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State of the Race with Kasie Hunt
Blinken Visits Israel, Says Truce Producing "Very Positive" Results And Should Be Extended; IDF: Two Israeli Hostages Released in Gaza; Truce Extended, Hamas Begins Releasing More Hostages. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired November 30, 2023 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KASIE HUNT, CNN HOST, STATE OF THE RACE: Chaos, drama of the past. Sounds like somebody familiar? Nikki Haley seems to think so, although she won't
say so directly. She is launching her first TV ad blitz, but stopping just short of saying drop Donald Trump. Plus, Democratic Senator Chris Van
Hollen joins me live with what he thinks about Democratic proposals to place conditions on aid to Israel. And former Secretary of State Henry
Kissinger has died at age 100. A look at the life of one of the most influential diplomats of the 20th century.
Good day, everyone. I'm Kasie Hunt to our viewers watching in the United States and around the world. It's 11 a.m. here in Washington, Thursday,
November 30, just 46 days until the Iowa caucuses, 340 days until Election Day. This is today's State of the Race.
Good day. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says a truce between Israel and Hamas is producing very positive results, and should be extended once
again. He took that message to Israel, meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, just hours before the seventh exchange of Israeli hostages for
Palestinian prisoners got underway. It began a short time ago, the IDF announcing that two Israeli hostages were transferred to the Red Cross in
Gaza and are now in the hands of Israeli forces.
Let's get more now from Oren Liebermann live for us in Tel Aviv. Oren, what's the latest?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kasie, those two Israeli hostages, two women, in fact are now in Israeli territory. The IDF confirming that they
were transferred from Hamas to the Red Cross into Israel. They're being taken to the Hatzerim Airbase in southern Israel, where they will then be
either taken by ambulance or by helicopter to a hospital where they'll undergo a much deeper and more thorough medical evaluation. First, of
course, their physical health, but also their mental health as well. The forum for the hostages and the families identified them as 21-year-old Mia
Schem and 40-year-old Amit Soussana.
The IDF says they are expecting the release of more hostages later on. Israeli officials say one of the reasons we're not seeing this happen all
at once is because the hostages are being held in different places in Gaza, and that was one of the major questions throughout the course of these
releases and the negotiations. Hamas demanding essentially no Israeli overflight of drones for certain periods during the truce, such that they
could get all the hostages they need to as part of the release of Israeli women and children. With this release now starting and we'll see how long
it takes, we expect Palestinian women and children to be released from Israeli prisons a little later on this evening.
What's also worth noting is that this went forward. The critical part of the truce went forward on the final day as of right now. But, it also comes
after an attack claimed by Hamas in Jerusalem in which three Israeli citizens were killed and the two Palestinian attackers were killed. And
yet, that was earlier this morning, shortly before eight o'clock. It would obviously have been the biggest violation of the truce, except it didn't
happen in Gaza, and didn't rock what was already a fragile, essentially agreement that has been on thin ice over the course of the past seven days.
It held together.
The major question now, Kasie, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken here meeting both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas, can this truce continue anymore? One of the questions, how many more women and children are being held in Gaza? And can
this distrustful relationship between Israel and Hamas hold long enough for 24, 48 more hours? And then the bigger question of, can they expand it
beyond just women and children to elderly men, and then soldiers, men and women?
HUNT: All right. Oren Liebermann for us in Tel Aviv. Thank you very much for that update on this tense situation.
Let's dive into this and more with today's panel. Brett Bruen, President of the Global Situation Room; CNN Military Analyst, retired U.S. Air Force
Colonel, Cedric Leighton, and Margaret Talev, a Senior Contributor at Axios.
Brett, let me just start with you on kind of the tenuousness of what's going on here. We've seen an increased number, it seems, of smaller
skirmishes that are threatening this truce and this looming reality that soon they're going to have to start talking about what to do about a
different, completely different category of hostage.
BRETT BRUEN, PRESIDENT, THE GLOBAL SITUATION ROOM, & FMR. DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL ENGAGEMENT IN OBAMA WHITE HOUSE: And yet, what we are seeing, Kasie,
is that in each round of negotiations, I think there is a level of confidence building that's taking place, Hamas, Israel, and obviously the
U.S., Qatar, are feeling each other out, are finding where we can over the course obviously of the next few days, indeed weeks, carve out a space for
something that is a longer term agreement. That being said, obviously Prime Minister Netanyahu is dead set on continuing with military operations.
How much of that is a threat, and how much of that will he act upon, remains somewhat of an open question.
HUNT: Yeah. Cedric, what are you looking for in the next 24 hours?
COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST, & U.S. AIR FORCE (RET.): So, what Brett said is very interesting from a psychological standpoint
when you look at the diplomacy efforts and all of the things that are going on there. I think on the one side, I'm looking for more diplomatic
progress. On the other, I'm looking for military preparations. I'm looking to see, is the IDF moving forward? Are there -- is there political rhetoric
that leads one to believe that all of a sudden we are coming into a point where there is this point of no return that's in concert with Prime
Minister Netanyahu's rhetoric? So, that's the kind of thing of he continues to ramp up the rhetoric, and then it's matched by troop movements, that
would be one danger sign that the truce may not hold.
Also the movements of Hamas, the development in Jerusalem where the three Israelis were killed, that is not positive. And so, if there is an increase
in those kinds of activities, that could also spell trouble for the peace agreement, or any effort like that.
HUNT: Margaret Talev, what's at the top of the priority list right now for the Biden administration here?
MARGARET TALEV, SENIOR EDITOR, AXIOS, & DIR., DEMOCRACY, JOURNALISM & CITIZENSHIP INSTITUTE AT SYRACUSE UNIV.: Getting hostages, including
Americans, out, and trying to bring it from a, I'm not going to say from a boil to a simmer, but from a boil to a lighter boil. The administration
would like to see the Israelis recalibrate their tactical approach in Gaza so that there are less Palestinian civil casualties. A pause, even if it's
temporary, even if it's a couple of days, is a reset of sorts. It's short term, but it is a reset of sorts, and it's buying that time, gives people
an ability to rethink, to talk all of the above.
The one area that I'm concerned about in watching is what's happening in the West Bank, because until now, this has been a Gaza-based situation with
repercussions for refugees, anyone who manages to get out, where are they going to go, who is going to take care of them. But, so far, the West Bank
has largely been insulated. The shoe everyone else is worried about dropping is if this conflict spreads on any level towards Ramallah. And
we're seeing some unrest tied to jubilation about the release of some of these female prisoners. Like, it's complicated. But, I think whether there
is a -- as long as the pause lasts, there is a parallel track to watch in terms of what is going on in the West Bank.
LEIGHTON: Yeah. Absolutely. I think that's 100 percent correct. And to Margaret's point about the idea of minimizing civilian casualties, that is
going to be definitely a goal of the Biden administration and everybody else in the region. The problem that they're going to have is actually
executing on that, because militarily, the Israelis are not really prepared to minimize the types of weapons they use. They will use weapons that are
of lesser weight, 250 pound bombs versus 2,000 pound bombs, that kind of thing. But --
HUNT: It's still a pretty blunt instrument.
LEIGHTON: It's still a pretty blunt instrument. That's exactly right. And the problem that you're going to have is, the perception is still going to
be that there is a lot of destruction out there. And when that destruction happens, the PR effort to the international reaction to this is still going
to be negative.
HUNT: Right. You're nodding.
BRUEN: Well, because I think ultimately, there is a path forward that interest all parties save perhaps Hamas, and that includes the Palestinian
Authority, because Mahmoud Abbas is in a very difficult spot right now. One, he obviously politically has lost support because Hamas is delivering
some of those who've been detained by Israel in the hundreds. Additionally, obviously, he is trying to get a seat back at the table for negotiations,
when so much right now is transpiring between Hamas and the international party.
So, what I think will be fascinating to watch for, after we get through this next extension is, are we starting to talk about what an international
force coming into Gaza looks like? And what in fact are the parameters for Hamas staying there? Because Benjamin Netanyahu has painted himself into a
corner, saying Hamas has to be eradicated from Gaza. But, the details are going to be key here. And in diplomacy, we have perfected the art of
describing something in a way that may be different than on the ground the facts bear out.
HUNT: So, I'm glad that you mentioned diplomacy and art, because the other top story that we have this morning is the passing of Henry Kissinger, who
basically invented the concept of shuttle diplomacy which you are still seeing being used in a modern way in the region, in the Middle East, as
this is playing out. This was of course back in 1973 around the Yom Kippur War. Kissinger spoke about what he meant by the art of statesmanship.
I want to listen -- I want you to listen to how the man himself described it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY KISSINGER, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The art of statesmanship is to find a position between stagnation and overextension, hopefully at
the outer limit of what is possible. But, it cannot be done if you let yourself be driven by theories of tactical decision without some perception
of what you're trying to bring about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So, a position, Brett, between stagnation and overextension. I'm interested in -- I mean, Kissinger, just an incredibly controversial figure
years on. I mean, Rolling Stone on the night he died wrote a headline that basically said "Good riddance. You're a war criminal. Get out", which I
think sort of underscored, and when you think about counterculture and the movements in 60s and 70s, and Rolling Stone play -- the way that they --
the role that they played, you overlay that with the Vietnam War and Kissinger's role there. But, I couldn't help but thinking about him in this
context as well, as we're covering kind of the day to day unfolding of this conflict. I mean, what did he bring to the world stage, and what are we
still learning from him as events unfold today?
