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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

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Show: POLITICS NATION
Date: July 1, 2015
Guest: Karen Bass; Clarence Page; Matthew Horace, Jonathan Capehart,
Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, Robert Reich

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on "Politics Nation," President
Obama`s momentum, it`s been a historic couple of weeks, and today, another
historic step for his legacy.

And Macy`s is the latest company to drop Donald Trump for his controversial
Mexican immigrant comment. But the Republican Party has a problem. He`s
surging in the polls.

And the investigation into that fire at black churches and at the black
church in South Carolina. Attorney general Loretta Lynch spoke out moments
ago.

Thanks to you for tuning in. We start with President Obama`s momentum.
Laser focused on his agenda. And his poll numbers rising. Has anyone else
noticed he just seems really loose lately? Here he was at a town hall
meeting today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Davey Crockett. You all
remember that TV show? Actually, a lot of people are too young here.
Davey, Davey Crockett. I love that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes, he`s having fun, but he`s also making history, literally
making history. Today, another historic step. The president announcing
embassies in the U.S. and Cuba will re-open later this month. It reverses
54 years of policy dating back to the cold war.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: This is a historic step forward in our efforts to normalize
relations with the Cuban government and people. The progress that we mark
today is yet another demonstration that we don`t have to be imprisoned by
the past. When something isn`t working, we can and will change. This is
what change looks like.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The policy started under Eisenhower and presidents ever since
have been wrestling with it, struggling with an outdated approach that no
longer makes sense. Republicans were quick to attack it today. But the
president did it anyway. It`s a pillar of his agenda -- foreign policy.
And after that, he moved to another pillar, his signature law -- Obamacare.
He flew to a red state, Tennessee. It`s a state that has resisted --
resisted with everything it has -- Medicaid expansion. Today, the
president urged Tennessee to do what`s right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: With the Supreme Court case now behind us, what we can do is -- I`m
hoping that what we can do is now focus on how we can make it even better.

And here in Tennessee, that`s probably, you know, couple hundred thousand
people who could benefit. It is unfortunate that getting this thing done
got so political. Washington is kind of a crazy place. But then that
doesn`t mean every place has got to be crazy. So, you know, I`d like to
see, I`d like to see some good sense spring forth from the great state of
Tennessee.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Foreign policy, healthcare and tomorrow, third pillar.
President Obama will give a big speech on economic fairness, including his
plan to raise overtime wages for five million workers. As the president
said today, this is what change looks like.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Karen Bass, Democrat from California, and
Clarence page of the "Chicago Tribune." His latest article is titled "the
Obama don`t care initiative." Thank you for being here.

Congresswoman, the president seems relaxed and loose. What`s your take on
this?

REP. KAREN BASS (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, I absolutely think that it`s
wonderful. You know, as his term has gone on and he`s had tremendous
victories, you know, I think that we are going to see more and more of
this. And you know, when I think about him addressing the overtime pay,
you can`t get Congress to pass a jobs plan. So if you`re going to address
income inequality, he`s using every ounce of his power in order to do that.
So I think it`s great.

SHARPTON: Clarence, you`ve got to tell me about your article, the Obama
don`t care initiative.

CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Yes, I stole that idea from Larry
Wilmore`s nightly show last week. They lampooned Obama`s new attitude,
saying it was a bigger issue than Obamacare, Obama don`t care. Now, with
Obama don`t care, what you say to attack them or attack his policies or
says that he is a lame duck that most racists dis. He`s moving right ahead
and doing his thing and you see what the results have been over the last
week, the kind of successes that are really helping to solidify his legacy.

SHARPTON: You know, congresswoman, I mentioned the president was in
Tennessee, one of the 21 states resisting Medicaid expansion, preventing
6.6 million people from getting coverage. The president called on
Republicans to open their hearts on healthcare and issues of income
inequality. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: But part of what I`ve also tried to say to the Republican party,
open your hearts and then think about the people here in Tennessee who are
working hard, are struggling and just need a little bit of help. And if we
give them that help, it`s going to pay off over the long-term. This will
be a stronger state, employment will be higher, folks will be paying taxes.
Everybody`s going to prosper. We`re all in this together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I`m an optimist, congresswoman, but do you feel Republicans will
heed his call and open their hearts?

