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State of the Union

Interview With Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA); Interview With Former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson; Interview With Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-TX). Aired 9-10a ET

Aired May 19, 2024 - 09:00   ET




JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST (voice-over): Warning signs. Facing dire warnings about his standing in the polls, this weekend, President Biden makes his case to black voters.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's not about me. It's about the alternative as well.

TAPPER: Why isn't Biden's message connecting with enough key voters? And is he doing enough to change it?

Democratic Senator John Fetterman from Pennsylvania is next.

And endgame. The Trump trial starts to wrap up.


TAPPER: As a cast of allies audition courtside to be Trump's number two. What will the jury and voters think about what we have learned in the only trial Trump is likely to face this year?

Potential Trump V.P. pick former HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson is ahead.

Plus: bad blood. Temper's flair in the House after a personal insult...

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): I think your fake eyelashes are messing up what you're reading.

REP. JASMINE CROCKETT (D-TX): No, ain't nothing...

TAPPER: ... and set off a late-night committee fight.

CROCKETT: I'm trying to get clarification.

TAPPER: What next? Democratic Congresswoman Jasmine Crockett of Texas joins me coming up.


TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is getting ready for the main event, a momentous week in campaign politics in a presidential race that polling shows has held fairly stable now for months.

Both President Biden and former President Trump will meet for a debate right here on CNN on June 27, the very first televised debate between a president and a former president ever.

On Friday, that former president, Donald Trump, was on the trail in blue Minnesota trying to expand his electoral map. But, come Monday morning, he will be back in a New York courtroom, where closing arguments could begin as soon as this week in the only criminal trial that President Trump is likely to face before Election Day.

Meanwhile, President Biden is confronting a stubborn polling deficit, often trailing his opponent in key battlegrounds. Biden spent the weekend trying to shore up support among a crucial group, young black voters, who are frustrated over the economy and other issues.

In Georgia, where recent polling shows Biden has lost ground with black voters since 2020, Biden brushed off broader concerns that he is trailing Trump.


BIDEN: Here's the deal. You hear about how we're behind in the polls. Well, so far, the polls haven't been right once.

Now, look, we're all -- we're either tied or slightly ahead or slightly behind. But what I look at is actual election results. And the election results are in the primaries.


TAPPER: Joining us now to discuss is Democratic Senator John Fetterman of the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Before we begin, I do want to explain to our viewers, because of your stroke two years ago, it can still sometimes be difficult for you to process audio rapidly. So, you are using a speech-to-text app to transcribe my questions in real time. That's what that computer screen is, so you can read them on the iPad in front of you.

Let us begin.

So, a "New York Times" poll this week shows President Biden earning support from only 69 percent of black voters in Pennsylvania. The mayor of Philadelphia, Cherelle Parker, said -- quote -- "I'm not satisfied with the margins that I have heard about. We need to connect the service and the investment that the Biden/Harris has made and its impact on people" -- unquote.

You won 91 percent of the black vote in Pennsylvania two years ago. What did you do in 2022 that President Biden is not doing now? SEN. JOHN FETTERMAN (D-PA): Well, I haven't done anything


And I really want to give a shout-out to the mayor as well too. I think she's been fantastic so far, and she's been willing to take on some really difficult kinds of issues, like in Kensington. You probably are familiar with that. So I really salute taking on that.

And Joe Biden is showing up again and again, and I can't speak specifically about the black votes and their own opinions. I can't speak to their experience. But I do believe that Joe Biden is going to carry with those kinds of margins, and I think he is going to win Pennsylvania.

But it's going to be very close, just the way it was in 2016. He actually won. And, in 2020, he lost. But -- and I think he's going to prevail here as well again.


TAPPER: You have become famous, or infamous, depending on your point of view, for your stalwart support of Israel since the October 7 attacks especially, but before then as well.

Israel recovered the body of yet another hostage yesterday. That's four hostage bodies recovered this week. The U.S. is assessing that Israel has amassed enough troops to launch a full-scale ground operation in the Southern Gaza City of Rafah, despite Biden, President Biden, warning that Netanyahu and Israel doing that would cross a red line.

You have said you defer to what Israel thinks is best. So do you think Joe Biden is wrong for trying to stop a major Rafah invasion?

