Return to Transcripts main page
CNN Live Event/Special
GOP's Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) Is Latest Guardrail In A Vulnerable Democracy; Trump Pleads Not Guilty In Georgia Election Interference Case; Two Proud Boys Get 32 Years Combined In Prison For Jan. 6th; Senator Mitch McConnell Freezes Again In Public; Senator Tim Scott's Single Status Becomes An Issue In His Run For Presidency; "Barbie" Movie Expected To Make Its Way On To The List Of The Top 15 Grossing Films Of All-Time; Burger King Faces Class Action Lawsuit. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired August 31, 2023 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Little Richards' lyrics were too lewd to get their play on the radio.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was just as clean as you were.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was very good at liberating other people. He was not good at liberating himself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michael was inspired by me. Prince, James Brown, I discovered him. Jimi Hendrix was my guitar player.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I used to stand on the desk and do Little Richard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone was beholden to him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Little Richard, I Am Everything, Labor Day on CNN.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Indeed he was.
And thank you so much for joining us tonight. CNN PRIMETIME with Abby Phillip starts right now.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you so much, Kaitlan. Have a good night.
And good evening, everyone, I'm Abby Phillip. Tonight, I will speak with a former Proud Boy who knew the two extremists who were just sentenced more than a decade behind bars today for sedition on January 6th. And don't miss this conversation.
But, first, we have another extraordinary example of the guardrails holding up in a vulnerable democracy. We've seen the examples in recent years, the military refusing to use force after the election, the courts refusing to accept bogus arguments without evidence, the election workers who quietly and heroically ensured the integrity of those ballots and the voters who showed up in massive numbers to speak their voices, finally, the states where many in both parties did reject efforts to undo the will of those very voters, and that includes the state of Georgia, where Republicans fought off attempts to undermine democracy.
And today it happened again, Republican Governor Brian Kemp rejecting efforts in his state to impeach Fani Willis. That's the prosecutor who's charged Donald Trump in 18 of his allies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): Up to this point, I have not seen any evidence that D.A. Willis' actions or lack thereof weren't actioned by the prosecuting attorney oversight commission.
In my mind, a special session of the General Assembly to end, run around this law is not feasible and may ultimately prove to be unconstitutional.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: Kemp, a conservative, by sticking to the Constitution, instead of caving to yet another effort to sabotage it without any merit.
Now, this comes as Donald Trump is waiving his arraignment to plead not guilty to that Georgia case. And he wants to separate his case from all the others who want a speedy trial.
I want to bring in now a former Trump White House associate counsel, May Mailman. She's the president of Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections.
May, Judge Chutkan in the election interference case did say that the former president's lawyers should have been prepared for this moment. That was the federal case. But even in this Georgia case, I mean, shouldn't they really be hitting the ground running here? I mean, they've known about these potential charges coming for quite a while now.
MAY MAILMAN, VICE PRESIDENT, RESTORING INTEGRITY AND TRUST IN ELECTIONS: They have, but we have to remember that Trump hired his lawyer only recently. His lawyer has a trial scheduled for basically the month of September. And so to go to trial in the month of October isn't feasible.
But I think, really, it's not the timing that's the issue for President Trump and asking to sever his case. It is a notice that Fani Welles filed yesterday saying, hey, FYI, when you ask for a speedy trial, it means that defendants are not given the rights that they normally would as far as given evidence in advance, being able to bring witnesses at the last moment.
So, there are all these procedural protections that defendants don't get. And Trump basically says it's not fair for that to apply to me because I'm not requesting a speedy trial. So, in that case, he basically had to sever.
PHILLIP: That's true. But there's a part of this, which is the legal maneuverings here of the Trump team. I mean, he got a brand new lawyer at basically the very last possible moment. He doesn't want these trials happening before the election. Is this just another delay tactic?
MAILMAN: So, I don't think that this is a delay tactic. And I know that there was a switch in the lawyer, but I think, actually, this is one of the more responsible in earlier switches. It was before he even made his first appearance. What you don't want to see is a switch in a lawyer, like on the eve of trial or during trial or something like that. That does start to feel like a delay tactic.
