Hello from the Lincoln Project and welcome back. I'm Ron. Tonight, Donald Trump and his enablers kick off the Republican National Convention. This week, we're going to focus on the same themes of the convention to show the reality behind Trump Tower claims. Joining me today from her incredible podcast studio is Lincoln Project senior adviser, CNN political commentator and former GOP communications director Tara Suttmeier. Tara, it's so great to have you on again. Looking forward to this. Oh, thank you, Ron.
It's always a pleasure. So the four nights of the convention are going to feature four themes land of promise, land of opportunity, land of heroes and land of greatness. And in this episode, we're going to break down two of the themes of the Republican National Convention, Land of Promise and Land of opportunity, because those are basically the same thing. And Tara, just to get the ball rolling, when you think of America as the land of promise or the land of opportunity, what ideals and values spring to mind for you?
You know, it's it's ironic that as we approach the Republican National Convention, you know, I've been to six of them, by the way, everyone since nineteen ninety six. And every year, except for twenty sixteen, I always felt hopeful and I felt proud and excited about the promise and opportunity of America. That's why I became a conservative. It's why I became a Republican, because the messaging I grew up in the era of Reagan and Jack Kemp and the Bushes, and the message was always a positive one, you know, shining city on a hill.
You can be anything and anyone in America. The opportunity is limitless, regardless of what you look like, what circumstances you were born into, that this was, in fact, the land of opportunity. And, you know, of course, America has her imperfections, but the unity that the Republican and conservative message of individuality and the empowering the individual to take advantage of all of the promise that America offers was something that was appealing to me and why I became a conservative.
And those messages were always authentic and they resonated with me during all those other conventions. Twenty sixteen was a completely different experience. I sat there through that convention in Cleveland with a feeling in the pit of my stomach the entire time saying What the hell has happened? Where are we going? What is this? The anger, the fear mongering, the racial resentment, the rejection of of facts and expertise. Just all of the things that we've seen now exacerbated ten times over since Trump won, have become just the lowest common denominator.
And I just I was physically upset when I sat there in that arena and saw Donald Trump take that nomination and give that horrible speech. And and then that carried over to the to the inauguration, which is normally something something that's supposed to be uplifting and, you know, the vision for the country bring everyone together. And he had the infamous American Carnage speech. And I just went, oh, my God, God help this country. What do we what have they done?
So the idea of promise and opportunity has always been something I've associated with the conservative movement, the Republican Party, the optimism of Reagan, the fighting on the right side of the issues, you know, the party of Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln and the the legacy that the Republican Party had established from from winning the Civil War and and standing up for what was right as far as human rights back then, things have changed a little bit over the years. But still, you know that the basic foundation of those principles and to see where it's come today has just been infuriating and upsetting, which is partially why I'm so motivated to try to either bring that back or to show people that what we have today in the White House, in the Republican Party of today is absolutely not representative of the legacy of the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln and Reagan.
Yeah, and these are supposed to be I mean, these are American ideals. Sure. And and I think that we would be remiss if we didn't talk about the juxtaposition of Donald Trump, the rich brat, essentially to the middle middle class, Joe Wright, who's who's the daughter of two immigrants. And and it really is ironic that Trump's Republican Party, this convention, is hijacking these phrases that he doesn't embody at all and that. And that his Republican Party doesn't embody it all at all.
Yeah, I mean, as a matter of fact, he has become they have become an obstacle to their realization for many Americans. Absolutely. How do you think that's going to play to the people watching all across the country?
Well, to his base, it's not going to matter because I've said it many times and I'll continue to say it at thirty to thirty five percent of his base. It's basically become a cult of personality and bordering on a death cult, given the way that the country, the Trump supporters have responded to covid-19 and and supported Donald Trump's ineptitude in handling covid-19, that's cost one hundred and seventy thousand plus lives in the process. So it doesn't matter to them.
It's the, you know, the couple of percentage points of people who are still undecided and between how is it going to resonate with them?
The irony of the Trump message and who he claims to appeal to the cognitive dissonance of this is something that's going to be studied for decades by sociologists and psychologists and people a lot smarter than you or I look lots of letters next to their names who study these kinds of things because it's it is pretty remarkable. Here you have someone, Donald Trump, who grew up in absolute privilege, never earned anything in his life, cheated his way through school, cheated his way through business, hasn't really I mean, his entire family business has been a cloud of suspicion over the way that they acquired their wealth and maintained it.
