Guest Host: Derek McGinty

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (D-VT) shakes hands with people during a campaign rally at the Century Center on May 1 in South Bend, Indiana. Sanders won Indiana's primary on Tuesday, May 3.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (D-VT) shakes hands with people during a campaign rally at the Century Center on May 1 in South Bend, Indiana. Sanders won Indiana's primary on Tuesday, May 3.

After Donald Trump emerged as his party’s likely nominee earlier this week, the list of establishment Republicans planning to skip the G.O.P.’s national convention is growing. Other Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, say they will back Trump. Meanwhile, in the weeks before the Democrats’ nominating convention, a federal judge may order Hillary Clinton to testify about her use of a private e-mail server when she was secretary of state. U.S. employers add just 160,000 jobs in April while the unemployment rate remains steady at five percent. And North Carolina says it will meet a deadline to respond to the Justice Department about the state’s transgender bathroom law. A panel of journalists joins guest host Derek McGinty for analysis of the week’s top national news stories.


  • Susan Davis Congressional reporter, NPR
  • Jeff Mason White House correspondent, Reuters
  • Neil King, Jr. Global economics editor and deputy Washington bureau chief, The Wall Street Journal

Live Video


  • 10:06:55

    MR. DEREK MCGINTYWell, thanks for joining us. I'm Derek McGinty sitting in for Diane Rehm. She is recovering from a voice treatment. Well, it's a political year that might make historic 2008 look a little bland by comparison. Donald Trump is the apparent nominee, but if you want a ticket to the convention, they may have some extras because a lot of folks are starting to say they may not go. I'm talking Republican A-listers are saying they may not support the nominee of the party.

  • 10:07:23

    MR. DEREK MCGINTYMeantime, in the Democrat side, Bernie Sanders has won in Indiana, vowing to continue the campaign despite the fact that the numbers suggest that Hillary Clinton has already wrapped it up. Meantime, it's Hillary Clinton versus perhaps an investigation from the justice department as she may have to testify about what happened in the state department and her email account. North Carolina's new transgender law is under federal investigation and my violate federal civil rights laws, that according to the justice department.

  • 10:07:57

    MR. DEREK MCGINTYNorth Carolina says it's ready to fight back. Well, joining me now to talk about this in our domestic hour of the Friday News Roundup, Neil King Jr. of the Wall Street Journal, Susan Davis of NPR and Jeff Mason of Reuters. And just in case you're wondering what we all look like this morning, you can see us on our live video stream at as we continue with our conversation. And you can also join us by phone, 800-433-8850.

  • 10:08:26

    MR. DEREK MCGINTYWow. What a day. Welcome.

  • 10:08:28

    MR. NEIL KING JR.What a day, what a week.

  • 10:08:28

    MS. SUSAN DAVISHey, there.

  • 10:08:29

    MCGINTYWhat a week. Wow. Now, let's talk about the Republican situation where even the Speaker of the House now says, you know what, I don't know if I can support this Trump fellow, even if he is the nominee.

  • 10:08:41

    KING JR.This whole thing has been moving at such lightning pace that I don't think even Paul Ryan had really quite figured out that this was happening. And everyone thought they were gonna have several weeks to go all the way up to the convention and then they would kind of figure out where their positions were. And all of a sudden, you had this extraordinary break yesterday where Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House, the highest elected representative of his party, a person who's third from the presidency itself, should something happen, saying that he wasn't, at least now, ready to back the obvious presumptive nominee of the party.

  • 10:09:14

    KING JR.And that was really just the start of it. You saw all sorts of other people kind of -- like Kelly Ayotte, for instance, the senator from New Hampshire, saying that she would support Donald Trump, but she wasn't really ready to endorse.

  • 10:09:26

    MR. JEFF MASONWhatever that means.

  • 10:09:27

    KING JR.Yeah.

  • 10:09:27

    DAVISWhatever that means.

  • 10:09:27

    KING JR.Or other people saying , I will -- John McCain, for instance, saying I will support the nominee, but not really wanting to use the words Donald Trump or the previous two Republican presidents both saying that they were going to sit this one out. The party is at a moment that's pretty extraordinary, in part, because a renegade has taken over their party and...

  • 10:09:48

    MCGINTYRight. And it's hard to support a guy that you just spend the last six months saying was unfit for the job, right, Susan?

  • 10:09:52

    DAVISWell, it's not only a guy that you say is unfit for the job, but Paul Ryan is a great example. Even if you can separate Donald Trump's personality and some of this antics, his policies are absolutely offensive or opposite to the world view of a lot of conservatives like Paul Ryan, on taxes, on trade, on entitlements. There's very little ideological agreement, even if you get -- and then you get to the stylistic disagreements of his tone and how he's approached running for the office.

  • 10:10:22

    DAVISSo it was extraordinary to see Paul Ryan come out this week and say that because he has, all along, said he would support the nominee. And then, on Thursday, he broke from that, which is also in opposition to Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, who, two days prior, had put out a statement and said, Donald Trump is going to be the nominee and I will support him, and now it's his job to unify the party.

  • 10:10:41

    MCGINTYYou know, it's interesting. I mean, there is this new thing out. It's called democracy. The voters said that's the guy they wanted. Isn't that so, Jeff Mason?

  • 10:10:47

    MASONWell, indeed. And I think Paul Ryan left himself some wiggle room to see how Donald Trump behaves in the next month or two and whether he does actually succeed in uniting the party. But he also laid down kind of what he wanted to hear. He said, does this candidate, does Donald Trump share conservatives view on limited government, on the role of the executive, on adherence to the Constitution? So he kind of laid out the litmus test that he wants the presumptive nominee to start addressing.

  • 10:11:18


  • 10:11:18

    KING JR.There was this great line that he had where he is the standard bearer who does not bear our standards, which is basically to say, a flag bearer who does not carry our flag, at least at the moment. What was, you know, the big kind of thing that happened yesterday was this extraordinary tweet that Donald Trump tweeted out that, I think, just rocked everybody. It was one of the most...

  • 10:11:38

    MCGINTYWas that the Hispanic tweet?

