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Welcome back to Republicans defeating Trump. I'm your host runs Tussler. In this episode, I sit down with Tara Suttmeier, a former Republican communications director and conservative political commentator, to talk about race and the Republican Party. Tara and I spoke about a week after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis and the protests that played out on national television. We get into that later in the episode. First, we talk about how the Republican Party went from being the party of Abraham Lincoln to what it is today.


We dive into how a political decision to win voters in the South shaped the evolution of the Republican Party. I also asked her about institutionalized racism, the re-emergence of the Confederate flag and why these issues are important for conservative voters to understand. Can you just start by explaining to folks why you're a conservative in the first place?


It wasn't an environment that I necessarily grew up in from the beginning. My mom was a single parent. She had me at twenty one. You know, this is nineteen seventy five. So you're coming out of the civil rights era and hippies and the women's movement and Roe v. Wade and everyone was very power to the people, which didn't seem to fit with what we would define as the conservatism conservative movement. But my mom in that capacity, we grew up in in North Jersey, 15 minutes outside New York City, which is a very diverse area.


And so my mom didn't really she was in show business. And so she was around lots of different cultures and people, you know, I'm biracial. So my mom is white. She's German and Italian. And my father was actually from Guatemala.


And, you know, she over the years as a single parent, bringing up a child like me, she realized that she didn't agree with the progressive idea of identity politics and kind of playing off of victimization all the time. She looked at it like, wait a minute, you know, my daughter is never going to be anybody's victim because she's a woman of color like, no. And so she brought me up that way to be very independent, not to look at myself as lesser than or I'm in a different category than other people.


So I never saw myself like that. As the years went on, my mom realized and this is the 80s, so it's the era of Reagan. My mom realized that she actually was I was much closer to the conservative Republican point of view as a world view, independence, individual freedom, respecting military and military strength, you know, opportunity, you know, creating opportunity, not having the government come in and give you handouts. And kind of like the the basic tenants of the differences between Republicans and Democrats role of government and the role of of individual freedom.


And so it's kind of funny because talk radio had a lot of influence in shaping our world view, because we realize that we felt this way about things, but we didn't really put it into a political category until talk radio became influential in my mom's life in New Jersey, we listen to Bob Grant, who predated Rush Limbaugh. And Rush Limbaugh was also influential for me when I was in high school going into college. And I look back now and I'm like, good lord, how far have we come with this?


But as far as kind of recognizing what conservatism was, the basic premise for it all, it was really about individual empowerment and and the importance of focusing on providing ladders of opportunity like Jack Kemp used to say, as opposed to guaranteeing outcomes. You're the government's never going to be able to do that. So that's kind of the genesis of where being a conservative came from over the years. And then it just made sense to me because that was the way we lived our lives.


What is different about the reasons that led you to become a conservative in the first place versus the image of the Republican Party now and the substance of the Republican Party now? I mean, how have things changed? There's there's a history of the Republican Party that I think a lot of people aren't aware of. The party that was launched into success by Abraham Lincoln at his Cooper Union speech, his famous right makes my speech in which he sort of meticulously lays out the case to a thousand or so Republicans.


Not just that slavery was wrong, they already agreed with him, but that it was morally imperative for them to do something about it. And that speech famously catapulted him and the Republican Party into victory. That was the birth of the modern Republican Party. How did we get from there to here?


So, you know, you often hear when we have these conversations when you see that black Americans vote overwhelmingly for the Democratic Party. Right. And Republicans go, I don't understand this. Black folks were like 90 percent pro-Republican. Back in the day and now it's the opposite, right, it's like the inverse, how did that happen? Well, this is how that happened. When the civil rights movement was going on, there were the Dixiecrats and the folks in the South who were very pro Jim Crow.


They were not happy with civil rights and actively fought against it. The Bull Connors and George Wallace's and those folks, including Strom Thurmond, who was a Dixiecrat, and then he became a Republican and apologized later on for for that. But but even look at Robert Byrd, who was in the KKK, for goodness sakes. It was a long time, Senator, where very well respected by lots of folks because he was also from West Virginia. He also apologized for his transgressions and that then evolved and OK.


But during those that time period, those racists in the south needed somewhere to go and the Republican Party decided that they would for political power, they would employ something called the Southern Strategy, which was to basically placate these racists under the guise of states rights. These are people who opposed the civil rights laws, opposed the Voting Rights Act because they saw it as an overreach of the republic, the federal government, into states rights. But that was really code for trying to maintain these oppressive, unconstitutional Jim Crow laws that separated African-Americans from white America.


And the Republicans kind of made a deal with the devil here by doing that, because they saw that they needed the numbers because the South didn't used to be dominated by by Republicans. It was Democrats that changed. And if you look at the the playbook for the Southern Strategy and what Nixon used in nineteen sixty eight, he saw they capitalized the whole law and order stuff that we hear now coming out of Trump, which is eerily reminiscent. And Lee Atwater was considered to be a genius political strategist for Republicans.


And I guess depending on how you look at it, you could say that that's true because look at the stronghold that Republicans ended up getting in the South.


And those numbers, it was because they realized they would never win a national election again, that the electoral math sort of didn't add up. It wouldn't work. That's right.


And oftentimes when I would debate my progressive friends on college campuses about this, because they always throw that in our faces as Republicans, I have a Southern strategy. What do you expect? You're you know, you're the party of racists. And I would come back with that and say, you know what? That was a very cynical way. A power grab, a political power grab. I don't think that it was necessarily that Republicans are racist against black people.


So now we're going to coddle the racists and maybe the party and racists. They saw it as a numbers game. This is pure politics. Like you said, Republicans were like, look, we're going to have to shift strategy or some somehow because we'll never win another national election if we don't have this block in the South. And unfortunately, by doing that, they ceded the moral high ground on issues of race. They decided that as a party, we're just kind of going to not acknowledge the history of this and overlook it because we're the party of Lincoln.


We freed the slaves. You know, it was Republicans in the Senate that helped pass the Civil Rights Act. And that's all true. But you cannot for decades expect a large electorate of black voters to just turn away, because what that meant was that the Republican Party was turning a blind eye to the absolute oppression that those racist policies foisted on people of color in this country. And without that acknowledgement, if you're a person of color and you have a choice between Democrats who are saying, hey, we're going to help you with programs, we recognize the racial inequities and this is what we're going to do to help you to make up for that versus a party who's like, what are you talking about?


We passed a law for you. What do you do to be happy? Let's move on. You know, those things don't just go away. There's residual impacts from this that the Republicans some acknowledge. Now, I'm not going to see the whole party didn't. Some did. I mean, Nixon affirmative action started under Richard Nixon. These kinds of things were they recognize that there had to be some types of policies put in place to try to right these wrongs.


And that's great. But that underline that ugly underbelly was still there and no one wanted to touch it, because if they did, they knew that it would hurt their political their political power. And that's carried on. And we see we see, Dex, over the decades. Now, black folks are like, you don't welcome us. Why would we be why would we want to be involved in that? And then there is a there's an argument about whose policies are better, whose policies overall are better.


And I happen to believe that it's conservative policies, but it's difficult to get that message across to people who think that the party you represent doesn't welcome them.