BASS: Well, I certainly hope that they will. I mean, I have voted
personally over 50 times against the repeal of Obamacare. And, you know,
I`m hoping that we don`t have to do that again.

But I just have to say something about opening your hearts. You know, I
spent many years working in healthcare and when people don`t have
insurance, they die. Because they don`t get diagnosed early enough to
treat cancers. And it winds up costing the system even more.

One day someone is going to do a study about all of those states that
refuse to expand Medicaid and they`re going to actually document the way
this has impacted individuals and families. People have gotten sick, and
I`m sure people have lost their lives because of this resistance to expand
health care.

SHARPTON: You know, while I have you, congresswoman, you and I both have
talked a lot about Cuba.

BASS: Yes.

SHARPTON: We`ve gone there separately. I went many years ago. I believe
you went last year. And the president`s been talking about the Cuban
embargo for years, and the policies there for years. Here`s what he said
in 2004 about the embargo.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I think it`s time for us to end the embargo in Cuba. Cuban embargo
has failed to provide a source of rising standards of living, and has
squeezed the innocents in Cuba and utterly failed in the effort to
overthrow Castro, who has now been there since I was born.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That was over a decade ago. And here today, he`s taking real
steps in that direction. What`s your take?

SHARPTON: Well, I have to tell you that I was thrilled when he first came
out with the policy in December. And as he said, this is a policy that`s
been in place from before he was born. And how ridiculous is it that
there`s an island 90 miles away, 11 million people, and we don`t have
relationships with that island.

And for me, it`s a human rights issue from the United States perspective.
I want to be free to travel to any country in the world. And this is the
only country on the planet that we have a policy like this way. So I think
it`s about time. I look forward to the exchange between our peoples and I
think both countries will benefit.

SHARPTON: But Clarence, the Republicans came out attacking right away on
the Cuba announcement today. Chris Christie called it dead wrong. Rick
Perry says it ignores reality. Scott Walker called it an appeasement of
dictators. But the president seemed not to care. I guess that`s part of
his --

PAGE: Obama don`t care.

SHARPTON: -- Obama don`t care initiative. What do you make of this ugly
reaction by the right?

PAGE: Well, I want to say, first of all, thank you Congresswoman, for
reminding us that Obama wasn`t even born when embargo went into effect. I
was about 12 years old myself.

SHARPTON: I was about six.

PAGE: Yes, I remember it well. And it`s just stunning. But the fact is
in all seriousness, the president understands now, at this point in his
presidency, that there`s a lot he can do by executive order.

BASS: Yes.

PAGE: That can get things done, when the Congress, which he has given
ample opportunity to make some moves. And it`s not just a partisan thing.
There are lots of Republicans who want to open up more trade with Cuba.

BASS: Right.

PAGE: And I say more trade because we already have millions of dollars a
year that we sell to Cuba in corn and other products across the upper
Midwest and other parts of the country.

This is an archaic policy that Obama is now ending. And I don`t think
Republicans are going to roll it back. We are in the Republican primaries
right now. And so, they all feel obligated to pander to that wing of the
party.

But in all practical matters, it`s a great relief on the part of more
Americans than a few, to start loosening things up and open up relations
with Cuba and do something about the political problems that we still have
to deal with in that country, as well as the -- we`re going to have some
real influence on lifting the level of fascism, censorship, oppression,
that still goes on there.

SHARPTON: Well, but congresswoman, we have embassies with other communist
nations and nations that we don`t agree with policy. And it`s also very
critical -- they`re a very critical part of the Caribbean, where the
president went last year, and has tried to have a trade that would help in
that area of the world. And it`s really part of what he said when he was
running the first time. He wanted to be a transformative president from
health care to Cuba, what he`s doing in many areas is a transformative
presidency.

