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Laura Coates Live

Report Shows Trump Fails To Impress At CEO Meeting; Shark Tank's Kevin O'Leary Reveals His Choice For Trump's V.P.; Supreme Court Strikes Down Trump-Era Ban On Bump Stocks; Alex Jones Ordered To Sell Personal Assets Over Sandy Hook Judgment; Black Icons Back Trump. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired June 14, 2024 - 22:00   ET




REPORTER: Did you convince him to act in Sister Act 3?

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, COMEDIAN: Well, I didn't think it was the right place to bring it up, but I'll probably send a email.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: and to a group that often cracks jokes about religion, the pope offered a reassuring and uplifting message that it's okay to laugh at God. We play and joke with the people we love, a nice note to end on.

All right, thanks very much for joining us tonight. Laura Coast Live starts right now. Have a great night everybody.

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: A bear market on Donald Trump or the former president tries to sell Wall Street on a second term. It didn't go well at all.

Plus, legal machine guns, the Supreme Court undoes a Trump-era decision to ban bump stocks, the same bump stocks that a madman used to slaughter 58 people at a Las Vegas country music festival.

And an interview you're only going to see here, my nothing is off limits sit down with UFC's Dana White, including why he's choosing Donald Trump as his fighter in the 2024 election.

Donald Trump coming up bigly short with Wall Street. Thursday, he received a kind of a hero's welcome, didn't he, inside of Congress, and who could forget that handshake with him and Mitch McConnell, but with the C-suite crowd, the corporate titans, they're not fully buying in, at least not yet. Wall Street was primed to go all-in on Trump. The headlines teased it over and over again. The New York Times a month ago, in about-face, Wall Street's big donors warmed to Trump. A couple weeks later, this from Yahoo!, prominent billionaires from Wall Street to Silicon Valley are warming up to Donald Trump. The Wall Street Journal had chatter about an Elon Musk bromance inside Donald Trump and Elon Musk's growing alliance. And just this week, Politico published this, never mind, Wall Street titans shake off qualms and embrace Trump.

You already see that happening. Donations from the billionaire class have flowed into his campaign. People like JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon went from never Trump to it definitely maybe Trump. It makes sense, too. I mean, Trump has promised another round of corporate tax cuts, and it all led us to Thursday. That's the day that Trump spoke to a roomful of the top CEOs at the business roundtable meeting.

Now, Trump, he probably hoped that it would play out like this the Wolf of Wall Street.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you know what? I'm not leaving. I'm not leaving. I'm not (BLEEP) leaving. The show goes on. This is my home.


COATES: Well, look, that's not how it went, okay, not according to CNBC's well-sourced Andrew Ross Sorkin. Listen to Sorkin and Trump's appearance felt more Mr. Magoo than Jordan Belfort?


ANDREW ROSS SORKIN, CO-HOST OF CNBC'S SQUAWK BOX: I was surprised. I spoke to a number of CEOs who I would say walked into the meeting being Trump supporter-ish, or thinking that they might be leaning that direction, who said that he was remarkably meandering, could not keep a straight thought, was all over the map, and that they -- which may be not surprising, but was interesting to me because these were people who I think might have been actually predisposed to him and actually walked out of the room less predisposed to him, actually predisposed to thinking, this is not necessary. As one person said, this may not be any different or better than a Biden thought if you're thinking that way.


COATES: Well, joining me now, Shark Tank judge Kevin O'Leary, he is also the chairman, of course, of O'Leary Ventures. Kevin, good to see you this Friday night. Hey, some of the words that were used, you heard Andrew meandering all over the map, doesn't know what he's talking about, could not keep a straight thought. I mean, some in the C-suite seem reportedly baffled by the former president's incoherence during the private meeting. Is that surprising to you? Is it concerning?

KEVIN O'LEARY, CHAIRMAN, O'LEARY VENTURES: No, but I'd also, I wouldn't agree with that analysis at all. What's going on here is really most Wall Street participants, whether they be in the C-suite or be involved in deal-making or involved in business of any kind, have figured out Trump has a 50-50 chance of becoming president.


Everybody is looking at it that way. Nobody knows what's going to happen in the election. And so, really, we finished talking about porn stars, cocaine, guns, and all that, and we're talking about policy now. And so you have to kind of make a decision.

What was floated at that meeting that has actually made people in Wall Street and out here in Silicon Valley, I'm in Los Angeles now, think about this. Trump talked about tax rates, corporate tax rates. The lowest, he quoted, was 15 percent, all the way to 21 percent. We know that Biden is plans at 28 percent. So, there is a, there is a point of reference that you got to start thinking about a little bit.

