NPR Politics Podcast: The Aftermath Of Orlando The NPR Politics podcast is back with its weekly roundup of political news, including responses to the mass shooting in Orlando from Democrats and Republicans.
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Politics Podcast: The Aftermath Of Orlando

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Politics Podcast: The Aftermath Of Orlando

Politics Podcast: The Aftermath Of Orlando

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SAM SANDERS, TAMARA KEITH, SARAH MCCAMMON AND DOMENICO MONTANARO: Thank you for listening to the NPR POLITICS PODCAST. We want to let you know you can check out the NPR One app for exclusive content from NPR's hit podcast...


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SANDERS, KEITH, MCCAMMON AND MONTANARO: Invisibilia. Find the brand-new season of Invisibilia, stories from your local station and more great podcasts on NPR One. It's on your app store now.


SANDERS: Hey, y'all. It's the NPR POLITICS PODCAST here with our wrap of the week's political news. And it was a really, really hard week of news. We're going to talk about Orlando today, and there's an episode in your feed behind this one that gets into some of the response of the attack. We'll cover that a bit more along with all of the issues that tragedy has raised. Of course we'll also have a few listener questions and Can't Let It Go, when we all share one thing we just cannot stop thinking about this week. I am Sam Sanders, campaign reporter.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: I'm Tamara Keith. I cover the White House and the campaign.

SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: I'm Sarah McCammon, campaign reporter.

DOMENICO MONTANARO, BYLINE: And I'm Domenico Montanaro, political editor.

SANDERS: So - very rough week. This week saw an attack, a vicious attack on the LGBTQ community. Forty-nine people were killed at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, most of them gay and lesbian, queer. The president himself has called this not just an act of terror but also an act of hate.

KEITH: And, you know, it can be both. Like, that was the thing this week, is that for a while, there was this fight about is this a terrorism conversation or is this a conversation about a hate crime or is this a conversation about guns? And I think the answer is it can be everything.

SANDERS: Be all of them, yeah.

MCCAMMON: And we're only allowed to talk about one thing at once, right?

SANDERS: And, like, this had so many things wrapped up together. Like, it was about faith. It was about religion. It was about sexuality. It was about race. It was about mental health and domestic abuse. Like, all of these pieces were in this puzzle this week.

MONTANARO: I think the disappointing thing about our politics is that you wind up with something that's such a - has so many different hot-button political issues. You have a Muslim man who had declared allegiance to ISIS whose wife had said he was mentally unstable.

SANDERS: And domestic - and he abused her.

KEITH: Ex-wife. Ex-wife.

MONTANARO: And then he targeted, obviously, gays and lesbians at this nightclub, and he had easy access to a gun. So when you think about all of those issues, there's so much there for a politician to cherry pick, to say this is the real problem. You saw Republicans immediately go to the radicalization issue and say that they didn't want to talk about some of the other stuff. Then you had Democrats on the other side who played up the gun issue and the easy access to a gun. And the kind of bridge that nobody can really get to or talk about - 'cause it's probably the hardest to solve - is the mental health portion of this. And it's a lot harder - it's easy to see what the problem is but it's a much harder solution to come up with.

MCCAMMON: And it's harder to figure out, too, what does that mean? I mean because millions of Americans have mental health problems of one sort or another, and most of them are not violent. So how do you know which small percentage of people who have mental health problems might do something like this? And then what about the people who never show signs?

SANDERS: And there's all the stigma. That's - you know, that's not an easy thing to talk about in a political climate like this one where people in no way seem to want to figure that out together.

KEITH: And for much of the week, it felt like what got lost in between the fight about guns and the fight about terrorism was the hate part. The LGBT community - I feel like the LGBT community really got lost.

SANDERS: And there were so - there were lots of politicians who were reluctant to even mention the fact that it was a hate crime and an attack on the gay community. And it seemed as if, like...

KEITH: Yeah. No, I think at times it seemed like the gay community lost its trauma. Like, its trauma was lost in - well, it's terrorism. Let's talk about terrorism. That's easier to talk about. We know how to talk about terrorism.

SANDERS: Yeah, and, like, this was an attack on the gay community. And, you know, June 26 actually marks one year since the Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage. Clinton and Trump and Obama have all at some point opposed gay marriage in their careers.

KEITH: I think America - America has evolved. (Laughter). You know, like, going back to 2008, there were no candidates who supported gay marriage. And in part, they didn't think it was possible. Some of the candidates just didn't think it was possible. And then you go to 2012, and everybody was like, oh, my gosh, Barack Obama said he supports gay marriage. Is that going to hurt his chances in the election? And then it didn't.

SANDERS: I also think that, like, gay marriage is not the only issue I think that is important to the community. Like, supporting gay marriage, like, on its own does not mean that one is in support.

MONTANARO: Well, it's funny, right, because it's like...

SANDERS: It's one thing. It's one plank, right?

MONTANARO: ...It's like with immigration reform and the Latino community. Like, everyone talks about immigration reform like it's the only thing Latinos care about. And when you think about the gay community trying to get, you know, same-sex marriage to be legal in this country, everyone seems to think, like, that's the mark of acceptance, is whether or not you support same-sex marriage.

KEITH: It's become, like, a shorthand for, how do you feel about gay rights as a whole?

MCCAMMON: A sort of stand in.

SANDERS: Yes. And we'll talk more about that, but first, let's play some tape of the president. He met today with families of the victims in Orlando. Here's a bit of what he had to say afterwards.


BARACK OBAMA: These families could be our families. In fact, they are our family. They're part of the American family. And today the vice president and I told them on behalf of the American people that our hearts are broken too, and that we stand with you, and that we are here for you and that we are remembering those who you loved so deeply.

