Return to Transcripts main page
Roseanne Barr's Show Cancelled by ABC; President Trump Silent About Barr's Racist Tweet. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired May 29, 2018 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] (JOINED IN PROGRESS)
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN: Thanks very for watching 360. Time to hand it over to Don Lemon. CNN Tonight starts right now.
DON LEMON, HOST, CNN: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
Today, ABC stepped up did the right thing. Cancelling the hit reboot of Roseanne after the star of the show Roseanne Barr tweeted something so abhorrent. I wish I didn't have to repeat it but the words she used and the racist hate behind them matters.
Roseanne tweeted quote, "Muslim brotherhood and planet of the apes had a baby, equals V.J." referring to Valerie Jarrett who was a senior adviser to President Barack Obama. Roseanne later offered a weak, very weak apology if you want to call it that, in which she called a bad joke and then poor taste.
So let's be clear here, this was not a joke, it had nothing to do with bad taste, this was straight up racism. She was not misunderstood, she was not misquoted. She wrote the words herself.
And now, Roseanne Barr is paying the price for her racist hate speech. And she should. This is not silencing a conservative voice, this is not denying Roseanne her right to free speech. Nobody stopped her from saying exactly what she wanted to say.
But, despite the crude racism on display here, Valerie Jarrett took the high road tonight. Listen to what she said on MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VALERIE JARRETT, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR TO FORMER PRESIDENT OBAMA: I'm fine. I'm worried about all the people out there who don't have a circle of friends and followers who come right to their defense. The person whose walking down the street minding their own business and they see somebody cling to their purse or walk across the street.
Or every black parent I know who has a boy who has to sit down and have a conversation, the talk, as we call it. And as you said, those ordinary examples of racism that happens every single day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Every single day. Valerie Jarrett is absolutely right. This is much, much bigger than Roseanne's dumb racist tweets. This is about the normalization of racism across this country. This is about people who now feel free to say exactly the kind of thing Roseanne said.
We've all known for a long time just how Roseanne feels. Back in 2013, she compared former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and national security adviser Susan Rice to an ape in a tweet she later deleted.
In 2009, for a photo shoot, she dressed up as Hitler and baked what she called, little Jew cookies. And claiming she was making fun of Hitler and not his victims. And let's not forget her take on the national anthem. This was 20 years ago.
(ROSEANNE BARR SINGS STAR SPANGLED BANNER)
LEMON: And had nerve to criticize NFL players for peacefully taking a knee, respectfully.
We all knew what we were getting and what Roseanne was like. ABC knew what they were getting, yet they gave her a reboot of her show knowing full well who she is. And today, she showed us exactly what she is again. And now she's facing the consequences.
And what about the hundreds of people who worked on her show? Who didn't do anything wrong? They're out of work tonight. But there's someone else who never seems to face any consequences, someone who has praised Roseanne and her show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look at Roseanne, I called her yesterday, look at her ratings, look at her ratings. They were unbelievable. Over 18 million people. And it was about us. They haven't figured it out. The fake news hasn't quite figured it out yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Well, I think we've all figured it out. We've all figured it out. Nobody should be fooled by the White House refusal tonight to comment on Roseanne because we already know exactly what President Trump thinks.
He began his political career with the racist lie that Barack Obama, the former president was not born in this country. A lie he reportedly still clings to. On the day he announced his campaign, he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best, they're sending people that have lots of problems. And they're bringing those problems with us.
[22:05:04] They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: He made a Muslim ban band the centerpiece of his campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: He responded to deadly white supremacist violence in Charlottesville by claiming, they were his words, "very fine people only both sides."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. You had people, and that perfect -- excuse me, excuse me, I saw the same pictures that you did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: He called African countries, sending immigrants to this country, quote, "shithole countries." The White House later trying to claim the president said, shit house, as if that makes any difference.
I could go on but we only have so much time in this show and we really want to discuss this. We know what Donald Trump thinks. We know what Roseanne Barr thinks. It's time for us to stop playing around with soft words but saying, well, they're saying insensitive things.
No, it's racist. They're exhibiting racist behavior. And far too many of our fellow American citizens agree with them. And feel embolden to say out loud the things that they wouldn't have dare to say in public just a few years ago.
In an America where racism happens every day, in our neighborhoods, in our workplaces, in our schools, in a Starbucks, in a park, at an Airbnb, what is America going to do about it? What are we going to do about it?
