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State of the Union

Interview With Fmr. Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX); Interview With Fmr. Gov. Chris Christie (D-NJ); Interview With Rep. Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez (D-NY); Interview With U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg; Interview With Fmr. Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD). Aired 9-10a ET

Aired July 02, 2023 - 09:00   ET




DANA BASH, CNN HOST (voice-over): We, the people. The Supreme Court's conservative majority takes steps to reshape American life.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is not a normal court.

BASH: How are Democrats responding? Biden Cabinet Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez join me next.

And holding court. As Republicans celebrate conservative rulings, Trump takes credit. Is that enough to make voters overlook their concerns?

FMR. GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's getting cornered, and he will lie about anything.

FMR. REP. WILL HURD (R-TX), PRESIDENT CANDIDATE: We need leaders that are going to be willing to be bold, that are going to be honest.

BASH: Republican candidates Chris Christie and Will Hurd join me to respond in moments.

Plus: Justice for whom? New attacks from top GOP candidates on minority rights.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Instead of taking children to church, they believe in taking children to drag shows.

BASH: But are they out of step with voters? Our political panel will discuss.


BASH: Hello. I'm Dana Bash in Washington, where the state of our union is divided 6-3.

Key decisions by the Supreme Court this week once again upended American life, with a trio of sweeping rulings that divided Americans and move the country to the right, prompting far-reaching consequences that are only beginning to come into focus.

The new decisions to gut affirmative action in college admissions, curtail LGBTQ protections, and block President Biden's controversial student loan forgiveness plan, it prompted blistering exchanges between justices on the court and brought the stakes in the 2024 election into clearer view, as top GOP candidates said, if elected, they would push the nation even further on that path, while President Biden said only he can stand in their way.

Here with me now is Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Thank you so much for joining me this morning.

Let's start with the student loan decision. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the Constitution does not allow the president the power to unilaterally forgive student loans. It's up to you in Congress to make this kind of sweeping change.

Early in his presidency, I think you remember, even President Biden said he doesn't have that authority. What's your response to the court's decision?

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): What the court was also ruling on was with respect to the HEROES Act.

But our response is very strong, in that Congress has given the president that authority in the Higher Education Act. The president very squarely has as well, using his secretary of education, the ability to cancel student loans.

But, as we have seen, not just in what we saw ruled from the majority, but even in the minority dissent written around these cases, we have justices saying that the Supreme Court is going, themselves, much too far. They are expanding their role into acting as though they are Congress itself.

And that, I believe, is an expansion of power that we really must be focusing on, the danger of this court and the abuse of power in this court, particularly as it -- particularly as it is related to the entanglements around conflicts of interest as well.

BASH: You mentioned the Higher Education Act. President Biden came out and proposed a different path forward for student loan forgiveness under certain circumstances.

Listen to what he said.


BIDEN: We will ground this new approach in a different law than my original plan, the so-called Higher Education Act.

This new path is legally sound. It's going to take longer, but, in my view, it's the best path that remains to providing for as many borrowers as possible with debt relief.


BASH: So, just to be clear, he is saying that what he wants to do now is to try to use his executive power under what you were mentioning, the Higher Education Act, which is different from what the Supreme Court struck down.

You are not only a member of Congress. I believe you still have student loans. This plan could take up to a year to take effect. Is there more that he could or should be doing?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yes, I believe that there are several steps that we should be considering as well to go a step beyond.

I would like to see interest payments suspended during this time, especially during that 12-month ramp-up period. There are millions of people in this country that have student loan debt under -- student loan debt amounts under $10,000 or $20,000, as outlined in the plan.


People should not be incurring interest during this 12-month on-ramp period. So, I highly urge the administration to consider suspending those interest payments. Of course, we still believe in pursuing student loan cancellation and acting faster than that 12-month period wherever possible.

What we -- we have been really articulating this plan using the Higher Education administration -- the Higher Education Act for some time. Myself, as well as other members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, met with the White House recently around this plan, as well as many other advocates in the space as well.

And we truly believe that the president -- Congress has given the president this authority. The Supreme Court is far overreaching their authority. And I believe, frankly, that we really need to be having conversations about judicial review as a check on the courts as well.

BASH: I want to talk more broadly about the court in a minute, but, first, I want to ask about another decision this past week striking down affirmative action programs.

The two black justices on the court, Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, had a really blistering debate that we don't usually see in decisions. Here is part of what Justice Thomas wrote.

