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King Charles

Barkley Addresses The Stir Caused By His Comments; Haley Exits Presidential Race Without Endorsing Trump; Trump Says His Mug Shot, Indictments Appeal To Black Voters; "King Charles" Talks About Hit Movies And Music. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired March 06, 2024 - 22:00   ET


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Lindsay's (ph) story about this and thank you for sharing that perspective with us.


FMR. STATE SEN. CAMERON WARD (R-AL): Kaitlan, thank you. And all are glad to say hey from Alabama to you.

COLLINS: Thank you so much.

And before we go tonight, we do have a special show coming up tomorrow on this very issue. Four Democratic lawmakers, including one from Alabama, will join to talk about IVF and abortion access overall in America, sharing their own emotional stories and sending a warning to women about what they say could happen in a second Trump administration. That's tomorrow right here on The Source.

Thank you for joining us tonight. King Charles starts now.

GAYLE KING, CNN HOST: Welcome, welcome, welcome. It is a rainy night in New York City, but we don't let the rain stop us, do we, Charles?

CHARLES BARKLEY, CNN HOST: I am pumped to be here tonight, Gayle.

KING: I got up this morning, I said, I wonder what Charles is going to wear. You wore a gray suit. Look, Charles and I are twinning tonight.

BARKLEY: You look great, Gayle.

KING: You look great too. I don't know if you know, normally we're sitting here and we don't make the news, but this past week, Charles, I don't know if you know, but you've been in the news for some comments you made on our last show. Do you remember, dear, what you said?

BARKLEY: I do remember what I said.

KING: Okay, we'll roll tape.


BARKLEY: If I see a black person walking around with Trump mugs, I'm going to punch him in the face. I know, Gayle --

KING: Charles, you really can't say that, because, A, you don't mean that.

BARKLEY: Oh, I mean that sincerely.

KING: But if you see somebody, a black person with a Donald Trump --

BARKLEY: I'm going to punch them right in the eye. Gayle, I promise you.

KING: I would bail you out. I would bail you out.

BARKLEY: You're not going to be my first call.


KING: Now, you know, it's so funny because before I took this show, before we agreed, because Charles and I, we have to say this, neither one of us were looking for another job. And CNN called and they had this great idea, you and I together, which I thought was really fun. And people said, aren't you worried about things Charles would say? And I said to you, you're a grown ass man. You say exactly what you think. And you take responsibility for everything you say.


KING: And so it's not like you just willy-nilly say stuff for click bait, right, to establish that?

BARKLEY: I always know the response. And I always know how much gasoline I'm putting on the fire.

KING: Okay.

BARKLEY: Of course.

KING: So, in that vein, that clip that you all just saw has been seen millions of times, and there have been quite a few articles written about it, and that's before we even get to the social media comments, which look a lot like this gentleman. He's very large, he's wearing a mug shot of the t-shirt, or photoshops of large men wearing the t- shirt that say, I hear Charles Barkley is looking for me. They all think that you are ready to run around punching people who vote for Donald Trump.

Now, I know when you say that, that was just you making a point. That's not something you would literally do going around attacking people, right?

BARKLEY: Well, let me say, is this my camera right there? I want to make sure people can hear me. Number one, obviously, I'm not going to go around punching random strangers in the face, first and foremost. Secondly, people can vote for who they want to. People can vote for who they want to. The point I was trying to make -- no, the point I was making, I wasn't trying to make it, when Donald Trump compares his plight with that other black person, that is what I had a problem with.

Now, I do want to say this. I want to make it perfectly clear. If you're wearing a black -- if you're wearing a black -- if you're a black person and you're wearing a Donald Trump mug shot, you are a freaking idiot. And I'm only saying freaking idiot because they won't let me say what I really want to say. But you can figure it out. It starts with an F. But you are.

Listen, people can vote for who they want to. But for him to compare his plight with that other African -- I don't even like that term, the black people in America is asinine and stupid. And like I said, you guys can put on those two small T-shirts, like you all got them on, get a big size if you're going to wear it, don't put on a medium and act like you got muscles, but that is so -- it just -- that bothered me.

KING: That irritates you.

BARKLEY: No, it bothered me. Because for him to compare a white billionaire who is in trouble because of stuff he did, not because of stuff, like black people get in trouble stuff that happened a hundred times, that they deserve to do.


But for him to compare that to black people's plight, that's just stupid on their part.

I appreciate you all, I hope you all. I hope you all got kneels and boxes if you all going to wear those tight T-shirts around the house and somebody take pictures. But I do. I'll stick by what I said. If you're wearing a Trump mug shot around, you are a freaking idiot.

KING: But you aren't going to go just randomly attack people on the street? That's the only --

BARKLEY: Unless they had the Trump sneakers on, too, unless they had the Trump sneakers on, too. Now, if you got the mug shot and the Trump sneakers on, you are going to cross over a line that you cannot give back.

KING: Well, they're $399. Some people say that's a good deal. But I was trying to help me, and I said, you don't really mean that.

BARKLEY: I'm not going to go around -- I'm trying to make the point, though, I'm not going to go around punching people, but that violence is never the answer. But my message is very clear. If you think Donald Trump is under the same umbrella as black people, you're just stupid.