And the whole idea about corporate tax rate is not who can be the lowest. It's where you fit in the competitive strata of the G20 nations, because that's what attracts capital. So, you go to 28, you just kind of slip into the second, third quartile, not as competitive. If you go to 15, you're in the top quartile, if you sort of stay where we are right now, you're in the bottom of the first quartile, that's more important to Jamie Dimon than anything else, because he's competing globally for capital, and all the rest of the Wall Streeters.

So, you know, one meeting over another, meandering thoughts, I mean, both of these candidates are elderly, there's no question about it, and I don't think that is really what's being debated anymore. Everybody knows what they think about each of them on that, but policy, and you're talking about it now, and I applaud you for it, we're finally getting into policy. We're finally getting into policy.

COATES: Well, what's interesting about that, Kevin, is, yes, you're talking about policy and I talk about policy and the electorate wants to hear about policy I would assume but the part of the meetings that took place this week seemed to be veering off I mean topics were including like Hannibal Lecter was mentioned Taylor Swift during a particular pitch. I know and I've all of us have really watched you on Shark Tank if I saw a contestant begin to meander and go in a different direction than the policy or the actual bare bones and brass tacks, you would have a problem with it.

So, the meandering, that doesn't mean anything to you in this context? It's just one meeting. I mean, this was the meeting for the C-suite execs.

O'LEARY: No, I think there's many meetings and particularly the debate coming up is really going to matter. But, you know, Trump isn't going to change how he orates.

You've been listening to this for years. I don't expect him to change. I don't expect Biden to change. I don't actually care anymore. What I really care about as an investor, and I really care because I'm starving for information, is give me policy I can decide on what to do when I make investments with. That's what I care about. We've had not had any --

COATES: Which candidate is giving you -- excuse me, which candidate? I hear you, Kevin. Which candidate is giving you that information? That's really the, the rub here. I mean, obviously, you crave the information. Investors want the information. The economy relies on the information. Do you think either is providing the information to the nuanced level that would satisfy your hungry mind?

O'LEARY: Well, here's a data point. Taxes remain the same or they go to 28 percent. I'll take the same right now, thank you. That's better for business. That's better for me. That's better for me as an investor. And, frankly, I think it's better for the economy. That's my position. So, that's one data point.

Talk to me about energy. I haven't heard enough about that. I want energy security. I think to solve our national debt. We can use the ANWR, like Norway did. I've talked about that already. Tell me which candidate is going to use a royalty off the ANWR to pay down a significant portion of the debt because we've never tapped one of the largest reserves of oil on Earth. And oil is around for years to come. I mean, some people don't like that, but it is what it is. So, I want to hear policy on that. I definitely want to hear border security.

And I finally heard some policy on immigration, for example, at MIT, they're a third of the classes that I teach at Harvard and MIT are foreign nationals that get kicked out of the country after I spend to educate them, make them the best they can be as engineers at MIT, and then we kick them out? That's nuts. And so I would like to see policy on that. And I heard some of that out of Trump. I haven't heard out of Biden yet. I'm all ears. I am a policy guy. Give me policy.

COATES: Well, we certainly hope to hear more of it at the debate from both sides and not just grand overtures, but actual policy positions. And what we will not hear likely is who the Trump V.P. pick will be at the upcoming debate. I think that's going to happen likely at the RNC convention.

I hear though you are rooting for a particular person, Governor Doug Burgum, to be Trump's V.P. pick. You called him Trump Insurance. Explain that and why you see him or want him as the V.P.?

O'LEARY: Well, I want to be totally transparent on this. Almost a decade ago, on Shark Tank, of all things, I invested in a company called PRX Performance in Fargo, North Dakota.


I'd never been to Fargo. I went back up there with the ABC crews in February. I thought it was going to be a dark side of the moon, and it was. It was like a million degrees below zero. But I finally met some of the administrators and Burgum himself, and the policy there was very interesting. And he said to me, why don't you come and invest in our companies here, look at what we got, and I started to do that. And now I run a mandate in North Dakota investing in venture capital firms, and we've done very, very well.

Now, I've sat with the governor, I've sat with the staff. This guy gets stuff done. Whether you need a permit, or whether you need policy, or whether you want to send taxes, you need to speak to the CEO of a company, he's a business guy. So, it's a personal reflection that I see here.

And, frankly, I think Trump could use someone that's very much not like him, that has executional skills. You give Burgum this mandate, you say, go fix the border, go fix energy, go fix whatever, that's what he does.

