tv WSJ at Large With Gerry Baker FOX Business July 20, 2019 3:30am-4:01am EDT
eastern. plus, right here on fox business, tune in weekdays from 6-9 a.m. eastern for "mornings with maria" right here on fox business. we hope you'll start your day that'll do it for us for this weekend. thanks so much for joining me, i'll see you again next time. have a great weekend, everybody. ♪ ♪ gerry: hello and welcome to "wall street journal at large." well, no issue in america's long history as fraught with tension as the issue of race. from slavery to civil war and reconstruction, jim crow and segregation, to civil rights era and today, race has run through america's story like a complex thread. this week, of course, this great fault line in america's identity opened up again after president trump used twitter to blast several democratic congress well of color -- congresswomen of
color for criticizing the united states and being what he called un-american. he wrote in his now-infamous tweet: why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came? well, of course, they came from parts of america. but immediately the president was attacked by democrats, the media and others as a racist. the targets -- representatives alexandria ocasio-cortez, rashida tlaib, ilhan omar and ayanna pressley -- are all, of course, american citizens, and all but omar were born in the united states. so the president's assault was a particularly controversial one, evoking racist taunts against people of non-white ethnic backgrounds that have been made throughout history. now, it's the also true that the four -- nicknamed the squad -- have been vocal in their condemnation of america. and it's no doubt that they occupy the far left of the american political spectrum. the president denied that he's a
racist, repeatedly, but the controversy rages on. is so what are we to make of the president's comments? do they, in fact, mean that he's a racist? how should we think now about race and identity in modern america? we'll look at all that, plus we'll explore what's going on with white working class communities in america. some of the pain that they're feeling may possibly be fueling pushback against people of color, and we'll talk about what it means to be an immigrant in america and whether those that come here from a foreign land have a particular obligation to support this country. well, with me now to do discuss all this is bob ehrlich, he was the republican governor of maryland from 2003-2007 and currently senior counsel at a law firm. he's written several columns, and he joins me now from washington d.c. governor, thank you very much for being here. >> my pleasure to be with you. gerry: just start straight off with the president's tweet. what did you make of it? do you think it demonstrates that he's a racist? >> of course he's not a racist. nobody called him a racist prior
to him becoming a serious candidate for the presidency. of course he's not a racist. neither is nancy pelosi. obviously, some folks on the left, as you know, have thrown that charge against her. it's so, so easily thrown around today, and it's one of the points of my columns over the years. i'm not the only person making this point, but once you hear it so much, once so many people utilize this horrific description, it almost loses its meaning. i think we're seeing that a little bit in american politics, which is unfortunate. gerri: but, governor, what do you make of what he said to those four congresswomen, three of whom were born in the united stateses, all of whom are united states, that they should go back to their countries? >> it was an unfortunate choice of words. what i believe and what he followed up was, obviously, much more appropriate, more accurate than what you actually said at the beginning than the original words which were these four really do define the edge of
progressivism. i don't for a second believe most democrats subscribe to their views, but clearly they're carrying the day of the democratic party to a large extent. and what's very interesting to me, by the way, is how a lot of remaining moderate democrats both inside and outside congress are fearful of them, they're fearful of actually taking them on. so to the extent they represent, in my view, a very countercultural view of the world, countercultural view of america the way i want america to operate, things i believe in as in real borders and the like that they do represent, in my view, a dangerous turn with regard to their philosophy. butting obviously, not their background. -- but, obviously, not their background. gerry: do you think more republicans should have criticized the president? >> i think the president can take it. i think he stepped back a little bit yesterday, as you saw, with regard to chant when he had his
words i guess the day after -- gerry: north carolina rally, yeah. >> correct. i think you saw at the beginning the president recognizing that he needs to be, obviously, clear with regard to what he means to say. i recall the charlottesville incident. you know, we sort of knew what he meant to say, but it didn't come off like that, and he paid the price. when they're after you to begin with, you have to be really careful with your words. when they really dislike you, in many cases they hate you and the mainstream press is always after you, it would certainly be beneficial to the president to be more careful with is some of his terminology. a lot of folks know what he meant with regard to positive message which was -- again, this is a fairly fringe group. they don't represent mainstream american values. and to extent the democrats want to sign onto that agenda, that's, obviously, a fruitful attack with regard to politics. gerry: it's been such an, obviously, an enormous source of
tension and pain and division in this country throughout its entire history. let me just quote, i want to ask you where you see race relations not just in the likes of this week's events, but generally. let's put up a quote from an op-ed that you wrote back in may in "usa today," and you said, very interestingly, i thought the first back president would prove to be a moderating presence regarding race relations, that a growing african-american middle class would draw more buy-in from black leaders. today i'm no longer so sure. what's worrying you? why do you think that the economic progress we've seen is not translating into greater racial equality? >> well, we just talked about how easily the term racist is thrown around. when we were growing up, both of us are of a certain age, i believe -- [laughter] if you called somebody a racist, this was nothing worse.
