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Don Lemon Tonight

Honor Given to Officer Brian Sicknick; Kevin McCarthy Wants to Have Conversation with Rep. Greene; George W. Bush Hats Off to Dick and Liz Cheney; Daily Vaccinations Exceeds the Target Goal; Another Vaccine Could Help in Vaccinating Americans; Schools to be Renamed in San Francisco. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired January 29, 2021 - 22:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The ceremonial arrival takes place next Tuesday, 9.30 Eastern Time. Congressional tribute will be held the next morning.

The news continues right now. I want to turn things over to Don Lemon and CNN Tonight

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

Thank you so much for joining. And it is obvious this country is in a race against time right now, a race that we cannot afford to lose. And that race is to vaccinate Americas against the pandemic that has killed, already killed more than 436,000 of us, a race to get relief to millions and millions of you who can't pay your rent or put food on your table.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have to act now. There's no time for any delay.


LEMON: President Biden obviously bluntly saying that COVID relief has to pass and he'll go it alone if he really has to do it.


UNKNOWN: So, you support passing COVID relief through budget reconciliation?

BIDEN: I support passing COVID relief with support from Republicans if we can get it, but the COVID has to pass. There is no ifs, ands, or buts.


LEMON: No ifs, ands, or buts. That as we are racing against the clock to get shots in arms as new variants of the virus was spreading, a big jump in vaccinations today, 1.7 million, 1.7 million today. And you know what? That is beating President Biden's increase goal of 1.5 million a day.

But Dr. Fauci is warning that we need to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible, and says the virus is mutating right now in cities all across this country.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: What do we think is happening in other cities? I think what the underlying issues that are going on in California and Los Angeles very likely are taking place throughout the country.


LEMON: There's a lot going on. Because tonight, an urgent -- look at your screen -- urgent manhunt underway. The suspect of pipe bombs who were let -- who were placed -- pipe bombs place -- excuse me -- near the Democratic and Republican party headquarters the night before the insurrection at the capitol.

There are fears that more bombs maybe planned. That as we are learning that one of the victims of the insurrection capitol police officer Brian Sicknick is going to lie in honor in the capitol rotunda that will happen on Tuesday.

So, I want you to think about that. A police officer murdered during the insurrection by a mob incited by the then president will be lying in honor in front of all those lawmakers, all those lawmakers. Are you listening? The lawmakers who enabled the insurrection, and those who were targeted by it. The scene of the crime. The week before the impeachment trial begins. That officer will be laying there.

Think about that. And I hope they do.

We also have more indisputable evidence tonight of just how brutal that insurrection was, devastating bodycam video. This bodycam video was taken at 4.26 p.m. during the riot. On a body cam worn by a metro D.C. police officer.

It shows the chaos and the violence and the moments when police were being attacked. And a woman in the crowd was trampled to death right on the capitol steps. And I must warn you, OK, this is really disturbing. We have to show it, though, but it's difficult to watch.


UNKNOWN: Save her. Save her.

UNKNOWN: Move out! Out! Out.

UNKNOWN: Move out!

UNKNOWN: We're being attacked.


UNKNOWN: Help, help.

UNKNOWN: Give me your hand.

UNKNOWN: She's dead! She's dead. Please! She's dead! I need somebody. She's dead!

UNKNOWN: Knock their masks off! Knock their masks off!



UNKNOWN: (muted) I'll (muted) kill you!


LEMON: Blue lives matter. Law and order. That was -- that was a police officer. That was a police officer's perspective as that police officer was fighting for his life.

False flags, some of you are saying. Forget about it, unity. Can we show some of that again? Imagine this is a police officer on the job, and you hear that woman saying she's dead. The crowd trampled her to death. And these are people fighting police officers saying f-you to the police officers. Let's -- I want you to see that again, just how horrifying this is, let's play it so you can hear it.


UNKNOWN: Give me your hand!

UNKNOWN: Give me your hand.

UNKNOWN: She's dead! She's dead. Please! She's dead! I need somebody. She's dead!

UNKNOWN: Knock their masks off! Knock their masks off!


UNKNOWN: (muted) I'll (muted) kill you!