And it's quite sinister, isn't it, for the Republican Party to hide behind the mantle of the. The party of Lincoln almost as a front for the electoral strategies that they developed for the last 40, 50 years, sure, that's the that's their veil of moral conscience, right? Well, we're the party of Lincoln, though. We freed the slaves. Like, that's like they always default back to that. And that's not good enough. You have to acknowledge the reality going on in the world and how it impacts, you know, an entire group of people in this country uniquely.


And that is something that has been a challenge for all of the years that I've been involved in Republican politics. I recognize that there really is a certain amount of obstinance in accepting the responsibility for this. Well, you know, my family wasn't racist. We didn't have slaves. Like, why are you blaming us? And and that's all true. I mean, my family I didn't grow up with with Southern ancestors who were in slavery. You know, my my family history is completely different.


My great grandparents came through Ellis Island, my German and Italian great grandparents there they were Europe, Western European immigrants, my father's family. They escaped the communist revolution in Guatemala in the 50s. So my family history doesn't go back to that, go back to the racial original sin of slavery in this country. But a lot of other people, that is their history. And you have to and whether you're responsible for it or not, you need to understand that that is part of the American experiment, has this original stain and sin of slavery and oppressing an entire group of people, not only people of color, but also the poor Native Americans, too.


They did all they get left that is left out of this.


It's woven into the fabric of society. It's in us.


Yeah, it is. Now, not to say that we have to constantly be like, you know, we're a racist society and and it's, you know, everything's about a revolution all the time. But it's because we still live in the greatest country in the world. We still have the greatest freedoms in the world and the promise of the of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and that all men are created equal and our inalienable rights and the beautiful words of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and those things still uniquely American.


And even though we've had to fight for it, we've had to make some adjustments because it wasn't always applied equally. But there are enough good people in this country over the history who have said enough is enough. Right. The arc of history bends towards justice, which is what Martin Luther King said. And I believe that because we've come a long way, but we're not finished clearly.


Did you watch Trevor Noah's video? So I actually did not.


It's been a little busy and I've met you before this interview, but I apologize to Trevor Noah.


Video was about breaking the social contract. And as as you just described, the principles that are uniquely American that we hold high, that we trust to be guaranteed for everyone, and we're seeing now that they're not. In his video, he cites Malcolm Gladwell book David and Goliath, about the three things that a social contract requires. And one of those is that we have to agree on the principles first. The second is that we have to believe that that the people enforcing those principles will be fair.


And the third is that we have to believe everyone in society is going to abide by and be treated fairly according to those principles. So it strikes me that right now a lot of people are wrestling with the reality that one of the core principles in America, the idea that everyone, every human being is entitled to equal justice under the law is not guaranteed.


How do you how do you approach that? How how should white America approach that? How should Republicans approach that? How should everyone who is looking at this moment wondering what to do to begin to wrestle with that?


I think we first need to make sure that people understand history. You know, I think there's a lot of of people who just don't really understand the history of this. This this these feelings didn't just bubble up out of nowhere. This is decades and decades upon decades of injustices that have not been fully addressed, that come from a historical context that I think a lot of people are just either don't want to face because it's uncomfortable or they're just purely ignorant about it.


They just don't get it. Well, what do you mean? You know, Barack Obama was president for two two terms. You know, American racism is over in America. We got a black president and it's bigger than that, right? It is bigger than that. And and even for myself, I underestimated how much of a problem this actually is because of the environment that I grew up in culturally. I didn't grow up in in an environment where race was it was a big issue.


The last few years have been eye opening for me even. And I think with the election of Donald Trump, you know, even after I mean, the election of Barack Obama was certainly a high. For race relations in this country, in that it showed we could elect a president nationally who was of color huge, that it also started to highlight the people who were not comfortable with it and why some of the things that Barack Obama went through as a black man and Donald Trump was one of the biggest purveyors of that with the whole birther idea that he's another he's from Kenya and, you know, he doesn't belong.


He'll never be one of us kind of things. That was a really ugly, racially charged attempt to delegitimize Barack Obama. Now, I didn't agree with almost anything Barack Obama believed in politically at all. I'm a conservative. I'm not a progressive. I didn't agree with a lot of things and wasn't afraid to criticize him. I didn't vote for him either. I didn't care whether it was historic or not. In that case, I was like, that's wonderful.


But I'm sorry. I don't agree with him. So but I have a lot of black Republican friends who didn't care that the symbolism of that, the history behind it was more important to them. That's fine. I'm not going to judge them for that. But you see, I started to see this bubbling up in this this racial resentment bubbling up in the Republican Party around then with the election of Barack Obama. And I was like, hmm. This is interesting.


And then it's progressively gotten worse. And then there's the other side of the Republicans who looked at this like with the autopsy, like after they lost in 2008, then after Mitt Romney lost in 2012.


The autopsy, for everyone who's wondering, is a report that the Republican National Committee commissioned after they lost the presidential election in 2012, which famously recommended that the party do significant outreach to minority communities because they knew that they were losing support and completely alienating those those populations.


That's right. Now, this was something that folks like me recognized 20 years ago, and it was really difficult to break through with the party on a national level, the need to invest in establishing relationships in Democratic strongholds with minority communities. It was unbelievable, very frustrating because I'm like, hello, Jack Kemp. That's all I'm going to say. For people who don't know. Jack Kemp was the HUD secretary under Bush 41 and he was a football player.


And so he had a little street cred when it came to black communities from his football days.


And but he was he was really adamant about the importance of establishing relationships because you don't have trust if you're not there. And he understood that the Republican Party was behind the eight ball for a while now, be coming out of the Southern Strategy. And this is the late 80s, now early 90s. And he was like, yeah, this is not a good thing. We've got to reestablish some trust here. And I'm going to make sure that I can embody what our conservative principles are in policy and show folks that, look, we're not your enemy.


We are welcoming. And here are ways that we think we can empower you as individuals in your communities to access the American dream that's guaranteed to all of us wealth creation, ownership, creating ladders of opportunity, not guaranteeing outcomes. That's socialism. That doesn't work. We're all unique individuals. And so let's let's apply that and help people in these in these underprivileged communities get a leg up because they have been shut out of the American dream and a lot of ways because of the the institutional racism that went on in this country for so long.


Jack Kemp was very successful at that. There was a whole new outlook on the possibility of the black population saying, well, maybe we can do this Republican thing.


Maybe it's not so bad that went out the window. You know, the Republican Party did not sustain that relationship building that Jack Kemp started because they now in the 90s, you had Republicans take over Congress for the first time in 40 years. And it was just a big ol oh, my God. Now we have a laundry list of all the Republican things. We want to get past the Contract with America. And that was the focus. We're like, yeah, we're not going to focus on this.


A couple of percentage points of black folks over there, they're probably going to vote for us in large numbers. We need the other people who are going to vote for us in large numbers, but that's what we're going to focus on. And it fell by the wayside. And you started to lose the the relationship because Republicans were not showing up. And for 20 years, I'd been trying to say, you have to show up. But there was no there was no investment being made in from a national party level in doing this.


Instead, it became pandering, just became a numbers game, or will go into a couple urban neighborhoods in Ohio and swing states and Philly and Ohio and Florida. Six weeks before an election, we'll have a fish fry or something that they think that black folks do. Right. And and say, hey, we're the party of Lincoln, we free the slaves, so you should really vote for us. What have Democrats done for you? Nothing. So we're better than black voters who like the hell out of here.


