Return to Transcripts main page


Clinton On Trump Debate Moment, My Skin Crawled; Black Republican At Odds Over Support For Trump; What's Really Behind The Statue Battle. Aired 11:00-Midnight ET

Aired August 23, 2017 - 23:00   ET



[23:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ...speech about the rise of the alt- right and people were shocked at what they saw frankly in Charlottesville when actually the FBI had been reporting on the rise of these hate groups since President Obama's election, frankly and Hillary just kind of gave voice to some of what was going on a year ago and I think our country still has not confronted this conversation about races and what is happening in our country. We have not had a conversation about what it is to be a woman candidate and at those highest levels. I think there's a lot that is going on in our culture that she writes about that is so relevant and so important to be examined. And it's incredibly short sited to suggest it's just about politics and memorabilia.

DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: I think you are right, when you say the book is already a best seller. People are very interested. But I can't wait to read Robby's book because then we're going to get the real story. You're going to buy the book or you just want to free load off of Robby?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. Robby didn't give me an answer. I am heartbroken here.

LEMON: Thank you all. Thank you. I appreciate it.

The teleprompter President takes the stage in Reno one day after the unscripted president's divisive rant in Phoenix. This is CNN tonight, I am Don Lemon and thank you so much for joining us. President Trump sticking to his script and calling for unity but his angry rambling speech is still echoing after last night in Phoenix. A speech that has members of his own party questioning the support for him. Including some African-American voters who help put him in office. Plus, the President wants you to believe that the battle over confederate statues is what he calls an attack on our culture but is it really a diversionary tactic in the wake of Charlottesville? And is it working? Let's discuss now. Let's get right to black Republican on supporting the president in the wake of Charlottesville, let us discuss. Joseph the conservative color coalition, CNN Political Commentator David Swerdlick and Shermichael Singleton and Brunnel Donald-Kyie, I'll make sure did I pronounce that Brunnel? It's Shay. Sorry about that. The former Vice Chair of diversity outreach for the national diversity coalition for Trump. I want to play two clips back to back. First one is from today. Second is from last night.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is time to heal the wounds that divide us. And to seek a new unity based on the common values that unite us. We are one people with one home and one great flag.



We are not defined by the color of our skin. The figure on our paycheck or the Party of our politics. So, so --

They were having a hard time with that one because I said everything. I hit them with neo-Nazi, I hit them with everything. I got the white supremacist, the neo-Nazi. I got them all in there. Let's say, KKK. We have KKK. I got them all. So they're having a hard time. So what did they say? Right. It should have been sooner. He is a racist.


LEMON: So how do you make sense of that? Is the president speaking out of both sides of his mouth?

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: KKK, Don, we have KKK. The first clip you played of the President speaking today when he was taking the more somber tone, it's a version of the "we all bleed the same red blood" sort of construction that he used in his inaugural address that he has used on occasion just when he gets in those moments when he is under pressure for his lack of credibility with a broad section of Americans on issues of race and gender and he goes to that sort of construction, but it's what he says in between those somber moments that has gotten them in trouble and why that language about all of us being the same, which is true, and all of us being Americans, which is true, sometimes falls on deaf ears. Whether it was the fact he was the public face of birtherism, weather it's some of his comments about women over the course of the campaign, I could go on and on listing all night.

The point is when he gets these moments and wants to say to people wait second I really sincerely want to be the President of all Americans, he first has to step in there and clean up for all the other things he said. If I could just make one more point. If any President in a situation like Charlottesville Don, would have to come out much quicker immediately and say where they are and set the moral tone for the situation. But a President who starts so far behind the starting line really had to do that and I don't think President Trump did that over the last week and half.

LEMON: I want to hear from Brunnel now. How do you explain the sort of Jekyll and Hyde performance ever since Charlottesville that chaos happened? Should black Republicans support him?

