— -- ANNOUNCER: THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS starts right now.
MARTHA RADDATZ, HOST: A polarized nation and a presidency at a turning point. After doubling down on his response to the violence in Charlottesville.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.
RADDATZ: President Trump now facing fierce condemnation.
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the ability nor some of the competence.
RADDATZ: Is Trump a president with no party?
And have the president's own words jeopardized his ability to govern?
Tough questions ahead for Trump's supporters and his critics.
TRUMP: We'll see what happens with Mr. Bannon.
RADDATZ: Chief strategist Steve Bannon leaving the White House and promising more.
Who will win and who will lose if Bannon follows through on his threats?
Plus, after the deadly clash in Charlottesville, are we in a new culture war? (on camera): What do you think the country will see in the next few months, in the next few years?
RADDATZ: From the White House to your house, we take on the moments that mattered this week.
From ABC News, it's THIS WEEK.
Here now, co-anchor, Martha Raddatz.
RADDATZ: Good morning.
What happens when a president faces a defining moment for all Americans and chooses to speak only to a portion of his base?
Who pays the price?
If you voted for Donald Trump, you may have agreed with what you heard Tuesday when the president tore into the media, doubled-down on his assertion that both sides in Charlottesville shared the blame.
The polls say that message went over reasonably well with Trump's most loyal supporters. But if you're among those who liked what you heard, you should also know those words won't come cheap.
By alienating so much of America, including his most important allies in the Republican Party and in protest business world, Donald Trump may have irreparably damaged his ability to deliver on his campaign promises.
Trump needs Congress to get any of his big campaign promises done -- promises like the wall, tax reform, ObamaCare repeal, a big infrastructure plan.
But this week, because of what he said, his allies are deserting him.
For the country at large, the main concern is that the president failed to clearly reject racism or to rally the nation in a time of crisis.
RADDATZ (voice-over): Moments of crisis have historically been an opportunity for a president to show strength, compassion, to heal divisions. President Trump has often claimed to be a unfair.
TRUMP: I am a unfair. I know people are going to find that a little bit hard to believe, but believe me, I am a unfair.
RADDATZ: But when confronted with the biggest, most violent white supremacist demonstration in years, one that took the life of an anti-racist protester, there was no healing.
TRUMP: It looked like they had some rough, bad people -- neo-Nazis, white nationalists, whatever you want to call them. But you had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest, and very legally protest, because you know, I don't know if you know, they had a permit. The other group didn't have a permit.
So I'll tell you this, there are two sides to a story.
RADDATZ: Those words did not unite the nation. And while the president was clear in his condemnation of Heather Heyer's accused murderer, his overall message was no comfort to her mother.
SUSAN BRO, MOTHER OF HEATHER HEYER: I'm not talking to the president now. I'm sorry...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did you...
BRO: -- after what he said about my child.
RADDATZ: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, among Trump's closest advisers, said the president may not understand the extent of the damage.
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think that he is much more isolated than he thinks he is. He has much weaker support in the Congress than he thinks he does.
RADDATZ: That may be an understatement. Among the Republicans speaking out, South Carolina's Tim Scott, who called the president's words indefensible.
SEN. TIM SCOTT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: What we want to see from our president is clarity and moral authority. And that moral authority is compromised when Tuesday happens.
RADDATZ: Tennessee's Bob Corker, once a Trump vice presidential prospect, questioned his capacity to lead.
CORKER: He also recently has not demonstrated that he understands the character of this nation.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
RADDATZ: And so the question this morning, when a president's own party questions if he understands the character of this nation, can that president still be the unifier Donald Trump hoped to be, the unifier this country needs?
We have one sign this morning the president may actually be headed in the opposite direction, toward more division. Trump's long-time chief strategist, Steve Bannon, who left the White House Friday to rejoin Breitbart News, giving this ominous warning today to The Washington Post: "if the Republican Party on Capitol Hill gets behind the president on his plans and not theirs, it will all be sweetness and light, be one big happy family." But Bannon added with a smile that he does not expect sweetness anytime soon.