But you know what, Gayle, we've got big announcements. We got to move on. We had her on last week, and Nikki Haley --

KING: For Super Tuesday, we had her on. BARKLEY: She had a big announcement today.

KING: Roll the tape.


NIKKI HALEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The time has now come to suspend my campaign. I said I wanted Americans to have their voices heard. I have done that. I have no regrets.


KING: Many people were waiting to see if she was going to endorse Donald Trump and she did not endorse him.

BARKLEY: Well, she should though. She should. She's been insulted. He was racist toward her, talking about her Indian heritage. She's insulted her husband. Like I don't care if you're Republican or Democrat, whatever, you can't just go with party affiliation. I think everybody should be independent. That's my personal opinion.

KING: This is the thing though, Charles. Normally, in politics, you know, you have the campaign, you dust it up, people say things they don't mean, but when the race is over, you normally say, okay, and now I'm going to endorse you.

To her credit, people say she did not endorse him. The big story today was, will she or won't she? And so far, where are Nikki Haley voters going to go? When she was here, you made it clear you wanted to vote for her.


KING: You have some questions.


KING: So, you would be one of those Nikki Haley voters who are now trying to figure out where to go.

BARKLEY: Well, the reason I appreciate her, his attacks on her were not -- they were personal. I don't mind somebody disagree with me on a certain subject, whether it's immigration and things like that, inflation, things we really need to be talking about, but his attacks were personal.

To go after her heritage, which is racist, which is racist, to talk about her husband who's actually serving something, something he ducked. That's why I would -- that crosses the line.

I have no problem with somebody disagreeing with me on a political issue, but if you come at me personally, you can't expect me to get my support for you after the fact.

KING: Yes, that's a different ballgame. So, now, we have two candidates. It looks very much that it's going to be Donald Trump once again and Joe Biden, of course, who's our president currently. With those two choices, a lot of people have a lot of decisions to make.

BARKLEY: Yes, you know --

KING: What are you thinking?

BARKLEY: Well, I'm going to have to go with President Biden, personally. I was looking for another choice. But I think President Trump, number one, he doesn't carry himself like a political leader. That's my first and foremost.

I do think President Biden -- I have a really serious issue with his age. I said that from the beginning. I have a real serious issue with his age. But I got two choices and --

KING: You're definitely going to vote, right?

BARKLEY: Everybody should vote. Everybody should vote. I think it's like, you know, people have died in our history for us to have the right to vote. Everybody should vote and everybody can vote for who they want to.

But we all have our own decisions to make. And like right now, I don't know if anything is going to happen with Michelle Obama or Gavin Newsom. But right now, I'm probably going to lean into heavily toward President Biden.

KING: Yes, Gavin Newsom. He keeps saying he's not going to run, we'll see, but he keeps saying he's not going to. Michelle Obama has made it very clear, no way, no how, no way to run.

BARKLEY: Those two, with Michelle and Gavin, would get my vote immediately if they decided to run. It would be perfect.

KING: Really? Gavin Newsom and Michelle Obama?

BARKLEY: Either one of those would get my vote immediately.

KING: Neither one of them are going to run.

But this is the thing. People always say, you have to vote for somebody. And I do believe that. I believe you can't just have this election and not vote and then complain about it.

BARKLEY: I think this one is different.

KING: Because?

BARKLEY: Because I have voted for John Kasich, and I knew he couldn't win. But I think the disparity between these two candidates is extreme. They are really extreme. So, I'm probably not going to write in somebody, but I'm probably going to have to go with President Biden. KING: Well, November, they say, a lot can happen, a lot can happen before November.


BARKLEY: And it will. A lot can happen.

KING: I always say fasten your seatbelts, it looks like it's going to be a very bumpy ride.

So, Nikki Haley wasn't the only one that said goodbye, Jason Kelce. Jason Kelce, your friend, announced that he is hanging up his jersey. Some people call him Taylor Swift's potential brother-in-law, I actually like that. He carefully announced that he's retiring from the NFL on Monday. His wife, Kylie, his brother, Travis, the parents, were all on hand at a very emotional news conference.

The 36-year-old spent his entire 13-year career with the Philadelphia Eagles playing a crucial role in the team's 2018 Super Bowl victory.

I know you remember that.


KING: The Kelce brothers talked about Jason's decision on their podcast earlier today, airing what was really a really nice tribute featuring, how shall we say this, a very special guest.

Here's a look.


BARKLEY: As a die-hard Eagles fan, man, it's been fun watching you all these years. Not just the football, your personality, just watching you, you and your family. Thank you for the Super Bowl. You're going to be stealing money on television at some point.


KING: Yes. And people were commenting about how emotional he became when he was announcing his retirement. I was touched that he was so emotional. That didn't bother me, but there was some question about men getting emotional when they -- I think that too. I think that too. You're not going to get emotional about that. When can you get emotional? I love that he showed that.

BARKLEY: When you play a sport -- first of all, every man cries, whether it's publicly or privately, when you've had a great career. When you had a great career --

KING: Did you cry?

BARKLEY: Yes, I didn't do it public, because I didn't do a press conference. I just said, thank you all for everything and walk off the court.

Gayle, when you retire, you don't have a job. But them bills keep coming.

KING: Yes.

BARKLEY: And then you become.

KING: And it's quite often you're still very young, too.