He said -- quote -- "Justice Jackson uses her broad observations about statistical relationships between race and select measures of health, wealth and well-being to label all blacks as victims. Her desire to do so is unfathomable to me. It is an insult to individual achievement and cancerous to young minds seeking to push through barriers. Their race is not to blame for everything, good or bad, that in their lives."

What is your response to that?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: I mean, what Justice Clarence Thomas wrote there, I believe, is profoundly disrespectful to -- to -- I just think it was profoundly disrespectful to his colleague.

It includes sweeping assumptions about her world view, whereas, when you look at what -- what the response was from Justice Ketanji Brown, we saw that her dissent was grounded in fact. It was grounded in the facts of the case. It did not disparage Clarence Thomas' overall world view, but, as a matter of fact, a nuanced critique of his analysis of the fact of the case.

But for him to come out and insinuate that her opinion is due to some sort of inferior or less than -- less than really thought out of a stance, I think it's profoundly insulting. And I think that he really demonstrated his character, frankly, and his world view in that critique himself.

BASH: Congresswoman, you have called on President Biden to expand the Supreme Court to 13 justices.

But even after Roe was overruled last year and this past week, what we saw with affirmative action and other cases, I want you to listen to what President Biden said. He just said this on Thursday on MSNBC.


BIDEN: I think, if we start the process of trying to expand the court, we're going to politicize it maybe forever in a way that is not healthy.

NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: That you can't get back?

BIDEN: That I can't get back.


BASH: I'd like you to respond to that.

And, also, you mentioned a moment ago judicial review. Are you also saying that the justices' power should somehow be limited?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: I truly do. And this is not a new development in history. This is part of our system of checks and balances.

The courts, if they were to proceed without any check on their power, without any balance on their power, then we will start to see an undemocratic and, frankly, dangerous authoritarian expansion of power in the Supreme Court, which is what we are seeing now, from the overturning of abortion rights, to the ruling that discrimination and, frankly, stripping the full personhood and dignity of LGBTQ people in the United States.

This is -- these are the types of rulings that signal a dangerous creep towards authoritarianism and centralization of power in the court. In fact, we have members of the court themselves, with Justice Elena Kagan, saying that the court is beginning to assume the power of a legislature.

BASH: Congresswoman...

OCASIO-CORTEZ: And, right now, whether it is expansion of the court...

BASH: I'm sorry to interrupt.


BASH: But I just wonder, how do you do that? How -- do you -- are you proposing a law or a bill?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, there are several ways.

First, we have a Senate Judiciary Committee that is beginning the process of investigating the entanglements and conflicts of interest. Just one to two weeks before the student loan ruling, the country learned that Justice Samuel Alito was accepting gifts from billionaires who were lobbying against Supreme Court -- forgive -- or that were lobbying the Supreme Court against student loan forgiveness.


Just weeks before, we learned that he was accepting gifts from them and travel and vacations from them before he decided to vote and rule in their favor.

And so I believe that if Justice -- if Chief John Roberts will not come before Congress for an investigation voluntarily, I believe that we should be considering subpoenas. We should be considering investigations. We must pass much more binding and stringent ethics guidelines where we see members of Congress -- where we see members of the Supreme Court potentially breaking the law, as we saw in the refusal with Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from cases implicating his wife in January 6.

There also must be impeachment on the table. We have a broad level of tools to deal with misconduct, overreach, and abuse of power. And the Supreme Court has not been receiving the adequate oversight necessary in order to preserve their own legitimacy.

And, in the process, they themselves have been destroying the legitimacy of the court, which is profoundly dangerous for our entire democracy.

BASH: Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, thank you so much for joining us this morning. I appreciate it.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Of course. Thank you.

BASH: And in a separate decision this week, the Supreme Court cut back LGBTQ protections. Secretary Pete Buttigieg joins me live next.

And Donald Trump appointed three of the justices and is wasting no time taking credit for those Supreme Court decisions. Chris Christie will respond coming up.



BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.

Several new Supreme Court decisions will have far-reaching impacts on people in the United States, including a ruling that limits protections for LGBTQ Americans on free speech grounds.

Here with me now is Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Mr. Secretary, thank you so much for joining me this morning.

The Supreme Court ruled, as you know, that a Christian Web designer is not required to make Web sites celebrating same-sex weddings, due to her religious objections.

Justice Neil Gorsuch argued that, if the court had ruled the other way, then -- quote -- "Governments could force an unwilling Muslim movie director to make a film with a Zionist message. They could compel an atheist muralist to accept a commission celebrating evangelical zeal, and they could require a gay Web site designer to create Web sites for a group advocating against same-sex marriage."