If the president and Bannon do go to war with fellow Republicans, they will likely be counting on support from evangelical leaders, long some of the president's closest allies. In fact, when we asked the White House for an official who could appear on this program today to speak on behalf of the president, they pointed us to our next guest, evangelical leader and Liberty University president Jerry Fallwell Jr. Fallwell was an early Trump supporter, endorsing him before the 2016 Iowa caucuses. They were together again in May of this year when President Trump returned to Liberty University to deliver the commencement address.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We must always remember that we share one home and one glorious destiny, whether we are brown, black, or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: And Jerry Fallwell Jr. joins me now. Thanks for joining us this morning, Mr. Fallwell.
On Twitter this week, you praised what you called the president's bold, truthful statement about Charlottesville saying you were so proud of Donald Trump. But the president said Tuesday, there were quote very fine people on both sides. Who were those very fine people marching with the neo-Nazis?
JERRY FALLWELL JR., PRESIDENT, LIBERTY UNIVERSITY: The bold and truthful statements I was referring to were his willingness to call evil and terrorism by its name, to identify the groups, the Nazis, the KKK, the white supremacists. And that's something a leader should do. And I admire him for that.
You know, he -- President Trump is something we haven't had in national leadership in a long time. He's substance over form. So many of our politicians, recent leaders, national leaders, have been form over substance. They tell people what they want to hear. They sugar-coat everything, or they have sugar-coated everything. And I think the American people have gotten sort of thin-skinned and I think they need to listen to the substance of what he said.
The only groups he identified by name as evil and causing what happened in Charlottesville were the Nazis, KKK, and the white supremacists. That's what I thought was bold and truthful.
RADDATZ: Well, let me tell you what he said, though, let's go back to this. He said, there were very fine people on both sides. Do you believe there were very fine people on both sides?
FALLWELL: He has inside information that I don't have. I don't know if there were historical purists there who were trying to preserve some statues. I don't know.
But he had information I didn't have. And I believe that he spoke what was...
RADDATZ: What made you think he knew that...
FALLWELL: I think he saw videos of who was there. I think he was talking about what he had seen, information that he had that I don't have.
All I know is it was pure evil. The media has tried to paint this as Republican versus Democrat, black versus white, Jew versus gentile, but it's just pure evil versus good. And that's what we all need to unite behind. We all need to unite behind stopping evil, whether it's Timothy McVeigh who is the terrorist in Oklahoma City, or it's Muslim terrorists in Barcelona, or it's somebody flying a plane into the World Trade Center, it's all evil.
RADDATZ: But when you say things like that, when you say it's all evil, but you say you're so proud of Donald Trump, that's the message that resonated. It didn't resonate that you think he might have some information.
Let me also tell you what the chair of the RNC, Romney McDaniel said on Good Morning America this week, that the second people who joined that demonstration saw Nazi flags they should have turned tail. The second you join a group that has a Nazi flag or is joining the KKK, there is no good there. There is no good KKK member, there is no nice neo-Nazi.
So I'm still intrigued by your idea that Donald Trump somehow knows there were some good people there.
FALLWELL: I don't know that to be the fact -- I just know that it's totally true what you just said, there's no good KKK, there's no good white supremacist.
I have lived in Lynchburg, Virginia for 55 years. I went to law school at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. I lived there for three yeras. I never have met a white supremist member of a hate group in all my years in that part of the country. That is not what our central Virginia community is about. And Terry McAuliffe, our governor, was right when he said these people needed to go home. They're not of Virginia. They're not about Virginia. And they are all evil.
RADDATZ: So, would you say, given what you know, there were no very fine people on that side, that other -- the side of the neo-Nazis?
FALLWELL: I don't have that information. All I know is those people are pure evil. And there's no moral equivalency -- the secretary of the Treasury said this morning that Donald Trump does not believe there is any moral equivalency.
RADDATZ: But back to the RNC statement. You should turn tail if there are neo-Nazis there. And you're still staying you're still not sure if there weren't very fine people on that side.
FALLWELL: I think this should -- if something showed up and they saw that they were marching beside somebody who hates blacks, who hates Jews, who wants to do violence, I think they should just walk away, yes.