Has has that that shadow has been cast pretty wide, whether it's cheating on taxes or taking advantage of political connections and just all kinds of things that make it goes against everything that you tell people that you can come from nothing and be anything you want. And here Donald Trump has taken advantage of every unsavory part of of earning a living. And the people who claim to be so supportive of him are actually the ones who suffer when people like Donald Trump are in power.
I mean, it was the middle class Americans who were small business owners and contractors who got screwed over when Donald Trump tanked casinos in Atlantic City and decided not to pay his contractors and file for bankruptcy multiple times. It was those folks that that think that Donald Trump is their hero and their savior when actually he's part of their demise. This is it's just fascinating how many people do this where on the other side you have Joe Biden, who literally came from Scranton, Pennsylvania, middle class life.
He talks he talks about the story about how his dad lost his job and how he had to come home and tell his family and how work is more than just work. It's dignity. And earning a living is dignity.
Those concept that's America, not this. I mean, there is a part of America. That's the Donald Trump, robber baron, ugly greed part. Right. But that is that's not what should be glorified here. And the people who support them, I don't know that they would put up with that if it were anyone else with that kind of a biography. But Joe Biden is the complete opposite in every way. He understands the struggles that are going that people are going through right now, those kitchen table issues of millions of people losing their jobs and having to face their families and tell them that millions of people facing eviction or mortgage foreclosure losing their homes because of the economic downturn, because of covid-19 and this administration's failure in response to it.
And I just think that we may not all agree. I may not agree with the Democrats policies on how you get there. But the point is, at least you have someone that recognizes the struggle and knows that we need solutions on how to get there. So let's work together across the aisle and come up with a compromise, because ultimately this is about protecting the American people and helping to improve their lives.
Yeah. So, Tara, you touched on a couple of these themes. And what I want to do in this episode is talk about three specific ways that Donald Trump has been an obstacle to the realization of these American ideals through his presidency. Obviously, the United States has three simultaneous crises that we're facing right now, the worst pandemic in more than a century, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and the loudest outcry for racial justice and equity that we've seen since the 60s.
So let's start with coronavirus. Since the outbreak began, the US has lost more than one hundred and seventy five thousand people to covid-19. And we're still seeing a dozen states where the number of new deaths are increasing in the frame of land of opportunity and land of promise. How much of the blame for these deaths falls on the Trump administration?
A considerable amount as. Each week passes, more and more information comes out about the measures that were not taken and how that has cost lives, and if so, just simple things like wearing a mask could save tens of thousands of lives moving forward. I mean, the latest I heard was that it's possible we could possibly reach three hundred thousand deaths by the end of the year. That is just unfathomable to me. That is one hundred nine elevens. Could you imagine what the outcry would be from the American people if you framed it that way?
And you realize we I mean, we I just feel like because of how. How much chaos and just how cruel and the consistency of the cruelty from Donald Trump that it is desensitized our country to the absolute unacceptable amount of death that's happening on his watch, that concerns me greatly because the part of the promise of America is. The pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, life is the first thing, and the the number one job of any president is to protect the well-being and life of the American people over anything else.
And this president has failed miserably at that because he's a sociopath that has absolutely zero capability of of putting anything before himself. So when you see the president out there golfing at his golf club every weekend while thousands of Americans are dying every day, it's it just tells you that he just doesn't give a damn. And that is something that I don't think we've ever seen from any president, even some of the worst presidents where they were just so out of out of step and out of touch with something as as fragile and obvious as protecting the lives of Americans.
So what's happened with covid-19 will go down in history, I think, as one of the most costly failures by any president outside of a full blown war. And I just don't want the American people to become numb to what's happening because they this is become the norm. No, this is not normal. They should never be OK. And if steps are not taken to mitigate this from someone who is capable of leading the country, we're going to continue to have people die.
And our way of life will be changed in ways that we for a long time in ways that we could never imagine. So this is just so antithetical to everything about the reverberating effects of the covid-19 pandemic, not only just with loss of life, but the economic impacts and and everything from school and family events and funerals. And I mean it the reverberations are just astronomical. I just don't think people realize how it touches every aspect of our lives.
Well, let's talk about that, because you mentioned our way of life. And it's very clear that what they're trying to do, what it seems like they're trying to do with this convention is to invoke a certain type of nostalgia about America. And and it's so it seems so out of touch to me. It's not just phony. I think it's it's almost sinister. If you think about the way they're trying to whitewash what the American experience is right now by invoking a nostalgia that doesn't apply because of Trump's lack of a response to covid and how he's a you know, we talk about the American way of life, schools, football, barbecues, vacations, leaving the house, like all of these things are completely off the table.
