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The Van Jones Show

Climate Crisis; Interview With Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Presidential Candidate; Interview With Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA). Aired 7-8p ET

Aired September 07, 2019 - 19:00   ET




VAN JONES, CNN HOST: Good evening. Welcome to THE VAN JONES SHOW. You know, the Democrats have so many exciting and talented leaders, two of the most inspiring voices in the party are going to be with us tonight. We got one who is a star of this amazing new freshman class in the House of Representatives.

She just keeps going viral for all the right reasons. Congresswoman Katie Porter is in the house on THE VAN JONES SHOW. Can't believe it. Plus my long-time personal friend and now Presidential hopeful Cory Booker is also in the house, too. There's the guy, lovely guy but first let's talk. Look this week, you see death and decimation from hurricane Dorian.

This storm just parked itself on parts of the Bahamas and just dumped down rain and misery on people for days and days. To recover we're going to need help for years, it's going to take years of help. The hurricane also caused flooding in the Carolinas and created tons of anxiety for millions of Americans who've been constantly watching the forecast, wondering when is the storm going to make landfall.

At the same time that was happening, a wildfire was scorching parts of California. So you got floods and fires and extreme weather. The climate catastrophe is here and it's time to act so there is a silver lining which is that the Democrats actually want to meet the crisis head on.

We had 10 Presidential candidates come into this room on this stage, this week and they had answers. They were like tax pollution, invest trillions of dollars in clean energy, maybe have a cap and trade system, maybe have safer nuclear power, it doesn't matter. Pick any serious science-based solution, at least one Democrat had a thoughtful plan to implement it.

They're ready to go. Meanwhile someone in the Oval office, someone in the White House was doctoring weather maps with a Sharpie trying to protect the President ego. This is not going to work folks, OK?

You've got one party with the smorgasbord of probable solution. The other party, the Republicans, pretending we don't even have a problem, all right? Now Congress is coming back into session next week. Guess how much time the Republican-controlled Senate is going to dedicate to the climate crisis.

Don't waste your time guessing, it's zero, none. All right? Now to my Republican friends it does not have to be this way. A decade ago addressing the climate crisis was a bipartisan issue and it's got to become that again. So come on my Republican friends.

If you don't like the Democratic proposals, put forward your own but it's time for conservative America to speak up. This is not a hoax, all right? I challenge our veterans, our retired generals, our sitting generals. Put forward a statement to President Trump demanding action.

You know that every scenario over at the Pentagon has climate chaos stirring up wars. They're going to threaten our national security. It's time to speak up. I challenge our red state farmers. They're facing floods and droughts and fires. Tell your congressional representatives to get to work dealing with this.

And I call upon young Republicans, conservatives and libertarians who believe in science to speak out. You don't like the Green New Deal, that's fine. Put forward your own proposals but do not be silent. We cannot tackle a problem this big with only half of America's leaders participating but together we can get something done.

And there is one person who's been pulling people together to get stuff done for his entire adult life. He's here tonight. He's running for President. Please welcome to the Van Jones my friend of 25 years, Cory Booker.

Look at you now, baby, look at you. Oh, my God.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you very much. Hello everybody.

JONES: Hey, yes.

BOOKER: I've got some friends up in here.

JONES: Oh yes.

BOOKER: Very friendly audience.

JONES: You've got friends in a lot of places. Listen man, I've known you for 25 years.

BOOKER: When we both had hair.

JONES: When we both had hair. You always had more than me. And you know, people think they know you, they don't know you. I know you. I want to go all the way back 25 years ago, they're about you left Yale Law School and I got a phone call saying Cory Booker has lost his mind and he's moved into a housing project in Newark.

Why did you do that?

BOOKER: Look, you and I are here because civil rights activists from all different backgrounds put their lives on the line and I grew up in a house I grew up in, in a suburban area because my family were denied housing because of the color of their skin and you know, there was white couple that opposed us then to buy the house we grew up in.

And so my parents raised me understanding that you know, boy, don't walk around this house like you hit a triple, you were born on third base and you got to prove you're worthy of your blessings by going out there and continuing to struggle and so I decided to move into the toughest neighborhood I could find in Newark and become a part of that struggle.


And met a community that schooled me a lot more than Yale did about what it means to be in the fight, what it means to stand up for people and what it means to make things happen.

JONES: What you said to me about you then and what it says now is that you're tough. You got guts, you got courage. The rap on you is that you're too soft.