[23:05:10] BRUNNEL DONALD-KYIE, FORMER VICE CHAIR DIVERSITY OUTREACH FOR THE NATIONAL DIVERSITY COALITION FOR TRUMP: Well, first god bless you and god bless America. What I'll tell you is what you heard last night -- I'm a Democrat and I voted for Donald Trump. What you heard was our President just basically letting the supporters know I am not a racist. He is letting the country know I'm not a racist. I stepped into this because I want to help everybody. What you saw was not a robot or some caricature of what people think a President should be. What President Trump does, he is authentic. He may not be as eloquent as other Presidents as we would like. But he speaks plain and a lot of Trump supporters and Americans want to be spoken to plainly. Today him saying that we all bleed the same blood, we're all Americans. I think he needs to stay there because there are so many Americans out here who are hurting who just really want to know they are cared about. And if the President stays on message letting everyone know they're involved, that they can participate, I think he'll do great. We'll see wonders with him.

LEMON: Shermichael, but that is all well and good and -- not to be condescending, I really don't want to but he hasn't done anything that you said. He has not stayed on message. He was -- go on, Shermichael.

SHERMICHAEL SINGLETON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I mean. To your point. He hasn't stayed on message, which is a part of the problem. I think Monday when the President clarified his remarks to greater specificity, a lot of people applauded, including Democrats. Then we saw what occurred Tuesday at the press conference which was supposed to be about infrastructure. It did not pan out very well. Then we saw the President's remarks in front of troops where he talked about the U.S. compounded of different people all over the world. That was appropriate and the very next day we saw the President at the rally and I don't think his tone was the right tone. I think lot of the rhetoric -- I get it. He was at a rally. He wants to rally his base, I understand that.

LEMON: Speaking plain doesn't mean speak down and give you an excuse for being ignorant.

SINGLETON: It does not, Don. I think for a lot of Americans, particularly minority Americans are saying you clarified the remarks, then the next day you came out with things that there insulting or not appropriate, then the next day a more disciplined version of you, then the day after a not disciplined version of you. Which version of the president does people supposed to believe? I think that is part of the problem.

DONALD-KYIE: If I may respond.

LEMON: Go ahead.

DONALD-KYIE: What I would say is that is the thing I'm talking about. Our President is authentic. He is not a robot. He is not thought up. He is showing us who he is.

LEMON: Every President is real.

SINGLETON: Not about being robotic. It's about authenticity and if you believe what you believe, it doesn't matter if you're reading from script or extemporaneously, people will believe it and the issue is that a lot of people aren't believing what he says and I would love for the President to give a great speech on race in America so that we could move on.

LEMON: Because you are a Republican, right?

SINGLETON: I am a Republican. He is the leader of my Party. But I cannot in good faith or good conscious as African-American defend things that most people in our community by and large are insulting to minorities.

LEMON: You set me up to this. Because this is an article by buzz feed. Black Americans despair over Trump's response to Charlottesville and he writes -- what emerged in interviews with nearly a dozen black Republicans was a keen sense of the division between these Republican and a more pro-Trump wing. Many are dismayed that someone close to Trump hasn't been able to effectively tell him what he is doing is detrimental and offensive to black Americans. These sources often mean the highest ranking black White House staffer, Omarosa and they feel she is not sensitive to their interests. I think they're being kind in their words there. Is the President getting any good advice in his relationship with the black community, Joseph?

JOSEPH PINION, CHAIR, CONSERVATIVE COLOR COALITION: I don't believe he could be getting good advice. We saw what happened on Tuesday. We saw what happened at the rally in Phoenix. I don't think it's posable to think he was getting good advice. I think that the problem that we face is the lack of consistency. This notion where apparently if someone spits in your face and hands you a napkin, you're supposed to say thank you to them. I just don't think that is a realistic approach. I think some of the problems we have right now is that we focus on the things that we don't like about what Donald Trump has said and don't necessarily focus on things other people in America do here.

[23:10:20] Donald Trump said we can't change history, but we can learn from it. I think that is a powerful message that resonates with a lot of Americans. What President Trump does not seem to understand and what America has been ready to accept is that they were not trying to preserve our right, they were trying to implore us to relive it. When you hear people talking about blood and soil, hear people talking about Jews will not replace us. The one thing we did not hear was save Robert E. Lee. What Shermichael is talking about, yes, there is authenticity in what he says and the perception for a lot of Americans who have been on the searing end of prejudice is we have a situation where people were beaten, mauled and again giving aid and comfort to something, as he tries to describe it in Phoenix, does not seem reflected in this statement.

