Return to Transcripts main page
Pence Won't Appeal Judge's Order To Testify In Special Counsel Probe; Grammy Award-Winning Musician Ketch Secor Says, Country Music Can Lead America Out Of Its Obsession With Guns; Tornadoes And Storms Slam Central U.S., 50 Million Threatened With Severe Weather; Severe Weather In Central U.S.; Millennials Facing Economic Challenges. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired April 05, 2023 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you so much for joining tonight's CNN Primetime special on the Trump investigations. I'm Pamela Brown.
CNN Tonight with Alisyn Camerota starts right now.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. I'm Alisyn Camerota. Welcome to CNN Tonight.
Lots of developments today in the many legal challenges facing Donald Trump, including former Vice President Mike Pence saying he will not fight the order to tell a grand jury about his conversations with President Trump regarding January 6th. But there are many more cases, including one you may not be up-to-date on that begins in just two weeks.
Plus, the Grammy-winning country musician who says country music can lead America out of its cycle of gun violence. Ketch Secor of the Old Crow Medicine Show is here tonight to explain how.
Also, Pulse of the People, I sit down with six voters from different generations about the challenges that they face in today's job market and economy and who they blame.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEE PRICE, MILLENNIAL: Well, I think the tax cuts that happened under the Reagan administration set us up. And so baby boomers had all this unprecedented prosperity that they thrived under, which is great for them. But then I feel that they've handed millennials the bill, so to speak.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Okay. But let's begin with all the developments in Donald Trump's legal woes. Here with me tonight, we have Political Commentator Ashley Allison, Republican Strategist Evan Siegfried, CNN Senior Political Analyst John Avlon and a man who knows a thing or two about presidents with legal problems, Watergate Prosecutor Nick Akerman. Great to have all of you here tonight.
Okay. John, I'll start with you to welcome you back from I feel an extended vacation.
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Go on.
CAMEROTA: Okay. Former Vice President Mike Pence will not appeal the order for him to testify in front of this federal a grand jury regarding January 6th. How do we explain that turnabout?
AVLON: Look, I think the judicial order makes a little simpler for him to proceed in that direction. But, look, I think he also had some legitimate questions or concerns about structurally whether he could be compelled to talk about decisions in his capacity as president of the Senate.
Mike Pence has done the right thing on January 6th. Let's not forget that. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt. Yes, it appears that he's running for president who is walking a line, but he needs to embrace the role he played on January 6th, that's how history will remember him, and just tell the truth and be consistent about that. And I think we have every reason to expect he'll do that.
CAMEROTA: And they didn't give him that carve-out, Nick, that he was looking for, basically.
NICK AKERMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: Yes, but it's not much of a carve-out. I mean, it simply means that if Jim Jordan came up to him on the Senate floor at the time and said, let's get those fake electors in, you can't testify to that. But he can testify to every conversation he had with Donald Trump.
And the vice president was -- he is a key witness in this entire matter relating to January 6th, whether it's the fake electors, whether it's trying to get the various legislatures to change the vote, or whether it was the pressure that was being put on state officials, all of this was geared towards finally getting up to January 6th and getting Mike Pence to basically either push it back to the states, delay the Electoral College vote and somehow helped Donald Trump hang on.
He knows everything and he's going to testify truthfully. I'm totally convinced to that, he is going to do the right thing, and he makes the case against Donald Trump.
CAMEROTA: Evan, I assume that means Pence's cooked politically if he helps.
EVAN SIEGFRIED, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Pence was already cooked politically because the GOP base wanted Mike Pence to go along with Donald Trump's plan to overturn the 2016 election -- or 2020 election. And Mike Pence, he's trying to portray himself as, yes, I'm still loyal to Donald Trump, I'm kind of reluctantly going towards testifying and I did fight it, but now pretty much have run out of all options, except one or two just to delay it, and I don't think the GOP base cares. He's done. He has to recognize that, at this point, he's doing legacy. And I understand that he wants to be president. A lot of people do want to be president but most people don't make it that far. And he really needs to look at what is best for me politically in the future. And he's not even doing that. He's taking -- he hasn't even carved out a lane where he differentiates himself from Trump. Nobody in the Republican primary field has.