And I just wonder who they're trying to fool with with with this kind of nostalgia. I mean, talk a little bit about the way life has changed for the vast majority of Americans and the and the almost gaslighting that it seems they're trying to do from this convention. The Trumpton.
Well, I wouldn't say it's almost gaslighting. It's gaslighting. I mean, let's not forget that the president of the United States back in end of March, early April, talking about how the country would be back by Easter. Everything will be fine by Easter. You know what? And then and then it was not long after that in May or I forget when Jared Kushner gave that asinine interview where he said, we're going to have the country rocking again by July.
Oh, my goodness. He just gets under my skin. I just can't take that know.
And I know I'm not the only one, but, you know, rock and again, like rock again. What what world do you people live in? There are people dying by the thousands and people dying alone. You know, something about this coronavirus that is we haven't seen before is people can't be with their loved ones because of how how contagious it is, the transmissibility of it, that people can't even be with their loved ones when they're dying. This is awful.
And these idiots are running around talking about the economy's going to be rockin like, no, it's just it's hard to fathom. But the problem here is that the focus has been they've been so dismissive of the seriousness of this because they've been singularly focused on economic metrics and don't even believe in economic metrics.
The stock market. Right, right. Well, the stock market now. Now, right. Because before it was all about the unemployment rate, which was great at the hump, the economy was humming along. They also inherited an economy that was already on the up, was already on the up and up. And there were a couple of things that they did that they didn't do any harm, like the tax. And things, that's great. However, it's so much bigger than that, and that's just the stock.
The stock market has zero impact on the mom and pop average Americans that don't own stocks in this country, that are living paycheck to paycheck, who rely on small businesses to survive and things like that. The stock market's great for the rich folks and good for them. And yes, there's lots of people who are in the upper middle class that have the the the fortunate opportunity to have investments in their four one KS and maybe have some stocks here and there.
That's wonderful and good for them. But what about the tens of millions of people who don't have that and don't have access to that? Those are the people who are being impacted the most here. And I just think that they're they're tone deaf to that because they're convincing people that the measure of how well the economy is doing is based off the stock market records when actually that's only good for one segment. That's not good for the people who are the tens of millions of people who are out of jobs right now because of the failed response, the coronavirus.
So it's a it's a red herring.
So let's talk about the economy at large since you since you brought it up, because at the end of July, the unemployment rate was ten point two percent nationwide. And the US Census Bureau's weekly pulse survey showed that thirty five percent of households expected to lose income in July. And a lot of times we use these unemployment numbers as they speak and they become very abstract. So what does this unemployment situation mean for real working Americans on the ground who still have faith in these American aspirations?
Well, they should still have faith in the American dream and aspirations. Like I don't want people to give up on the American dream. Polling has shown over the last several years that people believe that the American dream does not apply to their generation. It's the first time ever that the younger generation doesn't have the same faith in the American dream or think that it applies to them or that it's attainable for them as their parents generation. That makes me very sad.
I don't want to see that because part of what keeps this great nation together is knowing that the that America is that land of opportunity and that you always will have that. And when you start chipping away at those institutional just institutions of of what makes America great. It starts to start to erode, I mean, that's part of what's made the American experiment successful, is that common belief in you can be anything you want to be in this country, regardless of our imperfections, so that it concerns me that people are starting to feel as though the country isn't for them.
And that's where you start to have these breakdowns, these cultural and societal breakdowns. And being able to put those things back together is going to take a lot of work. So the economics of this with the unemployment rate, the unemployment rate can also be deceptive. Most people don't realize, but it doesn't it only applies to people who actually file or who are in the system. It doesn't apply to the people who don't take advantage of the unemployment benefits and things like that, because it's the only way they can measure it.
It doesn't apply more than three months. So it's only for what they call U3 the first three months. And then after that, you most people don't look at that of what the long term unemployment rate is, which is which has been higher. So and it's we're in double digits again. I mean, during when the Great Recession happened in 2008, 2009, that's where we were when the country was was in an absolute panic over I mean, the housing crisis and the Great Recession.
We're at about that level. We were higher than that when when the pandemic first hit. But we're at double digit unemployment. For goodness sakes, folks, this is not OK that we're talking tens of millions of people. There were forty four million people out of work at one point. Yeah, that is incredibly large. It's more people than all of the Great Depression in the 30s. So I don't know that people realize how extensive this is.
