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The Van Jones Show

Van Jones Talks to Democratic Senator From Ohio Sherrod Brown and Meghan McCain About Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Joy Behar, Populism, Conservatism, Connie Schultz and Kamala Harris. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired January 26, 2019 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:00] VAN JONES, CNN HOST, THE VAN JONES SHOW: Good evening, I'm Van Jones, welcome to the Van Jones Show. We've got two incredible guests for you tonight. One has been fighting for decades for the rights of the working people of all parties and colors and strives and he's now considering a Presidential run to see whether his fight is going to take him all the way to the White House, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown is here tonight.

And one of my favorite guests we've ever had is coming back on the show again, she's got so much heart and so much wisdom. Meghan McCain is going to be here tonight. Now, I love both of these guests because they represent real authenticity, the best in their parties.

I love principled partisans who are not hyper-partisan and that is a rare thing, these days and that's really what we need because my head is spinning from what we witnessed in Washington DC this week and I'm not even talking about the spectacle that is Roger Stone, okay?

Now the government is back in business at least for a little bit. President Trump surrendered, caved in to Nancy Pelosi, reopened the government without any border funding and thankfully, hundreds of thousands of hard working Americans are soon going to be getting their pay checks again which is great.

But look that another way, Trump is ending this unnecessary crisis that he created and we're exactly where we were back in December before any of the mess even started and that's terrible. Now reasonable people might say this whole thing could have been avoided.

The temporary ground stops and delays in some of the nation's busiest airports, all the suffering, the lines at the food bank, the choices that many people face between paying medical treatments or a mortgage, that all could have been skipped, okay?

So now what happens? I think there are some valuable lessons that we got to take away from this whole thing. First, if you ever needed a reminder that elections are important, this was it. Imagine how different things would have played out if the Democrats had not taken back the House. Nancy Pelosi proved that she can stand up to Donald Trump.

And it is nice to see a leader who is willing to show him that Congress is in fact a full co-equal branch of government. Now remember, when so many of my fellow progressives were saying, Pelosi's washed up, she's said get out of the way.

I bet they were glad that we had a tried and true warrior, wielding the speaker's gavel this time.

Now second, as painful as this whole thing was, it was actually a good reminder about what America's government actually does. It's not just a bunch of people sitting in buildings in Washington DC.

Government workers are keeping our parks clean, our skies safe, our seas safe, our airports running smoothly, our food inspected, things that impact all of our lives in big ways, in little ways from coast to coast and if there's one silver lining from this whole mess, it was seeing inspiring acts of kindness from regular people and corporations stepping up, helping out the workers, helping out the families, that's the true spirit of this country.

Now look the messy truth is we might need that spirit again because we've also learned the fight is far from over. Trump ended the shutdown but with no humility, no self-reflection and no compromise and so instead he did it by threatening Democrats, reassuring his hard Right supporters that this was in no way a confession and he still intends to get his wall even though poll after poll after poll shows most Americans still don't want the wall especially not at the expense of shutting down America's government.

And based on that rambling, Rose Garden speech, he is clearly prepared to continue a fact free, racist, fear mongering case to try to get his way. Mr. President, don't you see the damage you've already done? This whole thing has hurt our country and is it really worth it to win back approval points from Ann Coulter to do this much damage.

Where is that blue collar billionaire who cares about working folks that we saw back in 2015? Now luckily tonight, you're going to hear from a true populist with real connections to America's working families. Earlier this week, I spoke with Democratic Senator from Ohio Sherrod Brown about this battle for border security and if a 2020 run is in his future, take a look.

JONES: Listen, I am super glad to have you here, especially given all the nonsense that's going on in DC, you're probably one of the most common-sensical leaders that we have.


JONES: What is this really about? Is it just that the wall itself is a symbol in your mind of racism and you just can't bring yourself to vote for it? Because you guys, here you put $25 billion on the table in the summer for border security, in your view, is the wall itself now kind of like a symbol?

BROWN: Well, it's a symbol to - it's something the President always users to create chaos and distract from his betrayal of American workers.

[19:05:00] We just lost or in the process probably of a plant closing of a GM plant in Youngstown. 5000 workers in a community of 400,000 will lose their jobs over the next few months.

And I guess the President didn't intervene, he won't, he just simply hasn't even though he got a lot of votes from those workers and I've asked him, I've begged him, come in.

