PoliticsNation, Monday, December 1st, 2014
Read the transcript from the Monday show
December 1, 2014
Guest: Emily Renda, Wendy Murphy, April Ryan, Dana Milbank, Hakeem
Jeffries; Dana Jacobson; Joy Taylor
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Ed. And thanks to you for
We start tonight with breaking news. President Obama speaking out about
the civil rights issue of our time, policing in America. Are the laws and
methods applied fairly, justly and equally across all communities?
The heat surrounding this question is now at a boiling point. Today, we
saw more protests spreading to cities across the country. In Ferguson,
today, we saw the first meeting of a 16-member commission, appointed to
find solutions after the shooting of Michael Brown. And I was at the White
House today as the president devoted his day to meetings with officials and
civil rights leaders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is not a problem simply
of Ferguson, Missouri. This is a problem that is national. It is a
solvable problem. But it is one that, unfortunately, spikes after one
event and then fades into the background until something else happens.
What we need is a sustained conversation in which in each region of the
country, people are talking about this honestly and then can move forward
in a constructive fashion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The White House today taking a series of steps, creating a task
force on 21st century policing. Releasing a report on police
militarization, and announcing a $263 million plan for body cameras and
better training for police.
This issue touches communities nationwide. Michael Brown`s death hit a
nerve, because there`s so many stories like his. In Staten Island, New
York, a police chokehold led to the death of Eric Gardner. In Brooklyn,
New York, police opened fire in a dark stairwell, killing (INAUDIBLE) who
was unarmed. In Cleveland, police shot down 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who
had a pellet gun.
All these cases occurred just in the last few months. There are countless
others. Today, the president took a big step toward finding answers.
Joining me now is Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat from New York. He
will lead the congressional black caucus tonight in speeches from the House
floor on Ferguson. And MSNBC analyst and retired ATF analyst Jim
Cavanaugh. Thank you both for being here.
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D), NEW YORK: Good evening, Rev.
JIM CAVANAUGH, MSNBC ANALYST: Thanks, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Congressman Jeffries, the congressional caucus speaking tonight,
civil rights leaders, all of us just meeting with the president and vice
president. I was in Ferguson over the weekend talking to faith leaders.
Have we reached a tipping point?
JEFFRIES: Well, we have an epidemic of police violence in this country.
We have a clear, national problem. And that`s why it requires national
intervention, which is why many of us were pleased that the president
brought together civil rights community, young activists, law enforcement
officials today. That`s why the congressional black caucus is going to
speak from the house floor on being black in America. What does Ferguson
say about where we are and where we need to go. Because we have three
issues that we really have to confront.
It`s unacceptable, reverend Sharpton, that young, innocent, unarmed
African-American men continue to be gunned down by police officers across
the nation. It`s unacceptable that we have a broken criminal justice
system that continues to fail to deliver accountability when police
officers engage in excessive use of force, and it`s unacceptable that we
have prosecutors, such as the one down in Missouri that fail to take their
responsibilities seriously, to do justice for victims and families of those
who have been victimized by police violence.
And so we`re at an important moment right now. We need a sustained
response. And we`re looking forward at the congressional black caucus to
being part of the solution.
SHARPTON: Jim, a critical piece of the president`s initiative, $75 million
for 50,000 bad cameras for police. How important is that?
CAVANAUGH: It`s a great move, Reverend Al. I mean, look. Body cameras
for police is good for the police, it`s good for citizens, it`s good for
all of us. It will exonerate good cops if they`re falsely accused and if
there`s a bad apple in the bunch, the camera is going to show it up. So it
is very, very positive.
You know, most of the time cops act good. But you`ve just shown a litany
of these terrible cases where police sort of rush in, (INAUDIBLE) and shots
are fired in a matter of a second or two, and it`s too hastily done.
So we do need the body cameras. I agree with the congressman, I think the
black caucus being leaders on this is critical. Because what I see is so
much of the history of American civil rights not sort of absorbed by
officers across the line. And we need to start with the history first. It
may make them understand where the citizens are coming from.