LEMON: Knock their masks off, f-you, I will kill you. How did that crowd get so riled up? That didn't just come out of nowhere, all the sudden they're just that mad, they want to enter the capitol for nothing? Out of nowhere? Don't be stupid, people, use your head. The president incited that insurrection. Riled those people up. And sent them in there to do harm and look what happened. It's horrifying.

The New York Times identifies that woman who died in that crowd as 34- year-old Roseanne Boyland. Even now, three weeks later, it's hard to believe that that happened on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. And it just puts what I'm about to show you in a disturbing context. Just one week before the election, the election that Donald Trump lost to Joe Biden, OK, Marjorie Taylor Greene said this in an interview.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): If this generation doesn't stand up and defend freedom, it's gone.


GREENE: And once it's gone, freedom doesn't come back by itself, the only way you get your freedoms back, it's earned with the price of blood.


LEMON: She's now a congresswoman. Serving in the very capitol that was attacked by that violent mob you just saw, a mob battling with police and threatening lawmakers, sometimes by blood.

Kevin McCarthy still hasn't gotten around to having that conversation he promised to have with the congresswoman even though he had time to fly to Mar-a-Lago to kiss the ring of a disgraced president. He'll get to that next week. Never mind the outrageous inciteful language. Got to go down and talk to the president, have that conversation next week, I'll get around to it. Priorities, people, Kevin.

The Biden White House is refusing to dignify her dangerous and damaging lies with a response.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We don't want to elevate conspiracy theories further in the briefing room so I'm going to speak -- I'm going to leave it at that.


LEMON: Well, now, CNN tonight has obtained screen shots of Marjorie Taylor Greene's social media accounts. Some since removed that are full of anti-Semitic tropes, bigotry and outrageous conspiracy theory, even a golf course is fodder for QAnon conspiracies, if it's Trump's.


Eric Trump tweeted out this picture, which Marjorie Taylor Greene apparently takes to be a giant Q in the sky. The tweet is verified by CNN's KFile team by the way. Then there's her lengthy thread of apocalyptic language sprinkled with conspiracy theories.

A commenter replies with a series of images featuring George Soros and Marjorie Taylor Greene replies to the commentator by calling George Soros a Nazi, and she writes, yes, the Nazi himself trying to continue what was not finished. February of 2019. That one was verified by CNN's KFile team as well.

And it's still up on Twitter right now if you want to take a look. And just so you can see what she is engaging when she calls Soros a Nazi, this one portrays him as a vampire going up in flames. These bigots, man, it is really -- it's outrageous. And you try to spin this as normal politics. This stuff -- this stuff is not normal. This is not normal. This is some racist B.S., that's what it is. You're bigots.

Listen, I shouldn't have to explain this, but I think everybody gets it, in case you don't, George Soros is Jewish, it's the root of endless anti-Semitic tropes about him. He is not a Nazi, but he is the subject of countless ugly conspiracy theories embraced by Marjorie Taylor Greene and her cronies. And there's more, sadly.

Boy, this same source shared screen shots of two now removed Facebook posts of Marjorie Taylor Greene's page which CNN has not independently confirmed, but one, a fake promo for the funeral of the late Senator John McCain, a war hero who saved his country in the Senate for more than 30 years, right, and Marjorie Taylor Greene comments, this funeral has gone on way too long.

I guess there's nothing that helps you hit your car to the Trump train quite like mocking the funeral of a dead war hero, Marjorie. Shameful, disgusting. You -- who elected her? And then there's this bigoted, anti-Muslim meme that shows graphic images of the 9/11 terror attacks side by side with the images of Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib being sworn into Congress and it says thanks, Michigan.

We blurred the faces of the children in that photo. They don't need to be a part of this ugly bigotry.

There is no place for that ugliness in the United States, there shouldn't be, but apparently this is where we are now, this is who the Republican Party is, and apparently there is a place for Marjorie Taylor Greene in Congress and in the Republican Party and a seat on the education committee. She should try to get herself some education.

We reached out to Taylor's office, they did not respond to request for comment but in a previous statement about other removed posts Taylor claimed that many people have run her Facebook page saying, quote, "over the years, I've had teams of people manage my pages, many posts have been liked, many posts have been shared, some did not represent my views."

Marjorie, come on now. But are these posts consistent with her views? Well, let's look at what she said about the two Muslim congresswomen, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar when she filmed herself -- trying to confront them and get them to swear on the Christian bible.


