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SMERCONISH

Largest Container Ship Christened in Philly Today; Tarriffs: Helping or Hurting Our Economy?; Supreme Court Justice Kennedy's Exit and Its Ripple Effect; The Disappearance of White America: What the Studies Show; Comedian D.L. Hughley' Book Combines Humor with a Serious Message. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired June 30, 2018 - 09:00   ET

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


[09:00:00]

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia. We welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. General Motors just fired a shot across the Trump Administration's bow warning that more tariffs might cause less investment, fewer jobs, and lower wages. What does this mean for the President's America First Policy?

Well the President's top trade advisor, Peter Navarro, is here and my view as to why the timing of Justice Kennedy's retirement virtually assures that his replacement will be, well no Justice Kennedy. Plus, most Americans disapprove of the separation of illegal immigrants from their children but Republicans are in favor of it. Why? I think it comes down to demographics. And after comedian D. L. Hughley grew tired of receiving advice from white people like Megyn Kelly, he wrote about it. He's here to discuss his new book, "How Not to Get Shot."

But first, in the President's ongoing quest to put America first, he's torn up a lot of the ways in which the country has done business. Today an 850 foot long ship will be christened here in Philadelphia, the largest container ship ever built in the United States, made by hundreds of union workers. On the other hand, General Motors just warned the Commerce Department that another wave of tariffs could force the company to raise prices, scale back its business and cost America jobs.

I want to know what you think on this question at smerconish.com. Vote this hour. Quote, even when opposed by American multi-national corporations, is President Trump's trade policy in the best interest of American workers?

Joining me now is Peter Navarro, he's an assistant to the President. He's Director of Trade and Industrial Policy. He's the Director of the White House National Trade Council. He just wrote this piece in the "Philadelphia Enquirer": "Buying American can Help Keep the Philly Shipyard Afloat."

Peter, we'll begin with the good news. Talk to me about this container ship that you'll christen in Philadelphia today.

PETER NAVARRO, DIRECTOR OF TRADE AND INDUSTRIAL POLICY: It's going to be a great day in Philly, one of my favorite cities. Go Eagles. Eight hundred and fifty foot ship, largest container ship ever built in this country. This is good news for our shipbuilding industry.

We lost about half the amount of people that work in that industry, in an industry which pays wages at like $70,000 -- $70,000 a year. This ship is being built under the two simple rules of President Trump: buy American and hire American. And the two pieces of legislation that govern this are Cargo Preference and what's called The Jones Act.

Basically, if you have a cargo going between two points in the U.S., the U.S. requires that ship to be built, owned, and crewed by Americans and then Cargo Preference provides similar type of catalyst and this is a great day. This ship is state of the art, environmentally friendly, low cost, and what we've had, Michael, around the world is foreign shipyards heavily subsidizing their shipyards, dumping capacity around the world, putting Americans out of work.

And it's kind of like a microcosm of the whole trade problem this country faces. But this ship is going to be an important part of the fleet. A sister one is coming next year, but the Philly shipyard needs some help and this Administration is trying to provide that.

SMERCONISH: So that good news comes on the same day that the lead story all across the country is one of General Motors warning that if there's another round of tariffs, it's going to harm investment, jobs, and wages. Respond to GM.

NAVARRO: So the history of tariffs so far in the Trump Administration. We put tariffs on solar, dishwashers, steel, and aluminum, has been a flood of new investment in this country both by domestic sources and by foreign sources which we welcome. For example, the day we announced steel and aluminum tariffs in Hawesville, Kentucky, Century Aluminum basically announced $150 million modernization and expansion.

Well, U.S. Steel announced the reopening of facilities in Granite City, Illinois. The solar industry which is just hammered by the Chinese unfair trade practices, this was an industry which we invented, is now making a strong comeback. And then we have dishwasher -- everybody needs one of those, will be built more with American hands.