And it was terribly frustrating to watch.


And you still see that. You still see it happening. They think, you know, what the hell do you have to lose?


Donald Trump's pandering and bigoted, very stereotypical approach, to quote the blacks is unbelievably insulting and sets us back decades because he just proves the point that you have this element in the Republican Party who looks at people of color as others. Thus those People magazine loves the blacks. Oh, so you're saying that Madea doesn't include people of color? I mean, it's unbelievable.


You mentioned institutionalized racism, and that's an abstract term that a lot of people understand. But it's also something a lot of people don't understand because they haven't experienced it. Can you help make that real for someone who who doesn't who could never possibly understand what it feels like to be on the receiving end of institutionalized racism?


Yeah, I mean, it's easy to explain because there's so many concrete examples over time where you can say or we could point to it. But institutionalized racism is really just racist practices in institutions, whether it's housing, banking, employment, health care, you know, institutions where there are racial inequities. And those are the those inequities over time kind of get baked in and put people of color at a disadvantage in institutions that are important to American society and being successful and having a living, a prosperous life in America and having equal access to things.


So, for example, housing and banking, I want to put those together because they're they're related. Same thing with wealth creation. White people in America have no idea what it's like to walk into a bank and be dismissed outright because you're considered a risk, a high risk for a loan simply because you're a person of color that happened for decades in this country. There's a really good movie called The Banker, based on a real truth to a true story of black bankers in Los Angeles who had to use a white guy as a front in order to get into the banking industry because they were there was no opportunity to do that at the time because of institutionalized racism.


It's a fantastic movie. I didn't even know about that story, to be honest. And watching it, it was infuriating because you can't imagine that necessarily. Now, you know, if you're well off, you have good credit. You went to college, you want to go and get a loan to get a mortgage or start a business. OK, you can do that. Now, there's still places where that's a difficult and what happens with different rates being said and redlining and different things like that.


But thinking about like you would actually have to get someone that's white to be the face of your organization in order to even have a chance at being in the banking industry or buying or getting mortgages to buy houses or start businesses, because that's where wealth creation starts. Most white Americans did not have that hurdle to to do that because you had access to capital that is institutionalized racism or the fact that the rates are different subprime mortgages. I mean, OK, we understand that there's certain credit risks if you don't have enough collateral, blah, blah, blah.


But that all stems from wealth creation being stolen and taken away from people of color for so many years because of Jim Crow and just because of inequities in there weren't guaranteed rights for people of color to get these things. So you wonder why there's so many people of color who who are living in poverty. Why the wealth gap? The wealth gap is so, so vast. That's why. So people need to understand the history behind this and fix it.


And there have been efforts to fix it. That's why you have the Fair Housing Act. That's why you have these things where you can no longer discriminate based on race, religion, color, creed. Because the reason why we have those laws is because that's what happened for decades.


The reason why we had to protect it, you know, so that's that's a big example. I mean, Donald Trump, it was very much involved in that type of institutionalized racism with housing, with the housing discrimination lawsuits against his his company and his father's company in the 70s, denying apartments to people of color. They had codes because they didn't want those people living in the apartments. That is institutionalized racism. So that still happens sometimes in places a little more subtly because there's laws against it now.


But that happens. That's what institutional racism looks like at that level. There's other examples, but I think that one's the most relatable that people can can point you to. Oh. Is there an example that maybe of the first time you recognize this, I don't know how old you might have been, but when you first started to realize the the very deep dynamic at play in society, because you're biracial, your mom's white, your dad's black, when did you first experience this?


And and then when did you have a name for it?


For me, I think I've been really fortunate that I have not come across this as blatantly as some of my other black friends. I am blessed to have been, you know, to have been exposed to a multicultural environment in New Jersey that didn't really lend itself to that dynamic, that it didn't exist. But for me, it wasn't as stark as it as it was, let's say, for my husband, who is he's black and he's following federal law enforcement officer.


And I could use his example for institutional racism. Did I experience some racist incidents? And there's a difference. There's like specific incidents of racism where someone calls you the N-word or makes a comment. That's an individual act of racism, the institutional racism. Part of it is the more broad practice that has larger implications inside a system housing, health care, education, employment. You know, when they have they've done studies where you have more ethnic names on an application with no picture vs.


with with the same credentials as a, you know, a typical white name. And those those get cast aside, you know, the ethnic names. That's institutional racism, because you automatically assume some kind of inferiority because they don't have a name like Brad. That's institutional racism. Those things never happen to me directly, really. And I'm blessed for that. But for my husband getting into federal law enforcement, we had this conversation and he told me that the first time that he really experienced it was when he was passed over for promotions.


And the agency that he works for had lawsuits brought by black officers over this. It was a big settlement. And he was like, now, you know, really, it's this kind of stuff still goes on. It does. And it happened to him where less qualified, less experienced white officers were promoted over him. Why? There's a good ol boy network. And even with the, you know, the blue line of brotherhood in law enforcement, there's still a racial component oftentimes in these establishments that you don't want to believe is still there, but it does exist not everywhere.


But that that is real for people of color or when he would go to assignment's in the South, because I think there's also a whole different dynamic in the south versus the north, different types of racial dynamics when the first time he grew up in Brooklyn. So my husband and I were we're northerners, we're Yankees.


But the first time he ever went to on an assignment in the South, he's just felt you could just feel that they looked at him like he felt that he wasn't welcome. And he actually had someone from another agency in the south saying to him, how did you get this job?


And he was like, What? What what do you mean, how do I get this job? You know, like they let you people. That's crazy.


So, yeah, that there's there are experiences like that for me. There were a couple a couple that that are that stand out. I was called I was called the N-word when I was about six. My friend and I were playing in the park and in the neighborhood I grew up in. There really were no black people. I was like the only one in my entire elementary school. But we were diverse in other ways. We had people from Southeast Asia.


We had, you know, we had a lot of Koreans and, you know, Indian. And, you know, it was like it was diverse like that. But we didn't have there really weren't any black people in my in my town. But I never saw myself as a different. So it was not a factor. And my mom didn't she didn't raise me to feel that way either. So it really was not a factor. But then I got the kid the neighborhood called me the N-word in front of my little best friend.


His name was David. And my then he, even at six, knew that that word was not OK. And I'll never forget it. He shoved that kid under the under the slide and he banged his head and told him, you know, how dare you. We were six, you know. And I was like, wow.


And I went home and told my mom and she was just like, you know, there are just some people who are ignorant. And that's, you know, don't don't don't let that define you. Coincidentally, years later, when we were in high school, that same kid had this crush on me in high school and did not remember that incident until I reminded him that, oh, you know, you have a crush on me. Now, do you remember when you were six years old?


See, that's taught that's that that ignorance is taught. You didn't even know. So that was one that stood out where the first time I was like, wait, what is happening? Another instance where this is kind of one of those things where you just don't sometimes people white when America does doesn't realize the impact of certain things. So I was in elementary school and, I don't know, maybe third or fourth grade and our music teacher was out.


So we had a substitute teacher and it was Black History Month.


So I remember like I said, I am the only black in the whole school.


