Transcript

Removal of Confederate statues sparks debate in Kentucky

Louisville Urban League president Sadiqa Reynolds and Rep. Thomas Massie weigh in on 'The Story'

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," June 22, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MARTHA MACCALLUM, "THE STORY" HOST: Hello, everybody. I'm Martha MacCallum and this is "The Story," live from the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville. This week the president is taking his message back to the places where it resonates the most. The military in Virginia, a rally in Arizona last night, and an audience in Nevada today.

And here in Louisville, home of the Kentucky Derby, land of Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, the people that we spoke with have a far different take than those inside the beltway and in much of the media. The Blue Grass State went 62 percent for Donald Trump in November. And while the nation reels over deep division the people that we spoke to, you can hear them responding here tonight, wants the president to have a chance to do the things that he promised. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want to see -- you know, I like to see the people in the White House stand up. These tax cuts will help so much to get the economy going, especially here in Kentucky.

MACCALLUM: How about the wall, is that important?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely got to build the wall.

MACCALLUM: So, you think the American taxpayers should pay to build the wall and that Congress should approve that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It wouldn't bother me a bit. We pay taxes for everything else, why not? America, you know, comes first.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Well, Kentucky is at the crossroads of some of the most pressing issues in the nation. There's the fight to combat our opioid crisis. Just this week, the city of Louisville filed a federal lawsuit against three major drug distributors and accused them of having a role in what's happening out there. And then there is the bitter nationwide debate over the removal of Confederate monuments which was first sparked by the deadly protest in neighboring Virginia. Today, the city of Charlottesville covered a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee as a sign of mourning for the woman who was killed, Heather Heyer, while cities across the country are grappling with the fallout.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CROWD CHANTING)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very unfortunate that the national discussion in the wake of Charlottesville has evolved into this type of vandalism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: So, last night President Trump addressed this issue again. Here's that:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What happened in Charlottesville, strikes at the core of America. It's time to expose the crooked media deceptions and to challenge the media for their role in fomenting divisions. And yes, by the way --

(CROWD CHEERING)

TRUMP: And yes, by the way, they are trying to take away our history and our heritage, you see that.

(CROWD BOOING)

TRUMP: Does anybody want George Washington's statue?

(CROWD SAYING "NO")

TRUMP: No. Is that sad? Is that -- oh, it's sad? The Lincoln to Teddy Roosevelt, I see they want to take Teddy Roosevelt's down, too. They're trying to figure out why. They don't know. They are trying to take away our culture. They're trying to take away our history. And our weak leaders, they do it overnight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: So, one of those very communities in Lexington, Kentucky which is considering removing monuments, White Nationalists are already threatening to protest if the city does that, and that is where we find Matt Finn 90 miles from here reporting tonight for us live in Lexington, Kentucky. Hi, Matt.

MATT FINN, FOX NEWS CHANNEL NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Martha. Well, one of the leaders of the extreme White Nationalist groups that protested in Charlottesville, Virginia, says they will post an unannounced, flash rally here in Lexington to protest the removal of one of two Confederate statues behind me. Lexington was thrown into the national spotlight when its Democratic Mayor, Jim Gray, tweeted out his plans to speed up the removal of the two civil war era statues here.

Kentucky's Republican Governor, Matt Bevin, however, says racist riots are disgusting and if the residents here want the statues removed, he will respect the will of the people. But he is concerned removing the statues erases lessons that could be learned from history. Listen to the governor in a radio interview, and then Lexington mayor's responds.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. MATT BEVIN, R-KENTUCKY: I absolutely disagree with the sanitization of history.

JIM GRAY, MAYOR OF LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY: We are absolutely not sanitizing, and we are not destroying. We're putting these statues in the proper context. Out of the center of the city where they're being glorified today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FINN: Residents here have very strong mixed opinions about the statues. Many people spoke out in favor of removing them at a council meeting, and we also spoke to some residents in a neighborhood where the statues might be moved.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just think that we have lived with them where they are for so long, and I just don't think we can erase our history. I don't want to move them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Put yourselves in my shoes. Let's pretend that you're the victim of an abuser, and basically that's what they represent to us. Would you like for the abuser to be honored?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But if it will calm things and restore some calmness to the area, then I'd say if we can move them, but I wouldn't be in favor of destroying them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FINN: Lexington's council voted unanimously in favor to remove the statues from here in downtown, Lexington. They gave themselves 30 days to decide where the statues will go. And tonight, we are one week into that 30-day period. Martha?

