MetroFocus: June 26, 2020

There is no denying that in the last several weeks there has been a dramatic shift in the political and cultural landscape of this country. The killing of George Floyd, and the nationwide protests that followed, have prompted a sense of urgency around issues of race, in all of its manifestations. And as the movement to stop systemic racism surges on, there is a growing backlash at symbols of racial bias. Protesters are tearing down statues across the country. On Juneteenth, protesters in San Francisco toppled statues of former president Ulysses S Grant, who led the union army during the civil war and of Francis Scott Key, who wrote the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner” in Long Island, a statue of Robert Moses came under attack as protesters in Babylon Village labeled the controversial master planner a racist at a demonstration in front of the monument. In New York City, the bronze statue of Theodore Roosevelt, on horseback and flanked by a Native American man and an African man, which has presided over the entrance to the American Museum of Natural History in New York since 1940, is coming down. We have also seen a political upping of the stakes from the White House, as President Trump prepares for what promises to be another contentious election. Our special panel of experts, Dr. Christina Greer, professor of political science at Fordham University, Joseph Pinion, Chair of The Conservative Color Coalition and Ben Max, Executive Editor of the Gotham Gazette examine this sudden shift in the cultural conversation, as well as our current national priorities.

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS.'

WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P. WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY --

> GOOD EVENING.

AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

THERE IS NO DENYING THAT IN THE LAST SEVERAL WEEKS, THERE HAS BEEN A DRAMATIC SHIFT IN THE POLITICAL AND CULTURAL LANDSCAPE THIS COUNTRY.

THE KILLING OF GEORGE FLOYD AND THE NATIONWIDE PROTESTS THAT FOLLOWED HAVE PROMPTED A SENSE OF URGENCY AROUND ISSUES OF RACE IN ALL OF ITS MANIFESTATIONS.

WE HAVE ALSO SEEN OVER THE LAST FEW DAYS A POLITICAL UPPING OF THE STATES FROM THE WHITE HOUSE AS PRESIDENT TRUMP PREPARES FOR WHAT PROMISES TO BE ANOTHER C CONTENTIOUS ELECTION.

JOINING ME TO TALK ABOUT THIS SUDDEN SHIFT IN CULTURALIZATION AND OUR PRIORITIES IS OUR PANEL.

I WOULD LIKE TO WELCOME BACK DR.

CHRISTINA GREER.

HI THERE.

SHE IS A PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE AT FORDHAM UNIVERSITY, CO-HOST OF THE FAQ NYC PODCAST AND POLITICS HE HAD ITER AT THE AGREO.

I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO LIKE TO WELCOME BEN MAX.

HI, JENNA.

AND I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO WELCOME BACK JOSEPH PINION.

HEY, JENNA, HOW ARE YOU.

JOE'S SELF A REPUBLICAN STRA STRATEGIST, FORMER ASSEMBLY CANDIDATE AND CHAIR OF THE COALITION THAT PROMOTES MINORITY GROUPS AS WELL AS ALLIES.

> FIRST I WOULD LIKE TO START ON THE SUBJECT OF RACE WHICH SEEMS TO BE WHAT IS DRIVING A LOT OF OUR CULTURAL AND POLITICAL CONVERSATIONS AT THE MOMENT.

DR. GREER, I WANT TO START WITH YOU BECAUSE ONE OF THE BIG ISSUES THAT WE HAVE BEEN SEEING AS PEOPLE ATTEMPT TO READDRESS HOW WE THINK ABOUT RACE IN AMERICA IS READDRESSING SOME OF THE SYMBOLS OF PEOPLE A WHO PERHAPS STOOD FOR THINGS THAT DON'T REFLECT OUR VALUES NOW.

AND THAT IS COMING IN THE FORM OF STATUE REMOVAL.

THERE IS A PUSH TO GET RID OF OR TO REMOVE THE STATUE OF TEDDY ROOSEVELT AT THE AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY.

I UNDERSTAND YOU ACTUALLY ARE INVOLVED IN THAT PUSH.

PLEASE TELL US WHY.

WELL, I HAVE BEEN PRETTY VOCAL TO MY ELECTED OFFICIALS AND TO THE MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY THAT I WANTED THAT STATUE REMOVED LARGELY WHEN THE MAYOR CONVENED THE GROUP OF SKOESHL SCIENTIST ASKS HISTORIANS AND SORT OF NEW YORKERS IN A TASK FORCE TO THINK ABOUT VARIOUS STATUES.

AND THEY WERE QUITE SUCCESSFUL IN REMOVING THE STATUE OF MARION SIMS ON THE UPPER EAST SIDE WHO WAS A KNOWN SCIENTIST SLASH EXPERIMENTER ON BLACK WOMEN AND BLACK BODIES DURING PREGNANCY.