BRUEN: Let me set aside some of the controversy and just purely focus as a former diplomat on what precisely you're describing --
HUNT: Yeah. Please.
BRUEN: -- somebody who perfected the art of diplomacy for the modern era, such as it was in the 1970s, the period in which the United States was
emerging from two World Wars, from a conflict, obviously, that he played a huge part in, in Vietnam. And yet, he gave us the tools that are now being
used in Gaza to try and secure some sort of common ground. I mean, he was instrumental in bridging that divide with Beijing that helped send Nixon to
China. I mean, imagine where we would be as a world if instead we taken a different path. And so, while we can certainly criticize some of the policy
decisions, I think some of the structures, the strategies, the skills that in generation and in fact several generations of diplomats have inherited
from someone who loomed large over the world of diplomacy for almost a century, is incalculable.
TALEV: He also saw the politics of the Middle East and the politics of the Soviet Union as extremely intertwined. And I think this conversation going
on now in the Republican Party about whether to basically dial away from Ukraine and focus money and strategy and resources on the Middle East,
Kissinger would say that's a big mistake.
LEIGHTON: Yeah. I agree with that. And one of the things that's interesting about Kissinger is his big hero was a guy named Metternich, who was the
Austrian statesman that really set up the world order.
HUNT: Metternich. Yeah.
LEIGHTON: Metternich, the guy that set up the world order after Napoleon.
LEIGHTON: And so, Kissinger looked at that as being kind of a model for his efforts, successful or not, but you can definitely make the argument that
the China that we have today would not exist had it not been for Henry Kissinger.
HUNT: My international professors knew I will be -- my relations professors knew I was going to be talking about Metternich on instead of my show. I'd
like to think they would be proud of me. All right. Thank you, guys. Brett, thank you very much for your insights today. Cedric -- Colonel Leighton and
Margaret Talev are going to stick around. They're going to be back with us in just a few moments.
Nikki Haley's presidential campaign is rolling out its first TV ad. She is going to use it to go after one candidate, but still not. Find me.
HUNT: Welcome back. Nikki Haley's presidential campaign moving into a new gear, planning to spend $10 million airing her first official campaign ad
in Iowa and New Hampshire, calling for a President with moral clarity. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A President must have moral clarity, and know the difference between good and evil. Today, China,
Russia and Iran are advancing. There is chaos in our streets and college campuses. Our security is threatened at home and abroad. It's time for a
new generation of conservative leadership. We have to leave behind the chaos and drama of the past.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: The other ads, of course, that we've showed you the past several weeks, those have come from her super PAC. You will notice, of course,
Haley does not mention Donald Trump by name, but she does talk about chaos. And of course, just this week, she said chaos follows Trump. The former
President will again be a no-show at the fourth Republican debate next week. Instead of debating, he plans to attend a fundraiser for the MAGA
Inc. super PAC. Meanwhile, Vivek Ramaswamy dealing with the defection. Sources tell CNN one of his top aides is joining the Trump campaign.
Let's get to our panel, Kristen Soltis Anderson, a CNN Political Commentator and Republican Strategist; Jess McIntosh, former Director of
Communications Outreach with the Hillary Clinton campaign, and Margaret Talev, Senior Contributor with Axios, remains with us.
Margaret, interesting ads. So much to kind of digest there. It's -- I realize it's a 30-second ad, but they say so much about like what a
campaign is focusing on. And I mean, honestly, her presentation in the way she came across in that ad, I think also helps understand why she has been
such a high performer in the debates too.
TALEV: Yeah. You see, in the messaging that she is doing here at this point, she is trying to distinguish herself to the Republican base as a
better alternative to Trump without inflaming people who still feel loyal to Trump to the extent that they could never get behind her in the future.
At some point, there is going to need to be a breaking point, though. Like at some point, she is still so far behind, if the national polling applies
in the key early states, that someone is going to have to go after Trump. Maybe it's going to be the Koch brothers' ads or some independent
expenditure. Maybe it's not going to be Nikki Haley's voice.
But, you can't -- I don't think you can overcome like a 40-point gap doing this, but you can build momentum and test the boundaries. And you can be
talking to Democrats centrists and Republicans at the same time. And it feels like that's what she is trying to do.
HUNT: Kristen, you spent so much time talking to these voters that are going to decide, not just whether anyone else besides Trump has a chance in
the GOP primary, but whether Donald Trump is going to win or lose the general election. I mean, what did you hear in that ad?
KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, & U.S. REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST AND POLLSTER: Yeah. What I heard is Nikki Haley wanting to first
of all speak to the concerns that Republicans have about Biden, about the Democrats that are in charge now, and the reason why so many Republicans
think that this 2024 election is existential. For many Republican voters, though, they think Trump is kind of the safer bet, that for them, they're
like, well, I know what I'm getting with Donald Trump. I know he will be different than Joe Biden.
So, what she is trying to do in this ad is say, no, no, no. What you need is something actually new and fresh and different. We don't need a rehash
of the past.
ANDERSON: The problem she is going to face is, if you just peel off two percent, three percent, four percent of voters there, that's not enough to
overcome Trump's big lead. And so, she has got to walk that really fine line. You can't run a message that says Donald Trump is a bad man.
That is dead in the water in the Republican primary. But, you can run a message that says Donald Trump is not the one we should pick in the future.
You can see her trying to --
HUNT: She is trying to thread that needle.
HUNT: Yes. It's a tough needle thread.
JESS MCINTOSH, FMR. DIR. OF COMMUNICATIONS OUTREACH, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN: And it's impossible. I truly -- I do not envy her at all what she
is doing. And I think she is doing a fairly decent job of something impossible. It seems like she is trying very hard to appeal to, I don't
know, the 2010, 2012 Republican base. And I think she might actually have - - find a lot of purchase with those folks. But, that was a decade ago. And the base is very, very different than it is now. And they like the chaos.
They've said over and over -- that's why Trump is leading 40 points in the polls.
So, the idea -- I mean, she has the choice between trying to be somebody that people would vote for instead of Trump, or trying to be the person who
people will vote for should trump not be the nominee for any legal reason. And I don't know that she is going to be able to make that case one way or
the other. Like, it just seems real tough.
HUNT: So, here I want to put -- and Jimmy, forgive me for, in the control room, for putting you through some paces here. But, what I would like to do
is play this Nikki Haley ad that we showed in the lead in, and then right after it show you, this is Donald Trump's -- a piece of Donald Trump's
first ad since August, because they really are -- they seem to me to be very related and also relevant to the broader conversation we're having.
So, first, let's take a look at Nikki Haley's ad, and then Donald Trump's.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HALEY: A President must have moral clarity, and know the difference between good and evil. Today, China, Russia and Iran are advancing. There is chaos
in our streets and college campuses. Our security is threatened at home and abroad. It's time for a new generation of conservative leadership. We have
to leave behind the chaos and drama of the past.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As Commander-in-Chief, he always had his soldiers' backs, was always there to support them and their families. He kept his
promise to keep them out of endless wars, and to never forget about them after they served. America learned having a weak leader can tragically lead
to American deaths.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So, Kristen, so, first of all, I have that all those ghazi shots of Donald Trump with all of those troops. Let's not forget that he wanted
wounded troops out of the pictures of himself doing various things. I mean, the way in which he has actually, when he was President of the United
States, Commander-in-Chief, treated veterans who had given much of themselves or all of themselves to the country, was not one that was as
gauzy as they would have you believe. But, Kristen, it's interesting he is going down this route, and basically saying -- keeping our soldiers out of
endless wars. I actually hear a little bit, and clearly that ad is aimed at Biden. They are running a general election strategy.
But, when you think about how Haley is approaching, it's a much more hawkish tone, much more -- we are -- the United States needs to be engaged
in the world. There are these risky conflicts, and we need to be kind of proactive about them. It's very different.
ANDERSON: I -- absolutely. And I think part of this is what I was saying before about how Republican base voters, for all that we think of Donald
Trump, as this total agent of chaos, that he comes in like a wrecking ball. And he is trying in that ad to say, no, if you want stability, if you want
sanity, if you want to feel safe, right now you feel like the world is unsafe, I'm going to be the counter to that. That's the message he is
trying to drive with that music that almost sounds like a lullaby --
ANDERSON: -- at the beginning. He is not trying to drive I'm the chaos candidate anymore.
TALEV: Did you want to see the January 6 scenes set against soft piano music? Absurd ad is the ultimate and alternative reality. It's absurd. But
MCINTOSH: It's -- and it's completely at odds with the kind of rallies that he is having, with the kind of speeches that he gives, I think that ad is
frankly aimed more towards us than it is towards the Republican base. They want the politicos of the world to be able to talk about what a rational
normal political ad that was. And is that the kind of campaign he is going to be running? And of course, that was how we spent a lot of 2016 and 2020,
saying, oh, this is the pivot. Here is the pivot.
MCINTOSH: Now, we're done with the chaos. This is going to be stability now. He is trying it again.
ANDERSON: That is so how a lot of Republican voters that you would think of as kind of the normal Republicans who have decided, you know what? I think
Donald Trump is going to be my guy, and kind of want to justify --
ANDERSON: -- it to themselves going for those very unconventional guys. They look at things like, see, look, he is totally normal. The question is,
who is going to win out if there are two wolves inside Donald Trump? Right? And one is like I'm all about the economy. And the other is I'm all about
revenge. Like, who is going to win on the campaign trail?