KEITH: You know, this is one of the those jobs that the president has that is incredibly difficult and incredibly important. It's the sort of consoler-in-chief role, where President Obama and many presidents before him - there's a great national tragedy, whether it be a tornado or a hurricane or, in President Obama's case, it's been any number of these...

SANDERS: He's had like more than a dozen of these mass shootings to respond to, right?

KEITH: Yeah. He goes and he meets behind closed doors with these families. And he says he's sorry. And the country is with them. And there's like - there's only so much that he can say.


KEITH: But, you know - and talking to people who've been in the room with the president, there's this sense that he's a stand-in for one giant hug from the American people.

MONTANARO: What's fascinating though about President Obama and this consoler-in-chief role is when you look at what he's started to talk about post Newtown, he changed his formula because...

SANDERS: There was some more anger in there.

MONTANARO: ...He started to get irritated by the fact that there was such a lack of action on guns that he started to say, no, now is the time for politics because the idea that people used to say, like...

MCCAMMON: Don't politicize this...

MONTANARO: ...Don't politicize this.

KEITH: ...Thoughts and prayers.

MONTANARO: Right. And President Obama decided to say, no, we need politics because politics, for people who believe in government, is something that can make a difference and that - further time gets away from that event, then fewer things actually happen.

SANDERS: All right, let's talk more about gun policy. Trump and the NRA are going to meet. He tweeted this week that he would meet with them about not selling guns to people on terror watch lists or no-fly lists. Is that going to happen? What is that about?

MCCAMMON: Right. So this is the so-called no-fly, no-buy proposal of which - there've been a couple in Congress that would basically say if you're on a terrorist watch list, you can't buy a gun. This is something that, after past mass shootings, Democrats have tried to get through Congress without success. And so Donald Trump tweeted out that he's going to meet with the NRA, who just endorsed him a couple weeks ago. He's made much of that endorsement in his recent speeches.

He says he's going to meet with the NRA and talk about coming to some kind of an agreement on that kind of proposal, which is very much at odds with the NRA's position. So far the campaign hasn't given any details about when or where or how this meeting will take place. The NRA doesn't sound thrilled about making any changes to its position. But we will see.

KEITH: Yeah, this is baffling to me because Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and many, many Democrats in the Senate are advocating for this no buy, no-fly thing and then Donald Trump tweets out well, I'm going to talk to the NRA about this thing.

SANDERS: Now, the NRA does say that they don't want terrorists having guns either. And so they had a statement yesterday that basically said they...

MCCAMMON: Are willing to meet with Trump...


MCCAMMON: But their position, their concern about this is basically if you tell somebody who tries to buy a gun you can't buy a gun because you're on the terrorist watch list that it's going to raise sort of an alarm, and they're going to know they're being watched. You know, that's the NRA's argument.

MONTANARO: A couple of points here though on this. This is again to me like Donald Trump again not understanding a conservative position. And the reason I say this is because of this NRA statement. Donald Trump had said previously, you know, about abortion, for example, that - when he was on MSNBC with Chris Matthews and was at this town hall, he was asked about, you know, whether or not women should be punished.


DONALD TRUMP: And the answer is that there has to be some form of punishment.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: For the woman?

TRUMP: Yeah, there has to be some form.

MATTHEWS: Ten cents, 10 years, what?

TRUMP: I don't know - that I don't know, that I don't know.

MATTHEWS: Well, why not?

TRUMP: I don't know.

MATTHEWS: You think...

MONTANARO: But if you listen to what the president of the Concerned Women for America, which is a very, you know, antiabortion rights group, had to say about this on "Morning Edition" with Mary Louise Kelly, you can see why their group was pretty irritated with him.


PEGGY YOUNG NANCE: We believe that women who choose abortion are absolutely desperate. And if he knew us better, he would've known that...

MARY LOUISE KELLY, BYLINE: Us meaning conservative women?

NANCE: As conservative pro-life women, he would have known how to answer that question. Let me just tell you that...

MONTANARO: So there's the point, right? She's saying that women who choose an abortion are desperate. And this is because this argument has been had for 40 years when it comes to abortion rights. And people on the right have a way of talking about it that they want to say doesn't make them sound like they're not caring about women.

On the gun issue, bringing this back to that, it's another subject where the NRA and Republicans in Congress already have...

SANDERS: A stance.

MONTANARO: ...A stance on this that Donald Trump appears to be unaware of because there's a bill in Congress proposing basically a three-day waiting period, and then the government has to show probable cause to be able to say that somebody couldn't buy a gun who was named on that list because their point is that the Second Amendment, like the First Amendment, should be universal for everybody unless there is something that you can definitely prove to say that that person doesn't deserve it. So this is their way to have cover to say we don't think terrorists should have guns, of course. But there should be due process so that people can maintain their right to bear arms.

SANDERS: So this is yet another instance where Trump is not in line with his party that seems to have worked for him in the primaries. Does it work for him now?

MCCAMMON: And if I could give one more example, I mean, we heard a little bit of this in the way he talked about LGBT rights in his press conference - or in his speech in New Hampshire on Monday. He did not shy away from the LGBT angle of the Orlando shooting. He mentioned gays and lesbians. I counted, like, three or four times in that speech.


TRUMP: It's an assault on the ability of free people to live their lives, love who they want and express their identity.

America must do more - much more - to protect its citizens, especially people who are potential victims of crimes based on their backgrounds or sexual orientation.

I refuse to allow America to become a place where gay people, Christian people, Jewish people are targets of persecution...

