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Former Republican Amash On Rep. Kevin McCarthy: "Not Someone I Admire"; More Brands Cut Ties With Ye Over His Anti-Semitic Comments; Advocate For Women In STEM Celebrates Work Of Clarice Phelps, First African American Scientist To Help Discover A New Element. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired October 25, 2022 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: You can point your phone camera, at the QR code, on your screen, for a link. It's a podcast about loss and grief. And we've got a series of remarkable and poignant conversations, with Stephen Colbert, and Molly Shannon, and others.
This week's episode, I talk with the writer and poet, Elizabeth Alexander, about the sudden loss of her husband, in 2012, and how she and her two young children, at the time, coped with the grief, and still do. That's episode seven, in the podcast, comes out tomorrow morning. You can find it on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.
The news continues, right now. CNN TONIGHT WITH JAKE TAPPER starts.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Hey, Anderson. I interviewed Elizabeth Alexander.
COOPER: Oh, yes?
TAPPER: A few months ago. She's lovely!
TAPPER: That's interesting you got her to open up.
COOPER: That's cool. Yes, she gave the first poetry reading, she wrote a poem, at the Barack Obama's first inaugural.
TAPPER: Yes, she's wonderful.
I know that you've - I'm sure this is an obvious one. But have you - I assume, you've reached out to the White House. Because President Biden, losing his son, losing his wife, and young daughter, back in the 70s? That would be very moving. I once had a very long off-the- record conversation, with him, about it. And he's - that's one of his - that's one of the subjects--
COOPER: Yes. TAPPER: --that he's most human and authentic.
COOPER: Yes. He's obviously experienced incredible, incredible loss, and speaks on it, well. Definitely, yes that would be a good conversation. Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Anderson.
Well, welcome to CNN TONIGHT. I am Jake Tapper in Washington.
Tonight, we are just two weeks away, from the critically important midterm elections. And I've been talking to strategists, and pollsters, from both parties, today, to try to get a sense, and share with you, what they think the lay of the land is right now. So, allow me to be your guide, if you will, as we take a look at what they think is actually going on out there.
Because, earlier this month, you might remember, we told you about how President Biden's pollster, had coined this election, "Headwinds versus head cases."
The headwinds, in his view, challenging the Democrats? Majority disapproval of President Biden, high inflation, a possible recession, among other factors.
The head cases, hindering Republicans? What Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell diplomatically referred to as "Candidate quality" issues. That's the Republican candidates, with limited appeal, or various scandals, creating challenges in races that theoretically they should be running away with.
But those headwinds, they seem to be a changing, and getting a little stronger. And the politicos with whom I spoke today all agree, as of now, a modest Red wave, at the very least, seems to be building. Best estimates put Republicans in at picking up about 25 seats. They only need to win five, to flip the House, for Congressman Kevin McCarthy, to become House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
How worried are Democrats? Well, just today, President Biden directed the Democratic National Committee, to transfer another $18 million, to help House and Senate Democrats, in their races. That includes a very high profile race, in New York, featuring the Head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, a member of House Democratic leadership.
The DCCC is apparently so worried about its own Chairman, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, that the DCCC is throwing another $600,000, into the race, to defend him. That alone, for Democrats, is alarming.
But when Democrats are concerned about House seats, in New England? That is a flashing red light! First Lady Jill Biden heads to Rhode Island, tomorrow, to help a Democratic House candidate, there. Vice President Kamala Harris visited Connecticut, earlier this month, to help a House Democratic candidate, there. And Republicans are reportedly now recommitting money, in New Hampshire, to try to unseat Democratic senator, Maggie Hassan. Continuing our trip now, through the political landscape, let's go visit my home, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Tonight, the two Senate candidates, in that race, sparred in their first and only debate, Democratic Lieutenant Governor, John Fetterman versus Republican candidate Mehmet Oz.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. GOV. JOHN FETTERMAN, (D) PENNSYLVANIA U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: I'm also having to talk about something called the "Oz Rule" that if he's on TV, he's lying.
DR. MEHMET OZ, (R) PENNSYLVANIA U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: John Fetterman takes everything to an extreme, and those extreme positions hurt us all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Now, this race looked like a slam-dunk victory, for Fetterman, earlier this summer, and not just because it's six-eight, he towers over Dr. Oz.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FETTERMAN: People have been trying to label me, my entire life. I do not look like a typical politician. I don't even look like a typical person!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Since then, the polls have tightened. They seem to be basically within the margin of error, right now.
