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Trump Plays Own Publicist; Allies Frightened by Trump Presidency; The War Over Transgender Bathrooms. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired May 14, 2016 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "Smerconish" starts right now.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Michael Smerconish. Who's this guy kidding? Of course it's him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFED MALE: Where did you come from?
UNIDENTIFED MALE: I was basically work for different firms. I work for a couple of different firms and I'm somebody that knows and I think somebody that crosses the line.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Here with me today, the "People" magazine reporter who interviewed this guy in 1991 calling himself John Miller. She's got an amazing theory as to why this tape suddenly surfaced.
And the only thing stranger than the presumptive Republican nominee pretending to be his own publicist when talking to a reporter on a recorded phone call is his refusal to fess up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It was not me on the phone. It was not me on the phone and it doesn't sound like me on the phone, I will tell you that, and it was not me on the phone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: So how do our allies view a potential Trump candidacy? I'll ask Richard Clarke who served as counter terrorism czar to both the democratic and Republican president.
Plus, anti gay marriage amendments once held Karl Rove fire up the conservative base and get voters to the polls. Will this year's defining issue be transgender bathrooms?
But first, I wonder what Paul Ryan and other reluctant Republicans are thinking about Donald Trump today. The week began triumphantly for Trump having vanquished all of his Republican opponents Trump began a trip to Washington to begin a reproachment with the House Speaker who's not only the GOP leader in town and will be the convention chair but also embodies those within the GOP who still have reservations about the billionaire businessman.
The meeting was both substantive and symbolic. By all accounts it went well. When it ended Ryan was closer to an endorsement of Trump. Just as Dan Quayle was coming aboard. Even Lindsay Graham was softening his tone. And then things took bizarre turns.
First, the butler did it. Trump's former valet was caught making racist statements about President Obama which Trump correctly disavowed. But then Trump was confronted with a voice from his past, his own. In 1991, speaking to a "People" magazine reporter seeking information about Trump's love life, he posed as a PR executive named John Miller without masking the intonation and word choice that we've come to know from the mogul.
It includes brags about how prominent women including Madonna were all pursuing Trump. The only thing stranger than his phony phone call was his defiance of all of our ears when he said it wasn't him. And finally when the first presidential candidate in 40 years to not release tax returns was asked about his tax bracket he got all snippy and said it was none of our business.
So the week ends with 177 days left until election and those Republicans who were warming to Trump with renewed buyer's remorse about his candidacy and concerns over what else is to come, not that Trump's core constituency will care about what the candidate has called a low attack from the media, but you have to wonder how any of this is going to help him grow that base.
Then again even back in 1991, John Miller claimed bad press never hurts Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFED MALE: I've never seen somebody that's immune to, you know, some people would say he got bad press three or four months ago. Now he's starting to get good press. I don't know what you call this, but I've never seen somebody so immune to -- he actually thrived on the bad press initially.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Joining me now is Sue Carswell, the former "People" magazine reporter to whom Trump gave the now infamous interview, currently reporter/researcher for "Vanity Fair." Did you release this tape?
SUE CARSWELL, REPORTER, "VANITY FAIR": No.
SMERCONISH: Did you have the tape? I mean, how did it get into play?
CARSWELL: All right. Two people had the tape. I had the tape and Trump had a tape and I don't have the tape.
SMERCONISH: How do you think it got into play?
CARSWELL: Well, it didn't get to the "Washington Post" through me. SMERCONISH: So?
SMERCONISH: You think Trump dropped this tape?
Why would he do that?
CARSWELL: Look what's going on this week. Taxes, Paul Ryan, the butler -- the butler did it and now Trump seems to like to pull "People" magazine type stories into the array.
SMERCONISH: So here's your thought. It's a continuation of what John Miller told you back in 1991, that there's no such thing as bad publicity, so Trump now getting banged over the taxes, the butler comes out and says outrageous things about President Obama, he figures you know what? A little diversion here is in order?
CARSWELL: Yes, but what's so weird, 25 years and all of a sudden this comes forward. There's no reason for it to come forward at all.
SMERCONISH: There's not been some Watergate break in at your apartment or someone could have --
CARSWELL: This is Watergate going on right now, Michael.