[09:05:00]

So GM is an American company but it is also a multinational. It likes to ship our jobs offshore. Even the GM cars that are built here, about half of the content is foreign; that doesn't help Detroit. And so what I would urge everybody to do when multinational companies like GM issue these types of warnings, take it with about a whole can of salt.

Because, for example, the price increase in a car from GM based on the steel tariffs is about the price of a luxury floor mat. So a lot of smoke and mirrors with -- with GM and others, but what we've seen is the Trump tariffs are working. And the bigger picture here, Michael, let's -- let's please understand two things.

SMERCONISH: But, Peter, can I get a question in on this?

NAVARRO: Yes, sure absolutely.

SMERCONISH: It's -- it's not just GM, right? I mean it's Harley Davidson. I can think of no more iconic brand than Harley Davidson now exporting some of their production activities. The President tweeted -- I want to put that tweet up on the screen. Here's what your boss had to say with regard -- he said "They surrendered. They quit."

What was Harley supposed to do if the cost of bikes was going to rise by about $2,000 each?

NAVARRO: So -- so Harley, I think, for America here out there he was speaking with a little forked tailpipe. For example, they closed a facility with 800 workers in Kansas City to ship that production offshore to Thailand. They love -- Harley unfortunately, iconic though it may be, loves to ship their production offshore rather than build here.

And I think President Trump felt betrayed, legitimately, about this because we've done so much for that company including the tax bill. I mean the tax bill is at tremendous boon for corporations in a good way for American workers because what it does is it stimulates investment here and production here.

And it's unfortunate that -- that companies like GM and Harley are playing into the hands of the foreigners who basically exploit us. And the bigger picture here is that we're -- as President Trump has said, that we're the world's piggybank. We ship off about a half a trillion dollars every year, Michael, in the form of a trade deficit.

And that's what we do is we transfer our wealth, our jobs, and our factories abroad and at the same time, and this is no coincidence, we have some of the lowest tariffs and lowest non-tariff barriers in the world. And all the president really wants is free, fair, reciprocal and balanced trade.

We would, prefer to have --

SMERCONISH: So here I guess is --

NAVARRO: Go ahead.

SMERCONISH: Here's the question, I guess. The question is is whether Harley and there are many other instances, they got the advantage from the tax break. But those workers seem to get the shaft. I think what I hear--

NAVARRO: The drive shaft (ph), that is.

SMERCONISH: -- Peter Navarro saying is is that the multinationals -- that the multinationals don't have the back of the workers but I think your argument is that the Trump Administration does. Is that it in short order?

NAVARRO: That's exactly right and that's why President Trump has the strong support of the men and women in this country who work with their hands whether it's in the shipyards of Philly or in the factories in Detroit. I mean, the problem we have, Michael, is that a lot of our so-called factories over the last two decades have been turned into assembly plants.

You go down to South Carolina, for example, where the Germans have put a plant in that make the BMW SUV series. Well, guess what? Twenty- five percent of those -- the content is U.S. while the engines are made in where? They're made in like Bavaria, Germany and in Austria.

See, President Trump thinks that what we need to do is have more production here, have us have a strong manufacturing in defense and industrial base, and as the President has said is economic security is national security. And that's why, for example, today the shipyard is so important. It's not just that we have --

SMERCONISH: I got it.

NAVARRO: -- a shipyard, but it's that we have a -- a military that we can -- that we can to defend ourselves and all of our allies, by the way, who are basically taking us to the cleaners on the trade deficit.

SMERCONISH: OK, I want -- I want to ask a three parter but you can handle it.

NAVARRO: Oh -- I don't have any notes here but I'll give it a try here --

SMERCONISH: On the WTO (ph) -- all right, here we go. Axios (ph) said yesterday that the President is often heard to say that we get "effed" by the World Trade Organization. Three part question -- first of all, do we? Secondly--

NAVARRO: Yes.

SMERCONISH: -- has he said that to you? Well, we'll take them one at a time. Do we get "effed" by the WTO?

NAVARRO: Yes. Here's the problem.

