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THE VAN JONES SHOW
Van Jones Talks to Tulsi Gabbard About Her Service and 2020 Presidential Nomination, and to Mark Sanford, Mia Love, John Faso About the Government Shutdown. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired January 12, 2019 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:00] VAN JONES, HOST, THE VAN JONES SHOW: Good evening, everybody. I'm Van Jones. Welcome to The Van Jones Show. We are back just in time for more chaos, all right. President Trump started 2019 by promptly dividing the country with more fear-mongering, more falsehoods, and now we are in the longest running government shutdown ever.
And you know, the politics are ugly, but the human impact is even worse. This week hundreds of thousands of federal workers did not get paid. They literally got checks with zeros on them; that's insulting. Imagine if you hadn't gotten a paycheck since mid-December, that's what these workers are dealing with. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RACHEL TURNER, WIFE OF TSA AGENT: Our childcare payment is more than our mortgage. We're already stretched thin with that, and without the paycheck, it's just almost an impossible situation.
LYNN STRATTON, FURLOUGHED FEDERAL WORKER: I have enough for one more mortgage payment and I got to go to CarMax tomorrow and sell my car.
AARON MCGLOTHIN, CORRECTIONS OFFICER: I picked up a secondary job driving Uber, just so I know that, when I don't get paid next week and my mortgage is due or my food - I got to put food on the table or I'm going to - PG&E's going to cut off my power for lack of payment. I've got to have something there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Now these furloughed federal workers are actually on social media talking about having to return their Christmas gifts so they can have food and be able to pay their rent. And for the essential workers, the air traffic controllers, TSA agents, the Coast Guard, the people who are keeping the skies safe and the shores safe, they still have to go to work every day, but they are not getting paid a single dime.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN MCCABE, NATIONAL AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS ASSOCIATION: They're already in a highly stressful - in a very stressful job, and now when you go home, you're thinking about how am I going to pay my mortgage, how am I going to pay for childcare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Now listen, after some backlash, the Coast Guard took this tip sheet off their website. But they had something up there, where they were recommending that unpaid service members do stuff like this, have garage sale, babysit, walk dogs, house-sit, or become mystery shoppers during the shutdown.
I'm not making this stuff up. And as a result of this, everybody, all of us are in danger. More unpaid TSA workers calling out sick could cause delays of your flight, it could also impact security. They actually have to close a terminal early at the airport in Miami this weekend, okay.
Also, if you like to eat food, your food may be less safe because the FDA is not able to do the routine inspections of domestic food processing facilities. Also, the FBI - the Agents Association there said that operations are being hindered. I don't know what that means, it sounds scary. Oh that's not good!
And if this goes on for more months, food stamp funding could dry up. And the people who are living in federally subsidized housing could be thrown out of their homes. All of this for a wall that hardly anybody wants.
Mr. President, you ran on the wall in 2016, and guess what, you know you won the election, you lost the popular vote. It's not a popular idea, okay. In the midterm elections, you tried to scare everybody about the caravan and you got smacked down with the Blue Wave.
The polls show Americans don't want this wall and they never did. So we need to reopen the government and you need a new talking point. So here's some, how about this?
Health care, you got 27 million Americans that still don't have insurance. Millions more are paying way too much for prescription drugs; that's a real crisis. Why don't you fix that?
Or opioids, you got 70,000 Americans die in 2017, that's a record. It's a bad record. This wall is not going to stop that, that's a real crisis. Let's get together and fix it.
The climate crisis, carbon dioxide emissions up 3.4 percent in 2018; biggest jump in eight years. Why don't you tweet about that?
Infrastructure, bridges falling down, roads and sewers not working, nobody's doing anything about it. Fix that.
See, you don't have to make up a phony crisis, when you can fix some of the real ones. And I bet a lot of people would help you if you try. And that's why I am happy to see the Democrats in Congress trying to keep this administration in check, and I love the ones who are throwing their names in the hat for 2020 to make America better.
My next guest might be doing both of those things. Please welcome to The Van Jones Show, Democratic Representative from Hawaii, my good friend Tulsi Gabbard in the house.
Welcome to The Van Jones Show.