MCCAMMON: And again, this was multiple references to gays and lesbians, something that Republicans haven't been eager to talk about. The Republican platform is still against same-sex marriage, even though it's legal. And you hear Trump making this argument that Hillary Clinton is less of a friend to gays and lesbians than he is.


TRUMP: And for the gays out there - ask the gays and ask the people - ask the gays what they think and what they do in not only Saudi Arabia, in many of these countries with the gay community, just ask. And then you tell me who's your friend, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton? You tell me. You tell me.

MCCAMMON: Which sort of spun this whole hashtag on Twitter this week #AskTheGays.

MONTANARO: Ask the gays.

MCCAMMON: Right, you guys saw that?

MONTANARO: Some great .gifs from that hashtag.

MCCAMMON: Point being he's off message once again.

KEITH: Let's just say the gays have weighed in. The Human Rights Campaign, various other organizations have endorsed Hillary Clinton.



KEITH: Just to be clear.

MONTANARO: And that's - and look, that's Trump's syntax, right? I mean, he just speaks in that way that's just not like most people. But I will say politically this attempt at an olive branch to the gay and lesbian community - he might think that that's a good idea politically in the way that he talks about it. But what he might actually wind up doing is - first of all, you're not going to - he's not going to win over the gay and lesbian community.

SANDERS: Not by calling them the gays, first of all.

MONTANARO: And as Tam mentioned, Hillary Clinton has been endorsed by every gay rights activist organization that's out there. She's been, you know, involved in gay rights and minority rights for a long time.

And so when Donald Trump's going to try to do something that's really high risk, not win them over and then alienate parts of his base - and gravity is starting to - maybe starting to kick in here. And whether or not he figures it out and can make a change, it's not at all clear that that's going to happen at all.

SANDERS: So one big moment this week was President Obama's reaction to Donald Trump's reaction to the shooting. He made some remarks on Tuesday that many said was as angry as we've seen him.

He was talking about how determined ISIS is to attack in America calling for a ban on assault weapons so terrorists can't use them. Let's hear a bit of that. And we should say in the pauses here the president was staring right into a crowd of reporters looking very frustrated, really emphasizing each point.


OBAMA: We now have proposals from the presumptive Republican nominee for president of the United States to bar all Muslims from emigrating to America. We hear language that singles out immigrants and suggests entire religious communities are complicit in violence. Where does this stop?

SANDERS: He went on to say fueling the notion that the West hates Muslims is exactly what ISIS wants, that it makes us less safe and that it betrays American values.


OBAMA: Are we going to start treating all Muslim-Americans differently? Are we going to start subjecting them to special surveillance? Are we going to start discriminating against them because of their faith? We've heard these suggestions during the course of this campaign.

MONTANARO: The back half of his speech there was really what was amazing because he just spent most of it calling out Donald Trump and not by name. He just said the presumptive Republican nominee because he was talking about how Trump says that he shouldn't use the - that he doesn't use the phrase radical Islam.


OBAMA: Not once has an adviser of mine said, man, if we really use that phrase, we're going to turn this whole thing around, not once.

MONTANARO: I mean, this was peak Obama irritation with Donald Trump. The, you know, the birther in chief who's now coming for his job. He thinks that he's dangerous to the country. His national security advisers have said that Obama sees him as a threat to the country because of the way he talks.

SANDERS: All right. So all of this must have the GOP establishment going bonkers. Lots of them are supporting Trump like with a 10-foot pole from afar.

KEITH: Yeah. There were a bunch of people this week who were like so I'm done talking about Trump. Like you can try to ask me about Donald Trump, but I'm not going to...


KEITH: ...Talk about Donald Trump. These are members of the Senate and the...

MCCAMMON: Republicans, right?

KEITH: ...House of Representatives, Republicans.

SANDERS: And they're doing the thing where they're like, yes, the things he says are racist or offensive or wrong, but I still support him.

MONTANARO: Some of them actually - some of them are saying that they're not ready to support him or they're not there yet or he needs to change. I mean, some of them like Paul Ryan who did call his comments racist said that he - about the judge who was overseeing the Trump University fraud lawsuit who Trump made a point of calling out his Mexican heritage and that that's why he's biased.

That has really seemed to change things for Trump. And you have Paul Ryan, though - his calculus is to say, you know, I still support him because he feels like he will be the best vehicle for his agenda - for the Paul Ryan agenda - as opposed to Hillary Clinton, who he says will take none of it.

SANDERS: And so yesterday in Atlanta, Trump had some things to say about GOP leaders himself.


TRUMP: And be quiet. Just please be quiet. Don't talk. Please, be quiet. Just be quiet to the leaders because they have to get tougher. They have to get sharper. They have to get smarter. We have to have our Republicans either stick together or let me just do it by myself. I'll do very well. I'm going to do very well, OK?

MONTANARO: He went real New Yorky on that.

KEITH: He did.

MONTANARO: Yeah. Don't talk. Don't talk.

MCCAMMON: And also - I mean, what can he do by himself? I mean, that's...

SANDERS: He can't...

MONTANARO: He's saying like the power of his personality. He'll do it on his own. Everybody get out of his way.

KEITH: Well...

MONTANARO: But that's...

SANDERS: That's not true.

MONTANARO: That's not how it works, yeah.

MCCAMMON: I think he's also saying if you think this is helping me then just be quiet because it's not helping.

SANDERS: But like when you think about what you need for a general - the fundraising apparatus, the organization in all of these states - doesn't he actually need the party for that? He cannot do this alone. He cannot do what he did in the primaries, right?