JONES: That you're too soft to be President, you're too nice to beat Trump, you're too nice to be President. Is the former mayor of Newark, New Jersey who had to knock off the Democratic Party corrupt establishment to be the Mayor of Newark, is that guy too soft?

BOOKER: Look, I -- as a former football player, as a guy who had to come up against machine politics. I believe there's a documentary made about me Oscar nominated called Street Fight, you can watch it on Netflix.

JONES: Not street hug.

BOOKER: Not street hug.

JONES: Street fight.

BOOKER: So I don't think anybody in this field that's had to fight harder to take down more difficult challenges than I have and but the thing people confuse is they think somehow to be tough, you got to be mean, to be strong you got to be cruel. No and what I've seen in your career because you were really a model of this.

And my success has been by being able to expand people's moral imagination of what's possible and bring together new coalitions to get things done. We beat a machine, not because we took as many votes away from them but we brought out more votes, we got more people active and engaged in the community.

JONES: And you had the whole country watching this young, tough, urban action hero Mayor. You know, you were running in the building, saving people, like literally burning buildings. Part of the thing I'm curious about, there seems to be a mood mismatch.

Are you out of step with the mood of the Democratic electorate being so high minded in the way that you approach something?

BOOKER: Look, I was jumping on the stage in Iowa and what we're psyched about was getting big crowds in Iowa and this big guy sees me, former, you know, Stanford Tiden (ph). Older I get, the better I was at football and he puts his arm around me, big dude. He's me big guy, goes, dude, I want you to punch Donald Trump in the face and I don't miss a beat.

I look at him and I go, dude that's a felony. I go - I'm hoping and I find this with people who will sit in my town also realize, we're not going to beat him on his turf on his terms using his tactics. We're not going to beat him by showing the worst of who we are. This is a moral moment in American and in past ones like the civil rights movement, we didn't descend into the same tactics that these demagogues and fear mongers and bigots used.

We called America to a higher ground and actually won with that energy and won with that spirit. This is the point in our nation and you know this because you live this spirit too. We got to heal. We got to find common ground. We got to bring people together. The next President's got to be about that.

JONES: You know - yes, you got to give him something positive, I agree with that. You know, right after Trump was elected, I started something called the Love Army. And liberals started hating on the love. I said I've never seen so much hatred directed at us because we even use the term love.


JONES: I sometimes worry that the Democratic Party - we might actually become what we're fighting.


JONES: That we might feed what we're fighting by being so - by being so angry and we may actually become what we're fighting but sometimes people just have to go through a period of being upset. What are you seeing in Iowa? What are you seeing on the ground? That gives you the confidence that this party can rise above the reaction and to be to be as positive as you want this party to be.

BOOKER: I think it's important and you do this with me in our private conversations. We define what we mean by love because people mistake that. I think patriotism is love of country, you cannot love your country unless you love your fellow countrymen and women. But love is not a sentiment. It's not sentimentality.

Love is fierce. It says that if your children will have great public schools, my children are lesser off and we're going to fight for this. So when you explain that to folks that we are being torn apart, you know this, I see intelligence reports the Russians are literally using our social media platforms try to make us hate each other more.

Now I don't agree - I can write dissertations on my disagreements with people across the aisle but I'm one of those guys in the Senate that works across the aisle to get big things done and so this is - we are our biggest threat in this country and I know people are going to - the existential threat of climate change.

I can talk about all these issues but we can't solve those issues if we can't find ways to have the kind of leadership that can produce new American coalitions, whether it's the coalitions that we had to create to do something like going to the moon or to beat the Nazis or to beat Jim Crow.

It always involved incredible inspiring leaders that inspire us to our higher angels and to come together. Not everybody but this country is at its best when we have leaders that remind us that the ties that bind us are stronger than the line that divide us.

JONES: Look, I - yes. I think - I think it takes - you're a courageous dude man. It takes courage to speak out on climate change, to speak out around the nuclear question.



JONES: A lot of - I'm a strong green and have been anti-nuclear most of my career but if you look at the numbers, it's hard to figure out how you keep powering the world carbon free without nuclear. Why did you decide to say - you didn't have to say that - you could have skipped that question. Why did you decided to say - to put your fork in that socket and talk about nuclear power in a climate summit?

BOOKER: Well, you know, I learned this from my community in the inner city which is like go - be about the people not about politics and so you and I both know, I - hell, I looked at for school reform issues. I look issues that -

JONES: Charter?


