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Trump Announces 2024 Bid, As Biden Looks To Solidify Alliances At G20; Democrats And Republicans Face Leadership Battles; Cheney Slams Trump; Video Shows Corrections Officers Beating Black Man In Custody; Teacher Fired After Telling Class He's Racist In Recording. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired November 15, 2022 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Meanwhile, President Biden is at the G20 Summit trying to shore up support for Ukraine, holding an emergency roundtable tonight after Poland said that a Russian-made missile fell on a village at the Ukraine border on Tuesday, killing two people. Poland did not say who fired it.
And we have more breaking election news. CNN can now project that Josh Harder, the Democratic incumbent in California's ninth district, will hold on to his seat, defeating Republican Tom Patti. This means Democrats will control at least 207 seats in the House. But the numbers there, you see, the wind is at the back of Republicans, which is 217. One spot left to hold that majority.
Joining me now to discuss, CNN political commentator David Swerdlick, Democratic strategist Nayyera Haq, and former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh. A lot to unpack here. And as we see, the wind is at the back of Republicans right now. We know that Republicans are likely -- it's the lawyer in me that is hedging -- but likely to now be in the majority. There are questions about who is going to lead.
But there is also an announcement tonight, right? And a lot of what is being said about who might lead the Republican Party, well, you've got somebody who has been the de facto leader for the better part of two years. So, my first question to all of you is, are you exhausted already thinking about all of what's to come over the next two years? What do you think?
JOE WALSH, FORMER ILLINOIS REPRESENTATIVE: Rest up. Really rest up because we could be looking at another two years of this. Everybody who wants to write Trump's obituary right now is doing so at their own peril. I don't give a damn what Fox News tries to do. I don't give a damn what Rupert Murdoch or all the Republican donors try to do. Donald trump has a hold, I mean a hold on 35% to 40% of Republican voters. Until and if that ever breaks, he's the leader of that cult.
COATES: And yet, Nayyera, when you think about that, I mean, certainly, he does have a hold. That is undeniable. But he did endorse a number of candidates who were not successful for the midterm elections. Does that mean something? I mean, he does have a four-year track record to run on, but he also has the losses that he is now being blamed for, of course, in this election cycle.
NAYYERA HAQ, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE SENIOR DIRECTOR: It's a loss that he never acknowledged, that he lost to President Biden. The idea that you can turn out voters and by telling them the system is rigged, they just clearly didn't work, right? Voters, active voters, care about democracy. They like to participate.
And we are seeing even in this presentation today that sense of exhaustion just kind of sitting in, right? When Trump first ran in 2016, it was a surprise. Everything coming out of his mouth was new and different.
A couple of years later, he is not an open seat, it is running against a comfortable incumbent president, and he has been out of the game for a minute. His party has suffered losses and setbacks. And everything we heard him say today was no longer surprising.
So, what is he bringing to the table? That is beyond the anger that we are all overcome and have moved past at this point. What is new that he can bring to Republican voters or to independent voters?
COATES: And I wonder, though, if we really are past truly grievance- based politics. I don't know that we fully are, but your point is very well taken. Nayyera makes, David, about what the idea of, you know, what it is going to take, what is new and different? And one thing that might be new and different, does he still have the full, what seems to be unflappable support of republican leadership who looked at him as, look, the barometer, I've got to sign on with you, I've got to be in a bit of electoral coots, I'm going to win? Does he have that now?
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, SENIOR STAFF EDITOR FOR NEW YORK TIMES OPINION: His support has been punctured. He has been winged that he still has a grip on the biggest slice of the republican electorate pie, if you will.
I think you're in a situation here where, to answer your question, no, grievance politics is not over. Early in the speech tonight, President trump said, we were a great nation just two years ago, and two years from now, we will be great again, the implication being that America is only great when he is president, even though I think all four of us would agree at this table, America has never not been great. So, that's number one.
Number two is, to your point, he can't be the change candidate anymore. So, that's his biggest detriment. To Congressman Walsh's point, President Trump is the only one of the Republican contenders or would be contenders who has run two national sustained two-year campaigns. Governor DeSantis has the hot hand, Senator Tim Scott is someone who is waiting in the wings, there are other candidates, but none of them knows how to run for president yet.
