Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Tonight

Facts And Fears About Crime; Bill In West Virginia Legislature Would Offer Former Residents $25,000 In Tax Credits To Move Back; Two Male Republicans Who Have Supported Bills To Restrict Drag Performances Have Previously Been Photographed In Women's Clothing; GOP Pushing Legislation To Restrict Drag Shows; Mayor Eric Adams And Faith And Politics; Connecticut Man Barefoot For 20 Years. Aired 10- 11p ET

Aired March 01, 2023 - 22:00   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. I'm Alisyn Camerota. Welcome to CNN TONIGHT.

We begin with two alarming crime stories. A Pennsylvania man was arrested after allegedly trying to bring explosives on a plane to Florida. Police say it is not terrorism, so what was it.

And then the story of a heinous murder in St. Louis caught on a cell phone by a bystander. The next image is graphic. It appears to be the moment the suspect shot a homeless man in the head in broad daylight on a street in downtown in St. Louis. Tonight, we will give you the real stats on crime and how it is being used as a potent political issue.

Plus, and you noticed that some of the lawmakers who are trying to make dressing in drag illegal are the very same lawmakers who themselves have dressed in women's clothing? We have the photos to prove it.

How much would it takes for you to move back to your home state? How about $25,000? We will explain.

We have a lot to talk about so let's bring in my panel. Here with me, we have my constant companion, L.Z. Granderson, also my ex, John Berman, I won't say X of what, John Miller, our crime and justice savant, and the always unfiltered S.E. Cupp. Great to have all of you guys here.

Okay. Let's start with the explosive on the plane. John Miller, is this guy a criminal or an idiot? Did he know what he was doing?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: By the way, they are not mutually exclusive.

CAMEROTA: No, they're not, but I feel like you need to say which one this is, because I'm not sure. JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: So, we are drifting quickly towards knucklehead. There are two distinct possibilities here, one that he put explosives on the plane hidden in a suitcase behind the liner as a test to see if a bomb could be smuggled on a plane. The other possibility is he is a knucklehead who like had his pipe there, with residue from whatever he was smoking, his fireworks, which he had apparently taken it apart from a pyrotechnic shell and attached to a fuse and some clothes for his trip to Florida.

So far, based on the background that FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force has done and the knowledge that the local police have of this individual, knucklehead is winning out.

CAMEROTA: Interesting. S.E., I am comforted actually by this story. It worked. The TSA found it. He checked his bag. TSA found the explosives. They pulled it off of the plane. They arrested him. They are running the background check, like system worked. That was comforting.

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think we have gotten used to not hearing these stories, right? I am a child or adult 911 and all the things that happened after, and it has been a long time since you've heard something like this. And for all of the times you go through TSA, or drop your bags off, they are not really looking. Well, they looked in all of the places and all the ways.

And it did catch this -- I don't think he is an idiot. I mean, I think he was really trying to do something, because I don't usually mistakenly put my bomb in my suitcase. I usually remember to leave it at home before I go to the airport. I mean, I don't know.

CAMEROTA: But didn't he say something like he was going to use it as fireworks or something?

MILLER: Well, I mean, it was called from fireworks but, I mean, the reality here, as S.E. said, is this is sensitive to impact, to friction, to heat. It is going in the cargo hold where all of those variables exist, too hot, too cold, things banging around. And had that self-ignited, there was no initiator or timer or detonator attached to it that would have allowed it to act on a timer, but had something caused it to go off in flight, that is really bad. I mean, would have been a flash, it would have been fire.


BERMAN: All of these criminology courses that you've been involved, like that's really bad if it goes off, knucklehead, these are terms that are taught?

MILLER: I am trying to use the technical terms that we learned at the academy.

CAMEROTA: So, that we can understand it.

MILLER: Knuckleheads do things that are really bad. It is part of being a savant.

CAMEROTA: Yes, indeed.

GRANDERSON: I am happy that the system worked. The thing that makes me a little uncomfortable, based upon the reporting that I've read thus far, is that his name was called over the speaker once they identified the bag in he left. Why did you leave?

MILLER: Because he knew what was in his bag.

CUPP: Because he had a bomb, right?

GRANDERSON: But it's like -- was it like, oh, gosh, I forgot the bomb or was it, they found the bomb?


That is the thing I'm worried about.