BASS: Absolutely. I think he absolutely is. And you know, this policy,
really, you have to look at it from an international perspective as well.
This has been embarrassing, I mean, to all of Latin America. And this is
something that Latin American countries have complained about for a long
time.

Let me just mentioned one thing, Rev. When I was in Cuba in December, it
was a congressional delegation, and we were there because the Cubans have
discovered a medication that can help reduce the number of amputations that
people have related to diabetes. Now, that`s something that we can benefit
from in the United States. But because of our current policy, that can`t
be marketed here. So it`s not just a one-way issue of us helping Cuba by
opening up relations. We have something to gain from our relationship with
the island.

SHARPTON: And Clarence, I think as we are more and more in a global
village, it`s hard to even rationalize to young people why we would have
this policy about a government 90 miles from our shores.

PAGE: It`s very true. I`ve been to Cuba as well. And it has -- well, the
Cuban people are wonderful. They love Americans. There`s just no reason
for this policy now. What`s interesting politically now is how younger
Cubans have been voting, a majority, for Obama, and other Democrats. It`s
not that monolithic voting block that it used to be.

SHARPTON: And they do love Americans. I found that in my trip.

PAGE: That`s right.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Karen Bass and Clarence Page, thank you both for
your time tonight.

BASS: Thanks for having me on.

PAGE: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the investigation into that fire at a black church in
South Carolina. Attorney General Loretta lynch just talked about it
moments ago.

Also tonight, Donald Trump was dropped by Macy`s after those controversial
immigration comments. So where are all the GOP leaders on this?

Plus, a big day in the fight for a living wage. Hikes took effect in major
cities. But are we closer to a federal wage hike?

And the 40-year ban at the White House was just lifted. We`ll tell you --
or should I say, show you what is about to happen?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Hillary Clinton broke a record. Her campaign announcing today
it`s on track to raise over $45 million in her first quarter of
campaigning. That breaks president Obama`s record set in 2011. The
Clinton campaign also says 91 percent of donations came at $100 or less.

Coming up, Macy`s cuts ties with Donald trump, saying the company, quote,
"stands for diversity, and has no tolerance for discrimination." But the
GOP can`t cut him. He`s surging in the polls. That`s ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Tonight the feds are trying to figure out why this predominantly
black church in South Carolina caught fire and burned. The AP cites a law
enforcement official as saying the fire at the Mt. Zion church in
Greeleyville was not arson or was likely not arson. And South Carolina
governor Nikki Haley just talked about it with NBC News Craig Melvin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We actually saw it. There were four
lightning strikes and one of them hit the steeple of the church. And so it
burned from the top down.

CRAIG MELVIN, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: So at this point there`s no reason to
believe there`s anything sinister?

HALEY: There is absolutely none, no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Black churches are on edge after last month`s deadly shooting in
Charleston. We`ve seen at least six fires at black churches in recent
days. Arson has been ruled out in some, but not in others. Attorney
general Loretta Lynch just talked about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: One of the things that has troubled
all of us has been this recent prevalence of directing violence at our
houses of worship, whether they are burned, or whether it`s through
bullets, or whether it`s simply through hate walking in the door, they are
a target.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And today the Mt. Zion pastor talked to NBC News about the
strength of his congratulations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REV. JOHN TAYLOR, MT. ZION AME CHURCH: Of course I`m devastated about the
loss. My mind is filled and my heart is filled because of these
parishioners having to go through this again. But they are resilient
people. I do feel like we will survive and we will rise again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Present visited this same church 20 years ago, after the KKK
burned it to the ground, part of a long history of attacks on black
churches. In 1963, the bombing at the 16th street church in Birmingham,
Alabama, killed four little girls. And in the mid `90s, black churches all
across the south burned in a string of fires.