MCCAMMON: But he thinks he can continue to - from what I've heard from the campaign and what we've just seen - I think he really thinks he can continue to draw big crowds. I mean, he's going to places. I think this next week where - that aren't really swing states but where he can raise money. And he's holding a rally pretty much every place he goes because he can get media attention and that's what's worked...


MCCAMMON: ...For him so far.

SANDERS: So seeing this disarray on the GOP side - it's the opposite of the unity we saw a few weeks ago when it felt like the GOP was united around Trump, and the Democrats seemed to be completely divided, right, Tamara?

KEITH: Yeah. I mean, a couple of weeks ago, the Republicans had consolidated and Hillary Clinton was still fighting on two fronts and battling with Bernie Sanders. And there was just, like, this huge clamor of, like, look at how divided the Democrats are.

Well, this week it became very clear that the Democrats are lined up together. One example of that happened on Tuesday. We already heard a little bit about President Obama's speech. At the very same time that President Obama was speaking, Hillary Clinton was giving a speech in Pittsburgh. She did use Donald Trump's name. But she was also giving a rebuttal to his comments. And the overlap between what they were saying and the case they were making was remarkable. It almost sounded at times like they were reading from the same script.


OBAMA: So there's no magic to the phrase radical Islam.


HILLARY CLINTON: Is Donald Trump suggesting that there are magic words that once uttered will stop terrorists from coming after us?


OBAMA: This is a political distraction.


CLINTON: He has to distract us from the fact he has nothing substantive to say for himself.


OBAMA: People with possible ties to terrorism who aren't allowed on a plane shouldn't be allowed to buy a gun.


CLINTON: If you're too dangerous to get on a plane, you are too dangerous buy a gun. Enough is enough.

KEITH: That...

MCCAMMON: They're on message.

KEITH: Yeah, they are on message.

SANDERS: And like, you look at that, you look at the rollout of all the endorsements of Clinton - was it a week or two ago?

KEITH: It was just last week.

SANDERS: Yeah. And then you look at their action this week on guns, like, the Democrats are, like, not just in line, like, they are in the formation. They are so united right now.

KEITH: There is a high level of - I hate this word - but synergy.

SANDERS: Yeah. And Clinton's up in the polls right now.

MONTANARO: It's also the first look, though, at what the fall campaign will look like. I mean, this is the first time in at least 100 years that you're going to have a sitting president campaign for his desired successor. I mean, that's unbelievable if you think about that. And he's - you know, he's young. He's still going to be out there campaigning very hard and trying to get that coalition of his together to form around Hillary Clinton. You saw what...

SANDERS: Why has it been 100 years, though...


SANDERS: ...Since a sitting president has...

MONTANARO: ...There - well, I mean, you have to look at anybody who's served two terms and wants to campaign for their successor. You look at 2008, George W. Bush was highly...

KEITH: He was toxic.

MONTANARO: He was very unpopular. He did not keep campaign with John McCain. You look at Bill Clinton and Al Gore not wanting to campaign with Bill Clinton after the Monica Lewinsky scandal. It was probably a mistake on his part. You look at 1988, where some people will argue this point that George H.W. Bush didn't - he didn't really campaign with Ronald Reagan. And then you start looking back further and further and further and it's a mix of unpopular versus older presidents, people who had gotten sick. You wind up with this situation where you have Barack Obama, who's got over 50 percent approval rating at the end of his second term, and he's still going - and he's still - you can tell he wants to be out on the campaign trail and especially against Donald Trump, making sure he's not the person he's going to be writing those letters to, you know, to keep on his desk to say welcome to the White House.

SANDERS: All right, time for a quick break. When we come back, we will talk about the Democratic filibuster that was not actually a filibuster, and we'll also discuss Bernie Sanders.


SANDERS: Hey all, Sam Sanders here in Sound Bites, the NPR cafeteria giving a tour to Sarah Bowman (ph), an NPR POLITICS PODCAST listener. She's going to read this promo for us right now.

SARAH BOWMAN: Hey there. Invisibilia, NPR's podcast about the invisible forces that control human behavior, is back with a new season and a new co-host. On this week's episode, Hanna Rosin...

SANDERS: Hanna Rosin...

BOWMAN: Hanna travels to Louisiana to explore a very unusual oil rig. And Alex (ph)...

SANDERS: Alix Spiegel...

BOWMAN: Alix Spiegel tells the story of an American restaurant that's caused a cultural revolution in the Soviet Union. You can listen and subscribe to "Invisibilia" at and on the NPR One app. OK, back to the show.

SANDERS: Give her a podcast. That was great. Thank you.

All right, let's talk about this filibuster by Senate Democrats to demand a vote on some incremental gun-control measures. So actually, first we've got to point out it wasn't technically a filibuster. Who can explain this for me?

KEITH: Well, it wasn't technically a filibuster because they weren't trying to stop a bill from being passed. They weren't trying to prevent a vote or prevent debate. There wasn't anything scheduled. They were just taking control of the floor in the midst of a discussion of something. So it wasn't technically a filibuster. It was a talk-a-thon.

SANDERS: What was the discussion about initially that they broke into?

KEITH: An appropriations bill, but there was no imminent vote. They weren't preventing - it was just...


KEITH: ...Dead time.

SANDERS: Raising awareness.

MONTANARO: That's sort of the standard on whether or not it's a filibuster is if you're filibustering a bill, you're trying to start up a bill from advancing. You know, and this is something that's sort of gained popularity because you gain media attention out of it. I mean, you look at the hundreds of thousands of people who clicked on the story online just on our website to look at what Democrats were doing on the floor. You see it brought - you know, taken on cable news for people to watch something that had normally been relegated to C-SPAN. You saw...

MCCAMMON: That's how Ted Cruz rose to fame. Many of the followers...