And while Oz has been out-memed, on social media, by Fetterman, who paints the long-time New Jersey resident, as a phony, and a quack, Fetterman has been hit with millions of dollars, in campaign ads, attacking him, on TV, for being soft on crime.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: John Fetterman's record on crime is crazy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: John Fetterman supports decriminalizing dangerous drugs, like fentanyl and heroin.
OZ: Fetterman's ideas are radical, deadly, and wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: And for Pennsylvanians, and those, in the Tri-State Area, you will likely soon see more TV ads, just like those, because today, the top Republican Super PAC announced, they're going to throw another $6 million, into the race. And now, it's possible that Dr. Oz could, could become Senator Oz, even though Oz has a net negative favorability rating, in Pennsylvania. More people disapprove of him there than approve of him. Quite a big gap at that!
Let's turn west, now. Let's go from Pennsylvania to America's Dairyland, and another Senate race, in which momentum has seen to shift, toward the GOP, in recent weeks, with again, Republicans attacking the Democratic Lieutenant Governor, in this case, Mandela Barnes, for being soft on crime.
A "Washington Post" analysis, out today, found that Republicans have spent tens of millions of dollars more, attacking Democrats on crime than on inflation.
Now, just two months ago, Democrats were confident that Barnes would be able to knock off Wisconsin senator, Ron Johnson. Now, the race is a toss-up. People I spoke to today think that Ron Johnson probably even has a slight edge.
And the Democratic finger-pointing has begun!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM NELSON, (D) OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, WI EXECUTIVE: The National Party has totally failed us. And so, it's going to come down to Wisconsin Democrats.
People are just hitting their heads against the wall. How did we - how did we let this happen?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Over 1,000 miles away, let's go to Arizona. Republican heavyweights are trying to boost Blake Masters, the Republican nominee against incumbent Democratic senator, Mark Kelly. Kelly, it is believed may have a slight edge.
But that race too, is tightening. In the last two weeks, former Vice President Mike Pence, and Senator Rick Scott of Florida, the Head of the Republican Senate arm, have flown in, to campaign with Masters.
The next leg of our midterm's journey is to navigate the roadblocks that stand between Democrats and electoral success.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What has happened in the last two months has changed this race?
ANDY LODUHA, REPUBLICAN PARTY CHAIR, ONEIDA COUNTY, WI: Well, I think, inflation. I mean, everybody's feeling in their pocketbook.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: That is the number one concern, for Americans, right now. And yet, a new poll, from Monmouth, says 63 percent of Americans believe that President Biden is not paying enough attention to the issues that matter most to them.
And that may be part of the reason why Democrats also are starting to face some structural problems, with various racial minorities, groups that they've been able to rely upon, for electoral support, in the past, Blacks, Latinos, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, groups that are starting slowly but surely to peel away from automatically supporting Democrats.
One poll shows that Hispanic support, for Democrats, in congressional races has dropped by about 13 points, since the 2016 and 2018 elections. Now, 13 points? That might not sound like much to you. But even if just a sliver of minority voters cast a ballot, for Republicans, or stay at home? That could be, in these tight races, enough, to hand the Republicans, a victory.
And voter enthusiasm, for Democrats, among Democratic groups, and demographics? Right now, that appears a real challenge, as Senator Bernie Sanders told me, two days ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): I am worried about the level of voter turnout, among young people, and working people, who will be voting Democratic.
I think what we have got to do is contrast what a strong pro-worker Democratic position is, with the corporate agenda of the Republicans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So, the headwinds are discouraging those voters, from voting Democratic. And among key swing voters, Democrats, who control the White House, and the House, and the Senate, they're being held responsible, for the state of the nation. And Democrats have everything, everything to lose.
So, here is where, on our midterms tour, you would expect we would bump into the face of the Party, President Joe Biden. No one would fault you for assuming that Biden is right now, out there, blitzing the country, rallying in every single battleground state, along with Bruce Springsteen, and Bon Jovi, and Jay-Z, trying to protect his majority!
The reality is, he's not, not even in Pennsylvania, where the famous son of Scranton has roots! As of now, Democratic candidates, in Pennsylvania, do not seem to want him there, which makes it all the more challenging, for Biden, and his party, to buck historical trends. Because, history shows that the party in power tends to lose seats, in the midterm elections.
For George W. Bush, in 2006, he took a thumping.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look, this is a close election. If you look at race by race, it was close. The cumulative effect, however, was not too close. It was a thumping.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: For Barack Obama, in 2010, despite star-studded rallies, he took a shellacking!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not recommending, for every future president that they take a shellacking, like I did, last night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: A thumping? A shellacking? I'm not sure what garands Joe Biden might trot out, in two weeks. A stomping, perhaps? But if Biden acknowledges a walloping, it's not as if it would be unprecedented.
