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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
The Messy Truth with Van Jones. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired February 10, 2017 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:00] VAN JONES, CNN HOST: And I hope that becomes a lesson out of San Bernardino.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope so too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Fascinating, meaningful conversation. Thanks for watching "360" tonight. "The Messy Truth", hosted by Van Jones, starts right now.
JONES: Welcome to "The Messy Truth". I'm Van Jones. First off, God bless, Coretta Scott King. Now, no matter what you think about Elizabeth Warren reading our letter on the Senate floor and getting in trouble, all that stuff, you know, America really does need to give a lot more shout outs to that young widow. She spoke the truth to power for decades after her husband, Dr. King, was murdered and it took an awful lot of courage.
America always needs those bold truth tellers. So, guess what, tonight, we've got one of America's bravest, boldest, baddest truth tellers right here. Bill Maher will be with us for the full hour tonight on this stage. We've got Bill Maher. We've got Bill Maher.
I love it. So, we've got a lot of stuff we're going to talk to Bill Maher about, but I want to just start with this travel ban. So, here's the messy truth. Both sides have got a ton to learn about this debacle. Number one, Donald Trump. He says, he needs the ban to keep us safe, I don't agree with him, but let's just take out his word, there is a right way this president and a wrong way to do anything. If something is this vital to American security, you've got to handle it competently. Don't skip all the steps and forget to consult the right agency that mess it all up. Nobody knows how this travel ban is ultimately going to work out in the courts.
But here's what we do know. You've gone from one bad move, banning seven countries by ambush with no real process to another bad move, tweet attacking a judge, which is completely unpresidential, to another bad move, saying the media doesn't cover terror attacks, which we do, and on and on. The ban is like this banana peel. You keep slipping on and slipping on. That is not going to work. A pattern of mistakes like this could consume your whole presidency. You got to stop it.
Now, for the liberals, here's your messy truth. Your basic argument is actually helping Donald Trump. That's right. You're helping Trump. Liberals say Trump is injuring American values. And Trump says, "I'm trying to keep terrorists from blowing you up." You see how your soft, lofty argument kind of helps Trump seem more tough and practical?
Meanwhile, the liberals sound like they're social studies teachers. Resistance, there is a better way to do this. Why don't you just say this, Trump isn't just injuring American values, Trump is endangering the American people.
The American president shouldn't be a recruiting tool for ISIS. America's best defenders are Muslims, in uniform, on the front line, translating for our soldiers. Muslims here in America, speaking up in the mosques, picking up the phone, calling the cops. Trump should work with the Muslims, bring them to the White House and find a way to really undermine the bad guys. That would honor American values. It also save American lives. Something for both sides to think about.
But apparently, I'm not the only one who is confused about what's going on here. Let's hear from one of the sharpest minds in American politics and how he thinks about this all situation. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL MAHER, HOST, HBO'S "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER": Way back after our last show, which is only a week ago, he entered sort of this Muslim ban, which he called a ban, and then his Press Secretary Sean Spicer called it a ban, and then they are were protests and (inaudible) it was a ban. And then Trump tweeted well, you can call it a ban if you like. So they're really on message. And the message is we have no idea of what we're doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: All right, this is a huge honor for me. Bill Maher has become the leading critical voice in the age of Trump. Please welcome to the stage a national treasure, the man who is trying to make America sane again, the legendary, Bill Maher. In the house.
MAHER: Thank you. That was very sweet of you, sir. Thank you very much. Thank you, folks.
JONES: My goodness, it is an honor.
MAHER: Van, the man.
JONES: It's an honor to have you here.
MAHER: Honor to be here. You're doing great in your new job. Wasn't it great to get fired? We both got fired and came out smelling like a rose. JONES: I know, listen, we should call our show lemonade, you know, they gave us lemons.
MAHER: That's right.
JONES: But we got the lemonade. Now, speaking of lemonade, I'm sure from a personal point of view, from a political point of view, this whole Trump thing really sucks, but as a professional comic, is this guy like a gold mine for you or what?
MAHER: Well, of course, he is, but the problem is, how long can it go on? I mean we're only in the first month of this presidency.
[21:05:00] JONES: Like the first couple weeks.
MAHER: And I mean, I have a little fatigue about it.
MAHER: I mean we have to talk about Trump. I'm going to tell this to my audience this week, but we also have to not talk about Donald Trump.
JONES: Yeah, well, I tell you what. There's one guy who is definitely not talking about Donald Trump or thinking about Donald Trump. What do you think this guy is feeling right now?
