METROFOCUS: January 20, 2021

Tonight, Presidential historian and founder of George Washington University’s History News Network Rick Shenkman, President of the Brooklyn NAACP and host of “Sunday Civics” podcast L. Joy Williams, and Republican Strategist, Founder and Chairman of The Conservative Color Coalition and host of Newsmax’s “Saturday Agenda” Joseph Pinion are your guides through this historic inauguration day.

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG AND BY JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY JUDY AND JOSH WESTON DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO THE SPECIAL INAUGURATION DAY EDITION OF 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

IN A YEAR WHEN ALMOST EVERY DAY SEEMED EXTRAORDINARY OR UNPRECEDENTED, TODAY'S SWEARING-IN OF PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN AND VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS WAS TRULY HISTORIC.

THE 46th COMMANDER IN CHIEF, AND HARRIS, THE FIRST FEMALE VICE PRESIDENT, THE FIRST BLACK WOMAN, AND THE FIRST PERSON OF SOUTH ASIAN DESCENT TO EVER HOLD THE ROLE, MARKED THEIR FIRST HOURS IN OFFICE IN A CAPITOL AND COUNTRY FAR DIFFERENT THAN INAUGURATION DAY FOUR YEARS AGO.

THE PANDEMIC KEPT MOST SUPPORTERS AWAY AND ONLINE.

AND THE THREAT OF ARMED RIOTS STILL HAS SECURITY FORCES ON HIGH ALERT EVEN TONIGHT.

PRESIDENT TRUMP WAS NOT IN ATTENDANCE.

THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION IS INHERITING A DEEPLY DIVIDED NATION FACING A ONCE IN A GENERATION THREAT AND THIS HISTORIC INAUGURATION WASN'T GOING TO CHANGE THAT.

BUT JUST EXACTLY HOW SHOULD THIS NEW ADMINISTRATION RESPOND?

WHAT WILL THEIR FIRST 100 DAYS IN OFFICE LOOK LIKE WITH A FORMER PRESIDENT OUT OF OFFICE AND FACING A SECOND SENATE TRIAL?

AND WHAT CAN REALLY BE ACCOMPLISHED IN A NATION SO BITTERLY DIVIDED?

FOR ANSWERS TO HELP GUIDE US THROUGH TODAY'S HISTORIC EVENT, I WOULD LIKE TO WELCOME BACK THREE VERY SPECIAL GUESTS.

FIRST WE HAVE RICK SHENKMAN, A PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN, FOUNDER OF GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY'S HISTORY NEWS NETWORK, AND A 'NEW YORK TIMES' BESTSELLING AUTHOR.

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM, RICK.

THANK YOU, GLAD TO BE HERE.

WE'RE ALSO JOINED BY L. JOY WILLIAMS, PRESIDENT OF THE BROOKLYN NAACP AND SENIOR ADVISER FORAY MAGUIRE'S NYC MAYORAL CAMPAIGN AND A BOARD MEMBER WHO WORKS FOR THE POLITICAL POWER OF BLACK WOMEN.

WELCOME, L. JOY.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

FINALLY BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST, JOSEPH PINION IS A REPUBLICAN SPLIT STRATEGIST, CHAIR OF THE CONSERVATIVE COLOR COALITION AND HOST OF NEWSMAX'S 'SATURDAY AGENDA.'

WELCOME BACK, JOSEPH.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

I WANT TO GET EVERYBODY'S TAKE ON WHAT WAS IT THAT STOOD OUT TO YOU THE MOST FROM THE INAUGURATION.

JOSEPH, I'LL START WITH YOU.

WAS IT JOE BIDEN'S SPEECH?

WAS IT KAMALA HARRIS' SWEARING-IN?

OR WAS IT SOMETHING ELSE THAT CAUGHT YOUR ATTENTION?

I MEAN, LOOK, CLEARLY TAODAY WAS AN HISTORIC DAY FOR MANY REASONS.

YOU START OBVIOUSLY WITH KAMALA HARRIS TAKING THE OATH OF OFFICE.

I THINK POLITICS ASIDE, FOR WOMEN ACROSS THE COUNTRY, PARTICULARLY FOR LITTLE BLACK GIRLS ACROSS THE COUNTRY, THE CEILING ON AMBITION HAS BEEN PERMANENTLY REMOVED IN MANY WAYS.

IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR EXAMPLES OF POSSIBILITY IN THE WORLD AROUND YOU, THAT THAT WILL HAVE AN IMPACT, THAT WILL REVERBERATE THROUGH TIME, AND THE TRUE IMPACT WE ACTUALLY WON'T KNOW FOR A VERY LONG TIME.