COATES: By the way, one point I want to raise, I will get back to you on this point, but one person he does not have is his daughter, Ivanka Trump, because just moments after the former president said that he would run again for 2024, his daughter, Ivanka, released a statement essentially saying, look, I am opting out.
She says, this time around, I am choosing to prioritize my young children and the private life we are creating as a family. I do not plan to be involved in politics. While I will always love and support my father, going forward I will do so outside the political arena.
Nayyera, I mean, I remember when there were all the conversations of the so-called adults in the room and the person everyone kept on the speed dial, aside from Mark Meadows during January 6th, seemed to be contact Ivanka. She somehow can reel him in in some way. That is not there. Whether that was true or not fully, we don't know, but that is not going to be there.
HAQ: Well, and neither Jared, apparently. Between the two of them, there were probably three-fourths of the Trump administration and running the decisions there. But that's part of what we are seeing, that even for his own family members, the shine is wearing off. Despite all of the goals that we saw in that assembly, that announcement that he had, the appeal is not the same.
So, what can Trump do to be a little bit different, to set himself apart from other Republicans? Now, to the point about his hold on the Republican Party, it is absolutely there, but we also saw the Trump era drive people out of the Republican Party. If they did not sign up as Democrats, they signed up as independents. So, outside of a really raucous republican primary, trump winning the nomination could be a gift to Democrats.
WALSH: Exactly. And you are right. As he has driven people out of the party, that has actually strengthened his hold on the party, made it much less likely that he could ever be elected again.
COATES: And you don't have Congresswoman Liz Cheney ambition of political leadership right now or Congress after the session is over, and we are going to have the good knighted committee on January 6th as well.
But I still wonder about not only who could take on from the republican side, Donald Trump. I know Governor DeSantis, he is the shiny object right now, does not have arguably the most formidable opponent in his gubernatorial race as one would expect at a presidential level.
But you still have to have the support and respect of the republican leadership, the Mitch McConnell who I don't think is there, the Kevin McCarthy who is undecided as of yet whether he will go in as Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and say, yes, I am all in already.
When you look at the leadership right now in power in the Senate and soon to be the House, does he have the support?
SWERDLICK: Does who have the support?
COATES: Donald Trump. That's who I am talking about.
SWERDLICK: Yeah, I think he does because -- for two reasons. One, the reason that everybody already knows is, there are many members of Congress who are afraid to cross him, because they are afraid of being called little senator X or, you know, Ron desanctimonious or whatever the nickname is.
I think you also have a situation where Republican members of Congress don't want to be primaried from their right. They fear that much more than a general election at least up until this point. So, you have a situation where you want to stay on President Trump's good side so that you don't incur that challenge.
HAQ: This situation you have as a Republican right now, a Republican leader, is they embrace Trump, and this is now a direct consequence of several years down the line of him having taken over the party.
COATES: I want a lightning around here. Do you think Ron DeSantis is going to run?
WALSH: I don't think Trump will be opposed.
COATES: Hmm. Nayyera, what do you think? Oppose or not?
HAQ: I can see DeSantis running.
COATES: Hmm. What do you think?
SWERDLICK: If he is going to run, he has to go now. Even though he is only in his mid-40s, Laura, if you wait too long, it is the Chris Christie rule, you miss your window.
COATES: I wonder. We will see. Hmm, unopposed, maybe --
COATES: -- got to do it now. This is diversity of thought, people. Up next, a Democrat who pulled off a big election win in Texas. What he says about his own party's future.
COATES: In the wake of big midterm surprises, leadership battles being waged well in both parties, even as control of the House remains undecided fully tonight, Kevin McCarthy winning his party's nomination to become speaker, and Republicans are just one foot away from the 218 needed to control the House. This is happening as Democrats are facing uncertainty of their own at the top, with questions about Speaker Nancy Pelosi's plans.
Joining me now is Representative Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from Texas who pulled off a major victory in a very tough election. Congressman, I'm glad that you are here. Welcome.
REP. HENRY CUELLAR (D-TX): It's a pleasure being here with you.
COATES: What a night. First of all, I know there's a major announcement tonight from the former president. We are going to talk about that. But I want to focus on what is happening internally with the Democratic Party right now. You know, the majority is really imminent now for Republicans.
And I understand that there has been, based on the very slim margin, there has been an appeal to you of some kind, to be able to maybe consider possibly becoming a Republican to pad the numbers. Is there any truth to that?