Just think of every aspect of our economy has been impacted by the pandemic, whether it's people losing their jobs in corporate America all the way down to the janitors who clean those offices where no one's in them now anymore and they don't need the janitors, they're not in there anymore or the ticket taker at the movie theater, the the vendors. I go down the shore from New Jersey people here, we talk about it all the time and very proud of my home state.
I go down the shore in Jersey as often as I can during the summer. It's my happy place and I can still go there, thank God, because you can socially distance on the beach. But anyway. But down the shore, one of the staples of Davos, you are the airplane guys that fly the banners when you're on the beach, they fly the banners, they advertise the local bars or whatever, whatever, where those guys don't have jobs because nothing's open for people to go to.
So just think of the income that those guys look forward to every summer, to the the flight attendants, to the the vendors in in malls like I mean, every aspect of our lives. People have been impacted by this because we almost came to a stop because it was all about not being able to interact with each other.
The wedding business, funeral service, funeral homes. You know, people used to say that, you know, a great living was running a funeral home because people were always going to die. They're always going to be funerals. Well, guess what? You can't have funerals like that now anymore because people can't come together in groups. It's crazy when you think of the scope of the impact here and all of the small business owners and people who were did not have access to the that the loans that the government tried to help folks out in the big corporations that have people, they pay lawyers and people to fill out the paperwork for them.
But what about the mom and pop hardware store or the convenience store in the corner or the mom and pop cleaning business for your house or the car wash? I mean, a lot of these people, especially minority owned businesses, did not have access to what the government was helping them for because they just didn't know. And now they're losing everything. So the inequity here is just going to expand. We already had a wealth gap in income gap in this country.
It's only going to get worse because there are lots of people that just don't have access to capital or savings or credit to keep their businesses going while this economic slowdown happens. And the government's not doing a damn thing about it right now because they can't because Trump in the White House were too busy worrying about postal service funding as opposed to coming to a compromise to pass further legislation to help the American people like handcuffing the post.
Yes, that's not post office funding, but I mean, actively trying to cheat in this election. Correct. Comes it's as simple as that, folks. That's true. And they got caught in it, by the way.
They got caught in it. But back to the economy. I mean, despite all of this, Mike Pence went on Sean Hannity show just a couple of weeks ago to to tout the number of jobs created in the last three months. And and despite and despite that increase, we still see that the number of jobs available is well below precrisis levels. There have been almost four. A million new jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry in the last three months, but a net loss of over four million jobs in the last six months, we we added almost six hundred fifty thousand professional and business services jobs in the last four months.
But there's still a net loss of one point six million jobs in that sector over six months. So how much of this claim and I know there's a lot of numbers and I think they're trying to use big numbers to their advantage because there's they're easy to confuse. So how much of this claim of job creation is just spin and how much of it is just flat out being out of touch with what's happening in America with American people right now?
Well, I think a lot of it is spin because they have to they don't have anything else to do. But try to take a little bit of good news to say, well, look, we've created four million new jobs, you know, actually create those jobs. Those are jobs that are coming back that people lost. So is that really creating new jobs? Is that expanding the economy? That's some that's bringing some of the jobs that people lost and mass coming back despite their failures.
That's correct. That's correct. And part of that will see this is where this is what a lot of people don't realize. It's part of the sinister plan. Yeah. The reason why this country is in the position it's in with coronavirus is because this administration was singularly focused on trying to get the economy back running again because so that they could have these types of numbers to point to and say, look what we've done, look how good the economy is doing, because that was the only thing keeping them afloat.
The economy was the only issue that Donald Trump was not underwater on. And the economy is a very important aspect. The people vote with their pocketbooks all the time. So that's why that they they this administration was willing to sacrifice lives and willing to push states to reopen when they shouldn't have because they needed to get those jobs back on the books. And it was well, it might cost lives. Well, we don't care. We just need the perception that things are coming back.
Right. You know, make America great again. It's back that actually really applies now. You know, went from Keep America Great. That's out the window now for the Trump folks that that that messaging is gone because you can't keep America.
You can't look around America right now and say, well, this is great. That's exactly right. So this they had enough sense to change to to change course on that. But that's why they pushed to reopen the country sooner than it was then we were supposed to sooner than it was safe to do so that they could say that there was an upturn in the economic outlook and it was because of them. It's so it's so backwards because it's we're in this position because of their failure.