SO I THINK THAT WAS JUST A POWERFUL MOMENT THAT WE ALL GOT TO WITNESS.

I THINK PIVOTING TOWARDS JOE BIDEN, I THINK THE QUESTION FOR MANY PEOPLE REMAINS, WILL THESE BE EMPTY PARABLES OF UNITY, OR IS HE GOING TO LEAN INTO ENSURING THAT WE BECOME A UNITED NATION AGAIN?

I THINK YOU HAD SOME POWERFUL MENTIONS OF THINGS SAYING POLITICS DOES NOT HAVE TO BE A RAGING FIRE THAT DESTROYS EVERYTHING IN ITS PATH.

YET WHEN TOMORROW COMES, THE QUESTION WILL BE WILL WE BE REACHING FOR THE MOST DIVISIVE TOOL IN THE POLITICAL ARSENAL TO CONTINUE THE IMPEACHMENT PROCESS FOR A MAN WHO IS NO LONGER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

I THINK WHAT IS TO COME IS OF CONCERN.

BUT I THINK TODAY, WE CAN AS A NATION BE ABLE TO CELEBRATE THE HISTORY THAT WAS MADE AND THE IMPACT THAT THAT WILL HAVE FOR YEARS TO COME.

L. JOY, WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE INAUGURATION DAY, AND OF COURSE THE HISTORY THAT WAS MADE?

YOU KNOW, I CAN'T STOP SMILING.

I CAN'T TAKE THE GRIN, THE HAPPY SMILE OFF OF MY FACE.

MY CHAMPAGNE BOTTLE IS ABOUT HALFWAY NOW.

PARTICULARLY NOT ONLY AS A BLACK WOMAN AND THE HISTORIC NATURE OF NOW MADAM VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS, BUT FOR ME PERSONALLY, OUR ORGANIZATION HAS WORKED WITH THE VICE PRESIDENT SINCE SHE WAS ATTORNEY GENERAL IN CALIFORNIA, HELPED AND WORKED ON THE CAMPAIGN FOR HER TO BECOME THE U.S. SENATOR, AND YOU KNOW FOR MYSELF AND OUR -- ONE OF OUR OWN CO-FO CO-FOUNDERS WHO WAS INVOLVED IN HER PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN IN SOUTH CAROLINA, TO KNOCK ON DOORS AND CALL VOTERS, THERE IS AN IMMENSE PRIDE, BEING ABLE TO HELP A BLACK WOMAN FROM THE BEGINNING OF HER CAREER ALL THE WAY THROUGH TO NOW.

I'M FILLED WITH JOY AND CELEBRATION.

SOMETHING I'VE ALSO BEEN SAYING RELATED TO THIS IS WHILE I'M CERTAINLY IN A CELEBRATORY MOOD, YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO KNOCK ME DOWN TODAY, I'M ALSO LOOKING FORWARD TO HOLDING HER ACCOUNTABLE, BECAUSE ACCOUNTABLE IS ALSO LOVE.

TO BE A PART OF HELPING TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE RISE AS SHE ASCENDED THE STAIRS AND BECOMING VICE PRESIDENT, BUT ALSO CONTINUING IN GOVERNANCE AND HOLDING AN ADMINISTRATION ACCOUNTABLE WHO YOU HELPED ELECT TO MAKE SURE THAT THE ISSUES, THE POLICIES THAT YOU USE TO GO OUT TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO VOTE, TO ENGAGE IN THE POLITICAL PROCESS, THAT THEY SEE THE FRUITS OF THEIR LABOR.

SO I'M DEFINITELY LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT AS WELL.

TODAY, IN ADDITION TO HAVING THE CELEBRATORY MOOD AND TO HEAR PRESIDENT BIDEN'S INAUGURATION SPEECH, TO FOCUS ON PULLING THE COUNTRY TOGETHER, I REMAIN HOPEFUL BUT ALSO KNOW FOR A FACT THAT HISTORY HAS TOLD US THAT THE DIVIDES THAT EXIST, WHETHER THEY BE ON POLICY, WHETHER THEY BE ON POLITICS, OR WHETHER THEY BE IN OUR INDIVIDUAL FAMILIES AND OUR COMMUNITIES, WILL STILL EXIST.

THE QUESTION IS HOW WE OPERATE TOGETHER EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE THOSE DIVIDES AND THOSE DIFFERENT OPINIONS OF HOW THE COUNTRY SHOULD MOVE FORWARD.

SO I'M HOPEFUL AND CELEBRATORY, BUT ALSO LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING TO WORK.