MILLER: When you hide something in the liner of your suitcase and they're calling your name on the loudspeaker, you didn't forget anything.

CAMEROTA: That's right. All right, now let's talk about the more serious and really heinous crime in St. Louis, so that we have a still frame from some cell phone video. It is really disturbing. A bystander caught it on tape broad daylight.

Apparently there was an altercation, John, as you know, at a gas station. And shortly after that, this homeless man is shot in the head at 10:00 A.M. on this sidewalk in St. Louis. This crime is just what every single American fears about crime, which is that an altercation in a gas station can escalate to a deadly incident. So, do you know any more about this guy's background?

MILLER: Not much more because the district attorney there has not released his background. But I think what you are seeing their and the reason this has become a big political football is this is a town that has another progressive district attorney who is looking for criminal justice reform, all kinds of alternatives, and they've been seeing crime go up, as have many cities in the same position.

So, you have got -- we were just talking the other day about a state that was trying to takeover a local police department, judges and prosecutors in Mississippi. Here is a case where the state attorney general is trying to remove the district attorney and start prosecuting criminal cases through his office. So, it is complicated and messy there.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, if this criminal did not have a background or didn't have a rap sheet, I don't know what you want the district attorney to do, so I don't know yet. We don't yet about the background. But in terms of St. Louis, in 2000, the crime has gone up in St. Louis. So, in 2018, there were 187 homicides. In 2020, the last year that we have, numbers were 264, a 36 percent increase. If we look nationally, the crime rate is -- the homicide rate nationally 34 percent higher now than it was in 2019, the year before the pandemic. Though, John, some cities it has gone up markedly, some cities it's gone down.

BERMAN: Isn't it down, though, in the last year? I mean, it's -- look, the numbers here -- there is no question that there is more crime now than there was in a period before the pandemic. The question is where is it trending sort of since the end of the pandemic. And I think that is a little murkier, it doesn't make it any less frightening, though, if you are living near actual crime and you are living near the portrayals of actual crime, which have as much of an impact as the crimes themselves.

And this is something I've heard John talk about, John Miller talk about, is that such as when a crime is committed is when it ends up on the front page of newspaper the next day and then you see it, and then they cover everything that is remotely like it, and that whether or not it is going up, crime isn't perceptive (ph) in a meaningful way, you feel it because you are reading about it every day.

CAMEROTA: And just last night, L.Z., we were on the air when Lori Lightfoot lost her bid for a second term and I wonder if you think that that is -- I mean, it was about crime, much of it was about crime, some of it was about schools, and I wonder if that is seen as a bellwether for other Democrats.

GRANDERSON: Certainly, Republicans, I think, are going to use this as a way of trying to make a larger conversation. But I think particularly when it comes to Chicago is unique. During the primary, she got less than 20 percent of the vote. So, she went into the general election in 2019 not necessarily with a wind in her back to begin with. So, when she began fighting with the unions, when she was hiring prompts with the city council, she was already someone who wasn't necessarily beloved when she got there.

She made history because she's a Democrat. She didn't make history because she was Lori Lightfoot. She made history because she was a Democrat. So, when she got in trouble, that is when you realize, she was narrowly supported as much as we thought to begin with. And I don't want to conflate her situation with what happened in Mississippi or what's happened in St. Louis because I think they are all unique and they need to be looked at it that way.

CAMEROTA: What do you think, S.E.?

CUPP: Well, Listen, I work for the New York Daily News. I see the stories of this kind of crime not just on a daily basis but throughout the day, stories like this. They're real. They're real stories. They do paint a picture of crime, real or maybe exaggerated, that you feel. And I don't know why Democrats keep seating this argument to Republicans. You don't have to pretend it is an invention. And arguing the stats I think is important to give the right numbers, but if people feel afraid, I think politicians would do well to acknowledge that and lean into that. And I can tell you very honestly, as someone who works in New York City, I feel afraid in New York City. Someone who goes to D.C. to our D.C. bureau, I won't leave there at night by myself.

CAMEROTA: More than you did three years ago?

CUPP: 100 percent. I've noticed it. It is a real feeling.


And you can tell me the numbers don't back it up but I see it, I feel it, I think Chicago was about crime. You can't argue those numbers. And the mayor is responsible for that.