But I think that October is outrageously fast. And it's actually a little bit unclear who's going to go in October. It seems like right now the court has only said one guy, this Kenneth Cheseboro. And even Sidney Powell, who's asked for a speedy trial.
She doesn't want to go with Cheseboro.
So, he's asking to sever, but it's not even clear from whom. I think that most of the defendants, including President Trump, are all going to be ending up going later, not necessarily because of delay but just because of reality. The government hasn't even provided discovery yet. They don't even have the evidence to sift through yet.
PHILLIP: This afternoon, a judge also cleared the way for cameras in the courtroom in Georgia in those trials of Trump and his co- defendants. This is something that is allowed in the state level, but not at the federal level. And Trump, of course, being the reality T.V. star that he is, he likes to play to the cameras. How do you think that will change how he and perhaps how he wants his attorneys to approach this trial?
MAILMAN: So, it's going to be a real show, I guess. So, cameras in the courtroom are not something that I am in favor of. I don't think that it is beneficial necessarily to protecting the defendant's due process. It instead turns this into a show, basically. But it's something that I think Trump probably wants, and I think that the American public want, because they want to be able to see what's going on. And I think that's very understandable.
But how does that change what Trump presents? I don't think it helps in a good way. I think all of a sudden now we are re-litigating all of the flaws, minor and major, in Georgia, rather than focusing on, for example, the elements of a RICO crime, the elements of what it requires to have knowledge in false statements, that sort of thing, so it changes the legal argument re-litigating the election.
PHILLIP: Yes. Well, look, Trump is going to be a defendant sitting in a courtroom. The cameras are going to be on him. I remember in the New York case, there were cameras in there very briefly, just to take photographs, still photos, and he looked directly at them.
His demeanor will matter quite a lot. And it's not just the cameras of the world that's looking at that. The jury will be seeing how he performs, too. Do you think he'll act differently because he knows that there are cameras there?
MAILMAN: So, my experience with President Trump is maybe what the American people who do like him like about him, which is there really isn't T.V. Trump and behind the scenes Trump. He's kind of the showman that you would see on T.V. all the time. Like when there's no cameras, when there's just a few number of people in the room, he still is -- I mean, I call him a host. Like he makes you feel welcome. And it's always about presentation.
So, maybe it will change the way that the public perceives things. Maybe it'll change the way that the lawyers argue, but the way that his face is, his demeanor is, his personality is, sometimes with Trump, he is ruled by his emotion, and there's definite cons to that. One pro is you get who you get.
PHILLIP: Well, we'll see how that works out with a jury of his peers who will be ultimately deciding this case. May Mailman, thank you very much.
MAILMAN: Thanks, Abby.
PHILLIP: And Chris Whipple joins me now. He's the author of The Fight of His Life, Inside Joe Biden's White House, and also the author of The Gatekeepers. He also has an op-ed in The New York Times today arguing that Trump's White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is a warning about what a second Trump term could mean for the country.
Chris, thanks for being here.
CHRIS WHIPPLE, AUTHOR, THE FIGHT OF HIS LIFE: Great to be here.
PHILLIP: Look. Brian Kemp, let's start there, I mean, shooting down these calls for Trump to -- or for Republicans to basically remove a D.A. just because they don't like what she's prosecuting, what do you make of the fact that he even has to do that still?
WHIPPLE: Well, it's extraordinary that we are where we are, isn't it? But what struck me as I was listening to that story is, here's a guy with integrity who stood up and did the right thing, and, boy, could Mark Meadows take a page from Brian Kemp.
Mark Meadows, obviously the chief of staff, who is now a subject of this RICO case and the subject of the op-ed that I wrote for The New York Times. Excuse me. I think Kemp is a refreshing example, again, of how many people really with integrity rose to the occasion and helped to preserve democracy, no thanks to some of the people around Donald Trump.
PHILLIP: Meadows testified on Monday that there is a role for the chief of staff to, in his view, make sure that the campaign's goals are implemented at a federal level. I mean, the basic question is, is that true, A? And is it true when the goal is to seal a free and fair election?
WHIPPLE: So, no White House Chief of Staff has any business doing what Mark Meadows was doing in the state of Georgia after the 2020 election. This is really a complete misrepresentation of what the job of -- nothing in the job description of White House Chief of Staff says that you should be meddling in a state after a federal election.
