Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Live Event/Special

The White House Correspondents' Dinner. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired April 29, 2023 - 22:00   ET



TAMARA KEITH, NPR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT AND CO-HOST: As you can see it made quite an impression. What I saw on the screen seem so unattainable, so very far away. Many of the journalists here in this room started at small local papers like the Hanford Sentinel, or TV stations and tiny markets or niche industry newsletters.

And through hard work and determination and pure luck, we wound up here with jobs that rule our lives, doing stories about immigration policy one day, unidentified flying objects that are definitely not aliens the next and then following up on baby formula shortages the day after that. What I'm saying is this is the most high profile general assignment beat in all of journalism.

As President of the White House Correspondents Association, it is my job to try to make it easier for everyone else in the press corps to do their jobs. That is to report on the President of the United States to shine a light, hold the administration accountable and share our reporting with the world.

And this is never more important than when the President goes to a warzone. When President Biden decided to make a clandestine visit to Kyiv I made the call to Sabrina Siddiqui of The Wall Street Journal. I asked her to drop everything and come to the White House. She asked if she was in trouble.

And if this had been a movie, I would have said no, but you're about to get the assignment of a lifetime. But this wasn't a movie and what I told her wasn't nearly as dramatic. She and Evan Vucci (ph), a photographer with the Associated Press were getting the assignment of a lifetime now. They would be the only two journalists traveling with President Biden to Ukraine. Neither of them hesitated.

White House journalists go where the President goes, wherever that may be, whether it's Wilmington again or a 20 hour round trip train ride through the Ukrainian countryside defense (ph). It's been five hours in Kyiv. But Sabrina had a question. Remember what I said about jobs ruling our lives.

Well, Sabrina was just back from maternity leave and was still nursing. How would she pump? Luckily, I had an answer. I had started the wheels turning days earlier to make sure that the security and logistics arrangements were in place so that she could do both of her jobs. Not only did Sabrina write -- beautifully written full reports with details that serve the entire press corps and the entire country. She was able to bring milk back for baby Sophia (ph).

People often ask which TV show about the White House is the most accurate. And I'm here to tell you it's a lot more like Veep than West Wing. However, if you were to wander into the area where the press corps works, it's more like the office meets hoarders. The Press workspace is cramped and the furniture is literally falling apart. The briefing room seats are mysteriously sticky. We have this room that we affectionately call the lavatory area. That is a combo lunch room bathroom.

And the last time any of this was updated was when George W. Bush was President. But I'm happy to report that thanks to the hard work of the WHCA board and contributions from news organizations in this room. We are about to get a refresh. Yes, you're cheering for furniture. The work to remodel the press workspace will be done in the next two months. But before we start demolition, I thought we'd bring in a couple of home renovation experts for a consultation.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Joe and Jill. After years of long commutes to work, they finally decided to take the leap and move into their dream home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unfortunately, it's a bit of a fixer upper to put it nicely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But we've got some big ideas to give the White House press area a big refresh.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is so exciting. A press room refresh.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is fantastic. I cannot wait to hear these ideas. We are really great fans of your work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This place is in really serious disrepair mean it's dirty. It's dingy. It's moldy. We get it. It's just full.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: So what are you thinking because it can't be too out there. Originally we wanted to hire Martha Stewart but she wanted to build a lake and put 24 (inaudible) in it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are pitching replacing all the furniture in the White House workspace new cabinets, new flooring, new lighting everything to give it a new modern positive vibe. (Inaudible) simple and within your budget.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sounds good. There are a few--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Other ideas we'd like to get your approval on as well.

JEAN-PIERRE: We're only supposed to be doing the press row. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've been doing this a long time and we think we know how to turn the White House into the white home. And that's by personalizing it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've commissioned Doug Mills from the New York Times to shoot some Tasteful Nudes of past presidents that we can display along the wall throughout the space.

JEAN-PIERRE: I don't think this is going to fly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. OK. Let's move on to the next idea because you are going to love it. We take the entire West Wing down to the studs, get rid of all those ugly offices and create one massive sleek modern room. Then we build those the Rose Garden, lose the West colonnade and transform the Oval Office into a Dave and Busters. How fun would that be?