So happy to see you. You were out there marching with some of these furloughed workers. I know your heart is breaking for them. Is it time for the Democrats to give up something? I mean, should we say, look all right we just can't take it anymore, just give this guy what he wants, give him something, what has to happen?
REP. TULSI GABBARD (D), HAWAII: The problem here, Van, is this is one of those issues where there are serious challenges and problems that need to be addressed.
[19:05:00] The challenge of border security, the challenge of comprehensive immigration reform, these are real issues that need to be - that need to be solved. But what is unfortunate about the current situation is partisanship has gotten in the way.
GABBARD: Both sides have drawn their lines in the sand; wall, no wall, which really is the issue here.
JONES: Well, what is the issue?
GABBARD: The issue here is securing our borders.
GABBARD: Because unless we have a secure border, we don't really have a country. The second thing is immigration reform. You know, we still have dreamers in this country, people who came here as kids, through no choice of their own, who are still facing uncertainty about their future, along with a whole host of other issues related to immigration.
I think that that conversation needs to happen; what does it mean to secure our border? we see members of Congress who are representing districts along the border, Democrats and Republicans, who are saying a wall makes sense maybe in some areas, but in other areas we have better technology that will accomplish the objective of securing our border.
And this is the problem with so many issues in politics today. And in Washington is you have leaders who get stuck in these partisan arguments without actually recognizing what is the objective.
GABBARD: This is something I learned in the military.
JONES: In the military.
GABBARD: You know from day one, unless you know what your objective is, you will never have a strategy or a path to accomplish that objective, and that's the problem here.
JONES: I think Trump just makes it hard for people's brains to function, just kind of drives people nuts. You've actually been able to find some places where you actually agree with Trump. You met with him early, that shocked a lot of people, first step back criminal justice, we both agreed on that; but also on trade TPP.
What is your philosophy for dealing with a Trump, as somebody who is a Democrat - strong Democrat, wants to appeal to Democrats? That's a tricky balance you try to do sometimes.
GABBARD: By not thinking about any of those things that you just talked about.
By not factoring those into my equation at all, by thinking first and foremost how best can I serve the people of this country, what are we trying to accomplish to make their lives better every single day.
If we put the well-being of the people first and remember that we are here to serve them, then those other considerations and political calculus and all this, oh I don't want to be in the same room with this person or that person, that's worthless because people's lives are at stake.
JONES: I mean you are unique in that regard though, you have that Aloha spirit and you are willing to meet with people and talk to people. And some people have gotten mad at you because you take - take something like Assad, right, that's an issue. Syria, the civil war, you actually went, you met with Assad. This guy is a butcher, he's a dictator, he's a horrible person, but you went and sat down and talked with him.
Some people said too friendly, talking points sound too much like him. Did you get yourself in trouble with this attitude that you have of talking to everybody and reaching out?
GABBARD: As a veteran, I've deployed twice to the Middle East and I've seen personally the extremely high cost of war on the lives of our service members who sacrifice so much, on their families, and the lives of people in these other countries where we launch regime change wars, whose lives are destroyed, whose country is completely devastated, people who suffer not just during these wars but for decades to come.
I also serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee in Congress and the Armed Services Committee. And through those lenses also understand how important it is for our national security, as well as our pursuit of peace. That we've got to be willing to have those conversations, to meet with people, whether they are adversaries, potential adversaries, friends.
Because if we are not willing to have those conversations, the only alternative is more war, more suffering, more devastation, more lives lost. JONES: I think your compassion for people, this interesting mix of yours, you are a tough soldier but you're also mainly a soldier for peace, you don't want war. I think it's hard for people to square the circle though of Assad being such a bad, bad actor.
I think that people said, oh is she now an apologist for Assad, is she now with Assad, is she now like Assad?
GABBARD: What I have done, having been someone who served in the Iraq War, as someone who lost friends in that war, who never came home, as someone who has seen those who did come home still struggling and fighting with the invisible wounds of war, all because we had a President and a cabinet who lied to the American people to launch this war, and people in Congress and the Senate who said yes we believe you, let's go and send our troops into combat. This is why I have the skepticism that I do, because I have been there and falling for those lies.