CAMEROTA: Ashley, your thoughts.
ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I've been calling this all day a fake fight. You know, like I'm standing up for talking a lot of street trash a little bit but not really ready to throw some blows.
And I think that's what Mike Pence is doing. He's trying to appeal to the base saying, I don't really want to say anything bad about Trump. But now that I have to say something bad, I guess I will because I'm a loyal American. That's like the perfect argument for him right now.
And depending on what happened because of the indictment in the upcoming cases around Donald Trump, I'm not saying Mike Pence is going to be the next president. But if we clear Donald Trump out of the Republican field, I think the field is open. I'm not saying he's going to I'm never going to vote for Mike Pence and I'm not going to encourage anyone else to.
CAMEROTA: Do you think he has a lane?
ALLISON: I'm not -- well, what line does anybody have at this point? I think Ron DeSantis is still trying to figure out his lane. Nikki Haley, Mike Pompeo, none of them really have established their lane because the person who is running the entire Republican Party is Donald Trump. So, when you know people thought in 2008 Obama didn't have a lane and then look what happened, he was our president.
So, in American politics, like history is really important, but we're playing in a whole new political landscape, and I just don't think anyone can say for sure they know where people will fall.
AVLON: Yes, he should have a lane. If anyone has a claim to offer to representing Trumpism without Donald Trump, it's Mike Pence, plus being a genuine evangelical who stood up for the Constitution. The fact that he is so demonized by such a large segment of the Trump base, I would say, I think speaks badly to the situation Republicans find themselves in now.
CAMEROTA: Okay. Can we talk about one of the most intriguing things to come out of this indictment yesterday, the story of the doorman? The Trump Tower doorman, the former doorman who apparently was paid $30,000 to keep his mouth shut about, he says, a child that Donald Trump fathered with his former housekeeper. That's kind of, I don't know, juicy, but --
AVLON: Is that really the word we want to use? CAMEROTA: I don't know what word to use.
AKERMAN: I think it's a Grover Cleveland moment. I mean, what we --
CAMEROTA: Go on.
AKERMAN: You remember the election of 1884 when Grover Cleveland and ran for president, and then he actually was like what Donald Trump was trying to do. He's trying to become president after another term when he lost. But the key piece here is that Grover Cleveland had fathered out of wedlock a child. And the Republicans who ran against him had a little slogan. Ma, where's my pa? He's gone to the White House, ha, ha, ha.
CAMEROTA: That's great.
AKERMAN: So, Donald Trump is basically going all out Grover Cleveland here.
AVLON: There is actually a great new biography of Grover Cleveland. Sadly, I'm reading it but enjoyably called Man of Iron that I recommended. It will go deeper.
CAMEROTA: Of course you are, John.
Here's what the doorman -- here's what the doorman told CNN today. He says I was a complete shock when I was informed by my attorney that I was cited in the statement of facts related to former President Trump's indictment, as I was not given any forewarning that I would be included. I was never asked to appear before the grand jury nor was I ever interviewed by the district attorney's office. CNN has not been able to verify the story, of course, of the former housekeeper.
But, Ashley, doesn't this just show once again why women should be president?
ALLISON: We can keep track. We know how many children we've had, generally. We can keep track of our children. That's basically what I think. That was hard pivot, Alisyn.
ALLISON: I agree. Yes, you're totally right. Women should run the world and we wouldn't be in half the problems that we're in.
Regards to the doorman, I think this is really surprising and yet maybe not. You know, yesterday there was a lot of speculation that this isn't a super strong case. A lot of times, witnesses always aren't informed. This is not the trial. This is just the indictment, and so sometimes witnesses are informed later when they will be coming out.
I think that, you know, people have been saying what other additional evidence does the D.A. have? We don't know. There probably is more, I would assume, that to bring this case against the former president, and maybe this doorman, I think people were surprised at the doorman. And the other woman, Karen McDougal was included in this indictment. And I think that this is the beginning of the unraveling of this case that will be presented in this New York courtroom starting in December. So, we just have to see. But I agree, women should be president.
CAMEROTA: There you go. On that note, thank you very much friends. I'm glad we all agree on that.