SMERCONISH: Well, yes or no? No, I want to go through them --

NAVARRO: Absolutely.

SMERCONISH: -- I want to go through all three.

NAVARRO: Absolutely. The World Trade Organization has--

SMERCONISH: OK, number two --

NAVARRO: --rules --

SMERCONISH: --number two, has he said that -- NAVARRO: --not in favor with the United States.

SMERCONISH: Has he -- has he said that to you?

NAVARRO: What he says to me in the Oval or the Roosevelt Room is between me and the President. What he has said publically is--

SMERCONISH: All right.

NAVARRO: -- that the World Trade Organization has a set of rules which disadvantaged this country and contribute to unfair trade and -- and instability in the global trading order because of that.

SMERCONISH: All right, number three. Are we getting out?

NAVARRO: That's the President's decision. What we are trying to do with the World Trade Organization is basically get that organization to a place where we have free, fair, reciprocal, and balanced trade. I'll give you an example. Under the rules of the WTO, right now, we charge 2.5% tariffs on automobiles coming in from Germany or from China.

Well guess what? China can charge 25% and Germany can charge 10% tariff. Now how is that fair? But that's the rule of the World Trade Organization, so what -- all we're trying to do, basically, is to bring about a -- a restructuring of the global trading order which is actually good for free trade because it will lead to fair, balanced, reciprocal trade.

We would -- we would love zero tariffs. Zero non-tariff barriers, zero subsidies, zero currency manipulation, these are the kind of things that plague this trading system and Americans --

SMERCONISH: Peter--

NAVARRO: -- know what -- what's happened over the last 15 years. It's not been pretty.

SMERCONISH: One more, quickly, if I can. Now it's Canada -- ketchup, yogurt, whiskey, lawn mowers, motor boats. I guess my final question is -- is this. You know, is this what winning looks like when we're at odds -- our government, with GM, with Harley Davidson, with our neighbors to the north.

I mean, apple pie seems to be the only thing on the list right now that -- that you're not fighting over trade. Respond.

NAVARRO: Here's what winning looks like. A 4% GDP growth rate, the lowest unemployment for blacks and Hispanics in history -- historically low unemployment rates, wages rising, productivity rising, and investment flooding into this country because of the Trump trade policy.

So we are going to move forward with that. The President has a sound strategy and in terms of -- of Canada and Mexico, what we need to do next with them is simply negotiate a fair NAFTA deal for this -- for this country. And for example, with Mexico, a NAFTA deal with Mexico would be tremendously beneficial for both countries.

If we could regain the supply chain between these two countries for this hemisphere, that'd be a great deal.

SMERCONISH: I -- I understand we're getting flooded with social media reaction. Before you go, Kathryn (ph), put one up on the screen so that Peter has the opportunity to respond with me. Just give us a taste of what's -- what's come in.

"Smerconish, how is losing your job going to be good for the American worker because that is the result of Trump's trade policy? Look at Harley and soon GM."

You want to respond to that gentleman, Peter?

NAVARRO: Sure, it's counterfactual. You just look at the data. We have the lowest unemployment rates we've had for a very long time. There's been 7 quarters, Michael, where the unemployment rate has been below 4% since the 1970s. And guess what? The last two quarters were below 4%.

The lowest unemployment -- and the President is very proud of this. The lowest unemployment rates for blacks and Hispanics in history and part of that is because of the trade policy. What we've had is just this flood of foreign goods and effectively dumping of cheap, slave labor on the global markets.

The President says that's not the way free trade is supposed to be. So this President is getting the job done. The trade policy is resulting in more investment in this country. Its working perfectly, we're going to stay the course, and Donald J. Trump is visionary. He's willing to do what the past presidents over the last 20 years have been not only unwilling to do but have gotten us into the mess with NAFTA and China and the WTO and the bad Korean deal and all of that.

We're turning that around and--

SMERCONISH: OK.

NAVARRO: --and its all President Donald J. Trump.