MACCALLUM: All right. We'll be watching, Matt, thank you very much. So, as Lexington takes steps to move these two monuments, I spoke to people here in Louisville who are dealing with statue controversies of their own.
Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My feelings are, it's all history. At this time, we need to come together as a nation. That is history. We leave history alone. And what I don't understand is now we are going after history where we haven't done it in the past 25 years. But this time, in the last seven months, we go after history. And I think it's got a lot to do with President Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Someone's offended by every different type of statue or whatever, I just think it's crazy. It's just crazy. It's part of our history. It should be looked at that way and not as something bad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Republican Congressman, Thomas Massie, has represented Kentucky for almost five years, and Sadiqua Reynolds is president and CEO of the Louisville Urban League. Her organization has been working to remove the Confederate monuments from Kentucky. Sadiqua, welcome, first of all, to both of you. It's great to be with you here in Louisville, and thank you for having us. Let me start with you, Sadiqua. You listened to what the people were saying today who I spoke with and also the congresswoman who was part of that. Do you understand where they're coming from?

SADIQUA REYNOLDS, PRESIDENT AND CEO, LOUISVILLE URBAN LEAGUE: I think that Black people have never been guilty of attempting to sanitize history. The reality is, is that those in the majority and not even all, but these folks who have erected these statues to celebrate people who were murders, who were treasonous, who were willing to die in order to save slavery. I mean, if you think about it, we are talking about putting these statues up. It is almost as if we want to do that because they wish that the south had one. They wish that the war had a different outcome. It makes no sense.

And so, the idea that we're the ones who are attempting to change history, it is absolutely insane. And the other part of it is, you don't have to have a memorial or a statue to be able to teach history. I think history is very important. It's the only way that you keep from making the same mistake. That being said, we can do that in a school setting, in a museum setting. You don't have to have monuments and Confederate flags to celebrate something that was so damaging. And so, the idea that we are really attempting to be inclusive in this country, not -- clearly not.

We have, I think, people have dehumanized Black people and the Black experience so much that there is no ability to even see what this kind of -- what kind of damage something like this can cause. So, it's not about not talking about our history and not talking about what we have lived. We need to. And we want you all to do that. We want all of us to do that together. But to celebrate people who were willing to die to keep an entire people enslaved, no. Those statues need to come down.

MACCALLUM: That's a very interesting take, Thomas. And you know, you listen to what is Sadiqua says. And you know, you understand the argument on your side. But then there, you know, there is this other side of it that, you know, it was the most divisive battle in our nation's history. That there were young men on both sides who saw it that they were fighting for their state, that they were fighting for the people of their state, and, you know, they were trying to preserve what they were told was the right thing to try to preserve. Do all those needs to come down and is the manner in which some of these coming down disturbing to you?

REP. THOMAS MASSIE, R-KENTUCKY: You know, I think vandalism is a very bad thing. I agree with President Trump and Matt Bevin. This is part of our complex and interesting history. Here in Kentucky, which was a border state in the civil war.

MACCALLUM: And a neutral state.

MASSIE: That's right. And so, for 150 years we've had Confederate monuments and union monuments peacefully coexisting in this state. And as I grew up here in Kentucky, you know, looking at those monuments and asking, you know, the adult's questions, what happened here? Why are these monuments here? I think it's instructive and an important part of our history, I would hate to see these monuments all be taken down.

MACCALLUM: I mean if it's neo-Nazi movement, this crazed movement that has unfortunately adopted this as their cause. So, when people see them, these horrific individuals standing next to them and chanting these things that, you know, cut to the core of every one of us when they listen to these words, it's unfortunate for your argument that they have co-opted this fight.

REYNOLDS: And with all these monuments, Kentucky is one the most uneducated states in the country. So, if we were really about teaching history, why don't we do that? I mean, people can stand beside these monuments, in front of them and march and chant about wanting to celebrate the way things used to be, but they don't know their history even with the monuments there. So, I mean, I think we should be talking more about how we can change our community, our country, how we can bring people together. This doesn't help to do that. It's very divisive.