SANDERS: Oh yeah.

MCCAMMON: ...I met, you know, in the primary - many of his followers were like yeah, I watched his...


MCCAMMON: ...Quote, unquote, "filibusters."

MONTANARO: And Bernie Sanders, too. I mean, Bernie Sanders...

SANDERS: And Rand Paul filibustered.

MONTANARO: That's right. But they weren't filibusters.

KEITH: None of them were filibusters.

MONTANARO: None of them were actual filibusters.

KEITH: None of them were actual filibusters.

MONTANARO: Actually, the Ted Cruz...

SANDERS: So what should we call them? What should the word be?

KEITH: I like talk-a-thon.

MONTANARO: Talk-a-thon or they were holding the floor. The Ted Cruz one, by the way, I used to like to say because Harry Reid has scheduled something for the morning on this, and then they - when they finished business in the Senate, that's when Ted Cruz began to talk, the day before. And he talked, talked, talked, talked, talked until the Senate began business again, which is kind of like going to a store that you really don't like, the owner closes the gates, you get really mad and you're yelling at the door. And then the owner comes back and opens the gates, and then you just leave. Like, that's basically what Ted Cruz did.

SANDERS: That was deep.



SANDERS: I didn't watch the whole filibuster - the not filibuster. What kind of things were they saying on the floor yesterday?

KEITH: This was all about guns. This was all about trying to raise awareness for gun legislation, for the no fly, no buy, for closing gun show and Internet sales loopholes. And they have secured agreement to vote on amendments related to these things, though it seems likely that they would have secured that agreement without this. But they got attention for it. This was Democrats - they went to the floor. Chris Murphy, the senator from Connecticut who represented Newtown at the time of the shooting - still represents Newtown, but he was a congressman - and that shooting of those children at Sandy Hook deeply affected him and has sort of changed his whole congressional career. This audio we're about to hear is as Chris Murphy was winding down, around 2 o'clock in the morning.


CHRIS MURPHY: It doesn't take courage to stand here on the floor of the United States Senate for two hours or six hours or 14 hours.

SANDERS: Yeah, so he was telling the story of a teacher at Sandy Hook who died trying to save a small boy in her class. She was found with that boy, Dylan Hockley, also dead, wrapped in her arms.


MURPHY: If Anne Marie Murphy could do that, then ask yourself what can you do to make sure that Orlando or Sandy Hook never, ever happens again? With deep gratitude to all those who have endured this very, very late night, I yield the floor.

SANDERS: So what's going to come of this?

MONTANARO: Well, the - what was the agreement for him to be able to get off the floor, right? I mean, they eventually agreed to sort of agree that they would vote on their amendments and on their bills.

KEITH: Voting does not equal passage.

MONTANARO: And remember, Republicans control both chambers, and that doesn't mean that they're going to try to pass anything. And remember, we talked about the fact that the NRA has a position on a bill that they say does not allow terrorists to have guns.

KEITH: Though I don't want to completely dismiss this as useless or whatever. I do think that Senator Murphy and his colleagues did raise awareness in a way. They put pressure on their colleagues. There are Republicans up for reelection in a handful of states that are going to have tough reelection fights. And, you know, the really fascinating thing about all of this stuff is that in past elections, people just wouldn't talk about guns.


KEITH: It was his third rail. You just - let's just - especially Democrats, let's just not talk about this. Hillary Clinton has made it a campaign issue. These Democrats all got up and gave these speeches, and they're making a very big push on it. Now, maybe things continue not to change. But there is a growing level of, like, hey, we're just not going to give up on this and go away just because our politics are broken.

MONTANARO: And Democrats definitely think that - I mean, it's true that some of the elements of these bills that they want passed are widely popular. It's just what are people's priorities? Because when you look over the course of the Obama years - Pew Research Center's done a pretty good job on polling on guns. And the question they usually point to is which do you need to protect more, gun ownership or should we control guns? And that number actually was further apart. It used to be that controlling gun ownership was the most important thing among those two by a wide margin. And now it's very split - 50-47 in favor of controlling gun ownership.

SANDERS: OK. So there was one senator who was not on the floor with Democrats during the filibuster, Bernie Sanders. He has been in Vermont. The primary is now officially over for the Democrats. Clinton won that last D.C. primary very, very big. Sanders, of this taping, is still officially in the race. What do we know about where he stands now and what he wants next?

KEITH: Well, tonight he is doing a video conference with his supporters...

SANDERS: A Livestream.

KEITH: A Livestream where he is not expected to drop out of the race. And...

SANDERS: Really?

KEITH: That is the reporting that I've seen is that he is not expected to concede to Hillary Clinton.

MONTANARO: I wish we had a couple beers in here or something because then I'd pour one out for the primaries. They're over, guys. There's no more primaries.


MONTANARO: So that's...

SANDERS: You're really excited.

MONTANARO: I am very excited about...

KEITH: We have been waiting for this day for months.

SANDERS: But, y'all, we've still got five months of crazy town...

MONTANARO: And it's not quite over, right? 'Cause Bernie Sanders has not exactly thrown the towel in. He's supposed to address his supporters. We're going to see what he winds up saying. There's no indication that he's going to concede.

SANDERS: In a week like this, optically, does it play well for him?

KEITH: Here's the thing. He had many opportunities where he could've gotten out on top, but this feels a little bit like Michael Jordan retiring...

SANDERS: Going to play baseball.

KEITH: ...After he did - and then coming back and then retiring again but never being as good. I mean...

SANDERS: But doesn't he lose all leverage as far as demands...

MONTANARO: If he gets out.

SANDERS: ...If he drops out?