MAHER: He should run again and tell us that's his twin brother Dave.
JONES: Dave Obama.
MAHER: He had a twin.
MAHER: We already looked into the birth certificate.
MAHER: So they won't find anything there. Trump will send his investigators to Hawaii. By the way, how's that investigation going? How's the one into the 3 million illegals who voted? Remember, there's a -- you know, it's like he's looking for OJ's killers.
I mean the real killers that O.J. was looking for on the golf course.
MAHER: These things he says them and then they disappear into the -- JONES: They do. And a lot of stuff you said though is pretty
alarming. But actually, there's some stuff you said that I would think that you've kind of like, you know, you've been really tough on radical Islam, you've been -- sometimes, you've been tough on --
MAHER: Shouldn't we be?
JONES: Well, I'm just saying, right? Yeah, sure. (Inaudible) ISIS that you've been tough on them, you have been tough on refugees that time. On that point, why isn't Trump your best president ever? I mean he's going after them.
MAHER: As you said, he's going after them in the wrong way. I mean the Muslim ban is not a great idea. It's un-American, and it's not helpful. It's just going to make things worse. And what we should do, of course, is just be liberals on the issue. That's the big picture. We are liberals. We should be for equality of the sexes --
MAHER: -- respect for minorities.
MAHER: Separation of church and state, free speech, right, you know, liberals, these are all big liberal things, OK, well, we have to recognize the fact that, you know, the most -- very often illiberal, intolerant cultures in the world or in the Muslim countries. People are not crazy to be worried about assimilation. But Americans are very myopic. They only seemed to see what's in America. There's like 3 million Muslims in America. They're not the problem.
JONES: True, yeah.
MAHER: But there's over a million and half around the world.
JONES: A billion and a half.
MAHER: A billion and a half around the world. OK. So, yeah, I don't -- I think what we should do also is cheer when there are Muslims elected to high office in the West, like the mayor of London.
MAHER: Because then they have to say, hey, I am for Western values. Like that mayor came out against women wearing the face veil, that we need to hear more from Muslims. We need to ask more of them.
JONES: Well, I tell you what. I am very, very proud of American- Muslims as are you on the front lines doing such a great job. We have like the most amazing Muslims in the world as best I can tell. Some of them are --
MAHER: Who are you --
JONES: Oh, like for instance a lot of times when people are -- we stopped a terror plot. Sometimes the people who turned them in were actually Muslim, doing exactly what you want.
MAHER: The chicken stand dude.
JONES: The chicken stand dude, exactly, he's like hey.
MAHER: That is an American hero. That is a patriot.
MAHER: When you put country and people's lives over your own family --
MAHER: -- it's like the Unabomber's brother turned him in.
JONES: And that's hard to do.
JONES: Well, if your brother's the unabomber, you probably don't want to call the cops yourself.
MAHER: Family is pretty powerful.
JONES: Yeah. Can be very powerful.
JONES: But I actually want to bring somebody into this conversation who has a different view of Trump than me or you. He's a pastor. He's here in Los Angeles. Let's hear from Reverend Marc.
MARC LITTLE, ATTORNEY, PASTOR WHO VOTED FOR TRUMP: Good evening to you both. So good to be with you, Van and Bill.
MAHER: He is a pastor.
MAHER: He's lulling us in, isn't it?
LITTLE: Americans are now subject, truly, to increasing forms of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. You may know just last week, last Thusrsday night, in fact, a man described as Latino or middle eastern with a heavy beard, dressed in black with a beanie, tossed an explosive device into the cheesecake factory from Pasadena, California, where I eat. Radical Islamic Jihadists have vowed to kill Americans, in part, by infiltrating the refugee population. We must simply weed out the bad so that we can accept the good. Don't you agree with that?
MAHER: Yeah, well, first of all, when they go after the cheesecake factory --
JONES: Yeah. They've crossed the line. They've crossed the line. MAHER: That's a red flag we cannot accept in this country. Yes, of course, but the question is how? And being, yes, realistic about it, but, again, I don't think that the problem is mostly here in America.
[21:10:06] And also I mean a ban is so silly, because it's something, it's ideas. You know, its not -- most of the attacks we've had in America, I think, are from people who are already here. The Orlando killer, he was here. He wasn't coming in from Yemen. He grew up here, did he not?
JONES: He did. And part of --
MAHER: And he talked about our filthy ways.
MAHER: I mean, there's some of that in religious people's heads.
JONES: Well, I'm a religious person. That is in my head but before --
MAHER: No, in the religion -- I mean, I am an atheist.