GREENE: They swore in on the Koran. We have the bible, we're going to talk about swearing in on the -- how to swear in on the bible with them and let them know what our law says, that you can't swear in on the Koran. So, we're going to explain to that. You know, we're going to explain about how you can't swear in on the Koran --


GREENE: -- and we're going to have the bible and ask them if they would swear in on the bible that we really need them --


UNKNOWN: We have the oath.

GREENE: Yes, we have the oath, yes. So, I think that's important.



LEMON: God, as I said, educate yourself because she is so ignorant. Marjorie, what happened to religious freedom? Does that only apply to Christians? Because there are other religions besides Christianity. You know, America, religious freedom. And all that stuff. Family values. Pathetic. You're pathetic.

Let me go on before I lose my job. Let's look at what she said about Muslims living in the United States. We first played this sound, this was last night, listen to this.


GREENE: If you want Islam and Sharia law, you stay over there in the Middle East, you stay there and you go to Mecca and do all your thing and, you know what, you can have a bunch of wives or goats or sheep or whatever you want. You stay over there. But in America, see, wave made it this great, great country, we don't want it messed up.


LEMON: Really? Come on. It's right there. I just play the sound bites for you. And I just showed you what she's said. What she's done. What she's put on her social media. That's all I've done. Just put it out there. So, don't blame the messenger. Because I think you can see, you people at home, everybody can see very clearly for yourselves what her views are in her very own words.

GOP, this is you now. Remember how you demonized -- remember how you demonized Ilhan Omar, AOC, Rashida Tlaib, remember how you demonized them for having, because they're progressives. Not because they believed in conspiracy theories. Because they were on the more progressive side.

Well, they're liberals, what do you expect, they're going to be liberal but they're not telling you that aliens, and pizza shop people are doing crazy things, but Marjorie Taylor Greene is, but you welcome her with open arms.

The hypocrisy is just stunning. You demonize those women, but you love her and you take her money and you're going to have a conversation with her whenever you get the chance to.

This is why the GOP is tearing itself apart over lies and conspiracies. Tonight, we have brand new reaction from a former Republican president, well at least one Republican is saying this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MIKE MCCAUL (R-TX): We need to be honest as politicians and tell the American people the truth because the more we spin these stories of conspiracy that we know is not true, I think it damages our democracy fundamentally.




LEMON: House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy planning to meet next week with Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, most Republicans have been silent about her incendiary comments and conspiracy theories, but she is a key reason the GOP is in disarray.

Lots to discuss now with CNN political director David Chalian is here, and Mark McKinnon is here, a former adviser to George W. Bush and George McCain -- John McCain, excuse me. He is the executive producer of The Circus on Showtime. Really hurting for content these days.

Gentlemen, good evening, happy Friday to you. Good to see both of you. David, I'm going to start with you.

So, it looks to me, David, like the GOP is at war with itself, we keep seeing this incendiary social media posts from Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene continue to surface, we just showed new ones just a few minutes ago. David, where does this all go? Do we know now?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, you know, when you say that the Republican Party, Don, is at war with itself, I think it's important to note it doesn't seem like they're at equally matched sides on each side of that war. Right? I mean, the vast majority of Republicans are being silent. The vast majority of Republicans have allowed behavior like this to fester inside the party without knocking it down and demonstrating that there's no place for it.

So, it's sort of unmatched, this war within the Republican Party right now, as we saw with the 10 house Republicans who voted to impeach the president, only five Senate Republicans joining with Democrats and saying that a trial is constitutionally proper in that impeachment process.

I would just -- I would just say this, when you look at the Marjorie Taylor Greene conversation, you mentioned Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. He says he's going to have a meeting with her now. I would hope Kevin McCarthy takes seriously his title, leader, and shows some actual leadership here.

What Kevin McCarthy has been doing is being a follower, he follows the base of the party, he puts his finger in the wind and just follows where his conference is. He has a real opportunity right now to actually live up to the title he has, and be a leader to point the party in a path where anti-Semitism, racism, horrific comments have no place in the halls of Congress from his own members of his conference and he should seize this opportunity and make it clear.

LEMON: Mark, the leader, GOP Leader McCarthy, as David just said, leader, he's going to meet with her next week. What will McCarthy really do because she seems to be where the party is, right now, this seems to be the party.