Meanwhile, coming up, he's a Grammy-winning country musician and a parent in Nashville. And he thinks it's high time for country music for that world to step up on gun reform. Ketch Secor or is your live, next.
CAMEROTA: Country music star Kelsea Ballerini called for action on gun violence at the CMT Music Awards.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELSEA BALLERINI, SINGER-SONGWRITER: Tonight's broadcast is dedicated to the ever growing list of families, friends, survivors, witnesses and responders whose lives continue to forever be changed by gun violence. I pray deeply that the closeness and the community that we feel through the next few hours of music can soon turn into action, like real action. That moves us forward together to create change for the safety of our kids and our loved ones.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: It's not just Kelsea Ballerini. Other country music stars are speaking out to about gun violence, including Ketch Secor, a Grammy Award-winning musician and founding member of Old Crow Medicine Show, and he joins me now.
Ketch, it's so great to have you here, particularly on this topic. We don't go a week on this program without trying to find some solution to gun violence, particularly mass shootings and school shootings. And so to have your voice is so important. So, why now, Ketch? I mean, let me just give you a statistic. This year, just in 2023, there have been, according to The Washington Post database, already 140 mass shootings, 17 school shootings. So, why is this time different?
KETCH SECOR, GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING MUSICIAN: Well it's because it happened in my town of Nashville, Tennessee. And in Nashville, we have the strength and resilience to show the nation how to respond to gun violence in our schools. We are a blue dot in the red sea, and we have the kind of conservative values that you hear about all across the country. That can be one of these reasons why you know nothing changes, why the needle never seems to move. And yet the parents and students and activists and folks like me and the country music business are ready to stand up and say, the last nail in the coffin is Nashville.
CAMEROTA: You wrote this op-ed in The New York Times, and it says here, what the south needs now is an anti-assault weapons movement driven by voices from the center, by interdenominational faith leaders, by students. Nashville is called the Athens of the south because it is teeming with scholars at its many colleges and by country singers who are tired of bending to the whims of fear mongers and who are ready to speak from their platforms to an impressionable audience. So, who are those fear mongers?
SECOR: Well, God, it's like all of the forces that be from -- you know, honestly, I see a lot of them in the media. But we as country musicians have a responsibility to speak to our audiences with truth, and the truth is, is that no child should ever be in this situation.
You know, after the after the applause is over and the final curtain call, a lot of us go home to our families, and it's 7 30 in the morning, we're getting kids ready to go out the door for school. School violence is something that we need to eradicate from the core. And I don't know what the solutions are. I'm not an elected official. I'm a fiddle player. But I do know that enough is enough.
CAMEROTA: Ketch, I think that the country music world will be a formidable force for change. I mean, I think that you're really onto something. But are you afraid that when you write things like this op- ed for The New York Times, when you come on here, that, you know, part of your fan base will turn on you?
SECOR: Can you imagine if we harnessed this energy across the United States? I mean, when you go to a country show and you look out into the crowd, you see the kind of people who are reluctant to do something about gun violence in America. But what if you were to be a, hey, brother, sister, I love you and I hear you and I know your pain. And I'm not asking you to throw away your whole arsenal. I'm not going to come prying them out of your cold dead hands, I'm just asking for one thing. Do you feel safe dropping your kids off at school, because in Nashville, we don't, not anymore?
CAMEROTA: We all remember that God awful shooting in Vegas at the country music festival. 60, I think, people were mowed down and there was a feeling after that, you know, Jason Aldean was on stage, that maybe the country music world would galvanize country music fans and the country music world would speak out. Why do you think that -- well, let me ask you this. Do you sense that there is more energy now? I just heard Garth Brooks speaking out today as well. Do you think that Nashville and because of what's happened in Nashville, the Covenant School, that there actually is more momentum today?
SECOR: I really believe that there's never been a better time now to move the needle and to eradicate school violence. And, you know, what happened in Las Vegas a few years ago, which was such a shocking tragedy that, you know, I know players who were on that stage that night and that they will never heal from the trauma that they experienced, witnessing that the killing of our audience in front of us. But the reason why it's different now is because it's our kids. That's really -- that's going to be the thing that does it. You know, we love our crowds. We love them. They put the food on our tables. But who do we love most of all our children? And the events of one week and a day ago in our hometown have proven that it's not outside the door anymore. It's right here. It's right here in our hometown, and it's time.
