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State of the Union

Interview With Gov. Tim Walz (D-MN); Interview With Fmr. Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI); Interview With Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC). Aired 9- 10a ET

Aired May 26, 2024 - 09:00   ET




DANA BASH, CNN HOST (voice-over): In the balance. This week, a jury could decide whether to make Donald Trump a convicted felon.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (R) AND CURRENT U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have been indicted by the government on 91 different things.

BASH: Is America ready for a verdict? Potential Donald Trump running mate Senator Tim Scott is next.

Plus: tough crowd. Trump looks to expand his support for a skeptical audience at the Libertarian Convention.

TRUMP: I will be a true friend to libertarians in the White House.


BASH: Miles away, President Biden keeps the focus on Trump and democracy.


BASH: Will that sway swing voters?

Biden surrogate Minnesota Governor Tim Walz is ahead.

And on brand? As most Kennedys keep their distance from their candidate cousin, another family member is focusing on a growing American problem, mental health.

FMR. REP. PATRICK KENNEDY (D-RI): My family's legacy is in public health.

BASH: Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy will join me on what he thinks needs to change.


BASH: Hello. I'm Dana Bash in Washington, where the state of our union is hoping you have a meaningful Memorial Day. Last night, Donald Trump did something highly unusual. He delivered a

speech to another party's convention, which turned out not to be entirely friendly.

As both the Trump and Biden campaigns worry about a third party and they worry it could play a spoiler in November, the presumptive GOP nominee tried to convince members of the Libertarian Party to vote for him. And the reception was decidedly mixed.


TRUMP: The Libertarian Party should nominate Trump for president of the United States.


TRUMP: Whoa. That's nice.

Only do that if you want to win. If you want to lose, don't do that.


TRUMP: Keep getting your 3 percent every four years.



BASH: Looming over all of it is what could happen midweek, and that is, former President Donald Trump's immediate future will be in the hands of a New York jury, with closing arguments in his hush money trial set for Tuesday on charges of falsifying business records that could even send Trump to jail if he's convicted.

Here with me now is someone in the running to be on Donald Trump's -- on his ballot, to be his running mate, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina.

Thank you so much for being here, sir. Appreciate it.

I want to start with what happened last night. Donald Trump...

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): Good morning, Dana.

BASH: Good morning -- faced a mix of cheers and boos at the Libertarian National Convention.

What did you make of that response?

SCOTT: Well, I saw a wave of red hats at the Libertarian Convention. Donald Trump's popularity continues to increase, but then he's not just going to the Libertarian Convention.

He's also doing rallies in Bronx. He's doing something, what I consider a 50-state strategy. He doesn't just want to win the votes of the American people. He's trying to win the hearts of the American people, unite our country, and start steering us towards the strongest, most powerful, prosperous future we could have.

So I give him a lot of credit and going to places where Republicans have not gone before. If we're going to win this election cycle, we must go where we're not invited. And to see the former president take that seriously is, in my opinion, a strong sign and one of the reasons why, Dana, we are seeing the poll numbers moving in his direction.

It's pretty exciting to see the kind of response he's getting across the country.

BASH: I'm going to ask you about that rally that he had on Thursday in the Bronx in a minute.

But, first, I do want to ask about closing arguments in the criminal trial in New York. They are set for Tuesday. The jury could deliver a verdict later this week on 34 felony charges. I know you have criticized the prosecutors and the judge.

SCOTT: I have.

BASH: But this case will ultimately be decided by 12 ordinary citizens.

Do you have faith that the jury is going to deliver a fair verdict?

SCOTT: Well, there's no crime, so I assume that they will actually find him innocent.

The only person guilty in that courtroom is DA Bragg, guilty of corrupting the justice system, guilty of not doing his job, and guilty of trying to frame an innocent man.


It's really the two-tiered justice system that has so many Americans concerned about fairness in our country.

BASH: But, just to be clear, you have faith in the jury system and, in particular, again, these 12 ordinary Americans who are going to ultimately decide?