SMERCONISH: Well, you know, there are some who are watching and I think everybody is transfixed by it, but some who say, come one, what's the relevance, who cares?
CARSWELL: Who cares? I mean, he's running for president. It's all about the character of a president and you know, whether he should be in the Oval Office being able to, you know, run this country and -- and is he going to still be punking us when he's president?
SMERCONISH: Let's go back to what happened. It's 1991, you're with "People" magazine. He's got some domestic discord, you call Trump's office and what happens?
CARSWELL: I called his office and asked to speak with Trump about the tabloid headlines that he had dumped Marla for Carla Bruni, and I got a call back from a spokesperson who claimed he was John Miller and who sounded -- and I said you sound just like Trump. It's remarkable that he was able to, you know, hire a publicist that sounded just like him, and he said well, you know, I just come from places. He wasn't very specific. And I had my list of questions so I just went on with them.
SMERCONISH: But your antenna were immediately raised?
CARSWELL: Well, I was like this is uncanny.
CARSWELL: So we talked and then I made it go a little longer and then I got off the phone and I immediately walked down the halls and I said this is Trump. This is Trump. And then we had a call and got three confirmations and we called Cindy Adams from the "New York Post" who said "That's Trump, what's he doing." And then we called another person and I called Marla who just cried when I played the tape for her.
SMERCONISH: She was then the girlfriend and was?
CARSWELL: She had a so-called engagement ring she had thought.
SMERCONISH: And he said, what about that?
What is it that so upset her?
CARSWELL: What so upset her about --
When you played the tape why was she so upset to hear it.
CARSWELL: To hear that he was dating everybody in the world except for her.
SMERCONISH: Including perhaps Madonna in combat boots? I mean, it's got all the elements. Come on.
CARSWELL: And Kim Bassinger.
SMERCONISH: And so when you write the story, to your credit you say Trump says "good-bye Marla, hello Carla" and a mysterious PR man who sounds just like Donald. So you outed him at the time.
SMERCONISH: Did he then fess up?
CARSWELL: Two weeks later.
SMERCONISH: He did?
CARSWELL: Yes. He apologized to the magazine and he said "I'm sorry." And he said he had disturbed -- this had disturbed Marla greatly.
SMERCONISH: Let me put on the screen what "People" magazine the published at the time. Quote, "The John Miller fiasco, he called, he Trump called a joke gone awry." So explain to me why you think if he admitted it at the time he's on the "Today Show" yesterday saying that wasn't me. It doesn't even sound like me.
CARSWELL: This is a guy who gets up at like 4:00 in the morning. I mean, he should have been more with it than --
SMERCONISH: You think he was caught offguard?
CARSWELL: I think he was caught offguard, but then again as I said, I didn't release the tape. I believe he did.
SMERCONISH: Just to distract our attention from all the other things that have now been published about him?
CARSWELL: Yes. Yes.
SMERCONISH: You know that some people -- well, actually, there's another aspect of this story. So you write the followup, but you had an interaction with him before you wrote the followup.
CARSWELL: I had an interaction with him after the followup. About a month after the followup story.
SMERCONISH: Tell us about that.
CARSWELL: Right after the followup story I went out on the town with him and Marla and another editor from "People" magazine and we went to the hottest nightclub at that time. I don't remember the name, and you know, we rode around the town in his stretch limousine and we went to this club and he did small talk in the limousine and it was like where are you from, Albany, the best city.
SMERCONISH: The best, huge.
CARSWELL: Huge city. Where did you go to school? University of Vermont. Great, everything was just great and wonderful.
SMERCONISH: Was it an implicit apology?
SMERCONISH: Already "People" magazine had said that he'd apologized for the --
CARSWELL: Yes, there was no reason for me to be going out with Trump and Marla --
SMERCONISH: Other than to make it up to you.
SMERCONISH: He pranked you.
CARSWELL: He's not a guy who goes out.
SMERCONISH: Right. I don't know if this is a guy thing. Did you make phony phone calls when you were a kid? Did you ever call the drugstore and say do you have Prince Albert in a can? You better let him out or he'll suffocate?
CARSWELL: I used to call and say that the Russian spies are in the neighbourhood.