  • 10:11:39

    KING JR.Yeah, where it was like Cinco de Mayo and there's a picture of him eating a taco bowl and he's like this is the most amazing taco bowl, comes from Trump Tower. I love Hispanics. And that, in itself, when you go to the "does not bear our standards," was -- I don't know whether that was in the mind of Paul Ryan, but to do a tweet like that and to do the "I love Hispanics" and to create, like, nationwide laughter is also sort of a standards issue. I think those are also things that are of concern to a lot of Republicans.

  • 10:12:03

    MCGINTYThat tweet -- I saw that and was incredulous, to say the least. I mean, it's like somebody tweeting out a picture of, I don't know, eating some watermelon and going I love the black guys, right? I mean, it's unbelievable.

  • 10:12:14

    DAVISYeah. And I mean, this is what makes people like Paul Ryan nervous 'cause remember, like, yes, Donald Trump is going to be at the top of the ticket, but there's also the Senate is in play, the House could be put into play, depending on how Donald Trump plays this. So as Paul Ryan also said, like, look, I have a House majority to protect and it's very hard to separate your down ballot Republicans from your top of the ticket. Same thing for Democrats.

  • 10:12:35

    DAVISIt's very hard to separate from the top of the ticket. And Republicans like Paul Ryan and in the House look at Donald Trump and they are scared that not only is gonna lose the White House, but he's gonna cost them their Senate majority and a lot of House seats, if not the majority there, too.

  • 10:12:47

    MCGINTYYou know, now there is talk, as we move forward into what exactly might be done about this, if anything, of a third party/Republican candidate, Ben Sass in Nebraska, the freshman senator says, I might be willing to do that.

  • 10:13:01

    MASONYeah, Ben Sass has definitely been calling for one and he's emerged as a potential third party candidate. Other conservative groups, sort of anti-Trump groups, Conservatives Against Trump being one of them, are looking for potential candidates. Apparently, Condoleezza Rice was asked and said no. So yeah, there's a movement for that, but it's important to not the history of third party candidates. They don't do well and you can look at Ross Perot. You can look at Ralph Nader. They have an influence on the election and that would almost certainly be the case, if a third party candidate emerged here.

  • 10:13:38

    MASONBut it's pretty unlikely, historically, that they would have success in winning.

  • 10:13:42

    KING JR.The trouble, too, is it's basically too late. I mean, you have to get on ballots. Getting on ballots is incredibly hard. I think the one thing that might be kind of fascinating is the one party that is going to be all the ballots, the libertarian party. I don't know whether any of the names that you just mentioned, Ben Sass might try to vie for that nomination. Gary Johnson, a former, you know, governor of New Mexico is most likely to be that nominee.

  • 10:14:03

    KING JR.But you need a ramp. You need a way to get onto these ballots in front of voters and it's basically impossible to do that now.

  • 10:14:09

    MCGINTYIs it safe to say that there is a, however this shakes out, a tremendous divide in the Republican party that may not be healed in Cleveland?

  • 10:14:17

    DAVISI mean, that's an understatement, I think, right now is the divide in the Republican party. There are some views, and it's a small voice, but I find it an increasingly growing voice of people that say the party, in its current form, cannot sustain itself, that it is -- we are watching it break in two and we just don't know which part of the party is going to get thrown overboard. The third party candidacy, which I think is probably going to have a lot of conversation in the coming weeks is also just -- for conservatives and for Republicans, it's also really unviable because if a Ben Sass ticket or some other ticket were to emerge, for Republicans are hesitant about Trump what's even more disincentive for them is that that would almost insure a Hillary Clinton victory, that having a third party conservative ticket would probably serve nothing but to drain votes away from Trump and certainly not towards Clinton.

  • 10:15:03

    DAVISSo if the overall goal of Republicans who are uncomfortable with Trump is still to beat Hillary Clinton, a third party almost moves them further away from that goal.

  • 10:15:12

    MCGINTYThat's Susan Davis, congressional reporter with NPR. Our other guests, Neil King Jr., global economics editor and deputy Washington bureau chief at The Wall Street Journal and Jeff Mason, White House correspondent from Reuters. The phone number here, 800-433-8850. Let's take a phone call from Ryan in Alexandria, Virginia. You're on the air. Go ahead.

  • 10:15:31

    RYANHey, thanks for taking my call, guys. Major news outlets and sadly, this show and other NPR journalists in general, frustratingly, exasperatingly continue to use language that casts Hillary as the nominee and in a general election contest. And instead, can you guys please delve into the reasons why Bernie Sanders is continuing to fight against the status quo? And he's going to a contested convention. And I suggest that maybe your focus be placed on the very alarming fact that we have tens of thousands of disenfranchised voters in a broken nomination system, electoral anomalies in Arizona and New York and a political system that's fundamentally rigged to support deeply unpopular and fatally flawed candidate.

  • 10:16:18

    MCGINTYObviously, a Bernie supporter there, as he said.

  • 10:16:20

    DAVISYeah. I mean, and we hear this a lot from Bernie -- I think there is a lot of frustration among Bernie Sanders supporters when we do talk about Clinton in an inevitable way, in part because the nomination of Hillary Clinton, at this stage of the race, does appear inevitable. She is on track to secure the delegates that she will need. But part of that process involves having super delegates, which are these unelected party officials, party loyalists who help decide the nomination. And for a lot of voters, Bernie Sanders voters in particular, the super delegate system, in the words of Donald Trump, is something that rigs the system.

  • 10:16:50

    DAVISThat is an unfair aspect of how Democrats nominate their presidential candidates and that frustration is real. It does not negate the fact that that is the rules of the game and that is how the nominee is going to be selected. And at this point, Hillary Clinton has won more popular votes than Bernie Sanders. She has more delegates and she is on track to win the nomination.

  • 10:17:12

    MASONIt's also important to note that Bernie Sanders is now appealing to those super delegates in his effort to sort of sway the momentum back towards him and to sway the math. And when he said this week that there's going to be a contested election, he talked, essentially, about what his argument will be to the super delegates. And his argument is that polls show that he is in a stronger position than Hillary Clinton to beat a Donald Trump in the general election.

  • 10:17:35

    MASONBut the only way he gets there is if he works within that system that his supporters don't like.