MARK MCKINNON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's the problem, Don, and I think David made a great point that it -- this requires leadership in the Republican Party and there just, there's such an absence of it that it doesn't -- it doesn't bode well for the future. I mean, the few people who have stepped out and showed leadership, and what does leadership mean. It means doing tough things, it means taking hard positions, it means standing up when others are lying down.


And that's what Liz Cheney did, that's what Mitch McConnell started to do. And I think the reason McConnell did that is because he knows for the long game that Trump is death for the party. I mean, he lost the Senate. He lost the presidency. He lost the House. He lost all three branches of government. He's impeached twice. And the way for -- the way forward for the Republican Party would be without Donald Trump and now they are bending and genuflected to people not just Donald Trump but people like Marjorie Taylor Greene.

So, listen, I think, I thought there was an opportunity for the party, very briefly, a very brief window, I thought that the party would rise from the ashes, would dust itself off, recognize that Republicans actually did really well in the 2020 election, except for at the top. They did great in congressional races. They did great in Senate races.

So there there's a good message there if you don't have Trump but now, they're just reeling him back in and that, I think, is really bad news for the future of the party.

LEMON: Maybe that's what they believe and maybe that's who they are and we keep saying -- David, did you want to say something? No, OK.

CHALIAN: Well I just wanted to pick up on what Mark was saying about a missed opportunity. I think what Mark is referring to start from the ashes, after January 6th and regroup there. I think if you look back at the Trump years, Don, there were two major missed opportunities for Republicans.

One was in the immediate aftermath of Charlottesville when Donald Trump made those abhorrent comments, the fact that the entire Republican Party, every single one of them didn't stand up and isolate the president, and show how unacceptable that was, that was one missed opportunity. Because what of course, happens is it invites in these elements, these fringe elements of the party, and says you're welcome here, right? And that's what it does.

The second was right on November 7th when Joe Biden was declared the winner of the presidential election every single Republican had an opportunity to put out a statement congratulating Joe Biden, touting the wins that the Republicans made, the gains they made in the House and move on from there.

That was a missed opportunity, and what did it do? It invited this fringe, crazy element to live in this conspiracy theory world about a stolen election that was totally untrue because the Republican Party basically said tacitly there's a home here for you, we're not willing to stand up to this. When you do that, and you allow things like that to happen, those opportunities can't be gotten back. It's really tough.

LEMON: But wasn't that -- wasn't that -- Mark, wasn't all that foreshadowed by the Access Hollywood tape, I was looking back at some of the stuff that happened over the course. Gosh, what was his name? The one who said he couldn't vote for. He came on our show, Jason Chaffetz, he came on the show the night of the tape and said I can't vote for him, I can't support for him. I have daughters. I just -- I can't vote for Hillary Clinton but there's no way I'm ever going to support this man.

The next day he changed his tune. But wasn't that foreshadowed then that this -- that there was really -- there is no really moral compass to the party as it relates to this man.

MACKINNON: Yes, I mean, that was kind of the start of the party clawing its way to the bottom and it just kept digging for the last four years. I mean, that was kind of the moment when Republicans who supported Donald Trump said character doesn't matter, you know, it really doesn't matter. All we care about is power, and it's party over country. Unlike John McCain's famous mantra of country over party, and the Republican Party lost its way and it became all about a personality and power rather than policies and people.

LEMON: Yes. David, I want to talk about our colleagues reporting. Jamie Gangel, because we always talk about people standing up or not standing up. But Jamie Gangel is reporting that former President Bush is calling his former V.P., his chief of staff says, President Bush is planning to call V.P. Cheney tomorrow for two reasons. To wish him a happy 80th birthday and to thank him for his daughter's service. Thanking him for Liz Cheney's service, that mention in that statement was no accident, right?

CHALIAN: That mention is the point of the statement. Do you think that we would know if George W. Bush was planning to call Dick Cheney and just wish him a happy 80th birthday? Would they have put out a statement? No. I's the fact of the second point of that. And I just want to stress. And Mark, you know, knows the man better than any of us and work closely with him.