BARKLEY: Really young, and then you become an owl. We call it being an owl. Like when they call it like, Gayle who? Yes, that -- when you call people, when you call these teams and these shoe companies --

KING: I didn't know what you meant.

BARKLEY: -- yes, they're like, oh, they're, because that's like one of our jokes with guys who retired, like, yes, I became an owl. And they're like, they're called Nike saying, can I get some shoes, they're like, Leroy who?

KING: Yes, okay.

BARKLEY: Because like all those.

KING: You become irrelevant, don't you?

BARKLEY: You become irrelevant. And that's just the way sports are, because they need your jersey for the next guy. And it ain't right. It ain't wrong. That's just how it is. That's why you're very well compensated. But for most guys, it's a traumatic experience.

KING: Sports has been all they've had, right?

BARKLEY: That's all you had and you don't have a job and you still got to keep paying. And you're still a young person. But, hey, congratulations to him, man. He's a great dude. And I'm happy he got to walk on it, because normally you don't get to retire.

KING: And he played for one team the whole time.

BARKLEY: Yes. But I'm saying, you know, normally, they don't get to retire. They come and say, hey, can we have your jersey? I'm using it. Well, we're not using it here. So, he's one of the lucky ones to retire on his own terms.

KING: It's one of those things where they say, can I see you in the office for a minute?

Let's talk about a player who's really just starting her career. We are talking, of course, about Caitlin Clark. Have you seen her on the basketball court?

The Iowa Hawkeyes basketball superstar broke the all-time NCAA scoring record this weekend in a game that got, I love this, bigger T.V. ratings than the Celtics-Warriors, which aired on the same day on ABC. What do you think about that?

BARKLEY: Well, I --

KING: I love that.

BARKLEY: I think two things. I think it's incredible what she's accomplished. It says something bad about our sport, the NBA. We need to figure out why people aren't watching our game.

KING: No, but she's just so extraordinary.

BARKLEY: I think that she is so amazing. Why I told you one of the things I regret, I didn't get it, I was trying to get to Iowa City because apparently it's in the middle of nowhere, I was trying to get to see her. I want to see her play in person, probably going to have to wait until she's in a WNBA next year in Indiana. I think she's amazing.

The only thing bothered me about the story was why do they have to cut -- first of all, shout out to Lynette Woodard and Pearl Moore.

KING: Yes.

BARKLEY: And this how bad we treated women.

KING: Former players.

BARKLEY: Former great players both in the Hall of Fame, we didn't even recognize their records until like a month ago whenever she's getting ready to break it.

So, shout out to those two amazing ladies, and Lynette held it with such class and dignity and --

KING: She had a lot of grace.

BARKLEY: She had a lot of grace. She's always been a lot of grace.

KING: Yes.

BARKLEY: But, number one, now she's getting ready to break Pearl's record, I think, any day now, but what really bothers me, why do you have to compare her to Pete Maravich?

KING: Because he has a leading score.

BARKLEY: Yes. But it's just --

KING: He's a leading scorer.

BARKLEY: Well, first of all, he's a man.

KING: But so what? But isn't that what sports is, Charles? You compare those different scores.

BARKLEY: No, we don't. We don't place --

KING: Yes, you do. BARKLEY: We don't put a man -- we didn't put her in a college game.

KING: But I think it shows it made it even more extraordinary what she's done, that she had broken his record.

BARKLEY: She's already extraordinary, but also it doesn't -- it's not fair to Pete Maravich, because, number one, he only played three years of college and they didn't have a three point line.


I just thought it took away from her greatness (ph).

She is great, great, great, but we don't have --

KING: So, you're saying don't compare it to anybody.

BARKLEY: We don't have to compare women to men. We don't have to do that.

I mean, so, to me, let's celebrate her. Let's celebrate her greatness.

KING: I am celebrating her but I also like the fact that she broke his record. I did.

BARKLEY: Well, she did break his record, but it's kind of like, say, you have to be fair. He only played three years and there was no three-point line. I'm celebrating her, but we don't have to like compare her to men. That's my only problem with the situation.

KING: So, you're not drinking a little cup of Haterade because I'm thinking it's good that she broke his record.

BARKLEY: Well, I think it's great that she's great. We don't have to make up fake arguments.

KING: So, you're saying there's no need to pit them against each other, is what you're saying?

BARKLEY: Fake arguments on T.V. and radio do nobody justice.

KING: That's according to Charles Barkley. Congratulations, Caitlin Clark.

BARKLEY: Congratulations, Caitlin.

KING: We both think you are terrific, we both.

Coming up, we've got more to say about some of those mug shot comments that we were talking about earlier today. We're going to talk about that.

Plus, what is attracting -- this is a question a lot of people are asking. A lot of black people are asking this question, what is it that is attracting some black voters to Donald Trump, with two political experts. There's a topic of conversation around the country. You're watching King Charles. We'll be right back.



KING: We touched on it earlier. Charles' comments created a lot of buzz over the last few days. A conversation about Donald Trump, who has said his criminal indictments and mug shot have endeared him to black voters. It's been everywhere, even creating topics for some of our fellow news networks.

So, we talked about President Biden's enthusiasm problem among black Americans. But the flipside of that coin is this, the appeal of Donald Trump to certain black voters.