CAMEROTA: Ketch Secor, thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate your message.
CAMEROTA: My panel is back with me now. Also joining, we have historian Timothy Naftali.
I think I wasn't blowing smoke. I think that harnessing the country music world will be huge to help fight gun violence.
AVLON: Well, it dovetails on something that you talked about a lot, which is the need to go beyond our sort of warring camps and beyond the base and winning people over.
And I think, you know, his op-ed in The New York times is Excellent. And it's not just because he's saying, you know, a lot of country musicians are centrists, which, of course, I love to hear. It is that how do you build bridges, how do you take a non-maximalist position on this and appeal to people's hearts and heads and say, let's at least agree on school violence? Let's at least find a way to depolarize this issue when our kids are being killed? And that's why there was such a powerful voice.
CAMEROTA: Evan, from the Republican point of view, does it stand a chance?
SIEGFRIED: I just from a realist point of view at this point, the way the country is divided, it doesn't end its current shape and form. I think when you have efforts from country musicians and others that are voices that aren't like you or me, that makes more of a difference.
I'm a gun owner here in New York City. I went through the process, and I even felt that even though it was thorough, it wasn't thorough enough. I think there are reasonable compromises that even Republicans can get on board with if we stop portraying this as an either/or, black or white situation. It's not, okay if we give up one little bit, we're going to lose all our guns and our freedom is going to be taken away. It's about, well, maybe we don't need to have high capacity magazines.
I own a pistol. And my pistol, it's a ten-round magazine instead of a 20. And that's much better, in my view. But, at the same time, it's not enough. We do need to have common sense gun reform and gun safety measures.
ALLISON: Well, you know, I've built my career around building coalitions and coalitions is working on finding a common ground. Sometimes it's Republican and Democrats. Sometimes it's with a younger generation and an older generation. But I tend to agree with you right now. We are in such a deadlock. We just had, what, a little less than a year ago the first piece of gun reform passed but it wasn't able to go far enough to ban assault rifles because we're stuck in this gridlock.
But what I do think what Ketch was saying is that I don't think the country music industry will be able to do it alone, but they should know they aren't fighting this fight and starting from square one today. There have been parents and activists from urban areas and rural areas who have been impacted. I was in high school when Columbine happened, which was one of the first school shootings, and now three decades later, Sandy, Hook Parkland and Uvalde.
So, many kids have been killed at the hands of guns, but I want Ketch to know that he's not doing this alone. The country music industry doesn't have to do this alone. And if we build a robust coalition and let these lawmakers know that they are out of touch with what the majority of Americans want. We all want to live in safe communities. We all want to be able to go to the movies, to the bar, to our churches, to drop kids off at school, teachers and students and people who aren't even involved in the school system. We want to live in a safe country. So, we have to do something.
CAMEROTA: Tim, what are your thoughts on how intractable and issue this is and does history give us any path here?
TIMOTHY NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, I think that when it became nationalized, it got harder. I think one of the great -- one of the errors of the George W. Bush period was letting the assault weapons ban expire, because that was an unusual national compromise. Joe Biden doesn't talk much about that compromise anymore because it had another side to it but it was a compromise, speaking of coalitions.
I think that listening to Ketch is very heartening because I think the answer is not a national one. I think the only way to convey change is to get local community influencers to talk it up, not elected officials. Look what's happening in Tennessee. For goodness sakes, right now, they want to throw out, as I understand it, three members of the legislature because they were standing up for kids who were unhappy about the fact that schools weren't safe. So, I think elected officials are not the people to do this.
Sorry, I just wanted to add something. A key to crime reform in the 90s were police unions. I don't understand, except from the side of identity and culture, why police unions who are the frontline of defense, who have to be standing in front of the AR-15, why they are not holding hands with families and saying, enough is enough, because they're the ones who could get killed too.
CAMEROTA: Absolutely, and are, they're on the frontlines. It's a great point. Yes, Evan?