GRANDERSON: But it was also the fight with the unions, it was the fight with the police union, it was the fight with the teachers unions --

CUPP: Yes, she had a very fraught record.

GRANDERSON: Exactly. So, wasn't just the crime because the Chicago crime has been a part of Chicago's fabric since like the 60s and 70s.

CAMEROTA: Yes. But to our final point, John, is the trend line going up or down?

MILLER: Well, the trend line shot up in two accounts. In 2020, you had the combination of COVID-19 and the fallout from George Floyd, and those were both factors. In 2021, you saw them struggle with that. And in 2022, you started seeing things -- this is on the national side, everyplace was different specifically, but the trend was starting to trend down.

Here is the problem, though, whether it is up from 2020 or down from 2020, no place is almost back to 2019 when we had these really low crime rates. And in places like New York City and Washington, you thought nothing of walking around the streets late at night. We are not back to 2019 and there's a bunch of factors in play there.

CAMEROTA: Okay. Friends, thank you all very much.

All right, if you were offered $25,000 to move back to the state that you left, would you do it? One state is betting you would. We will tell you were next.



CAMEROTA: All right. Would you move back to your home state for $25,000? Yes, I would, as John knows. There is a new bill making its way through the West Virginia legislator that, if passed, would offer $25,000 to former residents who have been living outside of the state. Is that enough to bring back people to solve the state's shrinking population? Here with me to discuss is Democratic State Senator Mike Woelfel. Senator, thanks so much for being here. So, let's talk about this. West Virginia lost, I think, more residents than any other state per capita since 2010. Why have so many people left the state?

STATE SEN. MIKE WOELFEL (D-WV): Well, you can take us back to 1950. We actually had fewer people than any other -- than we did then. We are the only state that claims that. So, steel and coal have fallen on some hard times and manufacturing. So, West Virginians have an affinity to home, and, sadly, many of our people who have had to leave the state to be educated or to follow their profession or occupation. So, what this bill does is it would incentivize some of these folks coming back home to work.

CAMEROTA: Why are only offering it to previous residence? Why not open this up to anybody in the United States to move to West Virginia?

WOELFEL: There would be a lot of room for mischief there. If we just said, come and we will give you $25,000 tax credit. Maybe we will call this a pilot project and see how it goes. And then if it succeeds, we will open it up.

CAMEROTA: But, I mean, you're afraid that if people from, I don't know, Virginia or North Carolina move, they would come in and collect the $25,000, don't you have -- I mean, I assume you have sort of guardrails to keep that from happening.

WOELFEL: Well, we do have some guardrails. And this is -- so many of our people have left and they come here to vacation. They come here to see nature's bounty. And we just like to have them come back and live here. Yes, we could open it up to more people and I think that's really a great idea.

CAMEROTA: Well, you are welcome in that case for that idea. So, $25,000, obviously, that's a lot of money. How are the economics going to work there?

WOELFEL: What will happen is you move back and you have a credit of $25,000 on your personal income tax. We are a fairly low tax state and you can't really take that all the first year, but over a couple of years, you will save some serious money. And we are looking at folks that are remote workers. A lot of folks, we have upgraded our access to the internet because of the mountains, that has been a challenge. But we are hoping remote workers will find their way back home.

CAMEROTA: So, it passed the Senate unanimously, which I assume doesn't happen that often.

WOELFEL: Correct.

CAMEROTA: So, when do you predict this will actually be in effect?

WOEFEL: I would think July 1st. And we also welcome visitors. You would have to come down here and try our national parks, national forest, national river all of the recreation that we offer. CAMEROTA: It sounds lovely. Okay. We will do that. Yes, thanks for the invitation, Senator. Great to talk to you tonight. Thanks so much for your time.

WOEFEL: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Okay. I'm back with L.Z. Granderson, John Berman, John Miller and S.E. Cupp. Okay. Do you want to take him up on this?

BERMAN: It is a beautiful state but you pointed out the fundamental flaw and the reasoning here, a fatal flaw in the reasoning. The people who left know why they left, right? You are actually targeting me with the least likely people. They chose not to be there, and now you are offering them money. I really do think they should open it up to other people. In fact, I really don't see why they don't. I think it is actually a good idea if you want to incentivize people to come in for any different number of different reasons.

