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Report: Maxine Waters to O'Reilly, I'm A Strong Black Woman; Clinton Calls Out Racism and Sexism in Political Speech. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired March 29, 2017 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: One of President Trump's most vocal critics on this Russia investigation is also at the center of a heated debate about race and gender in America. Democratic Congresswoman, Maxine Waters, targeted by Fox News host, Bill O'Reilly. He set the twitter-verse on fire when he made a joke about the California lawmakers' hair. Hours later, white house press secretary Sean Spicer got into a testy exchange with April Ryan, a veteran member of the white house press corps. First, let me play you both of those exchanges.


MAXINE WATERS, CONGRESSPERSON, CALIFORNIA: When we fight against this President and point out dangerous he is for this society and for this country, we're fighting for the democracy. We're fighting for America. We're saying to those who say they're patriotic, but they turn a blind eye, to the destruction that he's about to cause this country. You're not nearly as patriotic as we are.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So, what does that mean, Bill? We've been listening all morning, we can't --

BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: I didn't hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wing. If you have a picture of James Brown -- It's the same one.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: OK, I've got to defend her on that. You can't go after a woman's looks. I think she's very attractive.

O'REILLY: I didn't say she wasn't attractive. I love James Brown.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: April, hold on. You -- it seems like you're hellbent on trying to make sure that whatever image you want to tell about this white house stays, because at the end of the day, let me answer --

[15:35:00] April Ryan, Reporter, American Urban Radio Networks: I am just reporting --

SPICER: OK, you were asking me a question and I'm going to answer. Which is the President is -- I'm sorry. Please stop shaking your head again. But at some point, the reality is that at some point this President will continue to reach tout to individuals who supported him, who didn't support him, Republicans and Democrats to try to bring the country together and move forward on an agenda that's going to help every American. That's it, plain and simple.


BALDWIN: Even now, Hillary Clinton has weighed in. In her most political speech since losing the 2016 Presidential election, she ripped both O'Reilly and Spicer's comments as racist and sexist.


HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Just look at all that's happened in the last few days to women who were simply doing their jobs. April Ryan, a respected journalist with unrivaled integrity, was doing her job, just this afternoon in the white house press room, when she was patronized and cut off, trying to ask a question. One of your own California Congresswomen, Maxine Waters, was taunted with a racist joke about her hair.


BALDWIN: We've got a lot to get to. Angela Rye is with me, former director of the Congressional black caucus. Joe Walsh is here, former Congressman and conservative radio host. It is wonderful to have you two on. And we booked you to talk about your, you know, twitter battle, which I promise, we'll get to. But news has been made since. So, joe, let me begin with you. You heard Hillary Clinton's response. Do you agree? Do you think the original comments were either racist or sexist?

JOE WALSH, CONSERVATIVE RADIO HOST: Hey, Brooke. No, I'm rolling my eyes right now. Because this is what the left always do. Always does. They always go to racism. Now, assume for a minute, Brooke, that Sean Spicer was a condescending jerk yesterday. And I think he probably was. But what does that have to do with race? And what does that have to do with sex? Brooke, Sean Spicer has been a condescending jerk to white male reporters a whole heck of a lot. If -- and April is a great reporter, but doesn't she want to be treated equally? Why does this always have to do with race and sex? It's ridiculous.

BALDWIN: Angela, how do you feel about it?

ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't know if Sean Spicer is a racist. I don't know if Donald Trump is a racist. I don't know if the fallout that April experienced with Omarosa, who's a white house staffer, has challenges because of racial animus. What I do know is April Ryan was disrespected yesterday and unwarranted. What I do know is Sean Spicer is not April Ryan's father, so he should not tell her what she should and should not do. What I do know is that I'm sick and tired of this white house, as I was sick and tired of the campaign, treating people less than. Whether they're different because they are black or they're different because they cross the border, or they're different because they worship a different god or their god is known by a different name. I am tired of difference being disrespected and mistreated by this white house.

BALDWIN: So, let me move on -- WALSH: Hey, Brooke, Brooke --

RYE: I'm not talking to bigots, Joe. I'm not talking to bigots.