The substitute teacher decides that she's going to teach us a song. And also, of course, we're all like, yay! So then she teaches us a song and said, we're the lyrics are me and my wife. We pick a bale of cotton, me and my wife. We pick a bale a day. We'll pick a bale cotton. Oh, man. Pick a bale a day. OK, and she taught us a dance. There was little choreography that went with it and all the little kids were like eight year olds.


We're like, yeah, we're having a great time.


This is these are something called spirituals and this is what black people would sing. So let's learn this. I go home and my mom's like, how was school today? I said, Mom, we learned this song and I did it.


I jump down, turn around, pick a bale cotton dump. My mom was horrified.


She said, Tara, who who taught you that? I put all our, you know, our music teacher.


We had a substitute teacher today. What was her name?


My mom called that school and said, Are people crazy? You think that black slaves were just thrilled that they were enslaved and picking cotton as you know, property. This is what you're teaching our kids.


Don't you don't whitewash this history and making you think that everything's OK.


My mom left out rightfully so. Was that woman racist? No, she was just culturally ignorant.


And that happens a lot.


It happens a lot, there's racism and there's just cultural ignorance, too, where people just don't, you know, that while they were happy Negroes, I guess you know that that was an interesting world where my mom literally had to explain to me history that I wasn't aware of yet at eight or nine, you know, we hadn't really gotten to that part yet. And I was like, oh, well, that makes sense.


So this is a perfect segue way. I want to switch gears a little bit, but you mentioned the ignorance and the perniciousness of it when it comes to America's racial history. The Lincoln Project just released an ad called Flag of Treason. It was several days ago now. And what has happened since then, I don't think anybody could have predicted. But when you just told the story about ignorance and a complete whitewashing of our history and this ad is about the Confederate flag, and I think for a lot of Americans, a lot of Americans, they've been told that the Confederate flag is a symbol of heritage.


They understand that it was flown in the civil war by the south, but they don't really understand the baggage it carries. And you see that because of all the controversy over taking down the statues from the Civil War era of Confederate heroes, this flag needs to be talked about.


You you helped make this happen. Can you unpack why it's so significant in the moment that we're in and what Republican voters need to understand?


Yeah, the Confederate flag symbol reemerging with such frequency that Trump rallies and protests where Trump supporters are for whatever it is they're protesting that day.


And you see when we saw the protests in Michigan right. To reopen and all of this or Second Amendment rallies and you saw Confederate flags being hung in Michigan, the flown in Michigan. What, Michigan wasn't in the Confederacy. What the hell are Confederate flags doing there? It's a very strange and alarming phenomenon that I think could not go ignored anymore. So when I found out that that the Lincoln Project ad geniuses were coming up with this and they asked me to give my thoughts on things that kind of put it together all together, I was like, I'm glad that we're finally confronting this because there is no greater symbol of racial oppression and treason than the Confederate freaking flag.


If we were to focus grouped the Confederate flag outside of the South.


I think that the first words, you know, survey says racism. You know, survey says slavery, the civil war. You know, people that's what people associate that the Confederate flag with because it's true. If you go back and you read even like with Lincoln, just use Lincoln as an example. Lincoln despised what that flag represented and was very you know, the union officers would go one of the first things they would do when they would, you know, win a battle and they would snatch that flag down and replace it with the union flag because they let people know that this is a symbol of equality and freedom and what the United States is supposed to represent, not what that flag is, which is treason, breaking away from us and maintaining wanting to maintain a system of oppression and division of slaves.


So, you know, there was a there was a rallying cry in the union army with Ellingsworth, who was one of a union officer who in a raid in Alexandria, Virginia, actually went in. And one of the first things he did was snatch this flag off a building. And he came back downstairs with it and was shot dead by I think it was a hotel who shot dead by the hotel keeper, who was obviously a Confederate person.


But he was what Emsworth was. Elsworth was considered a hero at that point because he risked his life to make sure that that flag came down and union soldiers used for Elsworth. That was like that was the thing, because they recognized that that was a symbol of oppression. Why are people still flying this flag with pride?


And why hasn't Donald Trump denounced it? Condemned it, right. Well, because Donald Trump is you know, the reason why you silence is complicity, number one. Number two, I think that because of Donald Trump's own bigotry and racist history, I think he relates to it.


He thinks that people of color are lesser than he. He believes in that white power structure, that white supremacy, that nationalist viewpoint, that there are those those people, the blacks, the whomever. That's how that's who Donald Trump is.


His entire career is riddled with examples of housing discrimination lawsuits, employment lawsuits, comments that he's made, you know, books written by Michael Cohen, his he's his right hand guy for years, talked about the way how disparaging Donald Trump was of people of color.


It's well known. So he thinks he's he's in league with these people because if he wasn't, he would call them out the way Ronald Reagan did, the way Bill Buckley did. You know, I mean, Bill Buckley had. Issues in the beginning, Bill Buckley being a conservative stalwart and hero and I respect a lot of his writings, are very influential for me. But in the beginning, he was on the wrong side of racial history and he had an epiphany and realized he was wrong and that it was that kind of pope, that type of racism in the states rights issues really was not consistent with overall conservatism, with empowering the individual.


Those folks said, now, we don't have any room for this. When David Duke tried to endorse George H.W. Bush when he was running for president and then decided he was going to when Bush was and when David Duke was running for Senate in Louisiana, George Bush was like, we we condemn this.


We don't have any room for this kind of racism. David Duke was a Klansman. That kind of stuff needed to happen, but Donald Trump did not. When he was asked about the endorsement from David Duke during the election, he said, who? I don't know who that is, B.S., you know exactly who that is. And you know exactly the constituency that represents Andrew Gillum. When he ran for governor in Florida in twenty eighteen, he said to Rhonda Santurce, Well, the race you may not think you're racist, but the racists think you're a racist.


So what does that tell you? If racist people feel as though they have something in common with you to support you, you need to think about, well, holy cow, what am I doing to give that impression? Either end that or you're OK with it. Clearly, Donald Trump is OK with it, so we need to call that out. Enough is enough. And the Lincoln Project made that decision to call this out, which was frankly, I think unprecedented because I can't remember in history other than Nikki Haley taking the step of taking the Confederate flag down in South Carolina.


That was considered to be monumental because of all of the decades that Republicans have, you know, pandered to these people. But I can't think of a time when Republican consultants or a group like this has directly called out this romanticizing of the Confederate flag and calling it for what it is, because that was political suicide for for a lot of folks in the South. So I commend the Lincoln Project for doing this. But Donald Trump has unearthed a certain amount of overt racism that I think many of us underestimated still existed in this country.


And we have got to call it out for what it is. It is a time for choosing.


Do you want Donald Trump's America, which is racially divided, which is xenophobic, which otherwise is anyone who's different, who focuses on nationalism as some sort of perverted patriotism, which it's not? Or do you want the American promise that was guaranteed to us under the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence and under the words of Lincoln and others in history, it is morally permissible at this point to be in between. So when we see the Confederate flag flying at Trump rallies and and protests and things, there's an immediate, visceral reaction because people understand what that means.


It doesn't it doesn't mean Southern pride, OK? They lost. It means you are willing to accept that there were people in your bloodline or your heritage that were OK with committing treason against the United States in order to keep slavery. This was not just about property rights. And, you know, OK, so let's dispense with that notion that that's what this was about. And there was a whole cottage industry to try to whitewash that history, why they lost and what that flag represented from the Jefferson Davis.