RADDATZ: The president also said there is blame on both sides. Susan Bro, the mother of the woman killed in the car attack, Heather Heyer, said she wouldn't talk to the president, as we heard there, because he equated counter protesters with the KKK. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUSAN BRO, HEATHER HEYER'S MOTHER: I saw an actual clip of him at a press conference equating the protesters, like Miss Heyer, with the KKK and the white supremacists. You can't wash this one away by shaking my hand and saying I'm sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: What would you say to that mother?
FALLWELL: I think the president has made it very clear that there is no moral equivalency between what the counter protesters did, even though maybe some of them resorted to violence in response, there's no moral equivalence between that and somebody driving his car into a crowd because he hates people of other races. That's wrong. That's just evil. There's no two ways about it. And the president has made that clear. His secretary of the Treasury said it this morning.
RADDATZ: Do you think he could have been clearer?
FALLWELL: I think he...
RADDATZ: You've heard Republicans on the Hill. You have heard...
FALLWELL: One of the reasons I supported him is because he doesn't say what's politically correct, he says what is is in his heart, what he believes, and sometimes that gets him in trouble. But he does not have a racist bone in his body. I know him well. He is working so hard to help minorities and people in the inner cities up through -- he says school choice is the civil rights issue of our time. Betsy DeVos has been traveling the country trying to promote school choice to help inner city youth get to choose which schools they attend and not be stuck in a public school that's failing in a big city, and he's doing so many other things to bring job back to the inner city.
RADDATZ: Let's stay with this for a moment. An NPR report this morning says that a growing number of Liberty University graduates are preparing to return their diplomas in protest of your continuing support for President Trump. Chris Gaumer, a 2006 graduate, and former student government association president, told NPR that it was a simple decision. In defending the president's comments, Jerry Falwell Junior is making himself, and it seems to me, the university he represents, complicit.
FALLWELL: He completely misunderstands my support. My support for the president is his bold and truthful willingness to call terrorist groups by their names, and that's something we haven't seen in presidents in recent years.
RADDATZ: Well, let's stay on that point. When you endorsed Mr. Trump last year in an op-ed, you criticized President Obama over his handling of ISIS saying his policies had the intended or unintended effect of breathing life into the lungs of the terrorist group, adding that President Obama and Hillary Clinton most definitely signal to Islamic State leaders that they had no intention of seriously challenging them or even of calling radical Islamic terrorism by its name.
if that is is what you believe, then, is President Trump making the same mistake by not unequivocally calling the attack in Charlottesville domestic terrorism, domestic terrorism.
FALLWELL: Yes. He's doing exactly the opposite of what I was criticizing Obama and Clinton for not doing, he's calling them by their name. He's calling the Nazis and white supremacists evil.
RADDATZ: He's not calling it domestic terrorism. The president said Tuesday, you could call it terrorism, you can call it murder, you can call it whatever you want. Why hasn't he called the attack in Charlottesville domestic terrorism?
FALLWELL: He did. He said that is something for the officials to determine. Call it what you want. He said it was pure evil. He said the driver of that car is nothing but a murderer. How clear is...
RADDATZ: He's the president.
FALLWELL: How clear can he be? I don't understand.
RADDATZ: He could be clearer by calling it domestic terrorism. So, you don't think he needs to do that because other officials who have said it? Words matter. He's the one who was criticizing, and you, too, President Obama for not calling it Islamic terrorism.
FALLWELL: I think he did. He said it was -- he said you can call it terrorism, you can call it evil, you can call it murder. I'm not sure exactly what his words were. But he never said it was not terrorism.
FALLWELL: He left the door open for that, yes.
RADDATZ: OK, do you think he could be a little more careful in his words or not?
FALLWELL: All of us could. All of us could. But at least he's not politically correct, he's not so concerned about rehearsing and focus grouping every statement he makes and that's one of the reasons I supported him.
RADDATZ: And that unites the nation. Do you feel he's uniting the nation?
FALWELL: I feel like the people -- you know, after that -- after I heard his statement the other day, I didn't hear anything there that would offend somebody.
But then I started speaking with some of my friends in the Jewish community in Charlottesville and some of my friends -- I have a very good friend who's president of the largest historically black college in the United States, Hampton University. And we started having conversations.
They started explaining to me how insecure and how scared they felt that day, when terrorists -- these groups -- these terrorist groups were walked up and down the sidewalk, right outside their synagogue.