MACCALLUM: Let me ask you the question that the president raises about.

MASSIE: There's going to be less debate about the history though.

MACCALLUM: About George Washington, about Thomas Jefferson, you know, where do you draw the line, Sadiqua?

REYNOLDS: I don't draw the line. I am not interested -- listen, I'm interested in telling the real story about our history.

MACCALLUM: But history is ugly. And some people who did some very good things also did very bad things.

REYNOLDS: They were rapists. He this was willing to die -- you said that they recognized people. They didn't recognize us as human beings. And so, those statues still standing. I mean, it is not sort of -- it is not sort of it is absolutely loosely.

MACCALLUM: Would you take down Thomas Jefferson Memorial, just for an example and I got to go.

REYNOLDS: Listen, I don't care. I don't care. I -- you are going to learn history, you are going to learn history whether you have monuments or not. Those monuments are disrespectful and they need to come down. We are a part of this country and we deserve to have the respect when we walk through the street. We should not see monuments like that.

MASSIE: It's a slippery slope. And the question is:

REYNOLDS: Slide down.

MASSIE: Where does it end?

MACCALLUM: I got to go.

REYNOLDS: It ends with justice. Those monuments, those statues represent the statues the policies --

MASSIE: Would taking down the Jefferson memorial --

MACCALLUM: Guys, I got to cut you off. Thank you very much for bringing your viewpoint.

REYNOLDS: Take them down.

MACCALLUM: Good to have both of you here.

MASSIE: I hope not.

REYNOLDS: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So, President Trump making some waves last night in Phoenix, holding nothing back as he took aim once again at the media. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: So the -- and I mean truly dishonest people in the media and the fake media, they make up stories.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: And so, they hit back pretty hard, challenging his mental fitness. We're going to show you that back and forthcoming up. Plus, reports of tension between the president and Kentucky's own Senator Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. So, where does this so-called feud stand right now? Some breaking news tonight on those two men. And also, we'll take a closer look at escalating epidemic in this country, an opioid crisis that has hit home in such a potent way here in Kentucky.

But, first, we go to break with music from Larry Stuart who is joining us tonight, Lead Singer of the country pop band Reckless Heart, which played at the president's inauguration. There he is thanks, Larry.

LARRY STUART, LEAD SINGER, RECKLESS HEART: Why does it have to be wrong or right? Why does it have to be one way or the other? Won't somebody please, please tell me why does it have to be Black or White? Why don't we have to hurt one to another? Oh, tell me why? Why does it have to be?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: But the very dishonest media, those people right up there with all the cameras.

(CROWD BOOING)

TRUMP: I didn't say, do a fraction for you and you. I said for each other, all of us. All of us. All of us.

(CROWD CHEERING)

TRUMP: But they don't report it. They don't -- they just let it go. The media can attack me, but where I draw the line is when they attack you, which is what they do. When they attack the decency of our supporters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Vintage President Trump last night during the campaign style rally that happened in Phoenix, taking a page really out of the old playbook from the campaign trail. He hit the media very hard as you saw there. He spent about 17 minutes, more than that, rehashing his speeches about Charlottesville, almost line by line. And then, artfully dodging some direct criticism of Senators McCain and Flake of Arizona while essentially calling them out. The coverage following this speech, president's critics had a field day. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: He's unhinged. His speech was without thought. It was without reason. It was devoid of facts. It was devoid of wisdom. There was no gravitas. There was no sanity there.

JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I really question his ability to -- his fitness to be in this office.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST: It's a rhetorical disaster, not only this country and political discourse.

ANNA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That is not normal. That is not sane behavior.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: So, the good people at the fair today were pretty clear on where they fall on this fight. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I truly believe it. The media, a lot of the media, tried to divide the country and keep it going and keep the hatred toward Trump and everything else. I think we just need to move forward.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think our president has a lot of uphill battles to fight. And I really think sometimes that the press is causing us some of the problems because they don't want him to succeed.

MACCALLUM: What do you think when people say you know, that he's racist or that he is --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not at all.