JONES: (inaudible).

BROWN: Well, he did nothing. I mean, I told him about it, I said we need you here and he pretty much said, I'll think about it. I asked him to go to Congress with a Bill that - that we had written. He said he liked the idea and then he pulled back on it.

JONES: But I think here's where people just get frustrated. The wall has become the issue. Is it - in your view, is it - is it a symbol of racism? Is that the issue?

BROWN: For me, it's not the symbol. I mean the President is engaged in all kinds of racist talk about immigrants and about trade policy and about the wall and created something that isn't there but I think it's more that the President will do it again and again and again.

JONES: One of the reasons I think people like you so much, I mean you've won your election in a state that Trump won by 8 points and you won your election by 6 points as a strong progressive Democrat. That's unheard of. I think the people look at you as somebody who really can reach out to and appeal to all kind of people.

What do you think about the way the democratic field is beginning to shape.

BROWN: I like it. I like the diversity. I like the energy. I like the you know but I mean, too many - too many national Democrats think that we either speak to the progressive base or you speak to workers when in fact it's not an either or, you got to do both.

You don't win my part of the country unless you do both and that is you know, I mean, if you love your country, you'll fight for the people who make it work and that is a focus. I mean, I would love to see this Presidential race, whether I'm in it or not and I honestly don't know yet as my wife and I talk about it.

JONES: We'll get to that brother, go ahead.

BROWN: Okay, that the theme for all these is work, it's the dignity of work. The number of people in this country that get up every day and work hard, they struggle with childcare, they struggle with health insurance, they struggle with an inadequate wage and especially women, especially people of color.

Those are people that are so often invisible, so often left out and I hope that every democratic candidate regardless of whether they are in spectrum talk to the dignity of work and what it means.

JONES: Well, I mean you have so much passion for this cause and you always have. What would prevent you from running for President? I mean given the amount of distress and concern among working families, why wouldn't you step forward and be a champion? What's in the way if you saying yes?

BROWN: I've not thought of doing this. I mean, I didn't have - there's a saying in the - about the U.S. Senate many years ago, a guy said, the only cure for the Presidential virus in the U.S. Senate is embalming fluid and I mean people that dream about it - I've not dreamed about this my whole life.

It's been a more recent thing since the November election this year and it yet upends as my wife says, my wife is a journalist as you know and very accomplished and she - she says that no whining - her book publisher says, no whining on the yacht. I mean, I'm not complaining but it does - it's an earthquake to a family, it affects her career and her life.

And we're going to make - we're going to go on a listening tour about the dignity of work and for the four early states, New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada and listen to people and talk to people and figure out what we're going to do in a couple of months.

JONES: Well, what do you need to hear out there? I mean, you got to be listening, what are you listening for?

BROWN: I mean, I don't know. I want to hear what people have to say, you know. I want to talk to the people that are - that you know that are working so hard and playing by the rules and not getting ahead.

JONES: You've been talking to those people your whole life but strategically, do you think you could beat Trump in Ohio if you are against him?

BROWN: I would say that I will beat Trump in Ohio where they know me best and I'll beat him in my home state, I'll beat him in his home state of New York where they know him best. How's that? I've been working on that.

JONES: That's awesome. I mean, you run past this stuff and you almost hypnotize people with the ease with which you talk about bringing people together. I mean, you're the only person I know, the coal miners love you and the environmentalists love you. How are you able to find that kind of common ground?

BROWN: Well, first of all like I put the mine workers first, I don't much care about the owners of the coal company. I put the mine workers first and I put their community first. If the mine workers don't get the pension they earned, if they don't get that pension, it affects the local school district, it affects the local hardware store and the local diner where twice a month, a mine worker and his wife, usually a male mine worker and his wife, where they get to go a couple times a month at a diner.

It effects all that and we've got to speak, we don't speak - as Democrats, as progressives, we don't speak enough to these medium sized cities.

[19:10:00] I grew up in one of them, in Mansfield, Ohio, a town of 50,000. It's been hurt badly by globalization, they don't think Wall Street

invest in their towns, they don't think the government cares in their communities and frankly, they're not wrong about that and we need to fight for them.

JONES: Well, I'm glad that you do and I'm glad that you have and those of us who know you, love you but those of us who don't know you are not a lot of people. Man, your name ID is not had.