MAHER: Sorry, Reverend. But, you know, all religions in my view are stupid and dangerous.
JONES: Well --
MAHER: But they're -- but in different eras, they take the lead at being --
JONES: But -- here's what I know, I never --
MAHER: Why don't you let me finish this point? You just hate someone saying bad things about religion. You can't do that on CNN. What is it, the Spicer White House here? That's my point of view. It's the point of view by the way of millions and millions of people in the world and in this country, religions are down all over. Why? I'd like to think I had something to do with it.
JONES: Great, well you have a documentary, you got a book you've been on the --
MAHER: Oh, yes.
JONES: But -- and always I want to ask you this question.
MAHER: You just won't let me. Go ahead.
JONES: Oh, no, no.
MAHER: No, no, go ahead.
JONES: My only question is because you actually are a progressive and I think you want progressives to win elections. The African-American community is overwhelmingly religious in such a big part of the turnout operation is the black church black -- so when you say all religious people are stupid, aren't you kind of putting down the base?
MAHER: I didn't say all religious people are stupid.
MAHER: I said all religions are stupid.
JONES: OK, fine. So Dr. King was a black Christian and the black Christian churches -- 92 percent of black folks voted Hillary Clinton, mostly coming out --
JONES: -- of black churches.
MAHER: My only loyalty always is to the truth. It's not to a group of people or it's not to ratings. It's the truth. That's the truth as I see it.
MAHER: And by the way, again, this is a more and more common view. Is anyone here in this audience atheist, agnostic or just doesn't want to get up on Sunday and go to church?
MAHER: Oh, they're raising their hands. Quite a few. Applaud. You can actually applaud. Yeah, that's America now.
MAHER: OK. It used to be this thing where, "Oh, my god, he said this thing on CNN and we can a lot." No. This is America. And we have to realize that fact.
So anyway, the point I was going to make is, in the 16th century, it would be Christianity that I would be going after for being way too intolerant and way too violent, because that's the age of the inquisition, and they were. Now that really is more Islam than Christianity. There -- like I said, I think they're both of dumb and religions are all dangerous. But at this time in history one is just more violent, more intolerance and more dangerous.
JONES: If you were seeing this -- you know, a lot of people see the United States even though you are right, you know, you're atheist. A lot of people see United States as a Christian nation. When they see those --
MAHER: They should not.
JONES: But I'm just saying when they --
MAHER: Because plainly, we are not and weren't founded --
JONES: They don't but they don't put the hand when they take the oath on the Bill Maher DVD set. Yeah, they will. But right now, they put their hand on at the Bible. And so when we drop those bombs, et cetera, et cetera, I think sometimes it does seen my Christianity's somewhat violent.
MAHER: OK. But this is another area where the Trump White House approach to this problem is wrong. The counterweight to radical Islam is secularism. In Steve Bannon's world, it's Christianity. He's super Christy on this stuff. This not for you. So (inaudible) go.
Christ-y? We can't say that? It's not a word, Reverend. I just get the reference here.
That is allowed. The front further review, Van, we can say super Christy. And know that the counterweight should be secularism. It shouldn't be that they want to make this a battle between the two religions, who, by the way, have been going at each for over 1,000 years. This does go back to the crusades. I mean, it had been flowed in history. But -- that's the one thing we do not want. And of course it's the dumbest thing, Trump's going to do it.
JONES: Well, listen, I want you to stick around. We got a lot of other dumb stuff to talk about when we get back. We've been kind of -- we're going to talk about Elizabeth Warren. She was silenced by the Senate. But you got conservatives being silenced on college campuses. We're going to break down the messy truth about free speech in America when we get back.
[21:18:43] JONES: We are back with Bill Maher. So here's a messy truth. Freedom of speech is under attack from the left and from the right. Just this week, Senator Elizabeth Warren was silenced in the Senate. They literally ordered her to sit down and shut up after she read a letter that Coretta Scott King had written 30 years ago, opposing the nomination of Jeff Sessions for a federal judgeship.
I, personally, am glad that she "persisted." But like I said it's messy if not just the Republicans. You got a lot of people on the left who also want to silence people that they disagree with. And a few days ago, we saw these awful scenes on Berkley's campus, violent protests against a controversial speaker.
You know, obviously, I hate racist speech but I hate the idea of riot trying the silence speech even more. So, shouldn't we able to agree on protecting free speech no matter who is speaking? That's what we want to be able to talk about. And we've got here with us one of the students. He was part of the college Republicans that organized this event that brought on those protests. Mike Wright is here. What's your question? MIKE WRIGHT, BERKELEY COLLEGE REPUBLICANS: As a moderate Republican on campus, I -- it's gotten to the point where I actually fear for my physical safety. We've had people attacked.