FETTERMAN: Yes, I mean, I think it'd be unfortunate if it's being infamous meaning supporting Israel. And I have been very supportive about Israel from the beginning of all that.

And I think it's important that America stands with our very, very critical ally there as well too. And I'd like to point out that Hamas is what started this, and Hamas could surrender and send every other hostages back, and it could all end right now.

In fact, they rejected the recent cease-fire deal that would have had six weeks there of peace and allowed everybody to be fed and to continue to move more towards peace. But now Hamas is convinced that they don't have to -- there's no, -- they don't need to take any kind of a deal, except, if anything, on their own terms.

And I don't think all of the capitulating and all those kinds of things -- aren't helpful. And I don't think that's going to convince anyone that is -- now think that we're not committed to stand with -- trying to have both sides on that.

TAPPER: The reason I said infamous is because there are a lot of progressives, a lot of people in your party who are mad at you for your strong support of Israel and for your continued condemnations of Hamas.

Why do you think that is?

FETTERMAN: I can't understand why being a very strong supporter of Israel, anybody would be upset with that.

If somebody is very much parting -- supporting the pro-Palestinian view, that's fine. It's reasonable. But I just decided to be on the side for Israel on that.

TAPPER: All right, let's turn to the clash in the House Oversight Committee on Thursday night. Just to refresh our audience's memory, here's a quick clip.


GREENE: I don't think you know what you're here for.

CROCKETT: Well, you're the one talking about...


GREENE: I think your fake eyelashes are messing up what you're reading.

CROCKETT: No, ain't nothing -- if someone on this committee then starts talking about somebody's bleach-blonde, bad-built, butch body...


TAPPER: So, you responded to all of this by saying: "In the past, I have described the U.S. House as 'The Jerry Springer Show.' Today, I'm apologizing to 'The Jerry Springer Show.'"

Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responded by saying -- quote -- "I understand you likely would not have stood up for your colleague and seemed to be confused about racism and misogyny being a both-sides issue, but I stand up to bullies, instead of becoming one."

Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez seems to be suggesting that you're a bully.

FETTERMAN: Oh, well, of course, that's absurd.

I was just simply responding to the kind of chaos and everything that Representative Greene started as well. And if everyone on the committee was proud of what they have produced, they're entitled to their opinion, or if they feel that this is the kind of a video that you want to send to a classroom of eighth grade civics kind of students across America, again, that's their choice.

Now, to me, what I would -- that's their choice.But if I'm going to push back against anything, it's going to be pushing back against Hamas and not vote against Israel. And I'm going to push back against Putin. I'm not going to vote against the aid for Ukraine, the way Representative Greene has done.

And then I'm also going to push back against the TikTok vote as well. And now, TikTok, is essentially a Chinese communist government asset.

TAPPER: The corruption trial for your fellow Democratic Senator Bob Menendez across the river in New Jersey there began this week. The senator announced on Thursday that his wife is battling breast cancer. She's going to undergo a mastectomy.

This announcement came just one day after his defense lawyers effectively pinned the blame for everything on his wife in his trial. The two are being tried as separate defendants in separate cases. What do you make of it all?

FETTERMAN: Yes, well, I have been very clear on that. I was actually the first senator to call for his -- to resign. He's entitled to his day in court, the way he's having right now, but he's not entitled to be a United States senator.


He's certainly not entitled to receive a kind of classified briefing so about Egypt and Qatar, since he was essentially accused of being an agent for them as well. I don't understand why anybody would be OK with that.

And I really can't imagine who -- either it was his idea or he was convinced that blaming your wife, who is suffering from cancer, is really an effective strategy or how that's going to go over.

TAPPER: So, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is under fire this week after "The New York Times" first reported that an American flag was flown upside down at his house in the days after January 6.

The upside-down symbol of distress was used by some Americans at that time to protest what they erroneously believed to be a stolen election. Alito says his wife flew it to protest a neighbor's yard signs. He said his wife flew it, not him.

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Democrat Dick Durbin from Illinois, is calling for Alito to recuse himself from any future cases that involve the 2020 election. What do you think?

FETTERMAN: Yes, it's actually surreal, as a justice, to be even -- allow them to be even have that be interpreted in that kind of a way.