JONES: Yes, I used to manage you on that charter.

BOOKER: But there weren't Democratic Party orthodoxy but my loyalty was black kids should have great schools and I think it's one of the reasons why we - on our turf, we created solutions that work for us.

JONES: One time I was talking to you about the charter school stuff and you took - you said, well, Malcolm said by any means necessary that includes charter schools. I can't say nothing. I'm like this guy is serious.

BOOKER: But on that issue, look, I've seen from Michigan to other states where the charter laws are bad but we found a solution that worked for us and not one size fits all so I just - I just have a very central view of the world. It's like - when I was married, I used to say this, in God we trust, everybody else bring me data.

JONES: Yes. BOOKER: The data on nuclear is over 50 percent of our - of our carbon free power right now comes from nuclear and these folks who want to close those fence down, it's not going to work but even more so they're closing themselves off to the future because next generation nuclear, the scientific breakthroughs that are being made are dramatically more safer.

Don't risk meltdowns. We've got to be open to carbon free solutions. Hey, I think we're actually going to get there where nuclear is going to be phased out as well but you - but I have a vision for this country, the electrification of this country in 10 years by 2030 is net zero emissions.

And so the only way to get to that goal that fast is going to have to involve nuclear.

JONES: Well, listen, it takes a lot of guts to be in the Democratic Party making that case, I think the case is correct but it's not populae. You know, a lot of stuff is not popular but later on it turned out to be correct. We're going to talk about that stuff when we get back.

But also we're going to talk about an important disagreement that we've got to settle when we get back.

BOOKER: All right.




JONES: I am back with New Jersey Senator and 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate, Cory Booker. Isn't that an amazing thing? Presidential Candidate, Cory Booker.

BOOKER: Folks will be flipping around seeing two big bald black guys up here. This is -

JONES: You know what, IF you make it through this Democratic primary, you're going to have to go up against Donald Trump.


JONES: And you have these detailed plans, these very smart plans and he has a sharpie, OK? How is this going to work? How are you going to beat Donald Trump?

BOOKER: Well, literally I've been looking forward to this opportunity since I decided to run for President to stand head to head with somebody like that.


BOOKER: Because look, we are - it'll be a very clear contrast of you know, the first Xgener up against this person from a different era who says things that are offensive to all Americans from all eras. I just think the contrast will be clear and the way I've been taught all my life to take on people like him, to shut them down, to defeat them, unseat them, to get them out of office.

I'm excited about that fight and it isn't all about him either because I think this is not a referendum on one guy and one office. I think ultimately this is a referendum on who we are as a nation.

JONES: Do you think the age matters? And does it matter in this primary as well?

BOOKER: Look, I think that you can't paint with a broad brush and say that that is an issue. I do know that my generation who's never ascended to the White House yet. We haven't had an Xgener millennial, I think we have a lot of new ideas for a vastly and quickly changing world and experiences that I think at this point, we can - that are really needed.

JONES: But listen, I mean, Trump's got some cards to play including the economy and the numbers just came out, not good for Democrats saying that African-Americans were doing really, really well in this economy and black women maybe doing better than ever when it comes unemployment.

How do you deal with that as a Democrat when black women are your core vote?

BOOKER: Well, I think if you ask black women, what they think about their economic situation as a guy who lives in the majority, they're not feeling it. And most Americans are because what we see is, we're seeing corporate profits in the 85 year high, we're seeing the riches get a lot richer and we're seeing a lot of folks who are working not just one job, you come to my neighborhood, people on my block -

JONES: Hustling.

BOOKER: Hustling and still need food stamps.


BOOKER: The bargain of our country's gone. Prescription drug costs up over $1000 on average per year per person, child care -

JONES: That's not just -

BOOKER: I can go through the things that are making people's lives difficult and we need to -

JONES: You are so connected to what's going on in the black community, you lived there, you walk there, you were elected from that base and yet at the national level, the black voters are still hanging with Biden, hanging with Bernie.


JONES: What's love? What's happening?

BOOKER: Well, let me give you the simple facts. No President in our lifetime from the Democratic Party has ever been ahead in the polls this far out. They were all people that were considered long shots. Carter, Clinton, this far out - Obama was nearly 20 points behind Secretary Clinton and behind that African-American voters this far out.