BROWN: I've not been out running for anything other than being in Ohio so.

JONES: So how do you overcome that? How do you get attention? You got 840 people already running for the presidency in the Democratic Party. How does a Sherrod Brown stand out?

BROWN: I think too much of politics is empathy, something this President is unfamiliar with, empathizing with others frankly, more than any human being I've ever met, literally. I think that if you tell people stories and you talk about you know, the single parent or the married couple that puts off having children because they don't think they can afford child care.

I think a candidate that - that argues for them and advocates for them and talks about work as the central motivating and organizing force in our society wins elections, that's what I've done in Ohio.

JONES: That's a positive case, that's a positive case what somebody should do. What would be a mistake for this party, would it be bad to go with a coastal voice, would it be bad to go with a woman of color? I mean, how do you think about things to be very cautious about?

BROWN: I'll start with this then. If I don't run, I'm going to continue to make this case on the dignity of work and that work should be the organizing theme for any democratic candidate for President. I don't think it's a biographical thing. I think it's how they talk, how they present themselves.

I mean, most of us in this Presidential race are pretty strong progressives. I mean, I would be one of the few on the stage that voted against the Iraq war and support marriage equality for 20 years and have a lifetime eff from the NRA.

Frankly, that's where I fit. So I don't - I think, I mean, I think the country's going to be ready for a progressive leader and the only way we don't win, I think, ultimately is if the mistake we make is talking only about Trump's character. It's - I mean, everybody knows Trump's character, we know who he is, what he is. He is making fun of disabled people and is attacking veterans and immigrants and his racism, we know all, that's sort of self-evident.

But we've got to contrast that. This President has betrayed workers, period. He's betrayed single parents, struggled the child care. He's betrayed auto workers, this White House has betrayed consumers, betrayed workers. They - as their Supreme Court that they've appointed us, they put their thumb on the scale of justice, on behalf of companies, corporations over workers; on behalf of Wall Street over consumers.

And that's just wrong. You make that contrast, we win because the public overwhelming is with our side.

JONES: Hey listen and he's just getting started. We'll continue talking about it with Senator Sherrod Brown when we come back including a political movement that we both believe has a lot of momentum but it has been corrupted by President Trump. We're going to tell you about it when we come back. Sherrod Brown, all right.


JONES: Welcome back to The Van Jones Show. I'm here with Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown who's been working for working families, fighting for working families for decades. Now, look a lot of people feel that the Trump economy is actually looking pretty good but I want to do a reality check so check this out. President Trump is constantly touting his strong economy.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES: I've created such an incredible economy, I have created so many jobs.

We are finally seeing rising wages.


JONES: So why do so many Americans actually still feel so broke? Well, both things can actually be true at the same time. The President is right. Unemployment is down and wages have gone up by a pretty big amount. Hourly pay went up by 3.2% last year, that's the biggest jump since 2009.

Now even though wages are higher on paper, a new report suggests that real wages actually fell last year by 1.3% so what are real wages? Well, that's the money you can actually spend after you account for inflation so even though your pay check maybe bigger, if the cost of living is higher, you may actually feel worse off.

Now this is causing more and more Americans to say, they're feeling increased economic anxiety, especially millennials, women and people of color.


JONES: We've seeing protests and strikes across the country with workers demanding higher salaries.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't want the millions like they're making, we just want to be able to pay our rent.

JONES: Two states actually raised their minimum wage this year and that's good news for about 5 million workers, but some states and the federal government have not increased their minimum wage in over a decade. The federal minimum wage is still only $7.25 an hour. And wealth inequality is actually grown to a 50-year high with the richest 1% of Americans owning the biggest piece of the pie. According to NYU economist, the top 20% of Americans own 90% of the wealth.

Meanwhile the bottom 40% are left with an empty plate having a net worth of the -$8900. Now this is sure to become a rallying cry for many of the Democrats heading into 2020.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Today a minimum wage job in America will not keep a mama and a baby out of poverty.


JONES: So we've been talking about the dignity of work and that kind of thing, what kind of policies could actually be put in place to do something about this economic squeeze that people are in even in a rising economy.

BROWN: You start with I think looking it this way that corporate profits are up, executive compensation is exploded as you know, productivity is up and worker wages are pretty much flat as you suggest, real dollars.