JEAN-PIERRE: Interesting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your host has ended the meeting.



MARTHA STEWART, AMERICAN BUSINESSWOMAN: I knew you'd come crawling back. They always do.


KEITH: Joe and Jonathan Scott are here tonight. So if anybody here is looking to replace their bathtub with a pinball machine, go find them over there. I share these moments with you this evening to remind everyone even ourselves as journalists that we are human beings doing a job and important job to the best of our abilities. And some days are better than others. We seek to open eyes, change lives and change minds.

And when we're at our best, our stories bring accountability to those in power. This is a challenging time for the news industry. My employer NPR just went through a painful round of layoffs and we aren't alone. ABC, BuzzFeed, CBS, CNN, Guenette, Insider, VICE News Tonight, The Washington Post; I had to alphabetize the list. It is so long.

And it is hitting local newsrooms too. WHCA member Jonathan Salant was the last newspaper reporter based in Washington, dedicated to covering the New Jersey congressional delegation. And then the star ledger of Newark laid them off. You might imagine that the politicians from that state would be breathing easier. Instead, many of them protested because they know that the citizens of New Jersey need that journalistic spotlight on their elected leaders. But I'm here to report some good news. Jonathan was recently scooped up by a newspaper in Pittsburgh, so Pennsylvania lawmakers watch out. But the threats to an independent press aren't just financial. Our thoughts tonight are with Evan Gershkovich, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal. He's in prison. Evan is in prison tonight in Russia on fake espionage charges simply for doing his job reporting.

He loves blaring Russian rock music and as the son of Russian immigrants loves reporting stories about Russia not just about its leaders, but about regular people too. And his family is here tonight. Ella, Mikhail. Danielle and Anthony we stand with you and we stand with Evan. Debra Tice is here as well seated with the Washington Post. Right over there, Debra. Yes.


Her son, Austin Tice, a freelance journalist was taken captive in Syria almost 11 years ago. Mrs. Tice, you were here at last year's dinner pressing Austin's case. And unfortunately, he is still in Syria a year later. Let's bring him home.

Evan and Austin are among the hundreds of journalists, too many to name wrongfully detained in countries where there is no such thing as a free press. The threats also come from within. There are reporters in this room who have been derided by the people within their own organization, dismissed as the journalists for reporting the facts, for telling people the truth, as if that's a bad thing, it isn't.

This is also a challenging time for our country. People are choosing their news, in part based on what they want to hear. And this makes us all vulnerable to conspiracy theories, to seeing the worst in our fellow citizens, to losing sight of our shared humanity. Despite the fact that you see us all sitting here together on this stage, the relationship between Presidents and the press who cover them is never easy, ever.

Every President privately and sometimes publicly bridles at his news coverage. And yet they invite us in and take our questions, though, sir, maybe not as many as we would like, because we represent the American people, and the constitutionally enshrined principle of a free and independent press. So as difficult as the relationship between us maybe the alternative where there is no relationship, no free press, and no scrutiny should be unthinkable for us all.

There is a tradition at this dinner, to acknowledge the journalists in the room, the ones who are doing the work that this night is all about. These are difficult times in our industry, there is a lot of uncertainty and fear for what the future holds. But we are still here. So let's stand proud. If you're a journalist who covers the White House, please stand up.

If you work in radio, please stand up. If you work for regional newspaper, please stand up. If you work in local or regional television, please stand up. Stay standing guys, if you work for a major national newspaper or wire service, please stand. TV correspondents, anchors, producers crew stand up. And finally, if you support the work that all of us are doing, if you believe in a free press if you believe it is a pillar of democracy, if you defend the power to ask questions to open eyes to change lives and change minds, please stand.

And now raise a glass as we proudly continue our tradition of raising a glass and toast to the First Amendment and to the President of the United States.

Ladies and gentlemen, President Joe Biden.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Thank you, Tam for that introduction. I think and he started a serious note. Jill, Kamala, Doug and I and members of our administration are here to send a message of the country and quite frankly, to the world. The free press is a pillar, maybe the pillar for free society. Not the enemy. Thomas Jefferson wrote, you all know this quote.


