Investigations, Indictments, And The Political Future Of Donald Trump
The New Yorker's Susan Glasser talks investigations, indictments and the political future of Donald Trump.
The suspect in a mass murder of nine people in Charleston, South Carolina is expected in court Friday. In the tragedy’s wake, President Barack Obama renews his call for stricter federal gun laws. The House narrowly passes fast-track trade legislation but the bill still faces hurdles in the Senate. After months of speculation, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush formally enters the presidential race. He and other candidates react to the Pope’s encyclical on climate change. The Federal Reserve leaves interest rates unchanged. And Rachel Dolezal’s resignation from the NAACP prompts questions about whether race can be a choice. A panel of journalists joins Diane for analysis of the week’s top national news stories.
MS. DIANE REHMThanks for joining us. I'm Diane Rehm. The suspect in a church massacre is held while the community of Charleston, South Carolina, and the rest of the country grieves. The House passes President Obama's trade bill, but it's outcome in the Senate is unclear and the Treasury Department will select a woman to appear on the $10 bill.
MS. DIANE REHMJoining me for the domestic hour of the Friday News Roundup, Karen Tumulty of "The Washington Post," Major Garrett of CBS News and Lisa Lerer of "The Associated Press." We are live video streaming this hour of the program. You can watch it by going to drshow.org and clicking on "stream live." And if you'd like to join us, call us on 800-433-8850. Send an email to email@example.com. Follow us on Facebook or send us a tweet. Well, it's been quite a week, hasn't it? Welcome to all of you.
MS. KAREN TUMULTYGood morning.
MR. MAJOR GARRETTGood morning.
MS. LISA LERERThanks for having me.
REHMAnd before I mention the name of the suspect in this horrific massacre at the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, I want to mention the names of the nine victims. First, the church's pastor, state senator Clementa Pinckney, Cynthia Hurd, 54, a librarian, Sharon (sic) Coleman Singleton, a speech therapist and girl's track coach, Tywanza Sanders, 26, a recent graduate in business administration, Myra Thompson, 59, a pastor at the church, retired local pastor, Daniel L. Simmons, Ethel Lance, 70, a grandmother who worked for 30 years at the church, Susie Jackson, 87, a cousin of Lance's and a longtime church member and the Reverend DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49, retired director of Charleston County's community development block grant program.
REHMI understand that 21-year-old Dylann Roof has now been charged with nine counts of murder and possession of a firearm in connection with the Charleston shooting. That comes to us from Reuters. Major Garrett, talk about what we know about this man and his motives.
GARRETTHate appears to be the motive. It is already classified by the justice department as a hate crime. Dylann Roof entered the church, a church of tremendous historical significance in Charleston, South Carolina, in South Carolina itself and in the long arch of history in our own country. He apparently sat with a church prayer group for the better part of an hour, as people prayed, discussed the life of Christ and their involvement in their own life mission to carry out that work here on earth and then murdered them for the reason that he didn't like black people. That appears to the sum total of this malevolent and almost unimaginable act.
REHMExtraordinary action. Karen, Major mentioned that the justice department is looking into this as a hate crime. Can you help us understand why it's a hate crime and not an act of terrorism?
TUMULTYWell, first of all, South Carolina is one of only five states in this country that does not have its own hate crime statute so the federal statute, which was originally passed after the assassination of Martin Luther King, was updated in 2009 with a fair amount of debate is the one that applies here. A hate crime is defined as a crime that is committed specifically because of who you are, because someone has a prejudice against someone because of who they are.
TUMULTYAnd, again, I think you could certainly argue, as a lot of people are, that there were terrorist overtones to this, that judging from what this young man said, as he was shooting people, and supposedly telling one woman, I'm gonna let you stay alive so you can tell everyone about this, it does suggest that he was trying to send a message that would intimidate and terrify people. But in this case, I think we're talking about the legal definition. Now, what this means when something is characterized as a hate crime is that additional resources can be devoted to the prosecution, to the investigation.
TUMULTYGenerally, it also means that there are additional penalties imposed on somebody who perpetrates one. But in this case, where we are talking about nine murders, the penalty here -- this is a death penalty case so it is really, you know, that part of the law -- this is as big as a penalty can get.
REHMSo Lisa, not much difference between a hate crime and an act of terrorism in terms of how the law looks at the penalty, but what about resources? What about how that suspect is treated?