SIEGFRIED: One thing that I also think needs to be done, because there are people in the center and center-right who are persuadable on this issue. But when others, when people talk about it, it's just assault weapons. It's not just that. If you look at FBI statistics, over two thirds of gun homicides are with handguns. And of the -- and only about 10 percent are just under or with rifles and a fraction of that are with assault rifles that fall under the definition of an assault rifle. Yes, we have to expand it and talk about all guns, including handguns.
CAMEROTA: I appreciate that. Some of the reason that I sometimes break it down this way is because if we can't tackle it all at once -- and so those are the -- you know, generally, the school shooters favor the AR-15s.
So, I hear you. It's very hard to -- it's almost -- it just feels too herculean at times to do the whole thing. But you're so right about the conversation. Thank you all very much for all of those ideas.
All right, we have to talk about the violent weather ahead tornadoes, killing five people today. 50 million people are under severe storm threats tonight. We're going to speak to a storm chaser who has been in the middle of all of it, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my god, it's a violent, violent tornado.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: That's video from storm chaser Aaron Jayjack in Pleasantville, Iowa. That was just one of many tornadoes to hit the Central U.S. in recent days. On Tuesday, at least nine tornadoes were reported, two in Iowa, seven in Illinois. The town of Colona, Illinois, was hit and suffered severe destruction. You might be able to see some of this on your screen. Several buildings were damaged and multiple semi trucks toppled over along I-88.
A tornado also devastating Bollinger County, Missouri early this morning, killing at least five people, injuring five more there. And tonight, that same storm system puts more than 50 million people from Texas to New York under a severe weather threat.
Joining me now is that storm chaser, Aaron Jayjack. Hey, Aaron. Great to see you. So, you're in Indiana right now. Tell us what you're seeing.
AARON JAYJACK, STORM CHASER: Yeah, I'm in La Porte, Indiana, which is in northwest Indiana. And we just had this monster storm system I just came through. You saw the video. I was chasing in Iowa when I first initiated. Yesterday's storms fired up and I chased the storm yesterday, chase that tornado and then immediately just kept traveling east here to Indiana to chase another day of severe weather here in the Midwest and had a squall line of severe storms, even a tornado warning that we chased down in Bluffton, Indiana today. And the storm system is now moved off to the east and where it's actually has been a beautiful cool, very cool evening here in northern Indiana.
CAMEROTA: So, Aaron, one of the videos right now that you shared with us, we're looking at, you see the funnel cloud, you know, touching down on the ground and you're driving towards it, which is what storm chasers do. But don't tornadoes -- can't they sort of bounce haphazardly around? I mean, as you're driving towards it there, how did you know what direction it would be going?
JAYJACK: Oh, absolutely. So, you know, generally a tornado is going to travel in a pretty linear or straight line in the direction it's traveling, but they do change directions as this storm, the tornado starts to rope out. It will start to turn to the north back into the core of the storm.
But also, this particular tornado if you watch closely, you in my video, I'm coming up fast on the tornado. And as I got close to it, actually, I slowed down a little bit like a judge. It's what it's doing. The vortex on the ground was actually at one moment started backtracking towards me, maybe 10 yards and when I was only about 20 yards from the tornado at that point. And it quickly slingshot it off to the northeast away from me. So, very fast-moving tornado so that also made it a little -- you have to be much more careful trying to gauge what this tornado is going to do.
CAMEROTA: I would imagine. Let me -- I hope we'll show that video because that was the one that you were driving towards, you're saying and we can see it. You're saying sling -- it's not this shot. It's the one where we see that -- this one. So, you're driving towards it and you say that you can see it, as you say, slingshot in a different direction.
JAYJACK: Yeah. Well, in the video, it's going to be hard for you to see it in the video, but up and close in person when I was right there, I could see the vortex started, you know, backtrack towards me a little bit before then, shot off to the -- off the wedge of the northeast.
And one of the things I'm trying to do out there is I've got a 360 camera that I mount on top of my vehicle. I'm trying to capture it. Obviously, I'm trying to provide warnings for the public out there. But I'm also trying to capture up close, you know, amazing video of tornadoes, something that most people won't ever experience in their life and try to get them in that seat as a storm chaser.