SO THE STATUE OF TEDDY ROOSEVELT FLANKED BY AN ENSLAVED AFRICAN AND A NATIVE AMERICAN I THOUGHT WAS HIGHLY OFFENSIVE FOR SUCH A LARGE MUSEUM THAT MILLIONS VISIT EVERY YEAR.

THAT MUSEUM WAS MADE POP LIE BY THE 'NIGHT OF THE MUSEUM' MOVIE.

CHILDREN WENT TO THE MUSEUM AND SAW SOMETHING THAT WAS NORMALIZED, TEDDY ROOSEVELT SITTING ATOP A HORSE AND FLANKED BY TWO PATRIOTS I WOULD ARGUE.

THE FACT THAT THAT STATUE IS GOING TO BE REMOVED MAKES ME EXCITE QUIETED.

HOPEFULLY SOMETHING WILL REPLACE IT AND WILL BE MORE WELCOMING TO ALL TOURISTS WHO WALK THROUGH THE MUSEUM'S OPEN DOORS.

THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF PUSHBACK FROM SOME PEOPLE SAYING THAT EITHER THE STATUES ARE HISTORICAL AND THEY SHOULD STAY FOR THEIR HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE OR AS DR. GREER POINTED OUT, THAT THEY HAVE BEEN THERE ALL ALONG AND THAT THIS IS JUST A SUDDEN KNEE JERK REACTION TO POLITICAL CORRECTNESS.

LOOK, OBVIOUSLY, THIS IS A COMPLEX TOPIC.

BUT I DO THINK THERE IS VERACITY TO THE SAYING THAT PEOPLE WHO FORGET HISTORY ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT IT.

I NEVER WANT TO FORGET THAT GEORGE WALLACE STOOD IN THE SCHOOLHOUSE DOORWAY AND SAID SEGREGATION NOW AND SEGREGATION FOREVER.

I DON'T WANT TO OFFICER GET THE WORD THAT IS IN THE BOOK 'HUCK FINN'. I DON'T THINK THOSE WILL THINGS WE OUGHT TO FORGET.

I THINK WE SHOULD HAVE THAT TYPE OF SINGING IMAGERY.

I DON'T WANT THAT TO BE PUSHED ASIDE AS IF WE HAVE ENTERED INTO A NEW DAY.

SIMILAR TO THE THOUGHT PROCESS THAT CAME IN THE AFTERMATH THAT CAME AFTER THE ELECTION OF BARACK OBAMA.

RACISM IS ENTRENCHED IN THE DNA THE RECALCITRANT SPIRIT OF HUMANITY.

IT IS CERTAINLY EMBEDDED IN THE DNA OF AMERICA WHEN THEY DECIDED TO RENDER PEOPLE WHO LOOK LIKE ME AND DR. GREER 3/5 OF A HUMAN BEING.

I THINK IT IS IMPORTANT WE NEVER FORGET THAT.

I THINK THE UNFORTUNATE THING THAT HAPPENED THAT AT A TIME WHEN THE BREAD AND CIRCUS HAS ENDED.

WHEN THEY WERE THERE LEBRON JAMES AND SLAM-DUNKS TO DISTRACT PEOPLE, THERE WERE NO TOM BRADY OR SPORTS TEAMS TO DROWN THEIR SORROWS IN AND TALK ABOUT.

WE WERE FORCED AS A NATION TO TRULY HAVE A RECKONING TO DEAL WITH THE FACT THAT THE AGENT OF THE GOVERNMENT EMPOWERED TO UPHOLD THE LAWS OF THIS NATION SAT WITH HIS KNEE ON THE NECK OF SOMEBODY FOR 8:46.

WE HAVE BEEN DISTRACTED NOW, I THINK IN MANY WAYS DERAILED.

THE MOST IMPORTANT AND MOST CONSEQUENTIAL CONFERRING ON RACE THAT WE HAVE HAD CERTAINLY IN MY LIFETIME WITH SLOGANS LIKE DEFUND POLICE WHICH DISTRACT FROM THE ROOT CAUSES.

I THINK TO ME WORDS MATTER.

WE SHOULD UNDERSTAND THAT THE WORDS THAT WE CHOOSE HAVE AN IMPACT ON THE CONVERSATION THAT INEVITABLY UNFOLDS.

IF WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE WORDS THAT THE PRESIDENT USES TO TWEET MATTER THEN WE MOST ASSUREDLY CAN UNDERSTAND THAT THE WORDS WE USE IN THIS MOMENT TO GET AMERICANS AND PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD TO FOCUS ON WHAT BLACK PEOPLE HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT FOR GENERATIONS CERTAINLY ALSO HAVE A DIRECT IMPACT ON HOW SUCCESSFUL WE WILL BE IN THIS PARTICULAR MOMENT IN TIME.

CAN I ADD TO THAT?

SURE.

I THINK THE BACKDROP OF ALL OF THIS IS THAT WE DO HAVE A WHITE NATIONALIST IN THE OVAL OFFICE.