today you support fatherhood -- gerry: calling someone a racist or saying things that people think might be racist -- >> that's it. we have to get to a position where you have positions, philosophical positions that disagree with someone else without the name-calling. i mean, it's called american politics, it's called debate, and you can't go to this name-calling. gerry: you're talking about a culture of victimhood. tell us what you mean by that. >> well, againing you get votes -- again, you get votes by painting yours as a victim all the time. that's not one of the victims i look for. we're a pluralistic society, multiethnic, multiracial, we welcome people from all over the world, legal folks from all over the world. and the issue here is the melting pot. again, it's pluralism. it's freedom. and to use these terms so easily, in my view, is hurting, clearly, political discourse, but hurts the culture as well.
gerry: how do we get away from this, governor? >> well, that's -- gerry: you made the point in that op-ed and, by the way, we have seen strong economic progress. [inaudible conversations] gerry: economic progress is clearly advancing. and yet somehow these tensions seem to be getting worse. >> they are. and, again, that's why i wrote that, those words, because if you had asked me that question 10 years ago, 15 years ago while i was in congress, while i was in the state legislature and i saw the numbers, rising black income, for example, a healthier black middle class, black entrepreneurship, we talked about it earlier today, you and i off air, mike steele was my lieutenant governor. we talked about empowerment, african-american lieutenant governor, first in the state of maryland's history. and we talked about that, we believe in it, we lived it, we practiced it. but, again, but during this time of, again, rising incomes you have this progressive instinct arising on the hard left which
uses identity politics as a sword and a shield as though -- the case with some of these women, the group, whatever the term is they're using now. you can't disagree or you're called a name. you have to get away from that. gerry: very quickly, because we're running out of time, tell us one thing you think the president could do that could help improve the situation. >> talk -- go to some of the toughest neighborhoods in this country, talk to folks living there. that's his strength, by the way, when he wants it to be clearly. not politically correct, i'm here, i'm different. i know what they say about me, i want you to be wealthier, i want you to become less poor, i want your did to go to -- kids to go to better schools. look at the economy. what are your -- listen, by the way, have the round tables, listen to what they're saying, engage. if he engages the black community in this country with
♪ ♪ gerry: joining me now is a civil rights leader and chairman of the greater new york chapter of black lives matter. thank you very much, indeed, for joining us. >> thank you for having me. gerry: you may have the distinction of possibly being the only black lives matter activist who's spoken at a president trump rally. you spoke, i think, in 2017. tell us how that came about. >> well, the patriots were having a rally on the national mall -- gerry: you're not talking about the football team. >> no, definitely. even though i have a dislike of
football, i'm from the bronx, i hate all things boston. [laughter] but the patriots, the donald trump fans, were having a rally on the national mall. these were some of the same folks who were down in charlottesville, is and we were coming back from a protest of a robert e. lee statue where some armed confederate types were, i guess, call themselves defending the statue. so we went and stood against them. on the way home, we got lost and wound up at this trump rally where we were protesting, and eventually, you know, we heard some nasty things walking up to stage. people told us this is america, if you don't like it, go home. they called us some names and things like that. so it was about eight of us, maybe a thousand or two of them. we thought we would fight, we thought we would be angry, some harsh exchanges. but they invited us on stage. i think they wanted us to make fools of ourselves and maybe get booed --
gerry: so what happened? what'd you tell them? >> i went up on stage, and on the way to stage it was like this moment, it was like god said make them understand who you are and why you all, we to this work. so i just held up the two things that they hold most highly, the constitution and the bible. and i said this is the constitution, this is the bible, and here's where your actions differ. go off path with these two documents. and i didn't attack them, which is what a lot of people would have liked to have seen, but we just went hand to hand with these anemia charlottesville, and we gained nothing. gerry: what was the response? >> it was warm. gerry: warm, not hot, you mean warm as -- >> it was, okay, i'm listening. some people didn't like what i had to say, but others were like, yes, eric garner was choked to death. something should come of this. gerry: yeah. eric garner, just to be clear, which was the guy in new york who was choked to death, by the way, that, t-shirt that you're wearing is related to that, the
guy they filmed, i think -- >> yes, indeed. ramsey, he's actually the only person that's been punished in the death of eric garner. he filmed it. there's an interdepartmental trial going on. the officer, danny pantaleo, still has a job as a police officer. gerry: i want to get to what the response to crowd when you were this at that trump rally. you said it was warm, they listened to you, they were willing to listen. so they're not all -- >> i mean, the bottom line is when you speak truth, some people listen. yes, there were racists there. those people who were racist were allowed and then others, but there are some that had a come to jesus moment and were like, whoa, this black lives matter guy actually sounds educated and is making some logical points. let's see what he has to say. and some of those people i've worked with like on the forum for amendment in florida, giving ex-felons the right to vote.