SMERCONISH: Creative but then again you probably weren't 44, a parent of three and now running for president of the United States.
SMERCONISH: When a Trump spokesperson comes on next and says to me you should be talking about Hillary's e-mails, my response should be what? Why am I talking about this and not that?
CARSWELL: What do you mean?
SMERCONISH: Well, is this overblown?
CARSWELL: This story now?
CARSWELL: No, I don't think so. It says lot about Trump.
SMERCONISH: What does it say about him?
CARSWELL: I think we should be concerned about his judgment and the fact that he could pull things like this in the future. I mean, who's to say that he won't pull another one? I don't think he is going to use John Miller or John Barren, but he could do this in the future.
SMERCONISH: One other thing I want to show you --
CARSWELL: He could do this to Putin.
SMERCONISH: If I can show you, it's not just "People" magazine that I'll take your word he was punking. Can we put up the "New York Times." He used John Miller with you, but look at this. This is now a John Barren quote in the "New York Times," April 6th, 1980. "The merit of these stones was not great enough to justify the effort to save them."
This is him talking, I think about bond. So it's not just you. It wasn't a one-off is my point.
SMERCONISH: He was apparently playing this game with all of the media including "The Washington Post" and "The New York Times" and was able to pull off one over on them as well.
CARSWELL: Yes. We're all in the same club.
SMERCONISH: Well, you're in good company, I guess. Thank you for being here. Sue Carswell. I really appreciate it.
What do you think of this? Are we ready for a president who calls up a bar and says "will you please page Seymour Butts?" Tweet me your thoughts @smerconish and I will read some later in the program.
Here's an early one.
"Donald leaked the recording. No rallies scheduled, signed John Miller. Look, John Miller is already tweeting at me all over this issue.
I know where my next guest stands. She regularly defends Donald Trump. Scottie Nell Hughes is the political editor of rightalerts.com. Scottie, I want to beat you to the punch. I might be talking about Hillary's e-mail today if only Donald Trump had gone on the "Today" show yesterday and said "of course, it's me." Why didn't he do that?
SCOTTIE NELL HUGHEES, NATIONAL POLITICAL COMMENTATOR FOR RADIO USA NETWORKS: Of course you would be talking about Hillary Clinton's e- mail today. We know that. But this is what we're choosing to talk about today and yes, Mr. Trump yesterday did not help the situation by saying yes or no. So we're going to continue the conversation and let's do it.
I do have to talk about some something that Sue Carswell said though. A little fact that kind of, a red flag went up. When she said she had the tape and Mr. Trump had the tape and yet she turned around and called others and played that tape. Who's to know those folks, you know, I had to wonder how Mr. Trump had that tape or did this publicist whoever this man is if he exists maybe he's the one that released the tape. I think she's (INAUDIBLE).
SMERCONISH: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Stop the clock. You just said if this publicist exists. I should have said at the outset of the program that I have invited to be here today both John Miller and John Barren, preferably seated on set at the same time together, wouldn't that be interesting and we didn't get any reply from Donald Trump's office. You know that if they existed, he would have produced them by now. We're not going to really go there, are we?
HUGHES: Not necessarily. I have to say it's kind of ludicrous at this thought that he's the one that released this. I mean, the fact is this came out in the "Washington Post" the next day after they announced they were going to assign 20 reporters to go in there and go through, comb through every bit of piece of Donald Trump's history and the next morning they come out with this.
This is just one of the many long strings I think articles like the "Washington Post" are going to put out to try to distract from the real issues which by the way, one of those are Hillary Clinton's e- mails that we should be talking about in this presidential campaign.
But hey, more power to Jeff Bezos. He's sitting there and directing his "Washington Post" to go after Mr. Trump, maybe for reasons because he owns amazon.com and Mr. Trump has not been too discrete in saying that he might have some tax issues or some anti-trust issues down the road. I mean, this is all about keeping your own pocket, making sure your own pocket is protected and not necessarily for what's best for the American public and what the American people wants.
SMERCONISH: But isn't it all about credibility? I mean, come on, I played these games but I was 12 and 13 at the time. He's a 44-year- old man and by the way, he's not just opening up the phone book and pranking people. He's calling and misrepresenting himself and Scottie, here's what troubles me the most about it. It makes me wonder if he did it in more serious circumstances like OK, he's in a nasty divorce or whatever was going on in his domestic world. Doesn't it raise a concern in your mind that in a more serious posture he could have misrepresented himself on the phone?