WELL, RICK, AS A PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN, I'M WONDERING WHAT YOUR TAKE IS ON PERHAPS HOW HISTORY WILL VIEW THIS MOMENT OR THESE MOMENTS, I SHOULD SAY, THAT WE'VE JUST BEEN THROUGH, EVERYTHING THAT'S HAPPENED, AT LEAST SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THIS YEAR, THE TRANSITION OF POWER, THE BUMPY ROAD THAT WE TOOK TO GET THERE, AND OF COURSE THEN THE HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE, ESPECIALLY OF THE SWEARING-IN OF KAMALA HARRIS.

OUR LONG NATIONAL NIGHTMARE ARE OVER, RIGHT?

THAT'S WHAT GERALD FORD SAID WHEN HE ASSUMED THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENCY AFTER RICHARD NIXON AND WATERGATE.

WE DIDN'T HEAR THAT KIND OF GREAT LINE FROM JOE BIDEN TODAY.

BUT I THOUGHT THAT HE MISSED THE MARK WITH HIS MAIN POINT ABOUT UNITY.

HE SAID SOME PEOPLE THINK THAT IT'S A FOOLISH FANTASY TO THINK WE COULD BE UNIFIED, BUT BY GOLLY, I THINK WE CAN BE UNIFIED.

THAT WAS THE RIGHT POINT TO HIT.

THAT MEANT HE WAS GRAPPLING WITH THE KEY CENTRAL PROBLEM FACING OUR DEMOCRACY, WHICH IS ENDEMIC POLARIZATION THE LIKES OF WHICH WE'VE NOT SEEN SINCE THE CIVIL WAR, WHICH IS JUST ABSOLUTELY -- IT JUST MAKES ME DESPONDENT.

THE FACT THAT THIS INAUGURATION TOOK PLACE, I'VE NEVER IN MY 66 YEARS EVER WORRIED THAT AN INAUGURATION WOULDN'T TAKE PLACE.

THIS TIME I ACTUALLY WAS WORRIED.

THE FACT THAT IT JUST WENT OFF IN ITS NORMAL FUNCTIONING AND WAS A LITTLE BIT ON THE BORING SIDE, I WELCOMED IT.

THANK GOODNESS FOR BORING HERE.

TO PUT THIS INTO HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE, WE'VE HAD ALL THESE INAUGURATIONS SINCE GEORGE WASHINGTON'S.

EACH TIME, WE'VE CELEBRATED THE REPUBLIC, AND THEN ONCE WE DECIDED WE WERE REALLY A DEMOCRACY, WE STARTED CALLING OURSELVES A DEMOCRACY AND SAID WE'RE CELEBRATING A DEMOCRACY.

BUT WHAT WE REALLY NEED TO BE DOING NOW IS COMING TO TERMS WITH, HOW DID WE GET TO THIS POINT WHERE WE'RE SO POLARIZED?

THERE ARE STRUCTURAL PROBLEMS THAT ARE TO BLAME.

BUT IT'S NOT DONALD TRUMP WHO'S TO BLAME.

IT'S THE PEOPLE.

AND WE HAVE GOT TO GRAPPLE WITH THAT.

THERE IS A PROBLEM OUT THERE WITH THE PEOPLE.

YOU HAD MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WHO WERE CHEERING ON A PRESIDENT WHO APPEALED TO I THINK THE WORST IN US.

AND WE HAVE TO COME TO TERMS WITH THAT.

AND WE CAN GET INTO THAT A LITTLE BIT MORE, I DON'T WANT TO GIVE A COLLEGE LECTURE.

WELL, SPEAKING OF COMING TO TERMS WITH IT, BECAUSE JOSEPH, YOU DID MENTION AT THE VERY BEGINNING THAT YOU WERE CONCERNED ABOUT AN IMPEACHMENT TRIAL OF A PRESIDENT NO LONGER IN OFFICE, THAT IT WOULD BE DIVISIVE.

JOE BIDEN'S INAUGURATION SPEECH FOCUSED VERY MUCH ON AMERICA MOVING FORWARD.

HOWEVER THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO ARE SAYING THAT YOU CAN'T REALLY MOVE FORWARD, YOU CAN'T HAVE UNITY WITHOUT ACCOUNTABILITY.

AND THERE IS ALSO SOME INDICATIONS THAT THERE MIGHT BE SOME SENATORS, FOR EXAMPLE SENATOR McCONNELL HAS NOT INDICATED WHICH WAY HE'S GOING TO VOTE, AND AS OPPOSED TO THE LAST SENATE TRIAL THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP HAD, IT SEEMED VERY CLEAR GOING IN THAT NO REPUBLICANS WERE GOING TO VOTE TO CONVICT.