So while we have a lot of people from Bernie to Biden have a100 percent name recognition, we're still introducing ourselves to voters and I'm very confident on the ground in Iowa where people are a lot closer to the candidates. Right now we have more endorsements from state legislators than all the top polling candidates combined.

JONES: In Iowa?

BOOKER: In Iowa. People who are getting a chance to get to know me quicker, we're doing extraordinarily well. We believe that when we upset in Iowa, we're going to set a standard to win this primary and be the nominee.

JONES: I want - I want to talk to you about Iowa. You are such an urban guy and I don't - not just because - I mean, you are an urban dude.


JONES: I mean, I don't see you farming that much. You're an urban dude. What are you learning leaving New Jersey, leaving Washington DC and talking to folks on the ground.

BOOKER: Well, I just want to be one correction. My grandma born and raised Des Moines, Iowa and I've been going to family reunions in the state for -

JONES: You got a leg up. You got a leg up.

BOOKER: Yes, but look, look, there is this false narrative in this country that bit divides us and you know, I sat yesterday, undecided voters, farmer and a Philly inner city Muslim woman and what I found from that conversation is that their concerns, so many of them are related.

When we understand in this nation that we have more common cause, we have a lot of common pain even though often we're told that we're so different but we have common pain, my goal as President of United States is to turn that common pain into common purpose and not let people think in any way that they're but one American destiny, we're all in this together.


JONES: Oh beautiful. Well, as you said, too much agreement messes up the conversation. You're signed for the disagreement. You like Star Trek.


JONES: And I like Star Wars.


JONES: And I have never had this argument with you. I - why do you like Star Trek and what is that - do you think that's going to help you with the space force. Help me understand you and the Star Trek thing.

BOOKER: So first of all, I love Star Wars but I'm a - if you had to make me choose hands down Star Trek, boo. OK. But you have to understand, this came out in the sixties.


BOOKER: You know, we both were kids when Star Wars came out. This is my father sitting me down Louis saying you are going to watch this program.


BOOKER: Because for my father who grew up in the Jim Crow south you know, poor - he used to say I can't afford to be poor core, I was just pope heal. For him to see black people on a bridge with you know, Asian-American with captain that not only first interracial kiss ever but also kissing green people too you know.

He thought it was just this bold, optimistic or the future and my father always told me, he goes the art places dreams in the hearts of humanity and he wanted to be see the boldest, most optimistic view of what's possible in the future and he turned me on to Star Trek.

JONES: I can never win. I can't win an argument. OK, I'll still say, may the force be with you. However last question, look, I have known you for a long, long time. I've know - for a very long time. Prince introduced us.

BOOKER: Oh my God.

JONES: Yes. I would have never predicted that you guys would date, how did that happen?

BOOKER: It's actually a really good story most of which I'll tell you off air.

JONES: We met at a - we met at - I was dead tired out in Los Angeles. I had a painful recent break up and just went to a party and she was there. I was there. We lingered until it was over and then we just got to a conversation that went on for hours and hours and I'm - I feel very blessed.

It's actually put this whole - puts the world in perspective about what really is important and I know how valuable your family is, your children are. These bonds of humanity that we all can relate to are so important but I know we're out of time. I just got to say something because a lot of Americans know you as now

through CNN and like in your commentary the truth of your life my brother is that you have from the time I've known you, for three decades of experience we've had with each other, you've been one of most effective advocates for social justice there is.

And I want - I don't hope people will look at you in reverence. I hope people will look at you as channel no matter what is paying the bills, we all have an obligation.

JONES: I won't take any more compliments from you but I will say that, I left the White House - I left the White House ten years ago this week and you were one of the few people who stood with me and you said and - in that moment you said, you know what you should Van, is a TV show yeah.


JONES: And now here you are on my TV show. Thank you, brother. Cory Booker on THE VAN JONES SHOW. Oh my God.

Up next, Congress is going to be back next week. Are they going to get anything done in Congress on guns? Also what are the Democrats going to do when it comes to impeachment? I'm going to get the answers to that question from a rising star in the Democratic Party, Congresswoman Katie Porter is here. So much to talk about when we get back.




JONES: My next guest is a freshman Congresswoman who's just making waves in Washington DC. She's become a viral sensation with these signature style, pushing for accountability, sticking up for working people. She's from Orange County, California. Please give a welcome to THE VAN JONES SHOW. Congresswoman Katie Porter in the house.