MONTANARO: No, so I...

SANDERS: He needs to stay in to be able to fight for something.

MONTANARO: It's not even staying in 'cause at this point, like, there's nothing to win. Like, he knows...


MONTANARO: ...That he's not - that he doesn't have enough votes. He doesn't have enough delegates. He's not going to be the nominee. But what is fascinating, though, to Tam's point, if President Obama endorsed Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, the vice president, Elizabeth Warren, he loses even more leverage as Hillary Clinton's poll numbers go up because the real leverage he's got is that she needs his supporters to be able to beat Donald Trump. He also - there's very little incentive that you can sort of dangle for him to get him to completely concede and rally behind Hillary Clinton. He doesn't have a future in the Democratic Party to run for president again. There's no indication he wants to go and do that again like Hillary Clinton did in 2008 to run in 2012. So he wants to effect some kind of party change, whether it's these rules or it's...

KEITH: We should talk about what those rules are.

MONTANARO: Yeah, getting rid of superdelegates, number one.

MCCAMMON: The primary process.

MONTANARO: Yeah, in the primary process, Bernie Sanders wants to get rid of these superdelegates - felt like they were unfair to him. He wants to open up the system so that you have...

KEITH: Open primaries.

MONTANARO: ...Open primaries where independents can vote in these processes instead of having just Democrats be able to vote in certain states. Lot harder said than done because it's not the national party that actually does most of that stuff except for superdelegates.

MCCAMMON: I mean, what can...

MONTANARO: It's state by state.

MCCAMMON: What can the DNC or even...


MCCAMMON: Hillary Clinton, if she's the nominee, or I mean, you know, she's the presumptive nominee, what can they do, you know, to change the state level of primary processes?

MONTANARO: Oh, well, the state level of primary processes, the only thing that the national party can do is incentivize or de-incentivize when they can go or what kinds of primaries they can hold by holding out punishments - saying things like, if you - this happened in 2008, where they didn't want people to jump ahead of other states so they said, if you decide to go ahead of x date, you're going to lose half of your delegates. And they did wind up stripping Michigan and Florida, and that was - you know, became very controversial. Those are the kinds of things that I think Bernie Sanders would like to see this - the national party try to affect more.

MCCAMMON: And some sense of just validation, right, of everything that he's been campaigning for and that has energized his supporters.

MONTANARO: Yeah. He needs something to hold onto to say it's a win for him. You know, he wants the message in particular to be the thing that the party winds up changing itself on. That party platform is something that they're going to argue for.

SANDERS: OK. We've got to take one more quick break. We'll be right back with listener mail and Can't Let It Go.


SANDERS: All right, time for some mail. Reminder to email us your questions or feedback at And maybe if you want to you can record your question on your phone and send it to us there. Again, We'll even play a few next week maybe. All right.

First question comes from Keith (ph). He writes so what happens if Trump drops out in October after the convention? Are there deadlines for a party to change their line on the ballot? How about write-in possibilities? Thanks very much. Love the podcast.

KEITH: And I would just add to that what if something happens to Hillary Clinton, like she falls ill or any of these other things?


MONTANARO: OK, well, thank you for broadening that out because that's where I was was going. I wasn't going to go very specific to deadlines because it's important. First of all, I want to hold up two sheets of paper. And you guys can see the text on both of these. Can you pick which one might be the Democrats and which one might be the Republicans?

SANDERS: That's the Republican.

KEITH: I think Democrats are more complicated, you know?

MONTANARO: So - there you go. So the piece of paper with more words (laughter) was the Democrats. The Republican one is like four paragraphs. So because we asked about the Republicans, there's a rule nine in the Republican bylaws called filling vacancies in nomination. So this is - never mind just the convention, what if someone falls ill or whatever else? So thank you, Tam.

And essentially the idea is that they would - they would convene the members of the national committee and they would convene all of the delegates. OK. Not necessarily redo the whole convention, but you would convene all of the voting delegates. They'd get the number of votes that they were entitled to, and then somebody would have to get a majority of the votes that were entitled to be cast in the election. So there you go. They would get back together. They would all have to vote, and you'd see who the person would be. That could absolutely lead to lots of drama and lots of, you know, ballots.

KEITH: Party in Cleveland, part deux.

MONTANARO: No, no, no. We did all of this stuff talking and thinking about what would happen and here you've got this. The Democrats have something similar. It's essentially the same thing with just lots of more percentages and words to fill all of the vacancies and every single potential nuance and detail. But basically in section eight, attendance and quorum and voting part B, they essentially say the same thing that a majority of the full membership present in person that votes will fill the vacancy for a national ticket.

SANDERS: All right. This is a question from John (ph). He writes on your podcast on Thursday you cited some good nonpartisan books about Hillary Clinton and some of the issues that have affected her. Can you give us some insightful books about Donald Trump?

MCCAMMON: He's written quite a few of his own if you wanted to get a start there. Those are primary source material. I think - didn't Ron Elving send us a list?

MONTANARO: So one author, Michael D'Antonio, has actually written two books about Donald Trump. One's called "Never Enough: Donald Trump And The Pursuit Of Success." And then he just came out with a new one this year "The Truth About Trump." So, you know, of course, there's always going to be some kind of agenda one way or the other with some of these books. Take them with a grain of salt.

You can also read "The Art Of The Deal" of course which Donald Trump has written. And that can tell you a lot about his thinking and his mindset. And I would also, by the way, recommend our radio series Journey Home that Ailsa Chang worked on - Donald Trump's background to tell you about what he was like as a kid and having to go to military school. You can learn all about why that happened if you look that up.