WALSH: No, no, no, Angela had me. I agreed with the first 30 seconds where she went off there.

RYE: I didn't go off.

WALSH: I greed with everything she said. Sean Spicer was a condescending jerk yesterday. But then Angela had to go to race. Why did it have anything to do with race? Angela, he has treated male, white reporters horribly before, too. What's the big deal?

BALDWIN: Hold on, why -- why use the b-word, Angela?

WALSH: Because Joe is a bigot. And I'll give you an example of why. Since you brought up twitter yesterday, here's joe's tweet. "and you're way wrong on your main point, Angela. We lowered the bar for Obama. He was held to a lower standard because he was black. that is Joe Walsh's tweet. You all decided to give Joe Walsh a platform today. I'm not giving him the time of day. I'm interested in having conversations, Brooke, that will move racial people of all races forward in this country. I'm interested in having a conversation that will help us to admit the wrongs that were done in this country and how we move forward. I am not interested in trying to convince and change the mind of a bigot. Someone who will openly troll me and say things that are offensive, that he knows are not true.

[15:40:00] Baldwin: OK, OK. Let me just ask you, can you explain to me what you meant by your initial comments and about the so-called Presidential bar. Let's just back up for a second.

WALSH: Hey, Brooke, that's me?

BALDWIN: That's for Angela. You were -- Angela was on "A.C. 360," and she had had this conversation about lower the bar for President Trump. Here's the clip, and then Angela, I want you to explain what you meant.


RYE: I think that the bigger issue that I have, speaking of having no chill, is that if this would have been under the Obama administration, there would be no end to this. Barack Obama had to be the next best thing to Jesus. And here we are, just two months and there is issue after issue, maybe it's not Russian collusion, maybe it's collusion with the intel committee chair, but it's highly problematic.


BALDWIN: Angela, first to you. Tell me what you were getting at?

RYE: Sure, I think it speaks for itself. This President has been in turmoil since the campaign. He talked about grabbing women by their private parts. He is -- this is a man who, let's put the shoe on the other foot. Barack Obama, a black man in this country running for President with not one, not two, but three baby mothers. Let's, you know, put the shoe on the other foot. Someone who took a loan from their father that they call a small loan of $1 million. Let's talk about all of those things.

Someone who discriminated against people who were trying to just find spots in his housing facilities. Someone who took out full-page ads calling for the death of five young black and brown boys. If Barack Obama would have done any of that, brook, he would have never even made it to the general election. And that is the point. We're talking about a double standard. We're talking about lowering a bar. Barack Obama hurdled every bar that was put in front of him. When Michelle Obama talked about going high when they go low, they did it at every turn.

This is a woman who was called an eight. Who they put pictures up of Barack Obama looking like a monkey. These are the people I'm talking about. They hurdled everything that came their way, every obstacle, and this man, it is, it is, it's asinine to even think that this man is now in the white house. Here we are in the middle of an investigation, but Hillary Clinton's e-mails. So, yeah, I mean, it's very frustrating and I'm tired of people telling me that black people are beneath a standard when we have to be twice as good all the time. And that is why I said, I'm not interested in having a dialogue with someone like one who has demonstrated a propensity towards bigotry. And he did that on twitter yesterday in 140 characters or less.


WALSH: Hey, Brooke.


WALSH: I apologize, Brooke, that you invited a bigot on your show. Look, my disagreement --

BALDWIN: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait, are you now calling Angela a bigot?

RYE: No, he's the bigot. He's apologizing for himself.

WALSH: No, no, no! No, I'm sorry that Angela feels like I'm a bigot, and I apologize that you invited me, a bigot, on to your show. I know you wouldn't do that knowingly --

BALDWIN: I appreciate that. I don't need an apology. I brought you on because of this conversation that y'all -- that happened over twitter. I'm just trying to understand. Angela was coming from, from her initial comment. I want to understand why you had such a problem with what Angela said, and you took to twitter and you let everyone know about it. I want to understand what your issue is. With that.