CAMEROTA: I do too. And, by the way, as you said, it is a tax -- you get it in a tax credit, so you can't just take the money and run. You stay there, and over the course of, I think, a couple of years, you deduct $10,000 one year and then $10,000 in the next year and $5,000. So, I don't know why he said it's so open to mischief except that he just doesn't trust any of the other 49 states.

GRANDERSON: Well, you know we are a little shady, the other 49. I temporarily, momentarily, briefly considered thinking about West Virginia --


BERMAN: For free.

GRANDERSON: For free when we were looking. My husband and I sold our home in Arizona. We are just trying to figure out which state to move in. We saw a number of states who actually offered some of the sort of packages, right, that if you work remotely, move here, we will give you a tax cut. And so we're like, hey, let's take advantage of this. It is absolutely gorgeous there. All you have to do is type in LGBTQ and they're like, and you're not for me. And I did move to Texas, which is not necessarily a state as known for LGBTQ equally but there are enough pockets within Texas in which I feel comfortable. West Virginia doesn't have enough pockets and I thought as if I would've been in a silo.

CUPP: Not to mention, look, people with the means and ability to move, they look at a few things. They look at schools, they look at jobs, they look at crime. West Virginia schools rank about 41st in the nation. The jobs have gone. The manufacturing jobs are gone. There was an opioid crisis created some crime, that's a concern. There are reasons not to move to West Virginia and I would look at sort of figuring those problems out to bring some new residents back or in.

CAMEROTA: Yes. But to that point, for retirees, like what he was describing as how beautiful it is and there are mountains and there are lakes and there are rivers, and all that for retirees, that is why they should open it up because that is -- if you are not looking at schools and you can be a little bit more remote, or jobs --

CUPP: Yes, or jobs.

CAMEROTA: -- then it would be --

CUPP: I can attest. I have hunted, fished and camped in West Virginia. It is a beautiful state for that. A place to live, that is tougher especially for someone like me with a young family.

MILLER: I mean, I think if you look at two things here. One is it is a solution the pinnacle of short-term thinking, which is the real issue is what do we need to fix as West Virginians about West Virginia to draw people in. Paying people to come back is an admission of failure with a touch of bribery. But if you get to the map of it, a teacher in West Virginia who is making $42,000 per year, who goes to Oakland, is making $68,000, they're going to go back for the $25,000 for their salary to go down by nearly an equal amount?

CAMEROTA: But isn't it the chicken and the egg? You need to first draw people back for the tax base before you can fix all of the things that you are describing.

MILLER: I think one of those mistakes we make is we think that you can do economic development and all of your problems will go away. You have to make your key problems go away before people are interested in economically developing you. And that has been an urban story that we have seen in New York, in L.A., in Chicago.

CUPP: Asked Rhode Island how paying people, whether it's businesses or even students to stay in Rhode Island or come to Rhode Island, it's bankrupted the state and hasn't really solved some of the endemic, systemic problems.

CAMEROTA: Okay. Thank you all for those perspectives.

BERMAN: We got some real answers there.

GRANDERSON: Just so I'm clear, no one is moving to West Virginia.

BERMAN: Do you want them to negotiate?


MILLER: When the chief spokesman to bring on to sell this is named Woelfel, I mean, it's just --

CAMEROTA: No, that's not nice. We need to bring him back. He was a lovely state senator.

MILLER: Yes, he was, and he made a very good case.

CAMEROTA: (INAUDIBLE) the second we're like, see you later, okay, guys, let's talk about West Virginia.

Moving on, another lawmaker who wants to ban drag performances is caught dressing in women's clothing. Sometimes hypocrisy comes in a very colorful package. We have the photos for you.



CAMEROTA: Last night, we told you about the Tennessee governor who sponsored an anti-drag bill only to later have this yearbook photo surface of him in women's clothing. Now, a Texas state representative has written a similar bill to ban drag performance in that state and, wait for it, today a video surfaced of him wearing women's clothing. There he is. He's in front there. That is Texas State Representative Nate Schatzline cavorting. Yes, he is wearing a tight little black dress. That's him with a black sequined dress and red feathered mask.

CNN has reached out to Representative Schatzline for comment. We've yet to hear back, but he did put out a tweet saying that was all just for fun. And it looks fun.

And just a few hours ago, he did release this video message. I believe we have it. Here we go.