SO I GUESS I WANT YOU TO EXPAND ON WHY HAVING A SENATE TRIAL FROM YOUR OPINION MIGHT BE THE WRONG STEP FOR AMERICAN UNITY.

WELL, LOOK, IN MY FAMILY WE HAVE A SAYING, FORGIVENESS REQUIRES ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND LOVE DEMANDS ACCOUNTABILITY.

THE REALITY WE FACE RIGHT NOW IS IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR ACCOUNTABILITY FOR ANY AND EVERYTHING YOU BELIEVE PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS DONE INCORRECTLY, IMPEACHMENT IS NOT THE PROPER VENUE.

THAT IS NOT JUST MY OPINION, IT'S THE OPINION OF LEGAL SCHOLARS.

THERE IS DEBATE ON THAT ISSUE.

THE REALITY IS WE HAVE A FEDERAL COURT SYSTEM, WE HAVE A STATE COURT SYSTEM, WE HAVE A CIVIL COURT SYSTEM.

WE HAVE U.S. ATTORNEYS FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT.

WE HAVE STATE ATTORNEY GENERALS IN NEW YORK AND CALIFORNIA, ALL OF WHOM HAVE INDICATED THEY'RE LOOKING INTO THE ACTIVITIES OF PRESIDENT TRUMP THAT EITHER PREDATE HIS PRESIDENCY OR FOR ACTIONS HE TOOK DURING HIS PRESIDENCY.

BUT IF YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT HOW DO WE COME TOGETHER AS A NATION, WHEN JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT BIDEN NOW, IS FACING THE SLIMMEST MAJORITY IN THE HOUSE SINCE WORLD WAR II, WHERE THE SENATE IS DEALING WITH A 50/50 SPLIT, DEALING WITH A POWER BROKER AGREEMENT THAT HAS TO BE REACHED BETWEEN MITCH McCONNELL AND CHUCK SCHUMER, THAT HASN'T HAPPENED SINCE 2001.

IF YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT 74 MILLION PEOPLE WHO WHETHER YOU BELIEVE THAT THEY ARE RIGHT OR NOT, FEEL AS IF THEY ARE DISENFRANCHISED, YOU CANNOT HAVE UNITY IN A NATION OF 350 MILLION PLUS SOULS AND THINK THAT YOU'RE GOING TO EXCLUDE THE NEEDS, CONCERNS, BE THEY RATIONAL OR NOT, OF 74 MILLION AMERICANS.

SO I THINK JOE BIDEN'S SUPERPOWER HAS ALWAYS BEEN HIS ABILITY TO EMPATHIZE.

I THINK THAT'S WHAT EVERYONE KNOWS ABOUT JOE, WHEN JIM CLYBURN SAYS WE KNOW JOE, THAT'S WHAT YOU KNOW.

AND SO THE ISSUE BECOMES, IF HE HAS ONE JOB, HIS JOB IS TO HEAL A BROKEN NATION.

THAT IS WHY HE WAS ELECTED.

IT'S NOT ABOUT POLICY BECAUSE HIS POLICIES WERE NOT ANYTHING TO WRITE HOME ABOUT, IN MANY WAYS OUT OF STEP WITH HIS BASE.

HE WAS ELECTED TO HEAL THIS NATION.

AND YOU CANNOT DOUBLE DOWN ON DIVISION WHEN YOU'RE TRYING TO UNITE A PEOPLE.

AND IMPEACHMENT IS BY FAR AND AWAY THE MOST DIVISIVE TACTIC THAT WE HAVE IN AMERICAN POLITICS AND AS IT CURRENTLY STANDS, THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF IMPEACHMENT IS TO REMOVE A PRESIDENT THAT HAS DONE THE UNIMAGINABLE AND THE PRESIDENT IN QUESTION IS DOWN IN FLORIDA RIGHT NOW, A PRIVATE CITIZEN.

RICK, I JUST WANT TO GET YOUR TAKE ON WHAT JOSEPH WAS JUST SAYING ABOUT THE FACT THAT THIS ISN'T NECESSARILY NECESSARY RIGHT NOW.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY, ESPECIALLY AS A PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN?

WELL, I BELIEVE THAT IT IS NECESSARY.