And if you think about it, Meadows is charged with crimes that would make Nixon's H. R. Haldeman blush. He's charged incredibly with orchestrating a Mafia-style shakedown of a state official for 11,780 non-existent votes, and on top of that, overturning a free and fair election.
So, that's where we are. And I think there used to be, as I've said before, there's a really -- there was a healthy competition for the title of worst White House chief in modern history, Meadows owns it lock, stock and barrel.
PHILLIP: Well, I mean, this is really the central issue here. I mean, it's not just the mug shots. I mean, there are two of them who have that. But there's also the idea that chief of staff role has been weaponized, potentially. And that -- I mean, do you think there's permanent damage?
WHIPPLE: Yes. And I think it's really important to understand what the White House chief is supposed to do. The White House, chief is many things. He's the -- famously, the president's gatekeeper. He is the president's confidant. He is the person who executes the President's agenda. But above all else, more important than any other responsibility, is telling the president hard truths. You have to be able to walk into the Oval Office, close the door behind you, and tell the President what he doesn't want to hear.
And it was Mark Meadows' failure to do that, that really helped to create the biggest scandal in American political history.
PHILLIP: A truly historic failure, if you look at the scope of it all. Chris Whipple, thank you very much for being here with us.
WHIPPLE: My pleasure.
PHILLIP: And up next, an extraordinary moment in court today, two Proud Boys crying as they begged a judge for mercy in their sentences. Hear what happened. And next, I'll speak with a former Proud Boy who knows both of these men.
Plus, one columnist suggests that Democrats need a ticket of Gretchen Whitmer and Raphael Warnock in order to beat Trump. We'll discuss that.
[22:15:00] PHILLIP: Today inside an American courtroom, two Proud Boys convicted of plotting to overturn the government on January 6th. They stood before a judge. They begged for mercy, both of them military veterans.
One cried saying he was seduced by the crowd and he's not a terrorist and that he wants to walk his daughter to school. Another, also emotional, said he's done with politics. He's done peddling these lies for other people and he apologized for his actions.
And in turn, the judge admonished them, calling those actions a national disgrace, calling their testimony utterly inconceivable and saying they dishonored the very uniform that they once wore and the rights that people around the world would give anything for.
That judge sentenced Proud Boy leader Joe Biggs to 17 years in prison and former Marine Zach Rehl to 15 years. And my next guest is very familiar with both of them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSSELL SCHULTZ, FORMER PROUD BOY: They're afraid to say what's on their mind for fear of getting into a fight. But if they have that guy or that group behind them, they're more bold in saying what they think because they think someone has their back. The Proud Boys are the vehicle that attracts those people and accepts them in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: Russell Schultz is a former Proud Boy member himself helping to plan logistics for an event in Portland. It ended with an altercation, and both he and Biggs found themselves in jail. Schultz left the group in 2019 and he joins me now tonight.
Russell, thank you for being here. As I was just saying, Joseph Biggs, who you know quite well, he was crying in the courtroom today. He told the judge, quote, I know that I have to be punished and I understand but please give me the chance, I beg you, to take my daughter to school and pick her up. What do you make of that, the tears, maybe the contrition, but after all that he's been convicted of doing?
SCHULTZ: Oh, that's a pretty complicated question, but I would say, yes, he's probably remorseful and he's looking at almost two decades in prison. I don't see anybody that wants to do that. He probably regrets his actions of that day, probably wishes he could take him back. I don't know what the mob got everyone all excited to do something they knew was wrong.
I read the charges and I couldn't -- I mean, I helped them plan rallies in Portland and the rhetoric is like everyone wants to act like they're big and tough but no one really follows up on it. And on January 6th, I guess they followed up on it.
PHILLIP: For someone who likes to act big and tough, I mean, does it, do you have any thoughts on the fact that he was willing to cry in that moment today? SCHULTZ: Well, sure, he's going to miss most of his life in prison. I mean, I would assume that anyone with a conscience would be remorseful. I mean, he probably wishes he could take it back. He's probably lived wanting to take it back every day since he's been incarcerated. I would assume so.