STATE REP. NATE SCHATZLINE (R-TX): The left-wing is attacking me because of some class project I did as a teenager where my buddies dared me to wear a dress. But we're not going to let that distract us from the real message of what we are trying to get done right here in the Texas legislature.


CAMEROTA: Why is it always a class project when a Republican does it? What high school class project is that?

GRANDERSON: And why is he playing Dr. Dre in the background as he did it?

CAMEROTA: We're back with our panel. This is rich, John.

BERMAN: I mean, of course, he was wearing a dress. My wife has a saying which is don't point the finger because there are three fingers pointing right back at yourself, and this is one of those things. I mean, come on.

CAMEROTA: I mean, you know why people dress in drag, John? I don't have to tell you. It is fun. It is fun. And it's funny. And drag performances are fun and festive and funny. He knew it then when he was cavorting down the street in his black sequined dress but he has forgotten that and he is now sponsoring a bill so that there cannot be any of that in Texas.

BERMAN: Just for fun, but not for anyone else except for me. I can keep on doing this for fun but no one else.

GRANDERSON: That is because it has nothing to do with drag. This is an anti- LGBTQ bill. This is an anti-gay bill. And they're just trying to find a different way of saying the exact same thing. Tootsie, 1982, ten Oscar nominations, won an Oscar. Ten years fast-forward, Mrs. Doubtfire, for kids, I had won an Oscar. MILLER: Don't forget Some Like It Hot.


GRANDERSON: Some Like It Hot.

CAMEROTA: Yes, a classic. They're one of the best movies ever.

MILLER: I'm dating myself.

GRANDERSON: Ronald Reagan was in drag. Milton Burrow was in drag. Like drag has been a part of our culture forever.

CAMEROTA: You know who else was in drag? Rudy Giuliani was once in drag. Do we have some? Do we have that of Rudy Giuliani? Yes? Okay, let's see it.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, you're really beautiful. A woman that looks like that has to have her own special scent.

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: Oh, thank you. Maybe -- maybe you could tell me what you think of this one.

TRUMP: I like that.

GIULIANI: This may be the best of all. Oh, you dirty boy you. Donald, I thought you were a gentleman.

TRUMP: You can't say I didn't try.


CAMEROTA: Oh, my goodness guys. I didn't -- I apologize.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You forgot that, didn't you?

CAMEROTA: I didn't know that that --

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That should come with a warning label.

CAMEROTA: That should come with a warning label. I didn't know how badly that was going to age. That has aged badly on every single level.

CUPP: That felt illicit, like --

CAMEROTA: I felt dirty.

CUPP: Yes. I was uncomfortable. If you want to scare kids, forget drag story hour. That's it. Showed them that. CAMEROTA: Thank you. Thank you.

BERMAN: Is there a statute of limitations? Look, I spent four years in college dress as a woman, right?

CAMEROTA: I know. That's why I went to you first. People don't know --

BERMAN: I did. I met my wife doing a drag show. I'm one of the very few people who could say that.

CAMEROTA: This is true about John. He was in an acting group.

BERMAN: Basically, I was the president. I was the chief dresser of drag. Are their states I can't go to now? I mean, is there a statute of limitations?

CAMEROTA: Montana, South Dakota, Missouri, Texas, Tennessee, West Virginia, North Dakota, Nebraska, Arizona, Arkansas, South Carolina all considering bans on drag shows. So, yes, John (inaudible).

BERMAN: Look, you know, no respect for history because, you know, drag goes back centuries and centuries. I think -- no, that's ancient history. No respect I think for the modern places where it is rich cultural value. And you know, and the way that people talk about it is just, it's a shame. I get --

CAMEROTA: And furthermore, when you see that state rep cavorting in the black sequined dress, is he sexualizing children? I mean, is that -- is he grooming somebody there? Obviously, that was fun. He knew it was fun then. That was fun. So did the governor know that it was fun then. So did George Santos when George Santos was dressing in drag. And in fact, George Santos says here, well, I will let him say it himself if we had that because he talks about how fun it was.


REP. GEROGE SANTOS (R-NY): I was not a drag queen in Brazil guys. I was young and I had fun at a festival. Sue me for having a life.


CUPP: Yeah, you guys.

CAMEROTA: Sue me for having a life or arrest other people for having a life.