Is there any merit to that argument?


And I think it's very revealing that there's no evidence that this Web designer was ever even approached by anyone asking for a Web site for a same-sex wedding. Matter of fact, it appears this Web designer only went into the wedding business for the purpose of provoking a case like this.

And, in that sense, I think there's something in common between this Supreme Court ruling and what we're seeing happening in state legislatures across the country, which is kind of a solution looking for problem, in other words, sending these kinds of things to the courts and sending these kinds of things to state legislatures for the clear purpose of chipping away at the equality and the rights that have so recently been won in the LGBTQ+ community.

And when they're doing that, it's at the expense of so many other issues that Americans are asking for relief and support on, the kinds of economic issues that President Biden was emphasizing in his Bidenomics address about how we keep unemployment so low, how we continue lowering costs for American families.

The fact that this was relief from a situation that may have never happened in the first place tells you everything you need to know about this agenda to use every instrument of government, courts and legislatures, to claw back at these rights for people who are just trying to go about their lives and just trying to be treated equally by businesses and by the government. BASH: Mr. Secretary, Ron DeSantis' campaign tweeted a video attacking

President Trump for his past support for LGBTQ Americans, touted DeSantis' own record of restricting their rights.

I want you to look and listen to just part of that long video.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: I cannot think of anything more horrifying.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It really has shut down drag.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just produced some of the harshest, most draconian laws that literally threaten trans existence.


BASH: What's your reaction to that video?

BUTTIGIEG: I'm going to choose my words carefully, partly because I'm appearing as secretary, so I can't talk about campaigns.

And I'm going to leave aside the strangeness of trying to prove your manhood by putting up a video that splices images of you in between oiled-up shirtless bodybuilders, and just get to a bigger issue that is on my mind whenever I see this stuff in the policy space, which is, again, who are you trying to help? Who are you trying to make better off?

And what public policy problems do you get up in the morning thinking about how to solve? We're focused as an administration how to get things done to make people better off. I spent my week traveling around the country to places that are benefiting from infrastructure funding.

We were in Appalachia in an Eastern Kentucky community that's been wiped out by floods repeatedly. And we're bringing them highway funding that's going to help them not only improve the road, but also improve the dam and protect them from floods in the future.

A few weeks ago, we were in North Dakota, where there's a railroad crossing that was a community headache for decades. And thanks to President Biden's bipartisan infrastructure funds, we finally have the resources to do something about it. And we're going to make that better and have it not be a problem holding back first responders.


These are the kinds of problems that most of us got into government, politics and public service in order to work on. And I just don't understand the mentality of somebody who gets up in the morning thinking that he's going to prove his worth by competing over who can make life hardest for a hard-hit community that is already so vulnerable in America.

BASH: You mentioned that you have been traveling around talking about and helping to unveil projects that are coming up because of President Biden's bipartisan infrastructure law.

This week, there -- we saw a poll that showed that 34 percent of Americans, that's it, just 34 percent of Americans approve of his handling of the economy. Seven in 10 say economic conditions are poor. Why is it that so many Americans don't seem to be feeling the benefit from Biden's economic policies that you're talking about?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, look, we're seeing extraordinarily low unemployment, some of the most job creation under any president ever.

We're seeing, by the way, with that, also unusually high rates of job satisfaction. We have seen inflation falling. We have seen manufacturing returning to the U.S.

And, obviously, a lot of effort and a lot of money goes into negativity to try to get people focusing on other things, like some of the things that we're talking about in the culture wars that certain figures are bringing to the fore again and again, I think because they don't want to talk about the economic work that they're doing.

And they certainly don't want to talk -- if you're -- we're talking about House and Senate Republicans, why they voted no on the infrastructure package, the majority of them, although we appreciate the Republicans who crossed over to work with us.

Most House and Senate Republicans and state legislative Republicans, they don't want to be dwelling on why they said no to $35-a-month caps on insulin or any of the other issues that are really affecting people.

The other thing I have noticed in the way these things get digested in the public and in the media is, when something is unambiguously good, it gets dramatically less attention.

That's part of why we have been hitting the road to highlight the really good work that's going on, work that's going on in terms of long-term infrastructure improvements, short-term successes too, like the work that Governor Shapiro led in Pennsylvania, with partnership from our department, to get I-95 back up and running in record time after it was taken out in a fiery and tragic crash.