SHARPTON: You know, Congressman Jeffries, one of the things that struck me
about the meeting this afternoon and I was very candid and said I`ve been
to a lot of meetings. This was just 30 of us civil rights leaders and law
enforcement heads, mayors, the mayor of Philly, the mayor of New York, and
others. And I was tired of meetings, but that I had faith this president
understood and would deal with things differently. And he talked very
directly to us in private and then to the media about how he looked at this
personally. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: There have been commissions before. There have been task forces.
There have been conversations and nothing happens. What I try to describe
to people is why this time will be different. And part of the reason this
time will be different is because the president of the United States is
deeply invested in making sure that this time it`s different.
In the two years I have remaining as president, I`m going to make sure that
we follow through. Not to solve every problem, not to tear down every
barrier of mistrust that may exist, but to make things better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: People have heard a lot of talk before, and the frustration you
hear in Congress, congressman, I hear in civil rights and in media, law
enforcement hears it, even the grass-root young activists hear it. Do
people want to see something real to address this disparity in how justice
is dealt in this country?
JEFFRIES: Absolutely. People are dying in communities all across America.
As you pointed out Reverend Sharpton, in (INAUDIBLE) community I
represented in Brooklyn when we had a young unarmed innocent African-
American gunned down with a kill shot right through his chest into his
heart by an officer who claims it was an accident. And so people don`t
want words. We need action.
The beautiful thing about what the president did today, is he brought
important stakeholders together. But immediately announced some changes
that he`s going to put into place, beginning with setting aside funding for
50,000 body cameras, which I think will help with this issue of
accountability, exonerate innocent officers, but also tell truthful stories
when excessive force is used by the police.
We have to strike the right balance in this country, between public safety
on the one hand, and respecting the civil rights and civil liberties and
the constitutional rights, particularly of communities of color. At this
moment in time, the president is the right man to lead the charge on that
with all of us supporting him.
SHARPTON: We are talking about that, Jim, him being the right man. I sat
next to vice president Biden throughout the meeting, directly across from
the president. And vice president Biden is considered a real friend of the
American police. Do the American police need a sea change in order for
this to work?
CAVANAUGH: Yes, I think they do. I think law enforcement has to accept
the leadership from the president and the Congress here. They should hear
the people speaking. You know, what can we do? What flaws do we have?
How can we make policing better? Most modern police commanders and the
police officers and the police groups and unions want to do that too.
Body cameras is one step. Thoughtful policing, Rev., you know, you`re not
rushing in head long. You`re maybe maneuvering a little better. Can
diffuse a lot of these situations. And recruiting officers from these
You know, if the kids in the minority communities hate the police, they`re
not going to want to be the police. And if we also arrest them every time
they spit on the sidewalk, or sell a loose cigarette, and then we bar them
from being police because of their criminal record, we`re not going to move
the country forward.
We got to rethink how we do that. These minor charges keep in the minority
children, how of wanting to be the cops. They should want to have careers
in law enforcement. We should recruit them. There`s nothing more
important than somebody from your community who is policing it.
SHARPTON: Now, a lot of this will be applied on a local level,
Congressman. When we came out, we talked to the president from the west
wing, mayor de Blasio, myself, Marc Morial of the Urban League, and one of
the things that`s going to really be determined by this is whether this is
progress or not, is the recommendations on the use of military equipment by
local police departments, which will be governed by mayors. And the
recommendations are developing a consistent list of allowable equipment,
local civilian review of requests and acquisitions of equipment, and
mandatory policies and training for police departments.
How important, Congressman, is it to address the militarization of local
JEFFRIES: Well, this is extremely important, Rev. I mean, one of the
things that stunned a lot of Americans, blacks, whites, people from the
north, the south, the east, and the west, was the fact that the Ferguson
police department in the aftermath of the shooting and killing of Michael
Brown, responded as if this was a military operation on foreign soil, as
opposed to dealing with protests right here in an American city.
And so we`ve got to deal with this issue of unnecessary military equipment
being given to law enforcement agencies all across the country, without the
proper training, being used in inappropriate contexts that often inflame a
situation rather than calm a situation down.