And I'm just saying it from a personal perspective. I like this guy as Trump insurance because Trump is bombastic. But he even himself said in the last few weeks, look, I made some mistakes in my first term. I'm not going to hire the same people in every position. Well, we don't care about V.P.s normally in American election cycles, but look at what we got now. You've got longevity issues with Biden. So, if you're voting for Biden as independent, you got to think about Harris. How much to like her? Apparently not much. That's just the polls, don't shoot the messenger. So maybe they swap her out if Biden is going to run with people concerned about who's V.P.

COATES: Well, that's not happening. He's deferred that this administration is -- I hear the point you're making.

O'LEARY: I get it, but we're not, we're not near the end yet. Okay, forget about that. I'm just pointing it out from the polls. She's immensely unpopular.

Burgum, incredible track record. If you ask me who could -- think of it this way. If you wanted to be the richest American by sovereign wealth, where would you go right now? You would go to North Dakota. 750,000 Americans are becoming the wealthiest Americans. Why not do that to America? Let Burgum do that to every American. He did it. So, he's got the numbers. And that's why people say to me, why are you talking about him? I'm talking about him because he gets stuff done.

COATES: And here you thought North Dakota was just the dark side of the moon, Kevin O'Leary. Imagine that. We'll have to talk more about what this looks like, but I do wonder, because he wasn't in the room last couple days with Trump when Trump made the statement that he likely found his pick in one of those rooms. He's said things before in the past, I agree with that, and who knows. Kevin O'Leary, always good to talk to you, thank you so much.

O'LEARY: Take care.

COATES: Well, joining us now, Pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh, and former Communications Director for Vice President Kamala Harris Ashley Etienne.

I have to tell you, all of you had some different levels of visual reactions to everything. The corner of my eye, I was seeing people shake, twitching. It was a whole thing that was going on. It was mostly Joe. It was mostly Joe. I'll give you that. What were your thoughts?

ASHLEY ETIENNE, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR V.P. HARRIS: I mean, I disagree with Kevin immensely, to use one of his words, in that I don't think Trump is serious about selecting someone who is a serious legislator. I mean, Donald Trump -- usually a president picks a V.P. that shores up their negatives, expands their base, that's why he chose Pence the last time. But he learns a lesson on January 6th. And he learned that the lesson he learned was that Pence put the country before Donald Trump. Donald Trump is not going to make that mistake again. I think the most important criteria for his selection is going to be loyalty to him, not to the country, not someone who gets things done.

I mean, Trump is legendary for not getting anything done. I mean, in slowing everything down, even when he has the majority in both chambers. So that's my reaction is like, regrettably, he's not going to choose someone who's serious. He's going to choose someone who prioritizes him and is loyal to him first before the country.

COATES: You know, we're also hearing his comment was if there are lessons learned from the past, some people would take a lesson learned and say, I'm going to improve upon this. It seems like from the suggestions that are made either from probably 2025 or beyond that it would be in a different direction entirely, not just the loyalty test but about making sure it was a transformative administration in ways many can't contemplate.

FMR. REP. JOE WALSH (R-IL): I don't think Trump gives a damn about any of that. In 2016, he had to be convinced to pick somebody who could help him with Christian evangelicals. Trump is unchained. He's a madman. He doesn't care about anybody but himself and I think he thinks he's going to win. So, I think he's going to pick somebody who's utterly loyal to him, somebody who looks good on T.V., somebody who will say --

COATES: Thank you for pointing at me, but I'm out. Thank you. I appreciate that.


WALSH: You look fantastic on T.V.

COATES: Go ahead, keep going.

WALSH: Somebody who will say the 2020 election was stolen and somebody who will say the deep state is going after Donald Trump. That's all he wants.

COATES: And yet, you know, you've been phenomenal in polling and thinking about this. Some of the contenders who are on this shortlist have been extraordinary critics of Donald Trump in the past. I mean, Senator Marco Rubio for one, J.D. Vance, J. D. Vance now, of course, was even at the trial at one point in time. Does that strike you as strange for somebody who covets loyalty that even an about-face would still qualify to be on that shortlist?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It is fascinating when you take a look at, say, Doug Burgum, he's almost like an alternate dimension Mitt Romney in some ways, or somebody like Marco Rubio, remember the little hands dust up we had back in 2016. So, most of the names on that list that you just put up on the screen, they have had some conflict with Trump in the past, but it's almost like the zeal of the convert, right?