SCOTT: I know that 96 percent is the number I have heard of the number of Democrats in that area of Manhattan, so I hope that they come to the right decision.

I assume that he will be found innocent. I just want to reinforce what I have said previously, however, that a two-tiered justice system is one of the reasons why his poll numbers are going up. There is something instinctive in Americans who want to see justice play out. We don't want to see the weaponizing of our justice system against our political opponents.

We want to see fairness, no thumb on the scales. If that's the case, he will be found innocent.

BASH: Well, I want to turn to a different case, a federal case, where there was a raid on Donald Trump's house because they were looking for some documents that he didn't turn over voluntarily.

Federal prosecutors are now asking for a gag order in that classified documents case after the former president said that FBI agents who searched Mar-a-Lago were -- quote -- "locked and loaded, ready to take me out," and that he nearly escaped death.

But, Senator, that same language was also in the order for President Biden's home. So do you agree with the attorney general that this is not only false, what the former president said, but extremely dangerous?

SCOTT: I haven't found myself agreeing with Attorney General Garland on any issue.

I will say I saw the video of the SWAT team from the FBI raiding Mar- a-Lago. I have not seen the same video of them raiding Joe Biden's garage. So I'd love to have that comparison.

But, more importantly, once again, we find ourselves reinforcing this two-tiered justice system, where we see a different standard for Republicans, and specifically a different standard for Donald Trump.

But it doesn't stop with just Donald Trump. We saw the same thing play out, a different standard for a pro-life activist where a SWAT team came into his house with guns drawn. So there is a fear among conservatives that this weaponizing of the justice system, if they will do it to Donald Trump, they will do it to anyone.

BASH: But I just want do...

SCOTT: And we have been seen that play out...

BASH: I just -- go ahead. I'm sorry, Senator.

SCOTT: ... with the pro-life activists.


SCOTT: Yes, ma'am. I'm sorry. Feel free. Yes, ma'am.

BASH: The -- the reality is that, I mean, just using this case as an example, it's not two-tiers if you have the Justice Department, which is the Justice Department, as Joe Biden is currently president, also going in to get classified documents into his house.

And what I really am asking you about is the language being used, which is -- which is misleading. People like Steve Bannon called this an assassination attempt. Doesn't that kind of language concern you?

SCOTT: Well, I will simply say that watching the treatment of Joe Biden by the justice system, when they have found him unable to stand before a jury of his peers because he's too old, frankly, and his memory is shot, that is not the kind of simple, fair justice system that Americans expect.

So it is very difficult to see this justice system currently playing out where it is fair to both Donald Trump and Republicans as we have seen the kid gloves and the insulation around Joe Biden and his family.

BASH: And so...

SCOTT: We all want fairness, without any question, especially when Lady Justice should wear a blindfold, but we don't see that playing out, Dana.

BASH: Yes, you're referring to Robert Hur and his report. That was one reason why they didn't prosecute. There were other reasons why they said they didn't prosecute Joe Biden.

SCOTT: A big one, though.


BASH: Well, OK.

And I just want to -- one last time, what I'm asking you about is rhetoric that could end up dangerous. And you keep answering about Joe Biden. So, is there anything you want to talk about with regard to that rhetoric?


SCOTT: Well, the rhetoric that really concerns me is not coming out of e-mails. They're coming on college campuses, when we're seeing the actual physical violence against our Jewish students playing out.

What we're seeing is antisemitism spreading. We're seeing the spreading of hate. We're not having to figure out what's going to happen. We're actually seeing violence on college campuses, and yet the Democrat Party sits there, hands folded, letting it play out.


We have to stand in the gap for those Jewish students. So I am very concerned about actual violence that we're seeing play out on our college campuses. Every single college president should hear me clearly. Your federal funding, it is a privilege, not a right.