Joining me now, live from the scene of the church is MSNBC`s national
correspondent, Joy Reid. Also with me, former ATF executive, Matthew
Horace.

Matthew, I want to start with the investigation. How do officials try to
determine right away whether a fire like this is arson or not?

MATTHEW HORACE, FORMER ATF EXECUTIVE: Well, you know, the main focus of
our investigation is to try to determine the cause and origin of the fire
and try to determine if it`s incendiary or not. To wit, if it`s an arson
or not.

We start at the scene, we consider among other things, the elements in the
environment, and in this case, as I understand it, they are calling it
might have been a lightning strike. So we`ll evaluate the conditions when
the fire started, we`d evaluate the flames, the smoke, the timing, and what
people saw at the scene. But we`d also do a thorough scene search to try
to eliminate other causes of the fire, to wit, arson accelerants and those
sorts of things.

SHARPTON: Joy, two fires in 20 years. How is the community handling this?

JOY REID, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Rev. And it`s good that you make that
point, because one of the things I talked to the local fire chief about was
how old this structure was and what was the relationship to the fire that
took place in 1995. So the original Mt. Zion church was not on this site
that you see behind me. It was about a mile away. So this actual building
was relatively new. It was built in 1996. And as you mentioned, President
Bill Clinton came and dedicated this new sanctuary that was built on the
site where a local Klan group burned down this and another church,
Macedonia Baptist church leading to a huge lawsuit against the Klan.

Now, the local fire chief did said that the difficulty in determining what
caused this fire, as your guest was just discussing, was the fact that the
roof of the structure collapsed. I don`t know if you can see it from here,
but the roof is gone. And what he said is that the amount of debris that
fell into the structure is making it really difficult for the investigators
to piece through it and determine where the fire started and determine
causation. That`s one of the things slowing it down.

So it`s interesting that you have Nikki Haley, the governor of the state,
definitively stating lightning strike. The fire investigator here did say
that there were lightning strikes in this are area. This area sounded by
pine trees as is the church which are known to attract lightning.

However, this structure is on its own. It is about a mile from any other
of their structure. And there were no other fires that night that were
caused by lightning strikes, no other 911 calls. So still a lot of mystery
despite the definitiveness of the governor`s statement. But I think both
federal and state officials are trying to wave people away from the idea
that it was a hate crime and really are playing up that side of it, that it
was caused by lightning, Rev.

SHARPTON: Matthew, let`s look at the stats on fires on churches. The best
numbers we have put religious and funeral buildings in the same category
between 2007 and 2011. There was an average of 1,780 fires per year. Each
year, those fires cause $111 million in damage. And the leading cause for
fires is an issue involving cooking equipment.

That`s 34 fires a week, Matthew. Are these fires more common than people
realize?

HORACE: I think those statistics are very telling. And fires are more
common that people realize. And let me break it down for you this way. In
2014, ATF investigated 1,800 fires nationally. Of that 1800, 127 were
attributed to houses of worship. And of that number, only approximately 42
were deemed to be incendiary or arson.

So it`s not a very high number given the number of fires. So your numbers
would sort of align with mine and so prove the same point. The public
doesn`t understand. While I understand, as a former law enforcement and
now security executive, that any fire, any violence against a church is a
violence against every church. And it raises the concern, it raises the
awareness. It heightens everyone`s concern, but we can`t jump to
conclusions and I know it having worked for ATF for 24 years, when we go
into a scene, we can`t draw conclusions no matter what the political
environment is.

SHARPTON: But conclusions on other side.

HORACE: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: Well, Joy, that is a lot of the tension and the tribulation that
a lot of people are having all over the country and I`m sure there where
you are, and the importance of the church, because just last week president
Obama talked about the important role black churches play in the community.
Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The church is, and always has been, the center of African-American
life. Places were children are loved and fed and kept out of harm`s way.
And told that they are beautiful and smart and thought that they matter.
That`s what happens in church.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: These churches are a huge part of these communities and our
communities. Is that why they`re a target, Joy?