Now, the past might not be prologue, however, when it comes to something else. And as your election guide, I've got to warn you, boys and girls, watch your step. We're entering unchartered territory.
This will be the very first election, since Donald Trump convinced a huge swath of the American public that the U.S. election system is rigged. It's a false charge, but it led to a bloody Insurrection.
And this time around, we're seeing big signs of potential trouble. Candidates, in key races, across the country, continue to lie to voters, about the 2020 election. These are, in some cases, the very same people, who will be in charge of certifying the election results, if they win.
The list includes Secretary of State Candidates in Nevada, and Arizona, plus Arizona's Republican candidate for governor, Kari Lake. That could become a huge problem, in 2024, if those folks get elected, and if they continue to swear allegiance, to Trump's lies, instead of the U.S. Constitution.
Another issue now? Not in 2024, but now? These allegations of voter intimidation we're hearing, intimidation by vigilantes. Some of them are now under investigation.
Last Friday, two armed individuals, dressed in tactical gear, were spotted at a ballot drop box, in Mesa, Arizona. Also, in the Grand Canyon State, a group calling itself "Clean Elections USA," accused of stalking ballot boxes, taking photos, of voters' license plates.
This is impacting mostly, we're told, Latino voters and, in particular, the elderly. Seniors often prefer a ballot drop-off, to having to stand in long lines, according to a lawsuit, filed, on behalf of those voters. And yet, Clean Elections USA has allegedly accused at least one voter, perhaps your average grandma of being a mule! A mule is a reference, to a fringe voter fraud conspiracy that was amplified, in the latest MAGA propaganda film, the widely discredited, fact-challenged "2000 Mules."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now we come to the most important question of all. Was the magnitude of vote trafficking enough, to tip the balance, in the 2020 presidential election?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not a leap to say this would have made a difference.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: It's not a leap! It's just a lie! It's just a huge lie!
How full of crap is it? Well, they had to pull the "2000 Mules" book, before it even went on sale. They had to edit it. They had to rewrite it, presumably to avoid legal action, according to NPR, today.
In the 2020 election, and in the 2022 midterms, there is no credible evidence of mules. There is credible evidence of jackasses!
Now, this is just what the terrain looks like, right now. And it is hard to know what it all might mean. The U.S. is also currently seeing record numbers, for early voting. More than 9 million Americans have already cast their ballots. Is that good for Democrats? Is it good for Republicans?
One thing we can assert is it's good for democracy. It's good for the Republic. There is something motivating Americans, to drop what they're doing, stand in line, and participate in a midterm election. Regardless of what Experts are predicting, right now, whether they're relying on polling or turnout data, inflation, whether they're reading animal entrails? As always, you, the American people, you get the final say.
Now, we're about to tap into the brain of a former lone wolf, in the Republican Party, an independent mind. Congressman Justin Amash famously left the Republican Party, over Trump and Trumpism. He was the first Republican lawmaker, to back impeachment.
And as a hard-right Freedom Caucus member, at the time, Amash fired the warning shot, years ago, saying that our politics, our partisanship, was in a partisan death spiral. What does he make of today's state of play? We'll ask him, next.
TAPPER: With the midterm elections, just two weeks away, today, many voters are now retreating, into their left corner, and their right corner. But it's the folks in the middle, swing voters, folks who don't fit neatly into Democratic or Republican labels that often end up determining, the outcome of key races, congressional districts, and States.
Case in point, Justin Amash. He was the founding member of the House Freedom Caucus. He was the first Republican, to come out, against Trump, during Trump's first impeachment. Amash subsequently decided to leave the Republican Party. He switched to become an Independent. Then, he left Congress, and became a Libertarian.
So, what does Justin Amash make of the state of the politics of the November elections?
Former Michigan congressman, Justin Amash, joins me now, live, in studio.
Thanks so much for being here.
JUSTIN AMASH, FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, MICHIGAN, FORMER GOP CONGRESSMAN, NOW LIBERTARIAN, FOUNDING MEMBER, HOUSE FREEDOM CAUCUS, FORMER REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN, VOTED TO IMPEACH TRUMP: Thanks for having me, Jake.
TAPPER: It's good to see you again.
AMASH: Yes, good to see you too.
TAPPER: So, when you left the Republican Party, in 2019, you wrote, in a "Washington Post" Op-Ed, quote, "I've become disenchanted with party politics and frightened by what I see from it. The two-party system has evolved into an existential threat to American principles and institutions."
So, three years later, do you feel that same way still?