AND IF YOU DON'T IMPEACH ON WHAT DONALD TRUMP JUST DID, THEN WHAT YOU'RE TELLING EVERY FUTURE PRESIDENT, IN THE FINAL WEEKS OR MONTHS OF YOUR PRESIDENCY, YOU CAN LIE, YOU CAN TELL THE BIG LIE THAT YOU WON AN ELECTION THAT YOU ACTUALLY LOST BY 7 MILLION VOTES, AND THEN YOU CAN ORGANIZE AN INSURRECTION, AND THAT'S OKAY, BECAUSE IT'S COMING IN THE FINAL WEEKS OR MONTHS OF YOUR PRESIDENCY AND BY THE TIME WE CAN ACTUALLY HAVE THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IMPEACH YOU AND HOLD A TRIAL, YOU'RE OUT OF OFFICE.

WELL, I THINK THAT'S THE WRONG MESSAGE TO TELL THE FUTURE HOLDERS OF THIS OFFICE.

L. JOY, WITHOUT FOCUSING TOO MUCH ON THE PREVIOUS PRESIDENT, BECAUSE WE DO HAVE A NEW PRESIDENT NOW, AGAIN, IT SEEMS LIKE THE ONE QUESTION IS HOW DO WE MOVE FORWARD NOW.

AND BASED ON WHAT YOU JUST HEARD FROM THE OTHER TWO GUESTS, I'M WONDERING WHAT IT IS THAT YOU SEE AS THE MOST NECESSARY THING THAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN FOR AMERICA TO START TAKING STEPS FORWARD.

CERTAINLY YOU HAVE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE HARM BEFORE YOU CAN MOVE FORWARD.

THAT'S PART OF THE REASON, I MEAN, WE CAN GO THROUGH A WHOLE CONVERSATION ABOUT REPARATIONS, BUT ACKNOWLEDGING HARMS AND ACKNOWLEDGING WHAT HAPPENED.

AND I AGREE WITH RICK, IT'S NOT ONLY SAYING TO FUTURE PRESIDENTS WHAT IS ACCEPTABLE, BUT IF YOU KNOW ANYTHING, NOT ONLY ABOUT OUR COURT SYSTEM, NOT ONLY ABOUT CONGRESS, THE U.S. GOVERNMENT OVERALL, THE PRESIDENT HAS A HUGE IMPACT ON WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF HISTORY.

CERTAINLY MOVING FORWARD WITH IMPEACHMENT, EVEN THOUGH OUR EX, AS I CALL HIM, IS GONE NOW, IT SETS A PRECEDENT AS TO WHAT HAPPENS GOING FORWARD IF WE FIND OURSELVES IN THAT POSITION AGAIN.

WE FIND THAT IN A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT CASES IN OUR DEMOCRACY.

BUT IN TERMS OF GOING FORWARD, ACKNOWLEDGING HARM, HOLDING PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE, WHETHER THEY'RE STILL IN OFFICE OR NOT.

AND WE'RE FORGETTING ALSO THIS IS A ROLE OF CONGRESS, RIGHT?

CONGRESS, AND EVEN AS JOSEPH MENTIONED ALL THE OTHER ENTITIES THAT EXIST FOR ACCOUNTABILITY MEASURES, AND I AGREE THERE ARE ALL DIFFERENT ENTITIES, CONGRESS HAS THIS ROLE.

AND CONGRESS ALSO NEEDS TO RESPOND.

AND THAT'S SOMETHING, YOU KNOW, THAT WE EVEN THROUGHOUT THE LAST FOUR YEARS, FOLKS HAVE BEEN PRESSING FOR THEM TO DO, TO RESPOND TO THESE ISSUES.

SO IT'S NOT ONLY ACKNOWLEDGING HARM BUT GOING FORWARD, YOU KNOW, WHICH I BELIEVE IN, AS JOSEPH MENTIONED, THAT JOE BIDEN HAD FELT BECAUSE HE EMBODIES IT, IN TERMS OF HIS EMPATHY, IN TERMS OF BEING ABLE TO NEGOTIATE AND HAVE CONVERSATIONS BUT ALSO MAKE DECISIONS THAT IMPACT THE GREATER SOCIETY, HE WILL LEAD THAT WAY.

THIS ADMINISTRATION WILL LEAD THAT WAY.

AND SO YOU CAN DO BOTH THINGS.

YOU CAN HOLD ACCOUNTABLE, SET A PRECEDENT OF WHAT WE WILL STAND FOR GOING FORWARD SO WE CAN LEARN FROM THESE PAST FOUR YEARS AND ENSURE THAT WE HAVE MECHANISMS IN PLACE TO ADDRESS IT IF IT EVER ARISES AGAIN, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME BRINGING THE NATION FORWARD.

AND LOOK, LET'S BE REALISTIC.