CUELLAR: It is true, but the answer is no. I was born a Democrat and I will stay as a Democrat. And yeah, there were overtures, but the answer is no. But, you know, I saw the numbers that Kevin McCarthy had. I think that out of the caucus that he had, he got about 188 votes, 31 noes, which means that he has got a lot of work to do before he could become speaker in January.
COATES: They are appealing to you in some part because you are known as one of the more moderate members, of course. And again, it is partly about the margins.
But is it also indicative of some notion that they are keenly aware of just how important every single vote is and essentially also the importance of more moderate incumbents like yourself? Are you seeing that pressure?
CUELLAR: Well, what I am seeing is that, first of all, internally, the Republicans are having trouble because they have -- I think they call themselves a Freedom Caucus. In the old days, they were called Tea Party Caucus.
CUELLAR: The Tea Party Caucus gave Speaker Boehner, gave Speaker Paul Ryan a very hard time. In fact, they could not govern. That is passed the -- legislation without Democrats helping them out. So, I think Kevin McCarthy, if he is selected speaker, is going to have a hard time. And this small group, very vocal group, is going to try to extract so many things from him. So, we've just got to see where he ends up.
COATES: I mean, there is a lot of temptation, I'm sure. Listen, if you know the margins (INAUDIBLE), if you know how essential everyone's vote is, you said (INAUDIBLE). I know the words to use. It is something that can (INAUDIBLE) price. Let us assume for a moment the world (INAUDIBLE) and gave you that, what are your priorities going to be? What should be the priorities of your causes?
CUELLAR: You know, look, the caucus, we have passed a lot of good legislation. If you look at the Recovery Act, that really helped small business where they needed help, that provided the assistance. When you look at the unemployment, it went up. It was amazing, when you saw -- when the world stopped on March 2020, the unemployment rate just dropped completely. We brought that back. We brought back --
COATES: The employment rate?
CUELLAR: Yeah, the employment rate. I'm sorry. And now, we have one of the lowest unemployment rates that we've had. We also passed major legislation like the bipartisan infrastructure bill, many historic amounts of money for highways, broad brand, water projects. We also capped prices for drugs, especially for our seniors. But we also -- we also put caps, for example, on insulin at $35. So, there was a lot of things that we got done.
And I was with President Clinton back in my district campaigning about a week ago, literally almost a week ago, and he said something that was right. A lot of the things that we passed, it is going to take little bit of time so those effects can be felt by the American public, and they are going to realize that it was the Democrats that passed that major legislation.
COATES: I want to ask you, you know, about leadership and where things stand. Obviously, with Republicans set to gain the majority, there are questions now internally with Democratic Caucus about who will lead. Do you support the former, I guess, Speaker Pelosi to be --
CUELLAR: She is still the speaker.
COATES: She is still the speaker and she will be in January (ph), I don't mean to offend, but will you support her continuing, if she so chooses, to be in that role?
CUELLAR: Yes. Absolutely yes. I've always said I will support Nancy Pelosi as speaker. Then after that, I vote my district. That is why as a moderate Democrat, I did 10%, 15% better than all the statewide Democrats who will run in my district. That is because I am a congressman but I ran as a mayor. I look at what are the local issues and I address those issues.
COATES: And finally, you know, I can't let you go before asking you, there was an announcement tonight from the former president who has made a lot of statements surrounding Texas, surrounding immigration, surrounding the border, surrounding crime and talking about the policies in place. What is your reaction to the fact that he is now running yet again to be a nonconsecutive president of the United States?
CUELLAR: Well, you know, the American people rejected him in the 2020 election. He is running again. Let's see if he can get out of the primary. We will let the Republican voters decide that. Then in the November election of 2024, there will be another Democrat.
COATES: Congressman Cuellar, thank you so much for your time.
CUELLAR: Thank you so much.
COATES: Election deniers losing races all across this country. So, are we seeing a kind of, well, vindication of Congresswoman Liz Cheney? We will tell you what she is saying about all that, next.