SO IN THE 21ST CENTURY WE DO HAVE A PRESIDENT ACTUALLY WHO WANTS TO BRING BACK ANOTHER ERA OF THE CONFEDERACY WHO IS ACTIVE IN HIS WORDS AND DEEDS.

IT IS PART OF THE CONVERSATION, NOT JUST DEFUNDING POLICE AND REMOVING STATUES, BUT IT IS PART OF THE QUESTION CAN BLACK AMERICANS BE TRUE CITIZENS IN THIS NATION, A NATION FOUNDED ON A A PATRIARCHY.

IF WE DON'T HAVE THE PRESIDENT THAT WE DO I DON'T THINK WE WOULD HAVE THESE CONVERSATIONS.

HERE WE ARE.

WE DON'T WANT TO GET DISTRACTED BY THE CONVERSATION THAT FOR GENERATIONS HAS BEEN CRUCIAL FOR SURVIVAL IN THIS COUNTRY.

THERE ARE QUESTIONS -- THERE ARE LOTS OF WAYS TO MEMORIALIZE WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS NATION WITHOUT HAVING STATUES TO TRAITORS AND CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS, OUT HAVING STATUES THAT ARE HIGHLY OFFENSIVE TO A PORTION OF THE CITIZENRY.

I THINK WE NEED TO HAVE A RADICAL IMAGINATION HOW WE CAN BE CREATIVE TO MEMORIALIZE OUR TROUBLE ASKED COMPLEX HISTORY WITHOUT SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDEING A LARGE PERCENTAGE OF AMERICANS.

QUICKLY, I WOULD CERTAINLY AGREE WITH THAT.

I DON'T THINK WE SHOULD BE HAVING STATUES OF ROBERT E. LEE SCATTERED ACROSS AMERICA AND EVEN SCATTERED ACROSS NEW YORK CITY.

BUT I DO THINK THERE IS A WAY THAT WE CAN TELL THE WHOLE PICTURE, AGAIN, INVITE PEOPLE IN INSTEAD OF PUSHING PEOPLE OUT BY SAYING SOMEHOW THE ONLY WAY WE CAN GET EQUALITY FOR BLACK PEOPLE IS TO SOMEHOW TEAR OTHER PEOPLE DOWN OR MAKE THEM FEEL AS IF WE ARE TEARING THEM DONE.

FOR ME IT IS IMPORTANT TO TRESS THAT AMERICA PUT BLACK PEOPLE IN A HOLE AND ALL BLACK PEOPLE ARE ASKING IS THEY HELP US PUT THE DIRT BACK IN THE HOLE SO WE STAND ON SOLID GROUND TOGETHER.

WE HAVE TO LEAVE THAT POINT THERE ALTHOUGH THERE IS SO MUCH MORE TO UNPACK.

> I ALSO WANT TO TURN TO SOME OF THE ISSUES THAT JUST ON A LOCAL LEVEL HERE IN NEW YORK CITY.

OF COURSE THE STATUE OF TEDDY ROOSEVELT, AS WE MENTIONED AT THE TOP OF THE SHOW.

BUT ALSO, EVEN VERY RECENTLY, THERE WAS A PROTEST AS I UNDERSTAND ON LONG ISLAND ASKING FOR THE STATUE OF ROBERT MOSES TO BE TAKEN DOWN.

NOW, WHAT I FIND SO INTERESTING ABOUT THAT IS ROBERT MOSES'S IMPACT ON THE CITY -- IT IS NOT JUST IN THE STATUE.

IT IS LITERALLY IN THE PHYSICALITY OF THE CITY.

SO, BEN, I WOULD LIKE TO ASK YOU HOW IT IS THAT YOU SEE THE SORT OF REAWAKENING OR UNDERSTANDING OF THE CITY'S HISTORY AND SOME OF THE THINGS THAT WERE INTENTIONALLY DONE TO CREATE NEW YORK CITY BUT ALSO TO CREATE DISENFRANCHISEMENT IN NEW YORK CITY.

WELL, IT IS A REALLY IMPORTANT MOMENT.

I THINK MAYOR deBLASIO REALIZED THIS TO AN EXTENT AND ANNOUNCED PLANS AND COMMISSIONS AND TASK FORCES.

WE WILL SEE WHAT COMES OF THOSE.

THEY COULD DO IMPORTANT WORK POTENTIALLY ALTHOUGH HE IS RUNNING OUT OF TIME.

THIS IS A REALLY IMPORTANT TIME BOTH IN TERMS OF SOME OF THE RECKONING THAT'S HAPPENING AROUND RACIAL JUSTICE BUT ALSO OF COURSE COMING OUT OF THIS PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS THAT HAD SUCH A DISPROPORTIONATE IMPACT ON PEOPLE OF COLOR AND THE ECONOMIC CRISIS WHICH OF COURSE IS GOING TO REINFORCE SOME OF THOSE SAME TRENDS.

SO IT IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE CITY TO REALLY RETHINK SO MUCH.

AND THE MAYOR HAS ACKNOWLEDGED THAT TO AN EXTENT.