LEMON: Some black Republicans have stepped away from the President. Others have been speaking out more forcefully. Let me play this before we talk any further. This is Tim Scott. Previously an ally of this President. Here is what he said last week.


SEN TIM SCOTT, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: I'm not going to defend the indefensible. What we want to see from our President is clarity and moral authority. That moral authority's compromised when Tuesday happened.


LEMON: David, as the President continues to defend his remarks, change his story about Charlottesville, will he continue to lose more support and especially among African Americans, not that he had had that much?

SWERDLICK: Don couple of things, One about Senator Scott, he is somebody who came out of the tea Party era but as he is progressed to the House and the senate he has moved more towards main line Republicanism and that is why he is speaking from that platform and saying look, there's a way to address situations as a national leader with moral authority. In terms of black people moving away from President Trump, I think his biggest problem is that he started with such a deficit on these issues. There is a discussion to be had had. I know you're from Baton Rouge. I am from North Carolina. We have had these discussions about confederate monuments, about confederate flags. There's a way to have a nuance discussion about history but President Trump, because he has not established himself as someone with credibility on issues of race over the last two years is not the person to lead that conversation.

If two Saturdays ago he had come out that day, talked about the death of Heather Heyer, what he wanted to see happen in Charlottesville sincerely, not with his arms folded looking like he was reading a hostage statement, he could have started read the dialogue in this case he didn't.

LEMON: You cannot have that conversation when you have people saying they are trying to take away "our" culture. Who's they? Who's ours? Also you have to be aware of the history of those monuments and they were erected during the civil rights movement when blacks were starting to gain influence in fairness in society. They didn't come up right after the civil war. You have to know the history. You have to know the confederate flag is not a symbol of white pride or the south, it's a symbol of hate. Go on Brunnel.

DONALD-KYIE: Thank you so much. What I would say is I think each and every one of us on this panel deep down in our hearts really want to see the President do well. I think all Americans want to see him do well, step up. I also believe that African Americans specifically want to see action and I believe that we all have heard so much talking through the decades of people saying what they're going to do in our community and Donald Trump said I have a new deal with black people. I want to put billions of dollars into the inner cities and I believe once that money starts hitting our inner cities vocational programs, jobs, economics and improvement, I don't believe Donald Trump will have to do too much talking. The actions is -- actions are what the people want. LEMON: Hold on. Whoa, whoa. Actions are what make a difference. So

his actions in the past don't matter? His actions on discrimination, his words about the central park 5 being the leader of birtherism, those actions don't matter but -- hold on. But the actions he will possibly make in the future are more important than concretely what he is already said and already has done or not done?

[23:15:07] DONALD-KYIE: What I'll tell you is this, nobody is perfect and the bible says he who is without sin casts the first stone.

LEMON: We all know that. What does this have to do with this?

DONALD-KYIE: Let me finish my thought. Again the President's not perfect. There have been some missteps I'm sure but I believe that in my heart I know he is not a racist I wouldn't put my voice behind this.

LEMON: Tell me. Whoa. How do you know he is not a racist?

DONALD-KYIE: I'm a black woman from the west side of Chicago. There's no way I'm going to put my mouth on a President --

LEMON: I'm not talking about putting your mouth on the President. How do you know he is not racist?

DONALD-KYIE: I haven't heard anything come from him as far as I'm concerned from his speeches, as a candidate, as well as him being President that indicate he has a problem with African Americans at all. I haven't heard one thing like that. You said the central park 5. I understand that is a touchy issue in our community and they're saying he didn't believe they were innocent. But there are people that don't believe O.J. Simpson is innocent.


LEMON: They did not run for President of the United States, they did not take up ads in newspapers --

DONALD-KYIE: People still think O.J. Simpson is guilty.

LEMON: Let's not go down the O.J. -- Joseph, go ahead.

PINION: I think again. We need this President to be successful. If you're an American you need the President of the United States to be successful.

LEMON: That is a fact.