[19:20:00] Then you pass a tax cut Bill, the President did, that where 71% of the benefits went to the wealthiest 1% and then the corporate tax cuts as part of that Bill, the companies as GM did instead of using that money to invest in workers, they used that money one, to move jobs offshore and build plants.

But primarily the use that money for what are called stock buybacks, they buy company stock, increasing the price of stocks and who owns most of the company's stock, who owns a lot of the company's stock is top executives of the company.

JONES: What would you do to fix this? I mean--

BROWN: I'd start with - I mean, I'd start with a significant increase in minimum wage. I'd start with enforcing the overtime rule. If you make $30,000 a year and you are declared man -say you're running a fast food restaurant, night shift.

You make $30,000 - $35,000 - even $40,000. The company declares you as management. They can work you 50-60 hours with no overtime.

JONES: But do you think you've got ideas that could make a difference for working folks? You know this idea of a populist campaign on behalf of working people, that's exactly what Donald Trump just did a couple of years ago. Don't you feel populism now is in bad odor because of its association?

BROWN: Well, it's--

JONES: It's a movement I love but now it's associated with these terrible things.

BROWN: And I've heard you talk about it but the phony populism - contrast the phony populism of Donald Trump with the real populism of Van Jones. Phony - populism is not racist, it's not anti-Semitic, it doesn't push some down to lift others up, it doesn't divide people.

And I mean look at look at the way Trump talks about any of this stuff, it's always to divide, it's always to name call, it's often racist or anti-Semitic so real populist and a real - a progressive trade policy, a populist progressive trade policy lifts - it doesn't playoff Mexican workers against American workers against Bangladeshi or French workers.

It works to raise the living standard for all workers and that's how you do this and the opposite of what Trump does.

JONES: At the same time, you have given Trump some credit for some of his moves on trade, how do you explain that and how could that - could that hurt you in the primary?

BROWN: Well, maybe it does but if it does, it does. One of my first votes was against the North American free trade agreement in Congress years ago and opposed the trade policy that I think is - is helped to hollow out too many community, too many factors and too many communities.

Then Trump did his tariffs and his tariffs - to do tariffs right, you work with your allies and you focus on those countries that are cheating. He didn't do that at all. I mean, we don't work with our allies on much of anything. Tariffs can work. You don't choose winners and losers, you don't use steel workers over farmers or farmers over steel workers and that's what the President's done with these tariffs.

JONES: You know, you said something a couple of times now about the President using racist language, racist this, racist that. I think for a long time Democrats were very reluctant to raise questions of race and racial equity, they didn't want to offend the white male working class folks who you represent.

Why are you doing it and how is that not going to hurt this party in the next election?

BROWN: Though I think it's so self-evident that President is a racist just like it's self-evident that the President lies a lot and you remember at the beginning of his administration, and still some, there's a caution from the media to say don't call the President a liar, say that this wasn't true or he didn't tell the truth.

Well, then they would say, if he's not aware that he's lying then he's not lying. Well, he's President of the United States, if the you know fact checkers find he lies X number of times every day. I mean, it's kind of been his whole career so it's not out of character but if he lies, he lies. If he's a racist, you call him that.

JONES: And you think that there's enough white working class people who can hear you say that and still know you're on their side?

BROWN: Yes, I think most white working class people - a relatively small number of people in this country are racist. I mean, Trump voters, sure, there was something that some people the David Dukes of the world supported Trump because of his dog whistles or worse.

But most people in Ohio that voted for Trump, they looked at their lives, they saw their kids probably wouldn't have as good a life materially as they do.

JONES: Let me get to another one of your big policy ideas before we get out of here. Bernie Sanders went out there and he says, I want Medicare for all and then you come and say, I want Medicare for some more and it just doesn't seem as like sellable, when you're talking about people at 55 years old being able to get in there.

Explain to me your health care policy and why you think it's better than Medicare for all?

BROWN: Yes. I think it's more attainable than what Medicare for all. I've supported my whole rational career supported universal coverage. I started working with Senator Kennedy and New York Senator Moynihan and President Clinton, 20 years ago on a Medicare - voluntary Medicare buy-in at 55.

[19:25:00] A 58-year old loses her job, a 62-year old sees his factory close, they can go on Medicare and afford to pay for it and we then began - then begin to move towards universal coverage. I think we can pass that in this Congress. I don't know how we passed Medicare for all in this Congress.