Oh, I'm so glad to finally meet you face to face. Now, you are part of this extraordinary freshman class or fresh people class. What is it like? I mean you guys are making so much noise. People talk about you guys more than they talk about anybody else. What's it like being in that class?

REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): It's amazing. I think one of the things that unites our class is that most of us have never been elected before and so we're ordinary Americans who came from lots of different walks of life. We have lots of different backgrounds. There's been a lot of talk about this as the most diverse class.

I mean, it's certainly true along things like race and religion but it's also true in terms of a whole bunch of other kinds of qualities. I'm the first single mother of young children to ever serve in the U.S. Congress. I often laugh because a lot of my colleagues were raised by single

moms and so it always makes me feel good like see, they were raised by a single mom and they turned out in Congress. So I am the first single mother to actually do it. I mean sometimes things haven't been done before for a reason which is a really hard.

JONES: Really hard.

PORTER: But it's also really rewarding because I think this is another example of the kind of voice that we just haven't been hearing. What do you think Congress should be focusing coming back in.

PORTER: So we know we're going to be talking about gun violence and that is because of we're reacting to the continued horrible mass shootings that we've been seeing as well as the daily deaths from gun suicide and other kinds of preventable gun violence.

I think personally we should be focusing on pharmaceutical drugs and drug pricing. This is something that when you look across the freshman class and you look at the most progressive members on the more moderate members, this is something that all of us will tell you that we ran on and that matters.

And if we're going to show the American people that we are for them and not for special interests and when we talk about special interest which is one of these Washington buzz words, I think it's sometimes important to kind of name what we're talking about and one of the people I'm talking about is Big Pharma and the way that they've created an unaffordable health care system.

And so I hope very much we take that on. I think you're going to see huge support from across the country on both sides of the aisle for this issue.

JONES: Is this frustrating though I mean Mitch McConnell is not going to let you do anything on drugs or guns or anything else. I mean does it feel like a fool's hearing. You guys have passed a bunch of good bills only on one side of that building.

PORTER: So let me say there's a couple of things.


One is I don't think we can let Mitch McConnell determine what our agenda was going to be. We have a duty to the American people. If I only got out of bed on days that Mitch McConnell was going to do something, I would have bed sores, OK?

So I have to get up every day and I have to fight because that is my job. That is the responsibility that I took on for the people. Second I think is that you know, I've seen over my time in Congress and before that, that a lot of the things that become law take time.

Ideas take time to socialize and not just within the halls of Congress but also with the American people so some of these ideas may not become law, let's face it. Mitch McConnell not what I call a go getter but we're going to see them become law in 2020.

JONES: Speaking of progress, you are from Orange County, California. This is - this is not Hollywood, OK? This is - this is - we call it Calabama. I mean, this is the conservative. This where Nixon and Reagan, your seat had not been held by a Democrat since 1953. What can national Democrats learn from your candidacy and from your experience in one of the reddest parts California.

PORTER: So I think one of the things that we did successfully in the campaign was recognize that there is no American who likes to be cheated whether you're a Democrat, you're Republican, you're an independent, you're a voter, you're non-voter, you're a professional, you're a student, nobody likes to feel taken advantage of and cheated.

And the recent research we've seen is about half of Americans have been victims of corporate abuse. They've been victims of wage theft, they've had their cable company rip them off.

They've had their health care - health insurance company not pay claims that they know were legitimate and so I think when we realize that there are all these ordinary experiences of companies taking advantage of us and we all are consumers and so my doctorate as a consumer protection attorney I think gives me a real lens into that. I mean, I think that fits well into the campaign finance platform that I ran on which is another thing I would say about the freshman class.

When you look at what the potential is of this freshman class to change things, the most enduring change is that the vast majority of us don't take corporate pack money and that doesn't -

JONES: You know you sound - I can I can hear both of your mentors in your voice. You sound tough like Kamala Harris, she's one of your friends and one of you mentors and also you sound like Elizabeth Warren who is - actually your professor.

What do you wish people knew about Kamala Harris that they don't know right now that you know.

PORTER: Oh, I would say it's actually the same thing about the two of them which is they have both share a kind of courage that I think it's so important so nobody is going to knock Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren around and I think one of the things that I've learned in Washington in a short time is a lot of people going to try and those are two of the most - the toughest, bravest women on this planet and so I just couldn't be prouder how well they both are doing.