CAMEROTA: So, Aaron, is this season worse? It feels like it to us where we sit. Is this a worse tornado season than usual?
JAYJACK: I mean, it is starting off. You know, we are -- if we were to continue on the pace that we're at, we would probably see an above average tornado year. Every year is different. It all depends on all the patterns in the atmosphere set up, but this one of particularly is starting off with a bang.
I mean, it's been -- we're not even through the, you know, we're not into the peak season and I believe the death toll from tornadoes has already exceeded what we had last year. So, it is been a busy start to the to the year. That doesn't mean it will continue through the season. But you know, it could. It definitely could. It all depends. Every year is very you know, the atmosphere is a very dynamic thing.
But you know, with a warming environment that's one of the (inaudible), you know, the juice that's needed for a super cell to form. It seems like we are starting to see these big monster storms more often.
CAMEROTA: Well, that's what I'm going to ask you. I mean, so many people wonder about the effects of climate change, of course. And you're right there on the ground. So, do you see climate change making these more violent, more frequent?
JAYJACK: You know, I wouldn't necessarily more violent, but I would say more frequent. You know, bro, I think in the last five, even -- and not just supercells, but hurricanes, for example. I think in the last five years or so, I chased, three or four major hurricanes, you know, and in the past, there have been times where you could go many years without having a major hurricane.
So, it does feel like, you know, this is anecdotal evidence. I'm not out there taking measurements and going through data but as a gut instinct, and this is one of the things that the storm chaser, they only get close to a tornado like this, requires a lot of knowledge of the atmosphere, but of storms and gut instinct. And my gut instinct says that we are seeing these stronger storms more often.
CAMEROTA: Well, Aaron Jayjack, be careful. We appreciate the video. We appreciate your story, but be careful when you're doing this.
JAYJACK: Yeah, I will. Thank you, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Thanks so much for being here. Okay, now to this, millennials are stressed about their economic situation and their future and they tell us who they blame for that. "The Pulse Of The People" is next.
CAMEROTA: All right. Today's economic challenges are hitting some generations harder than others, the cost of homeownership, student loans and childcare are particularly tough for millennials. That group of Americans born between 1981 and 1996. So, we wanted to talk to a cross section of generations, Gen X, millennials and Gen Z about their biggest fears for the future. We start with millennials. Here's our "Pulse of the People." (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
LEE PRICE, MILLENNIAL: I think millennials are stressed. We are triaging multiple financial systemic factors, and I do think it has to be viewed in the context of the policy that created that. And the fact that we were raised by boomers under their regime, and then we came up under them in the workplace.
So, we've been subject to their philosophy and their advice. Maybe not to our benefit for a really long time.
CAMEROTA: How do you think baby boomers stacked the deck against you?
PRICE: Well, I think the tax cuts that happened under the Reagan administration set us up. And so baby boomers had all this unprecedented prosperity that they thrived under, which is great for them, but then I feel that they handed millennials the bill, so to speak.
DANNY NAVARRO, MILLENNIAL: That's reality. I mean, the Bush tax cuts of 2001. We can go back during, you know, even during the Clinton years, rating years, there was decisions made that wanted to benefit, you know, a certain generation and not invest into the future.
CAMEROTA: And do you think the same of Gen Xers?
PRICE: I feel a little more generous towards my Gen Xers. I've always felt a bit more like there are older siblings who, they got it, they saw baby boomers coming and said, these people are jerks. They're only out for themselves.
NAVARRO: It would be really helpful for everyone to kind of take the time out and understand that we have had an -- all of us start to our life, right? Two recessions, a big pandemic, college degrees that, you know, aren't necessarily is worth as much and, you know, and big China figured out a way to make a life out of all this.
PRICE: Things that really do worry me, though, are the staggering prices of houses, and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight for that. Owning a home feel so daunting for people of my generation and climate change. But I think about it every day, and that feels like one that we may not be able to get ahead of in time.
NAVARRO: The generation that was given one game plan, right, go to college, do this, do that, you'll be fine. It didn't work out after two recessions and a pandemic. So now we're having to figure out different ways to build an original wealth that especially in my specific situation for my family. You know my family grew up in poverty.