These are the kinds of problem-solving that, frankly, there's some folks in Washington, for sure, who don't want to talk about that. They'd rather talk about other stuff. Our job is to make sure that Americans see the full picture. And that's exactly why you will continue to see us not only hard at work in our offices, but out on the road highlighting the actual problem solving and results that we're bringing to the American people.

BASH: You are the transportation secretary. It is a holiday weekend. A record number of Americans are flying this weekend after days of mass canc -- cancellations, rather, delays, particularly at United Airlines. The CEO of united, Scott Kirby, had to apologize for using a private jet, even as his airline was canceling thousands of flights.

Does something need to change at United? BUTTIGIEG: I'm less focused on how the CEO of United Airlines gets

around and more focused on how millions of passengers can get around.

The good news is, on Friday, according to TSA numbers from the screening checkpoints, we saw the most air passengers not only since COVID, but, we think, ever, and we saw cancellation rates and delay rates below 3 percent, below 2 percent coming into today.

Things look like they have quickly returned to normal for the system, and United also appears to have recovered. Now, we're watching more severe -- potential for severe weather. That's what touched off all of these problems about a week ago. But you look at where we were a year ago, where, even on blue sky days, with no severe weather, there were really unacceptable levels of cancellations and delays.

We have come a long way. And if you are traveling this weekend, like I am, I certainly encourage you to go to We have put out a lot of information, including information about the enforceable customer service commitments that we have secured over the last year, so that you are better taken care of if an airline leaves you in the lurch.

And, of course, at the operational level, even as we're holding the airlines accountable on customer service, we're also partnering with them at the operational level to solve those tactical problems that can come up hour by hour when you have a thunderstorm, a staffing issue or anything else.

BASH: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, thank you so much. Appreciate your time.

BUTTIGIEG: Thank you. Good to be with you.

BASH: And harsh new language from the top GOP contenders this weekend following the Supreme Court rulings. We will get reaction from Chris Christie and Will Hurd next.



BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.

The Republican Party cheered this week's Supreme Court decisions, and some candidates doubled down on the issues of race and LGBTQ rights.

Here with me now is GOP presidential candidate former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Thanks for coming on this morning, Governor.

Let's start with that LGBTQ rights decision. Justice Gorsuch said in his majority opinion that all persons are free to think and speak as they wish, not as the government demands. In her dissent, Justice Sotomayor says the court, for the first time in its history, grants a business open to a public -- to the public a constitutional right to refuse to serve members of a protected class.

Where do you stand?

CHRISTIE: Look, I stand with Justice Gorsuch, Dana.

Look, and the thing that's bad about the dissenting opinion is that it mischaracterizes the decision. This business has no right not to serve people of a protected class. But, by the same token, the government doesn't have the right to tell a business the nature of how they need to use their expressive abilities.


And so the fact is that this -- this business can't deny LGBTQ people, couples from coming in and trying to access this business. That's not the case at all. It's a mischaracterization of it.

And, Dana, what concerns me the most is that, for decades and decades, the Democratic Party cheered a Supreme Court that went outside the Constitution, made extraconstitutional decisions, in my opinion, because the decisions went in a philosophical direction that they liked.

Now, when the court makes decisions that they don't like, all of a sudden, the court is a not-normal court, according to President Biden. This is a results-oriented type of judgment. Instead, what they should look at is the way they analyze the law. And as a lawyer and someone who's watched this for a long time, I think Justice Gorsuch made a decision that protects all of our First Amendment rights.

And, most particularly, Democrats don't like this now, but you know what?

BASH: Yes.

CHRISTIE: If they were being ordered by a state to do something that they felt restricted their rights, they'd be angry about it, and should be. We should not be restricting people's First Amendment rights.

BASH: So, I hear what you're saying, that this specifically says that this Web designer doesn't have to make it for a same-sex marriage, and that it certainly was the basis of the case.

But you have no concern that this decision can be used in a more expansive way? Because the notion of expression and creativity is very subjective.

CHRISTIE: Look, what Sonia Sotomayor, the justice, Sotomayor, was saying in her opinion was that they could -- that this decision could be used to deny people of LGBTQ backgrounds the ability to access this business. That's simply not true.

They can access this business. They can access this business. They just can't force the owner to do something that is against her personal religious beliefs. And so if they want to come in and they want a Web design for their business, they want a Web design for a charity, they want a Web design for anything else that they're doing, they could certainly do that.

And she knows that's true. But she's trying to inflame people with this decision. And it is a very narrow decision. And, no, I'm not concerned that it would, because I will tell you what would happen. If someone tried to do that, people in that particular state would be into court immediately if they were trying to go beyond this decision.