AMASH: Yes, absolutely. And I don't think anything has changed, structurally, to make it better.
So, if you look at what President Biden is doing, what Speaker Pelosi is doing, what the Senate Majority Leader is doing, and then if you look at what the Republicans are doing? It's the same dysfunction, the same partisanship, the same lack of representative government. It doesn't work the way our Constitution is designed.
TAPPER: So, what would need to happen? Is it, do you think the parties are just being pulled too far to the extremes? Do you think there needs to be less gerrymandering? What changes?
AMASH: I think some of those electoral changes would help. I mean, with respect to gerrymandering, if you had rank-choice voting, in more States, I think that would help.
But I do think you need structural reforms, in Congress. And really, that can only be handled, at the top. Someone like Speaker Pelosi, or whoever the Speaker of the House is, Kevin McCarthy, who I don't think will do this, needs to decentralize the Congress, and let members participate.
Right now, they don't participate at all. They're basically given legislation, and told "Take it or leave it." And I think that leads to a lot of performative politics, because when you can't debate policy, you debate personalities. And I think that's what happens all the time in Congress.
TAPPER: Yes. And it's actually one of the reasons, when people who out there, who are watching their TV ads, and they say "Congressman Jones voted with Nancy Pelosi 99 percent of the time."
Honestly, like the kinds of votes that happen in Congress, right now, they're pretty baked in, like most people vote 95 percent with their party, it seems.
AMASH: Yes. When I first got to Congress, we had more votes on the floor, we had more amendment votes. We were able to participate.
Members of Congress, today, at least in the House of Representatives, can't even offer amendments, on the House floor that will be taken up. The leadership basically says, "You have to send it to the Rules Committee. They're going to vet it. And they're going to decide whether you can have a vote on it."
So, there are very few amendments, now, on the House floor. And that means you don't get to differentiate the members of Congress, very much. When I first got in--
TAPPER: Or improve legislation.
AMASH: Yes. Or improve the legislation.
AMASH: When I got in there, you might have 100 amendments, on a piece of legislation. Some people might think that's too much.
But what's nice about it is you get to know who your member of Congress is. And you also get to discover the outcome. You get to actually represent people. You all get in there, you have this just giant pie of material, and then you put it together, and you see what comes out.
TAPPER: So, you live in Michigan, battleground state, lots of competitive races. The governor's race is competitive. What are you sensing? You heard my monologue, earlier, talking about how it seems, right now, Democrats and Republicans feel as though, Republicans are going to probably have a pretty good night, in two weeks. What are you picking up out there?
AMASH: Yes, that's my sense, too. I think Republicans will take back the House. I think the Senate is a close call. But it seems like increasingly, they might take the Senate, as well. I'm not sure this is a good thing, for Republicans, in the long run, especially for Kevin McCarthy, if he's the Speaker of the House.
AMASH: Because, if you have a small Republican majority, if it's not a big enough win, on Election Day? Again, it could be a, I think, a marginal win for Republicans. In other words, they maybe have a 10- seat or 15-seat majority or something like that.
If that's the case, then you have a few members of the House, who will basically be able to dictate the process to Kevin McCarthy, which could be good, for the overall flow of the House. It might actually open things up. But it's going to make Kevin McCarthy's a job miserable.
TAPPER: And Kevin McCarthy, not somebody that you have a tremendous regard, for his--
TAPPER: --for his leadership skills?
AMASH: Right, not someone I admire. I think he's basically craven. I think his goal, in life, is basically to empower himself.
And I've seen him go through Congress, not knowing what he's talking about, switching policy positions, on a dime. We saw that with President Trump, where one day he's saying, "Trump is responsible for January 6," and other day he's saying "Trump is great, and he's not responsible." So, he's a guy who's about himself. And I think that's really bad for Congress.
But when you look at how Congress has functioned, under Speaker Pelosi, or under Speaker Ryan, or even under Boehner, it's been a pretty closed-off place, for a long time. And if we don't fix that, you're going to keep having people, like Kevin McCarthy.
TAPPER: So, I want to ask you about the debate, in your home state of Michigan, this evening, between the Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, and the Republican nominee, Tudor Dixon.
Let's listen to a quick snippet from that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): She refuses to accept the outcome of the last election. She has not yet said she will accept the outcome of the next election. So, when she says, she will accept the will of the people, she is an election-denier, and does never, ever has said that Joe Biden actually won this last election.