I think that in some way, Donald Trump likes the idea that he's won someone over, that they used to doubt him and now they're all-in on him. I think those past statements, you know, there are some people who may try to get jobs in a new Trump administration and won't because they tweeted criticism of him in the past. But if you get to the level of being on that shortlist, that means you have publicly disavowed your past statements enough that he thinks you now pass that loyalty test.

COATES: You've done some -- that's interesting to think about that, the transit, you know, changing one's mind, right? But you've done focus groups for Trump supporters. Is there a quality they're looking for from a V.P. candidate?

ANDERSON: Well, I think they are looking for somebody who will be supportive of Donald Trump, number one, because they like Donald Trump. What I think is really interesting about what I think Trump needs to convey with this pick is he needs to convey some level of seriousness and stability because that's what those swing voters, much like the CEOs you just talked about, that's what they're really craving. That's what they felt like they were hoping to get with Biden in 2020, feel they haven't gotten. We're now looking for it in Trump. But if he's showing up to meetings, as was reported, maybe there's no stability anywhere here to be found.

COATES: Ashley, on this point too, I mean, one of the things we're hearing about The New York Times is actually reporting that Donald Trump is thinking about debate performances as who he considers. And, obviously, one of the factors he says, quote, is, or not he says, The New York Times is saying, one of the factors is, quote, who matches up best on the debate stage against Vice President Kamala Harris. What does that signal to you?

ETIENNE: I mean, it, it, it says to me that to some degree that they think that she's somewhat of a threat. I mean, she's a former prosecutor. She spent time in courts defending her clients and defending the interests of California. So, to me, it says, you know, that he might be slightly nervous.

But I think there's one other thing where we're not sort of taking into consideration, and that is I think J.D. Vance would be -- pose the greatest threat to Kamala Harris in some respects. I mean, he's an incredible debater. I think he has this quality that makes him seem palpable to that 1 to 2 percent that actually might vote or that, you know, that's undecided that will actually pay attention to the debates because most people don't pay attention to the debates. And I think he's just got a quality about him where he's just super smart and sharp and quick witted. I just think that like I think it's going to be a challenge to see the two of them face to face. I mean, maybe it's just me, but I think he's going to be the greatest threat to --

WALSH: Don't rule out Nikki Haley, mic drop. Don't rule out Nikki Haley. Don't rule out a surprise.

COATES: Well, interesting. I'll think about that. The debate really important to think about when that will be. I'm curious as to whether he would indeed pose a threat to the formidable vice president.

Kristen, Joe, Ashley, thank you so much.

Ahead, another Supreme Court ruling sure to supercharge tensions ahead of the election, this time striking down a ban on bump stocks. Well, Democratic Congressman Maxwell Frost launched his political career by fighting to end gun violence. And he is my guest next.



COATES: Another ruling from the Supreme Court sure to have a significant political impact. Today, the court striking down the Trump-era ban on bump stocks, that's the gun accessory that enables semiautomatic weapons to fire at speeds rivaling those of machine guns. A bump stock was used in the deadliest mass shooting in this country's history, the 2017 Las Vegas massacre that left 58 people dead and over 500 injured.

And to understand just how fast bump stocks can make guns fire, I want to play the moment the shooting started at that concert. And a warning to everyone watching, the video is disturbing. Here it is.

You're hearing that how quickly the bullets were coming, the shots.

To talk about this, I want to bring in Congressman Maxwell Frost. He began his political career fighting to end gun violence and was an organizer for the March for Our Lives after 14 students and 3 faculty members were gunned down in Parkland, Florida. Notably, the scene of that bloody massacre, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, it was demolished just today.

Congressman, thank you so much for being here. Just hearing the pace of those shots, it makes your stomach drop, your heart sink, and it makes you well aware of your cause and why you have been fighting for this.


And this decision, this reversal, it was decided in a 6-3 decision, Congressman. Justice Alito concurring with the opinion, put the ball back in your court, Congress' court, writing, now that the situation is clear, Congress can act, saying that, of course, Congress can amend the law. Congressman, I'd love for you to react to what that feels like to hear the Supreme Court say, it's your turn now.

REP. MAXWELL FROST (D-FL): Well, Congress already did a job on this. Fully automatic rifles are illegal to be purchased by consumers in the United States. Bump stocks, when added on a weapon, essentially create it and make it a fully automatic weapon. So, we already did our job on this. This is already the law. And this is one of the many reasons why this decision is completely disastrous.