COATES: Ahead of former President Trump's announcement of his presidential run tonight, outgoing Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney appeared at "The Washington Post" 2022 Global Women Summit, where she made quite clear that she thinks Trump lacks fitness for office. Listen to what she says.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): This is certainly not the rollout, I'm sure, Donald Trump wanted for his announcement tonight. But, you know, it is also not the first time he has been totally detached from reality. I think, though, it's also really important for people to look at what is happening and what he's doing not just through a political lens but through the basic facts of his total lack of fitness for office. He is unstable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: David Swerdlick, Nayyera Hag, and Joe Walsh are back with me now. There is a very incredible article, an op-ed, in "The Washington Post" by Greg Sargent. It spoke about what is called the quiet vindication of Liz Cheney. I don't know how quiet it is because people are talking about this very point. She lost by 32 points in Wyoming and yet predicted about what would happen to Republican Party if they stuck with Donald Trump.
Do you see these midterm election results as a bit of a vindication that she was right?
HAQ: The message that she and President Biden made in their closing statements was about defending democracy, that there is something about country over party that is still salient and relevant, especially at this moment when you have people who are denying the election on the ballot. So, that part worked.
But she does not have a natural constituency, right? This idea that she could be speaker of the House? She is not going to codify Roe. No universe is she going to be pro-choice enough for Democrats to really support her. The Republicans are not going to acknowledge what they have already done to her, kicking her out.
So, does she pursue that kind of advocacy, issue advocacy path that a Stacey Abrams had done, or does she pull a Romney where you can be governor in one state, senator in another? There is opportunity for her but it is not going to be in Wyoming.
WALSH: Laura, I think it's a bigger vindication from President Biden because I think he got a lot of grief from a lot of smart people but he kept a boot on this defending democracy issue, and he was right.
I listened to Liz Cheney. She sounds like me. There is no place in this Republican Party for her. Every word she says about Donald Trump, 80% of Republican voters disagree with her. So, yeah, she has been vindicated as far as democracy goes, but she could not win a republican election anywhere in this country.
COATES: She spoke about, earlier today, talking about the idea of being detached from reality when it comes to Donald Trump and thinking about the worst kept secret in the world, that Trump was going to run again and announce it. Here she is earlier today talking about that reality factor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: The forces of Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar inside the House Republican Conference are strong. Unfortunately, right now, those people who are very destructive and who have done things like espouse white supremacy and antisemitism have a stranglehold on Kevin McCarthy, and that means they have got a stranglehold on the conference. So, it is going to take, I think, a couple of cycles for us to break that stranglehold.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: In her mind, the reality is, essentially, what we are seeing, the idea of the question we have been asking tonight, David, and beyond. We'll continue to ask -- it would take significant gumption to be able to say, look, no, I'm not going to stand by Trump, and it might cost especially the slim margin that McCarthy presently is going to enjoy, whether he enjoys it or not, in the House if they reach that 218, which is supposed to do so.
I mean, is there the leadership support and the straightening of the spines to say enough, or is Trump going to be able to essentially say, look, Liz Cheney, thank you for your comments and your commentary, but you don't have the constituency? Poof, we gone.
SWERDLICK: It's almost an impossible line to walk, but if a Republican is going to walk it, I suspect that Congressman McCarthy is the one to do it, more so than some of the people that are challenging him.
But let me go back to Congresswoman Cheney for a minute. What you see there in those clips you played is someone who, indeed, has that gumption, free to speak her mind. She is a Reagan, Goldwater, Coolidge conservative. She is now can just speak up on behalf of that narrow constituency that almost doesn't exist anymore.
I think a lot of what she did this past year, Laura, was to stick up for that knowing that she was going to lose. But another part of what she did this past year, it reminded me of Cersei Lannister when they asked her, what are you going to do? She said, I choose violence.
I'm not going to the knee, I'm not going to knuckle down to Donald Trump, all of my House colleagues want to sort of ride his waistband, and she is like, I'm not going to do it, and that was the political lesson that she taught, whether or not she goes on into a presidential race.
COATES: (INAUDIBLE) reference, I have to tell you. Well done. Very well played on that very notion. You know, look, the reality is one of the reasons that Donald Trump is still alive and kicking politically, she talks about the idea of the mistake of not having essentially the political coffin nailed with the impeachment. In fact, here she is talking about this issue as yet one instance or frankly many where Trump could have been, essentially, dismissed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: If after the House impeached Donald Trump in January of 2021, if the impeachment article had immediately gone to the Senate and we immediately had a trial, we would be in a very different position than we are today.
And I think that decision that was made by a bunch of people to delay that trial until he was out of office, I think, looking back, will prove to have been a mistake of historic proportions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Will it have the legacy of essentially giving him another lifeline?