TUDOR DIXON, (R) MICHIGAN GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: I would like to comment on Gretchen Whitmer, and her demeanor, tonight, coming after me, calling me an election-denier. We know that this is going to be the way the evening goes. But I'm wondering, when she will say that she can't run with Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist, anymore, because I would believe that he's also an election-denier. (END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: All right, just to bring people, to some facts here. Tudor Dixon, there, is referring to a 2017 Detroit City Clerk race.
And it's true, Whitmer's Lieutenant Governor asked for a recount. After the recount was completed, he accepted the results, which is, of course, entirely different, from Tudor Dixon, who has repeatedly said that she doesn't believe Joe Biden won the presidency, in 2020, and has spread falsehoods about widespread voter fraud.
This is a real sickness, in the Republican Party, this election - these election lies?
AMASH: Yes. I think it's a big problem. But the Democrats keep, handing them ammunition. So, I think that's also--
TAPPER: How so?
AMASH: You do have people like Stacey Abrams, and others, over the years, who have said things.
And they'll latch on to anything. So, even if there's a little bit, the Republicans are going to latch on to it. It's partisan politics. It's not the same degree. It's not the same level. And it might only be a few people, in the Democratic Party, and a lot of people, in the Republican Party.
But unfortunately, what happens, and I've seen this in politics, is if one party gives them a little bit, they'll say, "Well, you're just like us. There's no difference."
AMASH: "And we're just trying to defend democracy the same way you are."
TAPPER: Dixon is one of at least nine candidates, on the ballot, in Michigan, have questioned or denied the results of the 2020 election, including the Republican nominees, for Secretary of State and Attorney General.
I know you, and I thought you were an interesting legislator. Your successor, Peter Meijer, the same. What's going on in the Republican Party of Michigan? I guess it's the same thing that's going on nationally?
AMASH: I mean, it's the same thing everywhere. But when you look at Peter Meijer's recent race, he came close to winning, right? It wasn't like a blowout by the Trump-backed candidate.
So, I think there is a possibility, an opening, for people, to move this back in the right direction, in select places, in the country, not everywhere. Maybe West Michigan is very different from a lot of other places in the country.
But I don't think it's a wholesale, everywhere, Trump-backed candidates are going to win. And you saw that in places, like Georgia, as well and other races, where there are some non-Trump-backed candidates, who have succeeded.
TAPPER: Sane Republicans?
TAPPER: Good to see you. Justin Amash, always good to have you. I'm glad you're getting to spend more time, with your family.
AMASH: Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: That's a wonderful thing.
AMASH: Yes, I appreciate it.
TAPPER: Want to make a change in the world? Do like the people of Iran. They are rising up, against oppression, right now. Do not try to elicit change, by flinging food, at famous masterpieces!
It's a very important tale of two tactics, the powerful and the pointless, when we return.
TAPPER: Name-calling, and baseless accusations, trolling, smearing, it does seem as though political debates too often exist at the intellectual level, of an infant, making a mess with food, in order to get attention. So, perhaps, it's actually not so surprising, to see protests, about a very important issue reduced to this!
Over the weekend, a pair of German protesters threw mashed potatoes, at Claude Monet's painting, "Grainstacks," in a museum, in Potsdam.
Earlier this month, tomato soup was smeared on Vincent van Gogh's "Sunflowers," at the National Gallery, in London.
It isn't all high-end art, of course, at Madame Tussauds, in London, two people smeared chocolate cake, on the wax figure, of King Charles.
When there's no museum around, the supermarket's milk case seems to work. These so-called milk-pour stunts are becoming more common, across the U.K. The paintings are all covered in glass. So thankfully, they're all fine. But spare a thought for the grocery clerk, who had to clean up all that milk.
All of this is part of a series of protests that we're told are about the role of fossil fuels, and climate change. If you put that together on your own? Congratulations!
Spectacle has long-served a purpose, in protests, of course, everything from naked women, showering in the streets, to a guy, with a sign, climbing well-known landmarks, even a globe-trotting giant inflatable Baby Trump balloon, have been employed, to grab attention, draw cameras, to issues of some sort.
Now admittedly, some tactics work better than others. But this isn't a suffragette, slashing a painting at the National Gallery, more than 100 years ago. That was about how men viewed women in art, in Diego Velazquez's "Rokeby Venus." And it's not the Sons of Liberty tossing tea into Boston Harbor.
The objective, in those cases, went beyond a viral moment, of course. That requires convincing people, mobilizing them, to demand action. And we see that right now, in Iran, people out in the streets, doing the hard work, of protesting, of organizing, channeling the frustrations, into what is now six weeks of protests.
Now, look, I'm not saying protests have to be nice or polite. But the goal should, theoretically, be about change, applying pressure to officials, in power, convincing the public of a wrong that needs to be righted.