So, let's talk about that with Coleman Hughes. He has joined us on stage. He's a podcast host and CNN political analyst whose new book, The End of Race Politics, Arguments for a Colorblind America, is available now. I'm always fascinated by the term colorblind. I always wonder, Coleman, is that possible? Also joining us is CNN Senior Political Commentator Van Jones is here. Great to have you guys here.

Coleman, let's start with you. What do you make of the president's comments? I hear you see things a little differently.

COLEMAN HUGHES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, yes. You know, I don't think they're offensive. I'm not going to punch anyone in the face, but that doesn't mean they're right either.

So, if you actually -- if you look at it, Donald Trump has been gaining steam amongst black voters since prior to 2020. He was, the polls from 2022, before the first indictment actually showed him picking up a lot of steam too. So, whatever the trend is, it's probably not the indictments. It's probably a dissatisfaction with Democrats, in general.

You also look at him polling against other Republicans --

KING: But he named the indictments specifically though.

HUGHES: Right, so --

KING: He named the indictments.

HUGHES: He named them. So, I don't think he's right about that, right? I don't think the indictment is what is drawing black voters towards him. It's clearly something else.

KING: What do you think it is?

HUGHES: Well, I think, frankly, it could just be that, first of all, this trend is a lot of younger black voters. Basically, it's black men under 30 that are moving towards the Republican Party, black men basically my age, and it could just be a general dissatisfaction with the message that the Democratic Party is telling black people. They're telling black people essentially, nothing is your fault, it's all systemic racism, and that's actually not appealing to a lot of younger men. Younger men prefer to be told, your life is in your own control, and you can make your own destiny.

KING: Why don't you think it's offensive? I think that's interesting, you said, I don't think it's offensive.

BARKLEY: You said it was wrong. So --

HUGHES: I think it's like incorrect.

KING: Yes. You didn't say it was wrong.

HUGHES: But it doesn't offend me as an idea.

KING: Yes.

HUGHES: The idea and the theory that people would rally behind Trump because he's being unfairly persecuted, and that resonates with black people's feeling of being unfairly persecuted, that's not offensive to me, in theory, I just don't think it's the actual reason why people are going towards. It has nothing to do with that.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I was offended. So, I appreciate your point. I was offended.

KING: I was offended, too.

JONES: But maybe it's a generational thing. I agree with what you're saying, that he does kind of have this kind of outlaw image that's going on now, and that might be somewhat appealing.

But I think in his mind, he associates black people with criminality. So, I think in his mind, what he did with the Central Park Five and that sort of stuff. So, to me, it was a tell, just the same way that he said the new Republican contender for one of the governorships is Dr. King times ten. This guy is not a civil rights guy at all, but he's black. And so you can see in his mind, crime, Dr. King, crime, Dr. King, black. So, I was offended by that.

But I think you put your finger on something very important. I do think that Trump seems strong right now. We've got people jumping on him, 957 lawsuits, all these felonies and stuff. If I had one felony, I'd be home crying. This dude has like --

KING: Or you'd be in jail right now.

JONES: Oh, it's true. Or you'd be in jail, crying.

KING: Or you'd be in jail. But that only seems to boost his popularity.

JONES: And I just do think that right now, people are hurting and uncertain. You go in the grocery store, you spend $300, and the food runs out by Wednesday, it doesn't feel good.


The world seems to be on fire, and then here's this guy who's just strong.

Now, he's strong and wrong, but he does seem strong. And I think that that does have some appeal. And I think that we've got to deal with that.

I also do think --

KING: But he's also very fluid with the truth, and that doesn't seem to matter to people either.

JONES: You are a well-raised, sister. She thinks he's fluid with the truth. She didn't say your damn line.

KING: But you know what I mean. And that doesn't bother you, Coleman?

HUGHES: Oh, his lying definitely bothers me. I didn't vote for him and I wouldn't vote for him. But for a lot of voters, I agree, view him as strong.

And there has actually been some polls of Republicans that like him. And a lot of them agree with all of the same criticisms that you just said, they know he's a liar, but they like that he's strong. And especially when you put him up against Joe Biden, who, with each passing day, just looks worse and worse and more and more feeble, having that next to a person that is relatively strong.

KING: Because, guys, I don't necessarily think it's about age. I think it's about a person's energy and a person's vitality.

HUGHES: That's right. It's not the number.

KING: Yes. Yes. I don't necessarily think it's the number.

HUGHES: That's right.

KING: I think it's about how they carry themselves.

HUGHES: That's exactly right.

JONES: Bloomberg is, I think, in his 80s. I mean, he gets sharp as a tack, Bernie Sanders. So, I do think that the way that Biden carries himself, his stutter, which I worked for him in the Obama White House, he always had that stutter, but it does seem a lot worse. And so I do think that hurts.

And then also on policy, and we're all friends here, we can talk. There were things that black voters wanted and expected and hoped for in 2020, police reform, the George Floyd Policing Act, but it didn't pass. Voting rights, the John Lewis Voting Rights Bill, that didn't pass. More progress on criminal justice, the Equal Act, that didn't pass.

And so once you get past the emotionality and this, that, and the other, you just kind of look to Charles' point, what did we get for our vote? Look, the economy is better than it could have been. I love a lot of stuff he did. But if you just look at that particular set of issues, you could be disappointed.