SMERCONISH: Give him another one, quickly if we can. I know we're way over, but one more Kathryn (ph). What do we got?

"Smerconish, policy? What policy? You mean Twitter rants to which his staffers must respond and make into some semblance of policy." Hey, Barth (ph), asks a -- a good point. Is there some coherence to all of this, Peter? Because from the sidelines, a lot of it does seem to be seat of the pants. Quick response, if you don't mind.

NAVARRO: Free, fair, balanced, reciprocal trade. That's all we want. When we encounter anything other than that, the President responds with strong trade policy which are designed to stimulate investment here to put facilities here that make things so that men and women in this country can have good jobs and good wages. It's working perfectly, just look at the numbers.

SMERCONISH: Peter Navarro, thank you for being here.

NAVARRO: I look forward to being in Philly today. I wish you could come down to the shipyard and take a bottle of champagne and hit that thing.

SMERCONISH: It's hot. I'll take the champagne, believe me. Thank you Peter. Peter inspired today's poll question at smerconish.com.

[09:15:00]

Go and answer this during the course of the hour. Even when opposed by American multinational corporations, is President Trump's trade policy in the best interest of American workers? I mean pretty much what he argues and I'll be curious to see what you say. He says, look, we've got the back of the workers more so than GM and more so than Harley. Go vote on that question.

Up ahead -- what's behind the GOP lack of empathy for illegal immigrants? A new study suggests it might be the fact that white America is disappearing. And Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy made a bombshell announcement this week. I, for one, think his timing will undermine his legacy and I'll tell you why in just a second.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SMERCONISH: So everybody has an opinion about the Administration's practice of separating illegal immigrants from children. In a new CNN poll when asked, two-thirds of Americans disapprove, but amongst Republicans, check it out, a majority support the policy. Why? I think a simple answer, demographics. In 2016, President Trump won 62% of white men, 52% of white women but he won no other racial or ethnic group. I talked demographics when I was on with Bill Maher last weekend in our discussion of the border crisis.

[09:20:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO)

SMERCONISH: What drags -- drives the lack of empathy that you're referring to is demographics. I think its concern in certain quarters about their diminishing role in our society. The truth is that American kids, the youngest kids today, don't look like American elders and by 2045, whites will comprise less than 50% of the population. I think a lot of the bad behavior you're referring to is preying on people's anxiety about those numbers.

(END VIDEO)

SMERCONISH: So does the data support that sound bite? Joining me, one of the co-authors of this study, Dr. Rogelio Saenz, he's the Dean of the College of Public Policy and the demographer at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Dr. Saenz, how did I do with my sound bite? DR. ROGELIO SAENZ, DEAN OF THE COLLEGE OF PUBLIC POLICY AND DEMOGRAPHER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT SAN ANTONIO: Oh, pretty good Michael, pretty good.

SMERCONISH: So the recent data now shows that deaths among whites outnumbering births among whites. What drives this? Tell us more about it.

SAENZ: Yes, what you find is with this dynamic is really an aging of the white population. You are talking about 20% of whites being 65 and older; median age of about 45 so you can imagine what the place in the life course, what people are doing at 45. They are already outside of the child-bearing ages which is 15 to 44. What demographers suggest is that category. So you already have women, for example, that are over age 44 and then you also have a decline in the fertility rate that has taken place, particularly with the impact of the great recession.

It really impacted not only white women but other women as well from other racial and ethnic groups but it had a particularly strong impact on the white women because of the aging and there's fewer white women who are producing children. There's no 35% of women, females are 15 to 44 years of age. So it is these dynamics that are producing an older age population for the whites where you have very few individuals in the younger age categories. The white population, you already has more elderly than you have children in that population.

SMERCONISH: Well, here's a takeaway, and I think a simple way of saying some of this. If the current trends continue, by 2045, the nation will be less than 50% white. True?

SAENZ: Correct. Yes.

SMERCONISH: And the political implications of this, Dr. Saenz, are very significant. Explain what it means in a state like, say, Texas.