Thomas Jefferson wrote, were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate to prefer the latter. To Evans parents, Ella, Mikhail, and sister Danielle, as I've told you in persons, we not just me you all stand with you. Evan want to report Russia to shed light on the darkness that you all escaped from years ago. Absolute courage. A handwritten letter from President to his family Evan wrote, "I am not losing hope.

In an interview his mom Ella said one of the American qualities that we absorbed is to be optimistic. That's where we stand right now. To the entire family, everyone in this hall stands with you. We're working every day to secure his release looking at opportunities and tools to bring him home. We keep the faith.

We also keep the faith for Austin, Austin Tice. His mom Debra is here tonight. She knows some of our several conversations, a conversation with me and my senior staff. We are not giving up. As I told you at this dinner last year, as I told you in the Oval Office, you raised an incredible son. When he was a kid, he was an Eagle Scout, a big brother, a board protector, a US Marine, three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Austin, Austin was a fearless journalist and a future lawyer. As a consequence of Austin showing the world the cost of war, he's been detained in Syria for nearly 11 years. It's simply wrong. It's outrageous, and we are not ceasing our effort to get him. Find him bring him home. Tonight our message is this journalism is not a crime. Evan and Austin should be released immediately, along with every other American hell Austin wrongfully detained abroad.

Paul Whelan, unjustly held in Russia for more than four years, whose brave sister I've met with his family has never quit fighting for Paul. And I promise you neither will I and neither will this administration until we get him home. And there are other Americans being unjustly held in Iran, Venezuela, China and elsewhere. Their stories may not make headlines or hashtags, but every day, every day, their family looks at that empty chair, the kitchen table, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays without them.

The pain of living in limbo, in a sense is almost worth the pain of having lost a child and looking at an empty chair. The stress of not knowing, the sorrow of uncertainty, but I want them in their families to know Jill and I understand we see them. They're not forgotten. And I promise you I am working like hell to get them home.

As a nation, I will never give up on hope. Things can get better. Things can turn. Things can change. Tonight, unlike last year, Brittney Griner, her wife Cherelle. Brittany, where are you kid, stand up, come on. I love this one. Love you Brittney. This time last year we're praying for your Brittney hopefully you know how hard all of us we're fighting for your release. It's great to have you home. And boys, I can hardly wait to see you back on the court case. Remember your promise I get to bring my granddaughter my all state girl to see you, right.


Because of our unrelenting efforts we've been able to bring home dozens of hostages and wrongfully detained at wrongful detainees from Afghanistan, Burma, Haiti, Iran, Rhonda, Venezuela, across West Africa around the world, we're doing everything we can to prevent these cases from occurring in the first place.

For example, the State Department added the threat of detention as a new risk indicator to his travel advisors to go along with the threat of kidnapping to warn Americans where these threats are highest abroad. I also recently signed an executive order increasing the consequences for criminal groups and terrorists who engage in appalling practice for treating human beings as bargaining chips, political pawns.

Just two days ago, my administration announced the first sanctions under this new authority, punishing individuals a security service that Russia and Iran been part of the wrongful defense detention of Americans, above all, across government. Experts are working day and night to bring our fellow Americans home. Much of which is you well know, we can't talk about concern that backfire. But my commitment, my commitment is to bring them home. Just as I know, you're committed to continue to be in a free and fearless press.

And that's what we honored tonight. This is not hyperbole. You make it possible. You make it possible for ordinary citizens to question authority. And yes, even the laughing authority without fear intimidation. That's what makes this nation strong. So tonight, let us show ourselves in the world our strength, not just by the example of our power, but by the power of our example. Folks, I know a lot of change in the press and a lot of conversations a lot of you. This is not your father's press from 20 years ago.

No, I'm serious. And you all know better than I do. But still it is absolutely consequential and essential. After all, I believe in the First Amendment, not just because my good friend Jimmy Madison wrote it. A lot of ways this dinner sums up my first two years in office. I'll talk for 10 minutes take zero question and cheerfully walk away. Yes, I know I just announced my reelection campaign.