I voted against this program continuing, as many of my colleagues did on
both the left and the right. And I think Congress has to have a
conversation after the president`s announcements today about how we
continue this program and whether it`s an appropriate program for us to
even consider doing as we move forward.
SHARPTON: Congressman Hakeem Jeffries and Jim Cavanaugh, thank you both
for your time.
We`ll be watching you tonight, Congressman Jeffries. And later in the
show, I have more to say on this issue.
Coming up, the exclusive interview with the wife of Ray Rice. She`s
talking about how they were treated by the media and the league. And about
whether the NFL commissioner has been honest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANAY RICE, RAY RICE`S WIFE: I can`t say he`s telling the truth. You
know, I know for a fact that he told -- that Ray told the honest truth,
that he`s been telling from February.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Plus, the rape allegations rocking one of America`s most
prestigious universities. Students are back in class today. Is the school
doing enough to keep them safe?
Also, big news about the GOP aide who made those offensive comments with
President Obama`s daughters.
And the hug heard around the country. Please stay with us.
SHARPTON: Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the talk of social
media today. The 81-year-old returned to the bench just five days after
undergoing surgery to have a stint placed in her artery. Amazing.
Diana wrote, my heroine, what spirit and determination.
Patricia posted, that`s one strong woman.
Cheryl noted, this is not that unusual after a stent. She, however, is an
unusually great justice.
Here`s a fun fact. Ginsburg has not missed one day of work since 1993.
Way to go, justice Ginsburg.
Please tell us what you think. Keep the conversation going on facebook or
tweet us, @politicsnation.
SHARPTON: Janay Rice is breaking her silence. Almost three months since
this video surfaced, showing her getting knocked out by her then fiance,
NFL player Ray Rice. Janay is speaking about what happened that night in
an exclusive interview with NBC`s Matt Lauer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT LAUER, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Prior to what we have now seen in that
elevator, was there ever any incident of violence in your relationship with
Ray, or has there been any incident of violence since that elevator
RICE: No. No. There`s no way. He knows what he would have to deal with,
you know, if this was something, you know, I`m not going to sit there in
silence and let something happen to me. And you know, God forbid, in front
of my child. And just let it happen, there`s no way.
LAUER: There`s something else on that tape. The punch is obviously
outrageous. But there`s something that happens after the punch. And there
is -- it`s mostly seen from outside and Janay, you are unconscious. You
are out cold on the floor. And instead of being so freaked out that he
kneels down and takes your daughter`s head in his arms and strokes her face
and strokes her hair and says I`m sorry, he stands there for a long time.
What did you think when you saw that part of the tape?
RICE: I was very upset by that part and I told him so. I asked him after
I saw it, why did you just leave me there like that?
LAUER: Did you see that part?
RICE: Yes. That`s the one --
LAUER: Why didn`t you comfort me?
RICE: Yes. He said he was terrified. He was in such shock that this had
just happened. He didn`t know how to function at that point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Janay Rice says that was the only incident of violence in their
relationship. But she broke down when she was asked about all the
attention on her family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAUER: You lashed out at the media. I could tell there was a period here
where your emotions were boiling over.
LAUER: And you wrote this. You said no one knows the pain that the media
and unwanted opinions have caused by family, to make us relive a moment in
our lives that we regret every day, is a horrible thing. If your
intentions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all
happiness away, you have succeed on so many levels. Just know we will
continue to grow and show the world what real love is.
RICE: And they will. That was the next morning after the second video
LAUER: Why does that make you cry right now, hearing that?
RICE: It brings back anger. I was so angry. I was hurt to see the man
that I love, has everything ripped out from under him, it made me angry.
The support system that I thought we had in the Ravens, that made me angry.
The fact that I knew he wouldn`t be here anymore, made me angry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: An emotional reaction from Janay Rice. And it comes as her
husband has been cleared to play. Rice`s indefinite suspension has been
lifted after a judge ruled he did not lie to NFL commissioner about what
happened in the elevator.
So what is next for Janay Rice? Will Ray play this year? Should he play?
And what does it all mean for the NFL?