[21:20:00] My question is how did it get to this point? And what can reasonable people on all sides to the political spectrum do to address this problem.
MAHER: Well, I'm not sure how it got to this point but I think it has something to do with bad parenting on the left. I do, actually. But just to put myself in context here, I've been on this issue since the '90s. I did a show called "Politically Incorrect".
I have been appalled at what's going on, on campuses all over the country for a very, very long time, silencing people, safe spaces, you know. Campuses have these safe spaces which really started out as, OK, here's a place where you don't have to worry about. I don't know what because I don't think campuses are that unsafe to begin with, but, OK, sure.
And then they sort of evolved now into like every place is a safe space, because we just do not want our precious snowflakes to ever have to confront an opinion that is different than the one they already have.
And I'm telling you, this begins with bad parenting. With telling your kids you should never undergo any moment that makes you uncomfortable in the least. Parents will negotiate with their kids. They're children. They're small, unemployed people. They have no rights. That's how it should be.
So, I don't know. That may be how it started, but whatever it is, it has to be reversed. And I feel bad for you because I'm not a Republican but yes, you should be able to be on Berkley or any other campus in this country and not feel threatened and be able to speak out. And even more so, those kids should be exposed to other ideas.
Liberals are not perfect. I'm the liberal who likes to say that.
JONES: And I like to say it as well but we do have another student with a different point-of-view. Jessica Chase, you're a student at UCLA, you might see it differently.
JESSICA CHASE, STUDENT AT UCLA: Yeah. As a gay Jewish woman, I understand why safe spaces came up in your initial point about why they initially arose is absolutely correct.
On my campus, actually, we also were going to have Milo Yiannopoulos come and speak and it was cancelled because of death threats towards our Republican group which is completely unacceptable. And I completely disavow that. At the same time, when you have this kind of alt-right, white supremacist, extreme social conservative viewpoint that's being brought up --
MAHER: How do you feel, eh?
CHASE: Well, those with Milo Yiannopoulos coming to, usually. It seems like there is a line between free speech which absolutely should be protected. I want my right to face this justice much and between hate speech where it's specifically attaching individual students and calling them out for being trans or undocumented various cases that had come up. And so, I'm wondering if you think that there is any line to free speech where it would fall or if you think it doesn't at all?
MAHER: Well, obviously, there is a line. We know that. You can't yell, "Fire" in a crowded theater, that kind of stuff. There are certainly people who I wouldn't book, you know. But we did I think book this guy and I'm honest, be honest of it.
I don't know much about him. This is the first I kind of heard of him. Some people have said to me in the last year or so, they mentioned that name and I was like, oh, I got to look into him and then I didn't. I think in general, sunlight is the best disinfectant. I mean, I think it's important to like hear what people have to say and then let people decide and see how awful they are. Apparently, this guy is pretty awful. But, you know --
JONES: You got a bigger set of concerns than just a campus though. You think that the whole liberal kind of apology or (inaudible) off the rail. So let's look at the Bill Maher take on this whole thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAHER: You know in 2016, conservatives won the White House, both Houses of Congress and almost two-thirds of governorships and state legislatures. Whereas liberals on the other hand, caught Steve Martin calling Carrie Fisher beautiful in a tweet and made him take it down. I'm not making mad up that really happened.
Here is Steve's offensive tweet, "When I was a young man, Carrie Fisher was the most beautiful creature I'd ever seen. She turned out to be witty and bright as well." How could you, Steve? We thought we knew you, but this? You noted her appearance first. And then that she was witty and bright, you're a monster.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MAHER: Yeah. I mean, that's out there.
MAHER: That kind of stuff on the left and it does drive me crazy because it's so lazy to attack your friends who are maybe not quite as evolved as you. I mean, that's just mental. That would -- all that group of stuff was. But there's lots of stuff like that, where instead of attacking your real enemies, you go after people who are just a little bit behind, you know, we're on the same team, you know.
JONES: One thing to me is like, you know, you have people with the -- now that the transgender fight has got -- become a big fight, I've been a part of that for 20 years, but if you get it wrong, you now -- if somebody maybe didn't even know it six months ago, they are going to come down on you.
[21:25:11] MAHER: I mean, a few colleges have canceled the vagina monologues because it wasn't feminist enough, because it's -- right, you know.
JONES: How can it be more feminist than a vagina?