LERERAnd also I think the language does matter here. There definitely has been a reaction from minority communities, from Arab-American communities who feel that when these crimes happen to them and these crimes happen quite a lot in this country, this will be the President's 11th statement -- the statement he made yesterday was his 11th statement about a domestic shooting since taking office. They feel that when these crimes happen in their community as happened with a Sikh Temple a couple years ago, they're referred to as hate crimes. When they happen in white communities, they're referred to terrorism. So they see injustice there and they think that the language is very important.
REHMSo in South Carolina, which, as Karen says, has no hate crime law, flags were not even lowered to half staff. The Confederate flag continues to fly on personal property.
GARRETTYeah. South Carolina has, as any even casual student of American history knows, not only a central geographic role in the American history -- the Civil War started there, for example. It has a somewhat -- tortured is probably too strong a word, but it has an evolving and difficult and contentious history reconciling itself to that past and bringing a multiracial conversation to its politics and to its application of symbolism after something like this. But there has also been, and I saw several prominent members of the political community in South Carolina remark on this last night, a tremendous coming together in Charleston immediately after this of every race and every ethnicity coming together and trying to bring some small measure of solace and comfort to those most immediately affected by it and the larger community in Charleston.
GARRETTBut it is not a place where this conversation flows easily or is easily reconciled.
REHMThere was some reports that the suspect's father, Dylann Roof's father, had given him the gun for his birthday. It now turns out he bought it under false pretenses?
LERERYeah. I mean, this is -- South Carolina is a place where guns are very much part of the culture and that's why I think gun control has struggled so hard. Guns are deeply rooted in American culture and that's why we've seen -- although the president brought up this idea of starting gun control, making a push for gun control legislation, an effort that failed dramatically at the start of his second term. I think it was one of his -- the biggest losses of his presidency, certainly one of them. It just doesn't feel like there's any momentum for that happening on Capitol Hill.
REHMDo you agree, Karen? Absolutely no momentum?
GARRETTAnd the president hinted as much. I mean, in the next breath, after saying, we have got to reckon as a country with this, that these things don't happen in other large civilized countries, he said, I realize most of the avenues are foreclosed. Foreclosed. Not hard to burst through, not that it will take effort, not that I'm going to inspire a sense of movement or build a grass roots effort. Foreclosed. Those are the president's words. That was almost a concession and exhausted concession, I would say, but a concession nonetheless.
LERERAnd you saw that with the Republican presidential candidates. While many of them remarked on the tragedy, very few of them even used the word gun. It was just something they didn't want to get into. They know that there isn't the momentum in their party to move forward and they don't want to move forward.
REHMYou know, it's interesting that you're going to have all these presidential candidates out there. Do you think even the Democratic candidates will not say a word about gun control, Karen?
TUMULTYI think that you are far more likely to see Democratic candidates, you know, put out literature that shows them at shooting ranges and handling guns.
REHMKaren Tumulty of "The Washington Post." Short break here. We'll be right back.
REHMAnd, of course, there is much more to be said about the killings in South Carolina. And for our listeners, I want to let you know, we will devote a full hour to this subject on Monday. Now, let's turn to the House and its revival of the president's trade deal. Karen Tumulty, what changed?
TUMULTYOh, no. You're going to make me explain this complicated thing.
GARRETTI'm right behind you, Karen.
GARRETTI've got every acronym in the book.
TUMULTYThey have -- they are just doing what they can to try to get this thing through. So what has happened is they are breaking it into its component parts. And they -- this is a bill that not only give the president negotiating authority, but...
TUMULTY...fast track. It provides assistance to workers who lose their job because of jobs moving overseas.
REHMAnd where is that money going to come from? That 300 million for helping?
GARRETTIt comes from an increase in the fee for filing a 1099 Form, from $25 to $50.
REHMGood. All right.
GARRETTWhew, I passed.
REHMBecause there -- listen, there had been talk it was going to be taken out of the Medicare.
TUMULTYMedicare, which is what was changed in the House to accommodate House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
GARRETTAnd even after making that shift, Democrats still didn't vote for it in the House, which caused the crisis last week, which Karen is trying to help us understand...
REHMOkay. All right.
GARRETT...was attempting to be resolved this week.
GARRETTBut, yeah, that's how it's paid for.