Some of you, some of you scooped it out announced in the video. But really, you really all thought in your heart and I just blurted out, didn't you? And look, I get that age is completely reasonable issue, it's in everybody's mind. And everyone I mean the New York Times. Headline, Biden's advanced days the big issue. Trump's however is not. Sorry, that was a New York Times Pitchbot I apologize. I love that guy. I should do an interview with him.

You might think I don't like Rupert Murdoch. That's simply not true. How can I just like a guy who makes me look like Harry Styles? Call me old. I call it being season. You say I'm ancient, I say I'm wise. You say I'm over the hill. Don Lemon would say that's a man who's fine.

Folks, it's wonderful to be back here again, proving I haven't learned a damn thing. I want everybody to have fun tonight. Please be safe. If you find yourself disoriented or confused. It's either you're drunk or Marjorie Taylor Greene. Thank you for hosting us.


I love NPR because they whispered in the mic like I do. But not everybody loves NPR. Elon Musk tweeted that it should be defunded. Well, the best way to make NPR go away from Elon Musk to buy it. And that's more true than you think anyway. This dinner is one of the two great traditions of Washington. The other one is underestimated me and Kamala. But the truth is, we really have a right to be proud of vaccinated the nation, transform the economy, urge historic legislative victories and midterm results. But the job isn't finished.

I mean, it is finished for Tucker Carlson. What are you ruining (ph) about like that? Like you think that's not reasonable. Give me a break. Just give me a break. Look, like often say, don't compare me the almighty compare me to the alternative. We added trauma in jobs that's just counting the lawyers to the defendant, the President. Had Ron DeSantis -- I had a lot of Ron DeSantis jokes ready. But Mickey Mouse beat the hell out of me got there first. Now look, can't be too rough on the guy.

After his reelection as Governor he was asked if he had a mandate. He said hell no I'm straight. I'm straight and gave me time to think that went through. You got it? Look, you all keep reporting my approval rate is 42 percent. I think you don't know this. Kevin McCarthy called me and asked me Joe, what the hell is your secret? I'm not even kidding about that one.

The Speakers trying to claim a big win this week, but the last time he told me he's voted on something this that hapless it took 15 tries that was good. Look it's great the Cable News Networks are here tonight. MSNBC (inaudible) NBCUniversal, Fox News owned by Dominion Voting System.

Last year, your favorite Fox News reporters were able to attend because they were fully vaccinated and boosted. This year with that $787 million settlement they're here because they couldn't say no to a free meal and I call Fox honest, fair and truthful, then I can be sued for defamation.

And I never compare what they do to me. Look, I hope the Fox News team finds this funny. My goal is to make them laugh as hard to CNN did what I've read the settlement. But then again, CNN was like wow, they actually have $787 million. Whoa, folks, I go where people are the Daily Show. Where's the great guy. He wants to dump me the Jay Z in Delaware. Don't let that look in your face you did.

Tonight he asked me to keep it short. Even offered me 10 bucks if I'd keep it under 10 minutes. That's a switch a President being offered hush money.


Look, I'm going to leave the jokes to the pros. But let me conclude on a genuinely serious note. Roy was born in Birmingham, Alabama. He graduated from a great HBCU Florida A&M. He started in journalism to follow in the footsteps of his father Roy Wood Sr. who covered the civil rights movement. During Black History Month this year, I hosted the screening of the movie Till. The story of Emmett Till, and his mother is a story of a family's promise and loss.

And a nation's reckoning with hate, violence and abuse of power. This is a story that was seared in our memory and our conscious the nation's conscious. When Mrs. Till insisted that an open casket for her murdered and maimed 14 year old son, be the means by which he was transported. She said, let the people see what I've seen. The reason that world saw what she saw was because of another hero in the story, the black press. That's a fact.