I mean, of course, he's never going to be able to -- he won't choose to recuse himself, but I just can't imagine the kind of judgment as a justice that you would flag something like that in your front yard like that.

If we are supposed to be impartial and to be away from all of the kind of the politics of that, it's absolutely bizarre. It's surreal.

TAPPER: All right, Senator John Fetterman from the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, thank you so much for joining us this morning. It's good to see you, sir.

FETTERMAN: Yes, well, again, now you have -- just off the camera, you admitted that you actually are a Sheetz guy.

TAPPER: No, I said I was a Wawa guy.

FETTERMAN: Oh, well, then it must have been the captioning.


TAPPER: A problem with the captioning, indeed, if it said that I was a Sheetz guy, not a Wawa guy.

Good to see you, sir, from the west side of the commonwealth there.

The Donald Trump V.P. contender who's been flying under the radar, former HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson, will be here next.

And "bleach-blonde, bad-built, butch body," that's the quote. Congresswoman Jasmine Crockett joins me on that exchange in Congress coming up.



TAPPER: And welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.

This could be the final week of Donald Trump's criminal trial. And it seems likely that more of the former president's supporters will make the trek up to the courtroom this week. One who has not been to court yet, at least, but who is on Trump's V.P. list, is my next guest.

Joining me now is Trump's former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson, who's been promoting his new book called "The Perilous Fight: Overcoming Our Culture's War on the American Family."

Thanks so much for being here, Dr. Carson. Appreciate it.



TAPPER: Good to see you.

So, I do want to ask about the criminal trial. He was yet again in a Manhattan courtroom, Mr. Trump, President Trump, facing testimony from Michael Cohen. And a lot of supporters of his have been there. Speaker Johnson, vice presidential hopefuls like senator J.D. Vance or Governor Doug Burgum.

Are you planning at all on going to see the case and express support for him there?

CARSON: I have a very hectic schedule, which is planned far in advance.

TAPPER: For the book, you mean and for other things?

CARSON: For all kinds of things.

The president knows that I'm a supporter of his. There's nothing that needs to be proven.

TAPPER: Let me ask you about the black vote, if I can, because President Biden this weekend is crisscrossing the country touting his record for black Americans during his presidency.

You have been very vocal about praising how good Donald Trump was for black Americans. And, in particular, you noted that black unemployment hit a record low in September 2019, 5.3 percent. Now, since then, black unemployment hit a new record low under Biden, 4.8 percent in April 2023, though, right now, it's up again to 5.6 percent.

Do you think the Biden/Harris ticket deserves any credit for that, for the record low under them?

CARSON: You know, I really have a problem with people trying to make everything oppositional.

We can build on what each other does. And we have to recognize that we, the American people, are not each other's enemies. I have an acrostic, WANE, W-A-N-E, we are not enemies. And so there's nothing wrong with Republicans giving Democrats credit, Democrats giving Republicans credit.

We're all Americans, and we need to work together to solve these problems.

TAPPER: It's a very interesting answer and inspiring.

Let me ask you, though, obviously, because Donald Trump is really making a big play for the black vote. And he did -- he got 12 percent of the black vote in 2020, 19 percent of black men, the highest percentages for a Republican presidential nominee in years.

What percentage do you think he might get this November?

CARSON: I think it'll be higher than the percentage that he got before.

I think black Americans are no different than any other Americans. They fill the pinch of the inflation. They know what it feels like when they have to go fill up their gas tank. They see the crime that's running rampant, that people, repeat offenders are being let out of prison and endangering them and their neighborhoods.

They see what's happening with the border and how that's impacting their own communities, how other people's issues are being put on the front burners and theirs are being put on the back burners. I think those are the issues that are pushing them toward Trump.


TAPPER: Let's talk about something in "The Perilous Fight."

There are a lot of really interesting parts of this that you could spend five hours talking about. But one of them that's relevant to today's politics, in particular, has to do with abortion. Democrats are really hoping that that's going to help them in November.

Former President Trump has said he does not support any national legislation abortion. He said it's a good thing that Roe v. Wade was overturned, but it should be left up to the states. In your book, in "The Perilous Fight," you express support for national legislation banning abortion.

Do you think Mr. Trump's position this against such legislation is firm, or do you think you could convince him of otherwise? What are your conversations like when you talk about it?