REID: No, absolutely. And this church in particular, Rev., we spoke with
a young man from the Henry Hand family. They have a funeral home not far
from here and they just did a funeral at this very church about a week-and-
a-half ago. So this is a very active church, active in the heart of the
community. And interestingly enough, we spoke with a local elected
official who is in the state house, who is also an AME minister. You have
a lot of people who serve in that dual role as pastors of these churches,
but also as elected officials. So these churches are extremely active in a
community. We just saw the mayor of this city walking the grounds of the
church.

So this church was very important in part also because of that landmark
1998 case in which this church and another church nearby that were targeted
by the Klan, actually took the Klan to court and won. The other church
winning a landmark $37.8 million settlement that really hobbled the biggest
Klan group in this area.

So these churches are extremely important. I can tell you the amount of
anxiety that people are feeling, not just about Mt. Zion but about all
seven incidents of which three have been labeled arson, the other four
still under investigation. I think that`s what we`re seeing, Rev. is
people feeling tremendous anxiety about whether or not these churches are
being targeted and whether or not there is a pattern.

I did, I will quickly say, that I spoke with the southern poverty law
center who said that it`s possible that it`s not some grand conspiracy, the
churches are not all being targeted once, but they are all individual acts.
They could also be some individual acts that are targeting the churches and
some not. It could be a combination. But the cumulative effect has
definitely produced a great deal of anxiety, Rev.

SHARPTON: Not to mention there are Klan groups in areas, even today, as
you just stated.

Joy Reid and Matthew Horace, thank you for your time tonight.

HORACE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, the Donald Trump surge, it`s great for comedians,
bad for Republicans. And now even more companies are dumping the trump
brand.

But first, Mitch McConnell is back in an old familiar place, tonight`s
gotcha. And we`re going it do something we`ve never done before.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Mitch McConnell isn`t too happy about the new plan to put a
woman on the $10 bill. Just check out what he said about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you talk about history earlier, I want to make
another history debate going on right now, that`s replacing Hamilton on the
$10 bill.

MITCH MCCONNELL (R), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: A really bad idea. Yes.
Which is not to say that some woman or women in American history shouldn`t
be honored, but the last person who ought to be removed from currency is
the person who basically founded the American banking system. So, I think
removing him is a terrible idea.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Removing Hamilton is a terrible idea. Back in 2004, Senator
McConnell wanted the $10 bill to look like this. He promised to quote,
"take the lead on replacing Hamilton with Ronald Reagan on the 10." So,
taking Hamilton off the currency was a great idea back in the day, but it`s
a terrible idea now that we`re talking about women like Harriet Tubman,
Susan B. Anthony, Eleanor Roosevelt, or Rosa Parks. Senator McConnell`s
office says, he`s changed his mind, and it was a mistake to talk about
putting Reagan on the $10 bill. Clearly I`ve got a surprise for Senator
McConnell. We just started printing our own money here at POLITICS NATION,
and so he gets the first edition, hot off the presses -- gotcha dollar
bill, issued exclusively by the "Nice Try" department of hypocrisy, and
there`s no one who deserves it more than Mitch McConnell. So, Senator,
don`t spend it all in one place. Nice try, but we gotcha.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Donald Trump may be the GOP`s worst nightmare at the worst
possible time. Today Macy`s cut ties with Trump, because his statements
about Mexican immigrants were, quote, "inconsistent with Macy`s values."
And it`s the latest of many problems for the Trump brand. NBC Universal,
MSNBC`s parent company, ended its relationship with Trump. Univision
dropped him and his Miss USA pageant. Mexico won`t participate in his Miss
Universe contest. And a TV company owned by Mexican billionaire Carlos
Slim axed a joint project.