GRANDERSON: And if it was all fun and games, I don't think I would particularly care. It's just that these bills that are disguised as anti- gay bills are actually fueling violence. People are showing up to drag shows with weapons and they are threatening to kill people over this.

So, it would be really be helpful if these hypocrites would stop pretending as if they're helping children when they are really just trying to drum up their base and hopefully get me elected or getting some higher power politician's attention or whatever the political motive is. But it's solely it isn't anything as benefiting the society.

JOHN MILLER, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: I mean, that's exactly right. And it's a domino effect. I mean, once you're now introducing legislation, not only are we engaging in the politization of everything, but now you're putting the government seal on this should be illegal which is giving agency to these people who are saying well, we must strike out against it, which is leading to hate crimes and assaults.

And if you look at two things, one, the blackout that occurred on Christmas, you know, in North Carolina at the precise moment that the drag queen story hour was beginning with an audience full of children. That is still one of the potential motives. But if you get to the darker side of this, as you pointed out, we have drag queen events going on at small public libraries, at community organizations, at theaters across the country where members of the Proud Boys are showing up in army uniforms carrying AR-15 rifles with the magazines in them, dressed with helmets and night goggles.

And I don't know, what has the potential to key off your question, to scare a small child more, a guy in a dress reading a story book, or five guys with machine guns standing outside their local library?

CAMEROTA: Yeah. Great point. Thank you all for that. And again, that was quite a shocking Rudy, Donald Trump.

GRANDERSON: What was Rudy's name? Do you know?

CAMEROTA: I don't know. But I didn't -- I didn't actually even remember Donald Trump was going to be in that. Okay. Meanwhile, the separation of church and state is major principle, of course, in America.


But New York City mayor, Eric Adams, says he does not believe in separation of church and state. He can't separate faith and politics. His comments and the role of faith in politics next.


CAMEROTA: New York City Mayor Eric Adams raising eyebrows with his comments about religion and government. Here's what he said at an interfaith breakfast this week.


ERIC ADAMS, MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: Don't tell me about no separation of church and state. State is the body. Church is the heart. You take the heart out of the body, the body dies. I can't separate my belief because I'm an elected official. When I walk, I walk with God. When I talk, I talk with God.

[22:40:00] When I put policies in place, I put them in with a god-like approach to them.


CAMEROTA: Back with the panel now. The mayor's closes aide, Ingrid Lewis-Martin, took the stage first before he came on and said the Adams' administration does not believe in the separation of church and state. S.E., what are we supposed to make of that?

CUPP: So, some years ago I wrote a book called "Losing Our Religion." And it talked about a lot of this and how politics and religion get a little co-mingled. And you know, some of what he said was not weird. He doesn't have to separate his faith from his job. And people like Sarah Palin and some other religious folks would be mocked a lot for saying that, like, you know, she prayed on big decisions. This is normal.

What is chilling and not normal is the suggestion or the dismissal of this institution known as the First Amendment specifically the separation of church and state. And what Democrats and Liberals so often misinterpret about this, is they imagine it just simply as freedom from religion.

He seems to be missing the freedom of religion part of it because it's both. It's both. And so, he doesn't have to shed his faith at the door of the mayor's office or Gracie Mansion, but he certainly doesn't need to suggest that church and state belong together in some kind of civil, in some kind of legal aspect.

BERMAN: What was the metaphor he uses, thought, you know, the head and --

CUPP: The heart and the mind.

BERMAN: And the heart is God. He just has to allow for the possibility there can be other people in these buildings running the city who have something else in their chest cavity other than God because they may not be religious. And he has to, has to legally, constitutionally, allow for those people to govern every bit as much as he is.

GRANDERSON: Not even with religion. What if the religion is different? What if they worship a different God? Are you opening up your heart to allow them to also express themselves with the God that they choose to worship --

CUPP: Or what about atheists?

GRANDERSON: -- because he identifies as a Christian, right, so he has a very specific religion that he's thinking about, Christianity. I wonder how he feels about having Muslims work for him.

CAMEROTA: I mean, it was an interfaith event.

GRANDERSON: It was an interfaith, but he wasn't speaking as an interfaith person.

CAMEROTA: No. No, and he's not an interfaith person. I mean, I think that he was very candid about what guides him and his belief system, but I have to believe that he is open to other religions. What he seems less open to --

BERMAN: Is atheist.