KING: On the other hand, though -- okay.

BARKLEY: Going back to what you said, the reason -- I'm only speaking for myself. The reason I think the Democratic Party and Mr. Biden, President Biden is losing black votes, is they only care about black people every four years. They come into our neighborhoods and say, we're going to make stuff better. We're going to do this, do this, do this, and then, finally, us black people are like, man, other than my ability to dunk a basketball, all my neighborhoods are still the same, our schools are still the same.

And that's why I think black people are leaving disappointed in the Democratic Party, because -- I ain't going to lie, I voted Democratic every time, just because I thought it was going to help black people and poor people, because black people, poor white people, they're in the same boat. And like I didn't care who the president was, I'm not going to lie. But I voted -- I only voted Republican one time in my life, and that was for John Kasich, and I didn't even know he couldn't win.

But then I'm starting to look like, man, I understand why black people are leaving wanting to vote for somebody else, because every four years they come into our neighborhoods and say, man, we're going to make things better for you.

JONES: I think that's true, and I'll let you know -- I do want to point out though that poor black folks have been voting for Democrats for two generations not as much progress as you want. Poor white folks have been voting for Republicans in Appalachia and other places for three generations or four and not that much progress. So, there's a poor people problem with both parties. But --

HUGHES: I think what you highlighted might be a reason why some black voters stay home. But if we're asking why are certain black voters switching from Democrat to Republican, I don't think they're switching to Trump or to other Republicans because they think those Republicans are going to actually make change. I think those voters are switching for other reasons just because they actually don't like the message that Democrats are sending to them as black people, and especially as young black people. Because, again, this trend is not happening throughout black America, ot's confined basically to black men under 30.

JONES: You're concerned about --

KING: How old are you, Coleman?


JONES: And we're proud of you, by the way. I mean, it's just whether for a 28-year-old, I mean, so you're making us proud. I think you're onto something. And at the same time, I question this. This is also the generation that's mostly on social media, and often is only getting their news now through TikTok and Instagram. And I'm concerned that there are some concerted efforts, maybe even not from United States efforts, to push this distress and this depression.

And I don't think it's just Democrats running a victim narrative. I think you're saying Democrats run a victim narrative, people don't like that. That's never been that appealing. But I think there's something happening on social media where I'm seeing over and over again messages basically saying don't vote, saying, why should we vote, acting as if nothing has been achieved.


JONES: I would say at least this. Maybe you can't get what you want by voting, but you can sure lose what you've got by not voting. And so you at least you need to vote defensively. And that seems to be being pushed back on. So, I think that some of it might be not liking the message, but some of it might be some actual online influence operations. Are you concerned at all that some of this stuff is artificial?

HUGHES: I mean, it certainly could be happening. I mean, I know that for a fact when they looked into the years between, say, 2014 and 2020, they saw that there were actual Facebook pages created by Russia, but those pages, well, they were playing both sides of the equation. They were inflaming Trump supporters, but they were also planning BLM rallies, right? They were inflaming both sides to try to destroy the country.

JONES: That is the Russian propaganda model where you create polarization, and then you get people so frustrated that people just kind of give up and go to the couch. And so I'm just saying there is something happening with black men. Some of it is the pain of going to all these funerals and seeing young men after young men put in the ground and nothing happened.

Some of it is this victim narrative that is coming forward that just says it's almost, like, disempowering. If you're black, you can't do anything. It's just systemic racism. You have nothing you can do. I think that is a turnoff.

But there is something happening on social media that we need to look at because I've never seen this much despair from a group of people who usually are the spark plugs for hope in our community.

HUGHES: Now, I will argue, though, that --

KING: And how do you -- do you just blame it on social media?

JONES: I don't know. I'm just saying I want to have a real conversation, because I don't feel like all of it --

KING: But why is it happening?

JONES: Yeah.

HUGHES: Almost all of the major trends of the past 10 years trace in some way to social media. We're talking about skyrocketing depression rates among youth. All of this stuff is caused by social media. But from the data I've seen, the people that use social media the most are very liberal young people.

They're the highest, most active users. So, is it that they're -- I'm not sure they're the ones that are being pushed to the right, per se, but certainly there's a major trend going on with social media. It's affecting every aspect of our lives.

KING: You're in a unique position because you worked with the Trump administration on some significant criminal justice reform.


KING: Do you think that that also adds to his appeal?

JONES: I think that it's --

KING: Do you think he was sincere about that, or do you think that that was just an all --

JONES: Are you asking me why Trump did something, and I don't -- they don't pay me enough here for me to be able to figure that out.

KING: But do you think that adds to his appeal, though?

JONES: I think there are some people that will say these things about Donald Trump. They'll say, number one, he did do something on criminal justice, and I think that that's fair. But by the way, it was a bipartisan bill and, you know, so did -- we had a lot of people involved in that. But I think that's fair. He signed the bill.

KING: Yeah, I was going to say he signed it.

JONES: He should be proud of that.

KING: Yes.

JONES: However, he's not talking about it. He's not running on it. He's actually running away from it. So that's not so good. The other thing that they'll say besides the criminal justice piece is the stimulus tax that we got. During the pandemic, we got stimulus checks. And I always point out, but why did you need the stimulus checks? Because he so mishandled the pandemic that the whole country had to be shut down. And so, that's why you got the stimulus checks.

