formula for 2018 midterms to let each district be local and have candidates that preserve policies and positions
that they and their local constituency may agree to, or is it that we're going to have some national candidate of thread to all of these campaigns because the issue that -- the reason that i raise the issue is the challenge is that in 2020 you have to have a national candidate that's going to have to put all of this together, and how do you do that if you have all of these separate races, separate policies. >> well, first of all we don't have to worry about 2020 if we can't take back the house. the formula for taking back the house, the successful one we used in 2006 was to run everywhere and have candidates chosen locally, not by people from washington. and so that's what you're seeing. so we're going to have a diverse party. i think -- i'm not sure what is going to happen but whatever it is is not going to be good for the republicans and i think we may get a wave of election like 1974 after watergate, at least in the house.
so we will have a lot -- a wide ideological band width in the house democratic party. i think it is a good thing. that reflect this generation. that reflect -- that is power all of this, which is not my generation. it is the so-called millennials, which i call the first gloebbal and it is these kids, these high school kids. that's where they are. their band width is more left maybe, but we need working class and, you know, lunch pail people too. that's the way the democratic party succeeded and that's how we're going to succeed again. when we get there, we have to get over the nonsense that's going on. though mostly it is not in the party but the dnc in relitigating 2016. my message for those who want to
relitigate 2016, go vote for jill stein and vladimir putin and leave us alone. >> watch it, howard. you're getting a little snippy. michael, same question on the republican side. how does republican candidates run locally and yet associate with the policies of president trump? forget all of the excesses of his personality, but the policies that may be very much out of stap with their local districts that they've got run evening. how do they do this. >> well, i think what howard said is exactly the case. what howard did in 2016 is what i did in 2010, and that was to build off of a national concept that everybody -- you know, you're going to play everywhere. but what it means, reverend, is you let people play the best that they can where they are. you saw that happen in
pennsylvania. the national party for the democrats largely stayed out of that race, and republicans were kind of forced into it because they looked at the numbers. what that said to them and what it says to me is, to your point, it is going to be very difficult for republicans, particularly some keys where hillary clinton was more successful than not and the margins were closing to run on an absolute trumpian agenda. they have to localize the races. the democrats, of course, will try to nationalize them and to try trump into it. the idea that you run the candidates where you find them is a good one. when you look at the pennsylvania race, two ideas come away to me. you have republicans voting against the republican nominee. that's a big problem for the party. it says a lot about the candidates they're putting up and how they were reacted to.
the second is the democrats stayed out of their own way. they let conor do his own thing as much as possible. it didn't present a problem for us in 2010 when we were able to, yes, have a national message around health care but localized issues on roads and transportation and things like that. >> well, howard, it sounds good in principle, but you and i ran against each other in 2004. in the primaries we joke about you beating me in washington, d.c., i beat you in south carolina, but you went on to be the chairman of the party and i went to the next march. the real question is in 2016 we saw the bernie followers, the bernie wing of the party fighting the more centrist. what happens if the bernie side is fighting a centrist candidate that tries to put the party together in 2020?
it may be a good 2018 strategy to take to the house, but will it take the white house if you can't bring the party back together, including those of us that feel that blacks are not even being discussed. there are no race issues front and center yet and in the language being used in 2018 or 2020. look, first of all, on the african-american situation we have to do better. we have to do better. i think one of the things about having a president, an african-american president is that people -- white folks in our party are going to do better we can't take the african-american voters for granted anymore. we have to do better. as far as the bernie folks go, 80% of bernie voters voted for hillary clinton. this in some ways is a manufactured crisis by a few people who are quoteable in the
press. the democratic party is working through something called the unity commission. it is pretty darn good. it was just abopted and they have one more problems in the did, nc or the dnl party, that did put their hand on the scale which was the wrong thing to do in the 2016 election. there will be a lot of press of bernie versus hillary people. i think it is played by certain people that like to get their names in the paper. >> got to go, howard. >> okay. >> thank you very much though. that really did answer my question, especially on the african-american issue. and i didn't want to bring up race with you, mr. chairman, michael steele, since you were insulted in a racial manner by your party. we won't discuss how racist that was. i would never bring it up. >> no. >> a reminder, my organization, national action network is supporting the march for our lives rally, calling for gun
regulation. it is taking place this coming saturday, march 24th in washington, d.c., along with sister rallies around the country. please go to the march. up next, a charity run by two brothers that i believe is providing a white wash version of black history to america's youngest generation. i'll be right back. who were sure of it. others who felt a connection. many more who never saw it coming. but now they know... they descend from the people of ireland. in fact, more than half of our community have discovered their irish roots... which means your smiling eyes might be irish too.
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♪ now for this week's gotcha. you know the trump era seems tailor made for the kind of power brokers you only see in james bond movies. take the multi-billionaire industrialist charles and david koch who opened this week with the news that their guy, former fbi director mike pompeo, had been tapped to become president trump's next secretary of state. the new gig is good news for pompeo, but possibly better news for the koch brothers who spent nearly a billion dollars on conservative candidates in 2016 and helped finance com pay owe's congressional career for a
decade. it appears the billionaire brothers have been investing in the future leaders of the country as well. as i also read in "the root" this week that a nonprofit charity under their umbrella, the bill of rights institute, has been providing lesson plans to educators free of charge for nearly 20 years now. but the catch according to education critics is that the curriculum tilts young minds in a patently right wing direction, promoting limited government and conservative readings of history, including an apologist take on slavery that lets the founding fathers off the hook for the practice because they just weren't, quote, active enough. of course, why would a group of extremely wealthy men whose money was made in industries less than fond of regulation
want to promote confession can of high schoolers? could it be as simply as starting early? because whether it is impressionable teenagers or impressionable presidents it helps when the message is from an authority figure. the kochs through their donor network are expected to pour half a billion dollar to promote the gop and elect more conservatives to vote with this president, who will take advice from that secretary of state and who just might take his advice from them. brothers quo brothers koch, like other movie villains, you have fronts for your enterprise.
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totally deserve it. >> as president trump continues to deny adult film actor stormy daniels' allegation of extramarital affair, white evangelical voters who supported him more than any other president in modern history have yet to punish him politically for the innuendo. but according to "the new york times", black evangelicals, disturbed by racially provocative statements from this president, have been leaving predominantly white mega churches since trump took office after decades of increasing integration. the reason? they feel increasingly uncomfortable in politicized congregations where the president's conservatism means more than his conduct and
comment. joining he me is a.r. bernard of the christian cultural center in new york and also the first member to resign from president trump's evangelical advisory council. jim wallace, president and founder of sojourners magazine. let me go to you, reverend bernard. i don't want to get into the allegations in the president's private life. i want to get into the comments and policies that he's demonstrated that has been supported by evangelicals. i think they're far more serious to those of us that are in the clergy. you have made the bold step as one of the leading ministers in the country, probably the largest congregation in the city of new york and one of the largest in the country, of resigning from his advisory board. why? >> well, i felt that it came to a point where he had crossed some moral boundaries that i set
for my involvement. i think that it is natural to evangelicals to be involved in some way in influencing those in positions of leadership, social institutions and government. it is part of the evangelical belief system that we should be actively involved. but when we take upon ourselves that involvement, we have to set moral boundaries we're not willing to cross. >> now, you have seen this "new york times" piece that is saying that not only has an a.r. bernard and all that represents left the president, that blacks are leaving evangelical mega churches. do you find that to be so? why do you think that's happening as someone who has credibility with these he evangelical leaders in your case? >> i definitely confirm that that is so because i have spoken to many blacks who are in positions of leadership in some of these white evangelical churches across the country. i think we need a little bit of
history. we go back to the 1990s, i was also part of a movement that was contrasted by another movement. there were two movements contrasted in the 1990s. one was the promise keepers. they were filling stadiums around the country with tens of thousands of predominantly white evangelical males and preaching a message of racial reconciliation. their objective was to desegregate that 11:00 a.m. sunday morning worship hour. on the other side you had the million man march, which was preaching a message of the solidarity of black identity. so by the end of that decade we had these two contrasting things, and blacks were now willing to say, okay, let's try to see where we are racially in america. but by october 2, 2000, "christianity today" published an article done by two sociologists on the state of
affairs. they polled 2,000 white evangelicals by phone and 200 of them face-to-face, and the conclusion was that white evangelicals denied that there were any existing racial problem in this country. and that they also blamed the media and blacks who refused to let go of the past for any lingering racial tensions that exist in the country. >> jim wallace, you have been one of those that have stood up and always said we've got to confront racism, we've got to confront anti-semitism. you have a life-long history of going against those that felt these should not be discussed, these were things of the past. you helped us lead the 5,000 ministers march on trump last year. how do you look at the revelation now blacks are leaving evangelicals, how do you look at evangelicals staying