And I understood, after talking to them, how good people could hear the same statement and take away different things from it.
And I -- after hearing that, I understand how some people could misunderstand his words. And so, yes, I think he could be more polished and more politically correct, but that's the reason I supported him, is because he's not. He says what he thinks and he is bold about it. I admire that in a leader.
RADDATZ: Thanks for joining us this morning.
FALWELL: Thank you.
RADDATZ: Mr. Falwell, I appreciate it.
RADDATZ: Joining me now is Jeh Johnson.
He served as President Obama's secretary of Homeland Security for the final three years of his administration.
And Mr. Johnson, thanks very much for joining us.
I'd like to...
JEH JOHNSON, FORMER SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Thanks for inviting me, Martha.
RADDATZ: -- I'd like your reaction to what Mr. Falwell just said. He talked about it being political correctness.
JOHNSON: Well, it's interesting, sometimes people have more in common than one might realize. Like Mr. Falwell, I'm an attorney. Like Mr. Falwell's father, Reverend Falwell, my great grandfather was a Southern Baptist preacher, born in Lynchburg, Virginia.
My great grandfather was born a slave in 1860 in Lynchburg. He was freed by Abraham Lincoln when he was a child. He taught himself to read and write. He put himself through school. And he founded a church called The Lee Street Baptist Church in Bristol, Virginia in 1980, which is still there.
And it's in that vein that I'd like to respond here, both as former secretary of Homeland Security and as an African-American.
President Trump said this week that Jefferson and Washington were slave owners, where does it stop?
Where does it end?
I think most Americans understand -- most African-Americans understand that many of the founders of our nation were slave owners. But most of us are not advocating that we take them off the currency or drop Washington's name from the nation's capital.
I have first cousins -- I have cousins whose names are Washington and they're not changing their names. They're proud of their name.
What alarms so many of us, from a security perspective, is that so many of the statues, the Confederate monuments, are now, modern-day, becoming symbols and rallying points for white nationalism, for neo-Nazis, for the KKK. And this is most alarming. We fought a world war against Nazism. The KKK rained terror on African-Americans for generations.
And so a number of Americans, rightly, Republican and Democrat, are very concerned and very alarmed. And I salute those in cities and states who are taking down a lot of these monuments for reasons of public safety and security.
JOHNSON: And that's not a matter of political correctness. That's a matter of public safety and homeland security and doing what's right.
RADDATZ: I think President Trump, the administration, would talk about that as a slippery slope. And we're here in Washington, DC. I'm in Washington, DC. Virginia, there's Jefferson Davis Highway. There's Washington-Lee High School.
Where should that stop?
JOHNSON: Well, you know, that's a good question. And I think that's a judgment that has to be made more at the local level. And Mitch Landrieu, mayor of New Orleans, two months ago, gave a very thoughtful speech on this.
And so communities have to make judgments about this. A lot of these monuments are being moved to places of history, but my concern, as the former secretary of Homeland Security, is we see white nationalists now, neo-Nazis, using these symbols as rallying points, modern-day.
And that has to be addressed. We saw what happened in Charlottesville. And we have to avoid repeat occurrences of that.
RADDATZ: And I want to go back to President Trump's comments and what Mr. Falwell said.
Is the media overreacting to this?
Did the president just speak his mind?
Did he make it clear, in your mind?
JOHNSON: Well, I don't think the media is overreacting. The media rightly covers everything the president says. And what the president doesn't seem to grasp here is that he -- our history is no doubt delicate, it's complicated, and you have to understand history to be president.
I tell public audiences, those who know history learn from it. Those who don't know the mistakes of history are bound to repeat it. And so I'm very concern that this president is -- frankly dividing us when he should be bringing us together. That's one of the jobs of the president of the the United States. It's part of the job description to bring people together, particularly in times like this of high anxiety. High stress. And I would encourage him, through his words, to try to do that, not just speak to his base, but to speak to all of America. He is the president for all of us in this country.
RADDATZ: Do you think the election of the first African-American president brought out some of these groups and KKK groups, brought them back? How much of a role did that play, do you think?