Joining me now is Joy Taylor, co-host of the "Zaslow and Joy Radio" show in
Miami and Dana Jacobson, host of CBS Sports radio. Thank you both for
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Rev.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
SHARPTON: A really powerful interview from Janay Rice. I want to get
reaction from both of you. Dana, what did you think?
DANA JACOBSON, CBS HOST, SPORTS RADIO: Well, it was a lot of the emotion
that I think we saw in the tweet that Matt even referred to, that she
expressed earlier. And it was emotional. I think she kept saying anger, I
felt like some of it may have even been embarrassment.
If I were in her situation, I don`t care if it was one hit, or if it
happened multiple times, your whole private life is put out there publicly.
And I felt that maybe that was part of it. It all seemed like very
understandable emotion. I don`t know that I would feel the emotion she
felt towards the media, but certainly at the team is giving like they
turned their backs on them. And again, and having to watch this play out
over and over, was completely understandable to see all of that.
SHARPTON: Joy, what stuck out most to you?
JOY TAYLOR, CO-HOST, ZASLOW AND JOY RADIO: As a survivor of domestic
violence, the whole interview really disturbed me. It got me upset
listening to it. And it`s not that my emotions are really directed at
Janay Rice. They`re sort of directed at this spin machine that`s being
placed around this situation. You know, I feel like its setting survivors
of domestic violence back and victims of domestic violence, because we`re
still going with the same narrative, that it`s anyone`s fault but Ray
Rice`s that this scenario happened.
Sure, Roger Goodell botched it, but when I hear her talking about anger
towards the media and people speaking out against her husband and that
everyone`s going to learn that this is really true love. I`m sorry. When
I think of a perfect love story, I`m not thinking of Janay Rice and Ray
Rice surviving this. That`s not what I`m going for. So the whole thing is
just really upsetting to me.
SHARPTON: Now let me ask you, Dana. You know, everyone wants to know if
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell knew happened in that elevator, as Joy just
mentioned, the commissioner. Janay was asked about it. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAUER: The commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell, says Ray was ambiguous,
and the NFL says that it was a starkly different sequence of events. Is
the commissioner lying?
RICE: I can`t say he`s telling the truth. You know, I know for a fact
that he told -- that Ray told the honest truth, that he`s been telling from
LAUER: And you think the league and the commissioner covered their butts?
RICE: I think they did what they had to do for themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Hard question for the commissioner, Dana. I mean, Janay said, I
can`t say he`s telling the truth. Hard question the commissioner needs to
JACOBSON: Well, you know, I think he`s tried -- well, he hasn`t really
tried to answer it. He hasn`t. We`ve heard from the get-go that Ray Rice
and Janay both told the truth in that meeting. Ozzie Newsome has been
insistent, the Ravens general manager, that they knew exactly what
And I said this earlier on your show, Rev, when we first started talking
about all of this. It comes down to, what did we expect domestic violence
to look like? And commissioner Goodell has insisted that he hasn`t seen
that inside the elevator videotape. And that made me sort of a blindness
turning a blind eye. He didn`t see it so how could he really know?
Whether he was told she was slapped or hit, it seems very clear to me, I
wasn`t in that meeting, but it seems very clear that he knew what happened.
He just didn`t necessarily visualize the extent of it until he saw the
video. And it`s going to come down to the Muller report with the
SHARPTON: Is his job in jeopardy, Dana?
JACOBSON: Well, Rev., I think if they find out that he did in fact see
that tape and he`s been lying about that, that`s when the owners will go
after him. There`s some sort of leeway, I think, where if it`s simply just
being so irresponsible that the owners want to say, you handled this so
poorly, you botched it, you`re so inefficient, we can`t stick with you
anymore. But I really do think the only way they`ll get rid of him is if
they find out that he definitely lied about seeing that videotape.
SHARPTON: Joy, you mentioned your own experiences. And it struck me that
Janay was asked about the issue of domestic violence, and this really
caught my attention. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICE: I feel like I chose me and Ray for a reason. And it was definitely
to bring awareness to what people are going through every day. Even though
it`s not what I`m going through every day. It`s definitely brought, you
know, this topic to the forefront.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it needs to be there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we`re OK with it.