So, there are some things that you can point to. But here's something else. Nostalgia sells when you don't have hope. When you don't have hope about tomorrow, then you say, make America great again. That sells. When you say, make America great again the way it was just five, six years ago. When you don't have hope for tomorrow, nostalgia sells. And so, I think that he's playing that nostalgia card. And everybody

forgets how bad it really, really was during the Trump years. Yes, some of the numbers look good, but most of us thought bad every day. That's getting washed out.

And so, I don't have all the answers, but I will say, did he do something good on criminal justice? Yes, he did. And I told him and I told Jared Kushner, would you? I got 99 problems, but prisons ain't one. I appreciate that.

KING: All right, Van. Thank you. I love a Jay-Z reference. Thank you. Thank you, Van Jones. Coleman. Thank you. Thank you very much. Coming up next, we have a lot of pop culture to talk about, too, today. The Oscars, you know, they're this weekend. Queen Bee is going country. I love that.

And we've got the perfect people to sort of speak about all of this. The host of "The New York Times" award winning culture podcast, "Still Processing". I love that title. Wesley Morris and J. Wortham are here. You're watching "King Charles". We'll be right back.



KING: Okay, guys. Oscars this weekend. What movie was your favorite movie of the year?

UNKNOWN: For me, "Oppenheimer".

UNKNOWN: "Oppenheimer".

UNKNOWN: I would say the same thing.

UNKNOWN: Definitely "Oppenheimer".

UNKNOWN: I loved "Poor Things".

UNKNOWN: "The Holdovers".

UNKNOWN: I would say "Oppenheimer" was my favorite of the year. It was too long, but it was still a great time. It was great.

BARKLEY: You saw it three times.

KING: You saw it three times?

BARKLEY: That's nine hours of your life, brother.


KING: He watched "Oppenheimer" three times. Three times. I see your face. The Oscars are this weekend, people. I have some thoughts. Our next guest also has some thoughts about this and more. They are the co-host of the award-winning "Still Processing" podcast. "New York Times" Critic-at-Large, Wesley Morris, and Staff Writer for "New York Times" Magazine, J. Wortham are here. Welcome, welcome, welcome.


KING: I saw your little stank face when they said "Oppenheimer". Your lip curled up like you had bitten a lemon, Wesley. So, you didn't care for "Oppenheimer"?


BARKLEY: Oh my God.



BARKLEY: Are you serious right now?

KING: Why?

MORRIS: It's like a documentary, but with acting.

BARKLEY: Great acting.

MORRIS: Is it great?


MORRIS: Let me ask you guys a question. Who did you care about in this movie? Was there a person that you felt anything --

KING: I actually cared about "Oppenheimer". I came out of that movie and Googled everything. I wanted to know everything about him. I wanted to know everything about that time.

MORRIS: See, this is the other thing about you go to these movies and then you have more questions. Like you shouldn't be Googling anybody.

KING: No, it's not questions. I just wanted to know more about it.


KING: That's all.

MORRIS: I mean, listen. I really thought it was so well done.

BARKLEY: Matt Damon --

MORRIS: Matt Damon is the best thing in the movie.

BARKLEY: What about Robert Downey Jr.?

KING: No, no. MORRIS: Okay.

BARKLEY: Emily Blunt.

MORRIS: Now, you're just naming Oscar nominees.

KING: I know.

BARKLEY: They were all into "Oppenheimer".

MORRIS: Everybody in Hollywood was in the movie, which is why it's going to win the Oscars.

BARKLEY: Because they picked great actors.

MORRIS: It gave all these people a job.

KING: Okay, Mr. Morris, who would you like to see win?

MORRIS: Of the 10 movies?

KING: Mr. Cranky Pants. Yes. Since you didn't care for "Oppenheimer", clearly.

MORRIS: I don't hate the movie, just to be clear. I just don't love it. I don't --

KING: I loved it. I loved it.

MORRIS: Okay. Of the 10 movies --

BARKLEY: Did you like "Cord" movie?

MORRIS: I did like "Cord".

MORRIS: I love that we're calling him Cord.

KING: Everybody knows Cord.

BARKLEY: We had him on the show. It was awesome. What's his name?

MORRIS: His name is Cord. For the people at home, Cord Jefferson is his full government name.


MORRIS: I do like that movie. It reminds me a lot of, in its way, of Hollywood Shuffle.

BARKLEY: I love Jeffrey Wright and Sterling K. Brown.

MORRIS: They're wonderful.

BARKLEY: I really would love American --

KING: We call it Cord's movie, but the official name is "American Fiction". Yes.

BARKLEY: But Sterling was amazing.

KING: Yes.

BARKLEY: And Jeffrey Wright. I just love Jeffrey Wright. He was amazing.

MORRIS: I love Jeffrey Wright. I think, J. --

KING: J., do you care for "Oppenheimer"? Did you care for Oppenheimer? Now I'm just curious.


BARKLEY: You're a hater. You're a hater.

MORRIS: For real?

WORTHAM: It's true. I mean, I did the Barbenheimer duo that everybody did, and we saw "Oppenheimer" first, which was a choice. But I enjoyed it. I found it to be riveting. It's a part of history that I don't know a lot about. The repercussions are endless and interesting. And it was fascinating. I thought the acting was good, too.