WALSH: This has been the story of the past six to seven years. Donald Trump is a monster. But my former political party created this monster. They fed him, they worshipped him, they bowed at his feet for seven years.
Liz Cheney rightly talks about the second impeachment. What about the first impeachment? Liz Cheney voted for Trump in 2020. A lot of Republicans still voted for him after four years of an unfit president. What he is doing tonight, Laura, they deserve because the party never stops.
HAQ: We still have several people who participated in the January 6th insurrection now entering Congress with the "R" next to their name. So, this is now a part of the Republican Party, the caucus that she is talking about. That just not -- it just does not compute with a sense of democracy that she is talking about.
COATES: We will see if it computes with the electorate. That is what going to count in the end. Thank you, everyone. It's nice speaking with you.
There's pretty disturbing video that's coming out, and I do mean disturbing. It shows five corrections officers brutally beating a Black man who is in custody. And now, there is an investigation.
COATES: Disturbing new video shows corrections officers beating a 41- year-old Black man in custody in Georgia. Now, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is promising to have an independent and thorough investigation of what exactly happened when five officers entered the cell where Jarrett Hobbs was being held.
Martin Savidge has our report. I really want to warn you that this video is very hard to watch.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New video shows a brutal beating of a Black man in custody by five officers in Georgia. Forty-one-year-old Jarrett Hobbs was arrested and held at the Camden County Detention Center in September. The video, provided to CNN by Hobbs's attorney, Harry Daniels, shows five officers entering the cell and start beating Hobbs and wrestling him to the ground.
In the second video released by his attorney, the officers are seen dragging Hobbs out of the cell where the beating continued. It's not clear what preceded these two videos.
In a news release, Daniels said the video is undeniable and the deputies' actions are inexcusable. Daniels further claim that before the attack, Hobbs was experiencing a psychological episode at the jail and asked to be placed in protective custody.
Daniels says there is a third video that does not show the incident but provides audio unlike two videos released. But Daniels says he is not releasing that video at this time.
The Camden County Sheriff's Office said in the statement it has ordered an internal investigation of the incident to begin immediately. Hobbs was arrested in Camden County for violating his probation stemming from a federal case in North Carolina.
According to his attorney, he was charged with speeding, driving at revoked or suspended license, and possession of a controlled substance.
According to North Carolina court documents, Hobbs's probation officer who was not president at the time of the incident, testified that jailers heard a large banging from the defendant's holding cell. Defendant was reportedly kicking his cell door and was told by jailers to stop after already being warned to stop previously. It goes on to claim that the defendant resisted the jailers and subsequently punched one deputy in the face while punching another deputy in the side of his head. One deputy sustained a bruised eye and a broken hand as a result of the incident.
Hobbs's attorney is calling for the attorney general to bring charges against the officers.
(On camera): CNN has reached out to the district attorney and the sheriff's office for comments. So far, we have not heard back. Meanwhile, Hobbs is in prison in North Carolina, according to his attorney. And lastly, we should point out in full transparency, some of the information in this report was given to us by CNN contributor Bakari Sellers, who is also an attorney and also represents Hobbs. Laura?
COATES: Bakari Sellers is joining us now along with Harry Daniels, also an attorney for Jarrett Hobbs. Gentlemen, when you look at this video, I mean, it is disturbing, to say the least. And I think about it from the prosecutor's mind here, thinking about it and looking at it and saying, he was in a cell. Why did the officers enter it? Why did they begin to physically assault him?
Most people look at this video, Bakari, and say, what am I missing here as opposed to the brutality? What is the bigger story? Is there even one?
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think you are going to see a bigger story other than the police entered the cell and jumped at the Black man, or they just beat his ass. I mean, that is the story here. That's unfortunate. This type of thing does not built trust between law enforcement and the community.
The fact is that we believe there are inconsistencies and flat-out lies about many of the reports that stemmed from the officer's testimony about this incident. You see the video. It is pretty clear that they walk in and just begin to wail on him.
Harry and I have a great deal of respect. We travel around the country doing this work. One of the things that we always do is acknowledge good police officers and say thank you because you have a very difficult job. What we saw in that cell is anything but good policing.
COATES: Harry, when you look at that, most people are thinking about the idea of an unreasonable use of force, right? The idea of the Fourth Amendment comes to mind, obviously. When you look at this -- first, I want to know, is your client's health okay? What are the injuries that he must have sustained here? How is his physical well- being at this time?