ONE OF THE CLEAREST EXAMPLE IS THING LEAK YOU ARE BRINGING UP IN TERMS OF ROBERT MOSES'S LEGACY.

WE ALREADY HAD ONE OF THOSE PROJECTS, THE BQE REINSTRUCTION WAS BEING DEBATED WELL BEFORE THE CURRENT MOMENT AND THE THREE OR FOUR CRISES THAT I JUST MENTIONED.

SO THOSE TYPES OF DISCUSSIONS ARE GOING TO HAPPEN AROUND THOSE MARKERS OF PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE AND WHAT THEY MEAN.

YOU KNOW, IT IS GOING TO REALLY BE UP TO THE MAYOR THE CITY COUNCIL AND OTHER OFFICIALS TO DECIDE WHAT DIRECTION THEY WANT TO TAKE THE CITY IN TERMS OF PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE LIKE HIGHWAYS, ALSO PARKS, AFFORDABLE HOUSING, AND OTHER ISSUES.

THE MAYOR IS ANNOUNCING A VARIETY OF NEW COMMISSIONS WHILE HE HAS SAT ON RECOMMENDATIONS FROM A SEGREGATION TASK FORCE FOR NEARLY A YEAR NOW.

THE CONVERSATION IS VERY COMPLICATED IN TERMS OF TAKING THE MOMENT TO THINK ANEW.

BUT THERE IS ALSO A LOT OF THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN IN THE PIPELINE THAT HAVEN'T BEEN ACTED ON THAT MAYBE THE URGENCY OF NOW WILL LEAD TO MORE BOLD CITY ACTION ON A VARIETY OF FRONTS, ADDRESSING NEEDS ON PUBLIC HOUSING, DESEGREGATING THE CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

I COULD GO ON.

BEN, I WANT TO STAY WITH YOU BECAUSE OF A POINT THAT JOE'S YOU HAVE BROUGHT UP.

WE WILL CIRCLE BACK TO THE OTHER TWO PANELISTS AS WELL.

THAT IS DEFUND THE POLICE.

IT IS A NEW SLOGAN THAT WE ARE HEARING A LOT OF.

OF COURSE THERE IS MUCH MORE BEHIND WHAT THAT SLOGAN ACTUALLY MEANS.

HOWEVER, WHAT IT HAS ALSO DONE IS PUT THE MAYOR IN A SORT OF -- WHAT SEEMS TO BE A VERY UNCOMFORTABLE POSITION FROM WHERE HE STARTED OUT IN HIS PLACE AS AN EXECUTIVE FOR THE CITY TO WHERE HE IS NOW IN HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE N.Y.P.D.

AND IS THAT SOMETHING THAT HE ACTUALLY CAN BEGIN TO MOVE ON IN TERMS OF WHAT PEOPLE WHO ARE ASKING FOR DEFUND THE POLICE ARE ASKING FOR?

OR IS HE FAR TOO BEHOLDEN TO THE POLICE DEPARTMENT AND ITS UNION?

YOU KNOW, WHETHER WE ARE TALKING ABOUT SOME DISCUSSION AROUND STATUES OR WE ARE TALKING AROUND, YOU KNOW, THE SLOGAN OF DEFUND THE POLICE WE ARE OFTEN LOSING A LOT OF THE NUANCE IN THE DISCUSSION, WHICH IS, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE -- I WON'T GO BACK TO THE STATUE DISCUSSION IN FULL.

BUT YOU KNOW PEOPLE HEAR THAT A STATUE IS GOING TO BE TAKEN DOWN AND THERE IS UPROAR ABOUT THAT.

THEN THERE IS THE QUESTION OF, PERHAPS THAT STATUE WILL BE MOVED INSIDE THE MUSEUM AND PEOPLE CAN LEARN ABOUT THE FACT IT USED TO BE OUTSIDE AND THERE IS MORE CONTEXT TO IT.

WE SORT OF LOSE THAT DISCUSSION.

SAME THING WITH DEFUND THE POLICE.

A LOT OF PEOPLE HEAR THIS AND THINK POLICE ABOLITION.

SOME PEOPLE SAYING THAT MEAN THAT BUT A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T.

THERE IS A PUSH TO REMOVE A PORTION OF THE N.Y.P.D. BUDGET AND REALLOCATE THOSE FUNDS.

THE CITY IS FACING A MAJOR BUDGET CRISIS AND SOME OF THAT MAY BE HAPPENING THE ALL AGENCIES IN TERMS OF FUNDING CUTS.

THE MAYOR HAS SAID HE AGREED TO SHIFT SOME N.Y.P.D. FUNDING TO YOUTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES.

THE AMOUNT -- HE HASN'T SET A TARGET.

THE CITY COUNCIL HAS PUT FORWARD THE NUMBER OF MOVING $1 BILLION OF THE N.Y.P.D.'S $6 BILLION ANNUAL OPERATING BUDGET AWAY FROM THE POLICE DEPARTMENT.

