Rep. Jim Clyburn: America Has to Be Accessible to All

President Trump’s threats to involve the military continue to provoke unease – most notably at the Pentagon, where Defense Secretary Mark Esper publicly broke with his commander-in-chief over the issue. Jim Clyburn grew up under segregation and rose to become the senior African American member of Congress.

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REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): I think it’s very important for people of good sense to begin to speak up when this president continues to fly in the face of a constitutional principle that are the underpinnings of this great country. This country does not have to be made great again. I don’t care what Trump says. This country is already great. What we have got to work on and what our great challenge is, is making this nation’s greatness accessible and affordable for all of its citizens, and that’s what we are trying to do. That’s what is going on with these demonstrations. People are trying to make our judicial system accessible and affordable for all. That’s what we are trying to do in the response of this pandemic. Making our health care accessible and affordable. Restructuring these things in such a way that they will serve everybody. And so, I think it’s very clear that the secretary of defense is saying to the president that he understands what his role is, that this is not a police state. This is a state that’s — this country is run by constitutional principles, that this president seemed to have very low regards for.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Congressman, I wanted to ask you, because of who you are and what you have seen and what you have done over your life in civil rights and the fact that you yourself spent time in prison and that age 12 heading your own chapter of the NAACP, what reaction did you have on a gut level or just on a — on any level when you saw that original video, the eight minutes that led to George Floyd’s death?

CLYBURN: The first thing that came to my mind was Emmett Till. I was a young man when Emmett Till was murdered. I remember so many instances during the ’60s that people lost their lives over silliness, over disregard to life. And I thought really that we had gotten beyond that. But then, I remembered watching the video of Walter Scott in my congressional district being shot in the back by a police officer while he was running away. Of course, we didn’t riot. We came together as a community, black and white, and that police officer got 20 years in jail for having done that.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane speaks with House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn about current events and with Trump 2020 Director of Strategic Communications Marc Lotter about the president’s strategy moving forward. She also speaks with former President of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives Cedric L. Alexander about police reform. Michel Martin speaks with radio host Charlamagne tha God.