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Barbershop: The Campaign Creep, And How To Handle Politics In Relationships

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Barbershop: The Campaign Creep, And How To Handle Politics In Relationships

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Barbershop: The Campaign Creep, And How To Handle Politics In Relationships

Barbershop: The Campaign Creep, And How To Handle Politics In Relationships

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In this week's barbershop, blogger Dru Ealons, Center for Social Inclusion fellow Deepa Iyer and former Apprentice contestant Omarosa Manigault discuss the seep of political campaigns into daily life.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now it's time for the Barbershop. That's where we gather some interesting folks to talk about what's in the news and what's on their minds. Sitting in the chairs for a shapeup this weekend are Dru Ealons. She blogs about politics. She's a former Obama appointee at the Environmental Protection Agency. Welcome back, Dru.

DRU EALONS: Good to be here.

MARTIN: Deepa Iyer's with us. She's a civil rights activist, a writer and a senior fellow at the Center for Social Inclusion. Welcome to the Barbershop, Deepa.

DEEPA IYER: Thank you.

MARTIN: And a name and a voice reality show fans will recognize, Omarosa Manigault, who was a star in the reality TV show "The Apprentice." She's now an ordained minister, and if we have this right a Donald Trump supporter. Omarosa, welcome back.

OMAROSA MANIGAULT: Thank you for having me.

MARTIN: So another round of important primaries is coming up. A lot of people are talking about the Donald Trump rally that was canceled in Chicago last night. We talked about that at the beginning of the program. It was canceled because of concerns about confrontations between protesters and Trump supporters. This was the message that people got at the rally after they arrived.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Mr. Trump just arrived in Chicago, and after meeting with law enforcement has determined that for the safety of all the tens of thousands of people that have gathered in and around the arena, tonight's rally will be postponed until another day. Thank you very much for your attendance, and please go in peace.

MARTIN: And you can hear different reactions there. Some people seemed like they're happy about it, some people clearly are not from last night's canceled rally. Since then, Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio and John Kasich came out today pointing the confrontations as reasons why they say they might be unable to support Donald Trump if he becomes the GOP nominee. Omarosa, you've been working as a surrogate for the Trump campaign, speaking on his behalf. And I think - do I have this right that you were one of the group of ministers who helped organize a group to meet with Donald Trump, remember, a couple of months ago? Am I right about that?

MANIGAULT: Yes.

MARTIN: Right.

MANIGAULT: We did organize a group of clergy to go and meet with Donald Trump at Trump Tower. But just a little background, you mentioned that I was on "The Apprentice." I was back in 2003, but I also worked in the Clinton White House and I worked as a deputy associate director of presidential personnel. So I like "The Apprentice" introduction but I'm serious about politics and I'm serious about what's happening in our country right now.

MARTIN: Well, it's interesting because one of the things I was curious to talk to you about is you - I had seen you on a different program where you said that you had Hillary Clinton - didn't you say tattooed on your shoulder?

MANIGAULT: I did. I was so passionate about Hillary Clinton until there were issues that were raised that came up and arise about her candidacy and about some of things that she had done. And so that made me a little weary about continuing to support her, particularly...

MARTIN: Well, let's talk about the subject...

MANIGAULT: ...With the ongoing investigations with...

MARTIN: OK.

MANIGAULT: ...The secretary and some of the decisions that she made and some of the countries...

MARTIN: OK, let's...

MANIGAULT: ...In Africa that I'm very passionate about.

MARTIN: Let's talk about the rally 'cause I wanted to hear your take on this. I mean, you were on...

MANIGAULT: Please.

MARTIN: ...MSNBC the other day saying that perhaps people who attend these rallies and are disruptive are getting what's coming to them. You want to talk...

MANIGAULT: Oh, my gosh...

MARTIN: ...A little bit more about your thoughts about that?