And I love what Sonia Sotomayor wrote, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. She wrote, look, if it quacks like a duck and it swims like a duck, I'm going to call it a duck. If there's a gun that has a bump stock and it can shoot the way that video you just showed and that audio can shoot, it is a fully automatic assault weapon, which is already illegal in the United States to buy for consumers.

And so this has already been done and it's just a damn shame that this corrupt Supreme Court, with no ethics, that's been completely bought off in the process by the NRA, the gun lobby, and billionaires and corporations, put out this decision, and it's going to result in more people dying.

COATES: Congressman, clearly, there has been a spotlight put on the Supreme Court for quite some time, some of the ethics questions you've raised as well. And also the -- for many, the head scratching idea of matching the reality and what is present in America and what the law is they believe mandating them to do, but you are not without hurdles even in Congress. Your fellow congressman, actually your fellow Florida Congressman Byron Donalds, who happens to be, we're told, a Trump V.P. shortlist contender, he called the bump stock ban dumb. Listen to what he said.


REP. BYRON DONALDS (R-FL): A bump stock does not cause anybody to be shot in the United States of America. That is the shooter that does that, not a piece of equipment. The bump stocks, if you will, is really just a brace for people who have arm injuries who still actively shoot.


COATES: You know, when I was younger, that sounded a whole lot like guns don't kill people, people kill people, and people are killed by guns. Congressman, what's your reaction?

FROST: My reaction is exactly what you said. I mean, you know, I've been in this fight since I was 15, and I can't tell you the amount of times I've had people look at me after a shooting happens, and kids and people have died in pools of their own blood, and someone wants to look me in the eye and insult my intelligence by telling me that guns don't kill people, but people kill people.

And I say exactly what you just said. That's true, 100 percent. I'm insulted that you would say something like that. Do you think I'm an idiot? But it's because people kill people that we want to make sure that we have good laws in place so people can't kill people, like the shooter did in Las Vegas, where, in just in a matter of minutes, he injured over 500 people and murdered and killed 60 or over 60. And the bump stock allowed him to kill more people, to injure more people and to do more harm.

And so that's what I would say to my colleague about that. Don't insult us by saying, you know, people kill people. We know people kill people. And I can introduce you to some parents who know that very well, like Manuel Oliver, whose son, Joaquin, died in Parkland.

COATES: Congressman, you know, for so many people, and this hasn't -- isn't across the political spectrum. Sadly, none of us live comfortably any longer. You know that. Whether it's schools, whether it's churches and synagogues, Walmarts, whether it's movie theaters, nightclubs, you can name it, there is a fear that so many of us live with. As a parent, I know I live with it. I look at my kids' teachers, and I thank them for the fact that they might very well have someone's life in their hands.

And yet this issue for so many, it does not seem to be the highest priority when it comes to the polling. I wonder from your perspective, will something like this move the needle for the electorate to feel more motivated about getting out to vote?

FROST: I think it will for certain groups of people, but you're 100 percent right. And this has been -- as someone who's been in this fight for over a decade, the sad part and the traumatic part of the gun violence prevention movement is oftentimes the times when the most people care, when the most people are donating, when the most interviews are happening and the media is covering it extensively is also coupled with the most death, the most people dying, and the most shootings happen. And that's been the reality of this movement.


And what we've been trying to do as organizers is make sure that we tell people we need to handle this before that death happens and do this before children and and people in this country lose their lives.

And what I always like to tell people, and I'll speak to all the parents in America watching right now, is if, God forbid, you lost your child tomorrow and they're under the age of 18, the most likely reason in this country right now would be because they were shot.

And I don't know about you, and I don't care what any political party says, there's a party that likes to claim freedom, but I don't feel free in a country where the leading cause of death for a child is to be shot.

COATES: Congressman Maxwell Frost, thank you so much for joining us this evening.

FROST: Thank you for having me.

COATES: Ahead, there was indeed a win, if there can be one, for Sandy Hook families, but maybe not as big as they'd hoped. Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones forced to sell his personal assets. But there's one other part of the ruling that has Jones apparently pleased. We'll break down today's ruling next.



COATES: Payback, literally and figuratively. Alex Jones is starting to make good on the $1.5 billion that he owes to Sandy Hook victims' families. Jones has agreed to liquidate his personal assets to help cover that cost.

But his business assets, they remain intact. That includes InfoWars, the platform where Jones tormented the families with lies to his millions of listeners at the deaths of 21st graders, 21st graders, and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School back in 2012, was a hoax, a lie. Those lies prompted his followers to harass the grieving families whom he smeared as coached actors.