JOHNSON: Throughout his entire public career, Barack Obama has talked about bringing people together. And I know he dedicated much of his presidency to doing that. He talked to all American people, particularly in times like this. So I think that is a very unfair suggestion. His entire career was devoted to bringing people together.
RADDATZ: I want to turn now to what is going on in the White House and some of the turmoil in the White House. Steve Bannon leaving the White House this week. What do you think that says with Bannon leaving and we've got behind -- put on your Pentagon hat, if you will, from years ago? What do you think it says he surrounded himself with generals and they remain, and what do you expect going forward?
JOHNSON: Well, that it's interesting. I don't think anyone would expect -- would have expected we'd have so many retired general officers serving in civilian positions today. There's been a lot of talk this week about people resigning from the White House, whether people should resign from the White House. We saw a number of his advisers resign from advisory councils.
Frankly, if John Kelly, or my friend Jim Mattis, came to me and said I'm thinking about resigning from this White House, I'd say absolutely not. You have to stay.
As John reportedly said, it's country first. And we need people like John Kelly, Jim Mattis, H.R. McMaster to right the ship.
RADDATZ: Thanks so much for joining us this morning, Secretary Johnson.
JOHNSON: Thank you.
RADDATZ: When we come back, Charlottesville renewed a debate over moving civil war statues. So, I traveled to Richmond, Virginia, the city that could be the next boiling point.
Plus, the Powerhouse Roundtable takes on the political fallout of President Trump's response to Charlottesville. We'll be right back.
RADDATZ: And the Powerhouse Roundtable is here. Republican strategist and ABC News contributor Alex Castellanos; "Washington Post" chief correspondent Dan Balz; Republican strategist and pollster and ABC News contributor, Kristen Soltis Anderson; and FiveThirtyEight senior political writer Perry Bacon, Jr.
Not much to talk about today, huh? But we'll try to get to it all.
And, Dan, I want to start with you. Where would you rank this week in the Trump presidency?
DAN BALZ, "WASHINGTON POST": He's had a lot of bad weeks. I think we can all stipulate to that. But this may be the worst that he's had. And I think the reason -- the way you can make that judgment is to look at what his fellow Republicans have been saying about him since Tuesday. Whatever he thought he was doing Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday, with his varying statements, the judgment on him has been extremely harsh from fellow Republicans. And I think that really sums up the problem that he's had this week.
RADDATZ: So what does that really mean for him going forward?
ALEX CASTELLANOS, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it doesn't mean the end of the Trump presidency but it may mean the end of Trump government. It's going to be impossible for Donald Trump now to attract good people to government. And he hasn't filled out these positions that he needs to appoint. He has appointed about half of what Obama and Bush before him appointed at this point. It's going to be very hard for him to build his army to fight their army.
RADDATZ: And Perry, a CBS poll out this week shows a partisan divide in how President Trump's remarks on Charlottesville are being received -- 82 percent of Democrats disapproved how he responded to Charlottesville; 67 percent of Republicans approved.
So, yes, there was a lot of talk on the Hill. There's a lot of talk around the city. There's a lot of talk everywhere. But when you look at those poll numbers, what to you see?
PERRY BACON, JR., FIVETHIRTYEIGHT: You have two big things going on here. First of all, you look at the polls. About 80 percent of Republicans still approve of Trump overall. So when you say why is Paul Ryan not criticizing Trump very strongly? That is the answer to the question.
And the second thing is, you look in the polls this week, you see, you know, everyone opposes the KKK and neo-Nazis. And when you get into the polls in terms of Confederate monuments, should we take tem down? You know, there are people who have this view that Trump does. The culture is changing too quickly. The monuments maybe should stay up. And are sort of nervous about where things are going.
So I think Trump did speak to something in the Republican base this week, even though people may not like it.
RADDATZ: Although only 24 percent of those surveyed identified as Republican.
BACON, JR.: Right. One thing you're seeing (INAUDIBLE)...
RADDATZ: Very significant.
BACON, JR.: -- in the polls is the number of people who say they're Republican goes down. So we're -- so we have a situation where Trump's numbers may be going down among Independents and among Democrats particularly. But he does -- the Republican -- people who say they're Republican is going down.
So his base of support may be shrinking, even though Republicans say they still support him.