HUGHES: See this, you're still assuming -- you're still saying he did it. Here's what I've noticed over the last 24 hours.
SMERCONISH: How could you say he's not doing it? Did you hear the tape?
HUGHES: If you are sitting there and you are pro Mr. Trump you say it's not him. If you are against Mr. Trump, you say it is him. So depending on what side, it hasn't changed anybody's mind. And you pointed that out in your own monologue. This has not changed anybody's mind. The question is is whether we're going to have to focus on these kind of stories if it takes us off the narrative of the unifying meeting that happened with Ryan, Priebus and the GOP this week or the nine House leadership Republican members that endorsed Mr. Trump yesterday or all of the issues that we have with the Clinton campaign, are we going to focus on petty little issues like this and sure, you may have the idea that possibly down the road -- before, he may have misrepresented himself on a more serious issue. I'm still under the assumption. I'm going to take Mr. Trump for what he said. This is not him and until he comes out or you can 100 percent stake your life on it and prove that he is lying I have no other reason not to believe him.
SMERCONISH: Final quick question for you. Perhaps you heard me say at the outset of the program, I wonder what Paul Ryan is thinking today. This has got to give Paul Ryan and others buyer's remorse just as the party seems to be coalescing around Trump, don't you think?
HUGHES: Absolutely not. This right here speaks why Mr. Trump is number one. This is a news outlet purposely targeting, "The Washington Post," Mr. Trump, not hiding it, not being afraid to sit there and say it. Four of their five trending stories this morning, Michael, are anti-Trump stories. This just feeds into the idea that the establishment media despises Mr. Trump, hence why they are so scared of him getting into power.
SMERCONISH: Scottie Nell Hughes, thank you so much for being here.
HUGHES: Thank you, Michael.
SMERCONISH: So what might cause a then 44-year-old father of three to impersonate his publicist?
My next guest wrote the book "Anatomy of a Secret Life, the Psychology of Living a Lie." Welcome back to the program, Dr. Gail Saltz. Where in the DSM, do I turn to find this?
DR. GAIL SALTZ, PSYCHIATRIST: Let me first say I cannot diagnose Donald Trump. I don't know Donald Trump but I would say that someone who spends time creating a very grandiose view of themselves, you know, I'm the best in business, I'm sexually the best, all the women want me, and will break the rules, lie, do something unethical for the purpose o4 that, it certainly makes you think about intense narcissism. Everything has to refer to me, and I have to be the best.
SMERCONISH: What might that say, if anything, about his judgment as, say, a commander in chief? I mean, would it worry you to know that those characteristics are a part of him?
SALTZ: It depends. Interestingly, if you look at past presidents, great presidents, presidents who ranked as the greatest, being grandiose or being very, very confident and believing in your skills actually correlates with greatness in presidents. However when it also moved into being incredibly self-centered, in other words, no empathy, everything has to refer to me, I always have to be at the center and has to be about me, that did not correlate with greatness. So the question is, where does it fall out there tells you a lot about what would make a great leader, let's say.
SMERCONISH: But if John Miller and John Barren don't exist and are Donald Trump, it makes me think of the statement that he's offered so often in this campaign where he says he'll surround himself with good people, perhaps his idea of good people are Misters Barren and Miller, meaning there's nobody, listen to this, because this is my armchair psychiatrist point.
SMERCONISH: There's nobody that I can surround myself with because I'm the man, I'm not yielding to anybody's judgment. I'm going to rely on Barren and Miller?
SALTZ: Well, if that was the case that would be a problem in that flexibility of thought and ability to take in new data and have flexible movement about your thought is important to great leadership. It really is. So that would be concerning. But I will tell you this. The American people right now, I think are very conflicted about whether they want a leader who is really a good guy, who always tells the truth, who wears the white hat, if they're going to send them out to deal with the Putins and the people that we think maybe aren't so on the up and up, do break the rules, aren't so moral. I think people are really conflicted about whether they want a good leader.