HUNT: I think most of that.
HUNT: I mean, I will say, it's like his campaign advisors have been trying to get him to do, and they're the ones you get to write sign off for and
pay for those ads.
TALEV: And get paid for the ads.
HUNT: Right. Exactly. And look, speaking of the chaos, this is just in to us. There has been -- he is under a gag order -- has been under gag orders
in two different cases. They kind of come and go based on what the courts have been doing.
The appellate court in New York and the civil trial just reinstated his gag order, which of course relates to how he is or isn't allowed to talk
primarily about the court staff, because the judge was particularly incensed about some comments that he made about one of the judge's clerks.
But, I mean, just to kind of the point you were making and like what you were talking about, I mean, this is going to be the reality as much as --
they make try to convince us that the ad is reality. This is also reality.
MCINTOSH: No. This is not a normal presidential election. This is not going to -- I mean, Donald Trump was never a normal Republican nominee. But, this
year -- I mean, unprecedented is like overused, at this point.
MCINTOSH: We have absolutely no idea --
HUNT: I know.
MCINTOSH: -- what is going to be the reality post Super Tuesday next year. We just don't. We can't look at the polls to tell us, we can't really look
at the courts to tell us none of our usual barometers are available to us. So, it's interesting to watch his team try to pretend that this is business
as usual, as we all white knuckle it to next November.
HUNT: What do you make of that, Kristen? I mean, do you agree with that? Is it going to be totally off? Like, how are you -- how do you even poll a
focus group about this?
ANDERSON: Yeah. So, I do agree that the normal metrics are a bit broken, right? Normally, we'd be looking at things like presidential job approval.
And we'd be seeing Biden --
ANDERSON: -- weak.
ANDERSON: Right? He is very vulnerable it's not being (inaudible).
HUNT: And the rules may apply to him. Yeah.
ANDERSON: Right. Voters are frustrated with the economy, etc. And yet, it feels like all of those normal indicators are not giving us a clear picture
of what is going to happen if and when a Trump-Biden rematch actually comes to pass with all of the health challenges that one or both candidates could
be facing. They're both of advanced age. I mean, there is all sorts of X factors, and potential pandemonium in this coming year.
TALEV: And the multiple legal cases and indictments and counts against the former President. So, yeah, I think it's like you look at all the numbers
and history and the trajectory and the gaps, national polling has its limits, but it's not completely off base. You look at all that --
HUNT: It sounds more than it ever did, or like it tells us more than it ever did.
TALEV: And you look at all that and you're like, how can anyone catch Donald Trump? And yet, I think everybody is willing to sort of say, we have
learned from the last couple of election cycles that you cannot predict what's going to happen just because you think you know what's going to
happen, or just because you can look at the past and say this is what's happened. So, all the numbers tell us one thing. I don't know if that's
what it's going to look like in March or April or May. And if any -- if there is any deviations from either major script in either major party --
TALEV: -- there is going to be have to be a complete reshuffling of what everyone thinks is happening.
HUNT: I feel like that was one of the first lessons I learned as a campaign reporter, because my bosses would always seem to think that, because it
went this way last time, it was going to go the way next time, and it was very easy to make the mistake of covering the last campaign rather than the
campaign that was playing out in front of you. And I think it's wise for us to make sure we remember that. Jess McIntosh, thank you. It's wonderful to
have you on a state visit to Washington.
MCINTOSH: It's amazing to be here. Thanks for having me.
HUNT: Come back soon. I think our viewers will love you if you come and hang out with us. We're going to hear more from Kristen Soltis Anderson and
Margaret Talev in just a moment.
Up next, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer getting rare praise from Republican colleagues after his address on antisemitism. On the same day,
Elon Musk finally apologizes for promoting an antisemitic post on his platform. That's next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): I have noticed the significant disparity between how Jewish people regard the rise of antisemitism and how many of my non-
Jewish friends regard. To us, the Jewish people, the rise of antisemitism is a crisis, a five-alarm fire that must be extinguished. After October 7,
Jewish Americans are feeling singled out, targeted and isolated. In many ways, we feel alone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: Powerful words from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer yesterday on the surge of antisemitism in the U.S. since Israel's war with Hamas began.
Schumer's speech drawing praise from across the aisle, from Senator -- Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): It was extraordinary. I want to compliment him for providing a history lesson for Americans about the history of the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: A history lesson, one that some of the world's most powerful people, including its richest man, might benefit from, Elon Musk, owner of the
platform formerly known as Twitter, where he recently reposted an antisemitic conspiracy theory. He finally, finally apologized for that
yesterday, but then had these choice words for companies that pulled their ad dollars off the platform after he reposted that conspiracy theory.
BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELON MUSK, OWNER, X CORP: Go (BEEP) yourself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But --
MUSK: Go (BEEP) yourself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: OK. Let's bring back our panel, Kristen Soltis Anderson, Cedric -- Colonel Cedric Leighton is back with us, and so is Margaret Talev. We
didn't show the extensive portion of Schumer's speech, Colonel, where he walked through the many, many over centuries millennia, really, of how Jews
have been persecuted, how they have felt permanently under threat as though they are never safe. And he was really reminding America, the world of that
history and of how October 7 fits into that history.
When I saw what Elon Musk had said, and sort of a cavalier, I mean, vulgar, straight a vulgar way, he was talking about people who were upset about
what he did, because that's what these advertisers are doing. They're saying, we're upset that you said something antisemitic, and we don't want
to give you any money. You were on this program earlier this week, and we were talking about this and the imperatives for somebody like Elon Musk in
the position that he holds in terms of trying to understand the history, I want to show it, remind everybody of what you had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEIGHTON: We have a real problem with educating people on history in, not only in this country, but throughout the world. They have a real problem
understanding how things have developed, what the past is, what the present is, and what the future is going to hold, because they don't understand
where we've been.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So, how do you understand Elon Musk and what is going on here, and the way in which he does or does not understand history?
LEIGHTON: So, he is looking at things from a vantage point of somebody who has had a lot of success in life in terms of commercial success, investment
success, things like that.
And Twitter is kind of a problem for him, or X now, because it isn't providing him that kind of success. But, he is also engaging in things in
discourse, in public discourse in a way that is not fully informed. And that's a real problem. I mean, nobody knows 100 percent of everything,
right? But, we do know that there are certain inherent truths.
We know that the Jewish people, for example, have been persecuted. They're among the most persecuted groups in history. We know that certain events
have happened. And history education is not just about memorizing a bunch of dates and place names and people and things like that. History education
is understanding where people have been, understanding how thoughts have developed, why we have the institutions that we have, and that kind of
thing is not being taught in the way it should be, especially in a democratic country like this.
Now, Elon Musk, his educational experience was primarily in South Africa, at least in the formative years.
LEIGHTON: And that, of course, speaks to the fact that people will teach history through a certain lens. And when they teach history through a
certain lens, they omit certain parts. They also gloss over things. And that is part of the problem that we have right now. So, when people are in
positions of great power and responsibility, they have to kind of make up for gaps in their own educational background. We all have gaps in our
educational background in one way or another.
But, the key thing to remember is, it's up to us. It's up to us to make sure that we learn all these different pieces. We learn all the different
places that people have been, both physically and psychologically. And when it comes to this, I think that what he needs to do is he needs to
understand that these companies, they are speaking with their wallets.
LEIGHTON: And they're saying, OK, you have said something that is unacceptable to us. And he advocates for free speech. He says he does at
least. But, he is not really allowing it. And he has to, in essence, practice what he preaches. He has to allow free speech for those who
disagree with him. And he also has to allow it for those who agree with him. But, the key thing is this. He needs to understand that these
companies are doing this because they find it socially irresponsible what he has said.
TALEV: Yeah. Pulling your ad dollars from a brand that you find offensive or dangerous or disagree with, is a perfectly acceptable non-violent form
TALEV: It doesn't seem controversial to me at all. What's interesting about Chuck Schumer's speech, there are many interesting things about it. First
of all, he was, I think, trying to convey this message to younger Americans, Americans who are advocates for the protection of innocent
Palestinian civilians, the desire to end the occupation to -- that they need to be careful with the way they think about this in their words,
because you could unwittingly fuel antisemitism. The -- one of the problems with our public discourse is that this defaults to a binary issue. You're
either for the Israelis or you're for the Palestinians. And that's really what's going on here. The idea is that we should all be for protecting the
rights and freedoms of innocent Israeli civilians and of innocent Palestinian civilians.
TALEV: And the -- but, one of the challenges is, I think, for every young person who is trying to get their heads around the history or the nuances,
Elon Musk's words and actions are much more powerful than -- in terms of instant impact --
TALEV: -- than the words and actions of young college students or people across the United States who have their own experience through which they
view this conflict. Antisemitism has not gone away and is resurgent. Anti- Muslim American or anti-Arab American sentiment also --
TALEV: -- has not gone away and is surging. These are both real problems. So, we need to address in our society independent of the conflict overseas.
HUNT: And he is not an elected leader. But, Kristen, Elon Musk, as a public figure, in many ways, is just pouring fuel on the fire of these divisions.