When are we going to stop pretending that every incident -- this is just one incident, it's just one, this is one, this is just one example. There keeps being one example after another after another after another after another.
And we have to stop pretending that this president has nothing to do with it, that he's not emboldening racist and racism and giving them a platform and making it OK. We have to stop pretending that or we're going to destroy the moral fabric of this country.
I want to bring in now CNN political analyst Patrick Healy of the New York Times, and political commentators Scott Jennings as well as Tara Setmayer. Good evening. Yes, I'm fed up. It's disgusting it is outrageous, that is exactly how I feel. I did not stutter I did not mumble. Those are my thoughts. Write about it however you want. Call me a race baiter for bringing it up. I'm not race baiting. I'm giving you facts. I just gave you fact, after fact after fact, after example, after example, after example.
Stop the bull, stop the madness, let's stop doing this. Scott, the president had -- he's embraced Roseanne. Tonight, he had nothing to say at all when he used he goes, my gosh, look at Roseanne. This is about us, they get us.
So, he doesn't talk about the inflammatory, the inaccurate things of all kinds of stuff, but he talks about the ratings and that they get us. Don't you think he should have called her out tonight after he has praised her before?
SCOTT JENNINGS, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Yes, I do actually. I think the president should say what she did was abhorrent because it was abhorrent. It's terrible. And ABC knew, as you pointed out what they were getting into when they signed up Roseanne to reboot the show.
So, yes, I do think he should call it out. I think at that time he was talking about her show. He was talking about the concept of it being blue collar middle American-type show. But that doesn't mean you have to excuse her off-show behavior and nobody should. ABC didn't and the president should not either.
TARA SETMAYER, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Don't hold your breath. He's not going to condemn her.
LEMON: Yes. So, Tara, the president of ABC Entertainment, Channing Dungey put out a statement. And it says, "Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values and we have decided to cancel her show."
Very simple, she's like, boom, done, over. Did it quickly. Roseanne's racism was not a surprise though.
LEMON: It extended beyond this latest tweet, which, you know, had many wondering why she was even given the reboot in the first place.
SETMAYER: Myself being one of them. Starting back when -- and I'm glad you replayed that awful national anthem display that she put on, which is despicable years ago, I was done with her since then.
But these things that she's been engaged in are fairly recent. This isn't 28 years ago. She's tweeted out all kinds of wacky things about conspiracy theories. She was -- our own Andrew Kosinski of the KFile uncovered that she was a 9/11 trooper for goodness sakes.
[22:10:05] The Nazi thing, the conspiracy theories, about pizza gate, about Zach Rich. I mean, the list was long. Yet, she was hired anyway and given a platform despite those things.
And I'm sorry, but the era of Trump has embolden people to do these things and for other for companies to think that it's OK to give someone as disgraceful, and tasteless and trashy as Roseanne Barr is a platform. A second chance out of national network show. I think that you would have never seen her have that opportunity under
the last presidency or the presidency before that. There is something about the Trump presidency that has unearthed this level of ugliness from so many people in this country that it cannot be ignored anymore.
You know, you and I have had this conversation, Don, about whether I've said Trump is, you know, racially insensitive or he's a bigot versus a racist. And you know, those discussions have become, for me, that's starting to closed even more now. Because silence is complicity.
If you claim you're the least racist person as Donald Trump told you in an interview a couple of years ago, then how the hell do you not speak out about something like this. And not saying all Trump supporters are racist, no, they.re not. But if you don't condemn things like this, then you're complacent.
LEMON: You're cosigning. You're cosigning it.
SETMAYER: That's correct.
LEMON: Listen, Roseanne's Twitter feed, Patrick, was a secret to the suits at ABC. ABC entertainment president previously told the Hollywood Reporter that she tries not to worry about things that she can't control.
But my question is, was Roseanne's racism allowed as long as it wasn't so blatant? As long as she kept up below the surface and didn't talk about it? It's like, it's OK, because, you know, just stay off of Twitter?
PATRICK HEALY, POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: Right. Right. You know, I did an interview with Roseanne a couple months ago, and there were two ABC publicists on the phone. And when I started pressing her about President Trump and her character support of President Trump, and that President Trump opposes abortion rights, gay rights, labor union production, things that her character might have supported, the publicist started like getting involved trying to cut me off and telling me to move on and move on.