MAHER: Because -- because, Van, talking about vagina is a not every woman who identifies as a woman has a vagina. You just mentioned transgender, what about Caitlyn Jenner?
JONES: You know what --
MAHER: She has a penis. How is she going to feel if she goes in the vagina monologues? You're a monster.
I mean, this is what's crazy, you know. They see a woman who was forced to wear the full burqa, you know. She cannot been look out upon the world and that gets nothing. That doesn't rise to the level of we're protesting that, but the vagina monologues not including Caitlyn Jenner, that's where we go nuts.
JONES: Well --
MAHER: This is the problem on the left and they are going to have to deal with it because they lost the last election. OK. You lost, it would be who you to look in the mirror.
JONES: I see why your show is all politically incorrect. I love it. So, listen, I want you to stick around. I want the audience to get your questions ready.
All right, when we come back, I want to talk about this, how can the Democrats dig their way out of this hole? And I also want to ask whether not Hollywood liberals are helping the cause or hurting the cause, when we get back.
[21:30:59] JONES: Welcome back to "The Messy Truth". We're here with Bill Maher right now. It's safe to say that you took the election results really, really hard. Here you are right after the election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAHER: It's tempting to want to divide America down the middle right now. I've actually been in the bad roommate situation, where you literally got white tape and made a line through the middle of the apartment. It's something they've tried on many, many sitcoms over the years, starting with "I love Lucy", Lucy on one side, the Spanish- speaking immigrant on the other. She just wanted to make the living room great again.
You can unfriend someone whose politics you don't like, but you can't unfriend 47 percent of America. Roommates can move out, patriots can't. America needs you more than ever, right here with me and the rest of the resistance. Until we can figure out how to really make America great again. And don't ever let them forget, "We're Still Here".
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: That was an amazing show.
JONES: I mean, on the behalf of the country, that was an amazing show. But here we are --
MAHER: Made a fortune on those hats. Thank you.
JONES: But, you know, with three months later, honestly, is it worst than you thought, the better than you thought, where are we?
MAHER: It's somehow exactly what we thought and yet 10 times worse. Because it wasn't not like weren't sick of him --
MAHER: -- by the time he got elected. I mean this has been going on for a year and a half.
MAHER: And Donald Trump does not wear well. You know, I mean, you cannot keep up with the number of crazy things he says. It's all about him throwing a fit because his daughter-wife had -- we say daughter-wife -- no, on that one. Crazy, he was OK with but this one, maybe yellow flag.
His daughter-wife, Ivanka, had her jewelry taken out of department stores. So, like when he is supposed to getting the intelligence briefing, he's tweeting about this, that, I mean there's more than I can almost handle on a weekly basis of the crazy stuff, the stuff that just made up. You know, the murder rate is the highest in 47 years and the press doesn't cover terrorism. That just happened since my last show. I mean this would be enough for an entire administration (inaudible).
So, yes, it's worst because I guess there was a glimmer of hope that when he walked into the Oval Office somehow we would be transformed, but I don't know anybody who really thought that.
JONES: Yeah, so here we are now. Mr. Mike Sarian, I think might see it somewhat differently. What's your view about this whole situation?
MIKE SARIAN, TRUMP VOTER FROM LOS ANGELES: I love you Bill.
SERIAN: And I love every joke you said.
MAHER: I love you too.
SERIAN: However, the president been in office barely three weeks. Why can't you guys in the media and Hollywood give him some slack? Let him --
MAHER: Because of what he's done and said.
SERIAN: He's been there only three weeks.
MAHER: Three weeks.
SERIAN: Give him a break.
MAHER: Give him a break?
MAHER: Do you read the news? Do you --
SERIAN: -- which is the toughest job on earth.
MAHER: OK. The toughest job on earth has never been done like this. First of all, this is beyond the realm of politics. If you're just talking about politics, OK, let's pretend that it's just politics. I would have big problems there because it's a giant con what he's done. He ran for the little man, and then what does he do? He gets into office, the coal companies can dump sludge in the river. Because, you know, that's what the little man is aching for on dealing Dodd-Frank. Because so many of the town halls in Appalachia, people were spending up say, "Mr. Trump, please get rid of the Volcker Rule." Because if I can't make certain speculative investments, it's killing us here.
[21:34:55] So that's just the political part. We could have a normal conversation about that. But this presidency is not about the political part even three weeks in. It's beyond politics. It's about sanity. It's about somebody who makes stuff up. Who doesn't read -- his information is either anecdotal or pulled right out of his -- what word reference should I -- is behind, you know, we're -- of course, we're worried when the president sees multitudes that don't exist as in the illegal people or the illegal voting 3 million, that should bother you, sir. I'm not the crazy one here. The one who's -- what is the (inaudible) number as soon he's inaugurated, he'd -- it was all about size.