And I believe the justices of this court would stop them from doing it.

BASH: Speaking of trying to inflame, the DeSantis campaign tweeted a new video hitting President Trump for celebrating Pride Month, touting DeSantis' anti-LGBTQ record as governor.

I know you have seen this video. Are you comfortable with it?

CHRISTIE: I'm not comfortable with it, and I'm not comfortable with the way both Governor DeSantis and Donald Trump are moving our debate in this country.

You know, we have 9.5 million children in this country every night who go to bed hungry. We have 21 percent of our students in the 10th grade saying that they're using hard illegal drugs. And this is the kind of stuff that we're talking about?

This is what I mean, Dana, that we're trying to make this country and their debate is trying to make this country smaller. They're trying to divide us further. And it's wrong. It's absolutely wrong. We have big, big issues to be talking about here, runaway inflation, how our students' educational results are down again this year across the country and noncompetitive with other parts of the world.

And this type of video does nothing to address those issues. And it is a teenage food fight between Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump. And I don't think that's what leaders should be doing. And it certainly doesn't make me feel inspired as an American on the Fourth of July weekend to have this type of back-and-forth going on at all.

And it's wrong to be doing it, and it's narrowing our country and making us smaller. I want a country that is going to be bigger and going after the big issues that will make every American feel better about themselves, their families, and their country.

BASH: You have talked a lot about the former president's lies about 2020 and, of course, what happened on January 6.

We learned this week that Donald Trump pressured Arizona Governor Doug Ducey in a phone call after the 2020 election to help overturn Trump's election loss. That's according to a source familiar with the matter.

As you know, Trump is under investigation for a similar phone call in Georgia. Is that acceptable to you, and could it be criminal?


CHRISTIE: We're going to let the prosecutors decide whether it's criminal or not. I did do that for seven years.

And what I know is, you got to know all the evidence to make that kind of judgment. So we shouldn't be making those judgments until we hear all the evidence. But is it acceptable? It's absolutely unacceptable to be pressuring a governor or any elected official, as it was with the secretary of state in Georgia, to try to find votes to be able to win a state that you didn't win or to try to somehow come up with some kind of ridiculous theory to overturn the results in Arizona.

Let me tell you why he lost Arizona. He lost Arizona for the same reason he lost Pennsylvania, he lost Michigan, he lost Wisconsin, and he lost Georgia, because he had become a caricature of himself, because he had not done the job the American people elected him to do. He had failed on his promises to balance the budget, failed on his promises to build the wall, and led the Republican Party to loss after loss after loss.

Look, this is the kind of debate, Dana, that I want to have on the stage with Donald Trump starting August 23.

BASH: Right.

CHRISTIE: And if people want to see that debate, go to, donate, I will be on the stage, and we will have that debate.

BASH: One last question before I let you go.

If the former president is convicted of any of the crimes that he is accused of, and that crime would put anybody else in jail, should he, a former president, go to jail?

CHRISTIE: Look, Dana, we're going to see how the trial goes.

I will tell you this. There is a presumption of jail with these charges, and that's the truth of the matter. Now, at the time he will be convicted, he would be 78 or 79 years old. That also is going to be taken into consideration by any court, as it would for any other 78- or 79-year-old person, about whether they would go to jail or not either.


CHRISTIE: I don't want Donald Trump treated any differently than any other American. And I don't want him treated worse, and I don't want him treated better.

I want to make sure that the facts come out. And if a jury finds him guilty, I want a judge to make that call.

BASH: Governor, thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it.

CHRISTIE: Happy Fourth, Dana. BASH: Thanks. You too.

And here with me now, another GOP presidential candidate, former Texas Congressman Will Hurd.

Nice to see you in person.

Let's start with the Supreme Court's affirmative action decision. I want to read Clarence Thomas' opinion. He said -- quote -- "Individuals are the sum of their unique experiences, challenges and accomplishments. What matters is not the barriers they face, but how they choose to confront them. And their race is not to blame for everything, good or bad, that happens in their lives."

And Ketanji Brown Jackson, she said: "Deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life. Although formal race-linked legal barriers are gone, race still matters to the lived experiences of all Americans in innumerable ways. And today's ruling makes things worse, not better."

Who do you agree with?

HURD: Well, race still does matter.

And that's why this case allows race still to be used when adjudicating whether or not a student should be able to go to college. The reality is, with or without affirmative action, we have done a terrible job of preparing our black and brown kids to be able to go to college.