But the Republican Party can`t cut ties with him. And candidate Trump is
surging in the polls. In New Hampshire, he`s ranked number two in the
polls. In Iowa, he`s tied for second. And here`s the big one.
Nationally, he`s in second place. That means Trump will definitely be on
the GOP debate stage. And this is the nightmare for the GOP I was talking
about. The party is trying to appeal to Latino voters. But when asked
again last night if he regrets saying most undocumented immigrants are
rapists and criminals, Trump said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, because it`s totally
accurate. It`s totally accurate. The border is a disaster, Bill. People
are pouring in and I mean illegal people, illegal immigrants, and they`re
pouring in. I love Mexican people. I have a tremendous relationship, I
also respect Mexico, but Mexico`s doing a tremendous number against the
United States. What they`re doing to us in trade, first of all they`re
killing us at the border. Second of all, Bill, what they`re doing to us in
trade is unbelievable. They`re taking our jobs, they`re taking our
manufacturing, and they`re taking our money.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So how is this going to play out? Will we see republican
leadership firmly denounce him?

Joining me now are Jonathan Capehart and Victoria DeFrancesco Soto. Thank
you for being here.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Thanks, Rev.

VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO SOTO, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you, reverend.

SHARPTON: Jonathan, he won`t back down, and he`s surging in the polls.
How much trouble is Trump for the GOP?

CAPEHART: Well, he`s trouble because he says things that might play well
with the republican primary voter but is disastrous -- there is a
disastrous on the general election stage. And that`s not to say that he`s
going get there, but for a party that knows it has a problem with people
of color, with young women, with young people, and needs to do something,
needs to change its image, its policies, that appeal to folks in each of
those categories, to have someone in the republican, presidential race, on
that republican presidential debate stage, hurling hand grenades, like you
know, Mexicans are rapists comments, is only going to distract the party
from the mission that it needs to accomplish if it ever hopes to win the
White House again, but also, distracts all those other candidates from
talking about real issues.

SHARPTON: Victoria, Jeb Bush criticized Trump`s comments on immigrants,
but so far, he`s the only one. Are you surprised they`ve been so quiet?

SOTO: I`m not surprised, Reverend. And what I saw here with Bush`s
comments was that he draw a line in the sand. He said, look, I`m going to
be the Latino-friendly candidate, and also going to be the more moderate
GOP candidate. I`m going to own it. He can`t run away from his past.
He`s been very Latino friendly, very immigration friendly in the past. And
Jeb Bush knows that he needs to own it. My question is, what about the
silence of the others?

SHARPTON: Yes.

SOTO: So we see the hand grenades that Trump is launching and Jeb Bush is
standing his ground, but what about Walker? Rubio? Who is not Mexican
American, but is Latino also? And to me, silence speaks volumes. So, if I
don`t see these GOP candidates come out against Donald Trump, I`m going to
assume that they`re in line with this --

SHARPTON: But what is it? Are they scared of him? I mean, Jonathan, we
aren`t hearing them challenge Trump. He`s not afraid to go after them. I
mean, he`s not afraid to go after the Republicans. Listen to some of this,
the last year of things that he said. Just in the last few months.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I think Bush is an unhappy person. I don`t think he has any
energy. And I don`t see how he can win.

He`s got, you know, a hurdle that nobody else seems to have at this moment.
It`s a hurdle and somebody could certainly look at it very seriously. He
was born in Canada.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about Marco Rubio?

TRUMP: I think he`s highly overrated. I think he is highly overrated.
And by the way, I have much better hair than he does. Okay?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, Jonathan, could he damage the other candidates?

CAPEHART: Well, he could damage the other candidates by, you know,
personally insulting them, sure, and then they respond to him in a way that
makes them look smaller. He hurts them by saying things that they will
have to respond to, that they don`t want to respond to. And I`m with
Victoria here, I`m not surprised that the other candidates have remained
silent about what Donald Trump has said, because they`re afraid of the
Republican Party, republican primary party base. They don`t want to say
anything that will upset that base and have that base turn its back on
them. And that`s actually very shameful that you can`t -- you have people
who are aspiring to be the leader of this country, who don`t have enough
guts to turn around and tell someone, you cannot talk about people that
way, that is beneath the dignity of the office of president of the United
States.