CUPP: Yes.

BERMAN: Or the Constitution.

CUPP: Apparently, I am dead because in my heart there is no church. I don't believe in God. I'm dead. And what that room had in common is that everyone in there believed in a god of some kind. It was an interfaith, you know, gathering.

But there's a lot of people who don't believe in God at all and I don't think we're less (inaudible). It's just not a great message for the mayor to be talking outside of himself. Absolutely talk about your relationship to God, that's fine, great. I celebrate you and your right to do that. But don't dismiss, and I think kind of crap on, the people in the world who don't see it the same and are protected by the constitution.

CAMEROTA: And do you consider yourself an atheist?

CUPP: I am an atheist.


BERMAN: Nobody's business, you know, in a way. First of all, atheism is hard, right? And being agnostic is a lot easier. So, sometimes I'm just to lazy.

CAMEROTA: Sure. Sure.

BERMAN: But I think that, you said, you know, what about people of other faith. I think often people of faith have no issue of other faith. The really issue, the one group that seems okay to discriminate against in many times in this country are atheists or people who don't believe in God or actively believe there is no god. They don't seem to be allowed the same leeway as others.

MILLER: I just think, you know, in the physics of the body politics today, for every action there is an equal but opposite overreaction, and this is one of these. He is a politician. He is in a room full of religious leaders and he's saying, I am the mayor and that's a, you know, clinical, mechanical, and political job, but I believe in God.

And, now who, who hasn't been mayor of New York City where the decisions are daunting and hard, has not said to themselves, one night lady crazy mentioned, God give me the strength to decide the right thing. Lord Jesus led me to the solution to this crisis because lives are the balance. I have stood with that mayor, and other mayors in hospital emergency

rooms where people who never mentioned God suddenly start to talk to God right there about, you know, that police officer who is on the operating table who might not make it. So, Jimmy Carter invoked God all of the time, you know. The Bush's involved God.


Somebody wrote a critical book on, say, you know, in God they trust about, you know, the Bush administration. This is just a --


CUPP: He also said he felt like he was called by God to be the mayor. That's also not weird. I mean, a lot of people feel a calling to go into public service. And a lot of people talk about feeling called by God to lead.

MILLER: But what he didn't -- what he didn't say -- what he didn't say was and anybody who doesn't believe in God shouldn't work for me. And, you know, we kind of made that implied. It's not implied.

GRANDERSON: He did not flat out say that. My issue isn't Jesus Christ is my lord and savior. I don't have any problem at all saying I'm a Christian at all. My problem is, torching the Constitution as you celebrate your religion in an interfaith ceremony. That's why I was --

CAMEROTA: Because they did say, I mean, again, his closest aide said that though declared, that the Adam's administration doesn't believe in the separation of church and state. Isn't that ringing some alarm bells for people?

MILLER: I don't quite understand it because, I mean, I get the concept but I don't understand the differentiation there by a spokesman because it's the first amendment that guarantees, you know, your right to your religion and you've got the ACLU saying, you know, the mayor has his right to religion but he better be careful there and, you know, it's kind of --

CAMEROTA: I just find it a strange thing (inaudible).


CUPP: -- is coming after an administration, you know, the Trump administration, which actively looked to erode all of these institutions. And most recently even talked about terminating parts of the Constitution. So, it is chilling for an elected official to come out and say I don't believe in the separation of church and state, something fundamental to our democracy and to our constitution. No one is challenging his right to be religious and talk about it. Talk about it all the time.

MILLER: And I think he means the separation of church and state with him.

CAMEROTA: Well, that would be better. That would be better. BERMAN: If that's what he was saying it's totally fine, but I do think it left some room for interpretation there toward the end, the stuff he was saying about himself was (inaudible).

MILLER: So, I mean, the spokesman said, but to be absolutely clear, he was saying his faith guides his decisions, meaning the mayors, not his -- and not others. And that anyone should be forced to comply with -- shouldn't be forced to comply with his beliefs. No one is talking about changing the constitution or the law.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean, of course, actions would be different than words. He is allowed to say whatever he wants about what guides him in his faith. And if he was starting to do policies that would be a much different conversation. It was only that that seem to be strange just to make that kind of announcement, that the administration doesn't believe (inaudible).