  • 10:17:41

    KING JR.The irony is that going back to 2008, Hillary basically lost officially when she won Indiana by a narrow margin. And that was sort of the thing that tilted -- made it clear that Obama was going to be the nominee. I don't think Indiana, this time, was exactly as clarifying, but I think that the results are going to end up being the same.

  • 10:18:00

    MCGINTYComing up, more of our Friday News Roundup. You can see all of our guests live on a video stream at You're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show" and we'll be right back.

  • 10:20:02

    MCGINTYWelcome back to "The Diane Rehm Show." I'm Derek McGinty in for Diane. And we're talking about the news of the week, which is dominated by our politics and, of course, what do you call him, apparent Republican nominee, Donald Trump, who is already beginning to lay out his vision for his first 100 days in office. Jeff Mason.

  • 10:20:21

    MASONYeah. The New York Times did a nice story about this based on some interviews with him. And he said basically, right after he's -- or right after he wins in November, he would start by interviewing potential Supreme Court nominees and choose somebody in the mold of Justice Scalia. Then after his inauguration or on inauguration day, he would begin by rescinding some of President Obama's executive orders on immigration and call up a bunch of chief executives to threaten punitive action if they move jobs overseas.

  • 10:20:56

    MASONAnd then within that 100 days, by the end of that 100 days, the wall with Mexico would be designed, the ban on Muslims entering the United States would be in place, the audit of the Federal Reserve would be underway, and plans to get rid of the Affordable Care Act would be underway as well.

  • 10:21:15

    MCGINTYWell, you've got to give the man credit that even some of the things that many voters find obnoxious, he is not backing off...

  • 10:21:20

    MASONHe's not.

  • 10:21:20

    MCGINTY...from what he wants to do.

  • 10:21:22


  • 10:21:22

    KING JR.Jeff left out the beautiful galas that he's going to have...

  • 10:21:25

    MASONThat's right. Yes.

  • 10:21:26

    KING JR....the night itself.

  • 10:21:27

    DAVISAnd one of those that I think, the ban on Muslims entering the country is probably -- and on that list, the best example of why a lot of Republicans are hesitant and worried about Trump, in that -- while that is a position that has garnered him a lot of support on the campaign trail and a lot of times voters in polls have suggested they support that position, Republicans in office think that that is unconstitutional, that it is not a conservative principle to discriminate based on religion. And makes Republican -- and Paul Ryan was one of those Republicans who came out very strongly and said, this is not what this party stands for.

  • 10:21:59

    KING JR.The fascinating thing to me right now about the map that Donald Trump would need to pursue in order to win is that there's this theory out there that he can build a big highway that takes him right through the Rust Belt of the industrial Midwest -- Pennsylvania, Minnesota -- I mean, Michigan, Ohio. And the only way that he could really do that -- and this goes to this appeal that he has among white voters, particularly white working class -- is to play to this sort of exclusionary thing, ban the Muslims, build the high wall. And the more he does that, the more votes he might possibly pick up in Pennsylvania and the more votes he will lose in Florida and the more votes he will lose in Colorado, Virginia, North Carolina.

  • 10:22:36

    KING JR.So his gains in one part of the country, which is itself a real long shot, are going to be almost certain losses in another part of the country. And the reality is right now, you look at any of the maps, is that all Hillary Clinton will have to do in terms of the firmly Democratic states is just pick up Florida and she will become -- as long as Colorado doesn't fall, as long as -- and not even Virginia -- as long as New Mexico doesn't fall, the map is just extremely, strongly in favor of whomever the Democrat is at the moment. And that's a difficult pathway for Donald Trump.

  • 10:23:05

    MCGINTYWell, you mentioned Hillary Clinton and she is not without her own problems, probably chief of which right now is that the FBI is looking very hard at this email scandal that, though Bernie Sanders may say it doesn't mean anything and don't look at it, the FBI does not agree. And she's going to be deposed soon.

  • 10:23:21

    MASONWell, it's -- there's actually a separate matter from the FBI and that is this -- some arguments from Judicial Watch claiming that her email system did not comply with or was set up to prevent Freedom of Information Act requests. So a federal judge this week signaled that he would be willing to compel Secretary Clinton to testify about that, after he has already given this group permission to take testimony from very close aides of hers, such as Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills. So the question is, you know, if he does go that far, that would create a pretty tricky image spot or an image problem for Secretary Clinton, probably right around the time when she would not only be the presumptive nominee but have it locked up.

  • 10:24:08

    MCGINTYSo how big a problem is this for her?

  • 10:24:11

    KING JR.My gut tells me it's not going to be necessarily that big a problem. I think a lot of it is the timing for her. If the federal process, the FBI process moves forward and at least the indications that we have -- I'm not doing my own personal reporting, but when you read the reporting that is being done -- is that the inclination at the moment is that there was no sign particularly of intent to violate the classification laws.

  • 10:24:31


  • 10:24:33

    KING JR.And many of the -- actually the vast majority, maybe even all of the emails that have come out that were deemed to be classified, were deemed to be classified after the fact. So if this is the kind of thing that is cleared up in some fashion, shy of an indictment, before the convention, I think the election moves on and that, no matter how much noise Donald Trump makes about -- of it, and he will make a lot of it, won't necessarily be a huge drag in my mind.

  • 10:24:57

    DAVISIt's certainly an issue that we are going to see a lot of in attack ads heading into the general election campaign. It is an issue that really galvanizes Republicans and it goes to whether or not she's indicted or charged with anything, which at this point -- again, according to reporting, I haven't done my own, but by CNN and other people -- justice officials saying there's no indication of any laws she has broken yet. But that for a lot of Republican voters in particular this goes to character and it goes to arrogance and it goes to a depiction of Hillary Clinton that I think -- the emails will be used as a proxy to make that argument in the general election.

  • 10:25:28

    MCGINTYThat's Susan Davis, congressional reporter with NPR. Our other guests are Neil King Jr., global economics editor, deputy Washington bureau chief at The Wall Street Journal, and Jeff Mason, White House correspondent for Reuters. This is your Friday News Roundup. I'm Derek McGinty in for Diane Rehm. And we've got some interesting emails and Twitter questions coming our way. This is the one I like. Somebody says, from Femricka I think it says, why should #DonaldTrump change his crass manners if it keeps on winning?