JONES: Speaking of standing up to people Donald Trump is there. You are saying you're ready now to impeach him. How is that playing in Orange County where you know you still have you know, half red - half blue in your desk.

PORTER: So there's a lot of concerned about Donald Trump's behavior even among the Republicans in my district. Many of these people are traditional Republicans. They believe in the values frankly that are across our country, values of patriotism, making sure that we're supporting our troops, making sure we're being responsible with our tax dollars.

I don't even think those are Republican values, I think those are American values that Donald Trump is repudiating with his actions. So for me this is about making sure that we're signaling that nobody is above the law and that includes Donald Trump.

JONES: With the election - listen, that's all tough strong talk but with the election coming up, what do you do with the fact that you are now looking at an election and we never had an impeachment during election.

PORTER: Yes so I mean two things on a personal level, when I thought about what to do, I looked at the evidence and I concluded that I had to do what was right, not what necessarily what's going to get me re- elected, I think I got elected because I'm willing to do what's right because I wasn't worried about my re-election.

And so that's my personal decision. In terms of what's going on in the House, honestly I don't know this is one of our big questions, are we already in an impeachment inquiry? Are we - I mean, I hope. As soon as I know, I'll let you know. So this is actually one of the things that I think we're trying to figure out like where are we?

And we're in this uncharted territory precisely because Donald Trump is taken us into uncharted territory with his constant and consistent misbehavior and disrespect for the law.

JONES: Well, listen, I have a lot more to talk about with Katie Porter when we get back including the moment that left her and the country in tears on Capitol Hill. Also how she's using her personal experience to help people along the way. That's next.




JONES: Hey I am back with Congresswoman Katie Porter. Now look, most congressional hearings are just plain boring, OK? But her interaction with cabinet secretaries and big bank executives, always seems to become these big national moments. Take a look.


PORTER: Mr. Diamond, you know how to don't have to spend $31 million a year in salary and you can't figure out how to make up a $567 a month shortfall. This is a budget problem you cannot solve.

Why are your lawyers arguing in federal court but there was no injury and no harm created by your data breach? Are you lying to a federal judge or are you lying to me and this Congress right now about whether we can rely on those statements?

Do you know what an REO is?


PORTER: R - no, not Oreo (ph) and REO -- REO.


PORTER: What does the O stand for?


PORTER: Owned - real estate owned, that's what happens when a property goes to for closure, we call it an REO.


JONES: So that was cute. So what is it like for your friends and your family with all said, you're going viral, their phones are blowing up, what's that - what is this experience like, you're doing your job and suddenly it's trending all around the world?

PORTER: Yes, have no idea because I'm doing my job. So I remember with the exchange with Mr Carson, after I was leaving my chief saying like this is going viral and I remember immediately thinking why? Like he gave such bad answers, right? Like that was such a bad performance on his part.


Why would anyone want to learn nothing from Mr. Carson. But I think what we learned is that he doesn't know about these critically important issues like how we're going to house American families which is important.

So important in Orange county, so important in California but around the country and housing affordability is actually his main job and so the fact that he doesn't know about it itself is an important outcome from that hearing.

JONES: You know you're tough on Trump too. He doesn't come after you the way that he comes after the squad, these like four women of color. Why do you think Trump doesn't come after you the same way?

PORTER: I personally think just give him some time. I mean, this is someone like he every morning I think this could be the day. You know who knows I mean, every day it's somebody new. My time make come but I think the real issue we should be asking ourselves is like why is this a President who can't find and make and keep allies?

And why is he using his time to make personal attacks on a branch of government that he's supposed to be cooperating with us and we see this front and center with our budget, with the re-authorization of the National Defense Act.

When I started in January I actually thought there might be two things that I could work with President Trump. One of them was transportation and infrastructure and the other one was prescription drug pricing and yet we've seen absolutely no willingness to do so from this President. JONES: You've shown real courage in your personal life and just want

to show a moment that really I think touched the whole - the whole country, we'll talk about it.


PORTER: The first time I called for help, the officer who arrived told me that if I call for protection again, my children would be taken away from me. Each year millions suffer in silence for fear that getting help will result in their being blamed.


JONES: You know that was such a powerful moment and I just wonder as you see that, now you think about it. What's presented for you as a survivor of domestic violence?

PORTER: The fact that our Congress isn't stepping up to re-authorize the Violence against Women Act.

JONES: Even now.