CARSON: Well, President Trump does not like to surround himself with yes-people. He likes to have healthy discussions about things.

And recognize that, in terms of saving the lives of unborn, he has done more than any other president. So I give him much credit for that. I am unabashedly pro-life. I spent most of my career as a pediatric neurosurgeon trying to save lives.

So you might surmise from that I wouldn't be all that anxious to end lives. And, in many cases, I operated on babies that were premature, 26, 27, 28, 29 weeks gestation, same level at which people are performing abortions. Those babies had to have anesthesia because they could clearly feel pain.

Now, when an abortion is done, you reach inside of that uterus with a clamp and tear that baby apart, that human being. It's very hard to even understand how people can do that.

TAPPER: But on the policy of it, do you think Donald Trump's wrong for not supporting national legislation?

CARSON: I think I agree completely with his ideal of shifting it to the states.

And the reason that it should be shifted to the states is because the discussions can take place between the legislators and the people. That's where it's supposed to be. That's where it should have been in the first place.

TAPPER: We have a new series on my daily show, "THE LEAD," called "Homeless in America," because, as you know, homelessness is higher now and spiked more in a quicker time, in 2023, than ever before since they started keeping records.

You're a former secretary of housing and urban development. Homelessness up 12 percent in the last year, including among all groups, veterans, families, people with children, et cetera. I know that addiction is a big issue. I know mental health is a big issue. But when I talk to activists on this, they say the biggest problem is

affordable housing and people just slipping through the cracks and not being able to afford housing. How do we solve this problem?

CARSON: We have made tremendous progress in terms of being able to build housing that is affordable.

What we haven't made progress on enough is the regulations. When you add all these regulations to the buildings, that's what really drives the price up, so that you have places like Los Angeles where a unit should cost $150,000, and it's $600,000.

And we're actually throwing that kind of money into the pot, rather than focusing on decreasing the regulations. That's what needs to be done.

TAPPER: We are now less than two months away from the Republican Convention, where President Trump will need to choose a running mate. Would you want to be willing to debate Vice President Harris?

CARSON: I would certainly be willing to discuss policies, the differences.

We have a unique situation, where you have juxtaposed two different administrations with different philosophies. And people can see, how did one feel versus how did the other feel? And I would love to debate with her or with anyone about that?

TAPPER: Have you talked with President Trump about the V.P. position at all?

CARSON: I have not.

TAPPER: Dr. Ben Carson, it's always great to see you. Thank you so much for being here.

CARSON: Great to see you.

TAPPER: Appreciate it.

Things got personal in Congress this week. And now, inevitably, yes, there are T-shirts.

Congresswoman Jasmine Crockett, Democrat of Texas, is here to talk about it all next.




CROCKETT: You know we're here...


GREENE: I don't think you know what you're here for.

CROCKETT: Well, you're the one talking about...


GREENE: I think your fake eyelashes are messing up what you're reading.

CROCKETT: No, ain't nothing...

REP. JAMES COMER (R-KY): Hey, hold on. Hold on. Order.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's beneath even you.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): I would like to move to take down Ms. Greene's words. That is absolutely unacceptable. How dare you attack the physical appearance of another person?


GREENE: Are your feelings hurt?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Move her words down.


OCASIO-CORTEZ: Oh, girl, baby girl.

GREENE: Oh, really?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Don't even play.

CROCKETT: I'm just curious, just to better understand your ruling. If someone on this committee then starts talking about somebody's bleach- blonde, bad-built, butch body, that would not be engaging in personalities, correct?

COMER: What now?


TAPPER: Late-night committee meeting in Congress went off the rails this week after Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia, insulted the appearance of my next guest, Congresswoman Jasmine Crockett, Democrat of Texas.

Thanks so much for being here. Appreciate it.

So, you have since called her racist, Congresswoman Greene.



TAPPER: Let -- I want to understand your perspective of this.

Do you think her going after your eyelashes, that that, in itself, is racist?

CROCKETT: I think her specifically doing it to me, yes, that was the intent.

As has been stated, women wear makeup, we wear lashes, we wear all types of things to beautify ourselves. But MAGA has historically been on social media doing the things where they're saying, oh, she's black with lashes and nails and hair, and so she's ghetto.