What is a right is for Jewish students to go to class safely, to study in libraries in peace. That's not a hyperbolic situation. That is actual facts on the ground on college campuses. So, while rhetoric can be hampered, tamped down some, there is one place where we're seeing it manifest physically, violently.

And it is disgusting.

BASH: I want to turn to something you mentioned at the beginning of the interview, which is a rally that the former president held in the Bronx on Thursday to try to win over black and Latino voters.

I want you to watch a new ad from the Biden campaign this week.


NARRATOR: Donald Trump disrespecting black folk is nothing new. It's why Trump stood with violent white supremacists, warned of a bloodbath if he loses the next election, and, if he's president again, vowed to be a dictator who wants revenge on his enemies.


BASH: So, Senator, what do you say to black Americans, black voters who watch that ad and share those concerns about Donald Trump?

SCOTT: Well, here's what I can tell you, is that under Donald Trump, we were better off.

There are two things that are driving black votes back to Donald Trump, jobs and justice. Number one, under Donald Trump, our wages were going up. Right now, fairness is going down. But if you're really concerned about racial justice in America, let's not forget, Joe Biden is the guy that talked about racial jungles as a result of desegregation.

Let's not forget the fact that Joe Biden is the president who said, if you don't vote for me, you can't be black, an old white dude telling me I can't be black if I don't vote for him. This is the president who said that if -- that the Republican Party wants to put you back in chains.

The only person I have seen restraining black folks economically is the Joe Biden economy. So, I find it quite insulting to suggest that Joe Biden does not have serious concerns, when his own vice president, Kamala Harris, said he supported segregation. And if you look in cities like Chicago today, the elimination of charter schools under Joe Biden resegregates schools in America.

We need four more years of common sense under Donald Trump, and not four more years of segregation under Joe Biden...

BASH: Yes, OK.

SCOTT: ... and his approach to allowing poor black kids to go to any school in their own cities.

BASH: Senator, I think -- just one thing on the Kamala Harris.

SCOTT: Yes, ma'am.

BASH: You're talking about when they were running against each other for the nomination. And...

SCOTT: Well, I think she has -- she made the statement literally on TV. It's not something that cannot be conformed.

BASH: You don't think that calling Joe Biden somebody -- yes. No, no, I'm not -- I'm just giving context to our viewers of when it happened.


BASH: You are saying that Joe Biden is for segregation? I mean, isn't that a little too far?

SCOTT: I am -- let me -- let me say -- let me say clearly, the schools in our largest cities are being resegregated.

Joe Biden's Department of Education has halted the growth of charter schools that provides greater diversity and opportunities. In the city of Chicago today, poor black kids are not allowed to go to public schools in their own city.

The president of the United States refuses to stand up to the teachers unions. And, as a result, the future of these kids will be lower and devastated, because the closest thing to magic in America is a good education. And the place where you can't find that is in blue cities dominated by a monopoly on their city councils, where they refuse, refuse to allow poor kids, typically black, to go to other schools within their own cities.

BASH: Yes, well, you definitely have differences with the Democrats on education and how to deal with public money.

SCOTT: Yes, ma'am.

BASH: Before I let you go, I have to ask.

A lot of Republicans have been refusing to commit to accepting the election results in 2024. You haven't done so yet. So let me ask you it this way. You will be a sitting United States senator in January of 2025. Will you vote to certify the election no matter who wins?

SCOTT: Well, certainly, we expect a fair and honest election. And as a result of that expectation, we will certify the election and certify President Donald Trump as our 47th president.



Senator Tim Scott, thank you so much for your time today. Appreciate it.

SCOTT: Yes, ma'am. Have a good day, Dana.

BASH: New criticism for Democrats from one of their own, Hillary Clinton.

The head of the Democratic Governors Association, Governor Tim Walz, is here next.

And a member of the Kennedy family is speaking out about a national crisis. That interview is coming up.


BIDEN: Nothing is guaranteed about our democracy in America. Every generation has an obligation to defend it, protect it, preserve it, to choose it. Now is your turn.