LAUER: But it`s complicated. It is complicated because it starts a
national discussion and you`re happy about that.
RICE: And that`s a good thing.
LAUER: And at the same time, you don`t feel like you`re part of that
RICE: Yes. Right.
LAUER: And sometimes I`ve read things that makes it sound like some are
saying, you`re with us or against us?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. I don`t believe she`s against them, and
neither are we against them. I`m just saying that this is not the type of
relationship that she`s in, and no, this is not the first thing that`s
going to happen the next time. No, there is no next time. We`ve already
made that clear. There is no next time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: She doesn`t see herself in that category. That`s her mother
sitting, talking, also Joy. That struck me that she doesn`t see herself in
TAYLOR: Well, if that empowers her, that`s fine. But regardless of how
she sees herself, the fact of the matter is, she is a survivor of domestic
violence. As a survivor, I`m sort of offended that I`m supposed to be
ashamed that I`m a part of that group. You know, this is something that
happens to people all the time. It`s happening to someone right now. One
in four women experience this in their lifetime.
So, however her and her family want to paint it, I`m OK with it. But I
don`t like the idea that survivors are supposed to be ashamed about it, or
that she`s upset that she`s the face of it. Whether she wants to be or
not, she and her husband have become the starting point for this discussion
all over the world, really. And that`s the bottom line. And we all saw
the video. We know what happened. There`s no arguing the fact that a
domestic violence incident happened.
SHARPTON: All right, Joy Taylor and Dana Jacobson, thank you both for your
JACOBSON: Thank you.
TAYLOR: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Coming up, rape allegations hitting the University of Virginia.
The claims are shocking, as it`s the university`s inaction that is also
And later, a GOP staffer on Capitol Hill resigns today after slamming the
first daughters. She`s out. But this is a disturbing pattern. Please
stay with us.
SHARPTON: Students are back in class today at the University of Virginia,
a school that`s been rocked by a sexual assault scandal that`s stunned the
entire country. "Rolling Stone" expose the case of an alleged rape on
campus, of a girl named Jackie. When she was a freshman in 2012, Jackie
was invited to a party at this frat. She says her date, Drew, invited her
upstairs, where he said it would be quieter, but what happened next,
changed Jackie`s life forever.
"Rolling Stone" writes, quote, "The room was pitch black inside. Jackie
blindly turned toward Drew. She detected movement in the room and felt
someone bump into her. Jackie began to scream. Shut up, she heard a man`s
voice say. Excited male voices rising all around her."
Within seconds, several men were allegedly pinning Jackie down on the
floor. "Rolling Stone" reports, she remembers every moment of the next
three hours of agony. During which she says, seven men took turns raping
her, while two more, her date, and another man gave instruction and
encouragement. Most of all, Jackie remembers the pain and the pounding
that went on and on. One of the men even allegedly used a beer bottle to
assault her. Jackie`s friends persuaded her not to report the attack,
fearing it would carry a huge social price. Months later, Jackie spoke to
a dean about what happened. But two years later, she still hasn`t filed
charges. The "Rolling Stone" article sparked outrage. Protests filled the
campus. UVA has suspended all Greek activities until the New Year. And
now both state and local investigators are looking into it. Today the
school`s president vowed to take action.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TERESA SULLIVAN, PRESIDENT, UVA: There`s a piece of our culture that is
broken. And I ask your help in coming together as a strong and resilient
community to fix it. We will not stop until every student feels safe and
secure and free to learn and live and grow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: They`re vowing action now. But is it enough? And what about
Jackie and all the young women who have already been assaulted?
Joining me now is Emily Renda, a former UVA student who became an activist
after suffering her own rape at school. Also with me is former sex crimes
prosecutor Wendy Murphy. Thank you both for being here tonight.
EMILY RENDA, UVA SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIM: Thank you.
WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Good to be with you.
SHARPTON: Emily, you know Jackie, the woman profiled in the "Rolling
Stone" article. Were you surprised when she told you what happened to her?
RENDA: I was. It is clearly the most extreme story that I`d ever heard.
But what was more shocking to me, is that none of her friends had ever told
her that it wasn`t her fault or kind of straight-up believed her.
SHARPTON: Emily, you were also a victim of sexual assault. What kind of
pressures did you face afterwards?
RENDA: I think I faced personally, a lot of internal pressure. I felt
very much to blame for what had happened to me. And that`s a very common
thing among a lot of those survivors that I`ve worked with, is a deep sense
of self-blame that requires good friendship support and good advocate
support to really overcome so that you want to report and you want to move
forward to seek justice.
SHARPTON: Well, what`s your reaction to hearing the school`s president
promise they`ll fix the problem, Wendy?
MURPHY: Oh, well, I wish I could say, terrific news and we`re so happy
things will change now at UVA. But let`s just say when the president
speaks out only after there`s a scandalous expose in a national magazine,
those words ring hollow. And I`ve had cases the UVA, many cases over the
years. They`ve been terrible for a very long time. And they`ve known of
the problem there at very high levels, including this president, and have
done nothing. And if the only reason you change is because somebody
exposed you, I don`t have a lot of faith in your commitment. You know, UVA
is currently under federal investigation in a case of mine by the office
for civil rights at the Department of Health and Human Services. They`re
also under a broad investigative review by the federal department of
education. They`re implicated in a federal lawsuit of mine in D.C. Federal
District Court. They`re in a lot of hot water because they have
systematically disrespected and disregarded violence against women on
campus for a very long time.
SHARPTON: So, what exactly, Wendy, are you saying that UVA did wrong here?
MURPHY: Well, they`ve done a lot of things wrong. And in my federal
investigations that I`m handling against them, I make a lot of allegations.
And folks can learn more about them at campusaccountability.org. If you`re
interested in more of the details. But among other things, the forensic
nurse, who does a lot of the sexual assault exams, Catherine Lawn (ph), she
took photographs of my client`s genital injuries from a rape, after she was
drugged and brutally attacked by a guy who had reportedly done it before.
She took all these photographs and then the photographs disappeared. Isn`t
that interesting? And then she prepared a report for the hearing board
that said there were no injuries consistent with assault. That`s the kind
of atmosphere they`re breeding at UVA. Not only are women not supposed to
come forward, but the ones that do come forward are facing this kind of
fraudulent kangaroo court system, no wonder no one at UVA has ever been
expelled for rape. How is that possible! Shame on them!
SHARPTON: Let me go to you, Emily. I want to show you a troubling
statistic from the University of Virginia. Since 1998, 183 students have
been expelled for honor code violations, like cheating on exams. Since the
school was founded in 1819, zero students have been expelled for sexual
RENDA: I want to back up and address maybe a point that`s a little bit
implicit in some of the things that we`re saying. One that, you know, kind
of -- victim autonomy is extremely important. I want to emphasize that the
only reason I am alive and well today and succeeding as a student and as an
adult, it`s really dependent on the fact that I had administrators and
advocates at that school who respected my decision-making process and
respected my healing process. And that`s clinical best practice in
advocacy and trauma recovery. And so I think it`s a little bit more
And the statistician in me says, yes, we have expelled quite a few people
for honor, and we could stand to be more punitive when it comes to sexual
assault. And I think now that movement will be made, but it`s a little bit
of an odd comparison considering that sexual assault adjudication started
much later than honor did and frankly we`ve had to build a culture of
reporting over time.
RENDA: And part of the reason the culture of reporting has been bad is
because people like Jackie`s friends discouraged her in the first place and
that prevents her from really seeking justice in a meaningful way.
SHARPTON: Wendy, what`s the way forward?
MURPHY: Well, look, we can`t be blaming victims and their friends. We
have to blame these institutions. They are responsible, mandated by
federal civil rights law to respond to violence against women as a civil
rights issue, it is always been a civil rights issue since title 9 was
enacted in 1972. And until schools step up and declare on campus that
violence against women is the same kind of harm as violence against any
person, whether it`s based on race or ethnicity, religion or any other
category, women have been unequal for too long. Education is too
important. Women deserve protection for autonomy, equality and safety, and
it`s about time.