And so, to me, this was her buying into that rhetoric and trying to amplify this for the MAGA crowd. And so, yes, I absolutely think that she only did it to be racist towards me.

TAPPER: Because it was towards you or because it was eyelashes, so, in that sense, it's kind of like, in your view, buying into a racist trope?

CROCKETT: It is buying into a racist trope. But the reality is that women of all colors wear lashes.

TAPPER: Right. No, I know.


TAPPER: That's why I was asking.


TAPPER: Is there anything you think should happen here? Do you think that Congresswoman Greene should face any sort of punishment?

CROCKETT: I mean, she didn't face any at the time. So I don't anticipate that she will face any in general.

I mean, I think that this speaker should be inclined to try to rein her in after trying to kick him out of his position. But they just let Marjorie do whatever she wants to do. And I think this was the first time that someone actually said, no, you won't just treat me whatever way you want to and get away with it.

TAPPER: So, just to explain to our viewers, she said what she said, which is in -- a personal attack on your appearance, and then the Republicans refused to take her words away...


TAPPER: ... because they said it wasn't a personal attack. And then you said something about -- you didn't mention her name, but you obviously were talking about Congresswoman Greene -- 'bleach-blonde, bad-built, butch body."

CROCKETT: Very good.


TAPPER: So, it's tough to say. But you have really embraced what you said. You're printing it on swag. I think we have an image of the shirt here that you're selling to help raise money to elect Democrats.

How would you respond to say it's inappropriate to respond to an attack on somebody's physical appearance -- and you hear Congresswoman AOC say you shouldn't be attacking somebody's physical appearance. But then you did the same thing. You attacked her...


CROCKETT: Yes. So, to be clear, what I asked for was clarification on the ruling. If her words were taken down, that meant that she was going to have to leave the committee for the evening, which actually would have helped everybody out, because the source of the chaos is always Marjorie Taylor Greene.

But the chairman was concerned about his votes. He was concerned about whether or not he would be able to move forward with contempt. And so, therefore...

TAPPER: Contempt of the -- yes, they were -- the contempt...

CROCKETT: Of Merrick Garland.

TAPPER: Yes, for Attorney General Garland, yes.

CROCKETT: Absolutely.

So, therefore I'm like, well, what are we doing? So what are the parameters? And I generally wanted to know. So I did not state anything to her. I specifically asked a question. And I didn't even mention her name.

And so it was for clarification. And that's what I asked for. And he obviously didn't hear me.

TAPPER: OK, yes. And I hear that. But she went after your appearance.


TAPPER: And then like you went out like -- you went back at her 1,000-fold.

CROCKETT: I did as a -- in a very lawyerly way.

TAPPER: But do you -- obviously, she started it. I'm not disputing that.


TAPPER: But do you regret that at all? I mean... CROCKETT: I don't.

TAPPER: You don't?

CROCKETT: I don't, because here's the thing. I signed up to be a member of Congress. That didn't mean that I was supposed to walk into a position where I'm going to walk in and be disrespected.

It's already a hostile work environment being there. And we do have rules. The problem with MAGA is that MAGA does not respect rules, nor do they respect the law. That is exactly why they're all running up to Trump's trial, because he's in trouble not because of some big conspiracy by the Biden administration. He's in trouble because he fails to respect the law.

The reason that the Supreme Court right now is debating whether or not Trump can commit crimes or any president can commit crimes and then be let off is because they have no respect for law. The party of law and order is gone at this point in time.

TAPPER: While I have you here, President Joe Biden is very focused on the black vote this weekend, in particular. He's headed to Detroit tonight to appeal the black voters. He's speaking at Morehouse this morning.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans from Detroit, from Michigan, told the Detroit news: "Apathy is the biggest problem. If you look at the percentage of people who vote and the apathy of African-Americans about voting, that's what will turn the tide. But you have got -- you have got to get somebody to get them out and give them a reason to come out. I'm just not really seeing it."

You have -- you represent a large number of African-American voters and constituents in the Dallas area.


TAPPER: Why is Biden struggling with black voters right now?

CROCKETT: You know, I think it's about whether or not people understand what he has done for them.

It's tough to kind of connect the dots sometimes. And, honestly, this administration has done so much that it's not a matter of, hey, I have got this one thing, this one thing, and just kind of continually hitting that one thing. They have done so much, but I don't think that the information has been pushed out continually.