But now they want credit for pushing the country back open again, costing lives. But look, the stock market's doing great and I'm going to go out and golf. Oh, wow. Sorry. One hundred seventy five thousand people are dead and still dying. But but, you know, the unemployment rate's now only 10 percent. This is crazy thing. It's terrible. Now, our kids are the next front line of experiment and sacrifice because because of the impact that has them on middle class and suburban families in areas that they need those votes, they don't care about the cities and the urban vote because they they're not going to get that.
It's in it's in the swing states, in the suburban areas. They need those votes. And they know that it's hard on families if they're if they're going back to work or their kids, they don't have daycare for them or it's not safe for them. So they need to be back in school. That's why they're pushing that. Before it was jobs. Oh, we got open the economy. Now it's all we have to open schools, whether it's safe or not.
I think that that's really despicable. Yeah.
And none of this matters unless you have a place to live, unless you have a home. And one of the other aspects of of of the economy is, is the housing crisis that we're that we're that is about to get much worse. CNBC is reporting that up to 40 million Americans may lose their homes during the current crisis. And that's about four times what we saw during the Great Recession. More than one in five renters were behind on their rent in July.
And many of the eviction moratoriums that were put in place back when the pandemic started have now ended. Now, land of opportunity, land of promise. How much of the ideal of the American dream depends upon first having a roof over your head?
You know a lot. And property rights. And there was a time in this country where you couldn't vote if you didn't own property. The idea of property rights and having access to a place to live and a roof over your head. It was I was one of the cornerstones of the American dream. When you it's just unbelievable to me that this administration didn't recognize how many of their of their people of the base would be impacted by this as well. It's almost as if they completely forgot about the the economic downturn in middle America over the last decade and a half and how a lot of these folks live paycheck to paycheck and how the the jobs that were already leaving those areas before covid-19.
And now we have something like this coming in where the little jobs that were left are gone. Now, where do they think these people are going to get their income from? Where do they who do they think is supposed to help them at this point? You know, I mean, as Republicans, we you know, we don't like the the government coming in and big sweeping government bureaucracies and government oversight and stuff. But there are times when the government is required to step in and do something to help the people with the safety net.
And that's where George Bush's compassionate conservatism came in. That applies. That should apply now more than ever. And there it. The Aspen Institute has done a great job on this, as well as far as resources studying the eviction crisis and as well as the eviction lab at Princeton, they actually have something called the eviction lab at Princeton, which I did not know until I started to pay attention to what was going on and researching the numbers on this.
So for people who are interested in looking into this further, those are two really great resources as well. But in their studies, they found that in twenty sixteen seven evictions were filed every minute in this country.
That's a lot. That was four years ago before this now. And that the average eviction was less than six hundred dollars in debt. Oh my God.
So could you imagine I mean, there are a lot of us who live in areas where six hundred dollars a month wouldn't get you a parking space, you know, so but there are also a lot of people who live out there in other parts of the country where six hundred dollars not being able to pay that could get you evicted from your home or your apartment. That is unimaginable for many folks. And yet that's where we are. And the government is not addressing this.
Affordable housing has been an increasing problem. I mentioned before the wealth gap. Income inequality has been a problem, a growing problem, especially in areas between minorities and middle income and upper income households. It's been a problem and getting worse, it actually it got worse under Obama and has gotten even more even greater under Trump. Part of that is because people don't own their homes and the ones who do own property and then rent them out, they're also impacted by this, too.
It's not it's not just these big corporate companies that rent these big apartment complexes. I mean, there's those people, too. But there's a lot of you know, like I said, mom and pop people who own property and use those properties to rent them out for income or to help pay the mortgage or help pay the property taxes, they're not getting the income from their renters either. So that has a reverberating effect. You're going to see foreclosures go up and bankruptcies go up as a result of this.
So it is impacting people all around and it impacts minorities the most. 80 percent of minorities are the people who are facing eviction. So the people facing eviction are 80 percent minority. For example, in Boston, 70 percent of the evictions there come from minority communities. Milwaukee, black households two times as likely to be evicted. New York City, 70 percent of households that are evicted are run by black females. This has an unbelievable effect on communities of color that this administration does not care about.
And that's that is a travesty as well.
It's a travesty. And we really need to mention, when you think about that with an extra layer of what the vote by mail plans are going to look like and how these are going to be rolled out, it's going to have a really, really negative effect on turnout, especially among minority communities where this this upcoming wave of evictions and and people having to move so that they don't get evicted. They may not receive their their absentee ballot because they'll have just moved.