TUMULTYSo basically, yesterday, the House passed only the negotiating authority, the trade part of this. And they are sending it back to the Senate in hopes that the Senate then can kind of repackage this and maybe put the worker assistance into another bill that has to do with an Africa trade deal. Everybody -- it's interesting because this is really a trust-building exercise among the Democrats and Republicans who support this bill, because -- and the president as well. But it's a pretty narrow path, still, to get this thing through. And it's going to require a lot of reconfiguration to sort of outmaneuver the House Democrats, who are opposing this bill, including Nancy Pelosi.
GARRETTKaren is absolutely right. This is going to rely on something that is very hard to find in the legislative construct of American life now, which is trust.
GARRETTTrust -- trust, because you can't cooperate unless you actually trust someone...
GARRETT...and trust their word. So the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said: Democrats, trust me. We're going to vote on the Trade Promotion Authority, which you are somewhat in favor of. And then later, we're going to vote on this Trade Adjustment Assistance, which you are very much in favor of and which the president said, I'm not going to sign one without the other. The larger construct here is about these very neck-snapping relationships when it comes to the politics of the future of our economy. The president has a set of allies that are heretofore almost unseen in his presidency. They're all Republicans. Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, the House Speaker, are...
REHMThey all want this.
GARRETT...deep in trenches on this...
GARRETT...working on the president's behalf on behalf of free trade. Republicans don't really like to vote for Trade Adjustment Assistance because, as ideological free traders, they think it's not really necessary. And of course, there are winners and losers. And why do we need this government program? They'll bring it to the floor. But the Democrats are going to have to vote for it. And so the central question for Senate Democrats is, if we vote for Trade Promotion Authority again -- without having, in our own minds, deep trust that we're going to get a chance to vote on this other thing -- can we make that political leap?
LERERAnd I think the context for the Democratic Party here is really important. You have a Democratic Party that has grown significantly more liberal in recent years. There was a fascinating poll that came out this week by Gallup that showed 47 percent of Democrats self-identify as liberal. In 2008, that number was 39 percent. So that's a big jump. So the Party has shifted to the left. Union leaders, environmentalists, they feel that they were sold a bill of goods with NAFTA. They don't want to be taken for granted a gain. So this is a difficult situation for Democratic representatives, Democratic lawmakers and particularly Hillary Clinton.
REHMSo how will Hillary Clinton deal with this?
LERERShe's been trying really hard to thread the needle on this. It's tough for her. She, as secretary of state, she pushed for this deal dozens of times. She called it the gold standard for free, transparent and fair trade. Now, she's been saying -- she hasn't said specifically, she's been very careful not to say whether she would support this or not support it -- she says the final language isn't out yet. I mean, she was deeply involved in the negotiation. She knows what this looks like. She just doesn't want to have to be on the record on this. She's under a lot of pressure from her left.
TUMULTYAnd she has been urging the, you know, the president and the Republicans to listen to the concerns of the House Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi. And so that, you know, again, is her effort, I think, to express at least implied solidarity with some of these -- some of these Democrats.
REHMSo how much of a role is the trade package -- trade deal going to play in the national election?
GARRETTWell, I think it has already for Hillary Clinton. She has -- unlike Martin O'Malley and Bernie Sanders, the other announced candidates -- not taken a fully articulated position on this. She came as close as possible yesterday when -- and I want to give a hat tip to a good friend of mine. A long time ago, I worked in Las Vegas, Nev., alongside a reporter named John Ralston. He is now the dean of Nevada's political journalists. And yesterday he put the question to Hillary Clinton. If you were in the Senate now, how would you vote? Yes or no? Would you vote no? She said, probably not. I would probably not vote for Trade Promotion Authority. That's as close as she come -- has come, to this date, of saying what she might or might not have done in the Senate.
REHMAnd Bernie Sanders, on his program...
GARRETTSo it's become a topic for Democrats.
GARRETTThat's absolutely become a topic. And it's also, I think, for President Obama, significant in terms of this summer's calendar. There's tremendous legislative effort being put behind Trade Promotion Authority. And right after that will come the Iran Nuclear Deal, which will also come before Congress. It's going to be a slightly easier push. But it's still a heavily involved legislative maneuver. And then right after that, you're going to come to another potential shutdown scenario. So the legislative work this president has before him, before this Congress, is significant. And it is, at this stage, exhausting.