The murder of George Floyd enraged people across this country. They took to the streets. They made their voices heard. Now, while the slogan that emerged, "Defund the Police" was and is counterproductive, and damaging to the cause, nationally? Substantive reforms passed, on the local level.
The movement worked. More than a dozen cities increased funding, for community programs, such as supportive housing, violence prevention. Voters went to the ballot. They increased oversight of law enforcement in Red and Blue States. More than 30 States enacted policing reforms through their legislatures.
The Americans, bankrolling protests, such as the soup-smearing? I don't know. They're promising now more of these stunts. Climate protests, over the years, have prompted real substantive changes, in public opinion, in laws.
And that's the thing. The kids, smearing food, on art, right now? They're right about the planet. But their approach? It's lazy. It's sloth. They're just attacking, what's available. It's only slightly more of an effort than tweeting out a hashtag. And it's far more polarizing. They're exacting, they're inciting no change.
Another attention-seeking fail? The artist, formerly known as Kanye West. Not a good idea to rebrand yourself as an Anti-Semite! Even more companies, severing ties, with him, today.
An opportunity for us to keep shining light on the rise of hate. That's next.
TAPPER: Growing fallout, tonight, for Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, after his string of recent anti-Semitic remarks.
Today, Adidas, which produces the popular Yeezy shoe line, said it is ending the near decade-long partnership with the performer. Foot Locker is now pulling Yeezy products from its shelves. Gap, doing the same, after ending its partnership, with Ye, last month. Corporate America taking action.
And it's clear that Ye's anti-Semitism is having an impact. This weekend, a hate group, displayed this banner, on an interstate overpass, in Los Angeles. It reads "Kanye Is Right About the Jews." Another sign read, quote, "Honk If You Know." Number of people ,raise their arms, in a Nazi salute there, as you see.
Let's talk to the CEO and President of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Rabbi Noah Farkas.
Also with us, activist, actress and host of the #WeNeedToTalk Podcast, Malynda Hale.
Rabbi Farkas, let me start with you. What went through your mind, when you saw those images, of a hate group, in your home city, hailing Hitler, in the middle of the 405, in broad daylight? How is the Jewish community, in Los Angeles, responding?
RABBI NOAH FARKAS, CEO & PRESIDENT, THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF GREATER LOS ANGELES: The Jewish community, Jake, is on edge, right now. Because, this incident is not the only incident of anti-Semitism.
There have been leaflets, dropped over neighborhoods. There have been people, walk out their doors, and see images of vicious anti-Semitism, right on their doorstep. And so, we are feeling a bit on edge, right now. We're feeling a little uncomfortable, here, in the Los Angeles.
TAPPER: (inaudible) White hate groups, have to do with the fact that he's a Black man, speaking out, against Jews.
MALYNDA HALE, ACTRESS, HOST, #WENEEDTOTALK PODCAST, ACTIVIST: Sorry. I - you went out a little bit. I didn't hear you. I'm so sorry.
TAPPER: Oh, I'm sorry.
TAPPER: Do you think part of the reason that White hate group, in Los Angeles, is making hay out of Kanye West's remarks, is because he's Black, and this is about dividing minority groups?
HALE: I think that does definitely play a part into it. And I think that they are using his blackness as a way to affirm their hate. And I don't think that Kanye realizes that he is being used.
And so, I do think it is really disappointing to see. And it's frustrating. It's frustrating, as a Black woman, as a Black person, in America, to see somebody being used, to further white supremacist ideology.
TAPPER: Rabbi, in 2016, Adidas called its relationship, with the rapper, the most significant partnership, ever created, between a non- athlete and an athletic brand. Adidas now says they're going to lose about $246 million, from their fourth quarter sales, after severing the relationship.
What's your take, on Adidas, taking this action? How important is it, do you think, for corporations, to take action, despite the fact that it's against their bottom line?
FARKAS: I think it's incredibly important. We can put a number on it, like $246 million, like you said. But the truth is we can't put a number on hate itself.
And, as we just said earlier, the whole point of trying to divide us, as historically-marginalized community, in this country? That has been a tool of white supremacy, in this country, for hundreds of years. And as Angelenos, I can say that we're just not going to stand for that. We're going to come together. And we're going to try it to move beyond this moment, and try to build a city that lives up to our namesake.
TAPPER: And yet, Malynda, I have to say, I did not hear much of an outcry, anywhere, after Alabama Republican senator, Tommy Tuberville, a few weeks ago, made a hideously racist statement, in which he seemed to suggest that "Democrats support crime, Democrats support reparations, because they want that money to go to the people, committing the crime."