GRANDERSON: But we have seen so many examples of faith becoming part of legislation. I mean, the entire conversation about gay rights, about reproduction health and reproduction rights, those are heavily religious topics for a lot of people. So, it's important that we find out for the mayor where he really is on this conversation and not just assume because he didn't say it. I mean, he must be one way or another because we have seen policies enacted that were faith connected that are harming a lot of people.

CAMEROTA: All right friends, thank you all very much for all those perspectives.

Now to this. He has been barefoot for 20 years. At the grocery store, going for a run, even at restaurants. Why he does it and what other people say about it. That's next.



CAMEROTA: All right, imagine living your life barefoot all the time. That's how Joseph DeRuvo, Jr. lives. He's profiled in "The New York Times," under the headline, "He Took Off His Issues 20 Years Ago, He Hasn't Put Them Back On." DeRuvo says he first went barefoot because of agonizing bunions, quote, "About 20 years ago, they had become painful, throbbing, during long runs, in tight sneakers and interfering with his life. Mr. DeRuvo saw a doctor who recommended surgery. As he waited for the scheduled procedure, he went without shoes because the pain was so intense. He then learned that screws would have to be implanted in his feet and they contained metal he was allergic to. He also realized that he felt much better without shoes. It did not take long before he realizes that going barefoot was enriching his life." Discuss. (Inaudible).

So, the best thing about this article is John -- John -- John Miller is right now wishing he were invisible, but you're not, John. I can see you. The thing is, he goes without shoes on runs, and he has gone to restaurants without shoes. And he goes into gas stations and he goes into stores and he lives his life without shoes. BERMAN: Except when he showers, when he puts on work boors, which is

like the weirdest thing.

CAMEROTA: No, he doesn't. No, he doesn't. And he does shower before getting to his bed with his wife who is a shoe wearer.


BERMAN: That is the ultimate mixed marriage.

CAMEROTA: She identifies as a shoe wearer as the article says.

CUPP: Britney Spears walked so that he could run. Remember the barefoot era of Britney Spears.

CAMEROTA: In the gas station.

GRANDERSON: The gas station.

CUPP: Yeah. I don't -- I'm mixed on this because I spent the first 18 years of my life in point shoes, and the last 15 in heels. I guarantee you his feet are in better condition than mine. Guaranteed. And part of me is a little jealous of this. The liberation. But I also love my heels. And I can't imagine the things he stepped on.


GRANDERSON: Every single time I go through TSA line and I see someone flip-flops on, I just go, you're about to walk through the scanner barefoot.

CAMEROTA: Yes, you are.


GRANDERSON: That is nasty. It was like the only time in which my -- I don't like to judge people.

BERMAN: That's judging.

GRANDERSON: But that's when it kicks in. When I'm in the airport and I see you go through that TSA line, I was like going, all these people are standing here like this. And we've all stepped on stuff. And you are there barefoot. That is nasty.

BERMAN: Jeff Spicoli learn like no shirt, no shoes, no dice? I mean, how does this guy live without dice?

CAMEROTA: Well, he only goes to small like mom-and-pop stores and mom and pop restaurants where they accept this quirk.

CUPP: Ignore sanitation rules.

MILLER: But he's also challenged those rules. I mean, he's walked into places in Connecticut barefoot. Sorry, you know, you have to have shoes to come in here. It's the health code. And he said, no, it's not. Look it up. So, you know, he's -- I'm sorry for saying this, he's been a lot of places back on their heels saying, you know, a lot of these are made up rules. So, it's --

GRANDRESON: All the rules are made up.

CUPP: But for a good reason. For a good reason.

MILLER: Well, I think we say for insurance purposes. He said that's another when he runs into. So, I think their default is, go to places where they know and so we don't have to go through this.

CUPP: Tread lightly. Tread lightly. What's tread lightly?


MILLER: He's got sole and he's super bad.

CAMEROTA: Wow! Wow! Thank you. On that note, I mean, I'm just going to pull the plug on this before (inaudible).

MILLER: The last segment had a song.

CAMEROTA: Thank you all very much for that input. All right. Meanwhile, former house speaker --


MILLER: Just tell the line.

CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh. Former House Speaker Paul Ryan getting a grilling for staying on the Fox board of directors amid all the election lies.


UNKNOWN: Racism, disinformation and attacks on democracy. If you don't stand up now, then when? So, what do you really think?