SAENZ: Texas you see these demographic trends have already been playing out. Right now in Texas, the Latino population is about 39%, 40% of the population; whites are about 41% of the population. Demographers predict by 2022, Latinos will become the largest racial or ethnic group in the state of Texas. Yet, when we talk about politics, there's a significant lag period here with respect to demographic strength translating to political power.

So here in Texas, for example, we have about 30%, one-third of the Latino population are less than 18 years of age, so these are individuals not eligible to vote and then you also have a certain portion of the population that are here without being U.S. citizens. They may be here legally, temporary residents, et cetera, but they are not U.S. citizens so they cannot vote. So it's a significant portion of the population in Texas that cannot vote. So you have that lag period between demographic strength and political power. In addition --

SMERCONISH: I understand. I understand, but having said that, if the current alignments maintain themselves, meaning those groups that tend to vote for each party and that party's candidates long term, the GOP has got a problem. That's the bottom line. That's how I apply your demographic information to the current political dynamic.

SAENZ: Yes. One thing that is another point to consider with respect to Texas is that the white population in Texas is growing, still growing faster than the white population in other parts of the country and that has been the case because of a lot of migration, internal migration from other states to Texas because of the good economy in the state of Texas and that has brought also a lot of whites from other parts of the country moving to Texas.

[09:25:00]

And some of the latest data suggests that about 60, 65% of whites that are moving to Texas are coming from red states. Not necessarily that they're Republicans themselves, but they're coming from areas that are more red than blue.

SMERCONISH: Understood. There's a lot to comprehend, but white births are now outnumbered by white deaths in a number of states and the white population could be less than 50% by 2045. Dr. Saenz, thank you for being here.

SAENZ: Thank you, Michael.

SMERCONISH: A lot of reaction to this as well via Facebook and Twitter. What do you got Kathryn (ph)? Smerconish, is it that white America is vanishing or that white men's grip on power is vanishing? Well, Warrior Al (ph), I think it's probably a combination of both, don't you?

Up ahead -- by retiring when he did, did Justice Kennedy pretty much insure that whoever succeeds him will not be another Justice Kennedy? I'll explain.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:30:00]

SMERCONISH: He was never the chief, but arguably no recent Supreme Court Justice was more important. But did the timing of Anthony Kennedy's exit contradict the rational role that we've ascribed to him. As Adam Liptack, "The New York Times" Supreme Court reporter wrote, if influence were the deciding factor, it would be more accurate to speak of the period since 1988 as the Kennedy court.

So often he played the role of tiebreaker on a court comprised of nine members. He was the fifth vote, wrote the opinion in Citizens United which opened the door to unlimited campaign spending by corporations and unions. He was the fifth vote in Bush v. Gore which decided the 2000 election for Bush. He was the fifth vote in Heller which recognized an individual's constitutional right to own guns. He was the fifth vote in Shelby County versus Holder which struck down a significant portion of the Voting Rights Act. Pretty conservative stuff, right, but he voted with the majority in the 1992 abortion case that upheld Roe versus Wade. That was Planned Parenthood versus Casey.

He was the fifth vote in Obergefell which found the constitutional right to same sex marriage. He was the fifth vote in Ropers versus Simmons. That's the case that barred capital punishment for crimes before age 18. He voted on the winning side of close decisions 76% of the time in his career. Indeed, he formed those majorities so often. It was Justice Kennedy that was the swing vote and, therefore, we credited him with being the stabilizing influence, the rational one, the non-ideologue on a court where it seems that every other justice's vote was predictable.

But now that seems contradicted by the timing of his exit which was announced in a letter addressed, My Dear Mr. President. Surely he could have waited six months until after the running of the midterm elections at least raising the possibility that his successor, who will require senate confirmation, would be more in line with his independent thinking than the ideology of his current colleagues. Instead he's enabled the swift confirmation of his successor where the party that nominated him 31 years ago has control of the White House and the Senate.