So I want to see progress. I want to see people's lives change. I don't want to score political points here. I want to see us make that progress that we can to give people that option. A 56-years old to buy into Medicare and begin to have the health insurance they should have.

JONES: You have mentioned your wife's more than almost anybody else I've interviewed in the whole time I've had in the show.

BROWN: Nobody else has Connie Schultz as a wife.

JONES: That's something I want you to say a little bit more about. You have such an extraordinary wise, she's a Pulitzer prize winner, she's got her own platform, she's got her own voice. What is the impact of a Connie on a Sherrod Brown presidency, senator-ship or anything else?

BROWN: Okay. I'll start with she doesn't tell me - she doesn't tell me how to vote and I don't tell her what to write, start with that.

JONES: Fair enough.

BROWN: Although when we first started going out, almost 20 years ago, we would compare hate mail from the same people that hated what she wrote and hated how I vote. She grew up as a working class kid her, dad's union card saved her life.

She had an asthma attack at 16, she spent a week in the Cleveland Clinic, that informs the way she thinks and my parents weren't union numbers but my mom taught me about civil right, she was a small town Georgia kid growing up in the twenties and thirties and went off- my dad went off to war, they met in Washington and I really - I'm informed by that and Connie helps in reinforce our commitment to justice.

I think it starts with that. She's a great writer and a really good story teller and that probably helps us both.

JONES: Give her a round of applause. Sherrod Brown, thank you for being here. Good luck to you and good luck with your tour and your upcoming decision. Next up we got Meghan McCain in the house. I have so much to talk with her about when we get back.


JONES: Welcome back to The Van Jones Show. My next guest is one of my first and favorite guest we've ever had on this show. She's an outspoken conservative, she's actually a co-host on 'The View.' I'm hoping she can help us understand what is going on inside the Republican Party these days.

Please give a round of applause for Meghan McCain.



MCCAIN: How are you? I'm good. Hi. Thank you. I love the set of your show because it's like a Thunder dome.

JONES: I know, exactly.

MCCAIN: Thank you for having me back.

JONES: Oh no, thank you for being back.

MCCAIN: Yes. I love this show. I think it's such an important show.

JONES: Well, I appreciate it and you're such an important guest for us and such an important part of the family and you and I get a chance to talk off line so much and you know, the last time you were here, your dad was sick and my mom was sick and now both your dad and my mom have gone to a better place.

I have not talked about it publicly. I just can't do it, you've actually I think, done a better job of sharing your experience. You know, what have you learned about grieving and what have you learned since your father passed that you wish more Americans who - all of the spaces at some point knew.

MCCAIN: Well, the first thing I have to say is that I'm surrounded with support. Everywhere I go somebody has an anecdote they want to tell me about my dad and it's a gift to have that because he's always present and he's clearly present in a lot of other people's lives as well.

So I try not to feel bad for myself because I just don't think - I think he'd be terribly pissed if I walked around that way anyway. But I've learned that grief is very toxic taboo subject, it makes people very uncomfortable and I am almost 5 months out since he passed and I am sad every single day.

And I don't think there's anything wrong with sharing that. I have moments where I think that I just can't do anything anymore without him and it's a weird place to be in, in so many different ways. As a daughter I'm grieving and I'm sad, as an American. I hate this country without him in it and I know it sounds awful.

I don't hate America but I just hate it without his leadership.

JONES: Like a vacuum.

MCCAIN: Yes, and I'm very - I'm sad all the time and I'm struggling with that sadness and I miss him in ways that I never even could have fathomed and then I try and say, what would my dad say and he'd say, we are McCain's and we don't feel sorry for ourselves and we're blessed and get up and go keep fighting Meghan.

So that's what I try and do every day and some days are better than others.

JONES: You're not the only person missing John McCain. This vacuum is so pronounced now because of this wall, the shutdown and all this stuff. I'm hearing now that you're saying you're not really calling yourself a Republican anymore.

MCCAIN: I call myself conservative. I mean, I'm still a member of the Republican Party and I still vote on the Republican ticket but Republican is so tied up with being for Trump but I'm also not a never Trumper, I didn't - Trump didn't melt my brain. I can still see like the forest for the trees and it didn't expunge all my conservative principles out of me.