ANDERSON: Yes. Well, I was glad that at least he said this is the "worst and dumbest post I've ever done". But, you also have to remember, these
advertisers are pulling away from X or formerly known as Twitter --
HUNT: We can call Twitter.
ANDERSON: -- not just because of this one post, because has been a real sense of degradation on the platform ever since he took over. There have
been changes to the user experience, changes to what is and is not allowed. And it may just be that advertisers are not interested in having their
content alongside of everything else that happens in that ecosystem.
HUNT: Oh, yeah. No, I was -- I anchor a show at five in the morning, and I was scrolling my feed this morning, and if the ad that popped up in my feed
had been visible in the camera over my shoulder, it probably wouldn't have been saved for work. I was astonished, and shut my iPad. It's a completely
-- you're absolutely right. It is a completely different experience than it used to be. All right. Thanks to all of you for joining me today. I really
Coming up next on State of the Race, I'm going to speak with the Senator from Maryland, Democrat Chris Van Hollen. Don't go anywhere.
HUNT: Welcome back to State of the Race. As we mentioned earlier in the show, the former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has died at the age of
100. Here is CNN's Richard Roth with a look back at a remarkable life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know all of you will want to hear from the new Secretary of State.
RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Henry Kissinger never really needed an introduction on the world stage again, Kissinger, the most famous
statesman of the last half of the 20th century, celebrated and controversial. As Richard Nixon's National Security Advisor and Secretary
of State, the diplomat wielded enormous power and influence, so trusted that it was Kissinger who went to China on a secret mission to explore a
historic opening of U.S. relations with Communist China.
HENRY KISSINGER, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Whoever win, would be alone in Beijing with no communication. And therefore, if he didn't know
Nixon's mind, he might do foolish things.
ROTH (voice-over): Initially, there were fears a U.S.-China ping pong exchange match would affect the high stakes political gambit.
KISSINGER: Every once in a while something happens in diplomacy, which transcends the drafting of cables.
ROTH (voice-over): Vietnam, casualties mounted as the Vietnamese gained territory, Nixon and an undiplomatic Kissinger thought more bombing of the
North would help.
KISSINGER: I would them recommend that we start bombing the bejeezus out of them within 48 hours.
ROTH (voice-over): Kissinger approved secret bombings of North Vietnamese units in Cambodia without congressional approval. He would say, sometimes
statesmen have to choose among evils, moral compromises in messy conflicts. Kissinger and his Vietnamese counterpart Le Duc Tho were awarded the Nobel
Peace Prize for their role in negotiating a ceasefire.
KISSINGER: I have to say I have never dealt with a group of people as treacherous as the North Vietnamese leadership.
ROTH (voice-over): Kissinger insisted trouble on the home front hurt chances to succeed in Vietnam.
KISSINGER: We lost the war because we were divided, and other because we were too uncertain about what we wanted.
ROTH (voice-over): Kissinger's support for a coup in Chile, and pro-U.S. Military strong men in other parts of the world drew criticism. Kissinger's
legacy would be contested decades later when he testified in Congress at the age of 91. Kissinger grew up in Germany with war clouds swirling. His
family fled when he was 15.
KISSINGER: About half of the people I went to school with and about 13 members of my own family died in concentration camps.
ROTH (voice-over): A Jewish Secretary of State who would later listen to his President criticize American Jewish leaders.
RICHARD NIXON, 37TH U.S. PRESIDENT: It's about goddamn time that the Jew in America realizes he's an American first and a Jew second. Well, I couldn't
KISSINGER: I only heard antisemitic comments when some Jewish group would attack him for something he had done.
ROTH (voice-over): In the Middle East, Kissinger performed what came to be known as shuttle diplomacy to separate Israeli and Arab forces, setting the
stage for future peace accords. When Nixon resigned as President, Kissinger stayed on as Gerald Ford's Secretary of State. His opinion still widely
sought after by governments and businesses after leaving public office.
KISSINGER: You want to leave your country better off than you found it. And there is nothing in private life you can do that's as interesting and as
ROTH (voice-over): There was one job Kissinger said he never got to do in his life, a sports announcer.
KISSINGER: Derek, who?
ROTH (voice-over): However, the globe-trotting diplomat did star in some of history's biggest games.
HUNT: Welcome back to State of the Race. I'm happy to have Chris Van Hollen, Democratic Senator from Maryland with us. He sits on the Foreign
Relations and Appropriations Committees. Senator, thank you so much for being with us.
SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): Kasie, good to be with you.
HUNT: So, I want to start with Kissinger just because we've been remembering him the day after his passing. You sit on the Foreign Relations
Committee. But, my understanding is, you also have some personal knowledge of the Secretary because your father worked with him. And what are your
memories of him?