SO THAT'S GOING TO UNFOLD REALLY IN A MATTER OF A COUPLE OF WEEKS HERE AS THE CITY BUDGET IS DUE BY JULY 1ST.

HOW FAR THE MAYOR IS WILLING TO GO IS YET TO BE SEEN.

WHAT WE HAVE SEEN FROM HIM IN OVER YEARS BUT RECENTLY IN RECENT WEEKS, TOO, IS VERY QUICK REACTION TO SORT OF SIDE WITH HIS POLICE DEPARTMENT AND KOWTOW A BIT TO SOME OF THE POLICE UNIONS EVEN THOUGH HE HAS ISSUES WITH THEM.

THEN WE SAW HIM REACT STRONGLY IN THE OTHER DIRECTION AS HE WAS TAKING A LOT OF PUBLIC HEAT FROM CRITICS.

WHERE HE WINDS UP ON THE DOLLAR AMOUNT AND YOU HOW HE STRUCTURES THE NEW N.Y.P.D. BUDGET IS VERY MUCH A MYSTERY AS WE HEAD INTO THESE LAST COUPLE WEEKS OF CITY BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS.

I WANT TO GET YOUR THOUGHTS DR. GREER ON HOW YOU SEE THE MAYOR HANDLING, AGAIN, THIS REEMERGENCE OF OUR NATIONAL DISCUSSION AROUND RACE BUT ALSO HIS INTERACTION WITH THE POLICE DEPARTMENT.

THAT'S BEEN A VERY FOCAL POINT OF THIS CULTURAL FLASH POINT.

RIGHT.

I COULD LISTEN TO BEN TALK ABOUT NEW YORK CITY ALL DAY.

I AM JUST GOING TO STEP BACK IN.

THE ISSUE OF THE MAYOR HAS BEEN BROUGHT UP.

HE IS NOW ON A LIMITED CLOCK.

THE MOMENT THAT WE HAVE OUR NOVEMBER 3rd NATIONAL ELECTION OUR LOCAL ELECTIONS IN NEW YORK CITY ARE GOING THE GEAR UP AND WE ARE GOING TO SEE CHALLENGERS FOR THE OPEN SEAT FOR THE MAYORAL SEAT AND OUR ATTENTION WILL OFTENTIMES BE MORE ON THE ELECTION PIECE AND POSSIBLY LESS ON GOVERNANCE.

THE BIND THAT THE MAYOR FINDS HIMSELF IN IS THAT MANY NEW YORKERS, ESPECIALLY NEW YORKERS OF COLOR FELT THAT HE HAS ABDICATED AND ACQUIESCED TO THE N.Y.P.D. OFTENTIMES.

WHEN THEY ASKED FOR MORE POLICE OFFICERS KNOT ONLY DID HE GIVE THEM MORE, HE GAVE THEM MORE.

I THINK PEOPLE WERE OFFENDED WHEN HE HIRED BRATTON AS HIS POLICE COMMISSIONER.

HE WAS UNDER RUDY GIULIANI.

THERE HAVE BEEN QUITE A FEW MISSTEPS.

HE LOST THE CITY COUNCIL TO THE LEFT OF HIM AND TO THE RIGHT OF HIM.

WE HEARD THE PUBLIC ADVOCATES COMPLAIN BEING deBLASIO USING HIS WIFE AND HIS SON AS A RACIAL SHIELD IN SOME INSTANCES JUST TO MAKE IT SEEM AS THOUGH HE UNDERSTANDS AND CARES ABOUT 'BLACK-ISH' USE.

BUT THE POLICY DECISIONS HE HAS MADE OR HASN'T MADE HAVE BEEN REFLECTIVE OF AN AGENDA THAT HASN'T BEEN THAT EQUITABLE TO BLACK PEOPLE.

I THINK THE BACKDROP OF ALL OF THIS IS DANIEL PANT LAYO WHO IS ON THE POLICE FORCE AND COLLECTING A PAYCHECK WELL OVER FIVE YEARS AFTER HE KILLED ERIC GARNER ON CAMERA.

AND THE MAYOR IS PRAISING MINNESOTA FOR THEIR SWIFT ACTION, HE HASN'T NECESSARILY ACTED QUICKLY IN ENDEAVORS OF THE POLICE DEPARTMENT.

THERE IS A LACK OF LEADERSHIP SOME PEOPLE FEEL AND QUITE A BIT OF FRUSTRATION WITH THE MAYOR WHEN IT COMES TO HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE N.Y.P.D.

SADLY, NEXT YEAR THE FOCUS WILL NOT BE ON WHAT THE MAYOR NEEDS TO DO IN THE NEXT MONTHS BUT ON WHO THE MAYOR WILL BE.

GOING BACK TO THE CONSISTENT MESSAGE WE HAVE TALKED ABOUT.