SMERCONISH: Maybe they say Putin is a mischievous guy. Maybe we need a little bit of that arsenal. Final question for you. Quick one, if you don't' mind. What does it say about his core constituency if I'm right that they won't give a damn about this?
SALTZ: Not surprising at all. People take in information to the prism of the though they already have. So if you're vastly conservative, you hear everything through that prism. If you're vastly liberal you hear everything through that prism and very few people are open to hearing new information and have it change their mind.
SMERCONISH: That is sad. That is sad. I believe that and yet it's a very sad comment I think about where this race stands.
SALTZ: That is the human brain.
SMERCONISH: Right. I'm sure this is all part of a liberal hit job is what they'll be saying the minute that our segment ends. Dr. Gail Saltz, thank you so much for being here. I appreciate it very much.
SMERCONISH: What a mega rich topic, right? Keep those tweets coming @smerconish and coming up, Richard Clark, he served both democratic and Republican presidents as the counter terrorism czar. Would he do the same for Donald Trump?
And the Obama administration still hasn't released 28 pages from a congressional inquiry into 9/11 that allegedly implicates Saudi Arabia. Are we any closer to finally seeing those pages? Senator Bob Graham is here. Here's what one of you thought of my conversation about Trump.
@realDonaldTrump really is a job creator. "Just look at the one he invented for John Miller." For John Miller and for John Barren.
SMERCONISH: New accusations this week about potential Saudi involvement in 9/11. John Layman, a member of the 9/11 commmission told CNN on Thursday that the classified 28 pages of a congressional investigatory report into the attacks do contain evidence that as many as six Saudi officials supported Al Qaeda in the runup to the attacks. CIA director John Brennan doesn't want those pages released. Here's Brennan on "Meet the Press" earlier this month.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: I think some people may seize upon that uncorroborated, unveted information was in there that was basically just a colation of this information that came out of FBI files and to point to Saudi involvement which I think would be very, very inaccurate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Bob Graham is the former chair of the Senate intelligence committee. He's long advocated the release of the 28 pages.
Joining me now is Senator Bob Graham. Senator, when I heard him say that I was thinking of Jack Nicholson saying "you can't handle the truth." Is that the point that he's trying to make?
BOB GRAHAM, FMR. U.S. SENATOR & GOVERNOR FLORIDA (D): I guess that's the point he's trying to make. I think he has added another explanation for why we've gone 13 years without this being made available to the American people, that the American people aren't smart enough to understand.
I frankly think that the reasons primarily have to do with our -- the effect that this may have on our relationship with Saudi Arabia and the public perception of some of the intelligence agency's competence.
SMERCONISH: You wrote for "The Washington Post" this week and you said that release of the 28 pages might shed light on some outstanding questions including this. Should we believe that the 19 hijackers most of whom spoke little English, had limited education had never before visited the United States, acted alone in perpetuating the sophisticated 9/11 plot. Do you, Senator Graham, believe they did not act alone?
GRAHAM: Of course not. And no one who has studied this case closely thinks it's plausible that these 19 people who had all the characteristics you've just read could have completed the planning, gone through the practicing, executed the plot and over an extended period of time in the case of some, a year and a half, were able to maintain their anonymity while they were in the United States.
We haven't assumed that in Paris, in Brussels or in San Bernardino. In fact, some of the first questions after the tragedies occurred was who helped these people do it.
SMERCONISH: Senator Graham, if the 28 pages are released next month, and there are unanswered questions and perhaps a human cry from the American people, what should happen next?
GRAHAM: Well, I've advocated for many years that we need to reopen the 9/11 inquiry. There's much more information available today than there was in 2002. We would be at a much better position to write the final chapters of what happened on 9/11 today than we were 13 or 14 years ago.
SMERCONISH: I'm optimistic that next month we're going to see those 28 pages. Then I can have Senator Graham come back and explain them to the American people right on this program.
GRAHAM: Great. Thank you, Michael. I look forward to it. The sooner, the better.
SMERCONISH: For more on the missing 28 pages I want to bring in Richard Clarke. When 9/11 happened, he was the counter terrorism czar, the paper back of his most recent novel, "Pinnacle Event" just came out and he joins me now. So should we see the American people? Should we see those pages?