MACCALLUM: You know, not stable or not fit for office?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, not at all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: So, joining me now: Krystal Ball is a Louisville resident and Executive Director of People's House Project; Ralph Alvarado, is a Republican Kentucky Senate State Senator and Member of the Hispanic Advisory Council for Trump. So, welcome, you guys. Good to see you both, and great to be in your home states. Thanks for having us.

KRYSTAL BALL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PEOPLE'S HOUSE PROJECT: Yes. Thanks.

MACCALLUM: Krystal, I don't know where all those people have been for the past couple years. I don't think we saw anything last night that we haven't seen before from the president, but they all seemed to be absolutely shocked.

BALL: You know what, that's actually a great point. This is exactly who he was, this is exactly who he has been, this is exactly who he's going to be. But I think it's hard to wrap your head around anyone, let alone a president of the United States, who in the wake of the tragedy that we had in Charlottesville an American woman being murdered in an American town can't seem to make the incident about anything other than himself.

I mean, that's what this is all about. His grievances, how unfair his treatment was. And look, I have plenty of criticisms of the media. I think they do go out of their way just to have quick rating hits without focusing on a lot of the issues that matter most to Americans. That's all true, and that's all fair. But this president can't seem to get past the smallness of himself to try to bring the country together. And I think that is continually shocking to see.

MACCALLUM: I mean, we did talk to some people today who said, Ralph, you know, I would like him to spend less time rehashing the speeches and less time talking about himself, and more time talking about the things we care about. And those are people who were big supporters.

RALPH ALVARADO, REPUBLICAN KENTUCKY SENATE STATE SENATOR AND MEMBER OF THE HISPANIC ADVISORY COUNCIL FOR TRUMP: Yes. I mean, I think he needs to be focusing a bit more on the future. But I think what you heard yesterday was really a spilling over of frustration, not only his own frustration but the voice you heard there is the frustration of everybody throughout the country. I think people, in general, with this man, got elected with that frustration coming out.

And I think when he continues to go to those rallies, you get in front of those crowds, people respond to him. They hear his words. They respond. You heard those comments earlier today about people saying that they support him and believe in what he has to say, and what the media has to say. But that frustration that you're hearing from him is what other people are thinking as well.

MACCALLUM: I was particularly struck by James Clapper who, you know -- I mean, just as a point of history, there have been times when he was forgetting things that he should've known in his position as DNI. And you know, he was given flack for that by the media and by everybody else. To be questioning the president's fitness, to be saying that he's looking for a way out, how is that helpful? How is that helpful for the country? How is that helpful for, you know, just a respect for the office in general?

BALL: Well, I think it's a remarkable statement on just how far this president has departed from what we expect of an American president. He's no longer on the campaign trail. Right? Now, he can't just speak to his base and his supporters who, you're absolutely right, love probably almost everything that he said last night. But he also has to be president of the mother and father of that woman who was killed by a car.

MACCALLUM: I would agree with you. I mean, but you know, look at other examples, like the Dallas police officers, the other people who have lost their lives in the tragedy that is based on the divide that we feel in this country, Ralph. I mean, there are plenty of examples, unfortunately, that we can all point to. You can also look back at President Obama, who I think also was accused, and it doesn't make either of them right in regard to speaking to his base, of speaking to the people who, you know, wanted to hear what he wanted to say to them.

ALVARADO: Right. And I think -- like I said, I mentioned earlier, I think a lot of that is the frustration. And let's face, it a lot of the issues that we're seeing in the media right now has been around for a very long time. I mean, this has been going on in our country whether it'd be in the smaller areas, getting a lot more focused now in the media it's because of what's being said. And I think sometimes people are feeling like they're trying to pin this on President Trump.

MACCALLUM: Let me -- my sense today was that Kentucky would vote for this president all over again if the election were held tomorrow. Do you agree?

BALL: I think so because I don't think Democrats have done our job to offer something better.

MACCALLUM: Democrats have a difficult time raising money

(APPLAUSE)

ALVARADO: I think the same thing. You know, I represented a local state and senate district. I talk to people almost every day. People find it frustrating. They feel like he's not being given a fair shake, not given an opportunity to do what he can do. I think they've got to give him a chance to get into office, get his people appointed, get his cabinet safe, get the people that he's wanting to get in the government.

BALL: That Republicans gains control of the House and Senate.