HEALING DOES NOT MEAN THAT 100% OF THE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO AGREE WITH 100% OF THE THINGS THAT ARE GOING TO HAPPEN.

I THINK THERE ARE VERY FEW TIMES THAT WE CAN EXPECT THAT TO HAPPEN.

AND SO MOVING FORWARD WITH A POLICY AGENDA THAT NOT ONLY THE BASE BUT ALSO THE GREATER AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT TO SEE, WE WANT TO SEE AN ECONOMY ADDRESSED, WE WANT TO SEE GREATER FOCUS AND MORE COHESIVE FOCUS ON ADDRESSING THIS VIRUS, AND THEN HOW DO WE REBUILD OUT OF THIS AS A STRONGER NATION.

AND THAT IS WHAT I BELIEVE THIS ADMINISTRATION WILL DO.

RICK, IT SEEMS KIND OF RIDICULOUS TO SAY THAT WE DON'T WANT TO FOCUS TOO MUCH ON THIS PENDING SENATE TRIAL BECAUSE OF COURSE THAT WILL BE A BIG DEAL.

BUT BY ALL ACCOUNTS THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION IS DEFINITELY PLANNING ON HITTING THE GROUND RUNNING.

THERE ARE SEVERAL EXECUTIVE ORDERS THAT ARE EXPECTED TO BE SIGNED BY THE END OF THE DAY TODAY.

AGAIN, WE ARE TAPING EARLIER IN THE DAY.

BUT I'M WONDERING WHAT IT IS THAT YOU THINK IS GOING TO BE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION TO ADDRESS IN ITS FIRST 100 DAYS.

I THINK IT'S GOT TO ADDRESS THE ISSUES THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT.

SO THAT'S COVID AND THAT'S THE ECONOMY.

SO THEY'VE GOT TO LASER FOCUS ON THOSE TWO THINGS.

I WANT TO GO BACK TO A LITTLE BIT OF WHAT WE WERE JUST TALKING ABOUT, THOUGH, AND JUST PUT IT OUT THERE, THAT WHAT WE HAVE IN THIS COUNTRY IS A GOP PROBLEM.

AND IF WE DON'T FACE THAT, WE ARE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO MOVE FORWARD.

WHEN RICHARD NIXON LEFT OFFICE, HE WAS AT A VERY LOW LEVEL OF APPROVAL IN HIS OWN PARTY.

AT THE BEGINNING OF 1973, HE HAD 91% APPROVAL OF HIS PARTY.

BY A YEAR LATER, HE WAS DOWN TO 50%. AND THEN BY THE TIME HE LEFT THE OFFICE, HE WAS DOWN TO 20, 30%. SO OUR PROBLEM IS THAT THE OUTGOING PRESIDENT STILL RETAINS THE SUPPORT OF 80, 90% OF HIS PARTY.

WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE GOING FORWARD AS A UNIFIED COUNTRY OR ANYTHING APPROACHING THAT UNLESS WE CAN SOLVE THAT PROBLEM.

AND THERE'S SEVERAL THINGS THAT HAVE TO HAPPEN HERE.

THE GOP HAS TO FIGURE OUT IF THIS IS THE WAY THEY'RE GOING TO GO FORWARD.

ARE THEY GOING TO GO AND BE THE TRUMPY PARTY OF THE LAST FOUR YEARS GOING FORWARD, OR IS THAT A PATH TO FAILURE?

AND MY GUESS IS IF THEY REACH THE CONCLUSION THAT THAT'S A PATH TO FAILURE AND IT SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN A PATH TO FAILURE OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS, WHERE THEY LOST THE HOUSE, THE SENATE, AND THEN THEY LOST A BUNCH OF GOVERNORSHIPS, IF THEY CONCLUDE IT'S FAILURE, THEN THEY WILL CHANGE.

BUT THEY WILL ONLY CHANGE WHEN THEY HAVE CONVINCED THEMSELVES THAT THAT WAY LIES DISASTER.

OKAY.

WELL, OBVIOUSLY, JOSEPH, I DEFINITELY WANT TO GIVE YOU THE FLOOR TO RESPOND TO THAT.

BUT SO JUST TO BE CLEAR, RICK, YOUR ANSWER TO THE FIRST 100 DAYS IS THEY HAVE TO ADDRESS THE ECONOMY, THEY HAVE TO ADDRESS COVID?

EXACTLY.

JOSEPH, I DO WANT TO GIVE YOU THE FLOOR.

LOOK, A FEW THINGS HERE.

NUMBER ONE, AMERICA DOESN'T HAVE A GOP PROBLEM.