In so doing, he's denied the country a referendum on the politization of the courts which is not to say the midterms will change the outcome. The Republican majority in the Senate is currently two votes meaning that the change of just one seat will create a 50/50 tie. But as Philip Bump pointed out in "The Washington Post" this week, thanks to Senate Majority Mitch McConnell's finagling during the fight to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch, Supreme Court nominees are not subject to the filibuster, meaning only 51 votes are needed to confirm.

Unfortunately for McConnell though, that's exactly how many votes he has. If he loses one vote, the Senate is split 50/50 and Vice President Pence can cast the tiebreaker. If he loses two, President Trump's nominee to replace Kennedy fails to be confirmed meaning that if Trump nominates someone who two centrist Republicans find unpalatable, perhaps a fervent opponent of abortion who Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski can't support, then McConnell is in trouble.

Still, the midterm map, it favors the Republicans. Of the 49 seats held by the Ds, more than half, 26, are up for re-election this year. Among seats held by Republicans, only 9 are; and so the Democrats need to win 28 of the 35 seats that are being contested this year to take a majority of the Senate, and that's a steep climb.

But, here's my point. Had Justice Kennedy waited a few more months, he would have empowered the nation to decide the next nominee instead of facilitating what will probably be a rubber stamp and by leaving on the Republicans' timetable, Kennedy has sown the seeds of the reversal of much of what he stood for. If instead he had waited until after the fall elections and if the Democrats had regained control of the Senate, the next justice would be a bipartisan consensus pick; somebody like Anthony Kennedy.

Joining me now, Misha Tseytlin. He was a law clerk for Justice Kennedy, is currently the Wisconsin Solicitor General. Misha, respond to my commentary. I'm, of course, taking issue with the timing of the Justice's departure. MISHA TSEYTLIN, FORMER LAW CLERK AND WISCONSIN SOLICITOR GENERAL:

Thank you so much for having me on. I think I would disagree with your characterization. Obviously, Justice Kennedy served for quite a long time, one of the longest serving justices in this country's history and he well earned his retirement.

[09:35:00]

Now with regard to the kind of replacement that President Trump is likely to name for Justice Kennedy, we only really have one data point and that's Justice Neil Gorsuch who is a former Justice Kennedy clerk. In his first full term of the court which just passed, Justice Gorsuch voted aligned with Justice Kennedy 86% of the time which is among the highest agreement rate on the court. So I think these kind of moderate versus not moderate characterizations are not really taking the full scope of the kind of decisions Justice Kennedy has made, the decisions the Justice Gorsuch has made thus far and what to look forward to going forward.

SMERCONISH: Well of course, you never know what you're getting, right, until the individual actually puts on the robe. Your former boss was a Ronald Reagan appointee. Tell me if I'm right in this respect, it seems to me that he never really championed himself that role as number five. We always wonder which way is it going to be, 5-4. But it tells me Justice Kennedy didn't value his role as being the decider. Am I wrong?

TSEYTLIN: Right, I think he said in a public forum once he was asked about being the quote, swing vote and he said I don't swing, the cases do. The best example of that is the first case you talked about here at the top, Citizens United. You said he provided the fifth vote in Citizens United which I think implies he was the swing vote in that case. But, in fact, Justice Kennedy for years leading up to Citizens United has been saying we need to give high protection to speech during campaigns. In fact, he was in dissent for years on that issue and in fact he brought his colleagues along to affirm the broad First Amendment rights to speech in elections just like he favored broad First Amendment rights across the board.

In a case like Citizens United, Justice Kennedy was far from the swing vote. He was the most consistent defender of the First Amendment for years and the court, in fact, swung to his point of view.

SMERCONISH: Imagine -- final question -- a different scenario where perhaps Justice Kennedy before the midterm, telegraphed his imminent departure from the court and now Americans would be empowered to go out and cast ballots in their respective Senate elections knowing that they were going to play a direct role in whomever would sit on the court; we don't have that now. We've lost that because of his timing. You get the final word.