LERERAnd this is also something the president has pushed for, for the duration of his presidency. Hillary Clinton was, as I said, was advocating for this when she was secretary of state, at the beginning of her time as secretary of state. So this is a legacy item. This is something that he really wants to get done. It's part of their pivot to Asia that they've been working on for eight years now. So this is important to him.
REHMAll right. And, Lisa, this week Jeb Bush finally jumped into the race. How competitive a contender is he now?
LERERWell, he's certainly competitive. He's raised a lot of money, we think. We don't know for sure. But it's a really crowded field. Nobody is really -- has a dominant lead in the national polls. And there's very little reason. What's been so fascinating, to me at least, about this Republican field is how little incentive there is for anyone not to get in the race, certainly because of the changes in campaign finance. You can find a freelance billionaire to pour money into your campaign. That will keep you through a number of states because of the changes in the primary calendar. And because we've seen in the past that a lot of candidates win by losing. You lose the presidential race but you get a book deal, you get a Fox News contract. So this is a very crowded field and that's just difficult for Jeb Bush.
REHMI thought it was fascinating to hear Jeb Bush say he was willing to lose the primaries because he would win the national election.
GARRETTHistorically, that's really not the way to go about it. Okay? There's an old saying among political scientists. Anyone can grow up in America to be President of the United States, so long as you become a major party nominee. You have to be the nominee to have a chance. You don't get to discuss the electoral college, you don't get to build or draft a strategy, until you are the nominee.
REHMLisa wants to jump in.
LERERBut it is a fascinating test of where the Republican Party is right now.
LERERWe have spent years watching this civil war -- it may be too strong a term -- but this interparty fight between the base of the party and between the establishment figures who want the party to shift in the way that the country is shifting, to become more appealing. And so whether he can succeed in this effort will give us a really strong indication of where the party is going.
GARRETTAnd there was a sense -- when he got in or that he was pretending to get in or on the sidelines but not really on the sidelines -- that he would jump out to something akin to a formidable lead. That people would rally to him, that he would move up in the pools, that the sense that he was putting together this enormous finance team and attracting some tremendous and well skilled Republican talent, would kind of put him ahead. It has not happened.
GARRETTHe has mixed in right with everybody else. And it is an intensely competitive race as a result.
REHMAnd he's also said, if elected, he pledged to grow the economy at 4 percent. He would create 19 million new jobs. And economists, even, are calling this highly improbable.
TUMULTYBut he's not the first candidate to pledge that -- in fact, that very number. I wanted to go back just a little bit though.
TUMULTYThis -- I think the most significant thing about Jeb Bush is how he intends to run. He intends to run, not by echoing his party, but by persuading his party. And the visual of that announcement in Miami, it was extraordinary, the diversity, the number of faces in that crowd who were -- that were not white. The fact that he gave a part of his own speech in fluent Spanish.
TUMULTYThe types of people who got up to testify for him. It really is a test, his candidacy, of not only the Republican Party, but how badly the Republican Party wants to win.
REHMI thought it was interesting that his visual also is going to be simply, Jeb.
TUMULTYWhich he says, you know, obviously everyone has made the point that he's trying to ditch that last name as much as he can. I actually -- I was on his trip with him through Europe last week. And it was -- what was interesting about that, we went to Germany, Poland and Estonia, and he was very much embracing George Herbert Walker Bush's brand of foreign policy and the role that his father had played in the end of the Cold War and short of helping to shepherd the whole world into the Post-Cold War period.
REHMBut of course, now, he joins the backlash against the pope's statement -- the pope's encyclical on global warming.
GARRETTYeah, this is a very significant event. Having been with the president in the G7 meeting the week before and listening to all the G7 countries commit in their communiqué to a decarbonation of their economies by the end of this century and much more rapid and aggressive efforts to reduce greenhouse gasses by 2050, the pope's encyclical comes right on top of that, saying this is real. The science is real. Let us do not -- let us stop denying it. And let us, as a moral pursuit...
REHMThat's the key word.
GARRETT...as a moral pursuit. Now, there is a sense that all Republicans are climate-change deniers and they are on the other side of this issue. That is generally true. But if you look within, and I know Karen has come across this, evangelical Christian communities consider stewardship of the earth to be an enormously important part of their faith journey. So it's not as if everyone is opposed to...