This guy must have a problem in the sensitive area. He insisted we had photographs, you know, and his -- Sean Spicer, good job there, and just winds up saying, "This is what the president believes." In other words, you're on your own, folks. JONES: I'll turn it back.
MAHER: The thing is crazy. And he says there's an Easter bunny, so we're all looking for eggs. So, this kind of stuff, where he absolutely believes things that are not true and then backs them up and gets defiant about them. Here's three words that could really calm me about the president if I ever heard him say them, "I stand corrected."
MAHER: Do you think we'll ever hear that? That's what mature people do and presidents do.
JONES: But let me ask you a question. You know, you are brilliant at this stuff. You have people who are also at the Hollywood side. Every award ceremony, I guarantee you, this year is going to be a similar kind of a rat, not as smart or as good, but there. Do you think that the little guy wants to hear all these Hollywood celebrities, including you, ranting against the president though?
MAHER: Well, I don't put myself in that category. My business is talking politics. That's different.
JONES: Yeah, you're different. You're different.
MAHER: I'm not an actor who does this for a living and then dabbles in this.
JONES: But -- well, then, what do you think about the Actors' Guild?
MAHER: I mean, look, it's their right to do it, you know, I think --
JONES: Do you think it helps or hurts?
MAHER: I do think it hurts, probably in the long run. I can absolutely see the Trump voter out there saying, "You know what, Gwyneth Paltrow, our lives are so much alike." But you'll excuse me while I'm putting on your $120 a jar face cream, if I don't follow you word for word on politics.
I mean, celebrities in general with many notable exceptions are blithering idiots. So, I mean they are just very dumb people. I mean, that's not where their -- their talent is in the emotional area, in the dramatic area. But sometimes, you know, they can sound dumb when they're asked to comment on stuff that requires, you know, book learning.
And reading and stuff like that. And they just, you know, repeat cliches and talking points and stuff. You know, there are some other ones who are absolutely brilliant and I love hearing them. I love, you know, hearing --
JONES: Who do you like? MAHER: -- Barbra Streisand or Alec Baldwin or Ben Affleck. You know, people who are, you know, Clooney, these are news junkies, these are smart people. And then, you know, everybody should be allowed to talk. First Amendment.
JONES: Well, listen, I want to get right back to you on this, but I drove out to San Bernardino to meet with some people who live in a town that's actually been impacted by the news, impacted by a real terror attack. And I wanted to know what they thought about the travel ban. You might be surprised what they think, when they get back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: When you hear about the ban, you hear it more as a Muslim ban or as a travel ban?
JOSE VALLE, U.S. MARINE CORPS VETERAN: My opinion is a Muslim ban. It's strictly directed at preventing a certain type of people and in this particular case, Muslims, from coming to the States.
[21:43:04] JONES: Welcome back to "The Messy Truth". I am here with my special guest, Bill Maher.
Bill, I want to go back and talk about the travel ban, but from a different point of view. I drove out to San Bernardino, not a city as you know that was rocked by this brutal terror attack. I went to talk to the people who actually lived there, just like the West Coast ground zero.
What do they think about the ban? Check it out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: San Bernardino, California. In December of 2015, this city was the site of an unspeakable horror. It started here at the inland regional center. Two terrorists, husband and wife, killed 14 people and wounded 22. It ended hours later right here on this stretch of road in a shootout with law enforcement that left both terrorists dead. The attack was inspired by ISIS.
Five days later.
DONAL TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.
JONES: And 14 months after that, President Trump issued his controversial executive order.
So the Trump administration has been using this attack that happened right here in San Bernardino to justify the travel ban. I'm here to find out what the people who actually live here think about that.
I want to know, what the local Muslim military members have to say about all this.
VALLE: My name is Jose Valle and I served in the Marine Corps.
ZULU ALI, U.S. MARINE CORPS VETERAN: I served in the United States Marine Corps from 1985 to 1989.
SAMMY DURRANI, U.S. ARMY OFFICER: I am a commission officer (inaudible) United States Amy and currently with the National Guard.
JONES: When you hear about the ban, do you hear it more as a Muslim ban or as a travel ban?
VALLE: My opinion is a Muslim ban. It is strictly directed at preventing a certain type of people and in this particular case, Muslims, from coming to the States.
[21:45:07] ALI: He's pretty much making good on his promise to, I guess, rid this country of Muslims. I mean, that's the way I see it.