PINION: I'm a Republican. I wish we could have a conversation with Shermichael, I love the work that he does. And talk about tax reform and health care and the issues that we greatly need to get fixed in this country that Republicans and Americans desperately need to address. But the fact remains again. In my family forgiveness requires acknowledgment and love demands accountability. You can love this president and still hold him accountable. You can want him to be successful and say you're making mistakes and to your point, yes, mistakes were made but the President himself has not acknowledged those mistakes and so when we see what happened in Phoenix, last night.

For all the good things that he is said -- I think he is gotten a bad rap for not repeating the good things he had said. Because we would be talking about how he is still in that train of thought. But the missing component is what is implied when he omits that about the rest of us? Because it implies again that the pain is not real, that these other individuals who may have been offended by the fact that the President of the United States did not stand up for them, they are crazy. They are somehow making up these things. Ultimately, yes, we want the President to be successful. But again you cannot expect there to be conversation about the agenda when the President keeps stepping in the mud.

SINGLETON: And Don, there has to be a level of consistency. We don't just judge them off from individual moments in time, I do believe we judge them in their collective, entirety. And I think Brunnel brought up a policy about the president wanting to put billions of dollars investing to revitalize in inner cities. However, is it not legitimate to beg the question where is the plan for that idea? We know the administration wants to make a lot of drastic cuts. I haven't seen anything from a policy position that does it that indicates we will see billions invested in inner cities. There are a lot of poor African Americans, just as there are poor whites and poor Hispanics. People who need jobs, have children that are going to schools, institutions where they don't have updated resources, believe it or not, or transportation systems that are reliable, health care systems that have failed them. So if we're going to talk from policy perspective of what it's going to take to address the needs and concerns of all people in this country, we have to first show people that we respect them, that we respect and understand the legitimacy of their critiques, whether we agree with them or not. Someone may hurl a comment at someone who's Jewish or Muslim, just because I'm not Jewish or Muslim, does that not mean that I care? That is critically important, particularly when you're a leader.

LEMON: David I got to get to the break.

SWERDLICK: Quick point about Republicanism and conservatism. Here's the thing. We're being whip sawed partly because President Trump is a Republican President who campaigned to working class black people and to working class white people in a way that Republicans haven't campaigned before. He didn't say pull up your boot straps and work for opportunity in this country. He said for two years I'm going to take care of you. I'm going to pump billions into rural areas and inner cities. That is a different way of campaigning for a Republican and its part of the tension going on between him and his Party and the more than one camp of African American Republicans right now.

[23:20:26] LEMON: Thank you all. White supremacist Chris Cantwell who organized the Charlottesville rally has turned himself in to police. He is in jail. You remember him.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you think this means for the next alt- right protest?

CHRIS CANTWELL, WHITE SUPREMACIST: I say it's going to be really tough to top but we're up to the challenge.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why? Tough to top? I mean someone died.

CANTWELL: I think a lot more people are going to die before we're done here, frankly.


LEMON: That is what the violence in Charlottesville was really all about. Not confederate statues, not confederate statues. Not an attack on what President Donald Trump calls our culture. When we come back, it's all about -- it's all just a diversionary tactic, was it and is it working? We will discuss.


LEMON: Charlottesville, a civil war of sorts has been raging over confederate statues and monuments. A debate that is expanded to include other parts of the country, and other types of monuments, including this statue of Christopher Columbus right outside my studio in Columbus circle, named after the Italian explorer. Mayor De Blasio tweeting days after Charlottesville, says after the violent events, New York City will conduct a 90-day review of all symbols of hate on City property. So what I want to talk about now are the statues and monuments. Are they an important issue? Is it political correctness run amuck? Joining me now to discuss this is Ben Shapiro. I invited you back on the show to have a broader conversation about this. And here we are, thanks for joining us. This whole idea of freedom of speech and this conversation is very important to me. I am glad to have you and talk about it. So what started out as a neo-Nazi murder in Charlottesville and the president tells you he denounce Nazis and White supremacist, exploded into a discussion in this country about the removal of confederate statues. Have we gotten away from the point of what happened in Charlottesville, what it was really about?