When you look at the number of black and brown kids that are graduating high school, but not going to college, those numbers are terrible. And so we have been failing them in making sure that they have the skill sets and the tools they need in order to get to college, but also be successful while they're there.

Also, many of these universities. Why haven't they figured out a way to educate more kids? You can take Arizona State University. Ten years ago, they had 60,000 students. Now they have over 200,000 students. And they have done that without having to increase the size of their staff.

So the root cause here is that we're not getting our kids ready for college and being able to be successful there.

BASH: So, you think that colleges should factor race into their admissions?

HURD: Colleges still can.

The court made it very clear they are able to use that, because it has an impact on who they are and on their life experiences and why they have been successful or the issues that they have been able to deal with.

BASH: The court also ruled in favor of a Christian Web designer who said requiring her to make Web sites promoting same-sex marriage conflicted with her religious beliefs.

In her dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor argued that this could open the door to private businesses discriminating, for example, against interracial marriages.

You come from a mixed-race family. Do you agree with her?

HURD: Well, the majority in this opinion claimed -- explained that that does not -- is the case. This was about protecting a person's ability to express themselves.

And I will be frank. This decision-makes me uncomfortable because we're protecting speech that I don't agree with. And I don't agree personally with an anti-LGBTQ sentiment. And so that -- but we have to be protecting the speech even if we don't like or agree with that speech.

That's a foundational element in our country.


BASH: Well, in 2019, you were one of only eight House Republicans who voted to outlaw LGBTQ discrimination.

Your message to your party at the time was -- I'm paraphrasing slightly here.

HURD: Sure.

BASH: Don't be a A-hole.


BASH: Don't be homophobic.

A lot of your Republican opponents are making LGBTQ rights a cultural flash point. You saw Ron DeSantis' video that his campaign tweeted. Donald Trump's attacked "Marxist lunatics and perverts in schools."

HURD: Right.

BASH: What's your message to them?

HURD: Well, my message is, I wish they would focus and focus their attacks on war criminals like Vladimir Putin, not my friends in the LGBTQ community.

It is 2023. We should be talking about, how do we embrace our differences? Because here's what I have learned as I have crisscrossed the country. We're better together. And we should be having our leaders that are encouraging that, that are protecting that, in order -- how we use our diversity to solve the major problems that we're facing.

We're in a new cold war with the Chinese government. The Chinese government is trying to surpass us as a global superpower. That's going to impact everybody. And we need to be making sure that we're having a competition of ideas on how to be prepared for that. We can talk about the economy all day long.

New technologies like artificial intelligence are going to upend every single industry, not in 10 years, but in two or three years. These are the conversations that we should be talking about and having. And the way we're going to solve these problems is by doing it together.

BASH: Another conversation that maybe the State Department might not have wanted us to have, because they released a report on a Friday, it's a long-awaited after-action report on the Afghanistan withdrawal.

It found that decisions by both the Trump and Biden administrations severely undermined of the Afghan government and that the State Department failed to anticipate the worst-case scenarios that ultimately unfolded.

What do you make of those findings?

HURD: This problem in Afghanistan started under the Donald Trump administration about pulling out. And then, when Joe Biden said he was going to follow through with Trump's intention, of course the Afghan military was not going to fight.

They were worried about their future, and they wanted to cut a deal with the Taliban. The withdrawal from Afghanistan was terrible. It was done in a chaotic order. And for -- there were thousands of men and women that helped protect American lives over decades, and we left them there.

And there was decisions by this administration that prevented people from coming out of the country when they could. And so this was a debacle that hurt our reputation around the world. And it's just one more thing that our allies are questioning our ability to work together against common threats.

And this is a significant problem. And I'm glad this report finally came out.

BASH: Before I let you go, are you going to be on the debate stage?

You need to get 40,000 donations, but you're also saying that you won't sign a pledge to support the nominee.

HURD: That's right. I'm going to -- I'm -- work towards -- to hitting all the requirements, but I can't lie to get access to a microphone.

I have taken one oath, and that's to protect the Constitution. I take one pledge. That's when I put my hand on the heart and pledge to the flag of the United States. And I have recently taken one vow. That's to my awesome, beautiful wife.

I'm not going to support Donald Trump. I recognize the impact that has on my ability to get access to the debate stage, but I can't lie. It would be easy to say, I will do it, and then, when it comes down, change your mind. But I just -- I can't do that.

BASH: Congressman, thank you so much for coming in this morning. I appreciate it.

HURD: Always a pleasure.

BASH: And how will this week's Supreme Court decisions affect the 2024 campaign?