But George W. Bush, you have to remember, Don, when he was done with his presidency, he left the political arena in many ways. He didn't want to raise money for the party. He was not going to do the Bill Clinton thing and just be out there as a constant campaigner. He obviously got (Inaudible) in his brother's campaign --


LEMON: Didn't criticize Obama. CHALIAN: He's donated to a few candidates individually. He didn't

criticize Obama. Lived up to that tradition of former presidents. But also, just out of the -- out of the politics realm, he really wanted to go off into the sunset in that way but this has drawn him back.


I mean, he made sure to give a congratulatory statement to Joe Biden, he made it be known that he put into call to Joe Biden on winning the election. Now he's making it known that he's thanking Liz Cheney for her service.

This is somebody who is trying, and of course showing up at the inauguration as the one former Republican president to do so since Donald Trump wasn't there, this is a man who is trying to point his party in a different than its currently positioned. Something he opted out of doing for all those years, but he sees what's happening to it, and I think we should heed what George W. Bush is doing because it's taken this to get him off the sidelines.

LEMON: Mark, quick last word before I have to run, please.

MCKINNON: Well, I'll just say, listen, I worked for him, for President Bush for many, many years before he was -- when he was governor and president, he -- listen, he was off the radar screen and it's intentional and he puts his head above ground very rarely and when he does it's with real intention and this was not a subtle move on the part of the president, it is to say Liz Cheney, you did the right thing, and Atta girl, keep going.

LEMON: Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it. Good to see both of you.

Dr. Fauci saying the results of the Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine are encouraging but will the spread of coronavirus variants make the race to vaccinate America more difficult?


LEMON: A big jump in coronavirus vaccinations today, almost 1.7 million new doses administered, well over President Biden's hope for a target of 1.5 million doses a day. We're also getting closer and closer to a new vaccine becoming available in the war against the virus.


Global trial data is in for drug maker Johnson & Johnson's vaccine, their single dose shot is 85 percent effective against severe coronavirus disease but only 66 percent effective in preventing moderate and severe disease.

So, joining me now is Dr. William Haseltine, a former professor at Harvard medical School and the chair and president of ACCESS Health International. Professor, thank you so much. Good to see you.

Eighty-five percent effective at preventing severe diseases with no deaths or hospitalizations during the trial. Dr. Fauci says Johnson & Johnson results are encouraging.

Listen, I was going to say do you agree, I don't care if it's 85 or 75 or 65, I would still want it. But go on.

WILLIAM HASELTINE, FORMER PROFESSOR, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: Well I would say the news over the past week has been good and it's also been concerning in another respect. But the good part of the news is that there are two vaccines that seem to work reasonably well, one is Novavax, it's a vaccine using a protein and adjuvant. I actually used vaccine very much like that 35 years ago to create a vaccine against cat leukemia. And these are good vaccines. They work.

The second is Johnson & Johnson, which you've just pointed out also works reasonably well. With a caveat for both of them, in some populations for some viruses. As we now know there are many variants, and unfortunately, these vaccines are not nearly as active against one of the variants in particular, the South African.

And we're looking at that, but their very, very best, just after they are sort fresh into people, these vaccines as they age will become weaker against the natural viruses and will become even weaker still against the variants. So that's a problem. Those who are vaccinated if the variants are circulating widely, are going to still have to take precautions against re-infected with the variant.

And we now have evidence that if you've been infected you can be re- infected by some of these variants. So, you're going to have to take precautions there, too.

LEMON: But still take it.

HASELTINE: Yes. You should take the vaccine for sure.


HASELTINE: Because there are a lot of variants, a lot of natural variants that haven't varied out there. They'll help you. The virus, the vaccines may be partially effective against the new variants. Take the vaccine when you have the chance.

LEMON: OK. So, let's talk more about these variants, since you mentioned them, all right. IHME is updating their model to predict 85,000 additional deaths by May because of them. They say the death toll could get as high as 654,000. Are we in a race against time to get the situation under control before these variants start to take over?

HASELTINE: We definitely are, and the variants are already on the move. I think another way to look at it is what is going to happen next fall? Will we, through vaccination and strict public health measures be able to cut this off at the pass? Will be able to drive this down to close to zero where it needs to be? Or will we do what we've done before? Without vaccines, which is drive it down, but not eliminate it.

If we don't eliminate it with a combination of vaccines and very strong public health measures, both are needed, one is not alone, if we don't drive it down to zero, we may be looking at a big problem next fall. These viruses come back like the flu. We have a vaccine for flu. We have some public health measures for flu. It comes back. These viruses are the same kind of behavior.