with this president despite his comments? >> good morning to both of you first. what this shows so painfully, reverend, is that the operative word in the phrase white evangelical is white and not evangelical. that's a very painful thing. that isn't a political issue, it is a theological one. finally, it is genesis chapter 1 where it says god made us all in good's image and racial bigotry is a brutal denial of the image of god. so for white evangelicals, racial bigotry on the part of this president hasn't become a deal breaker. they say we voted because of other things. black evangelicals say, i guess racial bigotry wasn't a deal breaker for you. white evangelicals have made their deal with donald trump and this is really a fundamental denial of what the image of god is supposed to be in our lives
and our churches. so this is a huge issue. it is theological and not political, and white evangelicals clearly can are showing they're more white than they are evangelical. >> now, reverend bernard, one of the things that strikes me as i look at your huge congregation and have been there, even preached there is even when you agreed to be on the advisory board of president trump and give him a chance, your audiences continued to increase. and when you resigned they increased. why do people still gravitate toward a balanced view for you but they're walking out in droves from other evangelicals? >> i think the expectation which has been part of the tradition in churches of color is that the leader will opine on issues that affect the people in that congregation. so when blacks sit in white congregations they expect at some point in time, especially
over the last 18 years, that we've had 76 individuals who have died, men and women of color, who have died at the hands of police. all right. that's very unfortunate. but along the way, not once have these evangelical leaders in these white churches opined in any ways on these issues. a black congregant is sitting there saying, okay, when are they going to say something to reflect their sensitivity to my flight in this country. >> reverend wallace, let me ask you, white evangelical leaders watching this morning, what would be your sincere morning message to them? >> well, the reverend makes a very good point about the shooting. here is a painful statistic. 72% of white evangelicals when asked about the shootings say they were isolated incidents. 82% of black christians say they're part of a pattern. now, that racial disparity is
very painful. i would say to white evangelical leaders let's design evangelical the way geez sus did in luke 4, in his opening statement, his nazareth manifesto. he said, the spirit of the lord is upon because because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. the word good news is evangel from which we get the word evangelical. any gospel that isn't good news to the poor is not the gospel of jesus christ, period. >> i have to leave it there. thank you so much, pastor bernard and jim wallace. as we approach the 50th anniversary of the assassination of martin luther king and later that of robert kennedy, you don't want to miss our show next week. we talk with both martin lugting king iii and kerry kennedy on the legacies of their fathers 50 years later. up next, a rare and refreshing
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earlier this week "national geographic" magazine released its april issue, this one titled "the black and white." marking the 50th anniversary of dr. king's death. within this edition, a letter from its editor addressing a review commissioned by the magazine to examine its own coverage of race over its 130-year publication history. it found that even after the civil rights era and various global freedom movements, the magazine ignored black americans and reduced non-white populations in the global south to quote every type of cliche. but as the letter insists, to rise above our pasts weigh must be acknowledge it, and joining
me is the editor in chief nor "national geographic" magazine, the first woman and first jewish person to hold the position, susan position, susan goldberg. susan, i thought this was a very striking and bold move for you to issue this letter. what is the background and what gave you the courage to take this kind of step? >> well, thank you, reverend sharpton. i appreciate being on your show today. i just thought that if we were going to do an entire issue devoted to race, if we were going to, you know, look everywhere else at how race relations are going all over the world and in the united states, that we also really needed to look at our own coverage because i hear from readers all the time that national geographic was the first time that they ever were exposed to communities beyond their own community so how we
have presented race and people from other cultures really does matter. >> now i spent a lifetime for inclusion at the corporate level. do you think the fact that you're the first woman and the first person that is jewish gave you a sensitivity that maybe others that are in similar media spaces and corner stones of public opinion may not be as in tune with? >> i don't really know. i think we're at a time of reckoning in our society of people being being to take hard looks at the behavior of their own institutions. we just saw "the new york times" come out and run obituaries of prominent women who when they died they didn't run those obituaries. >> very prominent women. stark woman in some cases. >> yes, exactly. >> now let me also say this.