A lawyer for the other defendant today, Zach Rehl, he placed a large part of the blame on Donald Trump himself, saying that he didn't think such long sentences were fair for, quote, taking your president seriously.
Do you agree with that? Is that sentence unfair for that reason?
SCHULTZ: No, because Donald Trump didn't make him do it. He did it himself. It was his own decision to do it. It was a bad decision but Donald Trump didn't tell anybody to go stop a certification of the election. He wanted him to protest. And I may not agree with the whole tact. I didn't go, obviously, but everyone else should have known. They know right from wrong. Everyone who crossed those barriers knew what they were doing. It was wrong. Nobody should even have gone past the barriers, period.
PHILLIP: You were a part of the Proud Boys during a part of Trump's presidency, and he literally called the Proud Boys out by name on a debate stage. I mean, how much influence did he have or does he have on that group?
SCHULTZ: On the Proud Boys? Oh, he had tons of influence. To what degree, I'm not quite sure. But I think they just liked the fact that the president was mentioning them. It was recognition. I don't know if Trump knew who they were before, after, maybe he did. I don't know.
PHILLIP: And do you think that today's sentences will make Proud Boys members think twice about the group? I mean, these two defendants were -- maybe they were remorseful because they're facing perhaps a huge chunk of their lives in prison. But are the others watching this and saying, we can't do this anymore?
SCHULTZ: I would sure hope they're watching it and saying they can't do that anymore. The most effective way to keep groups like that, any group, from coming in your city and causing trouble would be lock them up, put them in jail.
Deterrence is a huge factor in law enforcement, and it's something that should be used more often in a lot of cases, especially in the city I live in. It's really not used very often, unless you're a Trump supporter, but we won't get into you.
PHILLIP: What do you think about Trump, though? Do you think he should face consequences? I think the part of the argument here is you put these guys away for seditious, yes.
SCHULTZ: No. I don't -- I mean, I was at work, but I was following Twitter that day. And I remember reading he was telling people to go peacefully and make your voice heard. I may not agree with it, but it wasn't unlawful. Unlawful was everyone crossing those barriers and taking it upon themselves to go up there and try to interfere with the certification of the electors.
And from what I understand, the planning ahead of time and some of the rhetoric in there, well, I read that, and I couldn't see how they would have much of a defense after that.
PHILLIP: As you know probably, support for Trump really is only growing, and he actually has made the fate of these January 6th defenders a part of his campaign. He's raised money for their defense funds. He's lionized them. What do you make of that?
SCHULTZ: Well, there's some people that disagree with the charges. I mean, that's not for me to say. That's for the people of Washington, D.C. to say. They were the jury. They're the ones that decided whether they were guilty or innocent. They got to hear the side from the prosecution, and they got to hear the side from the defense, and they made up their mind that they were going to convict.
So, if the president wants to raise money for their defense or other group, I mean, that's completely acceptable. I mean, it happens on both sides of the aisle.
PHILLIP: Do you think it's acceptable for him to raise money for people who are being put on trial for an insurrection?
SCHULTZ: Well, everyone is innocent until proven guilty.
PHILLIP: But should he be raising money for them?
SCHULTZ: If they're still innocent until proven guilty, why not?
PHILLIP: I think the why not is that even if you think that they have a right to innocence before they're convicted, that raising money for them seems to indicate support for their actions, whether they were criminal or.
SCHULTZ: I cannot disagree with you. You are right. But at the same point, you know, you want us to believe that people are telling you the truth and that they're being genuine with you, and they're fighting the charges.
So, it's just the American way that we do what we can to defend ourselves. And if a jury finds otherwise, well, that's just the way it goes.
PHILLIP: So, I'm sure a lot of people here, obviously are watching. And since you left the group, I wonder, have you had interactions with other members who you were in there with, or have you had backlash for speaking out?
SCHULTZ: Well, I've had lots of backlash for speaking out, but those guys aren't my friends. I don't owe them any loyalty.
[22:25:00] When Gavin left and the joke was over, and guys jumped up and made a serious street gang out of it, I don't want no part of that. I joined it because I thought it was a joke and just fun. It was a gag. And they turned around and made it something serious and things got out of control from there, guys pumping each other up. So, they just took it too far, I suppose.