AMERICA HAS AN APATHY PROBLEM.

THAT PROBLEM HAS PERMEATED BOTH PARTIES.

IT'S A REVOLVING DOOR THAT GOES BETWEEN BOTH PARTIES AND THAT EXTENDS TO THE ORIGINS OF THIS NATION WHEN PEOPLE WHO LOOKED LIKE ME WERE DEEMED THREE FIFTHS OF A HUMAN BEING.

THE FACT THAT WE TEND TO VIEW AMERICA THROUGH A PARTISAN PRISM PREVENTS US FROM SOLVING PROBLEMS INHERENT IN AMERICA TODAY.

IF WE WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE FIRST 100 DAYS, LET'S BE CLEAR, JOE BIDEN IS DOWN TO HIS FIRST 79 DAYS BECAUSE IF YOU PERSIST IN HAVING AN IMPEACHMENT TRIAL THAT PREVENTS JOE BIDEN FROM GET TO GO THE BUSINESS OF GOVERNING, GET TO GO THE BUSINESS OF HEALING THIS COUNTRY AND IN THE PROCESS ACTUALLY EVISCERATES THE GOODWILL THAT WILL BE REQUIRED FOR JOE BIDEN TO GOVERN EFFECTIVELY WHEN HE IS DEALING WITH THE SMALLEST HOUSE MAJORITY SINCE WORLD WAR II, WHEN HE IS DEALING WITH AN EVENLY DIVIDED SENATE, NOW VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS WILL BE EFFECTIVELILY THE 101st SENATOR.

IF WE'RE GOING TO HEAL AMERICA WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO FIND COMPROMISE, TO BROKER COMPROMISE.

THAT REQUIRES PEOPLE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE.

AND DEEMING THAT THEY ARE DEFICIENT IN THEIR AMERICANISM OR SOMEHOW THE PROBLEM WITH AMERICA WRIT LARGE IS PROBABLY A REALLY BAD WAY TO START A VERY IMPORTANT CONVERSATION.

AND SO I THINK IF WE'RE JUST REALLY GOING TO BE HONEST ABOUT MOVING FORWARD, I DO RECOGNIZE THE FACT THAT, AGAIN, THERE ARE AMPLE ARGUMENTS TO BE SAID THAT THE PURVIEW OF CONGRESS IS IMPEACHMENT, THAT IS WHERE IT LIES.

BUT CONGRESS DID ITS JOB, CONGRESS HAS ALREADY IMPEACHED PRESIDENT TRUMP, CONGRESS CAN NOW ALSO DISSOLVE THOSE ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT.

THERE IS ALSO PRECEDENT TO DO THAT, BY SAYING THAT THE THREAT HAS BEEN REMOVED, HE IS NO LONGER PRESIDENT, AND IF THERE ARE CRIMINAL CHARGES TO BE BROUGHT, THEY SHOULD BE BROUGHT IN A CRIMINAL COURT.

IF THERE ARE FEDERAL LAWS THAT HAVE BEEN BROKEN, THAT THERE ARE FEDERAL CHARGES THAT SHOULD BE BROUGHT.

AND IF THERE ARE STATE LAWS THAT ARE BROKEN, THEY SHOULD BE BROUGHT IN STATE COURTS.

THERE ARE NO SHORTAGE OF DISTRICT ATTORNEYS, U.S.

ATTORNEYS, THAT ARE WILLING TO DO THAT AND HAVE INDICATED THAT THEY ARE LOOKING TO DO THAT.

SO I JUST THINK THAT OVERALL, YES, I THINK ALL OF THIS IS IMPORTANT, ALL OF THIS ARE THINGS THAT WE SHOULD TALK ABOUT.

BUT IF WE ARE IN THE BUSINESS OF MOVING FORWARD, AND TO BE CLEAR, MAYBE WE'RE NOT, MAYBE WE'RE NOT READY TO MOVE FORWARD, MAYBE WE'RE STILL GOING TO DOUBLE DOWN ON THE POLITICS OF DIVISION AND VALIDATION AND VITRIOL, BUT IF WE ARE ACTUALLY IN THE BUSINESS OF TRYING TO SEEK A BROKER EED PEACE, THEN WE HAVE TO DISPENSE WITH THE TYPE OF BEHAVIOR AND THE ANTICS THAT LED TO US WHERE WE CURRENTLY ARE IN IN THE FIRST PLACE.