Now this week, those 20 children, they would have graduated from high school. And just so it's not lost on anyone, I want to show you some of the horrific lies that Jones told that led to the billion-dollar ruling.


ALEX JONES, CONSPIRACY THEORIST, RADIO SHOW HOST: The official story of Sandy Hook has more holes in it than Swiss cheese.

You got parents laughing, like, ha, ha, ha, watch this, and then they go, oh, oh, oh, method acting, like, oh, oh, oh, oh. It just is the fakest thing, such a $3 bill. And you better get ready for more of it, folks.

It took me about a year with Sandy Hook to come to grips with the fact that the whole thing was fake. I mean, even I couldn't believe it. I knew they jumped on it, used the crisis, hyped it up. But then I did deep research, and my gosh, it just pretty much didn't happen.


COATES: Every time I hear it, I can't believe that that was what was being said. Well, joining me now are Jordan Holmes and Dan Friesen. They are the co-hosts of the "Knowledge Fight" podcast, which for the last seven years has followed the roller coaster life of Alex Jones.

Gentlemen, thank you for being here with me this evening. And just thinking every time I hear what he said at those moments, it is unbelievable to think that somebody would have said those things and that there would be people who believed it as well.

And Jordan, I want to begin with you because you actually started your podcast back in 2017. And at that time, could you ever imagine that Jones was getting the kind of comeuppance that he is financially getting now?

JORDAN HOLMES, PODCAST HOST: Uh, well, I mean, first, Dan started the podcast in 2017.



COATES: This is so nice.

HOLMES: -- I'm the guy. I say -- I say loud things.

FRIESEN: I'm not loud enough.

HOLMES: I look pretty. That's basically what I do.


So, yeah, he started it. And we -- when we began it, we really didn't even know what was going on with the lawsuit at all. The lawsuit had just started or was about to.

FRIESEN: It was about -- it hadn't started when we started the show.


FRIESEN: Yeah, consequences in general seemed like almost impossible.

HOLMES: They still do. Truthfully.

COATES: Really? Why is that?

HOLMES: We're the poorest people you have on your show today. So --


-- we're not used to rich people getting consequences for things. It's unusual in our world.

FRIESEN: Well, and I think the last number of years have been characterized by like it always seeming like it's just about to like fall apart for him.


HOLMES: The next hearing.

FRIESEN: Yeah, yeah. There's -- there is a constant sense of like he barely gets out of tight spots pretty regularly. And so, it's just kind of -- it's a little disappointing. It's a little sometimes.

HOLMES: I mean, you know, today's -- today's ruling is, we'll see you in a couple of weeks. Like that seems like every ruling has been, hey, guys, we'll see you -- we'll see you next time. Signing off.


COATES: It almost feels like for you. I mean, I think a lot of people have the impression about the sort of the Sisyphean boulder rolling back down the hill when you've got some momentum going. And I think the frustration that it's tied to something as tragic as what it's tied to is all the more telling about a sad commentary.

But since you started the podcast, I want to be -- this has been since 2017, whichever one of you started the podcast. I'll give you both credits today. Talk to me about the demeanor --

HOLMES: It's very Sisyphean. It's very Sisyphean podcast.

COATES: It is. There you go.

HOLMES: It's very Sisyphean kind of thing to do. COATES: Fine. Sisyphean on a Friday night. Look, we can do a whole Greek mythology. I am a generation of "Clash of the Titans." We can do this all day, baby.

HOLMES: Sure. Sure.


COATES: Let me ask you, we're talking about the presentation that -- for Alex Jones in particular. Have you seen a change over these last seven years as you've been following what's going on with him?

FRIESEN: Yeah, definitely. I mean, I think that he talks a whole lot more about how demonic aliens are like controlling his enemies now.



FRIESEN: He -- he definitely has always been like a little bit open about how God chose him to fight the devil --


FRIESEN: -- and all this stuff like literally the devil. But he has been a little bit more explicit and overt about it certainly --


FRIESEN: -- in the last little bit.

HOLMES: To give -- to give an idea, his origin story, uh, God spoke to him when he was eating --

FRIESEN: What did he order?

HOLMES: -- a chicken fried steak.

FRIESEN: What did he have to drink?

HOLMES: He -- I don't remember what he had to drink.

FRIESEN: Iced tea.

HOLMES: Iced tea. That's what it was.

COATES: This is a real story?


COATES: This is the real origin story you're trying to tell me?


HOLMES: Well, I mean, it depends on if you believe --

COATES: I mean, when he has said.

HOLMES: -- God talked to him during a chicken fried steak, if it's a real story.