RICHARD CLARKE, FORMER COUNTERTERRORISM CZAR: Absolutely. I believe in transparency and you know, rumors and conspiracy theories thrive when there are things that are withheld. So absolutely, put them out. But put them out with an accompanying text that provides context and explanation. And says for this allegation, we found the following. And say what the information is. SMERCONISH: Mr. Clarke, on September 11 you were the guy. You were the counter terrorism czar on September 11. Have you given thought to the way in which a president Donald Trump would have reacted that day?
CLARKE: I have. It's a little disturbing. When something like this happens you have to have trained experienced people at the helm. You can't be making decisions on the fly. Those of us who ran the crisis that day had trained to do it. We had had simulations and exercises for years, training for this kind of possibility.
And we had the vice president running things in the other wing of the White House who had been the secretary of Defense, and prior to that had been chief of staff of the White House. We had experienced hands all around the government. And frankly, all the experienced hands that I know in Washington say they won't work for Donald Trump. So I don't know who he's going to get.
SMERCONISH: Well, he says he'll surround - himself with good people. If he were to call Richard Clarke and say I'd like the benefit of your counsel would you respond to that call?
CLARKE: Yes, I would say hell no.
SMERCONISH: You wouldn't want to serve, you wouldn't want to provide any advice to Donald Trump.
CLARKE: I don't think it would do any good. I think it would go in one ear and out the other. I think in a crisis he would respond impulsively. I don't think he'll be able to get good people to surround himself with.
SMERCONISH: We hear that there is angst among some of our allies at the prospect of working with a President Trump. You're in the know, what do you hear?
CLARKE: That's putting it mildly. Most of our allies in the Middle East, in East Asia, in Europe are frightened, very frightened at the prospect. Because there's one thing the president can do. You know, he doesn't have to go to Congress or she doesn't have to go to Congress to get permission to use the U.S. military and the U.S. intelligence apparatus. They can pick up the phone and issue orders and there's very little buffer. So you need someone who is experienced, someone who is restrained, someone who understands national security.
SMERCONISH: What is it that you think that he least understands and appreciates?
CLARKE: I think the use of force. And the ramifications of the use of force.
[09:30:00] He's talking about it's OK if Japan and South Korea get nuclear weapons. No, it's not. We've been trying for 50 years to prevent that. That would cause an enormous amount of instability and possibly lead to war that would suck the United States in because we have forces in both South Korea and in Japan. SMERCONISH: Final question with regard to Donald Trump. Is there a
vice presidential selection that he could make that would mitigate the concerns of Richard Clarke? And if so, who?
CLARKE: Well, I don't think anybody who is experienced in this business will serve with him. There's already been a long list of Republican national security people, people who served in the Bush administration and the Reagan administration, who say they won't serve in his administration, they won't advise him. I don't know of anybody among my old Republican friends who will be willing to do it.
SMERCONISH: "Pinnacle Event" has just come out in paperback. Why have you again turned to fiction to make very serious points?
CLARKE: Well, "Pinnacle Event" is about the 2016 election. It raises the question, what would happen if the U.S. government became aware during the election campaign of a terrorist plot? And what if that terrorist plot might involve nuclear weapons?
I think it's far easier to explain these issues, frankly, Michael, in fiction than it is in dry prose.
SMERCONISH: If you had written about this current campaign and put it in your novel, your publicist, your publisher, your agent would all have said, you know, Richard, it's a little too far-fetched.
CLARKE: I wouldn't have gotten it published. I started writing this book, two years ago, and I know the folks at St. Martin's press would have laughed if I had submitted someone like Donald Trump running for president.
SMERCONISH: Richard Clarke, thank you. Best of luck with the book.
CLARKE: Thank you, Michael.
SMERCONISH: Still to come, the Justice Department has now weighed in on the hot button issue this election cycle, access to bathrooms for transgender people. Why is this so contentious? I will talk to transgender Zoey Tur.
And here's one of your tweets. Oh, my. You people are disgusting. You'll do anything to bring down a good man. Trash, liars, losers.
Hey, let me say this. You give me a tape of Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders misrepresenting themselves, I'll play it.
[09:36:48] SMERCONISH: The Obama administration has sent out a directive to every public school in the country to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity. It's the latest development in what's become the civil rights issue of the 2016 campaign.