DURRANI: I'm going to take a different point of view. Obama did have a very similar vetting process. So Donald Trump, who is our Commander in Chief, he is basically doing a 90-day travel ban. And it has to do with some internal conflicts that the country are going through. I think it's really important for us to work together as a nation, though, and stay united.
JONES: You're an active soldier, you're a Muslim, you're a woman.
JONES: Do you think that there's any danger, regardless of what the intention is, that when you put a travel ban like this in place, that there may be some blow back that the military has to worry about?
DURRANI: Absolutely. It is unfortunately, a tool that will be use for ISIS as recruitment. They're saying, you are not welcome in the United States. And if you're not welcome here, it goes back to human nature, to basic human psychology. You go, "where the love is."
JONES: With ISIS?
DURRANI: Right. Absolutely. And that's what's really heartbreaking. And that's something that the Commander in Chief and his Cabinet need to really focus upon.
ALI: I really don't see it as a situation where, you know, people are going to say America is not going to let me in, so all of a sudden, I'm going to sympathize with ISIS. I don't necessarily believe that's the problem.
The problem is that we're not acting like America. That's the real problem. That's not the America that I fought for. That's not the America that, you know, my forefathers helped build. That's not America. That's the real problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP) JONES: Now, it's so amazing. Those are three different people, they are all Muslim. One is Latino, one is black, one is Pakistani, I believe. They had completely different opinions. When we talk about Muslims, you know, as well as the way we are talking about and --
MAHER: Well, the scariest thing I heard there was when the woman said they'll go where the love is. Go where the love is? When the love is ISIS? That should be frightening to everybody.
I mean go where the love is, you know, Valentine's Day is coming up. The guy with the biggest teddy bear, go where (inaudible). But to go to a group that throws gay people off roofs and burned people alive then has sex slaves and believes in raping them into --
JONES: What do you think about the refugees? In other words, what you're describing is something horrible. And I think, everybody agrees with you. The United States also have been, you know, bombing the crap out of that region.
So that we understand. We're trying to get out of here. We want to come to the United States. We actually believe more like you.
JONES: Should they be able to come?
MAHER: I believe in the traditional American approach to refugees. First of all, we are a humanitarian country. We're a compassionate country. We have always let a certain number of people who probably were in the most dire situations that were going to killed if they stayed where they were.
But the policy certainly in the West can't be that we just completely empty out the Middle East. But really, I mean, that's the sort of what they started to do in Germany last year. Angela Merkel let in a million, I think, refugees from Syria. I mean that is not a practical policy. Let me just finish.
JONES: Okay. Fine.
MAHER: I can see you jumping in ready. What they should have done in my view, is with that many people, create refugee centers, train them, turn them into an army so they could take over their own countries.
One of the problems I have -- or worries, I should say, with Islam is that, the moderates don't win. When was the last time the moderates got a victory? We got to create a moderate Muslim army that can go back into those countries and take on ISIS, because I hear a lot of people joining ISIS. I never heard of one person going oh, let me go there and fight ISIS.
JONES: Well, I tell you what, I think, that we need a more creative thinking like that. We also, fortunately, we do have a bunch of Muslims who have taken the fight to the enemy. And I want to go out in the audience and talk to one.
This is an incredible story, and I want to get your -- even you are going to be moved, touched, inspired.
MAHER: What do you mean "even me?"
JONES: I have to say, and say, just because, you know, sometimes you got to understand what's happening with these guys. So, listen, here's the deal.
MAHER: I do.
You are friends now. But you didn't know each other even just a few weeks ago.
JEFF BUCHALTER, ARMY VETERAN: Yeah.
JONES: I want you to tell the story. How is it that you decided to go to the airport on the first day of the travel ban?
BUCHALTER: You know, honestly --
JONES: You're a veteran?
[21:49:58] BUCHALTER: I'm a veteran, yes. I had nothing to do with the policy. And unfortunately, I was raised by liberal parents. And they instilled a strong value system. And in this case, when you see something that's not right, you have a moral obligation to do something. And, as a father now, I want to instill the same values. And so that's what got me to the airport. Do I disagree with the order? Absolutely, because that's what brought me there.
JONES: So talk about the gift that you gave to your friend.
BUCHALTER: I gave him one of the Purple Hearts that I was awarded in combat.
JONES: What did it mean to you, you're arriving -- you're somebody who've helped America, you're somebody who was a translator and a
helper for our forces in Baghdad, your wife is coming to the United States, she's detained at the airport. What does it mean for a veteran to come and give you his Purple Heart on a day like that?