SHARPTON: All right, I`m going to have to leave it there, Emily Renda and
Wendy Murphy. Thank you both for your time this evening. And we hope to
have a representative of the university on the show to answer some of these
Coming up, we`ll tell you what`s happened to the GOP staffer who made those
shameful comments about the Obama daughters. It wasn`t the first time
we`ve heard this kind of thing. But it should be the last.
Also, the hug. This photo is inspiring a lot of people today. I`ll talk
about how to translate these emotions into practice.
SHARPTON: A republican staff member is out of a job, and apologizing,
after comments about Sasha and Malia Obama. Elizabeth Lauten resigned
today as the communications director for Congressman Steven Fincher. She
slammed the first daughters for their appearance during the annual
pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkeys at the White House last week. The
girls were there with their father and some people online joked the
teenagers looked bored to me. They looked like regular teenagers. But
Lauten wrote to Facebook, "Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you`re both in those
awful teenage years, but you`re part of the first family. Try showing a
little class." And she wrote, "Act like being in the White House matters.
Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar. And certainly don`t
make faces during televised public appearances."
After backlash online, Lauten apologized saying she quickly judged the
girls in a way she would not want to be judged as a teenager. Tonight,
she`s out of a job. But this isn`t the first time the first daughters have
been attacked from the right. It cannot and will not be tolerated. She
and others who have done this before should practice what she preaches.
And try showing a little class.
Joining me now, "The Washington Post" Dana Milbank and April Ryan, the
White House correspondent and Washington Bureau chief for American Urban
Radio Network. She`s the author of "The Presidency in Black and White."
Thank you both for being here. April, you covered the White House. What`s
your reaction to this personal attack on the first family?
APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORK: Reverend Sharpton, you never
talk about a person`s children, ever. But the president and his children,
it`s off limits. In Washington, it`s a rule that you just don`t do it.
But let me say this to you. People don`t really realize how much of a home
the White House is for these children.
RYAN: That`s their home. They were comfortable in their home.
SHARPTON: They live there.
RYAN: It`s a workable museum. It`s -- they live in the museum. That`s
their home. They were comfortable. And not only that, I mean, I remember,
and Dana and I have covered the White House for many years together. I
remember during the Clinton years. You were not allowed to talk about
SHARPTON: Or the Bush years.
RYAN: Yes. Or the Bush years. You know, Jenna cried one time when the
information was being circulated about her at clubs and different things.
And she was talking about how hard it is. And being in that spotlight is
just really hard. And one thing we know, the children are off limits
because if not, there are repercussions, so you leave the children alone.
They didn`t ask for this.
DANA MILBANK, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Let`s have a little context here.
The president was not out there making a declaration of war. He was
pardoning a rather large member of the poultry family at the time. So I`m
not sure what they were supposed to be doing. My daughter is a little
younger than the Obama girls, but she gives me that look frequently and I
probably deserve it.
SHARPTON: And what do you wear to a pardoning of the turkey ceremony?
MILBANK: Oh, I would think you should wear feathers or an apron perhaps if
you`re not going to pardon the turkey. But, look, this woman did put her
congressman on the map. I`d never even heard of Steven Fincher before, I
have to admit. Although she apparently got him in trouble once before on
social media by using a tweet under his name, using the word "Shagging."
So this was not her first offense.
RYAN: She doesn`t learn.
SHARPTON: But April, there`s more on this Facebook posting. Let me read
it. "At least respect the part you play. Then again, your mother and
father don`t respect their positions very much, or the nation for that
matter. So I`m guessing you`re coming up a little short in the good role
model department. Nevertheless, stretch yourself, rise to the occasion."
It seems politically motivated. Is there a way to make this a teachable
moment for any staffer on The Hill, April?
RYAN: I think this is a teachable moment for everyone. Social media, if
you put it out there, trust me, people are going to get it. People have
risen and fallen from social media. But let me say this to you, I think
that Lauten has really just crossed the line for herself and for the
Republican Party. I don`t think that she was part of any kind of agenda.
She went out there on her own, because some republican operatives who told
me, they said, Monday, if she had not resigned, she would have been fired.
SHARPTON: But, Dana, I want to talk more about the so-called apology.