And so I think, right now, it's about making sure it's communicated as he goes to Morehouse and speaks today that $7 billion has been given to HBCUs, more than any other administration ever. People credit Trump for supporting HBCUs, when, in reality, Trump did not want to reauthorize the $253 million that was already signed into law. He actually wasn't going to reauthorize it. It was Dr. Adams, a black

woman, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, who is a former HBCU professor and a former HBCU student, who said, that's not going to be good enough. So what did Trump do? He took a picture with all the HBCU presidents and made it seem as if he did something novel and great.

And it wasn't. He actually was going to cut them off. And so I think that black folk need to know that this administration has actually invested in them. When you start looking at student debt relief, it has disproportionately positively impacted black folk.

We're talking about over $137 billion for over four million people. That means that there is at least four million people that now can hopefully start to get at that wealth gap and maybe buy a home because their debt-to-income ratio won't be so bad.

TAPPER: They need to get you out on the trail, is what I think.

CROCKETT: I will be heading to Detroit as soon as I can.


TAPPER: All right, Congresswoman Crockett, thanks so much for being here today. I really appreciate it.

CROCKETT: Absolutely.

TAPPER: We have moved on from, "The dog ate my homework." This week, it's become, "My wife did it."

My panel on the "My wife did it" defense. That's next.




BIDEN: My predecessor and his extreme MAGA friends are now going after diversity, equity and inclusion all across America. They want a country for some, not for all.

TRUMP: There's been no president since Abraham Lincoln that has done more for the black individual in this country.



Former President Trump and current President Biden making their cases to black voters.

My panel joins me now.

And there is a real competition for the black vote, because this race will be won on the margins in big battleground states, where there is -- there are big cities.

Joe Biden, according to the exit polls among black voters, got 87 percent to Trump's 12. But, right now, in the new FOX News poll from this month, Joe Biden is 72 percent, Donald Trump 23 percent. What do you make of that?

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, black voters are the most loyal constituency of voters to the Democratic Party.

And so, when we look at the vote in totality, having 72 percent of any constituency is pretty impressive. So it's not like the black vote...

TAPPER: Not if you're trying to win the president.

ALLISON: But -- yes, that's true. But it's still -- I think that I don't want the narrative to be like, if Joe Biden loses, it's because of black people. Black people are loyal to Democrats.

I do think, though...

TAPPER: But let me just make it clear what I'm saying.

ALLISON: No, I understand what you're saying.

TAPPER: I'm saying, if Joe Biden doesn't get black people to vote for him, he is going to lose.

ALLISON: He can -- yes.

TAPPER: And that will be on Joe Biden, not black people.

ALLISON: Yes. Yes. OK, thank you.


ALLISON: I think, though, what we're having right now is that Joe Biden has done a lot for black folks. And he needs to continue to tell the story about what he has done. And it's not just on HBCUs. It's on the economy. It's on health care. It's on housing. It's on a whole host of issues.

But I also think black voters are saying, my life is not amazing. And they're allowed to say that.


ALLISON: And they want to know, what else will you do for me in four years? And so that is the question they are asking.

At the end of the day, do I think black voters will turn out and support Joe Biden in the numbers that he needs to win? Yes, because black voters also understand what a president's -- what a Donald Trump presidency is under, and their lives won't improve under there, not just they won't improve. They will be under attack, because Donald Trump is not trying to protect and enhance the lives of black people. So I know the numbers are not great now. There is intentional effort

that the campaign needs to have to make to black voters so that they are not just a throwaway we're going to get them. We deserve to be courted by all politicians. But I also think that there is a case to be made, and black voters will show up.

TAPPER: So, in addition to Trump, there's also just apathy that Biden is fighting when it comes to a lot of voters, not just black voters. We're talking about black voters right now because Joe Biden this weekend is particularly focused on them, but Latino voters, young voters, et cetera.

Cardi B, the famous rapper Cardi B this week, she endorsed Biden in 2020. Now she tells "Rolling Stone" magazine she doesn't eff with either of them. Before, she had seen Trump as a dire threat, but, under Biden, she's felt layers and layers of disappointment from what she sees as domestic and foreign mismanagement. The cost of living is too high, wages are too low and too little is being done about it.