I mean, this is going to be very disruptive for the vote in in November.
It is. And I think it's an aspect of the eviction crisis that has been under covered. So I'm glad that you brought that up, because when we talk about mail and voting, we just assume that everyone has a residence and there they just get your vote by mail and you just get it to your house. And no, that's not I don't have the right.
If you if you don't even if you are registered to vote at that address and you requested your absentee ballot and then you have to move. Correct. That ballot may not make it to you. And if it does, it may be there may be complications with the validity of it because you've you've moved in, haven't changed your registration address yet. The validation process for mail in ballots can be very technical. And when you're talking about a population of people who are who are systemically disadvantaged by the economy and by the administration's failure to respond to this crisis, the ripple effect, as you mentioned, Tara, is going to play out in the vote as well.
That's absolutely correct. It's another form of voter suppression. Yes. And that it's it's an indirect it's asymmetrical voter suppression. It's very stealthy. Mm hmm. That's right. Which is another reason why what Trump and his minions are doing is that much more sinister by attacking the Postal Service and trying to undermine the operations of the Postal Service as we're coming into the most consequential election in modern history for this country, and one where voting by mail is absolutely imperative for so many constituencies, now's the time you decide to try to dismantle and undermine and disrupt one of the greatest American institutions.
I mean, the Postal Service has been around since Benjamin Franklin, who was our first postmaster general. Just think about that from Benjamin Franklin to this guy, Dejoy, who some Trump donor flunky who doesn't know anything about the Postal Service, who was appointed from the first postmaster general, I think ever appointed outside the Postal Service administration. So it's it's so obvious, you know, they see the quiet part out loud all the time.
All the time.
And now and this is a good example. And I hope this is I mean, a lot of our conversations are heavy, but I want the people listening. I want the listeners to understand that the righteous anger of the American people still makes a difference. Yes. And the impact that that that has had on exposing this plot by Trump and the postal and the postmaster general has been exposed in a way that people were like, wait, what's going on?
And then they saw it and felt it in their own communities with their mail being slowed down and not being able to get access to boxes like boxes being picked up on the back of trucks.
Are you kidding?
Outrageous. I was like, wait a minute. People are I saw the pictures and then I saw the pictures of the locks that were on the on the mailboxes, which was even more cringeworthy to me.
I just felt like that it felt really authoritarian. But you're locking the mailbox so I can't mail like mail. The mail service is just one of those American institutions that I guess you just take for granted. But it's. Really as American as apple pie, for goodness sakes, and you're putting a lock on that, I just saw that as being a microcosm for the authoritarian hand by which Donald Trump tries to rule this country, not government. And the American people said, hell no, of all persuasions in all communities.
And we're starting to see that the poster, the poster postal service has to backtrack on that. And hearings are being held. And it looks as though that that they're not going to be able to do what they said they were going to do before. But but pay attention, though, what they say and what they do, maybe two different things, but at least we've seen some movement in the right direction. And that's thanks to the righteous anger of the American people.
Land of promise, land of opportunity. I'm going to keep repeating it because it is so sinister. Tomorrow marks three months since George Floyds death, which sparked nationwide protests over racial injustice. We've seen continued protesting and activism around the deaths of George Floyd and Brianna Taylor. Throughout the summer, we've seen Trump come out against the movement a few times since the protests started, at least thirty eight Confederate monuments have been removed. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center report, five monuments have been relocated and 16 schools, parks and other locations were renamed.
Trump has been strongly opposed to renaming US military bases that are named after Confederate generals Tara, Land of Promise, Land of Opportunity, who is Trump appealing to with his stance on Confederate bases?
Let's just remind people that the Confederacy was made up of traitors who committed treason against the United States of America. Traitors and treason, that's what the Confederacy was made up of and people who were willing to fight their own countrymen to keep slavery. As the law of the land. That is, in a nutshell, what the Confederacy represented and Donald Trump has been standing up. Defending Confederate heritage as, quote, our American heritage as something to be proud of, something that we that warrants being defended, this is effing insane in 2020.
Talk about setting race relations back decades. I mean, it's obvious who he's who he's playing to here. He's playing to the racism of his constituency of many parts of the south, that unfortunately, those sentiments are still prevalent and apparently in other places that didn't fight and weren't part of the Confederacy, like Michigan, where Confederate flags are showing up at rallies and and things like that. And in places where you're like, wait, what? I didn't I don't remember your family's heritage being the Confederacy.