ERIC BERNT, GEN X: We're in a very interesting spot where my generation and the one before me, did it or created this world with all these wonderful things and applications, but now how are we going to fix the unintended consequences? SARA STEWART, GEN X: I'm very sympathetic. I mean, I think that one
of the -- one of the advantages I've always seen as being a Gen Xer is that we're sort of sits in between generation, that we kind of flew under the radar in a way that millennials were unable to, and Gen Z was unable to.
PRICE: I attended law school, a very expensive private law school, which I took out loans for and so I spent over 10 years of -- I was a prosecutor for a while in New York City, and then I worked with domestic violence survivors also in New York City and had a very difficult but rewarding career at least rewarding, you know, spiritually and emotionally. And it did not help me to accumulate wealth.
That entire time I was just paycheck to paycheck and hoping to eventually get loan forgiveness. I actually burnt out in my career and quit practicing law in 2022. Part of what contributed to my burnout and a very significant way was the shame that I felt around my debt and how it made me unable to thrive financially.
NAVARRO: These are challenges, like I said, that people are not being sensitive to and tone deaf, too. I hope to get my loans paid off and you know, I say, 18 months from now. I got $25,000 left, So, I'm just trying to get that paid fast, but for everybody else, I just hope they just forgive the $10,000 and just help everybody out.
PRICE: I'm very happy as I sit here today to report that I've gotten loan forgiveness. I'm so grateful for that. When I got the letter, I truly had to read it three times to make sense of it, and then I fell to the floor and like wept because I never thought that would happen.
NAVARRO: Let's think about, for example, family planning, thinking about how lots of families struggled during the pandemic because they had to decide whether to go to work or to take care of the kids. You know, we got married in 2019, the pandemic hits six months later, and we had to make a decision to stop pursuing, you know, trying to have kids because we didn't want to have that stress of not knowing what the health effects could be for ourselves, much less to a potential child.
And then afterwards, right, we still don't have student loan relief. We still don't have a recovering economy. I'm currently working part time as a tutor.
CAMEROTA: And do you blame, Danny, do you blame Gen X or do you blame baby boomers for kind of the situation that you find yourself in?
NAVATTO: I don't want to represent my generation as the disgruntled generation, but I mean there was policy decisions made in the '70s, '80s and '90s that have contributed to our position now.
CAMEROTA: So, what does my panel think about all that baby boomer Tim Naftali has a lot of explaining to do. That's next. This is all on you, Tim. Okay?
CAMEROTA: I hope you just caught our "Pulse of the People" segment. As you heard, millennials have not had it easy in this economy, and we're blaming Tim Naftali. Let's bring back the panel. Ashlee, Evan, John and Tim.
So, John -- I mean, Tim, thank you very much for taking this stand.
TIMOTHY NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I'm the stand in.
CAMEROTA: So, I mean, you're basically on the bubble of baby boomer.
NAFTALI: I'm a cusper.
CAMEROTA: Okay, you're on the cusp. And so, their argument and I thought it was really an interesting perspective. They've had -- as they were trying to launch their lives in terms of becoming, you know, independent people. They've had pandemic. They've had recession. They've had this, you know, interested, well, they've had, I don't know, a crazy job market and all sorts of jobs going away and social media coming to the fore. So, what are your thoughts?
NAFTALI: My thoughts are that the definition of the American dream has changed in reality, but not in people's minds. And so, expectations are the way they used to be in a world that has changed. And there are a lot of reasons why that has happened. The me generation and I consider myself part of the it's them generation. The me generation had its moment, absorbed a lot of resources.
CAMEROTA: Is that the baby boomers generation? What's the -- the me generation --
NAFTALI: What happened -- I mean, I think one of the problems is that the silent generation in the -- before the World War II --
CAMEROTA: Also known as the greatest generation?
NAFTALI: Well, no. The greatest generation is before the silent generation.
CAMEROTA: Okay. I got it.
NAFTALI: There was an effort to invest in this country. There was a sense of community. Now, not a perfect era certainly for many Americans, particularly people of color living in the south. But there was a sense of community. And there was a sense that that resources could be -- could coalesce for a community and that the federal government could play a role.