  • 10:25:57

    KING JR.Hmm.

  • 10:25:58

    MASONThat's a terrific question. There were all of these stories in the last couple weeks about Trump is going to shift and Trump is going to be more presidential. And he said, oh, I'm going to be so presidential you won't believe it.

  • 10:26:09

    DAVISYou're going to be bored.

  • 10:26:09

    MCGINTYBut he did not do that.

  • 10:26:10

    MASONYou're going to be bored. There you go.

  • 10:26:11

    MCGINTYThat's not going to happen.

  • 10:26:12

    MASONAnd the truth is he has a style that is pure Donald Trump and that has been completely successful for him. So I don't -- it's hard to believe that, A, he can turn that off or , B, that he would want to, given the results he's gotten so far.

  • 10:26:28

    KING JR.You think completely successful within the context that he's needed it to be. But one of the things that was interesting this week is the Clinton camp started rolling out the best of highlights of the last six or seven months, and you forget the just like extraordinary things that he has said. Because he talks a lot. He gives massive numbers of interviews. And he's said a lot of things that, in a general election setting -- which is now what we're moving into -- are almost certain to prove regrettable.

  • 10:26:51

    DAVISWell, but then also, you know, Paul Ryan said, I'm not ready to endorse him. But we should also say that Donald Trump responded and said...

  • 10:26:57

    KING JR.Hmm.

  • 10:26:57

    DAVIS...hey, I'm not sure I'm willing to listen to your policies. And, you know, Paul Ryan has a sort of ideological corner carved out in the Republican Party. But Donald Trump's like, look, I just won the nomination. I, you know, I don't know -- you don't have the upper hand in this conversation. Millions of voters have decided that I do get to be the standard bearer for the Republican Party.

  • 10:27:16

    MCGINTYThis is the weird question about this to my mind and, that is, you'd -- everybody's tempted to say what you said, Neil, and that is, the map is uphill for him. How does he win? How does he do it? But we thought that back in August...

  • 10:27:28

    MASONThat's right.

  • 10:27:28

    MCGINTY...about the Republican nomination. So I think there is a reluctance to risk underestimating Trump again.

  • 10:27:34

    MASONAnd it's also important to remember, you know, polls this early are never reliable.

  • 10:27:39

    MCGINTYYeah, I mean, Michael Dukakis should be president -- should have been president, if you're listening to the polls in the spring, right?

  • 10:27:42

    MASONYeah, there you go. I mean, if he wanted to look at the polls right now, then, yeah, I would be -- you wouldn't be unwise to say Hillary Clinton has the upper hand. But look, exactly what you just said, Trump did a lot better than anyone thought at that time. And polls can change.

  • 10:27:58

    KING JR.Yeah, but he found an incredible weakness within the Republican Party. At the moment, he's won over about maybe 20, 22 percent of the electorate by winning, I think, less in the end at the moment of the majority of the Republican voters in the Republican primary setting. So I don't know how far that can go.

  • 10:28:13

    MCGINTYYeah. But I mean, you know, Ryan says, well, Trump does not share my views. But the fact is, it looks like a lot of Republicans don't share Ryan's views. They voted for Donald Trump.

  • 10:28:23

    KING JR.It's who thinks -- that's the thing. The question at the moment is, like, can Trump unify the party, when he's saying, you come to me. I own this party now. And actually Reince Priebus did a thing this morning where he was basically saying, you know, I think in the end Paul Ryan is going to have to figure out a way to come around to Donald Trump...

  • 10:28:37


  • 10:28:38

    KING JR....not that Donald Trump can figure out...

  • 10:28:38

    DAVISNot the other way around.

  • 10:28:38

    KING JR....a way to make, you know, Ryan come around to him. It's -- he controls it. He is the standard bearer.

  • 10:28:44

    DAVISAlthough, it's important to say too that now, as we shift more to general -- obviously the primaries are still going to play out through early June -- but as we shift into general election, it is a radically different pool of voters that they start to contend for. It's three times the size of that pool of voters. And the states that matter shift dramatically. You know, then we do start talking more about Colorado and New Mexico and Arizona and places that haven't been necessarily as focused on in the primary. So I know we -- there was a lot of underestimation of Donald Trump in the primary. But I do think we have to sort of erase the white board and start all over because it is a completely different dynamic in every respect.

  • 10:29:18

    MCGINTYI want to read one more email. It comes from Nick in Washington, D.C. He says, I have a hypothetical scenario. Hoping you could run it by your panelists. Now that the question of the Republican presidential candidate's been decided, could Trump alleviate some of his party unity issues by encouraging Republicans to vote for Bernie Sanders in the remaining open primaries, like California, thereby creating additional internal conflict on the Democrat side.

  • 10:29:42

    MASONWell, he's sort of already done that, in a way.

  • 10:29:43


  • 10:29:44

    MASONI mean, he has gone out of his way to sort of try to give a boost to Bernie Sanders by saying the system has been rigged against him and, you know, casting doubt on Hillary Clinton's ability to even run because of the potential FBI indictment. So he's, you know, nudging people in that way already. Whether or not that is successful is something we'll still see.

  • 10:30:04

    KING JR.Have you ever, you know, on a go-cart track where you're out and you get like a half a lap ahead of your partner or whomever and they're trying to like put their pedal to the medal but you can only go so fast?

  • 10:30:14


  • 10:30:14

    KING JR.That's where Bernie Sanders is right now. He -- there is no real ability to accelerate in those things because the Democratic system is so proportional in the way it allocates things. He can't, like, take California and get all of its delegates. It doesn't work that way. So there's no big surge potential that's out there.

  • 10:30:29


  • 10:30:31

    MCGINTYWe'll take one more phone call before we move on to some other topics. George in Indianapolis, you're on the air. Go ahead.

  • 10:30:37

    GEORGEHi. Thank you so much for taking my call. My comment is watching -- as a Democrat and as a, very much a liberal -- I'm watching with delight the implosion of the Republican Party. But I actually think it's an opportunity for Bernie Sanders supporters, who do see the system as being rigged and unfair, that we can challenge the Democratic Party at this time and say that we're not going to support Hillary Clinton in the general election. I may want Bernie Sanders to run as a third-party candidate or I might vote third party and just so that Trump could win.