WALSH: And Brooke -- and Brooke, thanks, my disagreement had nothing to do with Trump, when Angela was making her case, she that Barack Obama somehow had to live up to this perfect Jesus Christ standard that no other President had to live up to. My disagreement, brook, we, was about that. Because I find that laughable. And it's got nothing, again, to do with race. Never in our country's history have we had a President so like coddled and pampered and protected by the media like Barack Obama. You talk -- that's not a high standard, Brooke. He was held to a very low standard, because the media so loved him.

BALDWIN: No, no --

RYE: Did you or did you not say that you lowered the standard because he was black. Did you or did not say that the standard was lowered because he was black. Did you or did you not say that?

WALSH: Absolutely.

RYE: And that is what makes you a bigot, joe.

WALSH: Let me answer, Angela --

RYE: That's what makes you a bigot!

BALDWIN: Let me read the tweet, just to be precise on the language. On your main point, Angela, we lowered the bar for Obama. He was held to a lower standard because he's black. And who's the "we"?

WALSH: The "we" is all of us. The "we," Brooke, is the media. The "we" is white liberals.

RYE: You're not a white liberal.

WALSH: Angela, are you going to let me speak or not?

RYE: Are you going to say something while your mouth is moving?


BALDWIN: Go ahead, Joe. Go ahead, Joe.

RYE: This is horrible.

WALSH: I'm talking about all of us. It was a big deal. We elected our first black President. That is a big deal. And because of that, we lowered the standard. We did not criticize him like all of our other Presidents. We didn't vet him like all of our other Presidents.

RYE: Oh, my god!

[15:45:00] WALSH: We were invested in that first --

BALDWIN: He was elected -- just as President Trump was elected.

WALSH: I'm just telling you what I think.

RYE: I'm sorry, where are Donald Trump's tax returns?

WALSH: That's racist.

RYE: What our talking about?

WALSH: I'm not defending Donald Trump.

RYE: So, is Donald Trump's standard lower than Barack Obama's? Please tell me you see that?

WALSH: Barack Obama had no experience and Donald Trump had no experience.

RYE: That is not true! Barack Obama was a constitutional law professor! Barack Obama was a state legislator! Barack Obama was a senator in the United States Senate!

WALSH: A state senator in Illinois for ten years?

RYE: I'm sorry. We elected a state legislator?

RYE: He actually served in Congress longer than you did.

BALDWIN: He was a United States senator, guys.

RYE: You did one term.

WALSH: He got elected --

RYE: You did one term. You did one term. He served longer than you. So, what kind -- But it's about you attacking black people for having lower standards.

Really? Come on, man.

WALSH: Can you, hey -- Angela, Angela, can I not attack Barack Obama and not be a racist? Is that possible? Is that possible?

RYE: Did you not say it was because he was black in the tweet? I didn't bring up race, Joe, this is all you.


RYE: You went on twitter yesterday and accused of saying something I didn't say and you later had to apologize for --

WALSH: Angela, is it possible to attack Barack Obama and not be a racist.

BALDWIN: Oh, my god. OK, we're all talking each other. No one can understand what anyone is saying. No one can understand. I think we heard from both of you. I'm just sorry, I had no idea it would go this way. But I do appreciate hearing two very different voices on something very, very important.

Let's just please be respectful to one another. We can have different opinions, but let's respect one another. Angela and Joe, thank you both so much.

Coming up next, President Trump tells senators a deal on health care will be easy, just days after the first big attempt failed in a massive way. Now the white house is reacting. We'll be joined live by former senator Alan Simpson, who is famous for working across party lines. His take on whether there is a bipartisan way forward.


BALDWIN: Just days after getting shelved, President Trump's health care plan may be getting a reboot but instead of centering on a second chance at a vote it's the President's comment at a white house dinner that is garnering the most attention. Let me play this for you first and then white house spokesman's Sean Spicer's explanation.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: And I know that we're all going to make a deal on health care. That's such an easy one so I have no doubt that that's going to happen very quickly.