i think something that also strikes me is that i understand this is the beginning of a year campaign that you are going to continue. i think the next issue is on islam. so this is not a one-time letter and we're going to acknowledge 50 years after dr. king and apologize, acknowledge what we've done in the past. this is going to be a year campaign with "national geographic." >> absolutely. i think because race has become even more of a fraud issue, i think, in the last several years, we decided that we were going to take a look at diversity in america and look at some of those inflection points. so we're looking at the rising power of latinos, native americans trying to take back their culture and we'll look at asian-americans as well. so we just started off this issue looking at mostly black and white but also looking at the science of race, which is to say there is no science of race.
and also human kind propensity to label people who aren't like us as the other. >> have you faced any push back, any criticism inside "national geographic" or in the media industry as a whole? >> actually, one of the things that's been really rewarding, i think, is this coverage has reached about 100 million people across our social platforms and the vast majority of conversation going on around it has been positive. you know, of course there are always going to be people who say you went too far and other people who say you didn't go far enough. but the vast majority of conversations is very positive. >> what do you hope at the end of the year that this does to permanently try and bring not only national geographic but media as a whole more sensitive
and in tune to the reality of the world, not trying to shape something that is not there, but trying to look more fairly at what is really there? >> i completely agree. i do hope this will create a conversation and also raise awareness, not just of the stories that we're covering but making sure that we have a diverse staff covering a diverse world. and i hope that is increasingly true for national geographic and that is increasingly true for national geographic but also for other media outlets as well. i think this is something we've all needed to grapple with for a very long time. >> thank you, susan goldberg. up next, my final thoughts.
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this week we saw students all over the country by the thousands, tens of thousands have a walkout and stand outside in many cases for 17 minutes for the 17 killed in the high school massacre in parkland, florida. what made me very proud was to see it was a walkout all over america, from lawndale in illinois, a black community to suburban communities in midwestern and southern states. they showed that this is a
nationwide problem across racial and economic lines and we all challenged to do something about assault weapons, about ar-15 military-style weapons in the hands of private citizens and it was ininclusive. i was so happy when young people in the national action network, my group, said we're walking out, reverend. nobody got caught up on who called the walkout. they were caught up on why we walk out. too often we lose causes in the ego maynia of those that want t lead rather than what we are leading toward and for and those young people, those high schoolers, those college students this week showed what real leadership is. keep your eye on the prize. ban assault weapons. ban ar-15s. don't get caught up on what the demographics are and who are the
callers. get caught up on why they're calling and on achieving the goal. that does it for me. thanks for watching and to keep the conversation going, like us at facebook.com/politicsnation and follow us on twitter @politicsnation. i'll see you back here next sunday. good morning, alex. >> hello. >> nbc news, you out in l.a. it's 9:00 out there, i see. >> i know. it's -- it's actually 6:00 a.m. you don't even want to know what time i woke up to get here. it's all worth it. it was worth it hearing you give us another sermon to start our sunday. thank you once again, reverend al, appreciate that. have a good one. >> god bless. >> i'm alex witt here in los angeles. here's what's happening. the notetaker, new revelations thatir