HOLLEN: Well, certainly, Henry Kissinger, Secretary Kissinger, Dr. Kissinger, was a incredibly consequential and influential figure in
American statescraft. And whether you agree or disagree with him, you cannot disagree with that conclusion. Look, there are many instances where
Henry Kissinger took a position or pursued a policy that I think many of us thought was questionable. What is indisputable is the fact that he had a
major influence on foreign policy and on the United States.
HUNT: Yeah. Senator, let's talk about what's the current questions of diplomacy before us in the Middle East. Now, there is this tenuous truce
still holding as hostages are released in the Israel-Hamas war. And this of course, as Congress is trying to pass a package to aid not just Israel,
also Ukraine, among other things, but there is a major sticking point in terms of aid to Israel. Some of your colleagues -- one of your colleagues,
in particular, Bernie Sanders, has called to put conditions on that aid. Would you support putting conditions on aid that the U.S. send to Israel?
HOLLEN: Well, first of all, you're right. We're working very hard to try to get this supplemental assistance package through for Ukraine, Israel, for
some of our partners in the Indo-Pacific, along with a desperately needed humanitarian assistance for the people in Gaza. Kasie, what I've been doing
is working closely with the Biden administration to see if they can secure assurances from the Netanyahu government on how this war will be conducted
going forward. I think all of us support the goal of eliminating Hamas as a military threat and their ability to govern Gaza.
But, as Secretary Blinken has said, how they conduct this war is important. And in the face against the northern part of Gaza, we saw really
unacceptably high levels of civilian casualties. And we see -- saw a near total siege, cut off water, food, medicine, which is why the Biden
administration has said that if Israel is going to conduct operations in the south, especially against Khan Younis, which second biggest city in
Gaza, that it cannot be the way the operations were conducted in New York. So, my goal is to get assurances and commitments from the Netanyahu regime,
the Netanyahu coalition on this very important point.
HUNT: So, assurances, but not necessarily conditions from Congress.
HOLLEN: Well, again, what we're doing is right now working with the Biden administration that has been urging the Netanyahu coalition on the way
forward. But, what we're watching here is whether they secure commitments. Because at the end of the day, I do think we need an approach that gets
commitments. And so, we're having an ongoing conversation as what's the best way to secure commitments, not we hear you and we're thinking about
it. But -- so, the Biden team asserts what its expectations are. But, we think that they should be your -- more than what our expectations are, but
clear commitments from the Netanyahu coalition as to the way forward.
HUNT: Is this the White House preference in this package? They want to be able to do this with commitments instead of conditions. I know you met with
Jake Sullivan, the National Security Advisor, earlier this week. Did he tell you that the White House would prefer not to have conditions from
Congress on this aid?
HOLLEN: I am going to let the administration speak for itself. But, what I will say on this point is what they said is that the Biden administration
is not seeking conditions. In other words, they're not asking for conditions. But, as to their overall view of what Congress does, they'll
have to answer that question. I do know that President Biden has found it very helpful to be able to say to Prime Minister Netanyahu that friends of
Israel in the Congress and in the Senate have these very, very serious concerns, both on the issue of access for humanitarian assistance, and the
very high level of civilian casualties, two thirds of the dead being women and children in Gaza, and the need to really focus on Hamas and the
military threat in a way that does not cause such widespread suffering among innocent Palestinians.
HUNT: Do you think that President Biden has struck the right balance in public between supporting Israel and expressing sympathy for civilian
casualties in Gaza?
HOLLEN: Look, we have an ongoing discussion with the Biden administration as to the best way forward. As you indicated, President Biden has been
pursuing quiet diplomacy, and that has had some important benefits. I mean, specifically, I want to applaud the President and his team for the
leadership that they played in achieving this temporary humanitarian pause, temporary ceasefire for the purpose of releasing many, many hostages and
being able to bring them home, and for the purpose of getting more humanitarian assistance through.
I think the days ahead will determine whether or not that quiet diplomacy approach is successful in these other goals that we've been talking about,
dramatically reducing the number of civilian casualties and making sure that we get humanitarian assistance in the Gaza, not simply during a
temporary ceasefire, but on an ongoing basis.
So, for example, we have been pressing very hard, many of us in the Senate for the opening of the Kerem Shalom crossing to get more humanitarian
assistance in to Gaza. That's just one example of many of things that the Netanyahu coalition could do to better support humanitarian relief.
HUNT: Yeah, and that backcrossing, of course, the one directly from Israel and in to Gaza. Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, I very much
appreciate your time today, sir. Thank you very much for being with us.
HOLLEN: Good to be with you.
HUNT: All right. I am Kasie Hunt. That's the State of the Race for today, Thursday, November 30. You can always follow me on Instagram and the
platform formerly known as Twitter. But, don't go anywhere. One Word is up next.