She says -- quote -- "I feel like people got betrayed."

As goes Cardi B?

BRAD TODD, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You know, I don't think his problem was with Cardi B or with any rapper. I think it's a bigger problem that's even bigger than Joe Biden, and it's with -- on religiosity.

Right now you see Joe Biden is winning people who never go to church by 10 points. He's losing people who go to church by 10 points. Black voters are five times less likely to say they don't believe in God than whites are. They read the Bible more. They go to church more.

I think this is a bigger realignment trend, and it's something Joe Biden himself may not be able to fix.

TAPPER: Bakari Sellers, we should note his book "The Moment," fantastic.



TAPPER: This is like my third or fourth plug for your book. I hope you...


SELLERS: Yes, I will take it.


TAPPER: And well deserved. And well deserved.

SELLERS: That's worth five book sales right there.



TAPPER: Just five?


TAPPER: Anyway, what do you think?

SELLERS: First of all, I love how we veered to religiosity from a question about Cardi B. That was nuanced.


SELLERS: I think that Joe Biden -- I think we're all analyzing this race wrong.

So I think that this race isn't Joe Biden versus Donald Trump. I have said this until I'm blue in the face, but it's Joe Biden versus Donald Trump versus the couch.



SELLERS: And I don't think the biggest threat to Joe Biden is Donald Trump. I think the biggest threat to Joe Biden is people staying at home.

Cardi B actually echoes that sentiment. Yes, like, look, I don't eff with anybody. That means I'm just going to sit this race out. I'm not going to play a role. That is what we're seeing.

And the problem that I -- that we have is Democrats like to talk about the things that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have done. That is noble. They have done a great deal of things. Voters are not necessarily feeling those things in their pocket, wages, et cetera.

But I think they have a more unique issue that the campaign has to tackle. And if Julie Rodriguez is listening, I think that what they have to do is focus on a vision for the future. Both of these candidates have a hard time talking about the future. And I think it's an effective age -- I'm not trying to be ages.

But I think Joe Biden at 83 has to be able to give Sadie and Stokely, who are my 5-year-old twins, we need to be able to know what the country will be like for them. And it's hard because he has to give a vision and realize he may not be a part of it.

FARAH GRIFFIN: Well, and listen, what definitely doesn't help with black voters is saying...




FARAH GRIFFIN: But what doesn't help with help with black voters is saying that you have done more for that community than Abraham Lincoln, I mean, some of the absurdity coming from Trump.

TAPPER: You're quoting Donald Trump, yes.


FARAH GRIFFIN: But, listen, I think that we could kind of look at most of the key people groups that either side needs to turn out, whether it's young progressives, whether it's black voters, whether it's female voters.

The top issues continue to be the same. It's the economy, it's jobs, it's health care. It's not some of these side...


TODD: Immigration.

TAPPER: And immigration.

FARAH GRIFFIN: Immigration, border security.

It's not some of these issues like Gaza, which I think that the Biden campaign is leaning too hard into, in hopes of bringing back some of the young progressives. But what they risk doing is losing these swing, call them Nikki Haley voters, who very much could determine this election.

When you have 150,000 people casting a protest vote in Pennsylvania suburbs against Donald Trump for Nikki Haley, those are the votes that Joe Biden should be targeting. And he could reach the most people if he's actually just talking about the issues we're all screaming we care the most about.

TAPPER: "The New York Times" report this week showing an upside-down flag, a symbol that was popular among the Stop the Steal crowd at the time, hanging outside the Alitos' home, Mr. Alito's, Justice Alito said to "The New York Times" -- quote -- "I had no involvement whatsoever in the flying of the flag. It was briefly placed by Mrs. Alito in response to a neighbor's use of objectionable and personally insulting language on yard signs."

What do you think about that response?

TODD: I think the harassment of Supreme Court justices in their neighborhoods is out of control. I think it's a bigger issue than this. I think we saw it once the Dobbs decision came out.

I think it's a problem that's for -- a civility problem here in Washington. The country's been so polarized. Washington is so partisan, you can't even go to your own home neighborhood without it being attacked. I think that's the question I would ask here.

SELLERS: I don't disagree with him about that, but I think if you put a period on that, you're doing a disservice, because, yes, we do have a civility problem.