JONES: Well, the other significant choice is to withdraw. There's a choice to go, the choice to pull out. Trump says he's pulling out of Syria, is that a wise decision, is it wisely executed?
[19:10:00] GABBARD: I think it's a wise decision given the reason why he and his cabinet have said they want to keep troops in Syria, is not to defeat or counter ISIS and Al Qaeda which is the authorization with which our troops are there in the first place, but because they wanted to keep our troops there to go against Iran, which this administration has made no qualms about saying that they would like to see regime change in Iran, they want our troops to counter Iran.
So for that reason, our troops need to come home. The execution seems to change every day of the week with this administration.
JONES: That's hard to figure out. You're a hawk on terrorism.
JONES: But you're a dove on regime change wars.
JONES: What's the difference between fighting terrorism and fighting regime change wars, what does that mean?
GABBARD: I'm glad you asked because there is a vast distinction. Whether we like it or not, we have terrorist groups in different parts of the world, those who attacked us on 9/11 in this country, who threaten the safety and security of the American people.
We need to make sure that we defeat those threats so that our people can be safe. My opposition to regime change wars comes from not only my personal experience, but looking throughout history at what the consequences of those wars are.
JONES: What's wrong with that, if there's a bad guy? GABBARD: The consequences. Time and time again, we see how our intervention regime change wars have not only not made the lives of the people in those countries better, the lives of people in those countries have been made far worse specifically because of our regime change wars, not better.
To speak of the fact that it has made us less safe. The trillions of dollars that we spend on these regime change wars are dollars that are not going to fixing our infrastructure, they are not going to improve our healthcare system, not going to improve our education system, not going to rebuild our communities right here at home.
JONES: It seems like you see things differently because you have done things differently. You are a veteran of these - this most recent round of wars. I think the wisdom of your generation and veterans is something that we're going to need maybe in much higher office, we'll talk about that when we get back. A lot more with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard when we get back.
She said she's strongly considering running for President in 2020. I'm going to see if I can get her to tell me something, if she's going to maybe stand down the crowded field (ph), when we get back.
[19:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
JONES: Welcome back to The Van Jones Show, I'm talking to Tulsi - stop it. (LAUGHTER) I'm talking to Tulsi Gabbard. Listen, you're barely old enough to even run for President, you are still in your mid-thirties.
You were the - I think the youngest woman ever elected to state legislature. When you got to Congress, you were the youngest woman. Why did you decide so early in life to commit to public service, why'd you do all that stuff at such a young age?
GABBARD: Growing up in Hawaii, I had not only the fortunate experience of learning about what it means to live Aloha, which - Aloha is more than just hello and goodbye. Aloha really means that we recognize each other as brothers and sisters. And that when we say Aloha to one another, we're saying that I'm coming to you with an open heart and with love and compassion and care and respect.
And so, I gradually experienced even from a young age that I was most happy when I was doing things to help other people.
JONES: You were sitting in an office, you could have gone off to do something else.
JONES: You decided to quit and go and put yourself in a war zone, why'd you do that?
GABBARD: You're right. I mean, being a state representative in Hawaii, being with my family, being with my friends, it was something that I would have been very happy to continue to do, but I knew that there was no way that I could stay home and be safe and comfortable, while my brothers and sisters went off to war on the other side of the planet.
That's why I left my reelection campaign, volunteered to deploy, got trained in a job that they needed someone to fill, and went to serve with them, to serve our country.
JONES: Well now that you are in Congress, you got a whole bunch of even younger people coming up behind you. They're calling the President MFers and doing sit-ins and all kind of weird stuff.
So how will you evaluate this new batch of young women coming in?
GABBARD: There's a huge group of new members of Congress that were just sworn in on January 3rd. And I'll tell you, just sitting there on the House floor, the energy was different.
GABBARD: Because of the new stories, the diversity, the new experiences that were coming to serve in the people's House, knowing that they were representing so many other people, maybe many people whose voices had never been heard before.
So there's so much positive energy, and I think the most important thing now is what we started out with, which is we've got to focus that energy on actually getting things done for the people and not just partisan name-calling.