[23:2540] BEN SHAPIRO, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF FROM A DAILY WIRE.COM: It seems to me we clearly have. And that was the point of the alt-right and the white supremacist seizing on an issue. There was a poll that came out showing 50 to 39 Americans are vague on the idea of moving all this statues out, so they seized on the issue that they think is a winning issue for them and then tried to broaden out their appeal that way and a lot of the folks on the left fell for it and they want to have this discussion anyway, but it seems like a misdirection from what actually happened in Charlottesville. The issue in Charlottesville is white supremacy, not whether people think statues should come down or stay up. Because clearly 50 percent of the American population doesn't want to keep this statues up just because they are a bunch of white supremacist races.

LEMON: This is from the Daily News, this is from SC-Cup. She said to distract from his indefensible moral equivalence between neo-Nazis and Charlottesville and the activists who were there to protest them, Trump dared liberals to go down the cookie rabbit hole of political correctness. Its fertile ground and he knew they take the bait. Is SC right? Did liberals get played by President Trump?

SHAPIRO: I think pretty clearly, they definitely fell for, whether he plans it or not, a trap for the left. He said you're going to go after statues of George Washington or Christopher Columbus and now you're seeing that actually happen on the left, the most obvious stupid case is the banning of this reporter from ESPN Robert Lee an Asian from covering an event at University of Virginia. The political correctness of the left is actually driving people into Trump's arms. I think one thing Trump has just benefitted from the fact that the left is constantly reacting to everything he says and I think that is actually a negative. Even what he did last night in going after the media because they reacted instead of doing objective analysis, they jump to extraordinary critiques of hits mental health and talking about how he was crazy and how he is morally bereft. It plays to his crowd. They think that media is out to get him. His crowd think the media have a particular emotional amnesty personally. Anything the media do is going to exacerbate that.

LEMON: Well two things, by the way ESPN is responding and they didn't ban him. They asked him and he picked something closer to his family. They said they didn't ban him and they were looking out for his own interest. That is their response. But let's play what the President said last night because you mention the media and the media's response but let's play it.


TRUMP: They're trying to take away our culture. They're trying to take away our history and our weak leaders, they do it overnight. These things have been there for 150 years, 100 years. You go back to a University and it's gone. Weak, weak people.


LEMON: So he said that the media is trying to do that. The media is simply responding to people who are there protesting and to the story of the statues being taken down. The media hasn't called for the statues to be taken down. So I don't understand when he says the media is trying to take away your culture.

SHAPIRO: I do think one of the conservative critiques of the media is that the media have a political agenda and they hide behind this patina of objectivity in order to press forward this political agenda. And Don, you were very passionate about President Trump statements about the media last night, I think some that was justified, but I think a lot of it actually goes to what his base thinks, which is that you have unanimous for his agenda and you personally want to see these confederate statues come down. Is that true?

LEMON: To tell you the truth I knew the statues were there. I was offended by the statues. Whether they should come down, I would leave it up to the individuals. But I do think they're insulting to people. Would you want to see a statue of Hitler as a Jew? We shouldn't pretend there's a fake objectivity. Everyone has a point of view, doesn't mean that you are bias and so to get people to understand as a Jewish person you would not want to go to a Hitler high school. Well, that same effect, African Americans, that has a same effect. Robert E. Lee as the same effect on African Americans and also the confederate flag. I think we have to be understanding of each other. It's not that I don't like the president or I have an agenda against the President. I'm simply speaking the truth as I see it.

BEN SHAPIRO, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF FROM A DAILY WIRE.COM: And I totally understand that but what his people are hearing, he is saying essentially that you do have an agenda in terms of what you think, promulgating what you think about confederate statue. You have a clear point of view on that. That is perfectly acceptable and I think understandable point of view, but the implication is that you are an objective reporter who's actually promulgating a point of view. You said openly you don't think your point of view is biased. But your point of view is clearly bias.

LEMON: But what I said about the President last night, coming out of his speech had nothing to do with statues. I was talking about his behavior on stage.

SHAPIRO: Again, totally understood but the way it read is that you have a personal animus towards the President. Whether it's true or not, that is the way a lot of his followers are going to take it.