THE BACKDROP OF COVID, THE RAMPANT UNEMPLOYMENT AND THE POSSIBLE INCREASE IN CRIME ESPECIALLY OVER SUMMER WILL BE THE SUBJECTS TO RUN ON AGAINST MAYOR deBLASIO.

BEN JOSEPH, I WONDER IF THERE IS SOMETHING YOU ARE SEEING THAT PERHAPS OTHER PEOPLE AREN'T IN TERMS OF ADDRESSING THE N.Y.P.D.

SPECIFICALLY AND THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY OR THE BLACK AND BROWN COMMUNITIES IN NEW YORK CITY WHICH TRADITIONALLY BEEN INCREDIBLY CONTENTIOUS AND UNFORTUNATELY DEADLY SOMETIMES.

I THINK WITHOUT QUESTIONS THERE ARE ALWAYS GOING TO BE INDIVIDUALS WHO STAND IN THE WAY OF PROGRESS WHO STAND OPPOSED TO ANY TYPE OF DEPARTURE FROM THE STATUS QUO.

I THINK WE HAVE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT FROM THE VERY BEGINNING.

I THINK FOR MY PURPOSES, UNDERSTANDING THAT EVEN IN THIS SPECIAL WE ONLY HAVE 30 MINUTES TO UNPACK ALL OF THESE ISSUES.

THAT ANY TIME WE HAVE TO LISTEN TO OUR DEAR FRIEND MAX SPEND FIVE MINUTES UNPACKING WHAT DEFUND POLICE TRULY MEANS IT IS A PROBLEM.

WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND THE FACT THAT, YES, MOST PEOPLE WANT ACCOUNTABILITY.

MOST PEEP WANT TO-- MOST PEOPLE WANT TO REFORM.

MOST PEOPLE WOULD GO ALONG WITH A REBRANDING OF RESTRUCTURING OF POLICE IN OUR COMMUNITY.

WE NEED TO FIND MORE EQUITABLE WAYS.

WE NEED TO REDEFINE THE HOURS OF 4 TO 6 P.M., THE MOST DANGEROUS HOURS FOR YOUR YOUTH.

WE NEED TO HAVE ACTIVITIES.

REMOVING TEAMS HAS A DIRECT IMPACT ON BLACK AND BROWN STUDENTS.

IF WE UNDERSTAND ACTION MAX SAID EARLIER WE HAVE GOT SEGREGATION IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

THE MOST SEGREGATED HOURS IN NEW YORK CITY ARE 8:00 A.M. TO 3:00 P.M. IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM.

WE SHOULD UNDERSTAND THAT YES WE CAN TALK ABOUT POLICING, TALK ABOUT ACCOUNTABILITY, BUT THE MANNER IN WHICH WE TALK ABOUT IT IS OF DEEP IMPORTANCE.

OTHERWISE THE RESULTS WE ALL WANT TO SEE, THOSE OF US WHO WANT JUSTICE AND EQUALITY FOR BLACK AND BROWN PEOPLE UNMATLY GET DEFERRED TIME AND TIME AGAIN.

I AM SPEAKING WITH DR. GREER, CO-HOST OF THE FAQ NYC PODCAST.

I AM ALSO SPEAKING WITH BEN MAX, CO-HOST OF THE MAX AND MURPHY PODCAST ON, IN POLICE AND JOSEPH PINION, A REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST AND IRCHA OF THE CONSERVATIVE COLOR COALITION WHICH PROMOTES POLITICAL ENGAGEMENT AMONG MINORITY GROUPS AND ALLIES.

NOW I WOULD LIKE TO TURN THE CONVERSATION TO YOUR CURRENT COMMANDER IN CHIEF.

SO THE MOST RECENT NEW YORK CITY-SPECIFIC ISSUE THAT WE HAVE SEEN IS TRUMP FIRING JEFFREY BERMAN, WHO IS OF COURSE THE U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK.

AND HE WAS IN THE PROCESS OF LEADING INVESTIGATIONS INTO FORMER TRUMP PERSONAL ATTORNEY MICHAEL COHEN AND FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR, SLASH, ADVISER, RUDY GIULIANI.

JOSEPH WE JUST HEARD FROM YOU.

I WILL START WITH YOU.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE PRESIDENT'S MOVE TO FIRE JEFFREY BERMAN?

LOOK, I THINK THE BIGGEST ISSUE THAT WE FACE WITH MANY OF THE ACTIONS PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS TAKEN IS NOT WHETHER HE CAN DO IT BUT WHETHER HE SHOULD DO IT.

I THINK THAT MANY OF THE THINGS THAT AMERICANS HAVE HAD TROUBLE DEALING WITH, AND SOMETHING THAT MANY REPUBLICANS HAVE HAD TROUBLE DEALING WITH IS THAT EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO HAS TAKEN THE OATH OF OFFICE, WHETHER YOU AGREED WITH THEM POLITICALLY OR NOT HAS WORKED WITHIN A CERTAIN BASIC FRAMEWORK.