L. JOY, YOU KNOW WHAT I'M REALLY GETTING FROM THIS CONVERSATION IS THAT EVEN THOUGH WE NOW HAVE A BRAND-NEW PRESIDENT, AN HISTORICAL, HISTORIC VICE PRESIDENT IN OFFICE, THE CONVERSATION IS STILL ABOUT THE PAST PRESIDENT, PRESIDENT TRUMP.

HE STILL SEEMS TO BE TAKING UP A LOT OF THE OXYGEN.

AND SO FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, ONE, DO YOU SEE THAT AS WHAT MIGHT ACTUALLY BE PRESIDENT BIDEN'S REAL CHALLENGE, IS SHARING THE NEWS CYCLE THAT'S GOING TO INCLUDE PRESIDENT TRUMP, OR IS IT POSSIBLE FOR HIM TO BREAK AWAY FROM THAT AND SORT OF ESTABLISH SOMETHING ON HIS OWN WITHOUT DEALING WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP AS AT LEAST 84 MILLION AMERICANS SEEM TO BE READY TO DO?

WE CAN DO BOTH AT THE SAME TIME.

AND THERE HAS BEEN INDICATIONS NOT ONLY FROM SENATORS AND OTHERS TO MAKE SURE THAT WE MOVE FORWARD AT THE SAME TIME OF DOING THE IMPEACHMENT, CONFIRMING WHO WE NEED TO CONFIRM AND ALSO ADDRESSING THE ISSUES OF THE ECONOMY, ADDRESSING COVID AND ALSO ADDRESSING ON THE SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES THAT HAVE BEEN PREVALENT IN THIS COUNTRY OVER A NUMBER OF DECADES.

AND I WILL SAY, YOU KNOW, IT IS NOT DIVISION TO ADDRESS ACCOUNTABILITY AND HOLD PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE.

AND IT'S NOT -- I AGREE IT'S NOT A PARTISAN PROBLEM.

IT IS A PROBLEM WE COLLECTIVELY HAVE TO DEAL WITH, AND THAT'S THE CONFRONTATION, RIGHT?

IT IS NOT SOMEBODY ELSE INSTALLED THIS PREVIOUS PRESIDENT.

THERE WAS A COHESIVE PARTICIPATION THAT HAPPENED.

AND SO WE ALL HAVE TO ADDRESS OUR PART IN THAT SPACE.

AND IT IS NOT DIVISIVE, IT IS NOT POLITICS AS USUAL TO SUGGEST THAT MOVING FORWARD WITH IMPEACHMENT AND HOLDING ACCOUNTABLE AND BRINGING TO THE TABLE ALL OF THOSE ISSUES, THAT IS NOT DIVISIVE, THAT IS THE BUSINESS WHAT HAVE WE ARE SUPPOSED TO DO.

AND AT THE SAME TIME, WE CAN ADDRESS A VIRUS THAT HAS TAKEN MILLIONS OF PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY.

WE CAN ADDRESS AN ECONOMY THAT HAS MILLIONS OF PEOPLE AND MILLIONS OF CHILDREN AT THE POVERTY LINE OR BELOW.

WE CAN DO ALL OF THAT TOGETHER.

AND I BELIEVE WE WILL.

WELL, LISTEN, I WANT TO TAKE THE TIME NOW TO THANK ALL THREE OF MY GUESTS FOR JOINING ME.

RICK SHENKMAN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN, FOUNDER OF GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY'S HISTORY NEWS NETWORK AND 'NEW YORK TIMES' BESTSELLING AUTHOR.

RICK, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

I ALSO WANT TO THANK L. JOY WILLIAMS, PRESIDENT OF THE BROOKLYN NAACP, A SENIOR ADVISER FORAY MAGUIRE'S NEW YORK CITY MAYORAL CAMPAIGN AND HOST OF THE SUNDAY CIVICS CAMPAIGN.

AND OF COURSE I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO JOIN OUR RETURNING GUEST JOSEPH PINION, A REPUBLICAN POLITICAL STRATEGIST, CHAIR OF THE CONSERVATIVE COLOR COALITION AND HOSS OF NEWSMAX'S 'SATURDAY AGENDA.'

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

THIS IS A CONVERSATION WE ARE DEFINITELY GOING TO HAVE TO CONTINUE, ESPECIALLY SEEING WHAT HAPPENS WITH THE SENATE AND OF COURSE WITH THIS NEW ADMINISTRATION AS IT GETS ITS FEET UNDERNEATH IT IN ITS FIRST 100 DAYS.

THANK YOU ALL FOR JOINING ME.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY JUDY AND JOSH WESTON DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, The Peter G. Peterson and Joan Ganz Cooney Fund, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, The Ambrose Monell Foundation, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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