Because after the backlash online, she wrote on Facebook in part, after
many hours of prayer, talking to my parents, and re-reading my words
online, I can see more clearly just how hurtful my words were. Please note
those judgmental of feelings truly have no place in my heart. Furthermore,
I`d like to apologize to all of those who I have hurt and offended with my
words. Nowhere in there did I hear a sincere apology, or I`m sorry to the
MILBANK: Yes. Look, I mean, I don`t know her or what`s in her heart, but
that sounded like somebody who is seeking to be pardoned shall we say by
her own boss, who ultimately did not grant the post-Thanksgiving pardon.
SHARPTON: But you know, as I mentioned, April, this isn`t the first time
right-wingers attacked the Obama girls or brought them up in political
attacks. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: So, you know, maybe it`s time to start imitating
liberals in another way and go after the Obama children.
GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: This is such a ridiculous -- this is
such a ridiculous thing that his daughter -- daddy? Did you plug the hole
yet, daddy? That`s the level of their education, that they`re coming to --
they`re coming to daddy and saying, daddy, did you plug the hole yet? Plug
REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: He sent the daughters to spring break in Mexico
a year ago. That was at our expense too. And now to the Bahamas at one of
the most expensive places there. That`s the wrong image to be coming out
of the White House.
ANDREA TANTAROS, POLITICAL ANALYST: At 15 years old, is the Obama
daughter, Malia, going to go on birth control? Are they going to put her
on birth control?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean, these are very personal attacks, directly at the first
RYAN: Directed at the first daughters and they`re off limits. But you
know, people in this country and in this town, they like to say things just
to get a reaction. And those will spark reaction, but I tell you what,
this White House has been above the fray when it comes to dealing with the
daughters. They let you know, don`t deal with them. But, I mean, and
we`ve heard attacks before, not to this extent, but we heard attacks,
remember Amy Carter, years ago, how they dogged Amy Carter. Remember
Chelsea Clinton, they really went after her. And then the Bush girls. But
it`s gone to another level.
SHARPTON: It`s another level, Dana, and it`s more consistent --
MILBANK: And you never ignored the first children entirely if they went to
a restaurant with their parents or something like that. But, you know, the
people you put on the screen and audience of millions of people. It`s
incredible that that venom gets out there.
SHARPTON: Dana Milbank and April Ryan, thank you both for your time
MILBANK: Thanks, Rev.
RYAN: Thank you for having us.
SHARPTON: Ahead, the hug seen around the world. And what we can all learn
SHARPTON: It`s the photo that`s gone viral. And that says a lot about the
kind of country we all want to build. That`s next.
SHARPTON: Finally tonight, breaking through the difficult but necessary
conversations about police community relations in America. It`s easy to
focus attention on the loudest voices, the most violent actions. But we
cannot allow these images to taint or control the conversation. As I`ve
said, if you are being violent or causing destruction, you do not stand
with Michael Brown, Jr. We all need to move forward. As we`ve been
discussing, that`s why the president invited me and other civil rights and
elected leaders to the White House today, to talk about better policing in
this country. That is the conversation we need to have. Yesterday I was
in Ferguson, honoring Michael Brown, Jr.`s life, and I talked about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: God`s going to use Michael to make this nation deal with police
accountability. Michael told his daddy, the world going to know my name.
But they not going to know your name, Michael because of a rap record. I
know that`s what you wanted to do. They going to know your name because
you going to change the music of how policing is done in America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: There`s a lot of people hurting. A lot of people want change,
and a lot of people just want to make things right. And that`s why this
photograph taken at an Oregon rally for Michael Brown, has touched so many
people. It shows a 12-year-old Devonte Hart hugging Portland police
Sergeant Brett Barnum as tears stream from the young man`s eyes, this image
has gone viral. Shared over 400,000 times on Facebook and reposted over
68,000 times on tumbler. Heart was holding a sign that read "free hugs",
and Sergeant Barnum motioned him over. This country needs to have the
difficult conversation about policing. But there are people on both sides
who are the two talked about the demonstrations, about school, art, and
life, before he asked for a hug himself. If more of us would reach out and
more would reach back, maybe we can find mid ground.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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