GARRETT...climate change. But Jeb Bush said, Hey, I'm not -- I'm not with the pope on this. Maybe he should stay out of this business and not really work on it. I do think it creates some awkward dynamics for those five Republican candidates who are Catholics to deal with this issue and speak credibly to their approach to the environment and all the data that keeps assembling, suggesting that climate change is not only real but it is driven by man-made activities.
REHMAll right. And many are saying that the pope, himself, should not be involved in political questions. But, hey, isn't abortion a political question?
TUMULTYYeah. I have a story on the front page of The Washington Post this morning pointing out the fact that Catholic politicians for over half a century have been put sort of on the spot over the question of, you know, whether they will or should follow the dictates of the Vatican. But until now, I mean starting with John F. Kennedy's speech to the Houston ministers in September of 1960 and until this pope, the people who were getting put on the spot were the Democrats, over issues like Kennedy's Catholicism. And John Kerry, in the 2004 race, the archbishop of Missouri told him not to present himself for communion because of his views on abortion.
TUMULTYAnd it was also interesting, in 2012, Rick Santorum went to Houston, where JFK had spoken, and said he was wrong. The church should be involved in politics. And now, of course, Rick Santorum is saying, I don't want to listen to the pope.
REHMAnd you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." Lisa, I know you wanted to jump in.
LEREROh, I was just going to point out Karen's excellent story on the front page of the Post and how this is particularly tricky for Republicans, given how close, you know, they're associated with faith and the role that faith plays in that party.
REHMAll right. We haven't talked about the other person who jumped into the race this week, Donald Trump.
LERERI believe someone called his announcement, I think Dana Milbank called it a festival of narcissism, which I think is correct. He talked about his wealth, his golf courses. He talked an awful lot about himself. He didn't talk too much about the issues he particularly cares about or, you know, where he wants to see the country going, but...
REHMSo what do we know about what he is thinking about our issues that the countries that the country is facing?
LERERWell, one thing we know is that he's both extremely well known and extremely disliked. I think only -- there was a poll, I think it was actually in The Washington Post, that only 11 percent of people don't know who Trump is. But 65 percent of people -- of Republicans have an unfavorable view of him. That's the highest of anyone in the field. So it's hard to see him moving forward in this race. But he does have a very high name I.D. And the way the debates are structured, he could get high enough in the national polls that he cracks that top-10 margin and gets himself in the debates, which would be tricky for Republicans. He's unpredictable. He could say all kinds of things that they don't want to address that they'll be then forced to address in a debate.
GARRETTOr he could be his narcissistic self and disqualify himself in those debates. I think the debates are a jump ball as much for Donald Trump as they are for any other Republican. I mean, look, the one thing I would say about this Republican field, not only is it large, but that's not really what's important. What's important is you have a lot of people who have won votes, raised money and governed states or have been active in legislative debates. These are skilled political people. You may not agree with them ideologically, but you can't ignore the fact that in almost every case, with a couple of exceptions -- Carly Fiorina, Donald Trump and Ben Carson -- the others are skilled political people, who see an opportunity, who are ambitious, who are, as every politician is, more than mildly narcissistic.
GARRETTBut they are skilled people at what they do. I don't think they're afraid necessarily of Donald Trump. And I think seeing him on a debate stage, to them, does not necessarily fill them with dread. One other thing to keep an eye on -- I just think this is a small thing to insert in the debate structure -- he has yet to file his FEC Forms. You've got to do that 15 days after you announce. The RNC could say, you know what? You want to be on a debate stage? File your paperwork. And if he doesn't, maybe they can keep him off the debate stage.
GARRETTI don't know if they will or won't. But that's something to keep an eye on.
REHMAnd, Lisa, you've been covering Hillary Clinton. Thoughts about her big launch?
LERERIt was -- I thought it was a very interesting message, for two reasons. First, she embraced her role, her historic mantle as, you know, the potential for being the first woman president in a way that she didn't last time around. That reflects both -- what aides say is a development within, you know, a sort of personal evolution, that she's more comfortable talking about these issues. But I think it also reflects a shift in the country over the past eight years and how we -- what we expect to see from female politicians and this idea of having a female commander in chief no longer seems quite as crazy as it once did. It's an asset rather than a liability.
REHMAnd how big of a challenge does Bernie Sanders present to her nomination?