PHILLIP: Russell Schultz, a really interesting conversation, thank you very much for being here.
SCHULTZ: Thank you very much.
PHILLIP: And it's been 139 years since an unmarried candidate was elected president. Senator Tim Scott may change that, but some of his top donors are reportedly worried about that single status that he's got.
Plus, Senator Mitch McConnell getting the all clear from his doctors to continue his schedule after yesterday's freeze, but one of his Republican predecessors has a surprising take on what his future ought to be.
PHILLIP: A Capitol physician medically clearing the Senate's most powerful Republican after yet another freeze in public.
Mitch McConnell's moment putting the spotlight back on the ages of our most powerful leaders including President Biden.
And the reality that at just a few months shy of McConnell's age, he'll be 85 at the end of a second term. In fact, one columnist, A.B. Stoddard, writes that Democrats have to get Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Georgia Senator Rafael Warnock to join forces on a presidential ticket if they have any chance of beating Donald Trump in 2024. She cites concerns over President Biden's age that she argues are only going to get worse ahead of November 2024.
Joining me to discuss all of this is former presidential candidate Howard Dean. Governor Dean, thank you for being here. I appreciate it.
HOWARD DEAN, (D) FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you.
PHILLIP: So, Amy is clear, you know, she thinks Biden has quite a lot of legislative successes, but she writes this, that "This is not a thought exercise, it's a preview of the end of democracy. And gambling that a man, a majority of Americans have already written off for his age will be in a stronger, in stronger shape politically a year from now does not sound reasonable. It sounds incredibly dangerous." Is she right?
DEAN: No, and you do have to consider the course, the source, the bulwark is a right-wing publication that doesn't like Trump. So, you know, I kind of expect this. PHILLIP: I mean, she's writing in the bulwark, but I don't think you
can consider her to be right-wing. And I think that's not that. That's beside the point, but on the substance of what she's saying.
DEAN: Well, nothing is ever beside the point in Washington, D.C. However, since you asked a fair enough question, first of all, I do think Biden's done a really, really good job in terms of his substance. Second of all, whatever Biden's poll numbers are now, he's being compared to the Almighty. And when the Republicans make their nomination in Milwaukee, he's then going to be compared to the alternative. And that's not going to look very good. So, I'll make a couple of comments.
First, I think Biden's done a really good job as president, whether you like him or not. And I don't know him particularly well. This is the first president I haven't known quite well for a long time on the Democratic side. And even on the Republican side, I knew George W. pretty well. But -- so, I'd say Biden's done a really good job, if you judge him just on his merits. Secondly, I think the suggestion of a ticket, this ticket is fantastic for 2028. I mean, I'm a huge fan of Gretchen Whitmer. I think it's a long past time to have a woman president in this country, and she'd be one of my most leading candidates. But this isn't 2028, it's 2024, and Joe Biden's going to be the nominee.
PHILLIP: Yeah. I mean, look, that actually raises a really important question, I think, for the Democratic Party. I mean, let's call it a thought exercise here. If Democrats had to run someone other than President Biden in 2024, do you think that there's a bench that's ready right now?
PHILLIP: Could a Whitmer and Warnock be ready?
DEAN: I think there's tons of people that are ready.
DEAN: First of all, I'm incredibly biased towards governors having been one. And I think governors make good presidents in general because they've had executive experience and there have been an awful lot of people who have struggled with what it is to be an executive after serving in the House and Senate. So, of course I think she's terrific. But there's a huge bench. There's a whole bunch of 45 and 50-year-olds in the Senate on the Democratic side who would be terrific candidates for president. So, we have a deep bench and I'm not worried about that at all.
PHILLIP: So, one of the things you brought up just now was that Biden's being compared to the Almighty. If Trump is the nominee, then it changes things. The other part of the counter argument to that is that if Trump becomes the nominee and say picks a younger, less polarizing running mate that could arguably boost him even further. A Nikki Haley, a Tim Scott, I mean, even a Vivek Ramaswamy, who is not as well-known, but is clearly rising in the Republican field. Is that a factor?
DEAN: It could be, but he's never going to pick Nikki Haley because he doesn't like her and he's a sexist. And if he picks Vivek Ramaswamy, I think that would be terrific because he's even more polarizing than Trump. His numbers went up among Republican viewers after the debate. His favorables went up about 10 and his negatives went up about 25. This is not a candidate that ought to be running with Donald Trump.
So, you know, and as far as Tim Scott goes, you know, he's got a long way to go and who knows, I'm not good, I don't haven't followed his candidacy very closely. I don't -- you know, Trump doesn't leave any oxygen in the room.
If it's Trump versus Biden, I think it's pretty clear, unless the vanity candidacy of the -- of the whatever it is, no labels, which is mostly financed by right-wing Republican, you know, poobahs, as far as I can tell, we're going to win that race, Biden versus Trump. And I don't have any worries about that.
PHILLIP: All right, Howard Dean, appreciate it as always, thank you.
DEAN: Thank you. And up next, speaking of Tim Scott, he's the bachelor running for the GOP presidential nomination but some GOP donors are republic -- reportedly worried that he is single and how that might affect the race.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Hi Barbie. Hi Barbie. Hi Barbie. Hi Barbie. Hi Barbie. Hi Ken. Hi Ken.
PHILLIP: It's the billion-dollar Barbie Summer and that's not the only female act smashing records this year. It is -- is it a fleeting pop culture moment or is it the start of something more? We'll discuss.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: So, do you remember this guy? That is President Grover Cleveland, and he was the last bachelor to be in the White House, way back in 1884. But this could change for the first time in 139 years. That's if Senator Tim Scott wins the presidency. The senator isn't the first candidate to make a run for the Oval Office who is single. The 2024 GOP candidate and conservative talk radio host, Larry Elder, is divorced. And there's also bachelor Democratic Senator Cory Booker, who ran back in 2020. At the time, he was dating actress Rosario Dawson, who went on the campaign trail with him. And former Democratic Senator of Nebraska, Bob Kerrey, also is on the list. He's been divorced for 14 years when he decided to run in 1992.
But some aren't too keen on Senator Scott being a bachelor in this cycle. Axios is reporting that some Republican donors want some more details about his single status before they decide how much to support him in this race. The 57-year-old remain pretty quiet about his love life and he's previously referenced a girlfriend but he's kept her identity private. Now, an advisor says that he plans to address concerns around his single status in the coming weeks.
I want to bring in the "The Root" Senior Reporter Jessica Washington along with Pollster Lee Carter. Ladies, Senator Scott has talked about this girlfriend, he's kept it private. Apparently, that's not enough, even for his own donors. And I do wonder, Lee, I mean, do you think this is an issue more for Republican voters? Because the party emphasizes family values so much for their candidates and at the national level especially.
LEE CARTER, POLLSTER: I really don't think that that's the real issue. I think the real issue that he has is that he's pretty boring and not memorable and he hasn't broken through and so people look for an excuse as to why they're not gonna support him, why they're questioning him.
PHILLIP: He's been rising in the polls --
CARTER: --ish (ph) --
PHILLIP: - especially in Iowa, spending a ton of money.
CARTER: Spending a ton of money to get a couple of points. I mean he's nowhere near where he needs to be. He is, I hate to say this, because he is a very, very nice person. People really like him. They want to have a reason to vote for him. But I think there are a lot of people who are concerned that he just doesn't have the thing. And when that happens, they often de-point to things.
Because look, there are plenty of candidates out there who have bigger issues than whether or not they're single. And one of them is the leading candidate on the right, right now.
PHILLIP: I'll fill in the blanks here of what you just put on the table. Trump has been divorced three times or married three times. Let's -- married three times. He's been divorced multiple times. He's been accused of paying off a -- adult film actress. That doesn't seem to have mattered for him.
JESSICA WASHINGTON, SENIOR REPORTER, "THE ROOT": Yeah, I mean, obviously you can't say that, you know, being divorced or not having these -- kind of quote, unquote "family values" is a disqualifier in this race. But I do think that Scott's in a little bit of a different position because he is running as this traditional guy kind of in, he's not running opposite Trump because he's still sharing a lot of his same policy values, but he's saying I'm this traditional kind of typical conservative, right?