I'm just trying, I think like our friend, women like us are just trying to navigate this right now because I understand Trump supporters, I understand why they voted for him. I also understand why people think that he's tearing this country apart and the end times are coming which - there was a blood red moon a few days ago which apparently is a symbol of the end of the world and I was like, well, it seems about right, right now.

So I'm just trying this honestly - I'm trying to survive in a lot of different ways and politically as well right now and just but I'm not a liberal and I think it would be intellectually dishonest for me to go on TV and start espousing beliefs that I didn't believe in.

Something will come out of this in one way or another, I just don't know if it's going to be the traditional Republican Party because Trump changed it so much and it's not what I recognize anymore.

[19:35:00] And it's - its character seems to be gone which to me when I grew up, conservatism in character, like my father was like really, really, I would say militant about character and now it seems like lying, well, it's okay, it's a little nebulous.

Stealing, it's a little nebulous, and it just - I don't think those are Americans characteristics and it scares me a lot. JONES: This fight to keep you know, our parties good parties has you know got history in the Republican Party, back in the fifties and sixties, they had to band together, folks like you and push out the Birchers and then even in the 1990s you know, Bob Dole had to take a hard stand.

In fact I love this clip from Bob Dole, put up that clip from Republican.


BOB DOLE, 1996 PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: But if there's anyone who has mistakenly attached himself to our party and the belief that we're not open to citizens of every race and religion, then let me remind you, tonight, this hall belongs to the party of Lincoln.

And the exits which are clearly marked are for you to walk out of as I stand this ground without compromise.


JONES: I mean.

MCCAIN: That's so good.

JONES: Yes. I mean, that's - I mean that's so good. Is it harder for your generation, kind of Abraham Lincoln Republicans to band together and boot folks out the way that Dole did, the way that the anti- Birchers did, is it harder for you now and if so why?

MCCAIN: We're so out-numbered. I mean Trump is on his third - I think it's 80, over 80% of Republican support President Trump and maybe they're doing it because they don't have another option but I think the populist Trump brand really has taken over which is why there's this sort of no man's land that I'm in because I didn't become a never-Trumper either.

But that is - funny you played that clip because it's actually one of my first like political memories was I was at that convention and I gave my first interview when I was 11. I love that. It's just a different time. I know and then like Jack Kemp was the running mate, one of the great conservatives of our time and it doesn't really exist that much anymore.

And by the way this cynicism has come with Trump. I mean, I don't see a lot of leadership with people in office either and there's some politicians that I thought would really be amazing at helping fight this fight and they've terribly disappointed me.

JONES: This particulars sticky widget around the wall.


JONES: It's something I just want to get your thoughts about because it gets very tense. I watch you guys on The View because it I feel like Trump took a tough conservative principle which is border security, I have a different view of it but I can respect a conservative who wants that and he put in the blender with a whole bunch of racist crazy stuff and Steve King and then he poured out.

And now you have to drink the whole thing or spit it all out and you know, so then Democrats get mad, they say, listen the wall is racist. And then I think you know, you could hear that as we're saying all Republicans are racist. How do you make sense of our pain and our frustration?

I mean, you really are in this kind of tough situation, aren't you?

MCCAIN: Well, I will say I completely understand the other side. I live in Manhattan and I just have to leave my apartment and in inundated with Republicans are Nazis, they're the worst, everything you believe in is awful and ruining this country. Every moment of my life when I'm in this city, I feel it and I think sometimes when I hear anyone who supports the wall is racist.

It's a trigger for me because I know people who are not racist who support the wall but I feel like when we're living in a time when you have one or the other, people get very tribal and I just wish my friends on the left and I include the people I work with would just see my side a little bit, just a little bit see what it's like for somebody in Arizona, who you know has seen the impact of maybe illegal immigration or she's a liberal on TV talking about how great sanctuary cities are and thinks that's crazy as well.

But it's hard for me because I get very triggered as well because I get very territorial over my people if you will.

JONES: I've noticed that about you and it seems to me that the idea of you being accused of being a racist is offensive even more than in most people.

MCCAIN: I think it's the worst thing you can call anyone.

JONES: Why do you feel that way? Were you raised that way? I mean, why?