Every time you see a Jefferson Davis Highway, know that those were people years later trying to glorify traitors in the Confederacy, as somehow they were war heroes. No use taking down of of civil of Confederate generals and statues. I don't think we should completely get rid of them. I think they should go to museums because we need to have those conversations. You don't want to just erase history, but those are symbols of pain and oppression for a lot of folks.


And I'm glad to see that there is a movement now recognizing it. They just took one down in Alexandria, which is right outside of D.C. So that's good. But but I can tell you that even for me, we're growing up in New Jersey. I never saw freaking Confederate flag. Nobody was waving Confederate flags. I mean, you know, even I look back now, even as a kid, The Dukes of Hazzard was like my favorite show when I was a kid.


There was no sense of, like, holy cow. This is glorifying not only the Confederate flag on the car, but the car was called general way, you know?


I mean, you would never get away with that now because there was a certain acceptance of this will.


Oh, it's just those are just the folks in Kentucky or whatever Hazzard County was, you know, but even modern day.


I was on my way to Charlottesville to give a speech at the youth at the University of Virginia. And my mom was with me. We're driving down ninety five south, about forty five miles or so outside of Washington, and there is a huge Confederate flag that is flying. Right off of ninety five, we're talking less than an hour outside of Washington, D.C., I'm one of those like, you know, at car dealerships where they have a big American flag.


Yeah, except this one was a Confederate flag. And my mom, who is sixty four, was like, holy shit.


Like she literally looked like out loud, like I've never seen a Confederate flag like that. And I said, this is two thousand. This was in the fall. Two thousand nineteen. Can you believe it. These people feel empowered. They're emboldened by. My husband and I were at a Chick fil A a couple of weeks ago and there was a pickup truck in the Chick fil A parking lot with the Confederate flag all over the back bumper next to his Trump Magga stickers, of course.


And I took a picture of this and I was thinking, oh, my God, how uncomfortable like you are just basically advertising that you didn't care about the enslavement of black folks.


You're proud of this history. It's uncomfortable, but they're emboldened.


They are emboldened by the Donald Trump presidency because they find aid and comfort in him because of his racial rhetoric and the things that he says that caters right to that. And we have to call that out. That's insane. One last story about the Confederate flag. First time I ever saw it was when I went to Mississippi, when I was 19 years old, I was in college visiting a friend of mine who was in the Air Force, and I was traveling with a white college student friend of mine.


We were both college Republicans at the time and we went to Gulfport, Mississippi. This was my first foray into the Deep South. I'd only heard about it. I was like, oh, you know, we walked into a restaurant called Po Boys, which I was fascinated with because I was like, what is that? I don't know what a po boy I know now. And what we found is actually pretty good. But I was like, what is this?


You know, the whole drinking out of mason jars and all that. It was a very it was it was a cultural shock. But what really set in when I realized that I was not in Kansas anymore is when we walked into this restaurant, there was a Confederate flag hanging over there in like the lobby area, and they would not see us because I was with a white male and it was me. And we stood there for a long time and we were like, what is going on?


They wouldn't seat us. And then it dawned on me, I'm like, oh, my God, this is what they're talking about in Mississippi. Another time where I felt very, like racially uncomfortable was in Jackson, Mississippi in twenty seven. I was working on the Hill the time I was a Hill staffer. I was advocating for the release of two Border Patrol agents who had been unjustly imprisoned for 11, 12 years for shooting an illegal alien drug smuggler.


And it things went awry with the whole thing and it became became an effort. I was kind of like the Erin Brockovich of that case. I was very personally involved. And I'm grateful to Congressman Rohrabacher for giving me that carte blanche to get those guys out. But I was traveling with another congressional staffer to visit one of the federal prisons where one of the agents had been assaulted and we had to stay overnight in Jackson. So that staffer said, hey, you know, I'm going out for a drink.


I have some friends that are in law school here. Do you want to come? I said, yeah, sure. OK, so we go into this bar in Jackson and again, I'm with a white colleague and we walk in, we sit at the bar, we're sitting there at the bar and they would not serve us again. It was another one. This is two thousand seven. They would walk. The bartender walked past us.


There were they were talking to other people.


Like when we walked in, you could visibly feel like physically feel I mean, people looking at us like, who are these people? Now that could have been because we didn't look or sound like we were from the south, or it could have been, you know, a lot of other things. And then when we sat down and they wouldn't serve us, I was like, this is really happening.


So his friends show up and they're cutesie white girls that go to law school in Jackson.


And they knew the bartender and they're like, oh, my gosh, how come you guys don't have drinks are like, Hey, Billy, or whatever the guy's name was. You know, these are our friends. It's going around to drink.


Let's do shots, you know? So I'm like, okay, great.


So we get our shots and like, OK, what are we going to toast you and me being me? I said to the Emancipation Proclamation, really loud kick me under the under the bar was like, you're going to get us killed. I said, I don't give a damn. It's twenty seven cheers throwback. But yeah that was a real experience. I could not wait to get out of Mississippi. I couldn't wait to get there fast enough.


It reminds me of the first time I can remember actually seeing a Confederate flag in person and it was in twenty eight. It was the runoff election for Saxby Chambliss in Georgia. I was at the National Republican Senatorial Committee at the time and and we all deployed down to Atlanta for the runoff. And I needed a haircut like yesterday.


So I'm in suburban Atlanta and I go into this old school barber shop in a strip mall where campaign offices are. And I walked in and all of the bar. Barbers were older white men like beards and really burly, and all the chairs are lined up in a row facing a wall and they're all facing the same way. So there's a counter. You walk in and they're all facing a single wall. And they took me in and sat me down on the chair.


And I'm facing the opposite wall, which is like six feet away. And my expression must have given me away. But on that wall was floor to ceiling, you know, stars and bars. It was almost wallpaper. It was hanging from the ceiling. And my eyes must have bugged out because the barber comes over with a straight razor in his hands, getting ready to shave me. And he goes, Got a problem with my flag, boy?


Oh, God, I've just never seen one.


Nothing more. Good answer.


And he's just looking at my face because I knew what it represented and I realized I realized what was happening and so did they, because we can be not a racist and also not understand history.


My husband was on assignment once. He was manning a post somewhere in the south in the garage and a very wealthy neighborhood in the garage. There was a huge Confederate flag and he was like he almost was asked to have someone else be assigned to that post because he was like, why are you putting me here?


Know this is probably not a good idea.


But then he he didn't do that. And you just said, you know, I'm not going to let that flag run me off like, no, you know, I'm now. But, yeah, the first time I ever went to Birmingham, Alabama. And I want to be clear to not everybody in the south is a racist, you know. So some of the nicest people I know and close friends of mine are from the south. And there is you know, there has been a lot of progress.


There's also a lot of problems, too. But this I don't want to be clear that not everybody in the South is a racist, but anyone that continues to fly the Confederate flag is enabling racism to be whitewashed for sure.


OK, so let's go back to Trump, flag of treason, the ad that just dropped the George Floyd murder. The moment that we're in the protests with a backdrop of a pandemic where everybody is already trying to figure out what they're supposed to do. And now here we are with some of the biggest protests I think we've ever seen. And Donald Trump seems to be not seems to be he is incapable of empathizing with the anguish that black Americans are feeling.