JONES: That brings me right back to where I want to go, which is about 2020. Are you going to run for President of the United States and do something about it, don't you think you should, don't you think she should?
GABBARD: I have decided to run and we'll be making a formal announcement within the next week.
JONES: I got some ratings.
GABBARD: But there are a lot of reasons for me to make this decision. There are a lot of challenges that are facing the American people that I'm concerned about and that I want to help solve.
Issues relating to making sure that people who are sick get access to the health care that they need, making sure that people who are stuck in our broken criminal justice system, and the families that are torn apart are being helped, that are being served, making sure we're taking action to protect our planet for us and for the future.
There's a whole host of issues that I'm looking forward to addressing. And there is one main issue that is central to the rest, and that is the issue of war and peace, and I look forward to being able to get into this and to talk about it in depth when we make our announcement.
JONES: Well, first of all, it's amazing to hear that you're going to run. What makes you want to run to be President in the middle of this mess?
[19:20:00] GABBARD: In my camp that we were at in Iraq, there was a big sign that was at one of the main gates where the patrols would go in and out every day, and that sign read in big block letters, Is Today The Day.
And we saw this sign almost every day and it was a reminder that any moment, any day could be our last, causing me to think about how am I living my life, how am I making the most of the time that I have, because my day could come tomorrow, my day could come in a year, could come in ten years. Who knows, none of us knows the answer to that question.
And so, I carry that with me every single day of my life and do my best not only to live my day as if it could be the last, but to make sure that the time that I have, I'm doing the very best I can to be of service to others, to be of service to the people of this country.
JONES: Well, it's beautiful to hear that, your (inaudible) dedication.
Look, what are your first steps, how do you see this race? This is a very crowded field possibly. How do you see yourself moving from where you are now, a well-known but very young Congresswoman, to being the nominee of your party and the President of your country, what's - what are your next steps, what do you see as your challenges?
GABBARD: Oh like I said, we'll be making a formal announcement hopefully within the next week, and from there kicking off a tour to be able to go and visit with people in all parts of the country, both to hear their stories and to be able to share and have these discussions about the direction that we need to see forward for our country, to build that brighter future with peace and prosperity for everyone. JONES: I'm all for peace and prosperity and not war and austerity. Help me though, you must have looked at some of the other people who are running. Bernie Sanders, you did something that nobody thought you were going to do, probably most people thought you shouldn't have done, they had anointed you to be the next great queen of the Democratic Party establishment, they made you a Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee and you threw that away in the last election cycle and you endorsed Bernie Sanders.
Why did you do that?
GABBARD: First of all, my goal has never been to be queen of the Democratic establishment.
GABBARD: No, never once entered my brain.
So let's just put that one aside.
JONES: That was the first thing (ph) in the first place, okay.
GABBARD: It comes back to doing what's right.
JONES: (inaudible) was right?
GABBARD: Doing what I believe is right.
JONES: What was right about that?
GABBARD: In that election, I was the Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee, something that I was surprised that to be asked to do just a few weeks after I got elected, but went in trying to make a positive impact.
But in that position, you're supposed to remain neutral in primaries, Democratic primaries. But as the primary election kicked off in 2016, I saw very quickly that I could not stand silently on the sidelines as a veteran when I saw that the issues of war and peace, the issue of the cost of war was not being brought forward in this most important decision about who our next commander-in-chief would be.
There were very stark differences between Secretary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on this issue. And ultimately that was the main reason why I resigned and left that position and endorsed Bernie Sanders to bring forward what those contrasts were, so people could make an educated choice.
JONES: Well, what if Bernie runs? You just announced, what if Bernie now announces, what are you going to do? GABBARD: Bernie's a good friend. We've talked--
JONES: Oh! (LAUGHTER)
GABBARD: I don't know what his plans are.
GABBARD: But I know that both of our hearts are focused on serving and fighting for the American people.
JONES: This party is such a demographic kind of jigsaw puzzle. There's African-American vote, and the women's vote, and this vote and that vote. I mean, you are the - you are a female veteran, Hindu, blah blah blah. I mean how do you deal with putting this jigsaw puzzle together?