  • 10:31:12

    MCGINTYOkay, George, let me throw this back at you. Why are you saying the system is rigged? All Bernie had to do was get some black votes in the South and he would be ahead now. He couldn't do it. He lost.

  • 10:31:23

    GEORGEI appreciate that. However, the voters haven't really had access to good enough information to make good decisions. A lot of people are...

  • 10:31:31

    MCGINTYDo the voters have the Internet? Because there's a lot of information on there that you can get anytime you like.

  • 10:31:38

    GEORGEWell, I appreciate that. But TV watchers, for example, are unaware of the humanitarian consequences and the cultural consequences of the -- of Hillary Clinton's wars in the Middle East. If you look at Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, the results of those conflicts have been devastating and they've hurt our security. And they're expensive. I think if that issue, which is not fairly covered so that voters could otherwise make great decisions, if that issue was better covered, I think that voters would recognize Bernie for being a better candidate and they would also see Trump as not being so bad. I hate to be so calm.

  • 10:32:16

    MCGINTYAll right. Let's talk about your major point there, which is that voters didn't have enough information to make a good decision and therefore that resulted in some corruption of the system. Anybody want to?

  • 10:32:25

    DAVISWell, I mean, I can't speak to voter information overall. Although, if his point is that voters are not fully -- I think on one issue that the voters are probably the most informed is Hillary Clinton's support for the war in Iraq, which is an issue that was also litigated in the 2008 Democratic primary. So that, I'm skeptical to say that voters didn't know enough about that, is that's something that she's probably best known for and has been one of the anchors against her in these Democratic primary fights.

  • 10:32:50

    DAVISYou know, Bernie Sanders, one of the problems that he has had is that he didn't -- was never able to show that he could grow the Democratic coalition, that the votes that have propelled him and kept him competitive in this race are still the similar type of voters, which tends to be more upper-middle-class, liberal white voters, that he has not made many inroads into Hispanic communities, into black communities. And you fundamentally cannot win the Democratic nomination if you cannot win those voting blocs with a significant amount of support. And he hasn't proven that.

  • 10:33:20

    MCGINTYHeck, you might not be able to win the general election without getting some support from those voting blocs.

  • 10:33:24

    DAVISYeah. And while he may not have been as well known in the South, I mean, Hillary Clinton has a very long -- and her husband as well -- the Clinton's have a very long relationship with those communities. And she certainly had an advantage. But, you know, this is politics.

  • 10:33:36


  • 10:33:37

    DAVISIt's not beanbag.

  • 10:33:38

    MCGINTYI'm Derek McGinty and you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." And if you'd like to join our conversation, call 1-800-433-8850. Or drop us an email to, find us on Facebook, send us a tweet. And don't forget, you can see all of our guests on our live video stream at I even wore a tie today just because I knew...

  • 10:34:01

    KING JR.Nice one, too.

  • 10:34:02

    DAVISA very nice tie.

  • 10:34:02

    MCGINTYOh, thank you very much.

  • 10:34:03


  • 10:34:04

    MCGINTYI try to represent, as we say. Let's move on. Because down in North Carolina -- and this has some relation to presidential politics as well -- the Justice Department now says the law passed back in March by the legislature that mandates that state residents have to use the public bathrooms that match their, quote, "biological" sex, violates the federal Civil Rights protections because it discriminates against transgender people and therefore is a form of sex discrimination. So now that sets up a bit of a confrontation there.

  • 10:34:35

    DAVISYeah. The Justice Department gave the state of North Carolina a Monday deadline to respond to the violation. The speaker of the House in North Carolina said they would blow past that deadline, so they couldn't possibly meet it. But the governor, Pat McCrory has said they will respond to the Justice Department by Monday. It's unclear how they're going to respond. But they could either say that they will try and pass another law or respond to it in some way. But it is setting up a clash between, you know, states' rights and the federal law.

  • 10:35:01

    DAVISAnd Pat McCrory, in a statement, said that this is -- suggested that this was an overreach of the Obama administration and that states have a fundamental right to make these decisions and individuals have a right to privacy. So this is -- this issue is going to become a larger issue. And we should say that North Carolina is potentially an interesting battleground state this fall.

  • 10:35:19

    MCGINTYIt's interesting...

  • 10:35:19

    MASONFor sure.

  • 10:35:20 well, if you mention battleground, because Trump has said basically, what's the problem? I say keep bathrooms like they are and let people use whatever bathrooms they want. So far, that hasn't been an issue.

  • 10:35:29

    MASONQuite the opposite of Ted Cruz who, of course, dropped out when he didn't succeed in beating Trump in Indiana. Also interesting, though, to point out that the implications of this struggle now between the Justice Department and the state could jeopardize billions of dollars of education funding for the state. Last year, the state public schools received $861 million in federal funds -- actually, that's this school year. And in 2014 to 2015, the University of North Carolina system received $1.4 billion in federal funding. So all of that could be...

  • 10:36:02

    MCGINTYWill all of that go away?

  • 10:36:04

    MASONWell, it could be at least threatened.

  • 10:36:06

    DAVISIt's the leverage that the Justice Department has over the states.

  • 10:36:07

    MASONThat's exactly right. This is the big stick that the Justice Department has.

  • 10:36:10

    MCGINTYNeil King.

  • 10:36:10

    KING JR.You know, this is part of an interesting trend, this whole fight, because, Sue mentioned states' rights, but it's also -- what this actually started from was a fight between Charlotte and the state itself where, you're seeing across the South in particular, the growth of these increasingly liberal capital cities, or just major metropolitan areas, which are going in one direction, and the state, which remains much more conservative, saying whoa, whoa, whoa. And you're seeing that -- this whole kind of preemption fight, where we're seeing it now in Alabama, where the state told the city of Montgomery, Ala., that it couldn't raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

  • 10:36:44

    KING JR.And it's a fascinating thing that's playing out all over where you see really, really liberal cities in really, really conservative states.

  • 10:36:53

    MCGINTYBut isn't this also a microcosm of a big fight that's going on all over the country in terms of...

  • 10:36:57

    KING JR.Absolutely.

