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Trump Comments on Jews who Support Democrats; Philadelphia's Topo Cop Resigns; Wesley Hamilton Shares his Story in Turning Points; Rally Playlists and the Candidates. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired August 21, 2019 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] RON KLEIN, CHAIR, JEWISH DEMOCRATIC COUNCIL OF AMERICA: One hand or the other here. You know, ultimately, at the end of the day, he's responsible for his own words. And he's president, OK. A couple members of congress were saying certain things. They don't have any major political influence. He does. And he has to set the leadership.

The reason Jews vote for Democrats, three quarters of them in this country, in part is because, yes, the Democratic Party supports Israel and equally important the Democratic Party supports immigration reform. These are values that the Jewish community has. Fights against anti-Semitism, of course. The issue of gun -- common sense gun reform, health care, education, environment. These are the reasons the Jews vote Democrat. And President Trump is on the wrong side of almost every one of those issues.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the Republican Jewish Coalition sees it quite differently. So here's what they put out via Twitter. President Trump is right. It shows a great deal of disloyalty to ones self to defend a party that protects, emboldens people that hate you for your religion. The GOP, when rarely confronted with anti-Semitism of elected members, always acts swiftly and decisively to punish and remove.

Your --

KLEIN: Well, first of all -- first of all, I'd like to let them challenge the president for his comments. I don't hear any comment out of this group or any other Republicans when the president makes anti- Semitic comments, either directly or indirectly.

Secondly, I think it's important to remember that 32 out of 34 members, Jewish members of the Congress, are Democrats. There's a reason for that. It's because the Democratic Party is the natural home for the Jewish community. I think its facts speaks for themselves.

CAMEROTA: Charlottesville was obviously the most stunning and jaw dropping where the president claimed that the neo-Nazis were good people or somehow good people were on their side. But he has for a long time said questionable things. This is him back in 2015 saying something that raised eyebrows as well. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's why you don't want to give me money, OK? But that's OK. You want to control your own politician, that's fine.


CAMEROTA: What does that even mean?

KLEIN: Alisyn, I have no idea, but, obviously, it plays into the same kind of things that people make terrible statements about Jews have money, they control things and all that kind of stuff, as well as all the other things that he's used about power and disloyalty. This loyalty issue is something that goes back hundreds of years. It's in the Jewish community's DNA to understand what happens when leaders go bad in the country. This is not -- not just the Holocaust, but other places in our history. So we're very -- we're -- we're -- Donald Trump, in many ways, is saying many of the things that some of these very bad leaders in the past, in other countries, have led to bad things for the Jewish community. So we're very mindful of that and it's unacceptable to us and should be unacceptable, not just to the Jewish community, but to everybody in America. This is very un- American and against all of our values.

CAMEROTA: Ron Klein, thank you very much for joining us with your perspective.

KLEIN: Thank you, Alisyn.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Philadelphia's police commissioner just suddenly quits. We are live there with the story behind his resignation, next.


[08:36:57] BERMAN: The police commissioner in Philadelphia abruptly resigned over how he handled harassment claims inside the department. This comes just a week after the city's mayor called him the best police commissioner in America.

CNN's Athena Jones live in Philadelphia with how this happened.



Well, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney accepted Commissioner Ross' resignation because of new allegations of sexual harassment and gender and racial discrimination within the department.

The mayor put out a statement. I'll read to you part of it. He said, while those allegations do not accuse Commissioner Ross of harassment, I do ultimately believe his resignation is in the best interest of the department. I believe new leadership will help us continue to reform the department and show that racial, ethnic and gender discrimination simply will not be tolerated.

Now, Ross, the city of Philadelphia, and several other police officers, including supervisors, are named in a lawsuit filed -- in an amended complaint filed Friday by two female Philadelphia police officers. These two officers allege years of sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation when they complained. They said this has been ongoing. Allegations included grabbing and squeezing their butts, sexual comments from male officers, like you're giving me action in my pants, and, bend over like that again, and even officers trying to kiss them. One of the complainants -- one of the plaintiffs, I should say, Corporal Audra McCowan alleges that she called Ross to complain about what she'd been going through, the harassment she'd been experiencing, the hostile work environment. According to the lawsuit, Commissioner Ross declined to act on McCowan's report and instead suggested she just order his dumb ass, this officer's dumb ass to sit down and get out of your face. The complaint alleges that during these conversations Ross indicated that he's still angry at McCowan for breaking off a two year relationship they had had years earlier.