My panel, including former Republican Governor Larry Hogan, is here next.




ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Biden, the Congressional Black Caucus said the Supreme Court has thrown into question its own legitimacy. Is this a rogue court?

BIDEN: This is not a normal court.


BASH: President Biden reacting to our own Arlette Saenz to the Supreme Court's decision to end affirmative action.

My panel joins me now.

FMR. GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R-MD): Happy Fourth.


BASH: Nice to see you all.

Karen, I'm going to start with you.

There was a pause there, a pregnant pause, as they say.


BASH: Spoke volumes.

FINNEY: It did. I mean, look, you could tell the president was disappointed. And I would say, as a progressive, obviously, I'm disappointed.

But, as a political practitioner, I think -- and I think the president and most of us recognize this is an opportunity to draw a very stark contrast between our party and our values and what we are fighting for and Republican -- and the Republican Party that was gleeful, for example, about and campaigned in 2022 against giving debt relief to our student during a crisis, during the pandemic. Obviously, Roe v. Wade, that is a bright line in the sand, if you will, about what you believe about women's rights and bodily autonomy. So I think that pause represented both his frustration, but also a recognition that, again, there is a dramatic contrast between our vision and their vision for the future.

BASH: Governor Hogan, you were and still are not a fan of Donald Trump and his presidency.

But here you have a party that is really -- your party, the Republican Party, is really applauding him on all of these decisions, because three of his nominees are on the court. Are you -- how do you view that through the prism of 2024 and whether voters are going to look beyond some of the other issues that he has?

HOGAN: I think it's going to be interesting to see how the voters react, and I'm not sure it's not going to be good for Republicans in some ways.

And they're certainly going to try to take advantage of some of these decisions. I think the president's comments was, it's not a normal court. Well, it's also not a normal presidency and not going to be a normal election. It's something like we have never seen before.


Some of these issues are certainly going to be resonating out there and probably firing up the base on both the Republican side and the Democratic side.

I think the average person is going to be really frustrated with kind of the demagoguing from both sides and people demonizing and questioning the legitimacy of the Supreme Court, while their elected officials that should be doing something about some of these problems, but they're not taking action, they're not passing laws, and they're just pointing fingers.

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: What I think is not normal is when we have the president of the United States and Democrats and progressives like AOC earlier criticizing the Supreme Court and calling their actions troublesome, when the most recent action of the Supreme Court basically put the power of the purse back in the hands of Congress, where it should be, when we're talking about student loan debt.

The president of the United States himself acknowledged he did not have the authority to wipe away the student loan debt. Nancy Pelosi said as well that he didn't have the authority. So here he is campaigning on invalid IOUs, giving false hope to college students, and now he's trying yet again to get up their hopes because he wants their vote.

So it's just disingenuous for them to criticize the court on this specific issue.

(CROSSTALK) HOGAN: The Supreme Court basically said the same thing that President Biden and Nancy Pelosi said. They agreed he doesn't have the power.

Now, they have the power to go to Congress and pass a bill, but they haven't.


FINNEY: But, remember, we started with Congress, and Congress failed to act, and that's how we ended up where we were.

And so now to say, let's go back to Congress, a Congress that, like, as you just said, isn't willing to get anything done...


FAIZ SHAKIR, FORMER BERNIE SANDERS 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I'm not sure the Republican Party has any views on how you reduce college debt for people, how you address the economic issues.

They don't talk about it. I think the president is showing himself in friction, in fight in a healthy way. He's going to take on a system that isn't working for a lot of people. A lot of people know they're drowning in debt. Whether you're a student, whether you're dealing with medical debt, whether you're dealing with car loan debt, you're -- it's struggling -- you're struggling to get advancement in this generation of young kids.

And he understands it and feels it. You can go and talk to regular people about this, Governor, and they will resonate. People will understand what he's talking people about.

HOGAN: Well, I do talk to regular people about this and have a great eight-year track record on this.

And to say Republicans aren't doing anything about student debt is just isn't true.

FINNEY: In Congress, is what he said.

HOGAN: Look, we spent eight years trying to make college more affordable, both at our universities, at our community colleges.

We took action to provide free community college for people that -- on a need base.

SHAKIR: Same with the president, right? That was the president's idea.

HOGAN: We also took action to make sure that state -- the state taxes were deductible based on the interest on student loans.

But to say you're going to have people who paid their student loans have to now go back and pay for the ones who didn't, or the people that gave -- didn't go to college because they couldn't afford it are now working to pay... (CROSSTALK)

SHAKIR: Do you feel that way about small businesses that got loans in the pandemic?