  • 10:36:57

    MCGINTY...LBGT rights, something that we hadn't even talked about five years ago very much.

  • 10:37:02

    KING JR.It's become a kind of proxy for the battles that occurred before on gay marriage. It's sort of where things have moved on. And it's -- and for a lot of conservatives, of course, it's very irksome because they can't believe that this is where we've come in some ways.

  • 10:37:14

    MCGINTYComing up, more calls and questions for our panel. Please stay tuned.

  • 10:40:01

    MCGINTYWelcome back. I'm Derek McGinty sitting in for Diane Rehm. We are talking the week in review news-wise. Neil King is the global economics editor, deputy Washington bureau chief at The Wall Street Journal. Susan Davis joins us, she's congressional reporter with NPR. And Jeff Mason is White House correspondent for Reuters. Jeff, I promise to read that in the reverse order next time so you won't have to be last.

  • 10:40:21

    MASONThat's no problem.

  • 10:40:22

    MCGINTYThe number here is 800-433-8850. And we were talking a little bit about the LGBT argument regarding bathrooms in North Carolina. And I wondered, as we look at that, as it has become a big issue, it's interesting because there hadn't been, as far as I know, a big problem regarding like there were a lot of people using whatever bathroom they wanted to and no one had complained. But suddenly this is a big issue.

  • 10:40:51

    DAVISWe should also say, too, that this is an issue that, if it is ultimately a Trump-Clinton race, that this is an area where the two nominees seem to agree. Donald Trump was asked about this question and he kind of said, I think people should use whatever bathroom they're comfortable using. He disagreed with it.

  • 10:41:03

    MCGINTYAnd how would you enforce it, if you did decide to have such a law?

  • 10:41:08

    DAVISAnd he said people in Trump Tower were welcome to use whatever bathroom they use. And Caitlyn Jenner famously took a picture of herself going into the bathroom at Trump Tower. So -- and that -- and this to me is also the difference between, when we go back to the Republican Party, where, you know, Donald Trump fundamentally isn't a very social conservative. He has a much more moderate view. And we have not seen that from a Republican nominee for president in a very long time.

  • 10:41:31

    MCGINTYAnd he will pretend at least to have some views that even, while you watch him you say, he doesn't mean what he's saying. And I know the voters must know it. They don't seem to care.

  • 10:41:40

    DAVISYeah. And but there's also this disconnect. Because probably the core, you know, the Republican core of this country is the South. And that is still a very culturally conservative place. But we now have a nominee that is very unlike a lot of the Southern conservatives.

  • 10:41:55

    MCGINTYLet's move on and talk April job numbers. They came out today. And the report wasn't bad but it wasn't great. 160,000 new jobs, but they were expecting 200,000. The labor force shrank by 362,000. Unemployment rate unchanged at 5 percent. Any sense of what that means going forward and perhaps political ramifications?

  • 10:42:14

    KING JR.You're right. It wasn't too bad. It was actually, if you look back, not even to the recession that we knew hit us right before the election in 2008, but in the latter days of the George W. Bush administration, this is a seriously strong job number, 160,000. I mean Bush was routinely posting like 30,000, 40,000. So the one thing we have seen is incredibly long, sustained, robust period of jobs growth. And the wage numbers embedded in there were pretty good too, 2.5 percent on the year.

  • 10:42:45

    KING JR.You know, it's interesting, one thing I did do is just look back. So we're six months out from the election. Where was the unemployment rate six months out from other elections? Five percent now, something like 5 percent -- oddly enough, it was basically the same in 2008. That was before everything fell apart.

  • 10:42:59

    MASONHard to believe that in retrospect.

  • 10:43:00

    KING JR.Yeah. I increasingly think that this is an '88 election, to the extent that you have a two-term president who's becoming more popular, the way Ronald Reagan was becoming more popular in early '88. The unemployment rate had been terrible in the preceding years. It started to get better. The economy was improving. My one point I'll make, which is unlike then or unlike 2000, Barack Obama is going to be out campaigning in a way that we've never seen in our lifetime a president campaign on behalf of a successor. And he's going to be probably 54, 55 percent popularity. That's going to be a big force.

  • 10:43:35

    DAVISOne of the remarkable data points in this election is that Barack Obama's favorability has gone up 10 points since the fall.

  • 10:43:42

    KING JR.Yeah.

  • 10:43:43

    MCGINTYWhat do we attribute that to?

  • 10:43:44

    DAVISI think that part is the coarseness of the presidential primary races and voters' general disgust of politicians and the climate.

  • 10:43:50

    MCGINTYSo he looks better by comparison.

  • 10:43:52

    DAVISHe looks presidential by comparison. And I think he's also -- we're not hearing as much about him. And this is like -- the thing about -- I cover Congress obviously and, when Congress goes out of town for long stretches, their approval ratings go up a little bit. It's like, when people don't hear anything, they like you more. And he has not had the same amount of media coverage he's had because we have a presidential race underway.

  • 10:44:08

    MASONI also think that his base, which was so excited in 2008 and to a lesser extent but still prominent extent in 2012, if finally seeing what they wanted out of Barack Obama in his final year. Because he has let loose. He's saying more and more what he feels. He's doing things like the Cuba trip and Iran and, you know, other promises from 2008 that people have been waiting for, people who were his supporters. And they see that and they're rewarding that in terms of the public opinion.

  • 10:44:40

    MCGINTYBut back to the unemployment rate for just a minute.

  • 10:44:42


  • 10:44:42

    MCGINTYYou mentioned the 2.5 percent growth in wages, certainly good. But a lot of Americans will tell you -- and, in fact, NPR even did a piece this week about wages have been flat or stagnant.

  • 10:44:52

    KING JR.Yeah.

  • 10:44:53

    MCGINTYThey haven't grown much. And people are not feeling like this is a big recovery.

  • 10:44:57

    KING JR.No, absolutely. And I am not trying to make the argument that this is like an incredibly robust economy because it's not. I mean the one number that people point to a lot is the labor force participation rate, which is just the number of people that could be working that actually are. And in this report, it went down to 62.8, which is near the lowest it's been since it started going up substantially in the '70s. So we're -- Republican's like to point out a lot that we're now back in Jimmy Carter territory. But the reason we're back in Jimmy Carter territory is because it peaked about seven years ago and has been going down -- women are leaving the workforce, a lot of, you know, older men are, retirees, et cetera.