Mayor Kenney is now going to be investigating this though an independent firm to investigate the matter and he's named the deputy commissioner, Christine Coulter, as an acting replacement for Ross. She was also mentioned in that lawsuit.


CAMEROTA: By the way, Athena, even before the Me Too movement, those things in the workplace were gross to say and people would have been disgusted if those things were said, so they are behind the curve on fixing this there.

Thank you very much for that report.

So the president's retreat on expanded background checks for gun buyers and the spate of mass shootings puts a renewed focus on where the 2020 Democratic candidates stand on guns, especially Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Here's CNN's Drew Griffin.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It was one tweet following a horrific weekend of violence that caught Fred Guttenberg's attention and disdain. Guttenberg lost his 14-year- old daughter, Jamie, in the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. He heard Bernie Sanders reaction to the El Paso shooting, talking about the loss of life, the fear Americans live with, the call for stricter gun laws and also this.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I think all over the world people are looking at the United States and wondering, what is going on, what is the mental health situation in America where time after time after time we're seeing indescribable horrors?

[08:40:02] GRIFFIN (on camera): You wrote, shame on you. This is a gun issue. To use the gun lobby talking points on this only discredits you as a presidential option.

What did you mean?

FRED GUTTENBERG, DAUGHTER DIED IN PARKLAND SHOOTING: Blaming gun violence on the mentally ill, I have a problem with. And I do agree we, as a country, need to deal with a broken mental health system. But when we have gun violence, we need to be really specific. There's only one factor in gun violence that matters, and it's access to guns.

GRIFFIN (voice over): Guttenberg was immediately attacked on Twitter by Sanders supporters, who said he'd taken the line out of context. He disagrees. Unlike the other top tier candidates in the Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders has sided with the gun lobby on two crucial laws. In the 1990s, Sanders voted against the Brady bill five different times. The legislation that finally passed and allowed for instant background checks Sanders voted against. And in 2005, Sanders sided with the NRA and voted for a bill protecting gun manufacturers from being sued by victims of gun violence, like Fred Guttenberg. He's now calling for its repeal.

In his 2016 presidential race, Sanders passed votes on gun legislation became an issue.

ANDERSON COOPER, MODERATOR: Secretary Clinton, is Bernie Sanders tough enough on guns?


SANDERS: When they're a threat to others or themselves --

GRIFFIN: Which, at the time, Sanders denied in an interview with CNN.

SANDERS: So, I do not accept the fact that I have been weak on this issue. In fact, I've been strong on this issue. I can get beyond the noise and all of these arguments of people shouting at each other and come up with real, constructive gun control legislation, which most significantly gets guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.

GRIFFIN: Guttenberg says he appreciates Bernie Sanders has now evolved on the guns issue, but says Sanders legacy has become a personal issue in his own fight for gun legislation.

GUTTENBERG: You could say I've changed my mind. You could say I've evolved. But your votes and what you've done are still there. I'm thankful that he has evolved, but he has to answer for it.

GRIFFIN: Sanders did vote for instant background checks, voted to ban certain semi-automatic weapons and voted to eliminate the loophole of no background checks in private gun sales. And on the campaign trail recently, he's been urging the Senate to pass what he calls common sense gun safety legislation.

SANDERS: Assault weapons are military-style weapon designed for one thing, and that is to kill as many people as -- GRIFFIN: Even so, Professor Robert Spitzer, who has studied the intersection of guns and politics in the U.S. for decades, says Sanders' past votes could be a political problem as the Democratic Party moves even further left.

PROF ROBERT SPITZER, POLITICAL SCIENCE CHAIR, SUNY CORTLAND: It kind of stands out as something of an anomaly and many people are puzzled by the fact that the most liberal member of the Senate, this one Democratic socialist, takes the position that seems at odds with liberalism in America.

DON LEMON, MODERATOR: Senator Bernie Sanders.

GRIFFIN: During last month's CNN debate, Sanders tried to diffuse the issue by proclaiming the NRA has given him a lifetime D minus rating. Spitzer says, after yet another series of mass shootings, that may not be low enough.