BARKLEY: You know why I love that movie? Because if I went. No, I'm going to tell you. No, no. This is true. And the kids said it, too. If I went to a movie for three hours and it was bad, I would have snapped. That's a true tale that was a good movie.

KING: Yeah.

BARKLEY: But three hours, they don't even make three-hour movies anymore. But if you go for three hours, and it --

MORRIS: All the superhero movies are three hours.

BARKLEY: I'm not going. Dude, I'm 61 years old. I'm 61 years. I'm waiting on that to come out on the plane.

MORRIS: I'm just saying. And that's a three-hour flight that you'll two Avengers movies.

KING: Charles, do you watch a lot of movies on the plane?

BARKLEY: Every week.

KING: You do? You watch a lot of movies on the plane?

BARKLEY: I catch up with everything.

KING: On the plane.

BARKLEY: I do. That's the best thing about Delta.

MORRIS: Charles, the question is, did you watch "Oppenheimer" on the plane?

BARKLEY: No, no. First of all, it just came out on the plane last week.

KING: So, he had already seen it?

BARKLEY: No, I saw it in the theater.


BARKLEY: But seriously, that's why I know it was a good movie. But if you're going to give three hours, it better be good.

KING: J., what do you think about Beyonce breaking into country?

WORTHAM: That is a key change, Gayle, and I love it.

KING: Yeah. What do you think about that?

WORTHAM: You know, in certain ways --

KING: Is there some grumbling? Like, is it country?

BARKLEY: What'd you say?

WORTHAM: Okay, I'm like, is Beyonce's country turn the "Oppenheimer" of the music industry? Because it's very controversial.


KING: Yes.

BARKLEY: Why should it be?

WORHTAM: I agree. Why not?

KING: Why should it be?

WORTHAM: Let her experiment. I mean, other people have forayed into country music with no seemingly prior experience. Why not let Beyonce just play around with different genres? Why are we trying to make her fit into a movie?

KING: Yeah, I think it's very exciting. I can't wait till the whole album comes out. What were we going to say, Wesley?

MORRIS: Whoah. I just -- what?

BARKLEY: Look at that video.

MORRIS: Oh, yes.

KING: You okay, Mr. BARKLEY? Is it too much for you?

BARKLEY: It's a lot.

WORTHAM: Have you not seen that before?

BARKLEY: I have not seen that before.

KING: You have not seen that before?

BARKLEY: I have not seen that before.

WORTHAM: So, are you going to be going on tour?

KING: Charles, you got to get out the house.

MORRIS: You want to go to that country?

WORTHAM: They don't have that on Delta.

BARKLEY: I'll tell you what, I'm going to get a copy of King Charles. I need that.

WORHTAM: I can see Beyonce on here.

BARKLEY: I think it's great.

KING: Yeah. I do, too.

MORRIS: I do, too. We were talking yesterday about just how beautiful these two songs are.

KING: Yes.

MORRIS: And how differently beautiful they are.

KING: "Sixteen Carriages".

MORRIS: "Sixteen Carriages" and "Texas Hold'em". And I just think that, well, I am interested in this question of not just with respect to Beyonce, but just writ large, what is country music and how would you identify? Now, there's a musical logical answer to that question. But I'm really curious about when we can say that the reason that Beyonce isn't played on country radio is racism or these DJs who play country music all day long being like, this doesn't, I don't recognize --


BARKLEY: You don't think it's not, you think it's not racism?

MORRIS: No, no. I'm not saying it isn't, Charles. I'm just, I'm wondering if it's possible to set

BARKLEY: What about Cain Brown, Mickey Guyton, Darius Rucker? Why do they play them? Why do they have a problem with Beyonce?

MORRIS: Because I mean, what's her Nashville relationship? The Nashville -- the kissing of the rings in country music is really important. KING: But we should say they are playing her. In the beginning, there

was a little pushback because a radio station didn't realize she had a country song. And then once they realized she had a country song, because when it first happened, one radio station said, well, we don't play Beyonce. They said that before they realized she had a country song. And then once they heard it, once they realized --

BARKLEY: Well, did they play it because they heard it and got the backlash?

KING: No, no. I think they legitimately didn't know that she had a country song.

BARKLEY: I think she told everybody she was coming out with a country song, Gayle.

MORRIS: But they're not listening.

WORTHAM: People were calling in to request it. People were calling in over and over again to push back against the stations to say, this country song's out. We want to hear it. It has to be kind of --

KING: But it's now number one. It's number one everywhere. On all the genres, it's number one.

MORRIS: Yes. But the way Billboard, in the wake of Lil Nas X and the controversy, the actual racism that kept him out of the top spot on the country chart, Billboard went back and reconfigured how the chart worked, how they tabulated the way that certain genre numbers are tabulated and turned into the one through 10, the one through whatever.

BARKLEY: Billboard trimmed Lil Nas X because he was black? Because he was gay?

MORRIS: No, No. It's not a Billboard -- I mean -- I'm not going to say it's not a Billboard thing. But Billboard was trying to --

BARKLEY: What about the gay thing, which is discrimination also, I might add?