While not the same as a law, the directive implies that non-compliant schools could face lawsuits or a loss of federal aid as is happening with the state of North Carolina. How will this impact the evolving landscape for gays, for lesbians, bisexual and transgender people, and will it create pushback?
Joining me now, the person who as Bob Tur covered the O.J. Simpson chase piloting a helicopter, reporter Zoey Tur.
Zoey, thanks for being here.
When did you first start using the ladies' room?
ZOEY TUR, TRANSGENDER JOURNALIST: Well, it was after transitioning. It was after two surgeries, cranial surgery and then sexual reassignment surgery. So, that's when I had crossed the Rubicon, I couldn't go back, so that's when I felt comfortable using a women's only space.
SMERCONISH: Any issue, have you had any incident? I' heard many say this is a solution in search of a problem. Meaning that nobody, apart from the transgender community, there's not been any violence or victimization of a physical kind associated with this.
TUR: No, there hasn't. What you're really -- really to put it in perspective, never have so many cared so much about so few for so little. I mean, we're literally talking about -- there's 64 million K through 12 students in the United States, and we're talking maybe about a few hundred cases of transgender students wanting to use a restroom that doesn't necessarily correspond with their birth gender?
I mean, this is ridiculous. And to subject -- like Governor McCrory reaching into the pockets of taxpayers so he can feed his ego with this bill, you know, its' a disservice to the students of his state that might lose, you know, Title 9 money. It makes no sense.
SMERCONISH: Do you worry this will become a cultural edge issue for 2016?
TUR: Oh, it already has. What we're seeing is the blowback from gay marriage. We're now being subjected to Jim Crow style laws. You know, every civil rights issue has always evolved around the restroom.
Remember back in the day of the 45th governor of Alabama, you know, George Crowley Wallace, they made claims of black men would enter, you know, women's restrooms and rape them. And those claims were made and now they're making against people like me, and there's no documented case. I've searched.
And you're more likely to have a problem, you know, with a priest.
SMERCONISH: What occurs to me, and I know that you pay close attention to the political situation, is that to the extent it becomes a cultural wedge issue, it won't have the support, I think, of Donald Trump who said recently that Caitlyn Jenner could come to Trump Tower and use whatever restroom she chooses.
[09:40:02] TUR: It's not something he cares about. And I applaud him for that. It's one of the few things I have to agree on. It's really a non-issue.
And it's all men complaining, it's not women. And it's the ultimate misogyny where men feel like they need to protect men from women. You know, come on.
Men, deal with your own stuff. Let women deal with their own issues. Women don't seem to have an issue.
SMERCONISH: I have solved this problem. #stallsforall.
One more question for Zoey, if I might. What happens in the circumstance -- I read the directive from the administration. What happens in the circumstance where there is not parental support of the transgendered youth, right? So mom and dad are not cool with this, but the boy or the girl wishes for this to take place in the school. Have you thought about that?
TUR: Well, I would imagine in many cases, parents will not be cool with the idea of their child transitioning unless it's been something that's been going on for, you know, since they were age six.
But, you know, at the end of the day, it really is going to be up to the student. And I think they'll get Title 9 support because there are Supreme Court decisions on this going back to Title 9 cases back to Groves College. So, things have already been litigated. And I think -- why didn't North Carolina bother to research federal law? I mean, they're going to lose.
SMERCONISH: Zoey, thanks for being here.
TUR: Of course.
SMERCONISH: Coming up next, how these famous raised fists at the 1968 Olympics relate to the raised fists that got these West Point cadets in trouble. And more of your tweets.
[09:46:01] SMERCONISH: Sixteen West Point cadets just got in trouble for raising their fists. They were posing for this picture. An old corps photograph, it's a West Point tradition, contemporary seniors imitating these 19th century cadets. But because of the fists, some assume the salute was intended to show sympathy with Black Lives Matter.
Did it violate a Defense Department directive prohibiting partisan political activity?
An academy investigation determined that the photo was spur of the moment and not a preplanned political statement. The cadets will graduate on time but must first receive counseling.