HARRY DANIELS, ATTORNEY FOR JARRETT HOBBS: Let me be clear, Mr. Hobbs is not okay. He is mentally not okay. He is physically not okay. Mr. Hobbs was brutally beaten. In fact, after he was beaten, he was in confinement for almost two weeks with no medical treatment. So, that is another aspect of this case that we are looking at.
The video is exactly what you see. The fact that they gave false reports to the United States probation officer, United States attorney in North Carolina, is appalling within itself. The United States Attorney's Office dismissed those claims. When they saw the video that was produced by the Camden County, they knew that Mr. Hobbs did not commit any assault but assault was committed against him.
The sheriff gave a statement today that he was going to investigate this matter immediately although he had just learned about it. These issues took place at the end of summer, September the 3rd. The (INAUDIBLE) president for the local chapter went to the jail, questioned -- asked a question about Mr. Hobbs. He did not get any answers. And not until this video came out then and only then the sheriff decided to jump into action. We learned today that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation will help to investigate this matter.
COATES: Bakari, on that notion, are we going to see more video footage released? And what was the process like to even get this? The fact that this took place back in September, why are we just now finding out about it?
SELLERS: I mean, what you have seen --
DANIELS: Laura, let me --
SELLERS: Go ahead. Go ahead, Harry.
DANIELS: Let me answer your question. The way we got this video, Mr. Hobbs was on federal probation. He violated his probation by leaving the state of North Carolina, I think, obviously, due to charges. He, in fact, once he was accused of assault on police officer, that was something to consider that the United States probation officers look at it and while he is on probation. He proclaimed that he had not committed assault.
So, the United States probation, United States attorney as well as his attorney in North Carolina retrieved a video. Once they got the video, they produced the video to us.
In the third video, that video does really show what happened inside the cell. It shows what happened. And it is already -- we do plan on releasing that video tomorrow to the public.
COATES: Bakari, the backlash is real. This has gone viral. I mean, just the idea of what has happened. And you had this clear demarcation. There is no information about why these officers thought they were at all entitled to use any type of force in this incident. I hope we learn more information about this. Thank you both for being part of the program to give us more information on what is so disturbing. Thank you, gentlemen.
SELLERS: Thank you for covering it, Laura. I appreciate it.
DANIELS: Thank you.
COATES: Man, a Texas teacher is no longer employed. Why? Well, because he told students that race -- he is white, by the way -- is -- quote -- "the superior one." And a student in that class is going to join me, next.
COATES: Well, a white Texas middle school teacher is out of a job tonight after telling his multiracial class -- frankly, anyone -- quote -- "I think my race is the superior one." The moment was actually caught on camera. Just listen to how the students react.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Deep down in my heart, I'm ethnocentric, which means I think my race is the superior one.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Oh!
UNKNOWN (voice-over): So white is better than all?
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Let me finish. Let me finish. I think everybody thinks that they're just not honest about it.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): I'm not racist though. I like all types of kinds.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Did I say I don't like people?
UNKNOWN (voice-over): So, you said that you are what? You are a racist? You're racist?
UNKNOWN (voice-over): I think everybody is a racist at that level.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): No, you said you are a racist.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): I did. I did.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Say it, that you're a racist.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): No, I'm not saying it again. I've said it enough.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): So, you're racist.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): I respected you. I actually respected you for a while. But now, I don't even have no more respect for you.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Yeah, for real. I don't think I got respect for him no more.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): No, you should have more respect for me because I'm honest with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: CNN has not identified the person or people who filmed that video. It does not show what led up to this exchange or what happened after. The teacher has not been identified. CNN did make repeated attempts to reach the man named by a parent, but was unsuccessful.
The superintendent put out a statement saying this, and I quote, "Last Friday, November 11, Pflugerville ISD officials were made aware of an inappropriate conversation a teacher at Bohls Middle School had with students during an advisory class."
"As of Monday morning, November 14, the teacher in question is no longer employed by the Pflugerville ISD and we are actively looking for a replacement."
Now, I want to bring in Karmello Luellen, a student who was in the class that day. Also joining us is Karmello's mom, Janae Hardy. I'm so glad to talk to both of you, not under these circumstances, but I just have to ask you Karmello. First of all, you were in this advisory, you were in this advisory, I can't believe that this was actually said by a teacher. Tell me what you were thinking in that moment when you heard this.