MORRIS: It could be. Let's just throw all of the isms out there as a reason that he was not played on country radio. Although, at the time, the gay part wasn't as apparent.

KING: It was not.

MORRIS: So, really, what we are probably focusing on with Lil Nas X, at the beginning, when Old Town Road came out, it was that it did not sound the way the country Nashville establishment thought a country song would sound.

BARKLEY: They didn't notice the horse in the video?

MORRIS: They're not watching the video, Charles. And then, so --

WORTHAM: People do have a problem with Beyonce.

BARKLEY: I mean, listen. I like country music, but when I saw the video, I said, well, he's on a horse.

MORRIS: But then Billy Ray Cyrus comes along and that's the thing that legitimizes the song, is being --

BARKLEY: The horse didn't do it?

KING: No. I'll just say it was a great song.

BARKLEY: It was a great song.

KING: It was a great song.

MORRIS: But to J.'s point, they also, people --

WORTHAM: People have a big problem with Beyonce. They always have. They always have.

BARKLEY: You mean, it's probably, arguably, I mean, like, Gayle spent her whole summer following Beyonce and Taylor Swift around.

WORTHAM: I'm sorry.

KING: I only went to four shows, Charles.

MORRIS: Only went to four shows.

BARKLEY: She's arguably -- she's arguably the biggest star in the world. Between her and Taylor Swift, they're the two biggest stars in the world. Why would you have a problem playing her song unless, like, clearly it's racism. I'll say it.

MORRIS: I mean, I'm not afraid to say it. I just want to explore what the other options could be, right?

KING: Because they are playing it and it's number one at the top of country this summer on Billboard. All Hail the Queen is what I say. All Hail the Queen.

MORRIS: The Airplay chart number is the thing you really want to look at with this song, with both these songs, right?

KING: All right, Wes.

MORRIS: Like, where on the country Airplay chart. She could be at the top of the country, like, the whole chart that combines streaming numbers, downloads, and Airplay, but I'm focused on the Airplay chart because that is the choice that the stations are making about what to do with the song.

BARKLEY: I'm going to download that.

BARKLEY: I'm going to download that video.

KING: I don't like to have homework. I just want to cheer on --

MORRIS: Gayle, you just said you went to "Oppenheimer" and Googled his all night long.

KING: Because I wanted to learn more about it. Wesley, thank you.

MORRIS: You gave yourself homework.

KING: Always good to see you. Always. Coming up, we're going to discuss the account you must follow on Instagram. It's a brand new account. It just came last week and the year is 2024. Where's this guy been? You're watching "King Charles". We'll be right back.

WORTHAM: What a cliffhanger.




KING: Charles just got into social media. He's on Instagram.

BARKLEY: What advice would you give me?

UNKNOWN: Delete it.

BARKLEY: Delete it?

KING: Delete it.

UNKNOWN: Be wary of the doom scroll.

UNKNOWN: Don't get addicted.

UNKNOWN: Stay away from fashion and interior design.

BARKLEY: What advice would you give me?

UNKNOWN: I don't know. You better follow back.

UNKNOWN: Why did it take you so long?

BARKLEY: Because I think people on social media are just assholes.

UNKNOWN: You can get some really good recipes.

BARKLEY: I mean, Gayle, don't cook.

UNKNOWN: Be careful in those DMs.

KING: You don't know what a DM is?

BARKLEY: I do not. And then Shaq told me I need to click Fans Only or Only Fans.

KING: Only Fans.

UNKNOWN: Oh, boy.


KING: Yeah, you really didn't know what a DM was. I thought he was kidding when you said you didn't know.

BARKLEY: I've never used it. I still haven't ever used it. I'm not going to lie. They're going to give me a tutorial tomorrow night.

KING: Who's they?

BARKLEY: The social media team.

KING: Oh, okay.

BARKLEY: Because they got a call for Instagram trying to tell me how to have -- because I had no security apparently or anything like -- but I don't know what DM means, and I don't, you know, Shaq tried to make fun of me, talking about the Only Fans, the Fans Only thing. And I thought he meant, like, only for fans of mine.


BARKLEY: And he said, Chuck, you can't just say, Chuck, don't do that. Under no circumstances.

KING: Yeah, don't do that.


But what made you finally decide to get on?

BARKLEY: Well, I got in the alcohol business.

KING: Okay.

BARKLEY: I have a vodka and a gin and a distillery I bought in Alabama.

KING: Okay, so it's a business thing for you.

BARKLEY: It's a business thing for me, but I got to put other stuff on there. But let's talk about America's Best Friend. Guys, there was a big article coming out. You guys got a big article. It's on "Newsweek", correct?

KING: It's "Newsweek" magazine. They were doing a story.

BARKLEY: They said, Gayle King, you're not just Oprah's best friend. She's America's best friend. I'm so proud of you. I tell people you are so awesome. It's an honor and a privilege to work with you.

KING: That's what I say about you. I tell everybody, Charles Barkley -- BARKLEY: Hey, we're talking about you.

KING: That's what I say to everybody. I say, Charles Barkley, here's my little cool thing.

BARKLEY: Hey, America.

KING: Charles Barkley, here's my little boo thing.

BARKLEY: Hey, go out and get "Newsweek". Or you can get on the internet, can't you?

KING: Thank you for watching "King Charles". We will see you next Wednesday. Bye.