GRIFFIN: John and Alisyn, Sanders' campaign did send us a statement saying that as president, Senator Sanders would take immediately action to address gun violence, including repealing that law that protects gun manufacturers, the one he helped pass. He now apparently believes that the law was improperly applied.

Fred Guttenberg says he simply wants a candidate that doesn't have to explain why he ever voted with the NRA.

John. Alisyn.

BERMAN: All right, Drew Griffin, thanks for going back and looking at the record. Appreciate you being with us this morning.

BERMAN: So they don't have the same policies on everything, but Julian Castro and Pete Buttigieg do share some of the same playlist.

CAMEROTA: Let's listen.


BERMAN: Coldplay (INAUDIBLE) at their campaign rallies. More on the major candidates and the messages in their music, next.

CAMEROTA: All right, can't wait for that.

But, first, a paralyzed father and new Queer Eye hero finds purpose in his limitations in today's "Turning Points."


WESLEY HAMILTON, GUNSHOT SURVIVOR: Before my accident, I mean, I was just an overweight guy. I limited myself to what I thought I could create.

After my accident, my mind-set changed. I became an opportunist. I was shot twice. January 14, 2012, I had just turned 24. The doctor

told me, Mr. Hamilton, you have suffered a spinal cord injury, which will leave you paralyzed from the waist down for the rest of your life.

[08:45:00] I stayed in the hospital a month and a half. I rejected a lot of assistance because I didn't care. I hated who I was. I was depressed. I even tried suicide a couple of times in my first year. I didn't think that I had the will or the strength to move forward.

Grip it harder.

I am a single father that is paralyzed. I had this little girl that I had to take care of. So while I'm worrying about how the world sees me, I need to focus on how this little girl sees me.

One, go.

The name of my organization is the Disabled But Not Really Foundation. We run an eight week program geared to fitness and nutrition. The goal is, is to challenge people with disabilities to push themselves past their mental limits, to help them gain the courage that they need in life.



[08:50:37] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARY J. BLIGE, MUSICIAN (singing): Let 'em get mad, they gonna hate anyway, Don't you get that? Doesn't matter if you go along with their plan, they'll never be happy, 'cause they're not happy with themselves.

THE CLASH, MUSICAL GROUP (singing): They put up a poster saying, we earn more than you. We're working for the clampdown. We will teach our twisted speech to the young believers.


CAMEROTA: OK, I feel like we gave him that idea. He talked about "Clampdown" here on our show, didn't he?

BERMAN: I don't think Beto O'Rourke needed our help to fall in love with it The Clash.

CAMEROTA: I think he did.

BERMAN: His whole life has been The Clash.

CAMEROTA: No, he did tell us that.

BERMAN: He did.

CAMEROTA: But then he did -- but he also like thought about "Clampdown" while he was on our show and maybe that's why they're now playing it.

BERMAN: There's no question that you've influenced now just him but perhaps every prominent figure in America.

CAMEROTA: America. America.

BERMAN: So from Beto O'Rourke and The Clash, to Senator Kamala Harris and Mary J. Blige, every presidential candidate has their signature mix tape to kick off campaign events. Apparently all because of --

CAMEROTA: Of mua (ph).


CAMEROTA: OK, so what can we learn about them through their music choices?

Let's discuss with Astead Herndon. He is the author of a fantastic new piece in "The New York Times," "What Do Rally Playlists Say About the Candidates?"

Astead, we're so glad that you're doing this. This is super fun.


CAMEROTA: We get to hear the music and hear their message.

So let's start with what we just heard Beto and we heard Kamala. One more, let's hear Elizabeth Warren and the song she chooses, which is also quite fitting. Listen to this.


DOLLY PARTON, MUSICIAN (singing): Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a livin', barely getting' by, it's all takin' and no givin'. They just use your mind and they never give you credit.


BERMAN: And you -- you were the one who told Dolly Parton to write that, correct?



CAMEROTA: Yes, I was. Another classic.

Astead, so tell us how their music choices fit their message?

HERNDON: Yes. I mean kind of the premise of what we were trying to do here was to tell that exact story. It started when I was -- I was at a Kamala Harris rally at the beginning of a campaign and I had just come from an Elizabeth Warren rally. And I was thinking before it started how differently the two rallies sounded. How Senator Harris, as we showed in the piece, relies heavily on hip hop music, relies heavily on kind of a more youthful sound and has the most people of color of any of the candidates.