TSEYTLIN: I'll say this, the American people should take the Supreme Court into account whenever they vote. They obviously took it very strongly into account in the presidential election in 2016 even though Justice Kennedy's replacement is likely to be named, the Senators that the citizens will vote for in the upcoming elections are very likely to vote one way or another for another Supreme Court justice somewhere in the next six years, so citizens should think about what kind of justice do they want.

Do they want someone that is going to legislate from the bench or someone that's going to follow the original meaning of the Constitution or something else entirely? They should take that into account as they cast their ballots in November.

SMERCONISH: Misha, thank you for being here.

TSEYTLIN: Thank you so much.

SMERCONISH: Let's check in on your Facebook and Twitter comments. What do we got? Justice Kennedy knew exactly what he was doing and chose his time to do it precisely now so POTUS could appoint his successor. Kennedy knew if Democrats get a successor. Kennedy knew that if Democrats get a majority in the Senate, a ninth Supreme Court justice would not be confirmed in the next 2 1/2 years. Michael (ph), there's no justification for that opinion; none whatsoever.

What makes you think the Ds would have held up the process for two years? Because the Rs did that to Obama with Merrick Garland? I don't that people would have stood for a two year vacancy on the Supreme Court. And what happened to Merrick Garland was wrong. Remember, vote at smerconish.com on the poll question of the day. We had Peter Navarro here. Even when opposed by American multinational corporations, is President Trump's trade policy in the best interest of American workers?

Still to come -- comedian D.L. Hughley says an appearance on Megyn Kelly's show a couple years ago changed his life. He's about to tell us how.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:40:00]

SMERCONISH: When comedian D.L. Hughley went on "Fox News" to talk about the killing of Philando Castillo by a police officer. Anchor Megyn Kelly told him something that stuck with him.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

MEGYN KELLY, NBC HOST: You are making assumptions because we don't know what happened.

D. L. HUGHLEY, COMEDIAN: No.

KELLY: All we have right now is her testimonial which doesn't capture the actual event? Do we know whether she's credible? Do we know whether--

HUGHLEY: We know this. We know he had a permit to carry a gun.

KELLY: But that doesn't answer any of the questions.

HUGHLEY: That absolutely answers the question.

KELLY: If he pulled the firearm on the officer, if he didn't disclose it, if the officer felt threatened.

HUGHLEY: Why on earth -- here's what we do know. He had a permit to carry a gun. When you get a permit to carry the gun they tell you exactly how to act when a police officer pulls you over.

KELLY: That doesn't mean he threatened the officer.

HUGHLEY: You're willing to give him a presumption.

KELLY: I'm not giving him the presumption -- well the law gives them the presumption of innocence. I'm just saying we don't know the facts.

(END VIDEO)

SMERCONISH: That experience became the touchstone for his new book "How Not to Get Shot and Other Advice from White People." Comedian D.L. Hughley joins me. By the way the "Hollywood Reporter" recently said, he's the number one comedian in terms of social media rankings. D.L., serious subject but a lot of fun along the way. Let's start with the fun.

[09:45:00]

You go through names, what they are in the black community versus what would they be in the white community. Put that chart up from his book. Darnell is Dustin. Jamal is Jack. Aliyah is Abigail. Jasmine is Catherine. Now it gets fun: Darius, Chris Wallace; Jada, Kellyanne Conway; Malik, Reince Priebus; Tiara, Ivanka Trump. You had fun but you have something serious to say in this book. Explain.

HUGHLEY: Thank you. Well ultimately, I wanted to -- that conversation angered me so much and rather than being angry and getting frustrated, I put it into action. I wanted to write a book that was both satirical and had factual data and I never forget my gig is to make people laugh but I hope to be able to make America -- America is always talking about we need to have a conversation about policing in the black communities. This is my entree into the conversation. Ultimately my job is to make people laugh but more that that is to make them see.