In other words, he was saying, Blacks are responsible for all crime. Tuberville said this, at a rally. I don't think there's been any price he's paid?
HALE: That's interesting, because I wasn't even aware of those comments as well. And I think that because Kanye is in the position that he's in, he's going to get more backlash than someone like Tuberville. So yes, that's actually news to me, he was saying that. I wasn't aware of those comments that he had made.
TAPPER: Well, let me ask you, also, Malynda, because, earlier this month, the Republicans, on the House Judiciary Committee, they tweeted, "Kanye. Elon. Trump" about Kanye West, Elon Musk and Donald Trump, seemingly a show of support, for all three men.
But since those remarks, since, I mean, since that tweet, Kanye went on his latest anti-Semitic rant. Are you surprised the tweet hasn't been taken down at all?
HALE: I'm not surprised. Because, one thing that I have noticed about the Republican Party is that they will fall in line, with each other, no matter what they're standing for. So, I think if the goal is to support Kanye, support Trump, and support Elon, no matter what they say, or what they do? Then that tweet is going to remain up, absolutely.
TAPPER: And Rabbi, another recent comment that was criticized, by the Anti-Defamation League, for anti-Semitism, was a comment that Trump posted, on his social media site, Truth Social.
He said, "No President has done more for Israel. U.S. Jews have to get their act together and appreciate what they have in Israel - Before it is too late!" I don't know what that means "Before it's too late."
The CEO of the ADL, called the comments, insulting and disgusting. What do you think?
FARKAS: Look, I think, no matter who says what, and who is the person that is espousing views, like that, that we, as a Jewish community, and we, as a historically-marginalized community, just have to stand up to hate.
That's what's going to make America, different than other countries, is when groups like ours, groups like Jews, groups, like African Americans, like Latinos, like AAPI, and all those groups that have always been left out, in one way or another, come together, and stand up, and say, "We're just not going to live this way. We're going to build a city that's better than we found it." And I think that needs to be the core of how we move forward.
FARKAS: Out of this moment, out of the Kanye moment, and into whatever the future holds for us.
TAPPER: All right, thank you, Rabbi Noah Farkas, and Malynda Hale. Good to have both of you on. Appreciate your comments, tonight.
There's also a lot of good in the world. People, who champion diversity, gender equality, such as my next guest, a scientist, with a truly remarkable hobby. Prepare to be inspired! It's coming up.
TAPPER: How many female scientists can you name, off the top of your head? Marie Curie? Rosalind Franklin? They might come to mind. But there are so many other names, worth knowing, in the field of STEM. That's Science Technology Engineering, and Math.
STEM is an area where women are historically underrepresented, often discriminated against, such as mathematician, Gladys West, whose work was key to making GPS technology, possible, or chemist, Sumita Mitra, whose invention revolutionized dental procedures, around the world, or immunologist, Kizzy Corbett, who was at the forefront of developing the Moderna COVID vaccine. These are unsung STEM pioneers, relatively unsung, who up until recently didn't even have a Wikipedia page!
Their achievements, however, are now being highlighted, thanks to another notable scientist, Jess Wade, a British physicist, and advocate for women, in STEM. She's written more than 1,700 Wikipedia pages, for female and minority scientists, over the past five years. She's also the Author, of the children's book, "Nano," which introduces readers, to the tiny building blocks that make up the world around us.
And Jess Wade joins me now.
Jess, thanks for joining us.
Take me back to 2017, when you wrote your first Wikipedia page entry. What prompted you to do it in the first place? And, why Wikipedia?
JESS WADE, PHYSICIST, AUTHOR, "NANO: THE SPECTACULAR SCIENCE OF THE VERY (VERY) SMALL": I love the idea of telling the stories, of incredible scientists, and engineers, who've made discoveries. And I love the idea of translating those stories, onto platforms, where people will read them.
So, whether they're young people, they're parents, they're teachers, whether there's someone sitting, in their university classroom, and they just want to find out about that pioneer, who made that breakthrough? I love that they're scrolling around on the internet, and then they land on this biography, and they realize, "Hey, it was someone, who's just like me. It was someone, who was from my hometown, or they went to my university."
So, I think Wikipedia is a really powerful platform, for that storytelling, and also to give people that credit, for making these incredible discoveries, and contributions, to our understanding of the world.
TAPPER: There are so many girls, and women, around the world, who are still being told that science is not for them, math is not for them. Do you think raising the profile, of these unsung female scientists, do you think that will inspire them?