LERERYou know, I think, in the end, he's a -- he's sort of a protest candidate, right, in a way. And so, in the end, it's hard to see Hillary, at this point at least, not winning the nomination. But he certainly struck a chord in the Democratic Party.
LERERI think, if you're a Democratic voter and you're voting with your heart, you're voting for Sanders. If you're voting with your head, you're voting for Hillary. So he could definitely cut into the kind of win she wants to have in these early primary states.
REHMLisa Lerer of The Associated Press. Short break. We'll be right back.
REHMAnd welcome back. Remember, you can see all our guests if you go to drshow.org. You can click on watch live, and by the way, we're taking a poll at that site on which woman in history you'd like to see on the 10 dollar bill. So far, 32 percent say it should be Eleanor Roosevelt, 24 percent say it should be Harriet Tubman. You, Major Garrett, say it should not be the 10 dollar bill. It should be the 20.
GARRETTI do believe that. Alexander Hamilton is an enormously important part of American history. We would not have a functioning economy in our country if it had not been for Alexander Hamilton. He was not only our first Treasury Secretary, he created the five tradable securities in our country that monetized our debt internationally after the Revolutionary War. Giving this nascent nation a chance to survive. He was the Chief of Staff to General Washington, he was a hero at Yorktown.
GARRETTHe is a person of enormous creative energy and brilliance. He should remain on the 10 dollar bill. If we are, and I am completely an advocate of putting a woman on our currency, and currency that is in wide circulation. My nominee is to replace Andrew Jackson.
REHMOn the 20.
GARRETTOn the 20 dollar bill. For a couple of reasons. If we are going to take historical stock of your contribution all across your life in American history, Andrew Jackson, two term President, hero at New Orleans, a battle of significance, though it happened after the Treaty of Ghent was signed, ending the War of 1812.
REHMWe're getting a history lesson, ladies and gentlemen.
GARRETTBut Andrew Jackson was also responsible for the Trail of Tears, he was a slaveholder, and he was, by many accounts, in multiple instances, a murderer.
GARRETTHe should not remain on the 20 dollar bill and Alexander Hamilton should.
LERERI hope Jack Liu is listening here. This was an impassioned petition.
LERERI mean, to me, this just feels long overdue. Do we use paper money anymore? I mean, I think, I feel like I'm paying for most things with plastic or my finger on my phone at this point. So...
REHMWhat do you think?
TUMULTYWell, I think, you know, that, I mean, who uses 10 dollar bills? Put a woman on the 20. That's the one that comes out of the money machine.
REHMAll right. Now, I'm going to open the phones. I know lots of folks are calling in. First to Jacksonville, Florida. Hi there, Anne Marie. You're on the air.
ANNE MARIEHello. Thank you for taking my call.
MARIEYou know, South Carolina is one of, I believe, five states that fly the confederate flag. And yesterday, South Carolina Congressman Mark Sanford and Governor Nikki Haley, they expressed their sadness and sympathy for the nine victims. But yet, they still fly the confederate flag. They say that it's a symbol of southern heritage and state rights. You know, I'm making an analogy. World War II. The Nazis committed some terrible, horrific acts, but after Germany lost the war, the German people changed.
MARIEThey welcomed all people. They admitted they were wrong. They didn't keep the swastika as their national symbol.
REHMOkay. Anne Marie, I'm going to ask you to limit your calls to the program to once a month. That is the rule we have in place. Let's talk about that confederate flag.
LERERI mean, I think what Anne Marie is getting at is sort of a larger conversation about what's happening in the country right now. When President Obama won, back in 2008, there was this sense that we were in this post-racial era. What we found through the course of his Presidency is that we are definitely not. You know, this horrific killing comes as there is this resurgence, a sort of new civil rights movement around criminal justice reform. So, we're in this moment where a lot of our national conversation, a lot of our political conversation is deeply steeped in race and identity.
TUMULTYIt's also probably worth mentioning that yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that the state of Texas could not be forced to put one of these special edition license plates with the confederate flag on it, because it was asked for by a, you know, southern heritage group, but the state decided it was going to offend a lot of people.
REHMAll right, to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Hi Tom.
TOMHow are you, Diane? You and your staff are the best. I would like to follow up on Anna Marie. I live near Gettysburg and these people with the confederate flag are not flying it for grand old days of Dixie and pecan pie. They're flying it for one reason, racial bigotry. I would like your panel to ask one of these Presidential candidates, especially the Republicans, are they going to stand on that Capitol, like Ronald Reagan, and point and say, Governor Nikki Haley, take down that flag.