And what happened in reaction to the expectations of the great society in the '60s, people were disappointed. And there was Vietnam. And so, what you had was a sense in this country that you can't trust government at all.
And that's when this -- the generation begins to remove resources from the community chest and we begin to under fund schools and roads and we then leave the bill on individuals in a way that was never true before. School is too expensive. Universities are too expensive.
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: And in particular, college debt is where you see that. And I think --
CAMEROTA: And the millennials are really feeling it.
AVLON: Absolutely. That's sort of the insult to the injury on top of, you know, the pandemic and the great recession, which they were not even fully climbed out of when the pandemic hit. I mean, look, it is not blaming the boomers, but it is a profound point that government -- there was more of an ethos of investing in the common good.
And that had effect of lifting all boats. There also was an implicit expectation every American generation would do better than the last as our economy was growing, and we hit -- we hit a limit to that so far. And also, we need to say that the percentage of Americans that were middle class starts shrinking in the 1980s and the percentage of the super wealthy started growing. And it's that gap that causes a lot of the people's anxiety.
CAMEROTA: And Evan, you're a millennial.
EVAN SIEGFRIED, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yeah.
CAMEROTA: And you've written a book on this topic.
SIEGFIRED: Yes. First as the token millennial, I do want to, you know --
CAMEROTA: Here's two millennials.
SIEGFRIED: I think we should give you a pardon, Tim, for your role as a quasi-baby boomer.
CAMEROTA: As ruining the country.
SIGFRIED: But I think you have to look at what's better now. Look at what has happened to millennials. The oldest millennials are my age roughly -- I'm 40 and they are roughly 41, 42. And they've delayed having families. They've delayed getting married. They delayed buying homes because they can't afford it.
Millennials would be living at home with their parents longer than prior generations. And also, the average millennial has $30,000 worth of debt, which is one of the highest we've ever seen in any generation. And we've experienced the great recession. That was like a punch in the gut when I was first coming out of college and really trying to get my career started.
I couldn't move anywhere and people really got stuck. And they blink -- and it's shaped how we view finances. Believe it or not, UBS did a study about eight years ago that found millennials are the most fiscally conservative generation since the Great Depression, not because they're conservative and conservative values, but because they understand how hard it is to go paycheck to paycheck.
They're not going out and buying luxury goods (inaudible) many other politicians of older generations, including Gen X, mocked millennials. They just have to do that, and they have not been listened to by leaders and their concerns have never been addressed.
ASHLEY ALISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah. I think that everything that the panel has said is correct, but I think there are a couple other components to it. We -- it felt like, you know, as a millennial, we were all playing on the playground. And then the rules change and everyone started playing video games and nobody told us to stop playing on the playground anymore.
And so, we were told to just keep living that American dream, go to college. And our parents were telling us that because that was what they were told as the best path to the middle class and to the upper middle class.
But there was a whole another generation coming behind us already playing on video games, and so we just got left out and the rules changed on us. And, you know, a lot of times, millennials say we, or people say millennials were whiners, we're complainers. We're resilient. We're the generation that elected the first black president of the United States of America.
We have seen the worst terrorist attack on our country, and yet we still continue to go to school, continue to say I'm not giving up on this country. We're just saying, like, can you meet us halfway? It's not that, you know, to your point, I'm unmarried. I don't have children. I don't own a home. I am the case study for millennials.
The question, though, I think, you know, as a political person and someone who works on campaigns and really thrives on talking to people on the ground is who is talking to me? Are Democrats developing policies for me? Are Republicans? And quite honestly, no. And so, we have this growing population of people, and I talked to my friends and I do these focus groups, and we're like what is the public policy that will help us improve our lives?
For our parents because a lot of us are caregivers for our parents, and for this next generation that we want too actually do better than us. And so, I think that's where we're stuck as a country.
CAMEROTA: Really helpful. Really helpful to get your perspectives. Thank you all very much for that. All right. So, we're all talking about Donald Trump being arrested and arraigned this week for that New York hush money case. But what about the other Trump case? It is actually just a few weeks away now. We'll talk about that coming up.