He does need to be able to go home and not be harassed. But that noise you just heard was him throwing his wife under the bus. And he actually did that because he put a symbol in front of his house which does...

TAPPER: Or she did, yes.

SELLERS: Or she did, which does not represent the faith, freedom and values of this country. An upside-down flag is exactly what it is.

The danger, though, to tie it back in and what people are pointing out is that Justice Alito and Clarence Thomas are both 70-something. And if Donald Trump is reelected president of the United States, he will then become the most consequential president in the history of the United States of America, because, for better or for worse -- for me, it's for worse -- because he will be able to nominate five justices, including replacing Justice Alito.

FARAH GRIFFIN: And can I just say, by the way, if, after Donald Trump won in 2016, Justice Sotomayor hung a flag upside down on her front lawn...

SELLERS: Oh, they would -- yes.


FARAH GRIFFIN: ... we Republicans would be calling for her resignation.

And it's -- I find it deeply disturbing, and I don't think we can gloss over it.

ALLISON: It's also because of what the court represents now. We already have a court that people just don't trust as much. It's supposed to be nonpolitical. And to have such a political symbol in front of your house is not the best decision-making.


FARAH GRIFFIN: ... your wife.

TODD: Conservatives, we haven't trusted the court for 50 years, though. This is not a new thing. This is a...


We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, we're going to remember a dear friend that we all lost this weekend.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: I want to take a moment now, if you will permit me, to tell you about the member of the CNN family who we tragically lost this weekend, political commentator Alice Stewart an incredibly kind and smart woman who has helped make CNN's political coverage stronger for almost 10 years now.

Alice began her career as a journalist, and then she worked for Republican presidential campaigns, from Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, to Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Senator Rick Santorum, Senator Ted Cruz.

Back in 2016, she was a spokeswoman for the Cruz campaign, and she laid out something of her approach to politics.


ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: We need to raise the tone of civility in the conversation here. We need to stay away from insults and focus on the issues, as Ted Cruz has been doing from the very beginning, and stick to policies. That's what he's been doing.

He has not -- there's been a lot of the candidates in this race that have exchanged insults and barbs at each other. Ted has remained above that level.


TAPPER: Obviously, Senator Cruz put that aside later in that campaign after months and months of being attacked.

But that was always Alice, always Alice. And, as everyone knows, even people that she disagreed with knew very, very well, she was all about civility and all about kindness.

Alyssa, it's just an unspeakable loss.

FARAH GRIFFIN: Just such a loss. I mean, to think of Alice, the first thing you think of is, she's kind. She's smart, she's savvy, but she's kind.

And, to me personally, she was a friend to me and reached out when I was persona non grata on the left and right, and she encouraged me to get back into the political discourse, and was just somebody I hold in just the highest esteem, and just really want to send love to her family.

TAPPER: It's really awful.

And I think one of the things that people really don't understand is the extent to which she had really deep friendships with people on the other side of the aisle. Obviously, Maria Cardona and her were best friends.


But you guys trained for a marathon together.


So when you sit at these tables, you often don't get to know the person before you get to know their politics. And Alice and I did not agree on anything when it came to politics. But when I started here at CNN, we don't really have an onboarding.

But Alice was like, there's this and there's that and there's this. And she was always super friendly. But, one time in 2022, after Roe was overturned, we were on television together, and we had a heated exchange. And I was shaking with rage.

And I was ready to pack my stuff up when we were over and leave. And she said: "Let's go get a drink."

And I was like: "No, I'm good."

And she's like: "No, come on."

And, that night, we got to know each other for who we were, and it wasn't about politics. And you rarely learn real big lessons when you're an adult, but, that night, Alice taught me it wasn't about politics. I say that a lot on the show.

It's about the people. And she was a good person. And I loved her. And I'm really going to miss her.

And she was so persuasive, she got me to train for 26.2 miles.


ALLISON: And it's a great loss. And I'm grateful for our friendship.

TAPPER: Yes. Yes, it's just awful.

Thanks for sharing that, Ashley. I know it's not easy.

To her family watching, I hope you know how much we loved her. I hope you know how much we cared about her. And I hope you know that we're grieving with you.

May Alice Stewart's memory be a blessing.

Thank you for spending your Sunday morning with us.

Fareed Zakaria will pick it up next.