TUMULTYI guarantee you that issue will come up as it has every single Presidential election, because South Carolina is the third state on the calendar. And in every recent election, all of the candidates have had to take a stand on that very issue.
REHMAnd you expect that to happen again. Let's go to Blanche in Dayton, Ohio. You're on the air.
BLANCHEThank you, Diane. I am so glad to get on, because it is so important for me to make this statement in support of Pope Francis. I'm 77, raised as a Catholic School child, and we were taught as children, to be responsible for each other. And the planet and the animal kingdom. We learned that in the second and third grade. He's not inventing anything new and he's not the first Pope to try to promulgate that for his people to follow those rules. And for Santorum to represent himself as someone that we can look to as a responsible person, teaching us the Catholic teachings of the church, is just really, just upset me to the point where I just really felt ill.
BLANCHEAnd as far as Jeb Bush is concerned, if you're a convert, then go back and learn a little bit more. Maybe you didn't spend enough time with the catechism of the Catholic Church.
REHMAll right. Thanks for your call.
GARRETTOne quick point. I'm not anyone's version of a papal scholar, but it has been observed more than once that things Pope Francis said have been said before by previous Popes or encyclicals. What is different is the stylistic emphasis that he places on it, and his own visibility, which has somewhat been driven by his actions. And somewhat by people...
REHMAnd one other thing. Because he has a science background, he has been able to write this encyclical in such a way that it's totally accessible.
GARRETTAnd it is consistent with his effort to re-energize the idea of the Catholic ministry to the poor and the lesser among us.
GARRETTAnd he sees the global forces of economics as not only manifesting itself in pollution that threatens the Earth, but is inconsistent with his appeal to those who have less.
LERERIt's been fascinating to watch. In the course of that process, the Pope has emerged as one of the most powerful political figures on the world stage. I mean, it's really an unbelievable thing to see in action. I think it's worth mentioning one point about Jeb Bush. He's actually taken a fairly centrist position on climate change. He didn't want to back what the Pope said. I believe he said, I don't get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my Pope.
LERERBut he has taken a more centrist position on climate change than some of the other candidates in the race. In part, because I think of where he's from, Miami, is sort of ground zero for what we see happening.
REHMAll right, let's go to Indianapolis. James, you're on the air.
JAMESHi Diane. I wanted to say thank you for reading the names of the victims of the horrible shooting in South Carolina. That was a really touch of class, I thought. And I would also like to ask you and other members of the media to not mention the names of the shooters, because I think when that happens, that emboldens other people want to get their little 15 minutes of fame by doing other similar horrible acts.
REHMAll right. Thanks for your call and your comments. How much do we, in the media, promulgate the idea that if you go out and shoot somebody, your name is going to be on everyone's lips.
TUMULTYLook, it's news. You know? I don't...
REHMBut how are we reporting the news?
TUMULTY...we report, again, I don't believe that this guy is being glorified in the media. I think that people are horrified and I think if we ever reach the point where we live in a society where people are not horrified and transfixed by somebody doing something that that young man did the other day, then that -- then we are really in trouble.
GARRETTI mean, it is a part of the psychological profiling that people with greater expertise in this than I have often talk about. That those who feel dispossessed or isolated or unknown do see and read and learn about the infamy, but also the prominence that comes with a spectacular act of violence and/or crime. And it is not in every case, or even in most cases the dominant incentive or motive, but it does play a psychological role in their way of thinking about themselves and what they might become afterwards.
LERERBut I think for the country, there's a national desire after something like this happens to see justice served. There's a -- that's part of the healing process, right, that the country has to go through. And learning who the person is that did this crime and having them brought to justice is an important part of that process for the country.
REHMI think the media, if I may be so bold, can also help to play a role in this issue of gun control. The President, each time, as you all have said, one of these horrific assassinations occurs, the media simply says, well, it's not going anywhere. Well, the politicians won't let it go anywhere. What role can or should the media play in trying to make sure it does go someplace?
TUMULTYI disagree. I think that -- I would point you to a lot of reporting done by news organizations including my own on the toll of gun violence. We have done extraordinary investigative reporting, tracking individual guns and how they get into the system. And the reporting is there and it has been given a lot of prominence. I think people understand where this comes from.