jeffier did you come away hopeful that somehow you could come together with people? >> i did, but over the next year i was like, okay, i'm going to lead with love, but there's so much hate out here in this world, so much divisiveness out here in america, and the hateful people are the loudest ones. it starts with the white house, and it trickles all the way down. gerry: people on both sides, i mean, to be fair, do you think? >> well, in my opinion, i think it's people versus the government. but when you have a person in the white house who says the same thing that white supremacists say that i've heard white supremacists say to me personally -- gerry: go back to your -- >> go back to your country or if you don't like it, leave. or cops should be rough with innocent people. remember, this system says you are innocent until proven if guilty. i just don't understand. america divides us. when you are a person in middle america who is white, who is
upset about their property taxes or mad that a factory closed down, they say that you are an active voter or someone who cares about their well-being. when you're a black person who's mad at systematic oppression and unfair housing practices, you are called, you're accused of having a victim's mentality. having a victim's mentality. and can't see what it is yet.re? what is that? that's a blazer? that's a chevy blazer? aww, this is dope. this thing is beautiful. i love the lights. oh man, it's got a mean face on it. it looks like a piece of candy. look at the interior. this is nice. this is my sexy mom car. i would feel like a cool dad. it's just really chic. i love this thing. it's gorgeous. i would pull up in this in a heartbeat. i want one of these. that is sharp.
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it was -- america stole the land from the indigenous people, poisoned them, committed genocide against them, then it brought black slaves over to till the land. we've never received any sort of reparations, any sort of compensation, any admiration. like, america just keeps their foot on our throat and won't give us credit for anything. without the contributions of black folk, there would be no america. you could agree to that, right? gerry: probably. do you think -- president obama, barack obama became president, 2008. a lot of people thought that was real progress, right? if first black man -- first black man in the white house. what's gone wrong? >> what's gone wrong, actually, what's gone right. gerry: okay. >> corporations own the presidency regardless of if it's democrat or republican in office. so, you know, you had barack obama, but he till had these allegiances and these
responsibilities to those he was beholden to. same thing with donald trump. the only thing is donald trump went crazy with his executive orders and kept his base happy. president barack obama did a hot, but, i mean -- did a lot, but, i mean, this is not a post-racist utopia where black men are getting choked to death in the street. people like sandra bland are being hung in jail cells, when our kids are going to jail quicker than college. this is institutional. this is not about poor decisions. black people were set up to fail since day one in america. they brought us here, and when they figured out they had no use for us, they threw us in jail cells and cast us down. gerry: nobody would disagree there are terrible injustices committed. let me just ask you, there are a lot of -- there are white communities in this country that are really hurting and suffering as well that are, you know, driven apart by drugs, by family collapse, places in -- i'm not
asking you to say, you know, their problems are greater than african-american if problems, but what -- do you understand the kind of frustration that maybe they feel when there's a lot of emphasis on black lives matter, some of these issues, and they feel like they've been left behind and one of the reasons that they vote for donald trump. >> so they feel like they're left behind, like people aren't paying attention to their issues. i feel like they were born with a head starlet. one of the -- start. one of the greatest gifts you can have in america is being born white, and if they choose to waste their gifts, i don't want to hear about it because same people turn to us and say what do you complain about? you have good mumming in america -- plumbing in america, you have all these resources -- [inaudible conversations] gerry: the situation that -- >> that's me being a liberator, a revolutionary. me being a christian, i would say that poor people are poor
regardless, and this carnivorous, capitalist society exploits us all. however, they use the politicians to keep us apart to black and brown people live in the same communities, do everything together, and politicians come in and say, well, you have to vote for this candidate named lopez, and you have to vote for this one named johnson. same thing with poor whites and poor blacks. you go to kensington and allegheny and philadelphia, people live together in harmony. there's a camaraderie amongst poor people, but we're letting people divide us. gerry: that's a reasonably positive note to end. thank you very much, indeed, for coming in. next, we'll consider the
♪ ♪ gerry: president trump overstepped a line this week with his tweeted exhortation to four americans to go back to another country. america's long and troubled history of race relations doesn't need stoking with a taunt that's been used by racists for years. but even as we condemn that language, we should think the also about the language other people use, especially, perhaps, those four congresswomen. now, everyone's entitled to speak their mind, and we know the u.s. isn't perfect. nowhere is. but those of us who, like me, came to this country even second or third generation immigrants should never forget why we're here. the u.s. didn't choose us to come and hiv here, we chose to
come -- to live here. we're here because of the generosity of the american people, and i, for one, am grateful for that every day. well, that's it for us this week. join me next week when i'll be talking for lou dobbs next right here on the fox business network. have a good weekend. ♪ ♪ gregg: good evening, everyone, i'm gregg jarrett in for the vacationing lou dobbs. well, president trump coming out swinging against the radical dems and the left-wing national media, blasting them for having what he calls a sick partnership. their never ending hate and hysteria unable to faze the president as he moves forward with his america first agenda. and the dems' 2020 hopefuls are facing opposition to their radical proposals from within their own party. plus, a pivotal weekend of immigration talks in store between america and