MACCALLUM: Republicans, including Senator Mitch McConnell. So, you know. They're going to patch that up though. Got some news coming up on that. Thanks, you guys. Great to have both of you tonight.

ALVARADO: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So, still ahead, from the Kentucky State Fair, as I just mentioned. Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Trump said to be in an icy standoff in recent weeks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I'm very disappointed in Mitch. But, if he gets these bills passed, I'll be very happy with him and I'll be the first to admit it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: So, is there a thaw coming? What we now know about the Kentucky senator and what he said just hours ago. Stick around. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: So, last night, President Trump called out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Tonight, in Leader McConnell's home state of Kentucky here, we asked some of his constituents what they think about him in this war of words that has been going on. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I've been a Mitch McConnell fan all my life born and raised here. I'm disappointed in him. He's not being a true leader. And he should obey what the president is asking. Work with the president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that Mitch McConnell for Kentucky, that's how we get a lot of money back to Kentucky is through Mitch.

MACCALLUM: There's a report yesterday that Mitch McConnell and the president aren't speaking to each other right now. What do you think about that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I say, Mitch needs to go. I'm sorry. It's just, you know, he's not doing the job. You know, he's not doing the agenda for Donald Trump. I mean, you know, he's the leader there, he's supposed to be getting these people together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: So tonight, we do have some new developments and that is that the White House is setting up a meeting between the two men when Congress returns for the session. Here now is Kentucky Congressman, Thomas Massey. Good to have you back.

MASSIE: Thanks for having me.

MACCALLUM: What do you think about all that?

MASSIE: You know, I knew there were going to be some rough spots between leadership in the Senate and the House and the president when I heard his inaugural address.

MACCALLUM: Yes.

MASSIE: He was pretty tough on the deep swamp, I'll call it. But you know, this may surprise you, but I want to take up for my senior senator here a little bit and contrast him with our speaker of the house, OK. We never even got to vote on a repeal bill in the house. What we voted on was on was Obamacare light. At least in the senate, Senator McConnell has given them four or five votes. And what can you see over there is it's not just Senator McConnell, or it may not even be him at all. They don't even have 50 people over there who will vote to repeal ObamaCare.

Now, in the house, we don't have 218, which is the number we need to get to. But, you know what? Paul Ryan won't put the repeal bill on the floor. We've done a discharge petition to try and force that bill, that repeal vote on the floor because we still haven't had it. This is sort of like a hot potato. And it was in Paul Ryan's hands for a while. And he passed the placebo. It wasn't a real repeal. And gave it over to McConnell, and now he's had several votes which demonstrate a lot of those senators aren't what they seem purported to be.

MACCALLUM: Well, clearly, the president is upset about what happened. You know, I think he thought it was going to be a little bit easier to get things through since he has a Republican house and has a Republican senate. Last night, he went after Jeff Flake, who he is not a big fan of, who wrote a whole book about why he doesn't like the president. And here is what he said when he kind of danced around using his name last night. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: And nobody wants me to talk about your other senator who is weak on borders, weak on crime, so I won't talk about him.

(CROWD BOOING)

TRUMP: Nobody wants me to talk about him. Nobody knows who the hell he is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: And here's the tweet that he sent out this morning. It wasn't enough that he sort of danced around the name, and everybody knew exactly who he was talking about last night. So this morning, when I woke up I saw this. Phoenix crowd last night was amazing, a packed house. I love the great state of Arizona. Not a fan of Jeff Flake, just in case you didn't get me last night, weak on crime and the border. But you know, some say that Jeff Flake is not on board with the agenda, and they are critical of him. So do you think the president would be wrong to try to primary him and try to get him out of there, or do you think that these folks need to figure out a way to come together and find some common ground?

MASSIE: You know, maybe they're not going to find common ground on this issue, but what I've learned serving in the House of Representatives, there's 435 members, don't alienate any of them, not a single one, because you have to get to 218 on everything in the house. In the senate it's either 51 or 60, depending on what the issue is. And if you alienate somebody over one topic, then when you go to say infrastructure or tax reform, maybe Senator Flake will be there for the president on that vote. So, I just -- I don't think it's a good strategy for developing consensus on the next issue. It might help to put pressure on him to get him to come along this time.

MACCALLUM: Senator Jeff Flake is going to call him up tomorrow and say, hey, let's work together.