GARRETTAnd you can remember, after the Sandy Hook elementary massacre, there were lots of reporting in states about various efforts on gun control. Some of which moved in the direction of gun control, many of which moved to expand access to firearms after Sandy Hook. Those things were all covered, they were debated in the state legislature.
GARRETTThey were for the public's appraisal and legislatures took one of two paths, but more frequently, after, even after Sandy Hook, access was expanded rather than contracted.
GARRETTSo, this is a debate that does go on and the results are as they are.
LERERBut you do wonder what it will take to get legislative momentum on this.
REHMExactly. What will it take?
LERERI mean, if you can have a classroom of kindergarteners murdered, you know, nine people at a church murdered, and still feels like there's not going to be any progress on gun legislation, you sort of do wonder.
REHMI also wonder about the idea of race identification and the interesting situation with the woman whose name is Rachel Dolezal. She's at the center of a firestorm about race identification. Her parents said, publicly, she is white. But she, in her heart, identifies as black. She has four adopted black brothers. She went to Howard University and was the head of the NAACP in Spokane, Washington. So, what happens? Can you choose what race you want to be?
TUMULTYWell, the country's changing, so I think the firestorm, you know, it's growing increasingly more diverse. There's more and more biracial kids and biracial couples, so I think as that happens, this conversation that we're having about race and identity becomes increasingly politicized. Like this is clearly something the country is trying to work through, this conversation about this NAACP woman was a firestorm on both sides. Conservatives reacted strongly to it and liberals reacted strongly to it.
TUMULTYSo, this is clearly a national conversation that the country wants to have right now.
REHMAnd you're listening to The Diane Rehm Show. Let's go now to Simone in Houston, Texas. You're on the air.
SIMONEHi Diane. It's a great show today. Really some interesting things. I am really curious about this trade deal because I have read some information that some significant portions of the trade deal are not public, aren't available to be read by the public. And that even, there are parts of it that lawmakers can't read. And I just don't understand how this is legal. I mean, how could they be voting on a bill when they cannot even read portions of it?
GARRETTOkay. So, what they're voting on is Trade Promotion Authority, which is a framework to consider an eventual trade, Trans Pacific partnership trade deal. That's the trade deal. So, what they're talking about is the legislative means by which they will debate something. Can you read what has been negotiated with the Trans Pacific partnership? Lawmakers can. In a secret room on Capitol Hill, they can go there and look at where the negotiations stand so far. They can't take it out, but they can read what's been negotiated so far.
GARRETTThe President says, once the Trans Pacific partnership is negotiated in full, and it is a complete document, I will submit it to Congress for 60 days of public evaluation before I will even sign it to begin the process of formal consideration. But at the moment, you can't read all of it, because it's not done. And the Trade Promotion Authority, the vote we're talking about, is to create a legislative framework for something to be poured in later. The thing to be poured in later is the Trans Pacific partnership.
REHMIs he going to get what he wants?
GARRETTI suspect so, but there will be many more dramatic turns before that happens.
LERERIt's going to be messy. I think he'll get it in the end, but it's going to be a messy process.
TUMULTYOh, I agree. I think there's a good chance he'll get it and it's going to be really ugly watching it.
GARRETTWell, trade of all kinds creates winners and losers. And in a globalized economy, where you have high skilled workers who gain, you also are going to have lower skilled or semi -skilled or medium skilled workers who will be jeopardized and threatened. That is true of all trade arrangements. But this fits, as the President often argues, not into an -- only into an economic sphere, but as Lisa suggested earlier, international policy, diplomacy, America's role in Asia, how it competes against China. How it looks at the next 20 or 30 years of its involvement in Asia and the Trans Pacific partnership outside of the economic questions does play heavily into that.
REHMAnd what about the entire economy. Will it grow because of this deal?
LERERWell, the President certainly says yes. I mean, unions have a very different view on that. And I think it's important to point out that this is happening at a moment when unions feel under siege, not only because of trade deals, but because of what's happening in state legislatures, and the rise of Scott Walker to prominence as the Republican party candidate. So, that's part of why they've had such a strong reaction to this deal.
REHMIndeed. Lisa Lerer of the Associated Press, Major Garrett of CBS, and Karen Tumulty at "The Washington Post." Thank you all.
REHMHave a great weekend, everybody. Thanks for listening. I'm Diane Rehm.
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