And even if it were, why are you proud of that? Why are you proud of that? That was a ugly time in American history that has no business being glorified. And I'm actually glad that we're having these conversations so that we can talk frankly about what it really is enough with the romanticizing of the civil war. Let's be honest about what it really is. And that's one of the upsides, I guess, of this conversation, of this national conversation that we're having to face, that being thrust into the spotlight.
Yes. And the fact that that this is now woven into the Donald Trump campaign messaging and and what this presidency and this administration and what Trump ism represents really is illuminating and alarming and something that I think the majority of the American people reject and they need to continue to reject the protests. Again, back to the righteous anger of the American people making a difference. The George Floyd protests have been something that we have not seen since the 60s, and it has really forced particularly white America to have to face the realities of systemic racism that still exist.
Yes, we've made a lot of progress, immense progress. We had a black president, for goodness sakes, elected twice, overwhelmingly. But there are still issues within the systems, within the institutions that have to be addressed. And we're starting to see examples of that and to see white America paying attention to it now and realizing that there is something that we can't sweep it under the rug anymore is encouraging to me. But Donald Trump is trying to play on this nationalist, populist ethnic resentment, this cultural using cultural resentment as a motivating factor and sowing those seeds of discord and watering the seeds of authoritarianism to do it.
That cannot be allowed to continue. We cannot go through four more years of that. I just don't know what the country would look like after after another four years of this. I worry often, which I've worried since 2016, that we could possibly see some type of blood in the streets in a civil war type situation, people taking up arms against their own fellow citizens because Donald Trump is continuing to paint an us versus them people who don't agree with him, not even the not even Republicanism, because he's not Republicanism, just making enemies of people who disagree with you.
Your fellow Americans are evil enemies. There are socialists are going to ruin this country and take your way of life away from you. This has a really radicalizing effect on people, especially when they're almost cultish in their worship of him. And he is using this. You know, there are record numbers of firearms and ammunition being purchased as we speak. There are studies on this. What are people doing with all of this? Is pro Second Amendment as the as the next one?
I mean, not my my husband's a law enforcement officer. I grew up in a law enforcement household. I am all about Second Amendment rights. But what the hell are people doing stocking up on guns and ammunition? Because Donald Trump is creating this environment. He's painting a picture as if you're going to have to take up arms in order to protect your way of life, whatever that means. Yeah. From what people are, you know, the people who are acting like idiots out there that were looting and rioting in certain parts of the city, in the country, in different cities, Portland, etc.
, That's not OK. But that is a small, small fraction of the people who are protesting for racial justice. But they have turned it into this is what's coming. If you if Joe Biden becomes president, this is happening now under under the Trump presidency, you know, trying to scare people into thinking it's going to turn into some we're going to turn to some socialist banana republic under Biden. That's happening already, folks under Donald Trump.
So this is oh, this is what's going to happen if you know. This is what's happening now. That's right, Trump's America. That's what you're seeing. You know, one of the most iconic images of these protesters is actually not the protests themselves, but Trump standing in front of St. John's Church holding a Bible right before that photo was taken. Park police, of course, used pepper spray and smoke canisters to clear protests from Lafayette Park right outside the White House.
So when we think of the land of promise and the land of opportunity, what do you think it says about how Trump feels about this moment of cultural reckoning around race?
It tells me that this is something else that he doesn't give a damn about.
It's it's never been an area that he has been on the forefront of or cared about or been sufficiently educated about in his entire career as a businessman has been plagued with with racial undertones. I mean, his first cover story ever in the news media in the 70s was the Department of Justice housing discrimination lawsuit brought against him and his father, the Trump Organization, because they would not rent apartments in the 70s to black and brown people. And they had to settle because it was so obvious what they were doing.
But but Trump fought back, which is what he does, tripled down on it and. Came up with a settlement, but without admitting guilt, it was ridiculous, but that was the predicate for his business acumen throughout the rest of his career. I mean, they would he was sued by black dealers in his casinos in Atlantic City because of workplace discrimination, saying that they didn't certain certain high rollers in Atlantic City didn't want to see black dealers on the floor because they were bad luck or whatever.
And Trump was OK with removing them. The Central Park five taking out full pay that full page ads in the New York papers in the 80s when the Central Park five happened calling for the death penalty of these teenagers who were ultimately exonerated. They were DNA evidence years later proved that it was not them who raped that woman in Central Park. Donald Trump has never apologized for that and still says that he questions whether they were guilty or not. DNA evidence proved they were innocent.