SANDERS: All right. Now it's time for Can't Let It Go, when we all share something we just cannot stop thinking about this week, politics or otherwise. Tamara, you are first.

KEITH: All right, so emperor Trumpetine (ph).


SANDERS: Wait what?

KEITH: (Laughter).

SANDERS: You people are going a little too far.

KEITH: There is a...

SANDERS: That delivery also was impeccable.

KEITH: (Laughter) It is someone tweeting about "Star Wars" in the - basically the voice of Donald Trump.

SANDERS: Do you have some tweets?

KEITH: Oh, do I. Whiny Luke is totally unfair and biased against me. Can't even lift tiny X-wing out of swamp. Weak-minded person exclamation point.

Oh, see you guys aren't "Star Wars" nerds...


KEITH: ...So you're not going to laugh. OK. But hold on.

SANDERS: I'll laugh on this one.

KEITH: Hold on.

SANDERS: I'll laugh on this one. I promise.

KEITH: OK. We're going to build a great, great clone army - so big, so beautiful, smart and tough the Jedi will pay for it.

SANDERS: Oh, boy.

MCCAMMON: I wish I could engage with you more on this, Tam, but...


MCCAMMON: ...My family just forced me to watch the first - like, the original "Star Wars" for the first time ever last Christmas, so...

KEITH: Dopey Han is weak on bounty hunters...

SANDERS: Oh, boy.

KEITH: My people tell me Greedo pulled the trigger first...

SANDERS: This is...

KEITH: We'll keep pushing for truth.

SANDERS: This is "Star Wars" deep cuts...

MONTANARO: Right over my head.

KEITH: These aren't even the deep cuts people. I left out the ones...

MONTANARO: It'd be good if we...

SANDERS: Everything "Star Wars" is a deep cut if you're not into "Star Wars."


MONTANARO: I liked "Star Wars" but it was like my youth. And I liked to have fun...

SANDERS: We watched - so my first time watching "Star Wars" - I think my only time, too - was junior year AP English class. We watched it because my teacher claimed that every archetype in literature is...

KEITH: Is in "Star Wars."

SANDERS: ...Is found in the "Star Wars" movies.

MCCAMMON: Yeah. And that filled like - what? - four class periods for your teacher?

SANDERS: No, we watched it and wrote a essay about it...

MONTANARO: Exactly, Sarah.

SANDERS: ...And did this and yeah.

MONTANARO: Yeah. Why teach anything when you could just...

SANDERS: No, Ms. Donohue (ph) was great.

MONTANARO: ...When you could go down to a chat room...

SANDERS: Shout out to Ms. Donohue, if you're listening. You changed my life for the better.

MCCAMMON: I'm sure she was great. I'm just saying like...

KEITH: Because she made you watch "Star Wars."

MCCAMMON: I sympathize with teachers.

MONTANARO: Especially those four days off were great.

SANDERS: Can we go to the next thing?


KEITH: Oh, my God. Nobody laughed at a single. I've been - every time I wanted these...

SANDERS: Let's all laugh for Tamara on three. One, two, three.


KEITH: Oh, you guys.

MONTANARO: Who let Mitt Romney in here?

SANDERS: Who let the dogs out?

MCCAMMON: Please clap.

KEITH: Yeah. Please laugh.

SANDERS: Sarah, what can you not let go?

MCCAMMON: So mine like usually Can't Let It Go, I try to do something funny or light. But the thing that stayed with me is a little bit more serious this week. So I wrote this week about the Southern Baptist Convention passing a bunch of resolutions some of which, I think, surprised some people. They...

SANDERS: What's that group? Just to clarify.

MCCAMMON: Sorry. This is, like, the coalition of Baptist churches around the country. Nobody is really bound in Southern Baptist churches to necessarily follow everything the convention says. But it's sort of though their formal declaration of, you know, who they are as a group and what churches that are part of the convention believe. So one of the resolutions that got a lot of attention this week was basically calling for Southern Baptist to oppose the display of the Confederate flag. Here is Pastor James Merritt. He's from Duluth, Ga. He made a very emotional speech on the floor of the convention this week making this case.


JAMES MERRITT: Now, we call our brothers and sisters in Christ to discontinue the display of the Confederate battle flag as a sign of solidarity to the whole body of Christ, including our African-American brothers and sisters.

MCCAMMON: And what really sort of spoke to me about this moment was a couple of things. We are almost exactly a year out from the shooting at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. So here we are, you know, a year later - we're talking about Orlando, but a year ago this week that tragic event happened in Charleston, S.C. I was there. I covered it. I think some of...

SANDERS: I was there.

MCCAMMON: Sam, you were there as well. You know, that shook the nation. This week has shaken the nation. And that event touched - because that was a historic black church - touched off a big debate over the display of the Confederate flag, as probably a lot of people remember. For the Southern Baptist Convention, which is made up largely of Southern churches and has, as part of its history a segregation has passed, an advocacy of segregation, which the church apologized for seven years ago, its position on slavery. For them to come out and say we, in a move of solidarity we think it's the loving thing to do, we're going to say we don't think you should display this flag. I thought that was kind of a big moment and maybe a sign of a little bit of progress in this very somber week.

SANDERS: Yeah. Domenico, what can you not let go this week?

MONTANARO: Well, what I can't let go of this week was this story in Adweek and it's like something out of, like, a Dan Brown novel or something or they're trying to make it be...

SANDERS: Adweek is a magazine all about advertising, correct?

MONTANARO: OK, thank you. And the (laughter)...

SANDERS: Well, some folks haven't heard of Adweek.