ALAA, GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Well, Jeff's Purple Heart meant to me that right now we are coming through a movement. A movement in our country that's so strong, and so powerful that a wounded warrior decided to give his medal to a complete stranger, regardless of the bans and all the orders happening right now.
Look, we have a lot of political contention right now going on. But on different level, on the level of people, there is another message, a message of unity as opposed to being divided.
BUCHALTER: And the take-away that I want, the message I want and we left the airport, my family and I with nothing but positive feelings. And it really instilled not just to my kids but to myself that it really -- one just random act of kindness really can make a difference.
BUCHALTER: And that's the message -- if people leave today, that's the message.
JONES: Beautiful. There's nothing messy about that truth. Thank you very much, Jeff Buchalter --
JONES: Bill, I know you love stuff like that.
MAHER: Van, if this doesn't work out, you should go up against Ellen and do her show.
Just to feel good stories for the housewives sitting there in a day.
JONES: Bill -- but listen, I have -- I know that these are tough issues and you and I actually agree a lot on the need to be tough on these fundamentals. And I think that sometimes liberals are too knock-kneed about standing up. And at the same time, I think even somebody who is very concerned about the bad part of Islam has to be excited about the good part of Islam.
MAHER: Well -- but the even really messier truth is that there is connecting tissue. That's the problem. Is that, you know, of course the vast majority of Muslims in the world are not terrorists and not violent -- I do not want to use violence. But it's not quite that small, the group of people who don't for example cheer -- you make a face, but it's the truth. We have -- I don't know why you make a face.
JONES: It's called a smile.
MAHER: I'm just -- no you went --
JONES: But go ahead.
MAHER: OK. So like when they shut up the Charlie Hebdo office because they were drawing cartoons, most the vast, vast majority Muslims would not do that.
MAHER: But what percentage do you think thought, well, they had it coming and that's the right thing to do?
JONES: Well, I don't know but what --
MAHER: It's more than I'm comfortable with or anybody should be comfortable with. And that's the problem.
JONES: I want you to stick around. We'll have more with Bill Maher when "The Messy Truth" returns right after this.
[21:57:11] JONES: Welcome back to "The Messy Truth". I am Van Jones with my guest Bill Maher. This week, CNN is premiering this original series, it's called "The History of Comedy" and we've got a great look at the great, great, great George Carlin and the infamous seven words you can't never say on television.
MAHER: I mean, I don't have a lot of heroes but that guy is one of them. And when he died, the hotel he was booked at in Las Vegas called me and I said you should do this gig. I know something I'm more proud of than almost anything.
JONES: Right. Probably nobody can get to that --
MAHER: You know, there's a guy who talked about religion before lot of other comics did. I, you know, really got a lot of my, oh, I can do that too from the way he did from Lenny Bruce. And also he was one of the few who would -- equal opportunity. He also had lots of things to say to the liberals.
He wasn't just the liberal (inaudible) kisser like most comics are. He would absolutely say things that would make, you know, liberals really stand up. And you know, he was a liberal as I am, but, you know, he just always cleaved to it. This is what's true, and I don't care what -- the older he got of course the crankier. Which was great because then he just went full out. I mean, they only now just showed the special that he made right after 9/11 that was deemed, you know, even for the Carlin fans. This is going to be too much.
JONES: Yes. You know, you got a lot -- you've given him a lot of credit. I want to give you a lot of credit. You got a lot of people through the Bush years frankly. Now you've got the Trump years --
MAHER: Oh the Bush years how I wish. You know, I gave Obama a million dollars. You know that, right? His PAC.
MAHER: I would happily give that million dollars right now to Mitt Romney if he would take over the country.
(LAUGHTER) I gave it to prevent Mitt Romney from being president.
JONES: And you're begging.
MAHER: Now, I'm begging Mitt Romney to be president.
I will become a Mormon, how about that? I will become a Mormon and give you a million dollars Mitt Romney if you will please take over the country.
JONES: Oh my goodness. Bill, listen, I want to thank you for that especially and everything else and the incredible stuff --
MAHER: Hey, you're doing great. It's great to see you on. I mean, America needed you Van Jones.
JONES: I appreciate you.
MAHER: All right.
JONES: Thank you.
I want to thank my guest Bill Maher. I want to thank my studio audience and everybody watching at home. Remember, you can see more of Bill Maher on "Real Time", Fridays, 10 p.m., HBO. We had a great conversation here and now it's your turn. Keep talking at your homes, your dinner tables, your campuses. And we'll see you next time.