MCCAIN: Yes and I come from I think people may be forgot, I mean my is not - I don't know the experience of a minority, I'm certainly not, I'm a privileged white woman that has a Senator for a father but my little sisters adopted and there was a very famous political moment in 2000 when my father was running for President when Karl Rove had a whisper campaign done that my father had an illegitimate black child who is my sister Bridgette.

So at a very young age I had to sort of reconcile, why would that even be a bad thing? Why does it matter that I have an adopted sister. I am not saying in anyway, this means I have experience.

JONES: But I think it's important for people to understand that because you're you know, you have a sister, you've had a certain type of experiences and you've seen an impact of racism in your own life, that charge hits you harder than it might hit somebody else in a casual conversation. MCCAIN: It scares me too because I so - I mean, I think it's the worst thing you could call anyone. I think it's hands down, the worst thing you can call anyone, especially a public person is that, you're a racist blank and I also think it's thrown around too much because if I'm racist, then what is Richard Spencer?

[19:40:00] And I think that there has to be delineations which I know just like me saying that in particular might make people change the channel but I think it's thrown out too often but I will say that for me, all the things that have ever been said or accused, it is the most deeply hurtful.

I have taken it home to me at night. I'm just here to ask questions. I'm here to represent where I come from. I'm here to represent my party. I'm here to represent my family and honestly if people don't like it, these are rotating seats, you can replace me, it's like having a residency in Vegas.

So you can have somebody else do it instead.

JONES: We want to keep you right where you are, on The View and right here but we got to come back.

MCCAIN: For now, I'm still employed.

JONES: Exactly. We like you a lot.

MCCAIN: Thank you.

JONES: More with Meghan McCain when we get back. You know, women are fired up and they're leave the Democratic Party, that's not so much true with the Republicans, we're going to ask why and how that might play out in 2020 when we get back.


JONES: Welcome back to The Van Jones Show. I'm back with my guest Meghan McCain in the house. I'm so happy. You are one of the most admired and well known women in American politics.

MCCAIN: You should add controversial too.

JONES: You're controversial.

MCCAIN: People hate me too.

JONES: That's a part of American life.

MCCAIN: I'm well aware.

[19:45:00] JONES: That's a part of American life but women now seem to be making a big move politically but mainly in the Democratic Party. I think we have four and counting now women who declared.

Before we talk about the Republican party, do you like any of the democratic women? I mean, you've got you know, Kamala Harris, you've got--

MCCAIN: So she came on The View, Senator Harris and I thought her answers were pitch perfect and I thought she was very smooth and I think she'll make a great Vice President to Joe Biden someday.

JONES: We're going to get to you because this romance - that's good.

MCCAIN: I just - I just you know, I love Joe Biden but I actually was really impressed with her across the board and there are some other, come on, I'm not going to name names but I was like, that's well, that's not going to happen. I've been around politicians my entire life and she - I was expecting to not like her and I really liked her.

I liked her to the point that it was like dangerous because I was like, she's just like very warm and seemed to really understand the anger on both sides of the country and that's I think important.

JONES: Does her gender matter to you? As you think about--

MCCAIN: No, I'm not - I don't really - I want the best person which is probably why I'm not a good female spokesperson in general. I mean, I think more women in power and all factions of life is better just because I think women are smarter, no disrespect.

But women can multitask better but I don't - because you're a woman, you'll not get my like you won't just simply get my vote but she said - one of the things she said, she said, give the American public more credit. Give the Americans more credit and that to me is like a very inspiring message as well.

Like give Americans more credit than the place we're in now and I don't know if like my more liberal host loved it but I was like - I even said to her, I love that. Thank you for saying something that doesn't make me feel like the apocalypse is coming.

JONES: What does it mean for the Republican Party and for conservative women like yourself as it almost might be a head for the doors exit as toward the Democratic Party even for more moderate women?

MCCAIN: Well, when we're talking about women. I think that in the lexicon of women, conservative women and prolife women are always sort of left out of conversations like we don't exist, like there's this whole portion of females that that you know don't matter, our opinions don't matter, it's just not as interesting of a public figure as a pro-choice, the extremely liberal women.

In the Republican party, we have a woman problem across the board and I think statistics show that too that voting blocks especially in college educated women, I believe. I believe. Listen, I understand it. I think if you're someone who's not deeply into politics and you're just like trying to do your job, raise your kids, make money, just live and the only thing you're seeing as grabbing in the blank and sort of the verbiage that has come out of this President.