And Senator Warren's playlist sounds kind of like what you would expect a kind of 70-year-old playlist to sound like. It's much older things. Things like Dolly Parton and "9 to 5" like you showed, which speak to her working class theme but seem kind of authentic to her true self. And our thought was, if you put these side by side, will that tell you something about who they're trying to speak to? Will that tell you something about what message the candidates are trying to give to the audience? It's a kind of contrived authenticity where they want you to think, this is kind of the iPod shuffle of the candidate of your choice. And so with something like "9 to 5" of course it works with that working class, populist theme that Senator Warren talks about, but it also feels like something that she could possibly be listening to in her spare time.

CAMEROTA: By the way, Dolly is for all ages.


HERNDON: Yes. Yes.

CAMEROTA: Dolly Parton is for all ages. You don't have to be 70 to love Dolly.

BERMAN: And I will say, nothing says politics more than contrived authenticity.

I want to put up on the screen, Astead, because this is really a fantastic forensic analysis that you did here of the breakdown between male and female artists that each of the campaign uses, because you even looked at that.

And Kirsten Gillibrand has 73 percent female -- 73 percent female artists, 23 percent male.

And as you go down, you know, Beto O'Rourke is at 94 percent male and 6 percent female. Part of that reason is, of course, is -- it's his punk rock.

CAMEROTA: It's The Clash. Yes, not a lot of chicks do that.

HERNDON: Exactly. I mean we wanted to show the different breakdowns. And it stood out when you look at the Gillibrand playlist versus Beto O'Rourke or Bernie Sanders. Gillibrand has made that kind of -- a kind of openly feminist campaign. A lot of her campaign songs rely on a kind of empowerment message. And then you juxtapose that with the rock punk play list of Beto O'Rourke, but also the kind of revolution themes of Bernie Sanders, who's -- who has songs like "Power to the People," "Taking Back the Streets," but most of those are male performers. And so it sounds -- it's both a message difference, a gender difference, but they're -- they're just telling two different stories about what they want folks to take from the -- from the rallies.

CAMEROTA: John, as you know, I also sometimes claim, not success for Bruce Springsteen, but somehow I do a connect myself to Bruce Springsteen, obviously the Jersey roots.

[08:55:06] So, Joe Biden likes a little Springsteen. So let's listen to a moment of that.


BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, MUSICIAN (singing): We take care of our own. We take care of our own. Wherever this flag's flown. We take care of our own.


CAMEROTA: All right, it doesn't take a forensic analysis to figure out that message. We take care of our own, wherever this flag is flown.

You know what's always funny is that is when the musicians come forward and they're like, time out, I didn't give you permission to use that song.


CAMEROTA: So are all these authorized by the musicians?

HERNDON: Now, some of the campaigns did that. Some of them did not. I know folks like Beto O'Rourke were choosing songs that they listened to as literally going through their kind of shuffle. I don't know about the kind of playlists.

But we do know with Trump specifically, a lot of artists have asked them to stop using those songs at rallies and, frankly, there's just not much they can do about it. I mean when you go to Trump rallies, the music is such an integral part of the communal experience, it kind of keeps the folks there as they wait for the president and it pumps them up.

As we looked at Trump's playlist, he had a number of those kind of white nostalgia hits. His was the most white playlist but it was also one of the oldest. It also has some randoms in there. "Memories" by Cats, Pavarotti. You know, so some things that you may not expect. And so it fits with each of one of the candidates, and that's what we wanted to show.

BERMAN: It's a great, great look at what's going on here. I think a contrived authenticity of the people running for president right now.

Astead Herndon, great work. Thanks so much for being with us.

HERNDON: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: If you were running for president, The Dead?

BERMAN: Oh, nonstop.

CAMEROTA: Nonstop.

BERMAN: Nonstop. CAMEROTA: That's how you do it. OK, I --

BERMAN: Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile. Beat that, sister.

CAMEROTA: I'll beat that. I'll "Beat on The Brat" with The Ramones with that.

BERMAN: All right.


The president has canceled his trip to Denmark. The question is, why. "NEWSROOM" with Jim Sciutto is up next.

BERMAN: Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile.