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Read Before Signing; Will 2nd Amendment Culture Ever Change; J&J Vaccine Risk Prompts Change, Deadly FedEx Shooting Won't; How Prince's Passing Could Impact the Monarchy's Future; Ret. U.S. Navy Four-Star Admiral On "The Hero Code"; Results of Survey. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired April 17, 2021 - 08:00   ET




MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: Read before signing. I'm Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia. Yale School of Management Senior Associate Dean Jeffrey Sonnenfeld convened one of his periodic gatherings with American business leaders recently. The focus was the debate about voter rights playing out in several states, most notably in Georgia soon to be in Texas.

Sonnenfeld invited 120 CEOs 90 of them called in, they represented diverse interests and some of the biggest names in business. According to The New York Times, the Zoom call began with statements from Ken Chenault, a Former American Express Chief and Ken Frazier, the Chief Executive of Merck, who said they were asking companies to sign a statement opposing restrictive voting laws.

The outcome of the call was this, a two-page ad that ran Wednesday in "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post" under the headline, we stand for democracy.

Among the recognizable corporate names who signed Amazon, Apple, Black Rock, Facebook, Google, IBM, Lyft, PayPal, Peloton, Starbucks, Target and Warren Buffett signed individually, so too did many celebrities, including JJ Abrams, Larry David, Samuel L. Jackson, and Amy Schumer, a slew of well-known law firms also lent their support.

There were some major interests that didn't sign Walmart, JP Morgan Chase, Coca Cola and Delta among them. Walmart CEO Doug McMillan sent a letter to employees saying the company is not in the business of partisan politics.

And some have marked the wokeness of the message. Just two weeks ago, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said corporations should not be intimidated by the left and should stay out of politics. He noted that his comments did not apply to political contributions.

Others have questioned whether the CEOs have actually read the GA bill. In similar fashion I asked whether those critical of the corporate community have actually read the ad. "The Times" reported that some participants wanted this line out but then Chenault and Frasier were insistent it remain.

Here's what it reads, "We all should feel a responsibility to defend the right to vote, and to oppose any discriminatory legislation or measures that restrict or prevent any eligible voter from having an equal and fair opportunity to cast a ballot".

I'd sign that, who wouldn't? But then again, I'm one who also believes that the Georgia law has in part been mischaracterized. As for the question of whether businesses should be focused on their bottom line, or whether how long Americans stand in a voting line?

I had a telephone call on my Sirius XM radio program Thursday from Chris from Nashville. He identified himself as a former board member for one of the big four accounting firms. And what he said made great sense to me.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think a lot of these companies also leaders realize that a society with tension and violence and the crumbling of social unity is not a good environment for business. And I can tell you that this company, this country, is about one or two bad elections and behaviors away from the kind of chaos you see in Latin America, and that won't be good for anybody's bottom line.


SMERCONISH: Joining me now Yale Professor Jeffrey Sonnenberg, the man behind - Sonnenfeld, the man behind these business gatherings, Jeffrey, let me play devil's advocate with you. Why alienate half the folks that you're trying to sell widgets to?

JEFFREY SONNENFELD, SENIOR ASSOCIATE DEAN & PROFESSOR, YALE SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT: It's really not alienating them. I think once people realize what the issues are that - this business is playing a unifying a unifying role is these are wedge issues that some opportunistic politicians in a misguided sense, are trying to do divide and conquer, which is the approach that, unfortunately, last president took, but that isn't what the business community sees.

They look at the opportunity to have unified communities. They don't want hostile angry workforces. They don't want finger pointing shareholders they don't want boycotting consumers, is that they're in the business of social harmony as in the interests of the fabric of American society. It's a win, win.

That's where they've always been a very centrist position and as people recognizes that that's not left. That's not right, that patriotism, democracy are critical for the free enterprise system to work and that that should bring most of the country back together again.

SMERRCONISH: You wrote an essay for yesterday's Wall Street Journal explaining how this all came to pass and offering some opinions of your own. I got lost in the comments that were appended to them - to it. [08:05:00]

Not all of them supportive, as you might imagine in the journal. One of the criticisms was this is pure self-interest on the part of the business community. They want to ingratiate themselves to a democratic White House, a democratic House of Representatives and a divided Senate. Your response to that is what?

SONNENFELD: That is not where the general American public is. And that's not what the business community is. The business community has never been xenophobic. They're not hostile to immigration. They have fought very hard last summer against the H1B visa restrictions, and frankly, better than the university lobbying and even the immigration lawyers themselves out of their self-interest is they want to be seen as a magnet for the world's best talent.

They not a protectionist they want to engage in global trade. They're not isolationist they're part of the general world diplomacy. America can't do it completely alone in any the national security concerns, and they're certainly not segregationist, or climate change deniers or anti-vaxxers.

So that's where the business community is, is hardly its self-interest alone is - it's the American interest that's unified here. Nobody wants angry wedges are certainly no CEOs do and very few of the American public want this sort of divisiveness and sending people off into these armed angry camps. We've never had such a violent nation before, as we have today. And this has to be addressed.

SMERCONISH: Where else might this lead the focus of the ad that ran to "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post" was on voter rights and so-called voter suppression? We just had another mass shooting in the United States in Indianapolis, can you see this community? Would you call them together again, to talk about the gun issue?

SONNENFELD: Well, you know, I'm glad you bring that up because here we are with the nation with 5 percent of the world's population. And we have close to 40 percent of the mass killings. How can that be 5 percent of the world 40 percent of the mass killings?

The business community and the American public certainly are not supportive of that, even though our partisan politics don't seem to address the problem if we have had just this month alone, a 40 - tragically today, the milestone of 40 mass killings in one month.

This is unspeakable that the business community has been in favor of all kinds of regulation through history, from product safety to finance and all the rest is to have safe guidelines of fair play. And when it comes to gun safety, we've had the - we had a firearms Control Act of 1934, the business community was behind.

It got rid of those gangsters, Tommy guns, if you remembered a semi- automatic of a sort. We remember from the old movies. We also in 1994 had the Violent Crimes Control Act that the business community was behind. Hardly, throughout most of American history, the NRA was in favor. They were a gun safety organization. SMERCONISH: But Jeffrey, I have to interrupt and come I have to interrupt and come back to where I began. Very noble, in my opinion that what you've just described, but nobody in the American populace elected any of these CEOs that's the job of the Congress. And I come back to where I began.

Why alienate for example, Second Amendment purists? Don't you want them to buy your widgets too? Why is this good business? It might be good for the country. But why is it good for the bottom line?

SONNENFELD: There are companies that find when you speak to social issues you can certainly get quite a rallying cry behind it. You take a look at Nike that was being attacked by the President of Harley Davidson, the Former President Harley Davidson with its iconic American eagle as a symbol that didn't hurt their sales any they survive.

They thrive through it all. When President Trump attacked Goodyear because they don't wear political paraphernalia at work that didn't hurt them they thrived off of that. But on this particular issue, Michael is 70 percent of the country once all the survey said they want to ban semi automatics and 97 percent of the country once enhanced gun registration background checks.

This is where the country is, is that we have one party which is missing where the electorate is on this particular issue. So we're going to be looking - not going to be losing customers over this, losing investors over this or losing employees over this. So that's I think that's misguided. It was really what shows--

SMERCONISH: I like the caller in my radio show - in my radio program who essentially said, look, unless we get it together as a country nobody's bottom line is going to prosper. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, thank you so much for coming back to the program. I appreciate you.

SONNENFELD: Thank you.

SMERCONISH: What are your thoughts? Tweet me @smerconish or go to my Facebook page. I'll read some responses throughout the course of the program. From the world of Twitter, get money and corporations out of government or admit that this is not a democracy. It's all oligarchy covered with a thin patina of fascism.

Look, I think Mitch McConnell Bob M wants to have it both ways when he says similar to you that the corporate community should but out of this.


The argument that I just raised with Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, who elected them, et cetera, et cetera. But Mitch also wants to make sure that the contributions keep flowing. I just wonder whether it's good in a business sense. And my answer is it depends on what business you're in.

Up ahead, eight people were killed when a gunman opened fire inside and outside of a FedEx facility in Indianapolis late Thursday night into Friday morning. In response, I sent out a tweet, which has been like nearly 19,000 times. Here's what I said when six out of 7 million develop complications after J&J vaccine, one dies, the entire rollout is paused in the midst of a pandemic, but eight die in the latest mass shooting and nothing will change.

I'll expand upon that blunt outlook in just a moment. I want to know what you think this hour go to my website answer this week's survey question. The United States will never solve its problem of mass shootings agree or disagree?

And in less than an hour special coverage begins for the funeral service of Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth's husband of seven decades. I'll speak to Patrick Jephson. He knows the royal family dynamic quite well. He served as Princess Diana's Chief of Staff and Personal Secretary.



SMERCONISH: Third massacre in three months. Yesterday I tweeted out my blunt assessment. The nearly 19,000 likes more than 4000 re-tweets suggest that I hit a nerve with this comparison. I said when six out of 7 million developed complications after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine one dies, the entire rollout is paused in the midst of a pandemic.

But eight die in the latest mass shooting and nothing will change. When I was processing the news of the shooting at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis early yesterday it honestly took me a minute to remember the most recent prior mass shooting.

Of course, it was March 22nd, 10 people were killed at a King Soopers Grocery Store in Boulder, Colorado, even though my mind is cluttered amid a busy new cycle. That's scary and sad that it took me so long to recollect the details.

But it shows the ease with which we move on from these mass shootings. I find myself attached to the word resigned. I am resigned to the fact that this is a part of American life. Almost accepting of the fact that this is the way it's going to be for the rest of our lives in this country.

After each shooting, we grieve we give thoughts and prayers many of us we want to see change. But we lacked the fundamental will to alter our gun culture. British Broadcaster Piers Morgan said as much in a controversial tweet that he sent yesterday, "I wish Americans would stop pretending to be shocked by the country's unrelenting procession of mass shootings. You can't be shocked when something keeps happening that you do nothing to stop. Just admit you don't care enough to act because you love guns too much".

He's right, at least for half the country. Americans don't have a monopoly on mental health. There's nothing unique about the construction of the American mind. It's not our DNA. People around the globe, they have the same stressors. They just don't have an enshrined right to weapons.

They don't have a second amendment. We already have too many guns in too many hands. The horse has left the barn. And strangely, it will be the gun and ammo industries that benefit in the short term from an event such as Indianapolis because some Americans will think restrictions are coming better stockpile.

Well, I have news for those who worry about their access to weapons in America. Relax. Nothing's in jeopardy. How am I so sure? Well, nothing happened after Sandy Hook in 2012 26 people lost their lives including 20 children between the ages of six and seven.

Where how about this if you define a mass shooting as an incident where four or more people excluding the gunman are shot and wounded or killed. A CNN tally marks the Indianapolis incident as the 45th mass shooting in the United States since the Atlanta area spa shootings on March 16th.

Even if you broaden the definition of mass shooting to four or more fatalities there have been at least 29 in the last five years according to "The New York Times" in a database compiled by the violence project. A few of them August 3rd, 2019 23 people shot and killed at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.

13 hours later, Dayton Ohio gunman kills nine people wounds 27 others in less than 60 seconds. October 27th 2018 11 killed at a synagogue in Pittsburgh May 18th 2018 10 killed at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas. How many of those do you even remember the details? I know you're wondering. OK, so what's the solution?

I don't know the solution. The most practical thing that I've heard actually comes from a Comedian Stephen Colbert what he suggests that we treat guns like cars and alcohol.


STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": Let's regulate guns the way we regulate alcohol and cars. You got to be 21 you got to pass a test to get a license. You got to have registration and insurance for your gun. If you move to a new state, you got to do the whole damn thing over again and you can't go out loaded.


SMERCONISH: Make sense to me. I want to remind you to go to my website this hour and answer this very pessimistic survey question. It's a statement the United States will never solve its problem of mass shootings agree or disagree with that?


SMERCONISH: Up ahead, today the Royal Family will pay their respects to their beloved patriarch Prince Philip with a small no fuss funeral. That's the way he wanted it. We're all going to be watching the body language between brothers Harry and William. Who better to discuss this with that Princess Diana's Former Chief of Staff and Personal Secretary Patrick Jephson? He joins me next.


SMERCONISH: Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh will be laid to rest today at St George's Chapel in an intimate Royal Ceremony of only about 30 people. Queen Elizabeth had Prince Philip by her side for over 70 years making the late Prince the longest serving spouse in British monarchy history.

Prince Philips passing comes at a difficult time for the Royal Family the following Harry and Megan's exit. Joining me now with a very unique royal perspective is Patrick Jephson, who served as Princess Diana's Chief of Staff and Personal Secretary.


SMERCONISH: He's also a consultant for the hit Netflix show "The Crown" and author of the book, "The Meghan Factor". Patrick, how would he want us to remember him?

PATRICK JEPHSON, FORMER PERSONAL SECRETARY & CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRINCESS DIANA: What I suppose the most important thing to remember, Michael is that this is first and foremost, a family occasion. OK, the world's media are there to watch. But it's a family occasion. It's private, and by Prince Philip's own express wish.

It's low key, because COVID has made it even lower key, reducing the number of mourners, everybody's going to be wearing masks, there's going to be social distancing. And this I think makes it more relevant, especially this year of the pandemic, when so many people around the world have lost beloved grandparents and elderly spouses.

SMERCONISH: Many will be watching the body language between the brothers speak to that.

JEPHSON: Yes, it's a great opportunity for body watching. But as I said, they're going to be wearing masks. So I'm afraid the lip readers are going to be disappointed. There is a lot to be to be said about the current rift between Prince William and Prince Harry.

But the reality is that I can speak from some experience having been through so many royal crises during my time with Princess Diana. What we are seeing maybe the truth, but it's not the whole story. There will be things going on behind the scenes, there will be contact, there will be discussions.

And you know funerals can be a great opportunity for families to heal this kind of rift. They can also be an opportunity to make these rifts worse. So I think most people are hoping that there will be a chance for the brothers seeing each other for the first time in more than a year to at least establish some kind of affectionate reconnection.

SMERCONISH: Patrick, each of the brothers issued a statement with regard to the passing of their grandfather. What did you read into those statements? JEPHSON: Yes, they were very intriguing documents. And I think they rather neatly sum up the different positions that the brothers are in now. Prince Harry's statement, very sincere very much from the heart, remembering his grandfather as a fun, jokey informal sort of guy a very - he refers to him as a servicemen.

Thanks him for his service, which of course, is among the most distinguished service we've seen in recent years. But it'll also contrast with Prince William's statement of respect, remembrance for his grandfather, where he says Prince William says that he and his wife will renew their work for the Queen.

And of course, the whole purpose of the Royal Family is to work for the Queen is to support the Queen, and quite obviously Prince Harry has decided to interpret that duty by going to California, Prince William has stayed home and he and his wife and his family, reaffirming their support for the Queen.

And recalling Prince Philip's own very robust approach to royal duties ends his statement by saying that his grandfather would like them to get on with the job. Now the job in his case is the job of supporting the Queen of upholding royal duties where they matter at home in the UK.

The job as interpreted by Prince Harry is taking him elsewhere. And that I think, defines the gap between the brothers.

SMERCONISH: You were Princess Diana's Chief of Staff. She had her own difficulties with the so called firm. What role if any, did Prince Philip play in trying to navigate some of those issues? What did you see up close and personal?

JEPHSON: Well, Prince Phillip has this well earned and in many ways well deserved reputation as a straight from the shoulder kind of guy, a salty sailor, a man who calls things as he sees them. Not very touchy feely, not very emotionally aware or articulate, you might think.

But actually, underneath that exterior, he has shown himself to be an extraordinary thoughtful, indeed a deeply spiritual man. And when things were going badly wrong between Princess Diana and his son, Prince Charles, Prince Philip did try to help. He wrote several letters to Princess Diana, which she shared with me.

And I was struck by how sincere was his desire to try and help these young people through their difficulty. But it just goes to show the limitations of some forms of communication. She interpreted his words as being critical.


And that I suppose underlines the importance of face-to-face contact face to face interaction, real communication where the tone of voice can be heard the look in the eye can be seen, because Diana and Phillip when they were together, in happier times, got on really well. And it's a real sadness that his attempt to intervene to help them

probably came too late and was probably the victim of communication difficulties between generations.

SMERCONISH: Patrick, my knowledge of the princess is limited to what I learned from "The Crown", which I love, and you're a consultant to that project. But I do recognize that he sacrificed his own career. I mean, you regard him as a navy man, I'm sure that's how he'd most want to be recalled. But all of that was sort of put on a pedestal so that he could perform his royal function.

JEPHSON: Well, he has been called one of the first real feminists because there he was every inch of man's man who was embarks on his vocation, a lifelong career in the Royal Navy, something he loved. And he gave it up at a very early stage in order to support his wife in her work.

And in some ways, I think "The Crown" reflects this very accurately. It was a huge sacrifice on his part, and yet one he made in the interest of serving his country. And he took that setback and turned it into something better. He took his own frustration, turned it into productive work for the benefit not just of the monarchy, but for the Commonwealth.

And a whole load of really important causes around the world, everything from conservation to engineering. He was an extraordinary polymath. He was a man with enormous wide-ranging interests, and he was determined to make a difference. And by goodness he did in the course of nearly a century.

SMERCONISH: Patrick Jephson thanks for the insight so unique. We're privileged to have you.

JEPHSON: Thank you, Michael great to be here.

SMERCONISH: Of course, the funeral of about 30 minutes from now will be brought to you right here on CNN. Still to come, when you go to vote they match your signature right? Governor Ron DeSantis wants to toughen up Florida standards. It turns out his own signatures rarely look the same.

In a moment, I will show you my own. Plus, what makes someone a hero. Even though Navy Admiral William McRaven supervised the special ops raid that killed Bin Laden he wants attention paid to a different kind of hero. Admiral McRaven is here to explain. I'm sure you'll recall his most famous life lesson one that I follow.


ADMIRAL WILLIAM MCRAVEN, U.S. NAVY (RET.): If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. So if you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.



SMERCONISH: Stories of heroes written by a hero himself retired U.S. Navy Four Star Admiral William McRaven is here to discuss his new book "The Hero Code: Lessons learned from lives well lived", serving as a Navy SEAL for 37 years. Admiral McRaven's final assignment was as Commander of all U.S. Special Operations Forces.

In 2011 troops under his command brought Osama Bin Laden to justice. He retired in 2014, shortly after giving a commencement speech at the University of Texas where he famously spoke about the importance of making your bed every morning. Not long after delivering that address, he became the Chancellor of the entire University of Texas System his alma mater.

Admiral McRaven joins me now. Admiral, I'm concerned for you in the following respect. I want you to live to be 150 but that epitaph the bed thing, or Bin Laden, I'm not sure. I mean, they both get so much played.

MCRAVEN: You know, Michael it's great to be here. Interestingly enough, more people remember me for telling them to make their bed and you know what? I'm OK with that.

SMERCONISH: Well, I get up at 4:30 today because of the early start of my program. I want you to know I'm not with you on the brain. But I got out of them - and I made sure that bed was that bed was made. So, I love the new book. I found it interesting that you're known as a Navy man. But you were Journalism Major, so I guess you are kind of picking up where you left off before you join the military?

MCRAVEN: Well, when I started the University of Texas, I quickly found out that I couldn't do science. I couldn't do math. I couldn't do accounting. So, I ended up in journalism and found out that I could put words together and they seem to make sense. So, it was the right path for me to take.

SMERCONISH: We won't give it all away for free. But some of the stories really stand out in the new book. Dr. Kenneth Cooper is a very famous cardiologist, the people associate with aerobics. He invites you to dinner. What happened?

MCRAVEN: Yes, this was a couple of years ago, it was up in Dallas. And as you point out, Dr. Cooper invited me up. We had a little small private dinner before the event that I was going to speak at. And at the table was Dr. Cooper also Roger Staubach, the Former Quarterback from the Dallas Cowboys and his wife, Marianne.

And as I went around the table, I introduced myself and I came to the last couple and he told me his name was Charlie and his wife was - but I didn't catch his last name. Anyway, we sit down for dinner and we talked for about an hour and a half or so and Charlie was very engaging.


MCRAVEN: I found out in the course of the conversation that he had been in the air force, but all of the evenings' discussion was focused on me. He wanted to know about my son who was in the Air Force my other children. He wanted to know about how my wife and I had met? He wanted me to talk about my career, and I couldn't seem to get much out of him.

Well after the dinner is over. He's very graciously invited me down to his home in New Braunfels. And anyway, as I'm walking out, Roger Staubach comes up to me and he says, hey, I see you were talking to Charlie.

I said, yes, just a wonderful, wonderful guy. And Staubach says can you imagine that? I said, what Roger? He goes, can you imagine that? Imagine what? Walking on the moon and then of course, it occurred to me, Charlie, was General Charles Duke, the youngest man ever to walk on the moon.

And not once, not once, in that hour plus conversation, did he ever happen to mention the little, small fact that he walked on the moon. And the story really is about humility. You know, here's a man who could be, you know, boisterous and outspoken. And in fact, he was incredibly humble.

But it was hard fought. I mean, he learned it from his wife, who became a Christian, he became a Christian. And I think that really put life in perspective for him.

SMERCONISH: The stories are great in the book, the serious message that I took away is that sometimes we elevate those who might not be heroes, we celebrate celebrity status, and we overlook people, and the pandemic is a great example, Admiral, who are deserving of that kind of recognition.

MCRAVEN: There - I mean the point of the book, as you point out, Michael is, there are heroes everywhere, and we can become heroes. I mean, every nation needs heroes. Heroes inspire us, and they inspire the younger generation, frankly, to try to be better than the current generation. And that's what moves us forward.

So this book is about, you know, the qualities, the traits and the virtues of being a hero. And you can learn these virtues. And I have seen these virtues, these noble qualities in people all around the world. And you're right you don't have to be a celebrity. But you can certainly learn to be a hero. And we need to continue to admire these great folks.

And during the pandemic, of course, you saw the health care workers, you saw the delivery people, you saw the first responders, heroes were everywhere. And we are blessed in this country to have so many great heroes.

SMERCONISH: Another quick one, if you don't mind. President Obama makes a surprise visit on your watch to Afghanistan; you're called upon in short order to brief him because he gets trapped by bad weather what happened?

MCRAVEN: So I hopped in this convoy, I'm told I've got a few minutes to get over to brief the president and my convoy moves from my little base across the main street. We've got plenty of time to get there. And all of a sudden, we get to the back gate.

And there's a young woman guarding the back gate and I'm sitting in the backseat of my SUV. And I look in the sergeant gets out and he goes up to the woman to explain that, you know, the admirals here to brief the president. And I can see them talking a little bit.

And before long, you know, arms are moving watches are being tapped. And the sergeant storms back and he says she won't let us in because we're not on the approved list. Because of course it was last minute. So, the sergeant major gets out of the car, the senior enlisted guy.

And he goes out and talks to the woman who's very calm and before long, arms are moving again, watches being tapped, and he storms back. And finally, I said, OK, boys, I got this. So, I get out of the car. I go up to talk to the young lady. And I said, you know, airman, I said, you know, I'm a Three Star Admiral, and I'm here to brief the president.

And I mean, my briefing time is now you know, I really need you to let us through. And she says, well, sir, I understand that. But you're not on the approved list. And I have a job to do. I took a deep breath. I went back to the car.

And about 10 minutes later, the gate opens up and we go through I briefed the president. He never asked about why I was late? On my way back though I stopped by the gate, I get out of the car. And I walked back up to this airman. And I've got this scowl on my face. And I said airman, do you realize that I was 10 minutes late briefing the President of the United States?

Yes, sir. I said I was late because when my Sergeant asked you, you wouldn't let us through when the sergeant major after you wouldn't let us through. And when I asked you and I'm a Three Star Admiral, you still wouldn't let us through. And then I reached into my pocket. I pulled out the command challenge coin.

And you know, Michael, you only give that to soldiers who have done exceptional work. I put it in her hand. And I said you did exactly what you needed to do. And then she looked me in the eye, and she said, sir, I was just doing my duty and the chapter is about duty.

I mean, we think about the incredible duty of John McCain. We think about others that we know but duty is doing your job and it's not just doing your job because you are blindly following orders.


MCRAVEN: It is doing your job because you have a responsibility to yourself and to the people around you. And it's the little things that matter sometimes in life and doing your duty is one of these great noble qualities. SMERCONISH: I love that story. The book is called "The Hero Code". I wish you all good things Admiral. Thank you.

MCRAVEN: Thank you, Michael.

SMERCONISH: Up next, in order to vote election officials, they match your signature to one on file, right but which one? How many of you are like me and might have a bit of variety in the way that you sign your John Hancock? Should this harm our ability to cast a ballot?