PORTER: Right so, even with people in Congress not just me, but Congressman Debbie Dingell, so many of us now, right? Talking about these experiences. We know how widespread intimate partner violence is. We know this is an issue that affects children's long-term development. We know it's an issue that affects women's economic potential.

We know it's an issue that affects the LGBTQ community and yet Congress and the Senate is not moving this forward and this has been historically a bipartisan issue so for your - for what's happening in American families, fear for our future if we don't take action even on those issues like protecting people in their own home.

JONES: You've talked about the impact and the diversity of the freshman class. Now when you talk about what happened to you with domestic violence as we talk about your experience with so many of these things, you said that there are people in Congress who were just shocked to even here that you know, the cost of childcare is what it is.

What is that like being almost like an economic minority in the House?

PORTER: No, I mean I think this is one of the most surprising things for me is I think, I understood I was being elected to a position of privilege and of power and of responsibility. I think I didn't understand the extent to which Congress is kind of set up for and run by wealthy and so I'm certainly not at the bottom of the economic spectrum.

I have a good job as a professor, like I'm very, very fortunate and I'm very conscious of that but some of the things that I'm told really reveal what a privileged institution it is. So when I was looking for a district office, I said well, you know how do I pay a security deposit and they said well, we don't provide funds for a security deposit.

And I said, so what - how do I get an office and they said use your personal funds.


PORTER: And so like the health care, we start the job January third, our health care as members doesn't start till February 1 so I said well, how do my children and I have insurance since I'm ethically prohibited from working in another job. Well, in Congress how do my kids and I have insurance in that period and they said go on your husband's.

I said, well, I don't have a husband and then the answer again was personal funds and so I don't know where these personal funds are but like I would love to find them and have them but I think that this economic diversity is really important and I have a bill that I'm really excited about that I believe it's going to have bipartisan support called the Help America Run Act and what it does is allow candidates to use campaign donations to pay for health insurance premiums and child care costs.

So that we can continue to diversify the voices that are representing the diversity of the American people.

JONES: Well, keep going, keep going. We're so lucky to have you. Look, up next, are the 2020 candidates sparking excitement like you spark excitement with a key group of voters. Now this could be a make or break constituencies for the Democrats in the next election. See what I found out in a very important swing state when we get back.




JONES: All right, look, a key group is going to help decide the 2020 rate is actually black men and in 2016 a lot of black voters in the general election were turned off by Donald Trump but they were inspired by Hillary Clinton so they just stay home. That means there were 1.6 million fewer black voters and their work in 2012.

That is a huge swing in a state they like Michigan where 14 percent of the population is black. Now remember, Trump won Michigan by only about 10,000 votes. Trump says, he's doing great with black voters because of a strong economy and low unemployment but the Democrats are still counting on anger and outrage over Trump's racist attacks to get over the finish line.

So I stopped by the social club grooming company in Detroit. They host this program called Shop Talk where locals get together and talk about politics and race and here's what the people there had to say about the 2020 Presidential campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JONES: What role are we going to wind up playing? Trump keeps saying

he's got the black folks on his side. He's saying that unemployment for black folks is low. He's doing criminal justice when I give him a chance. How do young black man in Michigan here it when Trump says stuff like that?

TRAVON STEARNS, STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN: Frankly, I think he's trying to play a game of life manipulation and so we don't agree with it because look at what he's done over the past years he's been elected in office so far.


His words are not matching up with his actions. You know, he's been blatantly racist and not for the black community.

JONES: You see it the same way.

SEBASTIAN JACKSON, OWNER, SOCIAL CLUB GROOMING COMPANY: I do. Trump is extremely racist and I think that it's not just about black men, all people of color. You know I think some people talk about giving him a chance. I think that chance is over.

JONES: You're an entrepreneur, you're a business guy. I mean he's - he's trying to - he's giving tax breaks to business people and why wouldn't you as an entrepreneur want to be with Trump?

JACKSON: It's not just about making money or shelter in taxes. The main purpose of an entrepreneur is to solve problems. It seems like under his regime so to speak, he's creating more problems and you know, his morals don't align with mine.

JONES: Kamala Harris, is she cutting through with the true grassroots or not when it comes to black folk in Detroit.


JONES: Why not?

PHILIPS: I don't think she resonates with the grass root black person. I think people - the Obama experience was bad for us.

JONES: Why you say that?

PHILIPS: I don't think he really impacted our issues enough for us to lift him up. I know a lot of personal people to deal well but the masses didn't - didn't feel the effect.