Now, this reminded me of a clenched fist that made headlines around the world because everybody thought it was a black power salute. At the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City after John Carlos and Tommy Smith won the bronze and gold medals in the 200-meter race, Carlos has said their gesture was widely misinterpreted as a black power salute.
Forty-eight years later, the debate continues, and who better to ask about all of this than the man who so famously raised his fist back in '68.
John Carlos joins me now and is looking pretty good.
As you've watched this unfold, what he you been thinking?
JOHN CARLOS, BRONZE MEDALIST, 1968 OLYMPICS: First of all, I was thinking those young ladies are correct in their activities that particular day. I think they were expounding on the fact that, right on, right on, we made it, we made it, in terms of having some pride in what they accomplished, having some unity relative to what they accomplished, and at the same time being able to expose their history relative to black people coming together to try and make it a better society for all people, blacks in particular.
SMERCONISH: So did you read race into it? Because if you took away that connotation of black history, then maybe there was a racial implication intended.
CARLOS: Well, the racial implication is you being a black person and knowing all the atrocities that you might have had to deal with through your history. You cannot deny the history of a black person. You cannot deny their right to be proud of what they've accomplished from where they have come from. So race is always going to be involved.
But in terms of them having pride in themselves, accomplishing their goals, how often do you see that many black women going through West Point, the greatest academy here in the United States for the military?
SMERCONISH: How would feel, hypothetically, if it were a different graduating class of cadets, all white cadets, and for their picture they put on those Donald Trump "make America great again" hats?
CARLOS: They have a right to put on the Donald Trump hats if that's their choice. Just like I have a right to wear Malcolm X hat walking up and down the right. The same difference.
They have the right to their political opinions relative to who they favor to vote or who they don't favor to vote. But yet, still, if they had a rebel flag up there and they said that's history, well, you know, my job is to tell them that's a piece of history you should be ashamed of.
SMERCONISH: Right, and I guess my perspective is I don't think there should be any politics blended with a celebratory moment like this. On their own time, if they were having a party thereafter and everybody wanted to do what they wanted to do with a political significance, no problem.
But when you're in law enforcement, you're a firefighter, an EMT or a cadet, I think it's important to leave politics out of it. That's my take on it, but I'll let you have the final word.
CARLOS: You know, politics are a part of society no matter how you cut it. Politics are involved, and people will be concerned about making a statement at the right pick time. No politics should be involved in the Olympics, but the Olympics are politics in itself.
So, how can you walk away from what you're involved in? Politics run throughout this society and that's what got this presidential election so crazy right now relative to racial statements that were made along the way, to political crosses in the road and to race relations. You can't separate the two of them.
SMERCONISH: Final question. How you doing in the 200 meters today?
[09:50:01] CARLOS: Well, if I get a head start in my car, I'll beat you to the finish line.
SMERCONISH: You wouldn't need the car for me, John Carlos. Thank you so much for being on the program.
CARLOS: Thanks for having me, Michael. Good bless. Keep the sun shining.
Still to come, he can handle hopping along with one leg. Coming up, your best and worst tweets like this one. John Miller, White House press secretary, Robert Baron, chief of staff. Well, he's going to surround himself with good people like himself.
SMERCONISH: I always say you can follow me on Twitter if you can spell Smerconish. What a wealth of riches this week, some serious some not-so much. Like this, "Credit to Smerconish with what could be the most meaningful hashtag." Yes, this is my solution to the transgender bathroom issue, #stallsforall.
What else? A lot of stuff coming in on John Miller, aka Donald Trump.
[09:55:04] "Smerconish, not true, Michael, I have a copy also. CNN should issue a correction."
Take a look at that photograph. That is John Miller, having revealed his identity. He looks a bit familiar. Another one, please?
There's this, "John Miller, Ron Mexico and Carlos Danger walk into a bar. Stop me if you've heard this one." That is genius. Do I have time for one more?
I love these tweets, "@smerconish, where's John Miller's birth certificate?" I love it. "How about where John Miller's tax returns? I did say at the outset of the program, we invited Donald Trump, John miller and John Baron all to appear on the program at the same time. But they deny that request.
One more, put it back up. I'm sorry, I missed it. Here we go, bang, breaking news, oh, there you go, "John Miller has just released his tax returns."
I'll see you next week. Thanks.