And I want to remind you to make sure you're answering the survey question the United States will never solve its problem of mass shootings. Agree or disagree?



SMERCONISH: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' political stock is rising. And this week "The Tampa Bay Times" caught my eye with an examination of his signature. DeSantis has made an issue of signature matching as a sufficient way to verify identification of Florida voters.

Currently to verify the signature on a mail-in ballot Florida officials have been comparing it to all available signatures on file, which in some cases could be more than a dozen. But in February DeSantis declared we need to make sure that our citizens have confidence in the elections, that they have the ability to vote, we want obviously everyone to vote, but we don't want anyone to cheat.

And he demanded reforms that included matching vote by mail signatures to only the most recent signature on file with the State Department of Elections. Now the Florida State Senate is considering a bill to do just that.

Meanwhile, an investigation by "The Tampa Bay Times" found that Governor DeSantis' own signature has varied wildly over the years. What's more, "The Times" reported that and NBC News website found that to DeSantis' own 2016 ballot "Was rejected because Flagler County officials deemed his signature and did not match the one on file with the state".

When DeSantis attempted to cure his 2016 ballot, it was rejected as well. "The Times" reached out to DeSantis' office about the signatures and the rejection but didn't get a response. It also quotes a political scientist at the University of Florida named Daniel Smith, who studies the application of voter signature matching laws.

His research has shown that counties often apply signature rules unevenly and that signature mismatches occur more often with students and with minorities. He said, "It's really silly, you would want to limit the signature to compare DeSantis' own signatures show the reason for that".

It got me thinking about my own signature, where I vote in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, they compare a voters signature, whether in person or on a mail-in ballot application to one signature on file, whichever is newer between your most recent driver's license, or most recent voter registration.

This issue made me digs up examples that I could find of my own signature over the years and compare them to my most recent driver's license. And the results are illuminating. Beginning with my 1982 College summer job flyer, which identified me simply as Mike then there's my 1985 Law School internship on the Philadelphia Move Commission.

Here I am looking in 1990 for a radio gig. This is the way in 2008 that I signed one of my books. In January of 2020, January of 2020, I renewed my driver's license, the so-called Smart ID. Then there's my signature in a real estate transaction later last year.

And this check, that I wrote in March to an intern and finally, a card that I sent this week to the judge in the Chauvin trial. I think he's doing a nice job and I wanted to compliment him. So let's check them all out side by side, shall we?

Would any of these other signatures be close enough to my license to permit me to vote? I know they're all mine. Would the County Board of Elections let me vote? Perhaps like Governor DeSantis I question signature matching as a means of ensuring valid security?

I have no problem requesting a photo ID just so long as it's the type of photo identification that is possessed by every member of a community. Still to come, more of your best and worse tweets and Facebook comments, and we'll give you the final results of the survey question. Pretty pessimistic, it's a Debbie Downer.

The United States will never solve its problem of mass shootings you agree or disagree? And moments away will take you to a Windsor Castle, where the most famous family in the world is preparing to say goodbye to its beloved patriarch, the Duke of Edinburgh.



SMERCONISH: Did I bum you out with today's survey question Sorry about that. The United States will never solve its problem of mass shootings. Agree or disagree? Let's see the result. Well, look, I'm heartened by the 21 percent who disagree? I mean, I hope - I hope the 21 percent is correct.

I'm just not feeling it in the aftermath of Indianapolis. Catherine, real quick I've got time for one I think. Social media, what do we have? The rule is in order to get over a problem you have to admit you have one. So, until everyone admits that the problem exists in America, we'll continue to have a mass shooting problem.

I think there's truth in that Anthony Hutchinson II. Piers Morgan said as much and he's getting - he's getting, you know, ridiculed for what he said about American gun culture, but some among us just have such a staunch adherence and our Second Amendment purists that there's no reason for them to compromise and that is unfortunate.

That does it for me. But we're taking you to the gates now of Windsor Castle, where the Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip will be laid to rest today. Mourners around the world and inside St. George's Chapel will pay tribute to his 99 years filled with service, service to his country including the Navy during the Second World War service to his family as a devoted father reform and service to his Queen his wife of more than seven decades. Our live coverage begins right now.