And so, to run that way and then not be the traditional guy, I think could be more of a problem for him than it is for Trump, who has never tried to portray himself that way in the first place.
PHILLIP: Well, you know, I mean, you make a good point. I mean, Tim Scott is running on his evangelical, sort of Christian values. That's a huge part of his message. Here's actually how he responded to this recently, talking about these questions about his single status.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIM SCOTT, SENATOR, REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE: To suggest that somehow being married or not married is going to be the determining factor of whether or not you're a good president or not, it sounds like we're living in 1963 and not 2023. I'm not sure why that conversation becomes so important when you're the single guy up there, but I will simply say that I probably have more time, more energy, and more latitude to do the job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: Well, I would say, as a married person, I have time, too. I have energy. But do you think?
CARTER: That's not what's keeping me from running for president, just to be clear.
PHILLIP: How do you feel about that response?
WASHINGTON: I think it was a great response for a politician. But again, you look at him, he's almost perfect. But he's not. He's not the candidate. He's not going to be the one. There's a reason why he hasn't broken double digits yet. And it's not because of his marital status. I think a lot of people listen to him and what he says is perfectly forgettable. And it's wonderful.
He's given some great speeches. I've even written about his speeches and said how wonderful they are. But they're pieces of the same thing over and over again. He's running on the American dream. He talks so much about his mother. It's wonderful, wonderful, wonderful stuff, except that it's not enough to get him elected.
WASHINGTON: I hate to just have a panel where we're all agreeing with each other. It's boring. But to be fair, I mean, he had a not memorable debate. He's not high enough in the polls to really make an impact. You know, we have to take these -- kind of anonymous donor, you know, messages with a grain of salt, obviously, because people are not putting their name behind it. But if he is having trouble with donors, that's a real problem for Tim Scott, because that's all he really has going for him right now.
PHILLIP: We're putting up on the screen where he is in Iowa right now. That's third. At this stage, I mean, just to play devil's advocate here, to defend, you know, the Tim Scott argument, I mean, that seems like he's rising. And that there's a potential here. I mean, we're early enough in the race that he could -- he could have a, could have a moment. CARTER: We're early enough for sure. And there's trajectories that
you can watch where we've seen people come out of left fields and really make a huge splash. Donald Trump being one of them. He was nowhere in the polls at this point, but he still came through. I -- I just don't feel that kind of momentum. You don't see it coming through the polls. It's, it's a game of inches for him. It's not leaps.
PHILLIP: We'll see how that turns out. Lee Carter, Jessica Washington. Thank you both very much. And up next, it's been the record-breaking summer for women in entertainment from Barbie to Beyonce to Taylor Swift. And my next guest says it could help smash the patriarchy. Plus, Burger King's Whopper facing a legal threat over accusations that it isn't as big as it claims to be.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
I thought I might stay over tonight. Why? Because we're girlfriend- boyfriend. To do what? I'm actually not sure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: It's been quite the summer for the ladies and in just a few days the "Barbie" movie is expected to make its way onto the list of the top 15 grossing films of all time. And Beyonce is still in the middle of her Renaissance World Tour and she has already broken the record for the highest grossing tour by a black artist. Taylor Swift's Eras Tour is set to be the highest-grossing tour of all-time earning a record setting $1 billion in sales.
Now, both tours have been credited with boosting the economies of the cities that they visit. And if you couldn't get tickets to her concert, Taylor Swift just announced this morning that a concert movie will be out this fall. Here to discuss it all is Jill Filipovic. She wrote this op-ed for CNN. How Barbie's billion-dollar summer could help smash the patriarchy. Jill, I messed up your name.
JILL FILIPOVIC, JOURNALIST AND LAWYER: You got it right, actually. That was really close.
PHILLIP: Well, this is a great, smart piece for this moment. And I'm going to read out another part of it for the audience. You write, "Is this summer the start of a feminist pop culture boom or is it a not long for this world blip greenlit only as a part of a broader nostalgia craze and soon to be swallowed up by the creativity killing forces of capital and male power that largely controls it?"