JONES: So does that open the door then for Donald Trump to be able to get to some of the people you talk about?

PHILIPS: No, they're not listening to Trump, they ignore Trump. Most of the people I deal with has no connection with the Presidential race. They really think it doesn't include them or involved them and specific black men, they feel not marginalized, minimized which means they're not even on the radar. JONES: So look, you guys are basically like next generation voters and

that kind of stuff. How do you think young black men are looking at this election?

MARCUS SUMWAIT, DETROIT RESIDENT: I think the theme is like making a slow walk up to the line is that, it's not a candidate who speaks to a group specifically, everybody's pandering. Everybody wants black votes. Yes, you want to listen, I get you. Oh you want to guess reparations, I get you so it's like whatever they can say to kind of get a reaction, everyone's saying but it's not one who's coming with yes, this is the solution.

This is how we're going to get here. I'm going to walk this up the Congress. They're going to vote for this and this is going to work in your favor. It's just more politics and more things happening and we're kind of looking for a real person to say like I'll represent the people.

JONES: Donald Trump said he's the least racist person ever. Who based on that is willing to give me, at least a chance consider voting for him. OK, lowest black unemployment in the history of black people according to Donald Trump, who's willing to give him a chance?

Why are you not willing to give Donald Trump a chance?

SUMWAIT: I raised my hand. It's probably 3 or 4 miles from here, is children in cages because they are immigrants and you know sending ICE out like we have a big population of people in South Western who are scared to leave their homes because they might get snatched up.

It's home of the free, right? So you should be able to come here to you know start and live a good life.

JONES: You are one of the more prominent Muslim politicians in the country. You know, you've got the President of United States saying send her home to one of the only Muslims in Congress. I mean how does that land for you?

ABDUL EL-SAYED, RAN FOR MICHIGAN GOVERNOR IN 2018: I've heard that so many times.

JONES: You've heard what?

EL-SAYED: Go back to your country.

JONES: You hear that all the time?

EL-SAYED: All the time and my name's Abdul. My name is actually Abdul Rahman. You know, I think about my daughter. I got a 19 month old baby girl and I know that because of her last name because of how she prays, because of the color of her skin, she's liable to grow up in America where people will tell her to go back to our country.

And you know, I think about it and the fact is that she's a fourth - fifth depends on how you count, generation American. We've got to get past this. It is this racism that I think to be honest has existed, right? No doubt has existed. I mean, you look at the history of our country, it is baked into the fabric of the country.

But then we've done a lot of work to try and move beyond and we have this individual in the White House right now who wants to exacerbate that.

JONES: So listen Michigan voted for Trump by 10,000 votes. Is that going to happen again? I mean does Trump have a shot here?

EL-SAYED: I'll say this. Anybody who thinks that Trump has no shot hasn't been paying attention but anybody thinks that Trump's gotten the back hasn't been paying attention. The question to me is are we going to be able to inspire young people in these communities to stand up because we're having a conversation that's actually relevant to their lives.

A lot of folks watch the debate and say yes, that doesn't speak to anything I'm feeling right now.


JONES: Democrats, I hope you're listening. So important to show up in the industrial heartland. Now before I go, this week marks a personal milestone for me, exactly ten years ago I quit my job in the Obama White House under fire.


The administration named me the Special Advisor for green jobs so in the middle of the recession I was hoping to steer billions of dollars into creating clean energy jobs. Dream come true for me but it didn't last.

President Obama's right-wing opponents when after my left wing activist past. They took statements out of context, mixed in some true stuff with some false stuff, created a big media circus and my dream job became a national media nightmare and I quit. And I fell into a very dark place.

I was a father two little boys, didn't have a job, my reputation was in the toilet. I thought my career was over, thought I might end up homeless. I had friends and they said I would bounce back. I didn't believe them. I was too depressed. Fortunately a small handful of people did rally around me and help me and just as important I got counseling. I got therapy and it helped me a lot.

Somebody out there right now is going through a tough time and you might think there is no hope for you but if you would told me ten years ago today that I have my CNN show, will be working at the highest levels of criminal justice reform and all the other good stuff of my life, I would have said that's impossible.

My life is over but here I am. So don't you give up. Don't be afraid to get therapy. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Breakdowns can become breakthroughs if you use them right. I'm Van Jones. This is THE VAN JONES SHOW. Peace and love for one another.