MANIGAULT: Out of the seven-minute interview that's such an interesting quote. Right before that line, I was asked about what happened to the protesters that interrupt 13 and 14 times in the rally for Donald Trump. And I, of course, pointed out that past - in the past, if you go and you try to jump on the stage and grab the mic, then you're going to get what you've seen. They are going to rough you up. They're going - but in no way do I condone violence, and I said that on the show. Maybe you guys missed it.

MARTIN: But what's your take on it?

MANIGAULT: But let...

MARTIN: What's your take on the whole situation...

MANIGAULT: I'd love to answer...

MARTIN: ...'Cause I'd love to hear what the other folks are - interested in thinking about what they think, too.

MANIGAULT: We could sing together, but we can't talk at the same time.

MARTIN: Yeah.

MANIGAULT: Certainly, I think it's important that we realize that in this political process that, you know, they're going to be people who are for him and against him. And there are going to be people who come into these rallies who are aggressive, and they need to be held - but - heard. But in no way should they be assaulted, should they be, you know, thrown to the ground and beat, as I've seen some the things that happened by some of the local authorities who've been handling this. And I'm very concerned about that. As a pastor, I really want to see this nation come together. We have to put...

MARTIN: OK.

MANIGAULT: ...Our love of this country above politics for once and bring civility back to this process.

MARTIN: Let's hear from our other guests. Deepa, you want to go?

IYER: Yeah. You know, I think that Omarosa's right in saying that we need to bring our country together. But I think that what is troubling about the current political climate is that we have this clear dividing line about who is part of the us in America and who's part of the other. And more and more increasingly at least, it's immigrants, it's refugees, it's people of color, it's people who are Muslim, perceived to be Muslim who are in the other category. And isn't something new. You know, we've seen this obviously since 9/11. We've sees it in the last two election cycles. But I think what's different right now is that it has become mainstreamed in a way that we're hearing it in terms of our television screens, we're hearing it on social media. The veneer of kind of civility has been pulled off and we're seeing what's underneath, and that is racism and xenophobia and Islamophobia. And I think that that's what people are really getting concerned about and frustrated about. And we're not seeing the political leadership in terms of a higher standard of accountability or responsibility to say that we need to aspire to a different nation.

MARTIN: Dru, what about you?

EALONS: Well, I found it very interesting listening to Omarosa and others who support Donald Trump in this situation because ultimately, a lot of things that he said actually from the podium during the rallies has been one to support the type of reaction from in fact his own supporters during the conference - I mean, during a rally. So as an example, you know, in Alabama, when a Black Lives Matter person was there, he said maybe he should have been roughed up, or he'd say I'd like to punch him in the face. I love the good-old days, you know what they say - used to do the guys like that when this thing - you know, carry him out on a stretcher. I mean, all of this kind of rhetoric that comes from the podium for someone who wants to run for the - for the United states of America just does not equal to me presidential decorum. And even Trump said the other day about how his daughter has advised him to say you need to be more presidential than that. And I just believe that there shouldn't be a surprise about how things happened there because he has also stoked the fire along those ways with this.

MARTIN: You know, I'm curious about this - that each of you have - you know, each of you has a wide kind of network of people that you talk to about, you know, lots of different things. And because people know that you're interested and involved in politics...

EALONS: Yes.

MARTIN: ...I'm curious about what's kinds of personal conversations you're having - Dru? - because I know you got into it on Facebook with somebody the other day about it.

EALONS: In actuality, my conversation on Facebook was more about between the Bernie and Hillary supporters. And so as I actually - I have not made a declaration. I'm really honestly neutral in this point because I haven't made a decision.

MANIGAULT: So you don't support anyone, not Hillary or Bernie?

EALONS: I have until April 27 to make my vote.

MANIGAULT: April 27.

EALONS: And that is when I will make my decision because I am actually...

MANIGAULT: In flux.

EALONS: ...Reading...

MANIGAULT: In flux.