BASH: That was President Biden speaking at West Point's commencement yesterday, as his campaign says he will be more aggressive about drawing a contrast with Donald Trump.

Here with me now is the Democratic governor of Minnesota, Tim Walz.

Thank you so much for being here.

I want to ask first about the former president speaking at the Libertarian Convention last night. He wasn't entirely warmly received. We showed some of that. He was there because there is a threat that the third-party challengers like RFK Jr. bring to him and to the current president.

What do you think RFK's candidacy does? And who do you think it hurts more, Trump or Biden?

GOV. TIM WALZ (D-MN): Well, thanks for having me.

Well, I think probably Trump, because I think most Democratic voters and most voters out there who had to live through COVID understand the dangerous rhetoric from RFK Jr. is simply unacceptable.

But I find it ironic he was at the Libertarian Convention, and no one has been more restrictive, whether it's women's reproductive rights or the rights to vote. This certainly hasn't been a Libertarian lean in terms of liberty.

So I think we're always concerned. Third-party votes -- look, Minnesota is a very independent state. But I think the difference is, is that President Biden is making a case that their lives are improved, that the status of the United States in the global community is at stake, and that that's the choice they should make.

So we will just make the work -- get it -- get the work done. But it was somewhat entertaining to watch that last night, I will say.

BASH: You said get the work done.

I want to ask just about what the Biden campaign did this week. They released several ads on gun violence, on threats to democracy, and on the former president's history with black voters. It seems like the campaign is spending a lot of money on ads to kind of see what sticks.

What do you think the core message of the Biden campaign is? WALZ: Yes, and I would say, too, Dana, what they're doing

simultaneously -- we had a briefing, myself, our senators, some of the leadership out here.

Look, we have got 18 field offices up and running. We have got a ground game that is going to be bigger than anything we have ever run out here. The Republican Party, in contrast, last time they filed, had $52 out here. And there's no offices for Trump.

And I think the issue is, is being organized. And the message you take to this is, again, this is about protection of democracy. This is about, when Donald Trump was president, governors like myself were in Hunger Game battles with other governors to get ventilators to keep our people alive because he did nothing.

The issue is going to be competency. When Joe Biden comes to Minnesota, he brings jobs, money, investments, and a positive message. When Donald Trump comes, it's grievances and revenge. So I think the issues will start to clarify themselves.

Voters are concerned this time of year. School is about out. They're worrying about summer. But we're starting to see prices start to moderate. We're seeing inflationary pressures go down. And then we can start to focus on those real issues that impact folks.

So I think the message is going to be very personal (AUDIO GAP) an ability to deliver this. That's why I'm out there. And then I think that contrast becomes a binary choice as we get closer to November. And they're going to see that it is simply not worth it to go back to what we saw under a Trump administration.

BASH: If the president called you and said, Governor, what's the one thing you think I need to hit home and hit hard more than anything to help my reelection chances, what would it be? What do you think he should do that he's not doing?

WALZ: Yes, I think it's holistic.

I do think we're making the case around reproductive freedoms. I think we're making the case around election and protection reforms. But I think -- I saw the polling this week that -- where Americans, a majority think we're in recession. We're not. We have the strongest economy in the world.

I think we have to do a better job. And I think the president's doing all he can. And this is where folks like myself can help. Minnesota has historically low unemployment rates. Minnesota has wages rising. Minnesota is seeing investments in chip manufacturing, in construction jobs. We need to keep pounding that message home.

BASH: I want to ask about something that the nominee for your party back in 2016, Hillary Clinton, told "The New York Times"' Lisa Lerer and Elizabeth Dias for their new book. And this is on the issue of abortion.

"Mrs. Clinton said Democrats neglected abortion rights from the ballot box to Congress to the Supreme Court. Our side was complacent and kind of taking it for granted and thinking it would never go away."

Do you agree with that?

WALZ: I don't think she's totally wrong.