KARMELLO LUELLEN, STUDENT AT BOHLS MIDDLE SCHOOL: It was just anger building up. I controlled it and it went down. I had to speak to him. I was speaking from my heart on what I had to say.
JANAE HARDY, MOTHER OF KARMELLO LUELLEN: He was actually the student that said, I had respect for you, but now I have no respect for you.
COATES: You are the student talking about respect. I got tell you, I have to praise you, Karmello, on that point because you were calm, because you were controlled, and because you actually endeavored to understand what he was saying and speak about it. I mean, did it -- when you heard this, had it been the first time you heard this person saying something like this? And where did it come from? What happened before this?
LUELLEN: So, it started off -- because I asked him about the restroom. He told me, no, because he was racist. And then I asked him, what do you mean by that? And then he told me -- he told me -- that's when he started. He started talking about it.
COATES: Janae, your son is saying this happened because he needed to use the restroom? When you heard about this --
UNKNOWN: He said --
COATES: Go ahead, Janae.
HARDY: He said prior to this, he acted racist. I guess he showed signs of racism before, but this is the first time he actually said it out of his mouth.
COATES: Walk me through this moment, Janae. I can imagine my kids coming home from school and telling me about their day was like, and what I would expect to hear versus what I'm actually hearing. And to see this video footage as well, what was your reaction to all of this?
HARDY: I was very, very angry. I think I was angrier that the school never contacted me.
COATES: Really? So, you learned about this from your child?
HARDY: I heard from my child and on a video that hit the news before I saw the video.
COATES: So, there was never a point in time where you were contacted as a parent of a child who was in that classroom. As Karmello's mom, you were not contacted?
HARDY: No. I went to the school Monday morning because they never contacted me. This happened Thursday afternoon.
COATES: Karmello, when this happened, tell me what took place right after. Did you guys go, did someone go and tell, say, a principal or another teacher? Did you tell somebody else other than, obviously, the teacher who thought it was appropriate to say something like this?
LUELLEN: Yeah, we told the assistant principal.
COATES: And what was that principal's reaction?
LUELLEN: She didn't tell the principal at all. She made me write a statement about it. I wrote a statement. But she didn't tell anyone about the statement.
COATES: Where is that statement now? Did she tell you what to do with it?
COATES: How did it make you feel when you told the assistant principal and it sounds like you don't think anything was done immediately to try to help or make you all feel better? How did that feel?
LUELLEN: I was kind of angry. Yeah.
COATES: When you hear this, mom, and you think about -- this was in the classroom, this was at school, and we hear a lot about school board meetings, we hear a lot about book bans, we hear a lot about people being angry about so-called woke statements in a school, and yet you hear about racism and somebody in a position of authority, in a school setting, talking about his race being superior, what do you think should happen next? What do you think would help your son and other kids in that program?
HARDY: My main thing is, I just want him gone. I don't want him teaching. I really feel he should not be teaching anywhere. I know he's out of Pflugerville District. I don't think he should be teaching kids if he feels that way, because he can be bothered in their grades or anything because you feel some type of way about them.
COATES: That's an important point.
HARDY: You are not being neutral about the situation. So, you let it be known, how you feel.
COATES: That's an important part, especially about the grading, how somebody is in a position to actually evaluate a student if they have these biases and racism.
Listen, Karmello, I really want to applaud you for standing up for yourself in the moment. I know a lot of adults who are unable to find the words. They will, the next day, think to themselves, I wish I had said this, I wish I had expressed this.
You, at the age you are, have enough sense and dignity to do something and say something in the moment, and I hope that you recognize just how powerful that is. And collectively, I hope people realize that the kids are going to be all right. Karmello, how are you feeling today thinking about what has happened?
LUELLEN: I'm better. I'm feeling all right now.
COATES: Do you think -- is the school supporting you? Do you feel the support of your community?
LUELLEN: Yeah, I feel it. I talked to a counselor most of the time, yeah.
COATES: Well, young man, kudos to you. I hope you don't have to go through anything like that again. Mom, I'm sorry to have this happened, but I'm glad to have met both of you and eager to see your future.
HARDY: Thank you.
COATES: Thank you. And thank you so much for watching. Our live coverage continues.