And the state of New York had to pay tens of millions of dollars to these poor five men who lost years of their lives in prison unjustly accused. Donald Trump has made comments disparagingly about minorities his entire career and still does still does, you know, black black NBA players in the NBA when they speak out, they are dumb black players who kneel for the racial justice. However you feel about that act or not kneeling during the national anthem. But their sons of bitches, though, that to Donald Trump, you know.
But but but white people who go and show up with guns and scream in the faces of legislators and law enforcement in state capitals. That's OK. Or who string up people in effigy at Trump rallies or at least that's OK. You know, Charlottesville is very fine people on both sides. The anniversary was just the other. That's right. That's right. He can't condemn Kuhnen conspiracy theorist lunatics. He can't condemn our enemies like Putin, who's taking out Russian bounties on our American soldiers and all the other disruptions into our elections and around the world.
The Chinese, who are turning millions of wiggers and taking stances against people who are protesting for democracy in Hong Kong, those all of those things, he can't speak out against that. But but but black players who kneel because if for racial justice, they're sons of bitches. I mean, Donald Trump's record on racial issues is clear. He doesn't care. And that display on June 1st in Lafayette Square. I watched that in real time, in absolute horror.
And I literally cried tears watching that during this this week during the convention as part of another organization called Stand Up for Public. And we're putting on something called the Convention on Founding Principles, kind of as a counter convention to what's going on at the RNC of people who are principled conservatives, who want to remind the American people what actual conservatism is and what that promise of America really is outside of Trump ism. And in my speech, I actually focus on the principle of free speech and free press has being guaranteed by the Constitution and that it's essential to the accountability of government and that we should condemn any type of authoritarian efforts at impeding the ability of the free press or of people to speak freely under our First Amendment guaranteed rights.
And I use that example of the Lafayette Square incident as something that was so upsetting to me as an American and so against everything that this country has stood for since the Revolutionary War, that it made me feel with every every flash grenade, every baton strike. I just felt the anguish of those who came before us, who fought for our rights to do that, just being ripped away. And I said, this cannot be the future of our country.
Land of promise, land of opportunity. Before we go, I want to end on a hopeful note. I'd like you to talk a little bit about how you think we recover America as a land of promise or a land of opportunity. Well, it starts by removing Donald Trump from office. And purging. This country of Trump ism. Because. As long as that. Is in power. We're going to have a problem. And to Joe Biden's credit during his speech at the R at the DNC, where he talked about that we need to be the light and that light over darkness, that comparison was really very true because there are just some dark forces that have overtaken American politics as Donald Trump has risen to power that we have got to beat back.
And if we don't, with the dire warning of Barack Obama during his speech, which was really powerful and I'm not someone who agrees with much of Barack Obama's policies or worldview. But I'll tell you what I agreed with that speech was a powerful speech. Unbelievable, especially coming from a former president. It's unprecedented. And his warnings about. How our democracy is literally hanging in the balance here. And that's true, but I think that Joe Biden and regardless of, like I said, petty policy squabbles, the the the message coming from Joe Biden of of hope over despair, light over darkness, love over hate and unity is one, I think that.
Is a ways, a great foundation for trying to heal from this national nightmare, but the American people have to make sure that through hell or high water that they vote, they do not let this administration get away with the schemes that they're putting in place to try to suppress votes no matter where you are. Pay close attention to what's happening and make sure because we still have the right to vote. We still have the ability for a peaceful transfer of power as long as the American people do not let Trump get away with it, you're going to have those people, the 30, 35 percent, no matter what he does, he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and they won't care.
They'll still they'll still support him. But those other folks in the middle who will have to make a difference, they have to it is just morally impermissible to be in between during this election. And I still feel that the that the the goodness, the promise of America will outweigh this national nightmare that we're living through with Donald Trump. It will be repudiated in November, but it's what everyone has to be involved, has to be involved. Thank you for coming on the show and thanks to all of you at home for listening.
You can find more information about our movement at Lincoln Project US if you have advice or questions about the podcast. You can email us a podcast link and project on us. And please know that even if we don't respond, we read every email we get and we appreciate hearing from you. If you haven't yet, make sure you subscribe to us wherever you get your podcasts and rate and reviews, because this helps us stay up in the rankings so that more voters can find the show and join our movement to defeat Trump.
And Trump is for the Lincoln Project. I'm Ronstadt's love. I'll see you in the next episode.