Check magazine, the Chicago Defender and other black radio and newspapers are on flinching and brave, and making sure America saw what she saw. And I mean it. I had to be well, I had to be well, once said and I "the way to write wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon the wrongs, turn the light of truth upon the wrongs. That's the sacred view, in my view, that's a sacred charge of a free press. And I mean that. That's what someone we still miss so much. Will you honor posthumanism it stood for (inaudible).

She was among the very best we talked about at the table. She moderated my first advantage for Vice President and was a trusted voice for millions of Americans. When understood, the louder noise more it's on all of us to cut through the noise to the truth. Truth matters. As I said last year at this dinner, a poison is running through our democracy and parts of the extreme press.

Truth buried by lies and lies, living on its truth. Lies total for profit and power, lies and conspiracy and malice repeated over and over again designed to generate a cycle of anger, hate, and even violence. A cycle that emboldens history to be buried, books to be banned. Shown on the face families be attacked by the state, the rule of law and our rights and freedoms to be stripped away or elected representatives, the people are expelled from state houses for standing for the people. I made clear that we know in our bones and you know it too our democracy remains at risk. And I've also made it clear as I've seen throughout my life, it's within our power each and every one of us to preserve our democracy. We can, we must, we will. I'd like to make a toast if I had the class. My grandfather Ambrose Finnegan, said if you ever make a toast that look you got to hold your left hand.

Don't think I'm kidding. I'm not. I'm probably the only Irish you ever mentioned never to drink in his life anyway. I like to make a toast seriously. At this inflection point in history, let us commit there will be a nation that will embrace light over darkness, truth over lies and finally, finally, finally restore the soul of the nation here, here.


Ladies and gentlemen, can I give you that? I'm going to turn this over to Roy. Roy, the podium is yours. I'm going to be fine with your jokes. But I'm not sure about Dark Brandon.

KEITH: Thank you Mr. President. I thank. It is now my great pleasure to introduce our headliner for the night Roy Wood Jr. He is a correspondent for The Daily Show who just had a killer week as guest host, but right doesn't just play a fake journalist on TV that degree from Florida A&M University is in broadcast journalism.

And well pursuing comedy Roy spent 13 years and morning radio in Birmingham, Alabama, at the same station where his father a pioneering radio journalist once worked. Without further ado, let's give it up for Roy Wood Jr.

ROY WOOD JR. CORRESPONDENT, THE DAILY SHOW: Now I'll give it up for Dark Brandon. Yes, and I know. Happy to be here real quick Mr. President, I thank you for some of your classified documents up here. You can get them to him. I put them in a safe place. He don't know where to keep them. I'm happy to be here though. Happy to be here. I'm very happy, very happy to be here.

So it's a pleasure to be here amongst our country's greatest leaders, distinguished media organizations, both Property Brothers and Dr. Fauci. If you see Fauci take a picture with them now show new booster shots. Which all look good, though. I've been watching and looking around all night. You all look good. You dress nice. You got the nice threads on, you got the jewelry glistening. Look like everybody got a little piece of their settlement money from Fox News.

And that's all I have to say about that, because I'm not going to have dominion on my ass. I love dominion, as a matter of fact, let me just say right now my favorite voting machine is Dominion voting machines. When I go to the polls, I make sure it is a Dominion machine that argues if your election need the truth, put Dominion in your booth. I'm going to get soon. There's three people, you don't want to see in the courtroom. That's Dominion, Cardi B or Gwyneth Paltrow you don't lose.

I'd like to thank Tamara Keith and the White House Correspondents Association for having me. Thank you for having me. I'm well aware that not everybody in this room knows who I am. So let's just address the elephant in the room. I know what it is. Half this room think I'm Kenan Thompson. Other half think I'm Louis Armstrong.

President Biden thinks I'm the daddy of Your Family Matters. Nonetheless, I'm happy to be here at this event amongst government officials who speak to MSNBC, former government officials who now work at MSNBC and future government officials who currently work at MSNBC. An often overlooked purpose of tonight's dinner, you know serious business.


The Overlook purpose of tonight's dinner is to award scholarships to students who have shown great achievements in journalism, it's right. These brave young souls are the future of the industry. And I'd like to stop right now and congratulate tonight's top scholarship recipient, Arizona State Senior George Santos. Oh yes, George couldn't be here tonight. He's auditioning for RuPaul's Drag Race. This is not bad. It's not bad.