GABBARD: This is part of the problem with why our country is becoming as divided as it, is because people are focusing - self-serving politicians are focusing on dividing the American people based on these labels, and well you fit in that box and you can't step outside of that box, rather than actually getting to the heart of who are we as Americans, what are the values and the freedoms and the principles that we stand for regardless of the color of our skin, regardless of the way we choose to worship or if we choose to not worship at all.
These things that make our country diverse are all centered around this strong foundation of these core principles and values that are enshrined in our constitution. And recognizing that connectedness that we have will give us that strength and courage that is necessary to overcome those self-serving politicians and greedy corporations and those who are acting for their interests, and not the interest of the people.
[19:25:00] JONES: Well, that's kind of a populist message, but it doesn't sound like the kind of populism I hear from Donald Trump. So how would you take on a Donald Trump? I mean you seem kind of Aloha, he seems kind of a low uh-huh.
He's not trying to Alo with your ha.
GABBARD: Aloha, which essentially means love, love for each other, love for our country, should not be mistaken for just some feeling. Love is action. When you love someone, you will do anything to fight for them. When you love something, you will go to the end of the earth to fight for it.
Love gives us strength, love gives us courage, love gives us what we need to overcome those forces of darkness. One of my favorite quotes is from Dr. Martin Luther King and you know this, where he says, darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
JONES: Give her a round of applause.
That was very, very good. Listen, Tulsi, I want to thank you for joining me and good luck with your upcoming announcement and campaign. I want to thank you for announcing it on The Van Jones Show.
Coming up, we got three former Republican representatives. They were ousted in the 2018 midterm election. We're going to hear what they have to say about the wall, about the President, about the shutdown, and the Republican Party when we get back.
[19:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
JONES: All right, welcome back to The Van Jones show. So exciting, we got presidential announcements on the show tonight. Anybody else? Come on. Happy to have you. Look, the Democrats took over the House and that's already impacting President Trump.
Got investigations that are gearing up. You got the House Oversight Committee announcing, it's going to have public testimony from Trump's former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen. Meanwhile Republicans are left kind of reflecting on some of their losses. We had a big blue wave, wiped out a lot of Republican seats even in reliably red districts.
Trump said maybe the folks who lost made a mistake by pushing him away. Democrats say it's the Republicans who were on the wrong side of the issues, whether you're talking about health care, immigration or oversight of the administration.
Well, I want to talk about all of this with three former members of Congress who lost their jobs in the midterm elections but have a lot to say. Mark Sanford from South Carolina, he's here. We got Mia Love from Utah also here and by the way, a CNN contributor and John Faso from New York.
Give them a round of applause, glad to have you guys on The Van Jones Show. Before we look back to the midterm election, let's talk about the shutdown. We're in the middle of the longest shutdown in the history of the country. First of all, how does it feel to not be in Congress, right now? In the middle - this is a time when the leadership's needed, you guys are all three amazing leaders, how does it feel not to be there right now?
MIA LOVE, (R) FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: I - they should have listened to us. I mean really, this is - if you think about it and you go back, we would not be in this position and we would have good border security, if we pass the Comprehensive Bill that took care of families at the border.
It actually gave a path away to DACA recipients, actually funded the border also. I mean we had so many different things that if it that would have passed, you wouldn't be--
JONES: Back in the summer?
LOVE: Yes, we wouldn't be in this position that we're in. If you remember I actually got a little flak for taking on my own leadership because I felt like if votes weren't being taken in the House of Representatives, then the people that I represented did not have a voice on the House floor.
So bring up the votes, let people vote on them, let them pass or fail but at least they have a voice and that was one of the things that I was really frustrated with because we would not be in this position right now and we would have good immigration reform and also border security.
JONES: Well, it seems like there's something going on inside the Republican Party and you know, I'm a strong Democrat so I'm always trying to understand. This whole thing doesn't seem very conservative to me. In other words, it seems like a conservative position would be, let's have the most fiscally prudent way to get to that border security.
A lot of people say the wall would be too expensive way to handle the problem. Has nativism really replaced conservatism as the key organizing principle of the Trump Republican Party?
MARK SANFORD, (R) FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: No, I wouldn't say that but I'd just say both sides are crazy right now. I mean if you boil it all down, you got 2,000 miles of border, you got about 700 miles that are somewhat secure right now and really about 1,300 miles that are open.