MASSIE: Because, look, it does get personal. This is why we don't address each other by name.

MACCALLUM: They find it very personal

MASSIE: We say Mr. Speaker or my colleague.

MACCALLUM: My good friend from Kentucky, thank you very much.

MASSIE: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: We'll see you later. So still ahead tonight, a state attorney general, Andy Beshear, joins us on what he calls the single greatest threat facing Kentucky. And let me tell you something, it is in your home state, too.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: What about the opioid crisis which I know has hit Kentucky, especially northern Kentucky very hard, so many states across this country?

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm glad that he wants to do something about it. I mean, it's terrible. We've so many people dying. So many of our young ones, you know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Emotions running high for one of the many Kentucky residents personally affected by the overdose deaths of a loved one. As Louisville goes after the drug distributors in court, we're learning shocking statistics, last year on average every adult in this state was written at least one pain killer prescription. Kentucky now ranks third in the nation among states with the highest rate of drug overdose deaths with 2016 marking an all-time high in fatalities. So this is going in the wrong direction. Joining me now, two people taking action, state attorney general Andy Beshear, and Emily Walden. Emily lost her son T.J. to addiction, and is now a national coordinator for the fed-up coalition, which you should look up and learn more about. Good evening to both of you.

ANDY BESHEAR, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF KENTUCKY: Good evening.

MACCALLUM: Emily, tell everybody what happened. What happened to T.J.?

EMILY WALDEN, FED-UP COALITION COORDINATOR: My son T.J. passed away five years ago from the drug Opana. He made a bad decision in his late teens and struggled with addiction. He became addicted very quickly, and ultimately lost his life.

MACCALLUM: And he was with -- we're just showing some pictures of your beautiful son, he was with the Kentucky National Guard. I know how proud of you -- him you were. And it's so important for people to understand that these are good kids. These are not kids -- you know, these are your kids, my kids, everybody in your neighborhood.

WALDEN: Yes.

MACCALLUM: What do you want for people to understand about that? How did you learn what was going on?

WALDEN: He's just wasn't himself. And I eventually pushed him on a small issue, and he confessed and told me what was going on. And he did go to treatment for a 30-day program at that time. I didn't know that that wasn't long enough, or I didn't know about opioid addiction and how much that affects the brain.

MACCALLUM: So these drugs, prescription drugs, as we just pointed out, they are prescribed in a massive amount. I know that there are some new regulations against these. Andy, you've done some things in Kentucky to try to back off just handing out these slips of paper that can lead to people's deaths.

BESHEAR: In some counties in Kentucky, we have up to three opioid prescriptions for every man, woman, and child in that county. And when you look at heroin users, 80 percent start with abusing prescription pills. What families need to know is the medicine cabinet may be the most dangerous place in their house, 70 percent of people who abuse and -- or become addicted through this type of medication is getting them from a family or a friend. We have to cut off that tie, but we also have to clean out those medicine cabinets.

MACCALLUM: And you have a way to do that?

BESHEAR: We do. Yesterday, we announced our Kentucky opioid disposal program, which is the first time that Kentucky families can safely dispose of them at home. We've got a pilot program where we're putting out 50,000 packets. Each of these can deactivate up to 45 opioids to where we may be able to deactivate up to 2.2 million opioids in just one pilot project. But just think, you know, we deal with the hopeless myth a lot, but if we can clean out every single medicine cabinet, if we can get rid of all of those unused opioids, and then I think we can actually reduce the rate of addiction.

MACCALLUM: Emily, what's your message? What do you want people at home to know, to think about as they look at this issue before we go.

WALDEN: That these drugs are very, very dangerous, highly addictive. Hydrocodone is almost the exact same chemical makeup as heroin. So your child gets injured. They get their wisdom teeth taken out. You need to be extremely cautious with pain medication.

MACCALLUM: So glad you said that. I mean, I had my children -- they send this home, you know, take this if the pain is really bad. I mean, doesn't need these things, right?

BESHEAR: And Kentucky pass the laws where people are going to get fewer upfront. That's a very good thing. If we can then get rid of.

MACCALLUM: No brainer.