And then you see some politicians coming out sort of kowtowing around it and not just condemning it and saying this is wrong, this is awful, we can't have this kind of misogynistic language. I can understand how you would possibly be turned off. It's something I'm concerned about but I also believe that with the right messenger and the right politician, all things are possible.

JONES: Yes, well, you know one of the things that happens is you know, this conflict between you and joy.

MCCAIN: Yes. People are obsessed with that.

JONES: And literally like it's become a national obsession. Do you guys get into fistfight afterwards? I mean, how does this work? What is this relationship? Because look, I mean, she went to your dad's funeral, it seems--

MCCAIN: She did, yes.

JONES: How does this relationship work?

MCCAIN: Well, I will say first and foremost like we're not talking about politics, we have a lot in common and she's really funny and she's really acerbic dirty sense of humor which I really love and I like being around people who are so like so raw and uncensored and like to drink and she's all those things.

And she likes to gamble but we are both like - we're both true believers and she's a great sparring partner on air for that reason because she truly believes in her liberal principles, she truly believes that Donald Trump is satan, come to take us down and ruin the planet.

And I'm always trying to get her to see the other side, we don't this fistfight backstage. I know people - normally, we're actually getting drinks and going to Cafe Fiorello and like hanging out and I really like her but we fight well too.

JONES: Why do you think that there is a national obsession with this conflict? I mean, do you imagine you know, two guys getting into it, might not even register but is there something about it, that it's like you know these two women that are going at it. I mean, how do you - it's a national obsession.

MCCAIN: So when I grew up, I used to watch Crossfire and I loved it and I still think Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson were great people to be on air together and I don't know if anyone was obsessed with them when they were fighting and they were fighting about the same things Joy and I are doing but I think being women, there automatically has to be these sort of reports of like tabloid cat fighting, hysteria, tantrums.

These are things that are only said about women, women on television, it's not said about men when they get into fights and it's exhausting for Joy and I, I will say that. Both of us are like, grow the blank up. We are women who are paid to come in and debate politics during an extremely polarizing time and both of us get into it and we get into huge fights and then both of us have short attention spans and are on to the next very quickly. I just wish people would let us - I wish people would allow women to be angry and fight and it doesn't happen you.

[19:50:00] And it - by the way, that's all my co-hosts, whenever any of them are anger or we fight, it's always that we're having a hysterical tantrum.

JONES: All right so even more with you when we come back. There's one Democrat that she might be able to get behind in 2020, we're going to talk about that when we come back.


JONES: Welcome back to The Van Jones Show. I am back with my guest, Meghan McCain. Now listen, Joe Biden who you have some affection for, he's actually apologizing because he said something nice about Republicans, "I read in New York Times today that one of my problems is, if I ever run for president, is that I like Republicans. Bless me, Father, for I have sinned."

And then you retweeted, "That's why so many of us love you."


JONES: Do you want him to run and if he runs, would you back Joe Biden for President of the United States?

MCCAIN: So the hard part about this is he was friends with my father for 30 something years and he has really to my great blessing of my time right now, he has taken on a somewhat of a father figure role for me so if you he runs for President, I quit 'The View' because I can't talk bad about him and it would be too hard because--

[19:55:00] JONES: Would you vote for him?

MCCAIN: I don't know. I'm still a conservative, that's the hard part about this is like my principles- again, my principles haven't run out the window but let's make this quite clear, Trump will never get anything from me in anything forever under any circumstances ever. I mean, make that quite clear but it would be - I think it would be a tough call for a lot of conservatives.

But it depends how he runs and this is me, the commentator take about my personal relationship with him. If he goes full left socialist, it's not something I could get on board with in any way and I'm not a liberal but I miss calm in the country or a more calm. I miss character and integrity and I miss respect for the other side.

And that sweet thing, I like Republicans, that should be what we hope for right now, some people in the party might not want someone who's more moderate and it's - that's the next battle, I think is which side will it take the more traditional way or more socialist and I'll certainly be watching.

JONES: Well, and we're going to be watching you on 'The View.' I cannot tell you how much it means to me to have you here. You can watch a Meghan on 'The View' on ABC and thank you for watching this show. I'm Van Jones of Van Jones Show. Peace and love for one another.