We say good luck to you George and sashay away. And also speaking of drag queens can we stop with the groom and stuff. Can you stop talking about that? Drag queens are not at a school to groom your kids. Stop it and even if they were most of them kids going to get shot at school ain't no problem, those grown pass legislation that they boom is going to bother me. I'm like, oh, my Mitch McConnell ain't got no soul.

It's tumultuous time in the media though. We got layoffs everywhere. BuzzFeed News, NPR, Axios, Washington Post, ESPN. Paramount Global right now is considering offers from Byron Allen and Tyler Perry to purchase BET. That's how bad it is out there. These companies are so broke, they had given BET back to black people which by the way, it's not what we meant when we say black people wanting reparations.

We make cash you can give it to us and them Harriet Tubman 20. But tonight, we are all unified under one thing and that scandal. Scandals have been devouring careers this year. The Untouchable Tucker Carlson is out of a job. Some people celebrate it. But to Tucker staff I want you to know that I know what you're feeling. I work at The Daily Show. So I too, have been blindsided by the sudden departure of the host of the fake news program. Tucker got caught up, got caught up like they do from Vanderpump Rules.

Text message stuff, I don't even know what Vanderpump Rules is about. I've just watched it a couple times. My friends told me it's like BMF before white people. Was that secession? No, secession is power for white people. No, Tucker Carlson is power for white people. No, that's white power. You know what? Never mind. Don't worry about that. Don't worry about that.

We got to get Tucker back on air Mr. President, because right now there's millions of Americans that don't even know why they hate you. Fox claimed Dominion conspired with the Democrats to rig the election. The Democrats should be flattered that they thought that you all was smart enough to rig an election. We're not needed to run off to beat a werewolf, but it's not over for you, Fox News.

You still got bad -- more bad news coming down the pipe that Smartmatic voting machine lawsuit is coming. The right Smartmatic is coming for you and they want more money than Dominion. Let me just say right now, my favorite voting machine is the Smartmatic voting machine. If your election needs to truth, but Smartmatic and you'll boof (ph). But I think it's fair that we should give credit where credit is due.

Tucker Carlson is the first host to get fired from Fox News for something that's only partially about how he treats women. That's progress. He shattered the asshole ceiling. Speaking of assholes Don Lemon is out of a job. Don Lemon, my dog Don Lemon. Don Lemon released a statement saying he got fired from CNN. Then CNN released a statement saying that they offered Don a meeting. They had to part ways because Don Lemon can't even accurately report a story about Don Lemon. I still think that Don deserve more CNN. Anyhow, you fire somebody, it's messed up.


How funny is it that you work in the news then watch on the news that you got fired from the news. Don Lemon is now the most obnoxious guy in the history of CNN that's not fair, even Jeffrey Toobin looking at Don Lemon like oh, he rode me the wrong ways.

Letting Don go was the wrong move. You shouldn't have let him go. Not this soon CNN. First off, Don was fine when you all was letting him drink. You shouldn't have cut off his liquor. You don't fire your host after the first couple of scandals. Let the -- the scandals has got to stack up. You got to get ratings. Yes, Don Lemon was a diva. And he said a couple women are ragged in the face, but that's the promotion at Fox News, but I ultimately understand why CNN did what they did.

I get it, it's about morals. It should be no place on air for someone who speaks with wild disregard. It doesn't consider the blowback to their coworkers or their company. Thankfully, CNN has taken steps in the right direction. They got rid of Don Lemon and they've now given a show to Charles Barkley.

Charles Barkley is co-host Gayle King, we say good luck. I think it's going to be a good show. The whole show is going to be Charles Barkley saying something crazy than Gayle King looking into the camera, Charles, Charles. Scandals. That's what connects us, so many scandals, the king of scandals President Donald Trump. It's important for a moment can we just all acknowledge, can we just all be honest and just say that the Trump arrest didn't hit like we thought it was going to hit?