BESHEAR: . after you've taken a couple of them. Then we'll really cut down on the supply. We always try to cut down on the supply of street drugs. This is a chance to cut down on the supply of the prescription drugs. But Emily's work on Opana, E.R., taking a very dangerous drug and preventing it for continuing on the market was pretty amazing.

MACCALLUM: Emily, thank you very much. Emily Walden and Andy Beshear, thank you very much. Good to have both of you with us. And good luck to you.

BESHEAR: Thank you.

MACCALLUM: So still ahead tonight, the president has some strong words for those inciting racial violence in this country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Tonight, this entire arena stands united in forceful condemnation of the thugs who perpetrate hatred and violence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: And as Charlottesville mourns the young woman who was killed in those protests, ESPN is facing backlash tonight for how they chose to respond to this. This is just going to blow you away what they did at ESPN when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: So as you know, there's been a debate raging across the country as statues get draped in black, destroyed in some situations, removed overnight in others, but some of the decisions that are being made are truly shocking and border on ridiculous. ESPN, we thought this was a hoax, actually, when we first heard this story, so we dug in and made sure that it was for real. They removed a sportscaster named Robert Lee from a game in Charlottesville because he has the same name as the confederate general. And just think about the idiocy of that for one moment. And then this, tensions spilling over in Phoenix last night, a Trump supporter was attacked as he was trying to leave.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(INAUDIBLE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: Black man on the back of that truck as it pulled away was sucker punched by a guy who didn't like the fact that he was a Trump supporter pulling out of there. So that's unfortunately the country that we're living in at least in some areas. So joining us now, Kentucky agriculture commissioner Ryan Quarles, who holds the distinction of being the youngest statewide elected official in the nation at 33-years-old, and Krystal Ball is back with us as well. Welcome to both of you.

KRYSTAL BALL, PEOPLE'S HOUSE PROJECT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Thanks, Martha.

MACCALLUM: So, I mean, this ESPN thing, you know, I looked at this and I thought it's just -- is this what we've come to? We're afraid of someone's name? The guy isn't going to be able to broadcast that sports event because his parents named him Robert Lee?

RYAN QUARLES, KENTUCKY AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONER: It's just a ridiculous example of people being hyper sensitive to an issue. And I hope this serves as maybe a watershed moment where people can wake up and say that political correctness has just gone too far.

BALL: Yeah, I mean, I think it's silly too. Look, I think it's rather condescending to think that liberal fans wouldn't be able to distinguish between a long dead confederate general and an Asian sports commentator. It's completely over the top and silly.

MACCALLUM: Yeah. I mean -- and it goes to this issue that you brought up, Brian, of hyper sensitivity, and what I fear is that it bleeds into so many things. You think about micro-aggressions on college campuses. And now, it sort of manifests itself in this issue of the statue. And I understand the legitimate argument on both sides of the statue issues. We had a great discussion here earlier tonight about it. But we can't be so thin-skinned that we can't talk about things anymore.

BALL: Yeah.

MACCALLUM: That you're afraid to talk about things.

BALL: I agree with that. I mean, I think it's really important to try to consider things from other people's perspectives, right? And try to be sensitive to the things that maybe they would be sensitive to. But what I worry about is when that goes -- bleeds into tarring people who haven't maybe thought through all these issues or who didn't phrase things in the right way as all holding intolerant views. And I think we have gone too far in that direction. And it doesn't serve to bring the country together. It serves to pull people apart. If you call someone a racist or even imply that. That's going to be the end of the conversation not the beginning. So my concern with all of these issues is that it distracts us from the fact that wages are stuck, that healthcare is broken, that we have a no jobs crisis in the country. Those are the things that most people are really thinking about, not statues or sports commentators, frankly.

MACCALLUM: Yeah. I mean, and you look at what happened to that poor man last night who has every right to go to the Trump rally and to be able to leave there safely. But there is an egging on of this violence I think and it's dangerous.

QUARLES: I think it's just a sad day in America where somebody, regardless of who they are, their background, race, and creed, and whoever candidate they support can't go to a political function without fearing their safety anymore. That's something that we need to come together and have more dialogue about. And I grew up on a farm.

MACCALLUM: What should we do? I mean, the president says we need to be unified, we need to love each other, but what should we do?