And I think I worked very hard on this book and I'm very proud of it. But it was that mind-set that Megyn Kelly expressed is why these things keep happening. It's that benign -- it's benign racism where you can go, no matter what we see, we're going to ascribe it to -- we will blame 12-year-old boys in Cleveland for having toy guns and being shot down. It's that mind-set that allows these things to happen and my goal was, how can I see -- how can I show them what I see and let them see it in a way that makes them -- that they're less threatened by.

SMERCONISH: You deal with that which you most often hear from guys who look like I look when there is one of these shootings like just comply with police orders. Don't talk back. Or my favorite, and I've said it. I've got to admit. I've said it. Don't break the law.

HUGHLEY: sure. Yeah. We have courts for people who break the law and jails for people who break the law. Police aren't -- they're supposed to bind you over for trial but ultimately, we're saying we'd rather have policemen who decide that you not complying with them is a death sentence. I don't think ultimately that's what we would like in a society. I think when you look on the face, it seems absurd to say, I heard Giuliani say teach your children to respect the police. We can't teach your children to clean their room but we're the onus on the child rather than on a trained adult who is trained in policing. So it just these ironic things people say are really kind of like I said the motivation for writing this book.

SMERCONISH: Here's another area you had some fun but made a serious point. Po po potpourri -- put up the image on the screen from D.L.'s new book. What is po-po potpourri and how do I get some?

HUGHLEY: Well it -- it rids the air of the invisible marijuana scent that they always say they smell. So you know we didn't find any marijuana but it rids your car of the scent of marijuana so they'll be less likely to stop you.

HUGHLEY: You also go through music that perhaps black folks should listen to so they're less threatening: The Dave Matthews Band, U2, Journey or quote, that "I'm Proud to be an American" song.

HUGHLEY: Right, right. Because all the takeoffs, like the names, they're inherent biases with employers and teachers say that a name is a kind of the way they'll treat you. We know that a young teenager in Florida was shot for playing loud music. So maybe if it was Neil Diamond, he wouldn't have been motivated to shoot him. But ultimately my comedy has always been my way to kind of express the things that I see and so it's just a juxtaposition I just found hilarious.

SMERCONISH: I'm not giving it all away for free but I have to say in the epilogue you say the only way to really protect yourself is to not be black.

HUGHLEY: Right. Ultimately, we say things like -- there's a shooting. There's a young kid that just got shot in Pittsburgh. He was a 15-year-old boy. He was running away. He was shot in the back three times. The police officer was fired in January for being a liar and being brutal. Hired 90 minutes later he was killing an unarmed black kid. We see these patterns all over the country. We will see these brutal guys who are assigned in places where these things -- the propensity for these things are likely to happen. And just -- if you look at what he said, I'm not going to answer -- this police officer, Michael Rosenfield said, I'm not going to answer to anybody except God and the presiding judge. I'm assuming he meant presiding judge and if you don't like it, you know what to do. Now if you kill somebody and you know even if you had to do it, to have that callousness and to put that out and just -- that you can kind of a antagonize people like that after you have taken a child's life, it's a situation we find ourselves in.

[09:50:00] And it really -- rather than be angry I decided to be an author.

SMERCONISH: Hey, I laughed and it was thought-provoking at the same time. It's rare do be able to do that. So thanks for being back and congrats on "How Not to Get Shot." Thank you D.L.

HUGHLEY: Thank you man. Thank you man. I appreciate it.

SMERCONISH: Last chance to vote before we give away the results of today's poll question. Even when opposed by American multi-national corporations, is President Trump's trade policy in the best interest of American workers? Go vote right now.

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SMERCONISH: So time to see how you responded at smerconish.com. Even when opposed by American multi-national corporations, is President Trump's trade policy in the best interest of American workers? Survey says 8,059 votes cast; 89% say no. Peter Navarro's argument was to say, look, we're the ones who've got the back of American workers, not Harley and not GM. That didn't carry the day. See you next week.