We're so desensitized to scandals now that Trump arrest it didn't do what I thought it was going to do. The Trump arrest is like a Pat Brown and you ate four hours ago. And I feel justice, just don't feel like justice. Let me try one of them Georgia Raymond Brown is maybe that hit. OK. That was asked (inaudible) and follow Trump's scandals.

There's too many Trump scandals to keep up with -- keeping up with Trump's scandals is like watching Star Wars movies. You got to watch the third one to understand the first one. Then you got to -- you can't miss the second one because it's got Easter eggs for the fifth one. Donald Trump is the only politician whose scandals got spin offs on Disney Plus.

But the Trump arrest, it made everybody question what they believe. You thought you lean one way politically. Then Trump got locked out. Everybody started waffling. Put Republicans between a rock and a hard place. Donald Trump that locked up and for years, all Republicans lately I've been saying for years. We got to get Trump on crime. Trump got arrested. We met black crime. Same thing with the liberals too, Liberals was all confused after Trump got arrested. We got to abolish prison. Trump got arrested. Bring back Rikers.

I don't know about you all but for me the easiest scandal to follow was the Trump documents scandal that was the one that was easy to follow. It was simple, is some stuff that's supposed to be in the White House that ain't. In the media, you all do Charles (ph) job. You all jumped on that story. As soon as the Trump document story broke, everybody was down at Mar-a-Lago. We're reporting live from the documents.

And then we found out Joe Biden had documents too and it was like oh, it's not a big deal. It's not a big deal. Everybody got documents, everybody got documents, (inaudible) oh, look at Chinese spy balloon would you look at that. Well done media. Happy to be here. Very happy to be here.

If there's one person that could use a scandal, it's Ron DeSantis. That boy is just running around just passing every controversial law he can think of, thinking that's going to activate voters. That's not how you activate voters in this country. Ron, everybody know how to do politics. This is America. We don't pass laws. You make a promise to voters. And then you don't do it. That's what the great leaders in this room understand. You know how to make things not happen.


The only thing Ron DeSantis has done that I got to give him credit for. (Inaudible) got people round up all the stuff they can't understand. Don't nobody -- they don't know what Critical Race Theory is, get these people riled up about something that they can't even define like crypto or NFTs ask any Republican that's anti-CRT. Ask any Republican trying to explain CRT. They sound like a Democrat trying to explain the charges against Trump.

It's bad everywhere. Who's got to stop it? We got to stop it. We got the files. We got files. We'll be right back. I'm Rachel Maddow. I have files. Rachel Maddow get them files, on your rap. I think Republicans, you all would be surprised man, if you all would just be real about what CRT is. You can be surprised some black folks might meet you halfway. But you got to tell the truth. You can't lie to black people call it what it is.

Anti-CRT policies are an attack on black history and an attempt to erase the contributions of black people from the history books. That's what it is. You are trying to erase black people. And a lot of black people wouldn't mind some of that eraser as long as that black person is Clarence Thomas. A billionaire named Harlan Crow, flying Clarence Thomas all over the world on unreported trips like the Instagram model taking plants to the Maldives and the beaches and all pay for his mom's house, this billionaire. Pay for Clarence Thomas mama's house.

I got to give it up to billionaires, billionaires well, you all always come up with something new to buy. Like, just when you think of everything you could buy on Earth. Billionaire will come up with a new thing. You all buy space rockets, you bought Twitter. This man bought a Supreme Court Justice. Do you understand how rich you have to be to buy supreme, a black one on top of that. There's only two in stock.

And Harlan Crow owns half the inventory. We can all see Clarence Thomas. But he belongs to billionaire Harlan Crow and that's what an NFT is. Everybody's got some scandalous stuff. Despite the challenging times we live in I look around this room and I see people that are hard working. Many of you I don't even think you should be working that hard. We should be inspired by the events in France. They rioted when the retirement age went up two years to 64, they rioted because they didn't want to work till 64.