And he is also unwilling to offer any unifying sentiment from his bully pulpit, pouring gasoline on the fire. How do we understand this moment?


And other than voting in November, which everyone listening to this podcast better do and bring 10 people with you, bring 10 people with you, bring 20 people with you, what do we do right now?


Well, one of the first things that we need to do is to speak up, acknowledge what we're seeing. I think one of the biggest disappointments for me, watching the absolute corrosion of the Republican Party and destruction of it under Trump has been so many people's willingness to be quiet and not call out what they know is wrong with this man and what he's done and what he's doing to this country. We saw videos of the just politically craven Republican senators walking by without without comment when asked about their feelings on Donald Trump's decision to unleash riot police in the military on peaceful protesters so he could walk across the street for a freakin photo op in front of one of the most sacred churches in this country, holding up a Bible that he's never read.


He uses that as a prop, just like he does with everything else, because he's a malignant narcissist and is incapable of viewing anything outside of his own self-interest. So he is incapable. It's never happening, but his enablers around him have allowed him to get away with so much of this. And those Republicans that just said, oh, I didn't see it, oh, I don't know. But I guarantee you, if that had been Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton or Bill Clinton or any other Democrat, they would have been calling him a fascist.


They would have said that this is martial law. This is against our Constitution. How dare we allow an out-of-control imperial wannabe dictator want to be president, do this? I mean, they would they would be very vocal and they'd be right.


But somehow when it comes to Donald Trump, they don't say anything.


They're cowards, absolute cowards. So we cannot be that the Republicans have shown us what not to be, how not to handle things. Because if people like that imagine if we had people like that in our leadership during the most crucial parts of this country. When change need to happen, you know, civil war, revolutionary war, the civil rights movement, women's suffrage movements. Imagine if we had all the, you know, so many people that just stood there in silence, didn't say anything.


This country would be a very different place. So they're cowards. And we need not to be that as a. Citizens, our voices are very powerful, which is exemplified by the protests when righteous anger is coordinated and organized in a way that's productive, you know, the looting and the rioting, the violence, that's not productive. You're just you're falling into a trap with that. And I will never condone that.


A peaceful protest, maybe a little civil disobedience, but not violence. People pay attention to that because you're speaking you're making a conscious choice to do something about it and let the leaders leadership know the people, elected officials or they're responsible to us. They work for us. They're not installed. We have elections. That's what a republic. That's what a constitutional republic is about. They work for us. But a lot of times they forget that because we as Americans are complacent or apathetic, we don't care.


We go on with our lives and that doesn't matter to us. Doesn't matter. But when you see something like what has happened with the George Floyd murder and the protest, as a result, you have to pay attention. And when you pay attention and you hear what listen to what's going on and speak out. So I'm not telling people they need to go join a protest, but when you're in conversations and you're talking to people, you need to say, well, that's wrong, but this is wrong and we're not going to put up with it and hold the people accountable who are not saying that this is wrong and willing to make a change in their communities.


And, you know, everybody has a different role to play. But the biggest thing is not to stay silent about it.


It's not enough to be uncomfortable and think that this is terrible and not do something about it.


Maybe you can touch on this briefly, but why? There's this very helpful idea going around right now that it is not enough anymore. It is not enough to not be it is not enough to not be a racist. You have to be an anti-racist.


Yeah. What does that mean? I think that what that means is that you have to be active in your disagreement, you know, and that is either definitely voting, obviously paying attention to local elections because a lot of times we get you know, it's all about the presidential election and Congress and Senate. But local elections impact your life more directly than national elections. Do know who your county prosecutor is, know who your sheriff is if they're elected. You know, a lot of sheriffs are elected in a lot of counties know who your city council members are.


Make sure you're voting for your mayor, because these are people who make the policies that directly impact your life every day, whether it's from putting up a stop sign on a block where kids are playing because there's speed limits are you know, people are speeding down the road or setting policy police policies in your state and locality. We don't necessarily want the federal government involved and all those things because we're different communities respond to different different solutions. Some things are not just broad brush.


So pay attention to local elections and get involved, whether it's running yourself, which is great. We need more good people to do that or helping a candidate passing out literature, door knocking, whatever the old school way of campaigning is, or making phone calls from your cell phone, whatever it is, putting up a yard sign even to show where you stand. You have to be active. You have to be active. Complacency is no longer acceptable because it's because Donald Trump is what happens when you're complacent.


There are more of us than there are of them, but you have to be active to do that.


I think that there was a turning point, perhaps in the Trump presidency after that display of brute force and the way Donald Trump has handled the George Floyd murder and just the reaction to to to it. I think that there are more people who tried to give Trump a pass because they didn't want to face the uglier side of who he is because they supported him.


And then what does that say about me? You know, what does it say about me that I was willing to give someone that despicable a pass because I wanted better judges or a tax code or, you know, a couple of policies. It's bigger than that now and now after seeing that it was such an affront to America, just basic American values, no matter what you look like, what part of the aisle you're on, that I think people are paying attention to it more.


I grew up in a law enforcement family. My grandfather was captain of my local police department in Paramus, New Jersey, for almost forty years. He was a patrol captain. He's a World War Two veteran. He marched in every 4th of July parade from the from nineteen forty seven until the last parade in twenty, sixteen, ten days before he passed away at ninety. I grew up respecting law enforcement, understanding that brethren, that kinship, marching in Fourth of July parades and getting weepie that at fireworks during 4th July and really, really loving what this country represents.


My husband's law enforcement and I look at what how this has been co-opted, how our military has been used as pawns, how this this idea of brute force and dominating American citizens because of difference of opinion and dissent that is in a. Front to everyone who wore the uniform wears a uniform, people who are the good police officers because, you know to all of them that we can't stand idly by and let someone who disrespects the basic tenants of our of our constitution this way and use the power that he's been given by the people to misuse it this way.


This is very dangerous. This is how civil societies fall.


Tara, you and I were talking on the phone the other morning. I mentioned a song that I misremembered from my childhood, which you also recognized by the band D.C. Talk. So they released a song called Colored People. I remember that song as being about, quote unquote, being colorblind, which obviously is a really problematic word. I would love to talk. I would love you to talk about it in a moment. But I went back and looked at the lyrics of that song this morning and I was wrong.


I remembered it incorrectly. The idea was the opposite. They were trying to convey in these lyrics. But but I think the fact that I misremembered it speaks to the way I was raised with that idea. And we get this from a lot of places in conservative Christianity, conservative evangelicalism. You're taught that everyone is equal in God's eyes. And then you have the American layer of values like we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.


And even the famous quote from Martin Luther King, that we ought to judge people by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin.


This is very aspirational and contributes to a misunderstanding of color in America that flips upside down the realities and completely washes over the disparities that exist, which we talked about previously. And I just want to read you the lyrics of the bridge of the song where they sing Ignorance has wronged some races and vengeance is the Lord's. If we aspire to share this space, repentance is the core repentance.


The difference between forgiveness and repentance is action. Right? You can say, oh, please forgive me, but when you ask for repentance, that means that you recognize your wrongdoing and you're asking for God's forgiveness and you're going to do what you can to change so that you don't do it again. That's the difference. And I think that this country is in a moment where I think repentance is a appropriate because it's like what can we do to change things so that we don't repeat history?


And the idea that saying, well, you know, I'm a I'm colorblind, you know, I don't I don't see color.