THEY WOULD PIVOT TO TRY TO HAVE A PLAN AND A MESSAGING APPARATUS THAT TRIED OR AT LEAST FEIGNED TO TRY TO INCLUDE ALL AMERICANS.

I THINK IN THE CASE OF PRESIDENT TRUMP FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE, HOWEVER YOU WANT TO JUDGE HIS POLITICAL ACUMEN.

HE NEVER MADE THAT PIVOT.

I THINK IF THAT EXTENDS TO THE WAY LEGISLATES, IT LEAVES PEOPLE FEELING AS IF SOMEHOW THAT THE LEVERS OF GOVERNMENT ARE NOT BEING WORKED IN THEIR FAVOR.

I THINK THAT'S THE HARD TRUTH.

WHEN YOU SEE THIS SPIRE AND IT SMACKS OF WHAT HAPPENED WITH PREET ABOUT HARA IN THE ACT SAME SEAT.

WHEN YOU LOOK AT OBVIOUSLY THE ISSUES THAT COME ACROSS THE DESK OF THE ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT AGAIN THERE IS ALWAYS GOING TO BE THAT SPECTER THAT VOUNS WHAT ARE THE TRUE MOTIVATIONS OF PRESIDENT TRUMP.

BEN, I WOULD LOVE TO GET YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE PRESIDENT'S DECISION TO FIRE THE U.S.

ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT.

I THINK WE STILL NEED TO SEE EXACTLY HOW THIS UNFOLDS IN TERMS OF THE REPLACEMENT, ASSUMING IT MOVES FORWARD.

BUT YOU KNOW, I THINK THAT, GENERALLY SPEAKING, THIS IS ANOTHER ATTACK BY TRUMP ON THE RULE OF LAW, ON, YOU KNOW KEY INSTITUTIONS AND CUE PROCEDURES THAT YOU KNOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE FELT LIKE ARE FAIRLY SAFE IN OUR DEMOCRACY THAT THIS PRESIDENT SEEMS TO HAVE MINIMAL REGARD FOR.

YOU KNOW, CERTAINLY -- WE SEE THIS WITH GOVERNOR CUOMO, MAYOR deBLASIO AND MANY OTHER ELECTED OFFICIALS.

ELECTED OFFICIALS ARE ALMOST ALWAYS VERY SELF INTERESTED.

THEY WORRY ABOUT THEIR OWN IMAGE, THEY WORRY ABOUT THEIR OWN FUTURE.

BUT WE USUALLY SEE THE LINES THAT THEY ARE WILLING TO CROSS, YOU KNOW, SORT OF LAND IN A SIMILAR TERRITORY.

AND FOR TRUMP, THOSE LINES HAVE JUST BEEN SO FAR EXTENDED TO A PLACE THAT'S REALLY CONCERNING TO MANY PEOPLE WHO CARE ABOUT FREEDOM OF THE PRESS, FREEDOM OF SPEECH, AND MANY OTHER KEY VALUES AND INSTITUTIONS IN THIS COUNTRY, INCLUDING THE INDEPENDENCE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT.

AND THAT'S REALLY WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT HERE, WITH POTENTIAL INTERFERENCE IN THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT.

DR. GREER, THIS IS A MOVE THAT ALMOST, BY THE PRESIDENT THAT ALMOST FITS DIRECTLY INTO THE NARRATIVE THAT WE ARE SEEING FROM JOHN BOLTON'S BOOK 'THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS' WHERE HE BASICALLY LAYS OUT A CASE FOR WHY HE BELIEVES PRESIDENT TRUMP IS UNFIT FOR OFFICE.

THIS IS NOT THE FIRST BOOK THAT WE HAVE SEEN, THIS TELL-ALL THAT WE HAVE SEEN COME OUT OF THIS WHITE HOUSE.

AND I AM WONDERING IF YOU THINK THAT THIS MIGHT BE PERHAPS A GAME CHANGER CONSIDERING THAT BOLTON IS SUCH A RESPECTED FIGURE IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AND CONSERVATIVE CIRCLES?

I THINK BOLTON WAS A RESPECTED FIGURE.

SADLY, SO MANY PEOPLE WHO INTERACT WITH THIS PRESIDENT LEAVE THE ADMINISTRATION ARE EITHER FORCED OUT OF THIS ADMINISTRATION WITH THEIR REPUTATIONS TARNISHED FOR GOOD.

I MEAN, JOHN BOLTON HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK UP AND HELP THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND AMERICAN DEMOCRACY AT LARGE AND HE CHOSE NOT TO.

HE CHOSE TO SIT QUIETLY LIKE SO MANY OTHER REPUBLICAN SENATORS AND THREAD PRESIDENT ACTUALLY IMPOSE THESE -- IGNORE THE NORMS OF AMERICAN DECENCY AND DEMOCRACY, BECAUSE HE DOESN'T UNDERSTAND FUNDAMENTALLY THE ROLE OF THE EXECUTIVE OFFICE AND THE ROLE OF WHAT A PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN CITIZENRY SHOULD AND COULD DO.