It's a great question and we've seen this kind of thing. I mean, sometimes it seems like we're having a moment -- we're having a moment when it comes to race. We're having a moment when it comes to gender, and then all of a sudden it feels like we're taking like a couple of steps back. What do you think is happening?
FILIPOVIC: Yeah, I mean, this -- I think that kind of backlash is inevitable to progress, right? And this moment that we're in right now is almost a feminist response to that backlash, I think, that we've had women have had a really rough couple of years. There was the election of Donald Trump. There was the overturning of Roe versus Wade. And every single moment of that kind of anti-feminist, sexist, misogynist backlash was met by the Women's March. Now, we're seeing the overturning of Roe being met by a huge political force of women coming out to try to restore abortion rights.
And then on a cultural level, I think, we're also seeing women really craving stories about our lives that don't feel shallow, that don't feel like kind of papering over problems, but feel at once joyful, but also powerful and honest. And I think that's part of why women are flocking to the "Barbie" film because it does that, and why they're going to Beyonce concerts and Taylor Swift concerts. They're these spaces for collective joy, for collective bonding, and for a lot of power.
PHILLIP: Yeah. What do you think it is about all three of these things -- the "Barbie" movie, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, that makes sense? I mean, I'll tell you what I think it is. I think it's sort of like where we are in feminism, which is that these are women who are unapologetically feminine, but also businesswomen. They're powerful. They're - they're, you know -- "Barbie", she's everything, right?
FILIPOVIC: Yeah, I think that's exactly right. And part of what really struck me about the "Barbie" movie is that it let its female characters be a lot of things at once.
FILIPOVIC: So, like you said, feminine, fun, but also powerful, also vulnerable, also emotional, also sometimes angry when Barbie comes into the real world and sees how patriarchy functions, you know. And I think a big component of the Beyonce, Taylor, "Barbie" summer is the fact that women and girls are going to these events together, right? You have these gaggles of girls dressing up, showing up in groups.
And I do think part of that is really missing those -- kind of group bonding experiences during COVID and having these moments where we're able to come together as women, as girls, in spaces that are joyful but are also really affirming of, I think, the rage and the vulnerability and the desire to move forward that so many of us feel.
PHILLIP: It's super interesting. So glad you wrote that. Thank you so much, Jill, for being with us. And up next, is the Whopper not whopping enough? Well, Burger King is now having to confront a suit that says its famous burger is just too small.
PHILLIP: Apparently size matters. According to a new lawsuit, the home of the Whopper is now being forced to defend the size of its trademark burger. In court, a judge is rejecting Burger King's efforts to dismiss a class action lawsuit that accuses the chain of making the Whopper look larger on its menus than it actually is in real life. Take a look yourself. This is what it looks like on Burger King's online menu.
And while no burger is actually the same, this is a comparison with the Whopper at a California Burger King restaurant in 2022. And the judge says that it'll be up to the jurors to tell us what reasonable people think. Burger King says that the plaintiff's claims are false and that the flame grilled beef patties portrayed in its advertising are the same, that are used in millions of Whopper sandwiches served to guests nationwide. Laura, you're a lawyer and I've got a Whopper.
LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR: No, you don't.
PHILLIP: Yes, I do.
COATES: Abby, fail us.
PHILLIP: Does this look like what it's supposed to look like? And also -- but really, I mean, is this false advertising?
COATES: I mean, the way that it smashed on Hatch, the burger, I don't know who served that to you, but they clearly didn't like you when they handed it to you in the moment.
PHILLIP: This is what they gave us.
COATES: It's pitiful. I have to tell you, though, I actually do love a Whopper. My daughter loves a Whopper, and I'm old enough to remember when they had the whole French fry taste test. They swapped the formula for it. So, I'm actually still mad about that. So, if there's a lawsuit about that moment, count me in that class action. Because the fries were fine.
PHILLIP: Yeah, well, we have some fries, too. I'll send them to you virtually over the screen.
COATES: I'd like to see you eat that Whopper right now. Because I think that looks so unappetizing.
PHILLIP: Laura, have a great show.
COATES: Oh, there you go.
PHILLIP: I'll see you later.
COATES: That's what happens, everyone.