HOGAN: I just think you're...

SHAKIR: Do you feel that way? Seriously, should they not have gotten relief?

HOGAN: I think you would be surprised at the numbers of people who don't want to pay off...


SHAKIR: You're a very wealthy Maryland business owner. Do you deserve a loan credit?

HOGAN: I think it's a losing political issue for Democrats. I think Republicans would be happy to have this...


BASH: Alice, do you agree with the governor that, just on the raw politics of this, that Republicans are going to be enthusiastic?

I see it on the Democratic side because they're angry, but Republicans?

STEWART: On these specific issues?

BASH: Yes.

STEWART: Absolutely.

BASH: They got wins. Is that going to draw them to the polls?


STEWART: It certainly is, provided that the Republican candidates and the RNC, which I know they're already doing, make sure that they characterize these wins in the proper context, as opposed to out of context, which is what a lot of people are doing.

And to what the governor said, the issue of the student loan debt is resonating with hardworking Americans. As he said, those that chose not to go to college and start working right away, those who paid off their loans, those who, like me, saved up in high school and worked three jobs in college to pay off their loans, they don't want to take on the loan of other people.

And this administration picking winners and losers in terms of who they want to dole out money to for the sake of votes, that is not going to sit well with Republicans.

FINNEY: I think we need to take a step back, though, and look at in a more wholesome way what -- again, going back to what the president said.

I think what America is absorbing is, this is the ramifications of a 6-3 court that is fundamentally -- putting student loans and how you feel about that, look at the whole picture. How -- is this a country where we expand the circle of opportunity or we restrict it? Do we believe, our core value, that diversity in education is an important thing and one of a limited, which is what the court struck down, factor that should be considered in terms of college admissions?

Do we believe that women should have bodily autonomy and have the decision with her doctor about what happens to her body? Or do we not believe that? And so I think that's part -- that's really what this is going to be about when it comes to the '24 election is, what is the impact of this court and whether or not we want to have a president and a Congress that will take action to move us in a different direction?

HOGAN: On the affirmative action case, look, more than two-thirds of the colleges in America did not use race-based decision-making.

It was outlawed in large states like California and Michigan and Florida for years and years.

FINNEY: And minority admissions have gone down, as a matter of fact.


HOGAN: And we have made all kinds of efforts to increase diversity and to provide more opportunity for people that needed it.

But they ruled that they couldn't discriminate against people because of their race, which is what Harvard was doing.

BASH: Governor, while I have you ...

HOGAN: And I'm the father of three Asian daughters who, they're -- the court ruled that they were discriminating against a minority by taking people -- kicking people...


BASH: While I have you here, there is a group No Labels. They are considering running a third-party candidate.

You talked just a moment ago about the demagoguery that you see on both sides. Would you run for president on a third-party No Labels ticket?

HOGAN: Look, it's not something that I'm considering or pursuing at all.

But I totally understand the frustrations that lead to this kind of discussion at this point in our country; 70 percent of the people in America do not want Joe Biden or Donald Trump to be president. And if they're going to be the nominees, which it appears that they are, you have choice A that no one wants and choice B that no one wants. There may have to be a...

BASH: So, you don't want to be choice C?

HOGAN: I may have to be choice C.


BASH: But you said you may have to be choice C?


SHAKIR: Let me give you some, like, advice you don't need to take, but don't run under No Labels. They're a corporate front group.

They're just interested in supporting people who want to keep a corrupt political system.

HOGAN: Well, they seem to be worrying a lot of Democrats, because they're taken seriously.

SHAKIR: Yes, because you see a Democratic Party who's fighting working-class people trying to change the economy.

And then they get upset about, oh, you're getting a tax -- we don't get enough tax cuts for the rich. You're talking about insulin.


BASH: Guys, we're -- I can't believe I'm saying this, but we are almost out of time.

You have five seconds.

STEWART: The good thing is, Democrats don't want Biden. Many Republicans don't want Trump. The good thing is, Republicans have a lot of really, really good options to choose from.


STEWART: And I encourage people to listen to what they have to say and make an educated vote.

FINNEY: No Labels is going to have the effect of electing Donald Trump.


BASH: This is a fantastic discussion.

Will you all come back and continue this discussion? Because it's very interesting.

Also, come back to CNN on Tuesday night, because I will be co-hosting with my colleague Boris Sanchez CNN's "Fourth in America" special. It features coast-to-coast fireworks and amazing musical performances.

Thank you so much for spending your Sunday morning with us.