JOHN BOLTON'S BOOK -- MANY DEMOCRATS ARE OFFENDED BY HIS ATTEMPT TO ESSENTIALLY CASH IN ON SOMETHING THAT HE COULD HAVE AND SHOULD HAVE STOOD UP AND SAID WHILE HE WAS ACTUALLY SERVING AT THE PLEASURE OF THE PRESIDENT.

IF HE WAS THAT CONCERNED, HE SHOULD HAVE SAID SOMETHING DURING THE KBLEECHLT TRIALS.

IF HE WAS THAT CONCERNED HE SHOULD HAVE RAISED A RED FLAG OR A YELLOW FLAG FAR EARLIER THAN AFTER HE MADE A FEW MILLION DOLLARS ON A BOOK DEAL.

SO MANY REPUBLICANS WHO LEFT THE OVAL OFFICE THEN HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT THE FITNESS OF THE PRESIDENT BUT IT WAS NEVER WHEN THEY WERE ACTUALLY IN A PLACE OF POWER TO DO SOMETHING OR CHANGE SOMETHING ON BEHALF OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

THE FIRING OF JEFFREY BERMAN IS JUST YET ANOTHER INSTANCE OF THE PRESIDENT WANTING TO OVERREACH HIS POWERS BECAUSE HE DOES KEEP SCORE, BECAUSE HE DOES SEE THIS OFFICE AS ANY AGENT OF THE STATE AND SOMEONE WHO WORKS FOR HIM.

WHAT HE SADLY DOES NOT UNDERSTAND.

THE U.S. ATTORNEYS ARE SWORN TO UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION.

FEDERAL JUDGES ARE SWORN TO UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION.

MEMBERS OF THE SENATE HAVE SWORN THEMSELVES TO UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION.

THEY DO NOT SWEAR TO UPHOLD THE WHIMS OF THE PRESIDENT.

THAT'S SOMETHING THAT DONALD TRUMP FUNDAMENTALLY DOES NOT UNDERSTAND.

AND WE HAVE OURSELVES NOW IN A SITUATION WHERE, AS THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK GETS CLOSER AND CLOSER TO UNCOVERING WAY HAS THE PRESIDENT HAS ASKED OTHER PEOPLE TO ACT ON HIS BEHALF, HE WANTS TO DISMISS OF THEM TO MAKE IT GO AWAY.

AND HOPEFULLY, WE HAVE ENOUGH PATRIOTS IN THIS NATION, DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN, WHO WILL ACTUALLY THINK MORE ABOUT THE COUNTRY BEFORE THE PRESIDENT AND HIS BEHAVIORS AND WHAT HE MIGHT TWEET ABOUT THEM IF THEY DON'T DO WHAT HE SAYS.

JOSEPH, WE ARE COMING SO VERY CLOSE UPON THE ENDS OF OUR TIME, JUST ABOUT 30 SECONDS LEFT HERE.

BUT I DO WANT TO ASK YOU IF YOU THINK -- WE RIGHT NOW ARE HOSTING THIS ROUND TABLE ON A ZOOM CALL.

THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF CRITICISM ABOUT THE FACT THAT WE ARE STILL SELF DISTANCING THIS FAR INTO THE YEAR BECAUSE OF THE MISHANDLING OF THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC ON THE PART OF THE PRESIDENT AND THE WHITE HOUSE.

I AM JUST WONDERING, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHETHER OR NOT THIS WILL IMPACT HOW THE PRESIDENT IS VIEWED GOING INTO RE-ELECTION.

LOOK, IT WILL FUNDAMENTALLY BE A REFERENDUM, I THINK, ON HOW HE HAS HANDLED THE CORONA CRISIS.

O ARE MOM AND DAD ALIVE?

GRANDMA AND GRANDPA STILL WITH US?

THOSE ARE GOING TO BE FIRST AND FOREMOST ON THE MINDS OF VOTERS WHEN THEY GO INTO THE POLL BOOTH IN NOVEMBER.

THAT IS DEFINITELY GOING TO BE A PART OF IT.

I THINK AS WE DISCUSSED EARLIER, A PART OF IT ARE YOU EVEN ABLE TO VOTE IN AN EFFECTIVE MANNER?

I THINK WE SPEND SO MUCH TIME IF PEOPLE -- IF EVERYONE SHOULD BE VOTING FROM HOME THAT THAT WE ARE NOT TAKING TIME TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE SHOULD BE ABLE TO GET TO THE POLLS AND NOT HAVING TO STAND OUTSIDE FOR HOURS.

JOSEPH I AM SORRY.

I KNOWER WITH OUT OF TIME.

COMPLETELY OUT OF TIME.

I WANT TO THANK MY GUESTS, BEN MAX, DR. GREER, AND BEN, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P. WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY --

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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