Look, I ran in a conservative district, second Democrat since 1892, when I won a seat in Congress, and I was fully supportive of abortion rights. And this is back in 2005-2006. That was considered risky by a lot of people in our party.

I think what the former secretary is getting at is that we maybe didn't understand the threat that was coming, that we thought that Roe was going to protect us. I think there were a lot of us, myself included, didn't believe that.


I think that's why states like Minnesota were firewalling things up. We're an island of decency out here. It's "Handmaid's Tale" out here of the states surrounding me, from the Dakotas to Iowa, forcing women into these terrible situations.

So, no, I don't totally disagree with her. I think the difference is now, since the fall of Roe orchestrated by Donald Trump and his Supreme Court, that we are ready. And women are ready, men are ready. And those who think that this is just a distracting issue, this is a fundamental issue of personal freedoms and personal bodily autonomy.

So, she's not wrong. I think the difference is now is we will not be flat-footed. And I don't think we have been for the last two years.

BASH: Before I let you go, I want to ask about what's coming up this week. The jury in the former president's New York hush money trial will begin deliberations.

But I just want to ask you about the politics. Are you concerned about him being acquitted or the jury not being able to come to a verdict?

WALZ: No, I trust the justice system. And whatever that verdict is, I respect it. Same thing like the election. I saw your previous guest had a hedge on that, that I will respect it if Joe Biden doesn't win. I would expect Donald Trump to be certified. That's how normal people act.

So, I don't -- we have to beat him at the ballot box. I have said that all along. I trust our justice system. I trust those jurors. They will do what's right. And, look, he's in a courtroom for a hush money paying a porn star. Joe Biden's out here on Memorial Day, a family who served, talking about those things that make a difference.

Donald Trump called our service members losers and disrespected my friend and our friend John McCain. That's a big contrast. I don't -- I don't -- I care that the justice system works, but we will beat him at the ballot box. And that's what really matters.

BASH: Governor Tim Walz, thank you so much for coming on. Appreciate it.

WALZ: Thank you.

BASH: And Patrick Kennedy is putting what he's learned from his own struggles with substance abuse and mental health challenges into a new book.

And he joins me next.



BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. And my next guest says he learned from his own challenges, as well as the courage of many others who are struggling. And he's written a new book about it.

Here with me now is former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, who is the author of "Profiles in Mental Health Courage."

Thank you so much for being here. It's nice to see you.

KENNEDY: Likewise.

BASH: You said that you spoke to over 100 people about their struggles with mental health. What did you learn? What was a common thread?

KENNEDY: Common thread is that these illnesses obviously don't just affect the person with the illness. They affect the whole family.

And, often, in these narratives, we focus on the first person memoir, but we lose sight of all the other people who are affected by their illness. And I think that was the consistent theme throughout the book is, we really interviewed all the family members and co-workers, colleagues, because we really don't have an appreciation for how this illness, which we say is one in four, is really one in one, because it affects everyone around the person who's suffering.

BASH: Yes. And anybody who has any connection to somebody with a mental health illness knows that, and, as you said, that's pretty much everybody.

You have been very open about your struggles with mental health, with addiction. How do you see your own experience reflected in the stories that you tell in your book?

KENNEDY: Well, when I was in Congress and I had just had a DWI, I went to treatment. I came back, and I started having colleagues of mine in Congress stop me and tell me their own stories.

And it was interesting because I was the only one that they knew had addiction problems. And what I realized is that all of us are walking through hallways not realizing how many of the rest of us are silently suffering.

This book that I wrote with Stephen Fried really unveils the fact that we're still stigmatizing these illnesses. We say we have diagnoses, but we don't really say, what does that mean in our lives?

And I wrote this book because I want people to understand the complexity of these illnesses so that we don't think there's an easy fix for them, but that we do a more comprehensive approach to treating these illnesses, which, frankly, can be treated and outcomes can be so much better than they are today if we approach them in a more comprehensive way.