WADE: I hope it does a little bit of the inspiring part. I hope it does a lot of giving people credit, where credit's due. We don't only, not get enough people into science but we don't do enough of a good job, celebrating the ones we have. So, we don't document their incredible discoveries, or their kind of groundbreaking contributions to science or innovation or engineering.
So, I hope we do some of the inspiring. I think we rely heavily on teachers for that. So, huge thank you to teachers for doing the bulk of that. But we also need to do that part of really honoring the scientists and engineers that we have, so that we keep them.
TAPPER: As many may know, Wikipedia is built by volunteers. It has volunteer administrators, who determines what pages stay published.
You've had at least 15 Wikipedia biographies deleted, by an editor, though in at least one case, you successfully fought, to get the biography, of a nuclear chemist, Clarice Phelps restored. First of all, why are they taking these down? But tell me about this successful incident.
WADE: Yes. I mean, Clarice Phelps is just another phenomenal scientist. She was a Navy engineer. So, she worked on Navy boat (ph). She was in the U.S. Navy, originally, and then trained as, well, was trained as a nuclear chemist, at the time, and went on to make a discovery that contributed to a new element, in the periodic table.
So, Clarice Phelps was responsible, for one of the super-heavy elements in the periodic table. See, she's incredible. But unfortunately, it's really hard, to find enough references, saying how incredible she is, because the scientific community haven't done a good enough job of honoring her.
So we, as scientists, haven't given her enough awards, we haven't written books about her. So, when it comes to writing a Wikipedia page, it's really hard to find those references, and put them in.
So definitely, when I started editing, I was a little bit too enthusiastic. It's really hard for me to stay as neutral, as you need to be, when you're writing for Wikipedia, if you're writing about such icons, like Gladys West, or Kizzy Corbett. So, that's a challenge.
But also that just kind of learning the ropes a little bit, as you get familiar with something, you learn how to write a more compelling argument, or document someone's history, in a better way.
WADE: So, at first, I found it a little challenging. And people definitely do have and get a little bit prickly, those old-school Wikipedia editors, if you come in and say, "Historically, we've not done enough - a good enough job, of celebrating women, and people of color, so we're going to do that now," they get a little bit kind of prickly that they've not been doing that the whole time. So sometimes that cause you to - some people to suggest they should be deleted.
TAPPER: The foundation that hosts Wikipedia site, says that over the past three years, more than 75,000 biographies, about women, are now online. Wikipedia insists they're making progress, when it comes to representing 50 percent of the world. How much more work do you think they need to do?
WADE: We all need to do a huge amount of work, both online and offline. When I started this project, Wikipedia, English-language Wikipedia, was about 17 percent of the biographies were about women. Now we're up to about 19 percent, and that's been four years. So really, now we need to keep going, we need to keep this momentum up.
But we need to do it in our textbooks. And we need to do it in our classrooms. And we have to have journalists, like you, and broadcasters, like you, featuring women scientists, and scientists of color, in your television programs, so that people are talking about them, that these scientists are household names. So that one day we don't need campaigns, like mine, but it's just completely ubiquitous to society.
TAPPER: I've been trying to book Kizzy, for two years! So, we're trying. They need to say, yes.
Whose biography are you working on publishing next?
WADE: Oh, I don't know. I've had so many suggestions, come in, over the past few days. I was just sitting down, at my inbox, now, to try and go through them, find the next kind of incredible Kizzy Corbett, or Gladys West, who stories been unsung. So, I will find out, as I go through my emails!
TAPPER: Well your enthusiasm is infectious, Jess Wade. Thank you so much for your time. We appreciate it.
WADE: Thanks so much for having me.
TAPPER: And we'll be right back.
TAPPER: And thank you so much for joining us tonight. You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the TikTok, @jaketapper. Jake - I forgot my name! Jake Tapper.
Our coverage continues now with the magnificent Laura Coates, and the awe-inspiring Alisyn Camerota.
Laura, Alisyn, how are you guys?
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN CO-HOST, CNN TONIGHT: We're great.
LAURA COATES, CNN CO-HOST, CNN TONIGHT: Good, Jake Tapper. We know your name.
CAMEROTA: Yes, we know your name. Handsome Jake Tapper! That's what we refer to you as--
TAPPER: Oh, but so kind!
CAMEROTA: --in private.
TAPPER: Hey, can I be a correspondent, for you, for one second?
CAMEROTA: Yes, go ahead.
TAPPER: So, I was watching. I'm from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. And I don't know if you've heard that. But I am.
CAMEROTA: Yes, yes.
COATES: Couple times.
TAPPER: And so, I watched a lot of the Oz-Fetterman debate.