EALONS: ...Their policies in order to make my decision. But I'm also looking at mechanics. And when I look at mechanics and I may say oh, when Bernie said, you know, black people, ghetto, traditionally speak - and I made a comment that he should listen to his black advisers that are on his campaign and figure out a way to actually connect to black votes. And when I tell you everybody who were Bernie supporters, from white liberals who tell me oh, you should vote for him because he will do good for blacks - you can't tell me that. I'm reading everything. And so it's been very interesting. The whole environment seems different to me than, say, in 2008 when you were in a primary.

MARTIN: What about you, Omarosa? Your support for Donald Trump - are you - is that prompting conversations with people that you might...

MANIGAULT: Oh, my gosh...

MARTIN: not have thought you were going to have?

MANIGAULT: Absolutely. I mean, he announced last summer, and people called him a joke and said he couldn't be serious. And they know that I've known him and had a relationship with that family since 2003. But they're like oh, he'll never make it through the summer, then they said he will never make it through the fall, then they said he'd never make it through December. And, you know, here we are, and so my friend is running for president. And he does have a vision, and I hear so many different people say different things about him. And all I would say to those folks is you have to vote your interests. You have to be passionate about your candidate, about the issues that impact your lives. In my community, jobs are very important. The economy is very important. The justice system is very important. And I love seeing all the protesters, but the truth is you can come to a Trump rally but he can't change any of the conditions right now. The person who can is sitting in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Black Lives Matter emerged during the time of having an African-American president. And now if we want to have a real dialogue about changing the conditions of African-Americans in this country, that dialogue needs to start with the person who currently holds...

MARTIN: OK.

MANIGAULT: ...The office.

MARTIN: Let me hear from Deepa on this, final thought from you?

IYER: Yeah, well, I've also been talking to some parents, right, about what the conversation is with children. I mean, I have a 5-year-old, so a little young to have these conversations. But parents of kids who are 9, 10 years old talk about - and especially if they're people of color or they're, you know, raising immigrant kids - that their children are asking questions like why do they hate me? Why don't they like people who look like me, my skin color or that we speak a different language, right? So again, there's this sense of a division about who is American, who belongs in this country, who's welcome, who's safe. And...

MANIGAULT: It's not that legals do not belong in the country...

MARTIN: Let her finish her thought...

MANIGAULT: Illegals definitely shouldn't be...

MARTIN: Hold on, Deepa. Omarosa...

MANIGAULT: ...Yeah.

MARTIN: ...Let Deepa finish her thought.

IYER: And so I think that this conversation is permeating to the level of our children as well. And I think it's something that we need to take really seriously about who belongs, who's American and how can we make sure that everyone feels like they are welcome and safe.

MARTIN: You know, it is interesting - we only have about a minute left, so it's not enough time to dig into this - but one of our colleagues did report a story the other day with parents who are saying they can't let their children listen to the debates because people are modeling behavior that they don't want their kids to emulate. And that seems to be...

MANIGAULT: Well, they're also perpetuating...

MARTIN: Go ahead, Omarosa, you can finish that thought...

MANIGAULT: Yeah, they're not perpetuating...

MARTIN: ...Very briefly.

MANIGAULT: ...Virtues. I heard a little kid say that Donald Trump wants to kick out all Mexicans. And he's never said that. And that's where the parents have to come in and educate about illegal immigration. If you're illegal in this country, you know, you're breaking the law. And that's where parents need to inform the children about that...

MARTIN: I think he did say that, Omarosa.

MANIGAULT: ...And not perpetuate...

MARTIN: OK.

MANIGAULT: No, no, no, no...

MARTIN: We'll report all this online and make sure everybody has the full facts as we understand them. We'll make sure we clarify that. All right, we have to leave it there for now. So that's Omarosa Manigault - you've heard her - you've seen her many times and she's written books and she's an ordained minister. Dru Ealons is with us, political blogger, and Deep Iyer, civil rights activist and author. Thank you all so much for joining us.

EALONS: Thank you.

IYER: Thanks for having me. It was fun.

MANIGAULT: Thank you for having us.

IYER: Thank you, bye-bye.

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