So from a democratic side, people are saying, no, can't build a wall. Well, there are already some hundred miles of wall and still there's going to be roughly 1,300 miles of open stretch and from a Republican side, folks say, well, no, if we can just build a wall.
It's still an enormous problem and from either side it's not going to get solved, that's where a lot of it is pure political theater right now to everybody's detriment.
JOHN FASO, (R) U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Yeah, this has vexed administrations of both parties for decades and back in March, we passed over $600 million of money to build more or reconstruct border wall or fencing that exists today.
That was all authorized in 2006 and oh by the way, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer and Barack Obama voted for that back in 2006. So this is - this argument today that both parties are engaged in it doesn't really get into the substance of the fact that we do have border security issues.
JONES: Part of the problem though, isn't it that you know, you had Trump, you kind of - it seemed like he was going to sign off on the deal in the summer and then he kind of backed off and then it seemed like he had signed off on the clean resolution in December and then he kind of backed off.
I mean how can one guy have so much power?
LOVE: That's the problem.
JONES: Help me understand it.
LOVE: That's the problem. There's too much power being consolidated in the White House. Too many meetings going on with the administration, too few meetings actually going on with leader McCarthy, Speaker Pelosi, Mitch McConnell.
[19:35:00] JONES: Speaking of Mitch McConnell, I mean here is a strong Republican leader who just seems to be almost missing in action in the middle of this whole thing. Why is - I think for normal people who are not in the Republican party, we just don't understand how can one guy like does have the whole party in his hand.
SANFORD: But let's put back up to what you said though. If you look at it, the value to executive branch is driving a stake in the ground and saying this is where I stand and then the normal coalitions against you and for you come into place, the battle lines are drawn and you have a debate.
And the problem with the Trump presidency has been one day it's here, the next day it's here, the next day it's here and you don't ever form the battle lines to have a real debate. So part of it is not as much too much power as too much fluid power floating in different directions on a given day.
JONES: What do you think?
FASO: A lot of mixed messages so I think that we should end this shutdown right now but we should also recognize that both sides in this debate have something credible to say. The Democrats are saying, oh we need to use more technology. I don't think there are any Republicans that disagree with that.
And Republicans are saying, we have certain places, that's 700 miles that we authorized in 2006, it's not fully completed and we do need additional border, barrier, wall, whatever you want to call it but we should also deal with things like DACA and Mia is right.
We had legislation earlier this year and it would address all of these issues and I think ultimately the basis of a compromise in this is to do some immigration reform like DACA but also make sure that we have the border security because then both sides in this political space get something.
JONES: You guys sound so reasonable. It makes me think maybe Republican.
FASO: That's why we are no longer in office.
JONES: That's why you're no longer in Congress.
LOVE: This is ping-pong politics. I call it ping-pong politics because no one's moving and the meantime people are getting hers is what the American people are seeing, people go back and forth and push and shove.
And this is about actually getting something done and getting things accomplished and not having the administrative branch take over the legislative authority.
JONES: Listen, you guys, each of you in some ways got in trouble for speaking out and speaking up in this very reasonable way that you're doing and it almost became like you had to be punished for doing that.
I want to know the honest truth. What percentage of other Republicans actually agree with what you're saying but were just too chicken to say it themselves. What's the percentage? Tell the truth. This is The Van Jones show, you got to tell the truth, zero percent? 100%?
SANFORD: I won't give you a zero and you know it is a percentage larger than zero but you know, again sadly, too many people in politics say that the name of the game is staying in the game and what I think would distinguish me and others is that, that's not the name.
Well, what stood out about the interview you just had with Tulsi is, it's about certain principles and ideals, we may approach it differently as Democrats and Republicans but we got to stay true to those ideals because then indeed we can have a debate and too much of what's going on is anything but that.
FASO: And too much of what goes on is to appeal to the base of both parties and this is what happens in America, today. The Left listens and reads and watches the things they agree with and the Right does the same thing and they're like ships passing in the night and the fact is our whole constitutional system is based on compromise.