Meanwhile in America, we have an 80 year old man begging us for four more years of work, begging, begging. Let me finish the job. That's not a campaign slogan. That's a plea. Let me finish, let me finish. I do wish you the best of luck on the campaign trail Mr. President. I got a lot of things that you're going to have to navigate a lot of hurdles. You've had quite a few scandals. You know, we know about the documents, we know about the laptops, but there's been no scandal more damaging than the scandal of is Joe Biden awake?

Say what you want about our President but when he wake up from that nap, work gets done. He might doze off, infrastructure bill, student loan forgiveness. Did we free Brittney Griner -- free Brittney Griner? But I think the most insulting scandal to fall to the feet of the Biden administration was placed at the feet of our Madam Vice President. The scandal of what does Kamala do, which is a disrespectful question. That's a disrespectful question because nobody ever asked that question of the Vice President until a woman got the job.

I'm going to ask I don't know what Mike Pence did. The only thing I know about Mike Pence is that he's really good at playing hide and seek at the Capitol. You got to be crafted and catch Mike Pence and that Capitol.


He'd know all the nooks and crannies. Don't put the camera on her on a Mike Pence joke don't do that. He said they tried to set you up Madam Vice President and so they do. At the end of the day as a Vice President, the only thing only you got to do is just be better than Dick Cheney. That's about it, just be better than Dick Cheney. They made a documentary about Dick Cheney.

Now, I don't know much about the job of Vice President but I do know if they can make a documentary about your time as Vice President, you Vice President incorrectly. And if a VPs job is really just waiting to step in to save the country in case of emergency, then the job of Vice President is the perfect job for a black woman shouldn't be but it is. And whatever you do accomplish, whatever you do accomplish all you're going to do is just give a man credit for anything you do on immigration stuff.

You've been knocked out and we got all this banking and you got the internet down there taking care of all this postpartum stuff. They just going to give a man credit for what you've done. By the way, Mr. President, great job of being the first woman Vice President of color. I don't even know how you did that pod. Wonderful job. Happy to be here. But tonight, tonight is all about you all, the journalists, the defenders of free speech. The people who show truth to the world, through different mediums through television, through print, through radio, through whatever China let us see on TikTok.

But the industry that covers all of these scandals, isn't immune to them their self. The issue with good media is that most people can't afford that. All the essential fair and nuanced reporting it's all stuck behind a paywall. People can't afford rent, people can't afford food, not healthy food. They can't afford an education they damn sure can't afford to pay for the truth. Seems you want about a conspiracy theory but at least is affordable.

Unless you -- Alex Jones, it costs you about 900. And I understand that we have to put the stuff behind the paywall, because creating the truth is important. People can't afford the truth. But you all can't afford to go find the truth for free. The work you do as journalists is important. It's essential. It's dangerous. My father was an embedded reporter on the frontlines with black platoons in Vietnam. It was in the South African Soweto riots uncovered that.

The civil war in Rhodesia, which we know today is Zimbabwe, my father came back home and co-founded the National Black network because he wanted to tell black stories. American Urban Radio Networks now and they've been doing it 50 years and that's part of what my father wanted to build. You know? And I know it was hard because you know, black daddies loved telling you when something was difficult.

They were shooting at me boy, but I never dropped my tape recorder. My daddy tell war stories like Brian Williams. And Lester Holt didn't laugh at that one. OK, for having him. Good journalism cost. That's the truth of the matter. The journalism cost the people but it also cost the journalist. It could even cost for your freedom. We talked about Evan at The Wall Street Journal sitting in a Russian prison as we speak on espionage charges. Which espionage charges by the way, that's the foreign equivalent of saying someone fits the description.

Evan and hundreds of journalists got imprisoned all over the world simply for doing their job. And we got to defend great journals. Most of the national stories in this country, at some point were first a local story. And those stories are championed by reporters at outlets that many of them have now folded and if we can't figure out a way to pay local reporters then as a country, we're only left with that many more blind spots to where the bull is happening. You hear about all these newsrooms getting cuts every article that Tamara has been sending me the last two months, it's just the newsroom is getting cut, cutting people with cutting budgets, but you'd never hear about the multimillion dollar executives reducing their salaries within these organizations.