COATES: Touche. But in his world, have you noticed any remorse that he has demonstrated in any way, shape or form?

FRIESEN: No. If anything --

HOLMES: He's not capable. If anything, combativeness, blaming everybody else for what has happened --


HOLMES: -- and, you know, periodical emotional outbursts. But I wouldn't say any kind of apologeticness or sincere recognition of the harm.

COATES: There was a --

HOLMES: He's going to claim you work for the FBI at the end of it. So --

COATES: Well, I do not. But he got emotional on his show earlier this month. I want to play for a second and have you, guys, react to the other side in terms of what he said.


JONES: We're going to beat these people.


I'm not trying to be dramatic here, but this has been a hard fight.


COATES: Now, in court, by the way, he said he is done apologizing to families and has repeatedly railed against the courts and his defamation ruling. And just what is your reaction when you -- when you hear him say that for him, it has been a hard fight?


FRIESEN: I guess if that's the only variable you, like, can care about, then it probably does feel that way.

HOLMES: I mean, if I was him, I would suggest that that is an accurate statement. It has been a difficult fight for him.

FRIESEN: Uh-hmm.

HOLMES: That is true.


You know.


I don't particularly care.

FRIESEN: Yeah, that was a tough day for him. That was fun.

HOLMES: Yeah, yeah. It was nice.

COATES: Jordan Holmes --

HOLMES: What's he going to sell off first, do you think?

COATES: Oh, gosh.

FRIESEN: Well, I think he said the ranch.

HOLMES: The ranch first.

FRIESEN: That's something that has been made a big deal of.

HOLMES: Has he already sold the tank?

FRIESEN: Probably.

HOLMES: Probably.

FRIESEN: I think he's leasing that.

HOLMES: He's leasing it.

COATES: The thing about it is neither of you are kidding about the assets we're talking about. That's probably the shocking thing about this. Jordan Holmes, Dan Friesen, really great to talk to both of you. And I love that your reaction was a laugh. Thank you so much. And you can go ahead --


HOLMES: Thank you very much.

FRIESEN: Thank you.

COATES: -- and Google Sisyphean. I'm not going to spell it on air. It's a thing. Thanks, fellas.

FRIESEN: Thank you.

COATES: Well, up ahead, Mike Tyson, Herschel Walker, Darryl Strawberry, all Black sports icons, some who became household names decades ago, and they're all embracing Trump. How they're shaping his take on the 2024 race is next.



DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I guess I would have to say Lawrence Taylor is the greatest defensive player ever. I'm a little prejudiced, but I would say that.

LAWRENCE TAYLOR, FOOTBALL LINEBACKER: I just wanted to say, I grew up a Democrat and I've always been a Democrat until I met this man right here.



COATES: That was NFL Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor giving Trump a full-throated endorsement at a rally last month. Taylor recently spoke with Kadia Goba for a new article for Semafor. And Goba initially had reached out to the Trump campaign to talk to the former president about his recent gains in the polls with Black men. Instead, she was given a number of interviews with a number of 80s sports icons like L.T.

Eventually, though, Goba spoke with Trump himself and asked him about what the takeaway should be from his warm relationship with the Black men who had been singing his praises. Quote -- "They see what I've done and they see strength, they want strength. They don't want to have millions of people come and take their jobs. And that's what's happening. These people that are coming into our country are taking jobs away from African Americans and they know it."

Kadia Goba joins us now, and Ashley Etienne is also back with us. Kadia, really interesting piece, of course, as all your work is, frankly. I know it quite well. So, I'm glad to have you here tonight. You had a pretty interesting time trying to get that sit down with Trump. Talk to me about the chronology, though. Why were you not offered him initially and instead had to go through these lists of people instead before you got access?

KADIA GOBA, POLITICAL REPORTER, SEMAFOR: Yeah, I guess they don't. The campaign doesn't know me, I guess. And this was about -- about seven or eight-week ordeal of just talking to a lot of his friends. It started with Darryl Strawberry with a phone call. Guess I passed that test. And then it was like, oh, come on down to New Jersey. Went to New Jersey, interviewed L.T. or Lawrence Taylor from that clip you just saw. I went to my -- I went to -- I ended up going to Florida --

COATES: Interesting.

GOBA: -- to interview Don King.


GOBA: So, that was interesting. And then, you know, Trump's prompting the campaign then connected me to Lawrence Taylor. And that was my final interview right before I started writing a week ago.

COATES: I'm curious to know about what the conversation was like with Don King or Darryl Strawberry.