I don't see race. And that's B.S., OK? I think people hide behind that veneer of kind of this this very airy fairy like world that we don't see color.


No, because that makes it an easy way to not confront the challenges with this. We are all uniquely different. God created. God didn't create us to be, didn't create different cultures and races and those differences for us not to recognize them. But I think what the difference is, recognizing and appreciating differences in culture and races is different than looking at judging, prejudging people as being lesser than or different just because they look different. That's where you get into the problem, because it's you know, we should be appreciating the uniqueness of each one of us.


And that's gotten co-opted into segregating people by identity. And that's where you run into a problem. So you're not to say you're colorblind. I know it comes from I think people come from a good place with that. They think that that's the that's the way to do it, because then I am not a judge mental. I don't have any bias and but we all do. Race shouldn't be a factor in how you judge someone. It's an undeniable fact that you're going to look at people and see their differences, appreciate them, understand the culture, understand the root causes behind things, understand the history.


Understanding is, I think, where we get into the problems because people are afraid of the unfamiliar. So when you're afraid of the unfamiliar, then you make assumptions and you kind of go back to a default position. And and that's where we lose the humanity of things. My mom says to me all the time that when she sees my husband, she doesn't look at my husband and go, Oh, he's my black son in law. No, but she sees her son in law, someone who she loves, like her own flesh and blood.


But she also recognizes that his experiences may be very different than hers as a black man in America. But she also appreciates the cultural differences. And that's OK now. You don't want to culturally appropriate either. That's a real thing and that's very annoying. I'm going to give you an example, because sometimes I think. It's an era that white people think that if we can be cool or act like them, then they see we're we're cool and we're you know, we don't judge on race and we're, you know, we're down for the cause.


And that's not the way to do it either. And I'll give you an example. In Republican circles, over the 20 plus years I've been involved in politics, I've always run into some of those people that have these preconceived notions of what a woman of color is supposed to look like, sound like her political aspirations, points of view, culturally, what she listens to. And they have all these preconceived notions. And I am the complete opposite of most of those things.


I actually relish on making people feel stupid about being racially presumptuous. I've become quite skilled at it. You know, that would happen at the receptions or at the political fundraisers and and the white Republicans would come over and be like, oh, you know, you're so articulate, you're just so well-spoken. And it's it's just refreshing to hear a voice like yours. And and when I was younger, I used to think that someone called me articulate was a compliment until I realized that it wasn't.


And that was thanks to Chris Rock. And I will always say this. The comedian Chris Rock did a stand up, his first big stand up routine in nineteen ninety six where he talked about Colin Powell and he talked about how how people would look at Colin Powell when he was flirting with possibly running for president. And people wanted to see him run in 96 against Bill Clinton and Colin Powell. His wife said no way because she was actually afraid for him running and she didn't want to go through that.


And she probably wasn't wrong. But anyway, which is a sad state of affairs. But then again, obviously 10 years, 13 years later, you had Barack Obama. But anyway, so he said that, listen, when people are complimenting Colin Powell, saying that he speaks so well, he's so well spoken, that's not a compliment because they're presuming he was going to sound another way. They like he's an educated man. He's a general. What do you mean speak so well?


What do you have a stroke the other day? You know, that is what George Bush referred to as the soft bigotry of low expectations. That was a moment where I realized that that exists. And I made it a point to make sure that I helped people recognize when they did that so that the next time that they interacted with a person of color who they automatically assumed is different from them and in a different category and doesn't like the same music or foods or, you know, that were somehow you have to cater to us as if we're some different species.


I made sure that they never did that again, whether it was like, oh, so I'll tell one story on Capitol Hill. There was a congressman whose office was down the hall from ours and was very close to the congressman I worked for because he was also part of the California delegation. And every time he saw me, he would say, Hey, girlfriend, all the time, what's up, girlfriend?


And I would just the first few times I just ignored him because usually I was on my way to the floor with the congressman or we were on our way to something like, I don't have time to be worrying about him. I was busy. I was a communications director. Our work never ended, OK? And Dana Rohrabacher was a handful. We had a lot of fun, but he was always out saying something. He got crazier and did some things that I don't agree with after I left.


And I cannot claim that afterwards. But Dana Rohrabacher I worked for was the best. So the first couple of times I said, OK, I'm going to let this go. But once he started doing it over and over again because he thought that that's how he could relate to me, I said I didn't address the congressman because I didn't want to be disrespectful. But I told my boss, I said, Dana, if so-and-so calls me girlfriend one more time, he's going to get it.


I said, I suggest that you let him know that this is not OK.


Now, he probably thought he was being cool. Right. I'm going to relate to you because he thinks that all black women talk like that or, you know, oh, no, OK, that is a racial stereotype and I had no time for it. So he did not call me girlfriend anymore after that. Thankfully, I didn't have to. I didn't have to check on my boy. You Dana said something like, come on, man, what are you doing?


But that's an example. I don't think you have to adjust how you talk or things like that because you think that that's being relatable. No, no, don't be so presumptuous because that's how you get yourself in trouble. You know, don't don't think that just because I'm a woman of color that I listen to hip hop and I'm in all of this and actually I'm classically music trained. My mother was on Broadway. My favorite show in the whole world is Singing in the Rain.


I love Gene Kelly. And can I rap a good Jay-Z song? Yep, I can, but I can. All the first concert I ever went to was Def Leppard, who opened for Billy Squier, who was like my favorite when I was nine. And I'm a rocker chick. I love classic rock. I love hair bands. I sing Bon Jovi karaoke everywhere I travel around the world on five continents. My Bon Jovi. Karaoke lives in infamy.


I mean, don't be so presumptuous, and I think that's where we get into trouble because you're automatically thinking that it's a bit comes across it comes across as pandering. It's pandering. That's not the way to do it. Take a genuine interest. How are you? Yeah, like, how are you? Ask people that and I mean, it doesn't come across. Don't don't approach it as like, oh my goodness, you know, you're you're black and there's horrible things are happening.


So let me like your charity case. Nobody's a charity case. But when you ask someone how they are, mean it because you would you talk to your neighbor that way? No, no. Come at it from a humanity point of view and try to understand. Don't just assume that, oh, look at what's happening in Chicago. You know, we have black people are shooting each other all the time, and yet they want to complain about some police brutality.


It's so much more complicated than that. Are there problems that need to be addressed within the community? Absolutely. There is a certain responsibility within the community itself to poetry to to take to fix some of those problems culturally.


But there is a history of why those things are there's a history there of why criminality is so prevalent in these poor neighborhoods. And it goes back to the institutional racism conversation, not having access to wealth creation, not having access to banking and capital wealth to start to start your business or buy a home and not understand what that American dream is of ownership that has spread out into manifested itself in ways that we see. And then the government coming in in the 60s thinking they're doing something with the Great Society by giving people these handouts, then they don't have any sense of ownership and then breaking the family up, because if you have a man in the household or you're married, you don't get these benefits.


So it's an incentive to break up the family unit and then all those problems cascade. So don't just be so presumptuous and say, look at those people. See, no wonder. No, how about you say, how does this make you feel? Because we have different life experiences. So, you know, try to understand what what's what the other side looks like. And people are different than you. I think that is more productive. Listen, listen.


And you'll learn. That's the only way you learn.