And then we read later, Don, So shortly after that that this was part of ABC's heartland strategy, this was part of how ABC was going to go and try to appeal to red state Americans who may not be watching network TV or their network as much as possible.
And it seems again as if they were sort of saying, you know, all these thing that she has said, all the thing that Tara laid out, somehow either would fit in the strategy or wasn't worthy of saying, you know what, as much as like a ratings bonanza this might be for us we're not going to go into this.
But to your point earlier too, Don, you know absolutely were not race baiting. What I remember so well from that campaign too was when David Duke talked about his support, David Duke, the most, you know, the high-profile KKK leader in this country, talked about his support for Donald Trump. And it was like pulling teeth with Trump, trying to get him ask him do you disavow this. And he wouldn't do it at first.
LEMON: I don't know.
HEALY: He would say I don't know David Duke. I don't know--
LEMON: There was an interview that surface before--
SETMAYER: Which was a lie.
LEMON: -- where he was talking about David Duke.
HEALY: He had a long history absolutely knowing who David Duke was--
HEALY: -- was reacting to David Duke. And he, you know, throw this out when Steve Bannon was there, and then afterward, his need to appeal to a white male base in this country, white base people in this country, I'm not saying about all white men but white male base in this country that, you know, believes in birtherism, that didn't believe President Barack Obama was a legitimate president.
You know, that is a huge part of his play. And he and Roseanne were two peas in a pod in that regard.
LEMON: Well, to Scott, I mean--
LEMON: -- if you listen to what Patrick is saying when he talks about there, what you say, it was red state strategy or--
HEALY: Heartland strategy.
LEMON: -- heartland strategy, it sounds like they thought maybe, and I'm asking do they not think that Roseanne's history of racism would turn people off, is that what they--
JENNINGS: Well, I think all of these points have been raised are excellent. And regarding a heartland strategy I'm sitting in the heartland tonight, I'm sitting here in Louisville and I don't know anyone here who wants to be represented by someone like Roseanne who says such repugnant things.
But I would like to say a word about ABC and the media industry in general and the unevenness of sequences. Because I think what ABC did was right, but what they also of course was candid jumping in a pond of alligators, getting your foot bit off, and getting out of the pond and saying, look how smart we are for getting out of this pond.
I mean, what would you expect Roseanne had a history of lewd tune things, they got what they deserve by getting in bed with her in the first place. But out here in the middle of America there are going to people who were going to ask these questions. They're going to say, it was right to get rid of Roseanne, it was wrong maybe to reboot the show.
But why are Bill Maher and Joy Reid, two people in the last year who've said hateful things still employed in the media industry if Roseanne is not.
[22:15:02] If we're going to hate hatefulness -- you and I, Don, a year ago talk about Bill Maher saying the n-word on his show and Joy Reid we're still searching for her time travel and hacker who went back in time apparently, and hacked her account and said hateful things about homosexuals.
There seems to be an unevenness of consequences for hate. And I hate all of this, and I think they all ought to face the same consequences just like Roseanne did.
LEMON: Well, I think that Joy Reid and Bill Maher would have to speak for themselves, and I also think that you have to look at the context around it, it's not the same context. And I don't like pointing out, well, look over there, look what this person, two wrongs, or three wrongs don't make a right. And right now--
SETMAYER: That's right.
LEMON: Right now we're talking--
JENNINGS: I agree, none of it is right. It's all wrong. It is all wrong.
LEMON: Right now we're talking about Roseanne Barr who has--
LEMON: -- a history of this way more than any of the people that you mentioned and so does the president of the United States. And we're talking about the president of the United States who should, who should, his character should be beyond reproach. He should be setting the example--
SETMAYER: And there--
HEALY: Don't normalize him, Don.
SETMAYER: And therein--
LEMON: -- for that.
LEMON: But he's not doing that.
SETMAYER: Therein lies the problem. Therein lies the problem, you know. And with all due respect to Scott, I agree with you, we should condemn all of it and there should be consistency.
SETMAYER: But the problem is that in the era of Trump, what about it has become the king of the hill here. That's the--
JENNINGS: No, no, no I am not saying what about. I'm not saying what about.
SETMAYER: I'm not saying you do. I'm not saying you do.