Are they -- they're also giving full-throated endorsements of Trump?

GOBA: Yeah. These are Trump's friends. They support the president, the former president. They think that -- they're saying the same talking points that you would hear from any Republican lawmaker or they're saying -- you know, talking about the border, talking about immigration and talking about a lot of LGBTQ concerns also where they're saying that men are, you know, been pushed to the side or --


GOBA: -- they're not giving -- or they're not comfortable with some of the -

COATES: Rhetoric.

GOBA: -- some of the rhetoric that's being said or -- or Democrats pushing LGBTQ priorities, specifically around like sports, saying like, you know, sports, there should be a man and a woman. I've come out about that. I think Herschel Walker said that.

COATES: I mean, actually, when you hear that, I mean, there is -- there has been a lot of talk about obviously trying to widen the tent if you are Republicans broadly, but also if you're Trump specifically. And the polling does suggest that he has made some gains, according to the polling, with Black voters in particular. And he has doubled his support from Black voters compared to his time in 2020. Of course, it is less than what Biden enjoys and said. But why do you think that messaging might result in these different poll increases?

ETIENNE: Well, I think what really matters is less the poll and more about actual voter -- voter engagement, how voters voted. And if you look at votes, it's still true, to your point, he's actually making some headway among black voters, especially Black male voters. But I think that that's on the margins, right?


ETIENNE: It's -- the large majority of Black men aren't falling for this. They believe Trump when he says, I don't care anything about you, I just want your vote. They remember how he tried to diminish Barack Obama, our first Black president, with a birtherism movement. They remember that Black male unemployment or black unemployment was double record high under Trump. So, they're not forgetting these. They're not falling for this rhetoric in all of these efforts.

But -- but Kadia and I were talking backstage in the green room, and my point to her was, this focus on Black men and Black voters and all this polling, I really am enjoying because it is really having the reverse effect than what I think Trump wants. COATES: Hmm.

ETIENNE: It's -- it's -- it's putting the Democratic Party in a position to focus on Black voters earlier, sooner, and more aggressively than they ever have. I've done four presidential campaigns. I've been in all the war rooms. And it's not until October, mid-October, where the Black staff are screaming, pulling out their hair, saying, please pay attention to us, right? Like we're bleeding Black voters.

So, for me, it puts the Democratic Party in a position to actually start to organize better appeal to Black voters. They put $25 million in ad. That's a record number, record earliest in the in the campaign cycle.

COATES: Right.

ETIENNE: So -- so, all of this talk about Black voters is really putting the party in a position to really make a full-throated appeal to the constituents.

COATES: You know, I am -- it's a great point in thinking about how this is playing out strategically. But I am -- Kadia, I mean, on the surface, some people might look at there is a disconnect between -- obviously, there's concerns about the age of both presidential candidates and trying to appeal to the youngest voters, 18 and up and sort of the tick tock of it all. The people that we are talking about, 80s so-called sports icons and beyond, I mean, you write that they may not be a stand in for Black voters more generally.

But you say -- quote -- "they do represent a recognizable part of Black culture that Trump has long been plugged into. His success in the election may partly depend on whether in this shifting cultural moment, there are enough Americans thinking about the election the way Mike Tyson does."

Do you think that there's a significant block of Americans who are looking at these particular men who are endorsing and saying, I see myself?

GOBA: I'll give you an example. When I went to Florida for a Don King fight, I talked to the two leading fighters that -- and both of them were Trump supporters. One actually said -- use an explicit -- use the --

COATES: Expletive.

GOBA: -- expletive about how much he supports Trump. Another one remembered the platinum plan. The winner of the boxing match remembered the platinum plan and was looking forward to new policy that the campaign was going to put out.

So, this is -- this is definitely resonating. I'm not saying to a lot of people, but it's definitely resonating to the younger people. These are -- these are between 20 and 35 years old.


ETIENNE: It's not just these 80s sports icons. I mean, you've got current day modern rappers --

GOBA: Yeah.

ETIENNE: -- that are supporting Trump from Snoop Dogg to Lil Wayne and, you know, Ice Cube. So, it's not just these older Black men that they're sort of pulling out from the past, but there are current ones that are actually still doing as much damage, if not more.


COATES: The real test will be in November. Thank you both for being here so much, Kadia Goba, Ashley Etienne.

Ahead, my wide-ranging interview with UFC president, Dana White, including why he's not holding back any punches in supporting his friend, Donald Trump.

Plus, President Biden looks to Hollywood for support. But will he be able to get the attention of young influencers online? We'll discuss.