BASH: And one of the big contributors to mental health challenges right now is social media, particularly among young people, young adults.

They are more and more describing feeling lonely and being in crisis. How much -- what are some solutions, I guess I should ask, that you and your colleague have potentially found, aside from the obvious, which is get off social media, which may not be very realistic these days?

KENNEDY: Well, Dana, I think, as a nation, the adults are letting the next generation down, because here we are having addiction-for-profit industries.

And it doesn't just end with social media. Every other ad is from sports betting, and gambling is a major mental health problem. And it's only going to increase because, like we learned with big tobacco, these companies that make money make money off of getting new subscribers, new people to smoke cigarettes, new people to smoke marijuana.


That's another thing. We're commercializing marijuana. You would think that, with our kids suffering from record rates of anxiety and depression, we wouldn't make something so easily accessible and so de- risked as commercialized marijuana.

I'm telling you, we are setting ourselves for an even bigger mental health and addiction problem in the future because of social media, because of sports betting, and because of commercialized marijuana.

You know, Dana, you saw my late father, Senator Kennedy, fight big tobacco. Democrats used to be on the side of taking on corporate, big addiction-for-profit companies. And, unfortunately, I think we're letting down our next generation by letting that all happen.

BASH: Before I let you go, while I have you, your cousin Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is, of course, running for president as an independent. You have not endorsed him.

Does that mean you're going to vote for President Biden?

KENNEDY: Well, Joe Biden has been the best president we have ever had on mental health. He's helping take it to the insurance companies by enforcing the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which I was honored to author, along with my late father, when we were in Congress.

And, frankly, he's also put the most money to community mental health around the country. So there is no other choice than Joe Biden. If you care about this addiction crisis and this mental health crisis, Joe Biden is your candidate.

BASH: That sounded like an endorsement.


KENNEDY: Of course it is. He's the best.

And he knows this issue, as you know. It's personally affected him. And I think that every American can relate to what it's like for Joe Biden, because we have all had similar circumstances.

BASH: Are you worried that your cousin will be a spoiler?

KENNEDY: Well, I worry that Donald Trump will be elected, because, of course, as other guests have told you, I mean, democracy really is in peril.

Here we are, Memorial Day weekend, honoring those who died to protect democracy, including my uncle Joe Kennedy died at 28 over Germany trying to take out Hitler's buzz bombs. Now the threat to democracy is here at home. We have to get everyone out to vote and vote for Joe Biden and vote for democracy over autocracy.

BASH: Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, thank you so much for coming on. I appreciate it.

And a reminder to our viewers, you are not alone. If you or anyone in your life needs help, you can call or text the Crisis Lifeline 24 hours a day. The number is 988. Again, that's 988 any time, any day. Someone is standing by to help.

Up next: Trump goes into the lion's den. My panel will discuss.




TRUMP: We want Libertarian votes, because you stand for what we stand for.


TRUMP: If we unite, we are unstoppable. I will be a true friend to libertarians in the White House.

(BOOING) TRUMP: The Libertarian Party should nominate Trump for president of

the United States.


TRUMP: Whoa.


BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.

Donald Trump, you just heard there, met with boos and jeers and cheers at the Libertarian National Convention.

My panel joins me now.

Our viewers will recognize most of you, but Rahna Epting, director -- executive director, welcome to STATE OF THE UNION.

It's great to see you all here.

OK, so let's start with the Libertarian Convention. We were saying as we were coming into this segment, I mean, the Libertarian Convention has never gotten this much play, like ever. So they achieved that.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Yes, normally it's because someone goes on the stage and takes all their clothes off or -- I mean, remember, this is a convention for people who tuck their shirts into their underwear. I mean, it's a weird..


BASH: Is that really a thing?


But Trump going there this week, this is a -- they are striking such a confident pose right now. He goes to the Libertarians and tells them, if you want to keep getting your 3 percent, go ahead. Otherwise, come with me. He goes to the Bronx and says, I'm better than Joe Biden. I'm trying to build a party that's inclusive of you.