JENNINGS: I am not saying that. I'm saying there has to be an even--
SETMAYER: I'm not saying you're doing it here. No. I agree. I'm not saying you're doing it here. But what happens now, and I've been monitoring what's been going on in some conservative media circles since this broke, and they're using this excuse of, yes, but what about so and so, so and so to try to water down the severity of what Roseanne Barr has done and also to try to disentangle that from what the era of Trump has created in this country. And that is a problem.
To my fellow conservatives out there, do not make any freaking excuses for this. This is inexcusable. And when you have conservative media outlets saying that, ABC was looking for an excuse to get rid of Roseanne because everyone is so against Middle America. That is B.S. They didn't know what that is. What would they do that?
LEMON: How much money are they -- how much money are they losing out on, Tara? I mean, of course, they--
SETMAYER: Of course.
LEMON: -- they wanted the money.
JENNINGS: They're not losing on any--
LEMON: But here's the thing though--
JENNINGS: No, no, no, no.
LEMON: When we -- hold on, when we do this what about him though, when you think about listen, and I'm not here--
SETMAYER: Just nuts.
LEMON: -- I'm not here to defend anybody. How many times do you have to show us who you are? If you make a mistake, each of us here has made a mistake on air, we're on TV enough to say some dump things. We apologize and we move on and we do better the next time.
There seems to be people with this administration, people like Roseanne they say a dumb thing, they don't apologize, they continue to get a pass. Roseanne has done--
SETMAYER: Because the president doesn't apologize.
LEMON: So many--
SETMAYER: He sets the standard.
LEMON: So many things, how many passes are we going to give them especially people who have a history of speaking this way. Everyone says something dumb, everyone does something that they wish they would not have done.
But if you have a history behind you that proves that you have a racist behavior and you continue to do it that is different than somebody who has, who says something out of turn or someone who says, I have seen the error of my ways and I'm going to do better and then they go on to do better. You cannot compare the two. Go on.
SETMAYER: That's true. I think what -- I don't know who--
LEMON: That was for Scott. Sorry.
SETMAYER: -- but I take it real quick. That's a difference between judge a P.R. stunt and--
JENNINGS: Look, I agree with you.
SETMAYER: Go ahead, Scott.
JENNINGS: I think I agree with everything you just said, I agree with everything you just said. People make mistakes and people have to do better, that's why Roseanne was such a crazy choice. And why on the front end, if I were running a network and I hired somebody like Roseanne, God forbid, I think I would have said, look, a condition of you coming to work here is you got to turn off all your social media.
Didn't they realize the risk -- the risk of her popping off like this was really high and the probability of it being an embarrassment to their company was going to be extremely high. That was a huge mistake.
So, look, I'm glad they did what they did. But let's not mistake too. They were responding to the cooperate marketplace, they weren't leaving any money on the table here by doing this. If they hasn't acted today, tomorrow morning every advertiser would have pulled out of that show and maybe pulled off the network until they acted.
They knew that, they had to respond. I'm glad they did, but I don't think they were doing it fully out of altruistic, you know, reasons here. This was a corporate decision made by--
SETMAYER: I don't know about that. The head of entertainment of ABC is a black female.
LEMON: People have short memories in this country.
SETMAYER: Wait a minute. The head of the entertainment at ABC is a black female. And I'm sorry, I don't know anybody in this country that would put up with a star on their network calling women that look like her, apes. I'm sorry. I have better faith in her in that.
LEMON: OK. I got to go to break in. Patrick, I promise you I'll get you in. We have so much to talk about.
Also I want to talk about the president's tonight speaking, did he talk about Roseanne? We'll be right back.
[22:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: President Trump uncharacteristically had absolutely nothing to say tonight about ABC cancelling the hit reboot of Roseanne after the star of the show Roseanne Barr unleashed a racist tweets slamming former top Obama aide Valerie Jarrett.
Let's bring in senior political commentator David Axelrod. David, I'm so happy to have you here this evening. Good evening.
DAVID AXELROD, SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Hi, Don.
LEMON: You worked with Valerie Jarrett in the Obama White House. When you first saw that -- I'm sure you guys knew each other from Chicago. When you first saw that tweet--
LEMON: -- read that tweet, what was your immediate reaction?
AXELROD: Look, I've known -- first of all, even if I didn't know Valerie Jarrett, my reaction would have been absolute abject, disgust, despair, you know, that was a despicable e-mail. But I do know Valerie, and I've known her for almost 30 years. She's lived an exemplary life.