SPICER: You have to review the tape. He was having a light-hearted moment. He was spoking fun and making a joke. There's been comments before about how he didn't get it and he was joking about how easy it was. It was a light-hearted moment. It was on tape. I think everybody -- and the idea that there is like -- trying to make it look lyrics you know, he was being utterly serious at the time is a little bit of a stretch.


BALDWIN: With me now former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson, a man famously known for being a model of bipartisanship and bargaining and the Republican half of the so-called Simpson/Bowles commission. Senator Simpson, long time no see. Welcome back.

ALAN SIMPSON, SENATOR, WYOMING: How are you? Here I am. A beautiful day. Go ahead. Go ahead and give me the works.

BALDWIN: All right. So, here's the works. The question to you first is listening to the President, did it sound to you like the President was joking when he was talking about health care and how it would be easy?

SIMPSON: I have given up thinking what the President is thinking when he says things that he says he's thinking about. I've given that up, and I think anyone should give it up. I have no idea. I do know when you go to those functions there's a lot of, you know, crazy stuff. They are black tie. They are waiting for somebody to get their foot in their mouth. If they like them, they treat them and hug them and kiss them and if they don't like it they cremate them. That's the way it works.

BALDWIN: Welcome to Washington. Reaching across the aisle is one thing, but, you know, you saw what happened with that non-vote vote on Friday, failed because of the -- you know, of the intra-party wrangling. What do you think that the house freedom caucus?

SIMPSON: I don't know them, I really don't. We have a Congresswoman Liz Cheney who is a very thoughtful and bright woman who follows her own star and does it beautifully. I have said of some of the freedom caucus. They are rigid as a fireplace poker but without the occasional warmth. I did say that. I mean, they are so rigid, I mean, you could get up next to them and they have heartburn and gas and they are 100 percenters. Show me a 100 percenter and I will show you a person you don't want to be around. They are seethers. I'm not talking about all of them, I/m talking about some of them. I'd rather be with the seekers than seethers and they are very tedious and give off an aroma and got to watch them. They got B.O., heartburn and gas, I know them.

BALDWIN: I got you, senator. I got you. I got you on the aroma. Can we talk about the seekers though because you're known for, you know, reaching across the aisle? Why does bipartisanship seem extinct in 2017?

SIMPSON: The coin of the realm when I was there was trust, and the coin of the realm is severely tarnished. An example would be Ted Kennedy. I didn't agree with his votes. I didn't care about his lifestyle. It has nothing to do with me. That's all his, but when he shook my hand and said I'm with you or I ain't, I put it in the bank, and it -- he never lied to me once. That's what it's all about. You don''t have to like the guy who is a Democrat or the Republican. You can hate their party. You can hate their President but for heaven's sake the only way to do business is to learn to compromise an issue without compromising yourself is to trust the other person. If they break the trust, well, then start up a new, you know, facade or burn the bridges or whatever you're doing, but trust. There's no trust among people in the same party, in the same faction of the party there's no trust. I see a couple of the freedom caucus guys quit.

BALDWIN: That's right.

SIMPSON: And over on the left, you know, you've got -- I'm surprised that Chuck Schumer, and I say this because I like the guy, and we worked together. We worked together on immigration. He saved -- he saved me on one and I'll never forget that. I see a harshness on him now that ugly. That's not appropriate, and -- and if he's going to be ugly, you can bet McConnell will be ugly and so we're right back where we were with Harry Reid and McConnell, both of them batting around like a couple of prize fighters, and where will the country go, and Pelosi knocking this one and this one going this way and Ryan. I mean, it's nuts, and the American people have had it, and that's why this -- that's why this man is President. They have said we have had it. We know one thing. They are all jerks, and, you know, Bernie, look at Bernie. He was doing pretty well, too.

BALDWIN: And forgive me for jumping in because I'm up against a wall and I'm out of time. I can only imagine what it's like to watch from your perch in Wyoming and the goings on in Washington these days. We'll have you back. Senator Alan Simpson. Thank you so, so much. We're back in just a moment.