I think that's something that's maybe missed a lot in the coverage of the news cycle that's been moving at the speed of light for the last nine days is the backdrop of the pandemic on which the George Floyd murder has happened and the protests that ensued and the pain that black America was already feeling. But the covid-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected black Americans.


Can can you speak to the emotional undertone that already existed before all this happened and and how it has affected this?


A lot of that has to do not just with race, but also with class, you know, with economics, with access to quality health care, access to health insurance. You know, there are disparities in in these neighborhoods where you have high unemployment because the majority of Americans get their health care from their jobs. And you see that there have been disparities in access to health care in poorer neighborhoods, which disproportionately impacts people of color. And this is another example of where institutional racism or the systemic racism in a certain segment of society literally is life or death.


So, you know, acknowledging that that there are these desperate impacts, I think is is important because people it opens the discussion up to, well, why is that? Let's understand the root cause of it and then that can impact health policy. Then you understand why it's important to fund health clinics or why it's important to make sure people have access to health care. That's not an overwhelming government sweeping example, because obviously Medicaid isn't the greatest. That was a well-intentioned policy that just doesn't work at that level.


You know, you get some kind of health care, but it's not the best bankrupting the country. You know, these in these types of entitlement programs, which is why Obamacare came about and why health care has been an ongoing third rail in politics, because it's you know, it's a really complicated policy initiative. But you cannot ignore the impacts that it has on people of color. And the covid-19 pandemic has really elevated that conversation again, where it's not you know, it's undeniable at this point.


And people are asking, why is it well, here's why. So let's talk about how we can try to fix those gaps in health care in these communities and not just make it a very rigid oh, it's about money or it's about these conversations about socialism and all that. OK, we can have those arguments in the ivory tower, but that doesn't help the people who have to face this every single day that don't have access to to quality health care.


The argument over whether health care is a right or a privilege is kind of an esoteric one. I mean, I would argue that health care is a service so that we have to be careful in how we administer it with the government's intervention. But we have a right to be healthy and we have to. Figure out ways to make sure that more communities that are not getting access to that, again, it's a guarantee to access, which is different than guaranteeing outcomes, but that's a conversation that can no longer be ignored.


So when you see that disparity happening and and Donald Trump seemingly casting it aside, once it became apparent who covid-19 was impacting more, that's when it seemed like he was like, oh, we don't really care about those people because they don't vote for me. So we're opening back up. We're going to open up. We're going to just, you know, disregard the the health risks to this, because that's not my constituency when in reality, it actually is impacting rural America, too, in ways now because it took a little longer to get there.


But that's the same problem. It's again, it's an economic issue and not having access to to hospitals and, you know, the health clinics are just not equipped for it. That opens up a whole conversation.


But, yeah, you cannot you just cannot ignore that this is just a window into many of the social challenges that people of color face in this country, particularly in urban centers that have to be addressed.


Tara, if you had five minutes with Donald Trump in a room alone, what would you say to him?


Only five minutes. You know, that question is not as easy as it sounds, given how opinionated and outspoken people like myself are. I have a lot of feelings about Trump and his presidency. And so thinking about it, one of the first things I think I would say to him is.


Is this really worth it for you, has all of this been worth it for you? You've dragged the country through the mud, disrespected.


Our constitution, our institutions reshaped our way of life and the way we approach our republic, all because you seem to have a pathological need to be adored and adulation because your insecurities from your childhood are so strong and so dysfunctional that you have dragged this entire country through the mud. In order to fulfill your own twisted. Fantasy of being. Adored. Clearly, your father and your mother did something to you as a child when they were raising you, that has created such an insecure, small man.


That your lack of empathy and pathological need to lie in order to inflate who you are, to convince yourself that you're worth it, is destroying this country like that hurt must be really deep.


And given your age, I would say there's probably no chance whatsoever of you going through some type of psychotherapy to get to the root of that dysfunction.


But unfortunately, the American people are paying the price for your childhood. Deeply rooted hurts. I know that your father was a bastard and obviously made you feel as though you were never good enough. And it's clear to anyone who's a well-adjusted adult that you are not this is not how adults behave, this is certainly not how the leader of the free world is supposed to behave. Do you honestly think that that that people don't see through you? We see you, we see you, and it's a shame that so many Americans have been conned by you and what you've been able to do to boost your whole ego in this persona that you've created over the last couple of decades that works in show business.


But when it comes down to actual responsibility, it's clear that you're over your head and ill equipped to handle anything that requires real courage, real decision making.


And you have nothing.


You're so empty inside as a person that you have no convictions to draw from to actually rise to the occasion when it's required. And here we are, millions and millions of Americans and even around the world, because the United States is looked at as the beacon of freedom and an example of the shining city on a hill being destroyed because we're being dragged through into your perverted, diseased mind.


And it's playing out in real time and the consequences are real, you can't just file for bankruptcy four times over to shield everyone else of your mistakes and irresponsibility. This is the United States of America and the stakes are really high and you are failing at it. Why are you such a hypocrite? You're a hypocrite. You demand loyalty from others, yet you exhibit none. Why do you why are you such a liar? Do you actually believe all of your B.S.?


Do you believe it?


Maybe you do, because after decades of doing this to convince yourself that you're good enough to convince yourself, convince your father that you're good enough, that you allow yourself to believe the lies. But we see you. We see you. Does it occur to you that there are other people beside you on this Earth that actually matter, maybe that's the malignant narcissistic personality disorder that you have, but you have it, your disordered person. And. I just don't know what it's like to be that miserable, what a miserable existence to go to bed every night knowing that you are reviled by people you're made fun of, you're a joke.


And the people who adore you have their own dysfunctions. And they find someone like you who is a fake with fake bravado, who lies, who's conning them, who's, you know, a snake oil salesman that you've led so many people astray. That's satisfying to you how dysfunctional and sad. What a sad existence you have the opportunity to be to to have to lead the greatest nation in history. And this is what you've done with it. You've run it into the ground.


And here we are as the American people being held hostage in this nightmare of your reality television show. The stakes are too high. I'm not sure what you're hiding behind why, what are you hiding? Why? Because clearly you're hiding behind something. That's why you lie. That's why you won't show your taxes. That's why you won't show your your transcripts. If I were really smart, if I were a genius, A, I wouldn't have to tell everyone that would be evident.


But if you are that into yourself, show it, but no, you hide behind being a victim all the time, that's got to be exhausting because it's exhausting listening to you. So what is it like to live it every day? Miserable. What's it like to know that your wife despises you and wants nothing to do with you? You live separate lives, just eye candy, what's it what's that like? Because I can tell you, as someone who has lived through your life every day because you're president of the United States, it's exhausting and infuriating and sad.


So the day that we vote you out will be one of the happiest, proudest moments of my life so that you can go on your merry way and continue your miserable existence without the power and honor of the presidency.


And the platform of the presidency and the responsibility of the presidency will no longer be in your hands, thanks to Tara for coming on to talk about these crucial issues. And thanks to you for listening. You can hear more from Tara on her podcast. Honestly speaking, with Tara and on Twitter at Tara Sadleir, if you haven't yet, please subscribe to the show on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. It will help new people learn about our mission.


And most importantly, it will show Republicans and conservative voters around the country they're not alone in voting against Trump. I'll see you in the next episode.