MONTANARO: I understand. What it says is why are there errors in the White House logo and how did they get there? A conspiracy theory from a design agency that worked on it. So this all basically boils down to this ad agency called Hello Monday who had been invited by the White House to work on the White House redesign of the logo. Remember when the briefing room was redone they redid the logo as well.

And they submitted a design. Their design didn't get picked, but they found a couple of errors, including in one of the arches in the White House is now a triangle or a pyramid. And this started people thinking about the, like, Illuminati kind of things when the $20 bill was redesigned, you know...

SANDERS: Oh, the thing, yeah.

MONTANARO: ...The pyramid there and now people are saying there's this pyramid in the background of the White House logo. Regardless of all that, the logo is incorrect. I mean, like, it's not exactly like if you were to look at the north face of the White House. The way the logo is designed, that triangle or pyramid or whatever is actually supposed to be an archway. And in some of the windows, they stagger archway, pyramid, archway, pyramid, and they're wrong in the logo. So now you have a little bit of a movement to try to fix the White House logo. I think someone tweeted make the White House logo great again or at least correct again.

SANDERS: Has the White House responded?

MONTANARO: So it's interesting. I reached out to the White House today...

SANDERS: About this.


MONTANARO: And I, you know, and saying I think this is a very minor thing, but I'm just kind of wondering if you guys have heard about this or if there's any kind of movement...

SANDERS: Minor to you, not to them.

MONTANARO: Well, you know - and they said actually hadn't heard about this. Like, we will look into it. So we'll see. Maybe we'll have an update.

SANDERS: Do you think it's..

MONTANARO: Well, that's for others...

SANDERS: ...Nefarious?

MONTANARO: ...To decide. I don't know, you know?

SANDERS: That was very Trumpian (ph) of you. I don't know. If the people say.

MONTANARO: I don't know - wasn't me. Some people think that but it's not something that I know. I don't know what the White House has in mind.


KEITH: Sam, what can you not let go of?

SANDERS: Mine's a little serious this week, too. Orlando happened this week, and it hit me hard. And, you know, like, whenever there's a tragic event, like, you kind of always wonder when it's really going to hit you. So, like, I didn't really cry about it until this morning.

And I was just thinking about, like, this idea of safe spaces. You know, Sarah just mentioned that a year ago there was a shooting in Charleston, also an attack on a safe space for black people, the black church, right? And this was an attack on a gay club, which is a safe space for gay people. And...

KEITH: On Latin Night.

SANDERS: On Latin Night, right? So a doubly marginalized group of people, right? And I was just thinking all week, all this talk of the idea of the gay club as a safe space, and then I was thinking back about Charleston, being there, and the black church as a safe space. And I didn't understand why I felt so weird about hearing about safe spaces all week. And then it hit me this morning and I just - really broke me up. Like, the reason these marginalized communities have safe spaces and need safe spaces is because so often the space that they are every day is not safe for them, right? And so - sorry, guys. I just - it hurt me to think that in America today, there's still a need for safe spaces. Shouldn't all the space be safe, right? Like, you think about the mother who lost her life in Charleston. The reason she needed that safe space is because she's not sure when she leaves the church if her son might be killed for carrying a bag of Skittles or if her father might die for selling loose cigarettes, right? And you think about the people in the club in Orlando. The reason they need that safe space is because they're not sure if when they leave they'll get beat up for kissing their boyfriend or if they'll be able to keep their jobs because they're gay, right? And so what I hope that we do after this is understand that lots of people in America, in this society don't feel safe every day, and it's bigger than reaching out in solidarity after a shooting. It's a process that we should all be engaged in all the time, and I just hope that we can do that.

MCCAMMON: Thank you Sam.

SANDERS: Didn't expect that.


MCCAMMON: Yeah, I don't know if this is related to what you were just saying. As you were saying that, I was thinking about the extent to which both of those places - black churches and gay clubs - have been, you know, not only safe spaces for socializing and community and being yourself, but also, probably because they've been safe spaces, places where political activism has been birthed and where those groups have been able to come together and, you know, strategize. I mean, you think of all the political activism that came out of the black church, and you think of...

KEITH: Stonewall.

MCCAMMON: Stonewall, exactly. I mean so these places, like, it's more than - I mean, not to minimize in any way the emotional weight of it, but also, like, that it starts in those places where people can gather and then they go out into their communities and they can sometimes begin to, you know, make changes. And so in some ways, I mean, I can't speak for the gay community or the black community, but as you were saying that, I was thinking, wow, it's, like, doubly awful because it's, like, an attack on this place where some of the kind of change we need to see is almost birthed and, you know, that makes it, like, I don't know...

SANDERS: Yeah, it's icky.

MCCAMMON: Yeah, and it's eerie, too, that it is one year later. It's, like, here we are, you know?



MONTANARO: A lot of times in politics, the people and their feelings and, like, the things that actually affect them in real life wind up getting lost because everybody winds up fighting about the thing that they care about, which usually stems from something they're really passionate about, but - and then they can't understand why anybody on the other side can't understand why they feel the way they do about it, and it winds up going from sadness to anger, which is a lot of - the state of our politics right now.

SANDERS: Yeah. All right. More emotions and feels to come next week. That is a wrap for now. As always, you can find more of our political coverage at and on your local public radio station. Please do us a favor - rate this show on iTunes if you like it, and find us on Twitter. If you want to talk, write us or email us a recording of your voice, of you asking a question to I'm Sam Sanders, campaign reporter.

KEITH: I'm Tamara Keith. I cover the White House and the campaign.

MCCAMMON: I'm Sarah McCammon, campaign reporter.

MONTANARO: And I'm Domenico Montanaro, political editor.

SANDERS: Thank you for listening to the NPR POLITICS PODCAST.

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