  • 10:45:33

    KING JR.So, and there's a lot of softness out there, which is one of the things that really explains the rise of Donald Trump. And there is pain in many parts of the country.

  • 10:45:39

    MASONAlso worth noting that, I mean, because this was the worst jobs report in about seven months, it cast doubt on whether or not the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates.

  • 10:45:48


  • 10:45:48

    MASONAlmost certainly, they won't in June.

  • 10:45:50

    KING JR.Yeah.

  • 10:45:51

    MASONAnd the question is whether they will at all this year.

  • 10:45:53

    MCGINTYAs you survey the partys' platforms, as they are, regarding growing jobs and rising wages, whatever they want to say, does anybody really have any new ideas? Because I look around and I hear the same stuff we've been hearing for the last 12 -- 20 years, and none of it's new.

  • 10:46:10

    DAVISYeah, I mean, certainly for Donald Trump, a lot of his support and a lot of his message has been about jobs. He's a job creator. Look at his own success story. But that has been more narrative than policy driven. I mean we have not really seen -- I don't -- I'm not sure we've ever gotten to a nominee at this point who has put out less meat on their policy provisions. He talks -- I mean, the things he has said, loosely, is that he does believe that wealthy Americans, including himself, should have to pay more taxes and that more tax revenue will be -- will allow for more spending for programs that will help people. He wants to protect Medicare. He does not want to overhaul it in the way that Paul Ryan does.

  • 10:46:45

    DAVISAnd, in some ways, he's not very conservative at all. He has more -- he's more similar to Hillary Clinton on economic fees.

  • 10:46:51

    KING JR.Well, except for the thing that really sets him apart is he is just really, really forceful in the rhetoric that he used. He talks, as we've mentioned before, about punitively going after companies, like Carrier, the air-conditioning company that is going to move a factory to Mexico, he's going to punish them. It is very unusual Republican talk. And he's incredibly hardcore on trade, on bashing NAFTA, on saying he's going to go after the Chinese, on saying he's going to bring jobs back to the United States. That's what he talks about more than anything. And it's not really a policy because you say, okay, great, how are you going to do that? But it obviously is resonating.

  • 10:47:24

    DAVISAnd those policies, in fact, economists say, would actually hurt the economy more. Huge tariffs on China, deportation policies, I mean, these would actually be net negatives for the U.S. economy. But that has not affected voters.

  • 10:47:35

    MASONWhen, also -- I mean, back to your point about new ideas, a lot of it is about rhetoric and about just hearing what the candidates are emphasizing. And I remember Hillary Clinton appearing on Jimmy Fallon's show one night and him asking her, just in a nutshell, what's the core of your campaign? And she said, raising people's wages. So she knows people want to hear that and that's certainly something that the Democrats are going to focus on.

  • 10:47:57

    MCGINTYThey can focus on it again. I'm just waiting for a really detailed idea on how you're going to do it, when the economy seems to have changed in fundamental ways...

  • 10:48:04

    KING JR.Sure.

  • 10:48:04


  • 10:48:05

    MCGINTY...that it's just not going back to how it was. And I kind of despair as to whether anybody's got any real ideas on how to fix it.

  • 10:48:11

    KING JR.I agree with you entirely. And the whole, make America great again, which is the Trump thing, he really -- you know, The New York Times asked him a fascinating question when they interviewed him a month ago or so, they said, when was the last time America was great? And he said, the late '50s.

  • 10:48:24

    MCGINTYOh, my goodness. I can definitely think of some folks in my family who would not agree.

  • 10:48:28


  • 10:48:29

    MCGINTYLet's take some more phone calls at 800-433-8850. Don Hudson in New Hampshire, you're on the air.

  • 10:48:35

    DONYes. Thank you for taking my call. This has to do with the bathroom issues. As I explained to the person I talked to earlier, I guess I just seem a little crazy that what I seem to hear is one-sided, where I realize there are groups of people that believe or feel that they are of a particular gender, even though they may have different plumbing. However, from my perspective, I would feel very uncomfortable with a woman going into the bathroom with me, believing that because she believes or feels that she's male, she can go in. I don't know what is happening to our society and world. I think we're buying into the book that was published a long time ago, King and His New Set of Clothes, where somebody says something. And we go off...

  • 10:49:36

    MCGINTYWell, Don, let me...

  • 10:49:37

    DON...with a law that doing that, that...

  • 10:49:39

    MCGINTYGo ahead.

  • 10:49:39

    DONGo ahead.

  • 10:49:40

    MCGINTYOh, I just wanted to say, let me put this to you. I would say a couple of things. First of all, I wouldn't be surprised if it's happened before and you just didn't know. I mean, no -- you're not going to know who's in the bathroom with you or not with you at the same time. But the other point I would make is what is it exactly you think would happen bad if a transgendered man were to come in the bathroom with you?

  • 10:50:03

    DONOh, I'm not saying there's anything bad. But ask me if I feel comfortable with it. And the answer is no. So what about my feelings, my concerns? I didn't say anything was bad. I'm saying I don't feel comfortable with it.

  • 10:50:18

    MCGINTYAll right, Don.

  • 10:50:19

    DONSo now you've got two sets. You want somebody coming in and somebody who's in there feeling uncomfortable.

  • 10:50:26

    MCGINTYAll right.

  • 10:50:28

    DAVISWell, I would say that there's a -- certainly, if he feels uncomfortable, he has the right to feel uncomfortable. At least the Justice Department argument is and the legal argument that they have brought to North Carolina is that the law is a violation of Civil Rights Law and that it allows for sex discrimination and that is against United States law.

  • 10:50:47

    MCGINTYHmm. You know, I guess, certainly, one of the big issues -- there aren't very many transgendered people, relatively speaking, in this country. I think the number is like 700,000. And out of 300-and-some-odd million people, that's just not that many. And it's not an experience most people can relate to, right? None of us -- if you're not in that position, you can't understand how somebody wants to be a different gender. You can't get there mentally. It's just very difficult. So I think that, you know, that's where a lot of our discomfort comes from. But, as it was pointed out to me, you know, imagine how uncomfortable that person is. And that might be something to think about as well.