SHARPTON: You know, Victoria, I mentioned this before, the newest 2016
poll has Trump in second place. I mean, with 12 percent, mind you. A lot
of it could be name recognition, but this is remarkable. Second place.
What do you think Reince Priebus is doing about this right now?

SOTO: I think he`s banging his head against the wall. That`s what I think
he`s doing. And after he finishes doing that, I think he needs to talk to
his party and say, we need -- remember that big tent we talked about after
our loss in 2012? We need to start moving in that direction. And yes,
there is the primary coming up, but there is a general election, and if the
Republicans want to win the White House, they need to broaden that tent. I
mean, this is a God-send to the Democratic Party. You know, the comments
by Trump make Steve King look like a mild moderate. So this rhetoric needs
to be tamped down. If the Republicans want any hope -- and coincidentally,
it`s also bad for business. Latinos have 1.5 trillion in buying power.
You don`t want to tick off Latino purchasers and consumers. They vote and
they buy.

SHARPTON: And it`s poisonous, Jonathan, to the whole political discussion
and the need to really try to bring the country together on real concrete
issues that lead us forward.

CAPEHART: Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, we -- with all the problems
facing the country today, the idea that Donald Trump is surging in the
polls, that he`s number two in the polls you talked about, that he can toss
out these hand grenades and face no real repercussions from it, from any of
the other candidates, with the exception of Jeb Bush, and I`m not surprised
that he`s the only one who jumped out there and criticized him. Because
the one thing we haven`t talked about is, Jeb Bush`s wife Columba is
Mexican. And so you have got some guy in the race who is insulting an
entire group of people, but also insulting the heritage of the wife of the
number one candidate.

SHARPTON: Yes.

CAPEHART: Again, Reince Priebus is banging his head up against the wall
and probably hitting himself in the head with a hammer too. I can`t wait
for the debates, but I really feel sorry for the Republican Party.

SHARPTON: Well, I can`t wait for the debates either. Jonathan Capehart
and Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, thank you both for your time tonight.

CAPEHART: Thanks, Rev.

SOTO: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Ahead, a big day in the fight for economic fairness with minimum
wage hikes taking effect around the country.

And one nation, one team. Republicans and Democrats uniting around the
U.S. women`s World Cup soccer team.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Are we going to make this a more
inclusive economy, a more inclusive society? A more fair, just society?
If that`s our north star, and we keep on tacking in that direction, we`re
going to make progress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: President Obama yesterday making the case for a more inclusive
economy. And today, we are seeing progress on that front.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today the pay-off for workers demanding bigger
paychecks. Minimum wage in Chicago gets a boost from $8.25 to $10 an hour.
It`s estimated today`s boost will immediately impact the wages of more than
200,000 workers like Stephanie Cops who says, $10 an hour will help her
provide her five month old son.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Living in check by check, you know, you have to pay
bills, bills don`t wait.

MAYOR GREG FISCHER, LOUISVILLE: The reality is, there`s not many
businesses that are paying $7.25 cents anymore. And you can hardly hire
anybody at that wage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mayor Greg Fischer says, that`s why it was time for a
change in Louisville to give working families more money in their
paychecks, so they can reinvest in the local economy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Minimum wage hikes today not just in Chicago and Louisville, but
also in Washington, D.C. and the entire state of Maryland. It`s a huge
step in the right direction. Protesters have been fighting for these
increases across the country for months, and the American people are behind
them. Seventy one percent think the federal minimum wage should be raised
by nearly $3 an hour. Yes, this is a political and economic issue. But
it`s also a moral issue. And we need to talk about it that way.

Joining me now is Robert Reich, former secretary of Labor in the Clinton
Administration, and an economics professor at UC Berkeley. Thank you for
being here.