LEMON: I only have a personal animus towards ignorance and people don't know their history whether that is the president of United States, a guest on this show or someone I speak to in the street, you need to be able to defend yourself and to defend yourself, to have a right, clear perspective you need to know history and you need to be educated about it and in many cases the people fighting for the issues are not. And that means the people who wanted to take the statues down and some of them who do not want to take the statues down as well. But stick with me. We have a whole lot to talk about. When we come back, President Trump says he wants to unite the country, so why is he lashing out? We will be right back.


[23:35:35] LEMON: President Trump took the stage in Reno today and said he is all about unity but he sure didn't sound like a unifier in his rant last night. Ben Shapiro is back with me and joining us now talk radio host John Fredericks and CNN Contributor Jason Kander. Welcome to the panel. Ben welcome back. Jason, I'm going to start with you. President Trump says he wants to unite our country but then he says stuff like this. Watch this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I always hear about the elite. You know the elite? I went to better schools than they did. I was a better student than they were. I live in a bigger, more beautiful apartment and I live in the White House too, which is really great. I think -- you know what? I think we're the elites. They're not the elites. So the point is, and I didn't want to bore you because you understand where I'm coming from, but the point is that those were three different, two statements in one news conference. The words were perfect. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Jason, it's a fascinating message. Really think about it. From a New York billionaire who lives in a tower to a base of supporters he calls the forgotten Americans and it's very powerful and they love it. How did you respond to that?

JASON KANDER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Donald Trump is a man who was born rich believing he is a victim. He is a man who looks at what happened in Charlottesville, sees a woman being murdered and said to himself I'm the victim here. So everything about him is sort of casting himself in a victim mode and often I think that is because he believes often rightfully that people in America won't blame the victim. And so when he is not doing a good job and when the media reports what he is doing. He is not doing a good job, he figures he'll cast himself as the victim. It's his way of avoiding responsibility. It's sort of like a movie critic who decides to make a movie and it turns out its really bad and that is because you can't make a movie by criticizing people, just like you can't lead a country by complaining all the time.

LEMON: How do you go, John, from I love the uneducated to we are the elites? By the way I know some wealthy people. They don't talk about people -- people who are really wealthy don't talk about how much money they have and people who are really smart don't talk about how smart they are. But go on.

JOHN FREDERICKS, HOST, SYNDICATED TALK RADIO: I guess Jason is now a psycho analyst, psycho mambo jumbo something about what Donald Trump thinks in his deep psyche. You guys have no sense of humor that was funny last night. You take his style and you get all caught up and your panties get in a wad. He is having fun last night talking to his base, the people who helped elect him President, that don't trust the media, that don't trust what you guys say and they don't trust the elites in Washington. So what he was saying is they want to tell us what to do. They want to run our life. They've sold our jobs out. I'm going to unify our country at the end of the day we're the elite, because we really understand what's going on. That is what he was saying last night. It's laughable. And why you guys are going to lose again.

LEMON: It's not you. Don't put me in the category. I'm not a partisan.

FREDERICKS: Democrats are going to lose again.

LEMON: Ok I am not a Democrats so don't put me in that category and number two listen. Maybe you wear panties. I don't. So if your panties get in a wad then that is your business.

FREDERICKS: you got to have a sense of humor.

LEMON: There is no sense of humor if you are a person -- if you're a member of the media, who is in the back of the room and he is calling you a terrible person and saying you don't care about America and you don't love America and you may be a victim of violence that is not funny. If you're a transgender person who has served this country with honor and distinction and he is thinking about kicking you out of the military, there's nothing funny about that. No, no, no. Yes, I am being fair. Yes, I am. John, let me finish. If you're the President of the United States at every single moment what comes out of your mouth matters to every single person in this country and it is not funny when you making fun of people and possibly putting people in harm's way of violence.

[23:40:20] KANDER: Don, It is also - it is actually possible for somebody to be humorous and do a decent job at the same time. It's not like the President of the United States can be charming but if he is, he has to be really bad at being President. He could actually do both things. He is just not.

LEMON: The first rule of comedy is it has to be funny. It wasn't funny.

FREDERICKS: It wasn't funny to you. He had a rally last night, he had a good time. He is talking to his base. He has two audiences. One is the international people, Americans at large and the media. He was at a campaign rally last night talking to his base after he had a disastrous day on Monday with his base where he went back on his words.