I think all the places he's going, they are striking this confident pose. And it's a campaign unlike we have seen from other Republican candidates. I think it's pretty confident. And they know -- they know they're winning and they're trying to take advantage of that position.

KATE BEDINGFIELD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Oh, see, I think it's the opposite. I mean, traditionally, you're not going to send your candidate into a place where he's going to get jeered for 30 minutes.

He also cut his speech short. I mean, he wasn't -- he wasn't enjoying it. He wasn't loving it. So I know the spin from the Trump campaign has been, like, we're trying to go into nontraditional places and unite the country. But I -- this, to me, actually shows how concerned they are. They're

concerned about RFK Jr. They see him taking enough of Trump's support in polls that they felt like they had to send their guy in to essentially get macheted at the Libertarian conference because they're worried about the support that RFK Jr. is getting.

And, don't forget, he's also in the Bronx because he's on trial in Manhattan and tethered to New York. So I don't know that that's like such a strategic decision as it is a tactical one.



RAHNA EPTING, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MOVEON.ORG: I would just also add I think it's notable that, when Trump was up there, he was getting booed primarily.

I think that's what we heard through the streams. And while I -- one could admire a 50-state strategy, let's talk to everyone, but I think the boos at the Libertarian convention, the smaller crowd at the Bronx rally, I think this is enough just evidence, when he's not talking to his hardcore base, it's evidence that the anti-Trump sentiment is still out there and it's very strong.


SINGLETON: Look, I think going to the Libertarian Convention was smart.

According to Gallup, they represent 17 to 20 percent of the American electorate. Maybe you shave off 8 percent of them. That can make a difference in a very, very tight presidential race. Regardless of the reasons for going to the Bronx, it's important.

No one should be presumptive to assume that people of color are going to just vote one way purely because they're black or because they're Hispanic. That seems to be the case for my Democratic friends. And I think it's why a lot of people of color are looking at Joe Biden and they're realizing that my life is not better.

When I go to the grocery store, things are expensive. The infrastructure in my surrounding community has not improved. And when I think about the future for my children, they're still in dilapidated schools where the educational system is deplorable.

That's the Democratic message, in my perspective. And so to have a Republican show up, whether he's being booed, jeered, whatever the case may be, he's showing up to places where Joe Biden is not, and I think that's going to make a difference.

BEDINGFIELD: Well, but the Biden campaign is doing significant outreach to minority voters. I mean, look at their advertising. Look at -- Biden was at Morehouse. Biden has spent a lot of time.

(CROSSTALK) BEDINGFIELD: They recognize -- well, you laugh, but they recognize that they have outreach to do to that community. So I think suggesting that somehow Biden is taking those voters for granted, that's just not borne out in what you see in their strategy.

They know that they have got to work to bring some of those voters home, and that's what they're committed to doing.

JENNINGS: I don't even think it's correct to analyze this via racial lines because the problems that are being had in the black community, the Hispanic community are the same problems being had in the white working-class community, which is cost of living.

And so when Biden goes to, like, Morehouse and says everything -- which, by the way, I thought was a disgraceful speech. But when he talks about...

BEDINGFIELD: What did you think was disgraceful about it?

JENNINGS: Well, telling a whole group of African-American college students that their country doesn't see them in the future of this nation, that is a lie. That is an absolute, disgraceful lie.

But the main political problem is, they have the same issues, which is cost of living, and he's not finding a message on that that's working for any of these subgroups right now.

BEDINGFIELD: But I think you do see him acknowledging that, and I think you see him -- I think you see his message as getting more and more -- you hear him putting empathy first.

You hear him talking about, I understand what it's like to grow up in a middle-class household, and that's how I'm -- that's where I'm focused. That's what my second term will be focused on.

I think he acknowledges that there's work to do there, and I think you hear him adjusting his message to that effect.