  • 10:51:21

    MASONWell, and to reinforce what Susan said, their rights are protected. And their rights are protected under federal law. And that is why the Justice Department has weighed-in in the way that it did.

  • 10:51:32

    MCGINTYThe number here is 800-433-8850. We're having a conversation about the stories of the week. And we've got about six or seven minutes left to get into it. And my guests here in the studio, Jeff Mason is with Reuters...

  • 10:51:47

    MASONFirst on your list.

  • 10:51:47

    MCGINTYThe first on the list. Susan Davis is a congressional reporter at NPR. And Neil King, Jr., is global economics editor and deputy Washington bureau chief at The Wall Street Journal. Keep in mind, we are streaming on Facebook today, so you can take a look at us if you wish at Diane Rehm on Facebook. And our number is 800-433-8850. Let's take one more quick phone call from Al in Brattleboro, Vt. You're on the air, Al.

  • 10:52:17

    ALWell, yes. Thank you for taking my call, Derek. I do own a home in New Hampshire, the Live Free or Die State. So maybe Don needs to look for other residence. But I, in the later years in my life, I was a caretaker for my mother. And I used the bathrooms very often with her because she needed assistance. She was on a walker and had other difficulties. And I even knocked at the door and I never, ever, in all the time that I took care of her, had a woman say, don't come in. They were very, very understanding and they didn't seem to have any problem with it at all.

  • 10:52:58

    ALIn earlier years, when I was in college, I was the only male living in an all-women's dorm. And I had no problem using the bathrooms there. Everybody was welcoming, including the Southern debs.

  • 10:53:12

    MCGINTYAll right, Al. We appreciate the phone call. Again, you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." All right, let's continue our conversation. We have gotten to most of our big stories for the day. So let's go back to the phones. Mary, in New Hampshire, you're on the air. Go ahead.

  • 10:53:27

    MARYYes. I just wanted to just mention that, what happens when you take the words that you've all said as Donald Trump's lack of political correctness and substitute the word civility -- his lack of civility? And then what happens as a leader moving forward, God forbid, he's elected president and we have someone who is completely uncivilized as the leader of the free world? We're just setting ourselves up for another Berlusconi, our own Berlusconi, our own, you know, Ferdinand Marcos.

  • 10:53:59

    MARYAnd the other comment I wanted to make was that the reason why President Obama's ratings are shooting through the roof is because he's a civilized leader. Every conversation he's ever had, every time he approaches the microphone, he approaches it with great care as to what he's putting out, his message, and what that reflects upon us as a country. And Donald Trump is a racist. And you guys were all chuckling kind of about it before. And I just feel like, I felt a little bit ashamed. Like, where...

  • 10:54:35

    MCGINTYAshamed of us? Ashamed of the nation? What are you ashamed of?

  • 10:54:38

    MARYThe discourse in this country concerning this election.

  • 10:54:41

    MCGINTYAll right, let's talk about that.

  • 10:54:42

    KING JR.I do think there's an aspect to which Donald Trump, because where he's come from and the fact that he was known by basically everybody even before he got into the election, and because there's a humorous aspect to him, you know, the tweet yesterday that we were talking about. He elicits both groans from a lot of people, horror from people, but he also elicits a lot of sort of humorous responses. And this criticism, which she very well stated, is out there a lot, that people are kind of sloughing him off a little bit and in ways that don't really even do him justice.

  • 10:55:11

    KING JR.I think the civility thing is very interesting. It kind of goes to the point of what Paul Ryan might have been saying in terms of our -- doesn't bear our standards. And we're just going to have to see how it actually plays out, whether that, in itself, is a really important factor. And you see his negatives are extremely high at the moment among women, among suburban voters, among constituencies where you would think just the sort of basics of how you come off might matter.

  • 10:55:34

    MASONI also think that the issue that the caller raises will be highlighted by Hillary Clinton in her campaign.

  • 10:55:40

    MCGINTYOh, yeah.

  • 10:55:41

    MASONAnd you saw, this week, I think she did an interview with CNN where she essentially said the Republican primary opponents of Donald Trump just didn't know how to take him on and weren't strong enough and weren't robust enough in how they dealt with him. And she definitely signaled that's not a problem she expects to have. And I'm sure that this argument of civility, in addition to the highlight reel that Neil referred to earlier, the things that he's said so far, will play very prominently in their argument against Trump and for her.

  • 10:56:07

    MCGINTYDo you think she can be shouted down by that overwhelming Trump presence? I mean, you're right, that's what she's going to go after. But he said, himself, I'm going to hit her hard.

  • 10:56:18

    DAVISHe -- I'm sure he will try. I'm sure there will be attacks made. I think one thing that we look at already is that when he dismissed her support as being gender based, that she was only winning because she was a woman, that it was a boon for Hillary Clinton both in terms of fundraising and supporters. I don't think you can underestimate the strength of female voters in this country and how important they are to winning. And so he...

  • 10:56:39

    MASONAnd saying, I love women or I love Hispanics is -- just doesn't make up that deficit.

  • 10:56:41 not necessarily the way to win them over.

  • 10:56:44


  • 10:56:45

    DAVISSo, you know, civility has not necessarily played out in the primaries, although I would say that civility isn't -- always has the place in the primaries. The primaries are supposed to be sort of bruising, internal party struggles. I think that argument of civility and who is ready to be commander in chief is absolutely going to be a cornerstone of the general election argument.

  • 10:57:02

    MCGINTYSusan Davis, congressional reporter with NPR, Jeff Mason, White House correspondent with Reuters, and Neil King, Jr., global economics editor, deputy Washington bureau chief at The Wall Street Journal. Folks, thank you.

  • 10:57:13

    DAVISThanks, Derek.

  • 10:57:14

    KING JR.Hey, Derek, thanks.

  • 10:57:14


  • 10:57:15

    MCGINTYGreat conversation. We had some fun today. And hopefully we gave out some good insightful information. I'm Derek McGinty. I'm sitting in for Diane Rehm. I want to thank you for listening. Bye-bye.

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