FMR. SECRETARY ROBERT REICH, LABOR DEPARTMENT: Hi, Rev.

SHARPTON: So this is good news today. About you why aren`t wage hikes
like this happening nationwide?

REICH: Well, they`re happening piecemeal around the country. Certain
cities are doing it. It`s not happening nationwide because Republicans in
Congress refused to budge on $7.25 cents. Which is now the minimum wage,
it`s been the minimum wage. They will not raise the minimum wage, I think
this is going to be an election issue, because most people around this
country do feel it is a moral issue. It`s not just an economic issue.
People deserve to have more than $7 and 25 cents an hour.

SHARPTON: You know, Republicans like Michigan Governor Rick Snyder are
actually trying to stop cities from raising the minimum wage on their own.
Quote, "Yesterday Snyder signed a bill banning towns in Michigan from
setting local minimum wages above the state rate. The republican governor
signed the bill because he wants to avoid creating a patchwork of varying
regulations across the state." How can progress be made when lawmakers are
putting bills like this one into effect, Secretary?

REICH: Well, I think what`s going to happen is, you`re getting more and
more of the public seeing through what the Republicans are doing. I mean,
Republicans are not responding to the ground swell of public eagerness to
raise the minimum wage and provide at least a living wage for most
Americans. Instead, Republicans are doing the bidding of big business.
And as more and more Americans understand what Republicans are doing, we`re
going to see a response in 2016. In state after state, in city after city,
where Republicans have held back the minimum wage, people are just going to
say no. We`ve had it. We don`t want just big business to see their
profits increase and actually the share of the entire economy going to
working people continue to decrease. We want this economy to work for all
people.

SHARPTON: Well, let`s look at the stats on that point right there.
Because the poverty line for a family of four is about $22,000 a year. But
someone making the federal minimum wage only brings in about $15,000 a
year. How the greatest country in the world let people work full time, but
still live below the poverty line.

REICH: Well, you know, not only is it below the poverty line but that
minimum wage today is 25 percent below what it was in 1968, if you adjust
for inflation. And those people below the poverty line, you know, we
provide Medicare and housing assistance and we provide food stamps.
Taxpayers are subsidizing corporations that refuse to provide their workers
a minimum wage. And by the way, these are not just teenagers. In fact,
most minimum wage workers today are major breadwinners for their families.

SHARPTON: Right.

REICH: They need an increase in their wages. If they had an increase in
their wages, they turn around and buy more stuff that would help the local
economy. We know that. There have been study after study showing that.

SHARPTON: Professor Robert Reich, thank you for your time tonight.

REICH: Thanks very much, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Ahead, a 40-year-old ban at the White House is lifted. We`ll
show you what that`s all about.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The First Lady has some big news.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: If you`ve been on a White House tour, you
may have seen this sign. Well, not anymore.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: After a 40-year ban, you can now take photos on the White House
tour. They`re encouraging you to post them on social media with the #White
House tour. And two famous White House residents even made an appearance
today.

(LAUGHTER)

(INAUDIBLE)

SHARPTON: So, say cheese, we look forward to seeing all the great photos
from the people`s house.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally tonight, one nation, one team. That`s the mantra for
this year`s U.S. women`s World Cup Soccer team. Now just one win away from
the World Cup trophy after beating top ranked Germany. Americans were
celebrating across the country.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(CHANTING USA)

The team is coming together, and they`re bringing the country together as
well. President Obama tweeting, "Congrats to the U.S. Women`s National
Team. Can`t wait for the finals. You make us all proud."

Governor Christie tweeting, "Congrats, U.S. Women`s Team on advancing to
the World Cup final."

Jeb Bush said, "Incredible game, onto the finals."

Nancy Pelosi tweeted, "World Cup finals, here we come!"

Despite all our differences, we are one nation, one team. We`re proud of
these great women. Let`s get the championship Sunday.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
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