BALL: We need to look to the president for leadership. And this is an area where he really has failed. And I think Charlottesville has been a missed opportunity in that regard, which make me feel sad because, normally, in times of crisis the country does come together and does heal. So if the president is not going to do it, I think we all have to step up to the plate.

MACCALLUM: He's asking. He's saying everyone needs to come together. You need to unify. In fact, Howard Dean is saying if you want a racist in the White House vote Republican. I mean, how is that helpful.

BALL: Horrible and absurd. But I think we're going to have to stop looking to Washington for leadership. I think we have to look to ourselves and reach out to our friends and neighbors who maybe disagree with us. But really try to work together and solve problems in our community, because it ain't coming from Washington.

QUARLES: Hey, we're here at the Kentucky State Fair. This is the one time of year where people from all walks of life come to Louisville, celebrate what's best about agriculture. And the conversations I've had here on the fairgrounds have all been positive, people being able to express their opinions without fear of being insulted. You know, Kentuckians just want to know what's going on. How America and rural America helped to elect this president and I was proud to serve on his agriculture advisory board. And there are areas he's done very well. On agriculture he put a veterinarian in Sonny Perdue, as secretary of agriculture. He's been able to open up trade into areas that previously would not have like beef into China. And so, these are the positive things that don't necessarily get the media attention that it should that this president is getting accomplished.

MACCALLUM: Does he need to be given a shot -- a more of a shot, Krystal?

BALL: He has had plenty of time and plenty of shots. But look, he's got Republican control of the senate, he's got Republican control of the House of Representatives, and so it's really on the Republicans to get things done. And he'd rather spend his time on twitter and going back over the election results and rehashing media coverage and watching cable news than getting things done for the American people.

MACCALLUM: Few are having open dialogue. There's boos in the crowd. They're letting Krystal finish her thought. We're all about unity here.

(CROSSTALK)

MACCALLUM: We've got to go. All right. So Kentucky State Fair. We'll show you what we saw today and what we ate when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MACCALLUM: So it has been a great day here in Louisville. I love the Kentucky State Fair and the great people that we met, just terrific, terrific people here. Take a look. Here they are.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: It's an amazing day at the Kentucky State Fair, and it's a long way from New York, folks. So you have to say Louisville.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: I say Louisville.

MACCALLUM: Louisville, is that right? I'm from New Jersey. What should I not miss at the Louisville Kentucky State Fair? Did I say it right? Louisville?

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, Louisville.

MACCALLUM: Louisville.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Louisville.

MACCALLUM: Louisville. What should I not miss at the Kentucky State Fair?

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, it's just a great time out here. We just love to see Fox News. I'm really surprised this morning when I was watching. I told my wife we're going to get to see Fox News when we go out today.

MACCALLUM: So what do you suggest that we see?

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: The livestock are great.

MACCALLUM: Yeah.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: We saw the winning watermelon, 293 pounds, I think.

MACCALLUM: I want to see that.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: And then, my kids enjoy all the state police and the local law enforcement.

MACCALLUM: So we just watched the sheep contest, and now we're going to go over here and see some cattle.

MACCALLUM: Her name is soul dream lady. She is just lovely. And then we have lady wright over here. They're just kind of relaxing.

MACCALLUM: What am I looking for if I'm a judge?

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you're looking for how much muscle, how wide they are over their rack. Over -- here their loins, how long they are, down here in their loins, and how much muscle they have down through their leg. Those are the most expensive cuts of the meat.

MACCALLUM: So do we have a winner here?

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: This one will be going back in for the grand.

MACCALLUM: Oh, congratulations. Well, good luck to you. Thank you very much.

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much.

MACCALLUM: How many of these do you sell every year?

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: A thousand.

MACCALLUM: A thousand?

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: At least.

MACCALLUM: At least a thousand. The ketchup is really the most important part of the cheeseburger usually for me. OK, ready? It's really good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MACCALLUM: What's not to like, right? A doughnut and a cheeseburger, so much fun. This sums up the vibe here in Louisville, and they're take on what I'm calling alternative energy. Check it out. It says, powered by prayer, family, dreams and hard work. Thank you, Kentucky. Thank you for having us. And thank you to Larry Stuart, lead singer of Reckless Heart for providing music for us throughout the show tonight. Send me your thoughts or your story, anything on your mind, tweet me at Martha MacCallum. We'll see you back here.

END

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