BASH: What are you hearing from -- I mean, you obviously are very in touch with the progressive Democratic base. Are they as fired up as they need to be?

EPTING: Look, I think progressives have been part of the constructive part of the Democratic coalition since -- for a long time now.

They are -- they helped deliver a win in 2020. They helped prevent a red wave in 2022. And, yes, there's work to do. That's why candidates have campaigns. That's why organizations like MoveOn mobilize members to talk to voters, and we have to do the work to make it very clear what the two potential futures are under a Trump or a Biden.

BASH: I want to talk about another set of voters potentially up for grabs, and those are the Nikki Haley voters in the Republican primary process. She, in her first public remarks since dropping out, said that she

would vote for Donald Trump. I want you to listen to what she said and then what he said afterwards.


FMR. GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R-SC): Trump would be smart to reach out to the millions of people who voted for me and continue to support me, and not assume that they're just going to be with him.

TRUMP: You know, we had a nasty campaign. It was pretty nasty. But she's a very capable person. And I'm sure she's going to be on our team in some form.


SINGLETON: I mean, look, I think she's right.

But I do think when you look at a voter profile of a substantial percent of those voters, many of them voted for Joe Biden in 2020. A whole bunch of them are going to vote for Joe Biden in 2024, or this November, rather. And so I do think maybe there's a third of them who are sort of sitting on the fence waiting for the former president to reach out to them.

And come July, the convention, I expect that the president will reach out to some of those Nikki Haley supporters. I also expect that the former governor at some point will join the former president on the campaign trail, and I think that's going to help some of those folks come home this November.

EPTING: Look, I think Nikki Haley claiming or saying that she's going to be voting for President Trump is a huge example of what's wrong with the Republican Party.

I mean, you had someone running a very notable primary campaign against President Trump, criticizing him, calling him out for his antidemocratic norms and all of the destruction that he's done. And then now saying that she's going to vote for him, I think, like, playing political games instead of, like, standing true to your morals, I think when she tries to run for president again in 2028, voters are going to remember this.

JENNINGS: Here's what's wrong with the Democratic Party.

Look what's going to happen for the next month. This is a pivotal month in this campaign. You have got a debate coming up at the end of June. You're going to have a verdict in this trial. Joe Biden is stuck at around 38 percent job approval.


There's panic in the streets right now over at the Democratic National Committee if a verdict -- let's say he's guilty, and if a debate performance, if that doesn't change the quicksand that Joe Biden is currently in, I mean, you got to ask. If you really believe Donald Trump is an existential threat to democracy, what are you prepared to do at the end of June?


BASH: And you have got the final word in 30 seconds.

BEDINGFIELD: But you notice how Scott kind of glossed over the outreach to Haley voters, right?

Because Donald Trump is not doing it. He's not reaching out for those votes.

JENNINGS: He doesn't have to, because Biden's driving them home.


BEDINGFIELD: There's a difference between -- there's a difference between Nikki Haley making a clearly very personal decision about her own political future, a disappointing one, frankly -- and I certainly agree with Rahna that it says a lot about where the Republican Party is.

But those aren't her voters. Those are voters who are consistently voting anti-Trump in these Republican primaries long after Nikki Haley dropped out. Those are very gettable voters for Joe Biden. He's the only one in the campaign who's making a case to reach out to those voters.

SINGLETON: He can barely get his own voters, Kate.

BEDINGFIELD: And that's a big -- that's a big reason why, ultimately, I do think Joe Biden's going to win.

BASH: All right, we're going to have to leave it there, unfortunately.


BASH: It was just getting good. No, it's been good the whole time.

We will be right back. Don't go anywhere.



BASH: We want to wish you all a meaningful Memorial Day weekend, particularly to the families who have lost loved ones while serving.

We are thinking of you all this weekend, about their sacrifice and yours as well.

Thanks for spending your Sunday morning with us.

Fareed Zakaria picks it up next.