And that's what a lot of folks are forgetting about so we need to go back to basics and understand that's how we get things done, you don't get everything you want in a marriage, you don't get anything you want in your - I know that for sure but the fact is that our system is based on compromise.
And if people of goodwill and good faith, if they come together, we could hammer this thing out in a half hour, I can tell you that.
JONES: Well, listen, we can talk about that and when we get back, we got so much more to talk about with these three house Republicans including how they feel about Republican Congressman Steven King's recent comments questioning why people are bothered by the term white supremacy.
Has the response from the Republican party been strong enough? That's next.
[19:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
JONES: Welcome back to The Van Jones show. I'm back with my guests, we got three former Republican members of Congress who lost the races in 2018 and now they're here to share their wisdom with us. Mark Sanford from South Carolina, Mia Love from Utah and John Faso from New York.
Welcome back to The Van Jones show. Listen, Steven King, why don't Republicans just throw him out of their party? He's saying that you know, they - you know, maybe white supremacists as a term, you know, is it that bad a term? Why is that bad a term?
He says stuff like this all the time. I think it makes Republicans look terrible, what is your view on the role of someone like Steve King messing up the Republican Party?
LOVE: Well, you're going to me first.
JONES: We get to all of you. Don't worry.
LOVE: You asked for it. No, this is - it's one of the things that I have been incredibly frustrated with because I have to tell you, I don't believe, I am not defined by a person. I say that about the administration. I say that about everybody that I work with. I'm defined by a set of principles and by a platform and the platform that I believe in does not speak like that.
The platform that I believe in wants justice and wants opportunities for everyone to bring people from the lowest common denominator up. It's one of the reasons why I felt like I said in my concession speech, there's the sense that some Republicans really never take you home.
And in black communities and other communities, you kind of feel like okay, financially this works or maybe this might make my life better but do you really like me? Do you really feel like - Do I feel like you've taken me into your hearts?
And I think that that's one of the things that as a Republican Party, people need to do better. We need to do better, we need to actually let people know that we - that we like them and that the policies actually work for them and when you have comments like that, it does not help the party.
JONES: I mean, it does seem like the country is getting more diverse, it seems like actually Congress got a lot more diverse but the Republican Party doesn't seem to be getting more diverse.
[19:45:00] In fact, 90% of the House Republicans now are white males. I think even though we have more women in Congress than ever before, I think 102. I think the number of Republican Women fell from 23 to 13. Is this a problem for the Republican Party or not that big a deal?
FASO: No, it's a problem and we have to be reflective of the country as a whole if we want to be the majority party back in the house and also be the majority party in the country so I agree with what Mia said. I mean those comments were not reflective of the Republican that I am or the Republicans, most Republicans that I know and -
JONES: What needs to change because it's not just Steve King, it's not just Trump, it just seems to be a trajectory by which these parties were separating on the basis of race, what needs to change on the Republican side?
FASO: We just have to go out and make sure we talk to every community in the country. I mean, Republicans for instance have been in the forefront of promoting education, choice and innovation, Chartered schools, giving minority kids for the most part, more choices and opportunities, that they would have if they lived in a white suburban area.
And yet, we haven't gone out and really fought to make sure that black and Hispanic parents, Asian parents know that we're in the forefront.
JONES: Hey listen, Republicans have been you know, whether you like education reform ideas or not, you've been there, you've been trying to make the situation better for students in those communities, also in criminal justice reform.
But isn't Trump a big part of the problem and when you have a President who's saying you know, s-hole countries and all that kind of stuff, you know, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says the guy is a racist just straight up.
Do you think that he's a racist straight out? I mean how do you make sense of Donald Trump's policies and posture and rhetoric on these issues?
SANFORD: I don't make sense of Donald Trump's rhetoric and that's why I am where I am and I've spoken out accordingly over the last two years but I think--
JONES: You think he's a racist?
SANFORD: What's that?
JONES: Do you think Donald Trump is a racist?
SANFORD: I'm not even calling anybody racist. I'm going to say, I disagree with much of his rhetoric. I disagree with much of his tone on both fronts, it's against a lot of American themes and it's certainly harmful to the Republican Party. I think in that regard, the Republican Party has been held hostage with regard to the way in which he treats other people.
And it's again at the detriment of a lot of people out there working at the grassroots level, awfully hard within their spheres of influence, to make a difference in their own communities in terms of race relations and others. If you look at the number of that came out in the tragedy of Charleston, where nine people were gunned down in a church.
It wasn't just Democrats, it was Republicans and Democrats--
JONES: I was there.
SANFORD: --who came together as a community.
JONES: I was there. SANFORD: And so I'd just say is Steve King an outlier? Oftentimes the media grabs hold of outliers and runs with them to say that's what the party stands for or what Donald Trump has said is what the party stands for.
No, I'd go back to the grassroots activists, many of whom are doing real things within their communities to bring folks to--
LOVE: Right, when I was around - when I was around last year and you heard comments from people like Blake Farenthold and he would you know, the use of taxpayer funds to pay off sexual harassment cases. I was a Republican that said he needs to go, right?
And I think that it's the same thing, we need other Republicans saying, we don't believe in this, he has to go, this is not right, this doesn't represent who we are. So I think we need a little bit more of that.
JONES: You know, taking a step back you know, usually when a party has a big setback like the Republican Party just did, there's at least some period of reflection. I haven't seen much reflection yet.
FASO: I've had a lot of time to think.
JONES: I bet you have. So really I mean what are the big lessons and takeaways that you would hope that the Republican Party would learn from this last election season?
FASO: Well, I think that clearly in my race for instance and many of the races that we lost in the House, the President was the issue and the tone and tenor of the administration and a lot of tweets and things like that really turn a lot of people off.
I can argue and support many of the policies but the way in which these are presented are often divisive and difficult for people to absorb and so the method of communication becomes the issue, rather than some of the policy issues that we were trying to advance.
JONES: Do you see that that yourself, is it deeper than that? How do you--
LOVE: It's deeper, I can tell you right now that I feel very happy where I am. I sacrificed a lot of time, my family sacrificed time in the service of our country but that - it's a different chapter. I have said before I am unleashed, I am unshackled and I am going to say whatever I want.
And you know, I think that I my strengths haven't changed, I am who I am. I believe in the Republican principles and the party. I believe that we can do a better job.
[19:50:00] SANFORD: I think that there are three big takeaways that we ought to think about in the wake of the midterms. One is that all politics are local. Tip O'Neill's notion but it's true so an hour-plus in district, down in South Carolina for the first time went Democrat in about 50 years in large measure because of the issue of the environment and offshore drilling but it was basically a local issue.
All politics are local. Two, you need to think about the economy and more to the point, debt deficit, government spending, that's been a historic hallmark of the Republican Party. Trump has taken it the other way but we got to go back to the basics with regard to watching out for taxpayer dollars and finally this notion of tone that John just mentioned is absolutely vital.
What he did was absolutely destructive in suburban districts across this country, where a soccer mom said enough of that, it sounds like a couple kids or gardeners arguing about something and I'm not putting up with it. I'm looking somewhere else.
JONES: Well, listen, I just want to thank all of you guys for your service to our country and your continued service and I looked - wish you the best luck in the future, no matter what you do. Coming up there is a silver lining in this whole shutdown mess. I promise you and I'm going to tell you about it when we get back.
[19:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
JONES: Welcome back to The Van Jones Show. Look, while Washington D.C. is coming apart as usual, the American people are stepping up again as usual and coming together to fill in the gaps. Check out these images--
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: --of young volunteers from a Muslim youth group who are travelling to national parks all across the country, spending their free time just cleaning up the trash and the debris while government workers are furloughed.
You got other groups of families and hikers and climbers also doing their part to keep our national parks clean and several restaurants all over the country are offering--
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: --free meals, food to people, federal workers including those who are owned by the Michelin Star Chef Jose Andres, okay? Furloughed workers, workers that don't get a penny right now are stepping up themselves to help other people, they're volunteering their time at food banks and other charities like the Ronald McDonald House.
This is a true character of our nation, we're not as divided as the politicians are and we've got more compassion for each other than most people know especially in tough times like this, let's keep that going. Thank you for watching. I'm Van Jones, this is The Van Jones Show. Peace and love for one another.