LEMON: Was that funny?

FREDERICKS: No, it isn't. But he made a serious speech. I'm telling you on Monday, was infuriated by that. Then he goes out and throws red meat. This politics, I'm telling you Donald Trump is going to win again because the great unifier is jobs, wages go up, economic prosperity, 3 percent growth. He is going to get elected again.

LEMON: Ben, please.

SHAPIRO: What you saw in his rally last night was that President Trump is great at two things. The art of opposition and trolling. So he is really good at finding something that all Republicans dislike, which is the media. We don't like CNN, we don't like MSNBC. And so he takes that and says unify around this. You can't unify around my policy. You may not like McConnell, Ryan but we all dislike the media and then he says some things are funny and then outrages thing about media knowing they're going to put it up the Richter scale.

LEMON: Shouldn't he be truthful in his comments even if he was funny and --? He wasn't.

SHAPIRO: Of course. My advice to the people of the media, my advice is turn down the emotion down to one and turn the fact checking up to 10. Because what's happened is the amount of fact checking has taken second place to the offense that people in the media are taking at his words and I think the problem is the American people have to know is the media are trying to defend them from untruth, not from insults. Until the media starts making that distinctions a lot of people on Trump's side are going to think this is a rock'em, sock'em robots between Trump and the media.

LEMON: I'm glad you've come on CNN twice in the last week or so even though you don't like us.

SHAPIRO: No, I love you, Don. You're the best.


LEMON: Thank you Ben, thank you John, thank you Jason, I appreciate that. Coming up, a protest that started last year when Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem is spreading hundreds of Kaepernick supporters rallying outside the NFL headquarters today. I am going to talk to one of them.


[23:45:44] LEMON: Quarterback, Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during the national anthem as he protested police brutality and racism. Protesters spreading in the NFL but Kaepernick is out of a job. Today protesters gathered to support him outside NFL headquarters in New York. Let's discuss, CNN political commentator Ben Ferguson and Symone Sanders they are both here. We got a lot to talk about. So don't try to hog everything. Symone?


LEMON: Symone, you were at this rally in support of Colin Kaepernick. So tell us about it, what did you want to accomplish?

SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So I was one of the co- hosts of the rally tonight. I along with Mark Thompson, we served as the cohosts, the Emcee's of the rally and today the rally was really about holding -- it was about a couple things. So one asking the NFL saying it's time for them to act. We believe the NFL has been complicit in the -- Colin Kaepernick. By staying silent in this moment, they are in fact complicit. We have said we the united, we stand, coalition, which is a coalition of various individual groups, people like Tamika Malory, Mark Thompson, a very large widespread coalition of people, including the NAACP are literally asking the NFL to step in here, hold themselves accountable. We believe Colin Kaepernick should be on a team but there are remedies they need to take.

LEMON: So you have been an out spoken critic of athletes kneeling during the anthem.

FERGUSON: I have no problem with the protest. I think that is what makes this country great and you have a right to do it. The problem with Colin Kaepernick is one, he is not as good as he used to be and two, they want to win football games and if he is looked at a bigger distraction than an asset, a bigger liability than an asset and not as coachable as he used to be. How many players that are close to him have come out and supported him? There's not a lot. There's lot of people who think he didn't play as hard. I think if there's enough owners out there that need to win games, that if they truly believe he was a bigger asset than a liability, they would hire him.

LEMON: You know this, Ben, who have had had much bigger issues and problems. FERGUSON: But they were coachable and wanted win. Look at the Dallas

cowboys. You have multiple people on that team that have abused women. You have people that have been convicted of serious crimes. But when they walk in the locker room, they're football players and they're coachable and I think the NFL does have to look at this issue and say, where are the happy medium on this is? Coaches will do anything --

LEMON: He is getting a raw deal.

SANDERS: While the rally was happening, take Aaron King out today in support of Colin Kaepernick saying literally -- I know the national football league is saying Colin Kaepernick is not being black balled but the facts and optics speak for themselves. I want to be clear. I realize the NFL cannot put him on a team today but one, there is not an express advocacy policy for the national football league. The national baseball league has one. The NFL does not have an express advocacy policy on the books currently.

FERGUSON: I don't know if that would do anything for Colin Kaepernick. Let me say this.

LEMON: Let me get this in and get your response.


SPIKE LEE, FIL DIRECTOR: Go to the dictionary and the word might be collusion. What you see now, its history. This is not the first time it's happened to African-American athletes that have stood up. Jacks Johnson. He was knocking out everybody else. Didn't like him around the white women, boom, out. Olympics, Mexico, Carlos, black raised fist. Muhammad Ali. Refuses to be inducted. All these are examples where men have stood up, believed in their beliefs, and been crushed.


[23:50:19] LEMON: Listed all the names of the NFL owners who have donated to Trump and to conservatives, and conservatives generally have the bigger issue with this. That is why he said the collusion.

SANDERS: Uncle Spike speaks the truth. I have nothing to say against spike lee.

FERGUSON: The NFL has no soul. They allow the worst people to play their game. If there was an owner out there or coach out there that thought Colin Kaepernick was a big enough asset for their team, they would hire him. They cover up when they punch out their girlfriend in the lobby and still cover it up. The NFL has a problem.

SANDERS: Let me say one last thing --

LEMON: We've got to go. I am sorry. We'll be right back.


LEMON: It became a worldwide obsession, a child caught in the middle of a custody battle that stretched between two nations. The story behind Elian Gonzalez and his dramatic journey from the United States to Cuba. Joining me now is Tim Golden, he is the Director of the film Elian. Thank you so much for joining us. I want to put this up. When people think of Elian Gonzalez, they think of this iconic image, Pulitzer Prize winning photograph, when federal agents came in to take custody of Elian Gonzalez. Tell me about the moment and why you decided to do the film now.

TIM GOLDEN, DIRECTOR ELIAN: It was really an extraordinary indelible image that Allen Diaz took for the associated press. But it was a time, it was a story that riveted people, not only in Florida, but all around the country.

[23:55:00] I had covered it at the time as a journalist, and always felt like there was something deeper there. And going back to it now, with the passage of time, we really saw that it had been a defying moment in the Cuban story, in the story of Fidel Castro's revolution, and Cuban's American politics in the United States.

LEMON: It was a very emotional story for a lot of people. Tensions escalated I said between two countries, between the U.S. and Cuba, it was emotion, there was drama. This was a then 21-year-old cousin talking about him being taken into federal custody. Watch this.


MARISLEYSIS GONZALES, ELIAN GONZALES COUSIN: People come in with guns, you don't even know who they are, and they didn't tell us who they are. They just said, give me that boy! Give us that boy! I said, I'll give you the boy. I stood in front of those machine guns and I said, I said, please, don't do this to this boy. There's kids in this house. Don't do this. I'll give you the boy, but please, don't let them see this.


LEMON: Emotional. You wrote the defining piece for the "Times" magazine, talking about the family, the divide between the family and the father, between Cuba and the U.S. and that was Marisleysis right?

GOLDEN: The cousin of Elian. Who, you know, just like Elian was this irresistible symbol that both sides grabbed on to, the Cuban- Americans, the symbol of the suffering of the Cuban people, that his mother had to take him on the rickety boat in the Florida straits, and the Castro government whom he became a symbol to which the lengths to which the exiles would go to win their argument. Marisleysis was this extraordinary figure who was just plaintive and wounded in the loss of the boy afterward. That loss really did kind of turn Cuban-American politics.

LEMON: It really resonated with a lot of people. Cuban-Americans down in Miami, a big population down in Miami. I want you to watch this clip. This is a clip from the documentary, Elian's graduation.




LEMON: He is 23 now, right.


LEMON: Is he a celebrity?

GOLDEN: Absolutely.

LEMON: He is grown up aware of that?

GOLDEN: How could he not, you know. One of the amazing things about his life is that he has sort of been experiencing what happened to him in the memories of all the people who are around him, right? He was only 6 years old. But I think the way he is grown up, he is been obviously the subject of kind of an intense political education by the revolution.

LEMON: How has it affected him?

GOLDEN: Well, I mean, the extraordinary thing is, he is kind of seems whole. He is obviously deeply committed to the revolution.