LEMON: You have, and you have to update the flu one every season --


LEMON: -- right?

HASELTINE: Right. And the problem is --


LEMON: And it's the same for this?

HASELTINE: Same for this. And not only that, you don't even know exactly what to shoot for. Because these viruses change very quickly. It's like a growing tree. Which branch of the tree are you going to go after? The right side, the left side, the middle, the top?

LEMON: Hey --

HASELTINE: Maybe all of them together. It's difficult.

LEMON: Hey, professor, listen, I have to run, but so should you -- if you can get the Johnson & Johnson one and then later on get another one, should you do that? Will that help?

HASELTINE: I think it surely can because people will be making boosters, like they do for the flu --


HASELTINE: -- that are hopefully going to catch the new variants as they pop up. But thanks a lot.

LEMON: Professor Haseltine, good to see you.


LEMON: Have a great weekend. Be safe. I appreciate it.

The San Francisco school board voting to rename dozens of schools, including schools named after George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. But wait until you hear how they made their decisions.



LEMON: This is an important conversation, and so I'm not sure how you feel about it but we're going to discuss it, OK, so I want to hear from you. Let me know what you think. The San Francisco Unified School District voting to rename 44 schools named after what they call controversial public figures. Some of those figures, President George -- Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, also current California Senator and former Mayor of the city Dianne Feinstein.

The school board's criteria for name changes anyone linked to enslavement, or who oppressed women or any who they say significantly diminished the opportunities of others to the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

So, CNN's KFile team obtaining a spreadsheet from the school board advisory committee research, essentially detailing the pros and cons for school names. Under George Washington, here are the cons. Slave owner and colonizer, OK. The pros, personally freed his slaves, was a colonial subject who rebelled against and defeated a global colonial power.

They also point out that Washington put liberty of the people above his personal safety and property. And while the country has serious conversations over removing tributes to confederate leaders in San Francisco a school named for union General William T. Sherman will be removed.


Now the community's research document it remarks on his, quote, "colonization, military philosophy." That document often citing Wikipedia or YouTube videos. And then there is one school named after the street that it's on, and that is Clarendon Avenue. What's the problem with that? Well, the name is deemed problematic because the Colonial Earl, it is named for, allegedly sent people to prison without a proper trial.

So, let's have this conversation. Joining me now is Randall Kennedy, professor at Harvard Law School. Professor, so good to have you for these conversations. And they're important ones, thank you so much.


LEMON: So, there is this important conversation happening in this country about who to honor from our past. OK? But this one has gotten backlash even in San Francisco. Is this a case of the so-called cancel culture gone wild, is that a fair way of framing this?

KENNEDY: I think it is in this case. I think it is important to say that, you know, the people who were behind this -- there is a good impulse there. I mean, they are trying to address our racist past, they're trying to address sexism, they're trying to address the various inequities that have scarred our country. And that's a good thing.

I just think that in this case they've, you know, going in a bad direction. I don't like the impulse to erase the impulse to tear down. I'd rather see addition if we're talking about memorialization. There are a lot of people who have done wonderful things in American history, and they deserve memorials. I would like to see more energy put in that direction as opposed to the negative direction.

LEMON: I remember more, Booker T. Washington High Schools, or, you know, Sojourner Truth Academy or that sort of thing, right?

KENNEDY: Sure, a lot.

LEMON: Yes. But --

KENNEDY: (Inaudible) Fannie Lou Hamer.


KENNEDY: Julian Bond (Ph).

LEMON: Amen.

KENNEDY: John Lewis.

LEMON: So, what are the changes -- I agree with that one wholeheartedly. So, are there any of this -- are there any justified for you?

KENNEDY: Well, I haven't seen the whole list. I mean, the ones that you mention certainly grab my attention. I mean, the fact of the matter is that George Washington was a great person. Yes, he was a slave owner. I mean, you know, my people were slaves. I'm not taking that -- I'm not, you know, going to -- I'm not going to evade that part of his biography. That's an important part of his biography. And if you have a school named after George Washington the students should know all about George Washington.