She has served her country in the city of Chicago, and she has been in every way a role model, and she was -- not disparaged but assaulted here simply because of the color of her skin. And, it was -- it was breathtakingly despicable.
LEMON: Yes. President held a rally, David, tonight in Nashville. He didn't -- didn't talk about Roseanne but he attacked Jay-z over a campaign appearance at a Hillary Clinton rally. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[22:24:58] TRUMP: The only way she filled up an arena was to get Jay- z.
TRUMP: And his language was so filthy that it made me like the most clean-cut human being on earth. He'd stand up before those crowds, and by the way, without any musical instruments, I had much bigger crowds than he was drawing.
But, he'd stand up before those crowds and he'd use the f-word and Hillary would sit back and say, I'm in trouble. I'm in trouble. Please don't have him use that kind of language anymore. And then he'd finish and everybody would leave.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: It's not funny, it's just laughable because he won't say anything about Roseanne's racist tweets but he's going to attack a black entertainer for using a curse word two years ago.
AXELROD: Yes. Well, let's be clear, Donald Trump doesn't see himself as the president of the United States, he sees himself as president of an agitated base. And all he does all the time 24/7 is try and stoke that base and race is one of the tools that he uses to do it.
And so, he was happy to embrace Roseanne, knowing full well what her history was a few weeks back when her show began and got good ratings, which is god to Donald Trump. But tonight, he had nothing to say. I wouldn't expect him to have anything to say.
And let's be honest, he does not, he is not going to be the president that so many want -- would want him to be, he's not going to stand up for American values. He's not going to stand up, you know, in the face of this kind of obvious, obvious scurrilous horrible stuff because it doesn't serve his political purposes.
His political purposes are served by stoking that fire, stoking those divisions. You know, mining them for his own political benefit. And ultimately, you know, that will arouse his base and it's going to be his political downfall, I believe because I don't think that's where the majority of the country is.
LEMON: OK. Well, listen, something that you said, right, and I think you keyed in on it. You said -- talking about animating his base. Race is one of the tools he uses to do it, you said. What does that say about the president?
AXELROD: Well, look, this is a big debate. I mean, if you use the tools of race to animate your base, then you open yourself up to the charge of being a racist. If you don't see that that's wrong, then you open up yourself to that charge.
But, I think the other point I made is also important, Don.
AXELROD: I don't think that's where the majority of the country is, if it were -- I agree with what someone said, maybe Scott said earlier, ABC made not just a moral decision but a financial decision because the majority of the country doesn't support what Roseanne stands for, certainly not what she stood for in that tweet.
And, so, you know, the president keeps re-stoking this base using race to do it, using immigration to do it and all the tools that are now familiar to us, in addition to his array of conspiracy theories. But, he is not building, he is not going to build to where he will be the president of the entire United States.
LEMON: It's no secret, David, that the president has also espoused conspiracy theories, promoted lies to suit his own purposes -- like the false claim that President Obama, the Obama administration planted a spy in his campaign, in his campaign overseas.
A White -- the House oversight chairman, Trey Gowdy who attended the classified briefings last week on the FBI confidential source, this is what he told Fox News tonight. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TREY GOWDY, (R) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: I am even more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do when they got the information they got and that it has nothing to do with Donald Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I mean, how do you get any plainer than that? We knew the president's spy claims were bogus, this backs it up.
AXELROD: Yes, and good for Representative Gowdy for saying it just that plainly. But, let's separate out the issues. I think the whole conspiracy theory surrounding the Russia probe is about one thing, Don, which is the try and discredit the probe with his supporters so that if the result of the Mueller probe is negative to him, and it may well be, that he can dismiss it as political.
And he is making some headway in that regard. This other piece is different, invoking race, invoking the most divisive language and symbols to try and inflame those divisions in our society.
[22:30:05] That is also part and parcel of his politics, quite apart from him trying to get out from under this probe. And it's despicable, and it's unworthy of a President of the United States.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Well said. How can you even trust -- it's sad that when we can't trust anything that comes out of the mouth of our own President. David Axelrod, thank you. I appreciate it.
When we come back, President Trump could have condemned Roseanne Barr's racist attack on Valerie Jarrett. He could have, but he didn't. Why doesn't this President ever seem to stand up to racist?
LEMON: This isn't a surprise, President Trump refusing tonight to comment on Roseanne Barr's racist tweets in the cancellation of her show. So let's bring in now CNN Political Commentators Ana Navarro and Mike Shields.
Hello to both of you. Ana, do you see a link between the environment Donald Trump has created in this country, and Roseanne's nasty racist tweets? I mean, after all, there's a history going back long before Donald Trump got elected.
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think there's no doubt that Donald Trump did not invent racism, he did not invent discrimination, or he didn't invent bigotry.
[22:35:07] But there's also no doubt in my mind, and I think a lot of America's mind that he peddles to it, that he promotes it, that he has empowered it, that he has legitimize it.
I think Roseanne Barr is solely responsible for her own actions. It is her actions, and not Donald Trump's actions. But certainly there's an environment we're all seeing in the United States where you see people getting screamed at for speaking Spanish, people getting detained for speaking Spanish, people getting arrested for waiting while being black, people getting beaten up for waiting while being black.
And so, you know, some would like to think that it's just a coincidence, I think there is a -- I think there is an empowerment and legitimatization that has happened of bigotry.
I think bigots now think, yes, I'm a bigot, so what. What's the consequence, if I can see it -- if I can see this sort of discrimination from on high, why can't I do it myself?
MIKE SHIELDS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, you know, I mean, first of all, what Roseanne -- let me just join the chorus, what -- her tweet wasn't funny, and it was terrible. But let me -- let me try to add something a little different from the conversation than what's already been said.
And I want to work backwards from the voters to the President, as oppose of always starting with being so angry at the President working out to his voter, OK? There -- I recommend a book by Brad Todd and Salena Zito called The Great Revolt, where they really talk about the Trump voters.
And in places like Wayne County and Michigan, which voters for Barack Obama by 12 points, and then voted for Donald Trump by 16 points, so these are clearly not racist Americans that elected this president.
But they feel very disrespected, they feel talked down to, they feel like institutions like Hollywood and the media just don't understand them. And then I see Roseanne Barr, and I think this a perfect example.
This group of Americans are looking for someone to spokesperson, and what Hollywood is telling them is, we have no idea how to talk to these people, we don't understand them, we don't even want to be around them, and who can we find, oh, let's reboot the Roseanne Barr show from 20 years ago, that that'll speak to that crown, and it blew up in their face.
And so they've got to go back to the drawing board, and go gee, how do we talk to these Americans though we utterly don't understand. And all that does is cost those Americans to feel even more disrespected, and support the President even harder.
And ignore the things that we are talking about tonight even more because they see this gulf between the media and the elites who don't understand them, disrespect them, talk down to them, and they just throw them Roseanne Barr, and say, that'll get us some ratings.
Oh, that didn't work. Maybe they are some other spokespeople in that community that could represent them, and would give this surprise to Donald Trump...
LEMON: Mike, you're under the assumption that people in Hollywood, and the people who are writers who come from red states, who come from families, who are in the Rust Belt communities, who come from -- come from neighborhoods, and cities, and towns, all over the world, you're assuming that they don't know how -- what it's like to live in a red state, or be in a red state. You're assuming that, that's not necessarily true.
SHIELDS: No, I'm working backwards from the result.
LEMON: This is a reboot, which means these same people have spoken to the people that Roseanne's talking about before, years ago. So obviously, they know something about talking to them, and communicating with them.
And also, just because you vote for a black person, or a president, because you hire someone who is black, because you get them to work in your home, you get them to work for your business, or you think that they can get something accomplished for you, does not necessarily make you not racist.
SHIELDS: I understand that, I agree with that. My point is we're cutting some large soaves, and we're -- the word racism is getting thrown out to a huge group of Americans, that's how they feel -- that's how they hear this conversation tonight.
What they here is the media, and people saying, oh my gosh, you watch the Roseanne Barr show, look at how terrible it is, what does it say about you. And it creates this gulf even further, and then people are surprised why Donald Trump's numbers are going up, and why he will get reelected, because there is misunderstanding, and they -- and these people know that.
These voters understand that there is -- there are a group of Americans that look down on them, and don't understand them, and don't care. What it also -- I will finish on this.
What it reminds me of this, a few years ago on Capitol Hill, a story came out about democrats going down to a NASCAR race in North Carolina that did some kind of study, and they went, and got vaccinations for it.
Literally, Democrats staff is on the Hill, go look it up, went and got vaccinations before they will go to a NASCAR race in North Carolina. That's the sort of thing that was so -- why would we be surprised that we live in this environment that you're talking about?
LEMON: OK, Mike, I mean that's...
NAVARRO: Well, look, here's a few things. First of all, Don, you talked about the hiring of black people. And you know, really, the hiring of diverse people, people like the President of ABC News -- I'm sorry, President of ABC Network.
LEMON: Entertainment, yes.
[22:40:00] NAVARRO: People like Wanda Sykes, who was a consultant on the series, and who today before the series was cancelled at a detriment to herself, and a detriment to her pocket, and did you know, Wanda Sykes -- you know, she like her pocket.
She said I am not going back on that show. And having those African- American women be represented in Hollywood I think made a huge difference in this decision because what they brought to the table was principal, and conviction, and saying, you know what, I'm going to stand up against this even if it is against my economic interest.
Because I just will not be able to look at myself in the mirror, and be part of something that represents racism. I also I want to say I think what Mike is saying is very important. And we need to make a distinguish -- a distinction between all of Trump's voters, and the racists.
Look, not all of Trump's voters are racists, that's ridiculous. A lot of them voted for him for many, many reasons. They wanted somebody that was outside the box, that was not status quo, that was anti- establishment, you name it.
But there's also no doubt that the ugly underbelly of America, the ugliest part of America, the lowest part of America has found a home, and a legitimacy in this president.
When you equate neo-Nazis to those who protest against them, when you can't speak out clearly against racism, when you keep playing to this ugly part of the base, you are playing to that, you know, peddling, and promoting racism.
Not every voter -- not everybody who voted for Trump is a racist, most of them are not. But he is peddling to that lowest common denominator. And what it is doing to the presidency, and what it is doing to this country, it is shameful, it is destructive, and it's going to take a lot of work to undo.
LEMON: Listen, I don't think that -- I don't think people -- I don't think anyone thinks that all Trump supporters are racists, but you had to overlook a lot in order to support him because there's a lot of evidence in that category of racism, of bigotry, of trafficking in it.
And so, if you want to overlook that, then that's your business. If you think that you're -- if you didn't cosign on racism and bigotry when there's so much evidence to show that this President does that, or at least is a candidate, then that's your business if you think you're not racist. That's your business, I'll give you that. But, there's certainly a lot of evidence to show that it is, and you had to turn the other way, so to speak, or turn your head, or put a blind eye to your...
NAVARRO: I think a lot of people -- a lot of people chose other priorities, right?
NAVARRO: Whether it was a Supreme Court justice, whether it was Cuba policy, you name it. And so, they chose to look -- they chose to look the other way on his incredible character flaws.
LEMON: I agree with you, Ana. I'm speaking for the people who couldn't do that -- who can't do that.
LEMON: As a person of color, I can't -- for me that is a priority, and it should be a priority of all Americans. I've got to go. We'll come back.
NAVARRO: You're talking to two -- it's two of us on that same note.
LEMON: The same reason -- look, the same reason that people won't watch The Cosby Show think about that when you're saying, oh Roseanne speaks for us. We'll be right back.
[22:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Report tonight that the death toll in Puerto Rico after the hurricane Maria struck last year is actually vastly higher that the official estimate, well into the thousands.
Back with me now, Ana Navarro, Mike Shields. So, the Harvard study finds a number of dead people who died from hurricane Maria were staggering, 4,645. That's far more than the 64 deaths the government acknowledges. What's your reaction to that, Mike?
SHIELDS: Well, the President last week, I believe, re-upped the energy decoration, which he has done a couple of times specifically for restoring power on Puerto Rico, which I don't think I saw a lot of coverage of that, but they are continuing to work on this.
Bit look, it's not good enough, they've got to get things fixed in Puerto Rico. They've got to help the Americans that live there get their lives back together. I think that it is always difficult after a storm like this, when you have such devastation, to just assume, why isn't it fixed already. People are working, there are a lot of good people working to do this, I think they need to do better.
LEMON: Yes. So what do you think of that, Ana?
NAVARRO: I think it's heart breaking. I also think it's not surprising. The 64 deaths did not make sense at the beginning when you saw the total devastation of the island, when you knew that there was no electricity, that they were people living in spiking heat, and that there were people who couldn't have access to refrigerated insulin.
Who couldn't have access to oxygen machines because there was no electrical, there was no running water. You saw the devastation of the homes. You knew people had drowned. So it's one thing to talk about the direct deaths, it's another thing to talk about the deaths that happened in the aftermath.
What do I think, Don? I think that if 4,500 pets had died in Texas, or in Florida, it would have been a national tragedy. Here, 4,500 human beings, American citizens died. And not only was it not reported, it was just not accurately and adequately dealt with.
It was too slow. It was too little when you compare it to how are things were handled in Florida where I live, and in Texas where they had hurricane Harvey. And listen, we are a day away from the start of hurricane season, we already had a first devastating storm, Alberto. And Puerto Rico...
SHIELDS: Ana, can I say something real quick?
NAVARRO: ... some of them still don't have electricity. Sure.
SHIELDS: But, wouldn't you agree that in Texas and Florida, the infrastructure for a first responder to come, and help people is already more significantly apparent than trying -- they sent a comfort ship down to Puerto Rico, and it couldn't get it into the dock.
They couldn't bring it on shore, or even get to -- they couldn't find the hospitals because the roads, and infrastructure of Puerto Rico, which is ashamed on of it's own, and it's a whole other conversation...
(CROSSTALK) [22:50:00] LEMON: Quickly guys we're running out of time. Go ahead.
SHIELDS: But that's one of the reasons we need to say that, that why you can't compare Texas and Florida to Puerto Rico for the economy they had before the storm...
NAVARRO: Exactly, Mike. Exactly. You can't compare Texas and Florida. Precisely because we all knew that the infrastructure in Puerto Rico was a mess, that their electric grid was a mess. We all knew that already.
But their government is going through a financial crisis. Precisely because we knew that, because the government knew that, they needed to have done more earlier, not less and later which is what happened.
LEMON: OK, I've got to run. Thank you, both. I just -- I need to clear up some facts here when Mike was mentioning earlier about the -- about Democrats going to visit NASCAR.
And at the time, the Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson said in a letter, since committee staff members are visiting hospitals, and other health care facilities available at near these venues including areas where groups of people are detained before being transferred to other off-site facilities, I believe the recommendation not requirement that our Congressional staff receive the same immunizations.
They were visiting people who were in hospital and health care facilities. And so they figured it wasn't -- they didn't have to do it, but it would be better if they were immunized. Thank you. We will be right back.
[22:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Melania Trump has not been seen in public for nearly three weeks now, ever since her kidney surgery. So how is the First Lady now doing? I'm joined now by CNN White House Reporter Kate Bennett.
Kate, good evening to you. We have yet to see the First Lady make a public appearance since her surgery. In fact it's been 19 days since we last saw her when she greeted the Americans freed from North Korea. Why haven't we seen her?
KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, I don't think it's unusual to this particular First Lady has chosen to recuperate from her kidney -- her benign kidney procedure. She had it at Walter Reed in private, and without sharing too much information.
Of course, other people, the American public, other members of the media, we all sort of wanted to know more about this procedure, why it kept in the -- her in the hospital for more than five days, and of course, why we haven't seen her.
I think it's, you know, for Mrs. Trump somewhat normal to maintain her privacy. However, you know, being quiet does spawn all sorts of conspiracy theories. And we've heard everything from she's moved back to New York to she's not doing well, et cetera. But quite, frankly, her office tells me that she's doing great, and feeling very well.
LEMON: All right so, again, I just want to reiterate that, because last week remember the President said that Melania was doing great, and then he pointed to a window in the White House, and saying that she was looking on. But according to a pool report, Kate, as to say that no one in the press -- no one from the press saw her, is anything else going on more than just a need for privacy?
BENNETT: It doesn't seem like it, Don. From all my sources and my reporting, what the east wing has said. You know, quite frankly this is not a first lady that's the type of person to sort of pop out for a photo-op.
BENNETT: We've seen her act extremely independently. She's not one to sort of turn it on for the camera just because people expect her to. Expect her to, you know, smile behind the President, or stand by his side when he does sort things, or even sometimes take a motorcade with him. I mean, we've seen her act independently a number of times.
I don't think we should read into it beyond like she's not at the White House, or she wasn't really up there in the residence. She's certainly from all indications is working, she is taking meetings with her staff in the east wing apparently preparing for the fourth of July, and the Congressional picnic later next month.
LEMON: Kate, thank you for your reporting. I appreciate that. When we come back they both traffic in bigotry, they both promote conspiracy theories. What President Trump and Roseanne Barr have in common.