But certainly, one thing that they should know is that, you know, he truly was a great person. I bet there are a lot of countries around the world who wish that they had had a George Washington. Same with Abraham Lincoln and, you know, Dianne Feinstein. I mean, you know, obviously a pioneering, strong, progressive woman. These three people really do jump out at me as people who actually should be memorialized.

LEMON: I just -- I'm going to share -- I was looking for what I wrote to a friend about this. And I'm wondering what you think because I had a different take on this. And I said -- let's see. Here's what I said, OK, and you can tell me if I'm wrong. Somebody asked me about this.

And I'm going to quote here. I'm going to be very honest. I said, "my semi short answer is that while each case should be examined on its individual merit, this is way too much. There's an enormous difference between Robert E. Lee and Abraham Lincoln, et cetera. I've been watching all of this on another channel and their framing is off but it is a legit story. It's really similar to what Warner Media did with turner classic movies and "Gone With the Wind."

We should teach people the history first but we should not be so quick to change things because then it really does whitewash history. We don't really get the full context. Unfortunately, America has a horrible history with slavery but it is part of our history. I'm OK with that. I've come to terms with it and we do ourselves a disservice to try to sweep it under the rug. I feel more empowered knowing the true history of this country and in spite of every oppression and setback, still I/we rise. We shouldn't try to protect our shelter our young people from that, it is not helpful.


What I'm saying is, I don't want to go to -- I can understand not wanting to go to a Robert E. Lee high school. A Thomas Jefferson, there's a way to contextualize that, or put a plaque on a door and explain to people while he was a slave owner, this and that happened.

Where am I wrong, and where am I right?

KENNEDY: I think you're right all the way. I would agree completely with that. I would add one other twist that I have not heard much in these discussions. So, you know, we're talking a lot about our history and a lot of people rightly criticize the way in which people of color in particular are marginalized.

I think in this discussion the same thing is happening. Let's bring to the center stage some people of color. So, the great Fred Shuttlesworth, one of the great champions of the Civil Rights Revolution, if you fly to Birmingham, Alabama, you fly into the Fred Shuttlesworth Airport. And I'm glad --

LEMON: Sure do, I live there. Yes.

KENNEDY: I'm glad about that.


KENNEDY: The last few years of Fred Shuttlesworth's life, he spent attacking gay liberation.


KENNEDY: What do we do about that? I, you know, I'm against him on that. But I'm glad that there is a Fred Shuttlesworth Airport.

LEMON: I agree. I have to run.

KENNEDY: (Inaudible) of that.

LEMON: Yes. I've got to run because we're out of time, I'm up against the break.

KENNEDY: I appreciate (Inaudible).

LEMON: Yes. We'll have -- we'll talk about this more, but listen, I know people feel differently about this, but I think these are important conversations that we need to have, because in the future, I was thinking, a lot of people were against same-sex marriage and gay rights.

So one day, is a kid going to walk into school, into, you know, whatever politician who lived now who may have been against gay rights 10 years ago, and are they going to go, no, at one point this person was against gay rights and I don't want the school named after them? So, we have to contextualize it and not have this knee-jerk reaction. Thank you, sir, it's a pleasure.

KENNEDY: Be well.

LEMON: Thank you. I have to tell you that our team reached out to the San Francisco Board of Education and we invited them on the show. They declined. They provided a statement saying that the story is a red herring. These are exactly the types of conversations that you should know, OK? That I have in my upcoming book.

My book is called "This is The Fire." It is available now on preorder wherever books are sold. I'm very excited about it. I can't wait to talk to you more about it in the coming weeks. And I'm going to start to have conversations and I'm going to have clips and excerpts from it, starting black history month on Monday. So, look for that on social media and hopefully on this broadcast as well.

We'll be right back.



LEMON: Take this. There are insurrectionists in us. Among them a pair of Montana brothers Joshua and Jerod Hughes, according to unsealed charging documents. Prosecutors say they helped break into the capitol building and were seen on the Senate floor -- that's according to an affidavit filed against them. The Hughes brothers are facing a slew of charges from prosecutors, they are at the front of that mob of rioters moving in on Officer Goodman.

Also charged by federal prosecutors, Dawn Bancroft. Investigators claim she can be heard on video during the capitol riot speaking violently about Nancy Pelosi, saying we were looking for Nancy to shoot her in the frigging brain, but we didn't find her. She was charged for violent entry on capitol grounds, among other charges.

We'll be right back.