RADDATZ: And Kristen, after the president's press conference Tuesday, you Tweeted, as well, saying, "I've stayed in the party because I figured staying and fighting for it was better than leaving. But the lord is testing me."
RADDATZ: -- this is why we -- where's -- where's your head (INAUDIBLE)...
KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: There was...
RADDATZ: -- party now?
SOLTIS ANDERSON: Involved in that Tweet, as well.
RADDATZ: Yes, I know.
SOLTIS ANDERSON: No, I think what's very frustrating is that for Republicans who are here in Washington, it felt like very clear and very obvious that what the president said was wrong. There were not very fine people at this rally. And it was sort of unambiguous what you would want to say in that moment.
And yet, as that poll just showed, that's actually not where a majority of Republican voters are, that when the RNC puts out a statement saying that the president's statement was absolutely in the right, when President Trump and his advisers defend what he had to say, that's where most Republicans are.
And I think over the last couple of months, the leadership of Donald Trump has really sort of brought to life some views in the Republican Party that may have always been there, but now we have a leader putting voice to them.
And I think it's creating a lot of tension for many of these Republicans in Washington, who feel the need to say this is wrong and yet their voters back home feel very differently.
RADDATZ: So I want to go back to this again.
So where does this go, Dan?
You say it's the worst week in Washington for President Trump.
I think we've said that a lot.
DAN BALZ, "THE WASHINGTON POST":
We have said that a lot. And...
RADDATZ: So what...
BALZ: And I think the truth...
RADDATZ: -- what...
BALZ: -- and I think what I'm...
RADDATZ: -- is it a turning point?
BALZ: -- and I think what I'm going to say we've also said a lot.
I don't think we know. I mean I spent the week trying to reach various Republican lawmakers, strategists, leaders, etc. To get them to talk about that very question, where do you go from here?
Not just what do you think about what the president said on Tuesday, but what's next?
What's next in the relationship?
I found very few people who wanted to talk under any condition, you know, on the record, off the record, background. People are frustrated with Donald Trump. But they also recognize they can't...
RADDATZ: Exactly what Kristen was saying, right?
BALZ: -- they cannot go and blow up the -- what I would call the Trump-GOP coalition because they're different. They're an amalgam.
So that's the bind that the party is in right now, or party leaders.
ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Resentful dependency. Resentful dependency is when you have no choice -- gee, I've got to stick with the cable company, they're the only one. Boy, they treat me lousy and I'm really frustrated and I hate it.
Trump supporters have to stick with Donald Trump because the Democrats have not changed. It's still Nancy Pelosi who's the alternative?
A limp Republican Party that's indistinguishable from Democrats.
Trump is their only finger in the dike stopping Washington from flooding them and overpowering them. So they stick with their president.
But on a different here, what I think a lot of Trump supporters heard this week was the Democrats are just painting us, Trump supporters, with a Nazi brush. We're all white supremacists. That's their excuse for why they lost the election.
White working class America, death rates among white men, they're up 20 percent. They're unemployed. Gwen Ifill said no wonder they're resentful.
And the Democrats, as opposed to looking in the mirror and saying the Washington establishment failed white working America, no, they're painting us all as Nazis. That's why we voted for Trump.
BACON, JR.: I'd want to address what changed this week.
RADDATZ: All right...
BACON, JR.: And I would say it's not just the Republicans -- he's not the president of the Republican America, he's president of America overall. The presidency has a lot of soft power. You go to funerals. You unify the nation.
Think about how Obama spoke about Charleston, how Obama spoke about Dallas last year. Think about this week. Business leaders don't want to be around him. Kennedy Center award winners don't want to be near him.
The family of someone who died this week does not want to take his call.
So the idea that this has not changed the presidency is...
RADDATZ: There are Evangelical leaders...
BACON, JR.: Evangelical leaders...
RADDATZ: -- that are hanging in there except for one...
BACON, JR.: -- you know, yes.
SOLTIS ANDERSON: But two of those three groups -- so America's CEOs, corporate America and a bunch of celebrities, if you are a Trump supporter, you look at that and you say well, OK, a bunch of celebrities don't want to hang out with Trump, the media doesn't like Trump, the Democrats don't like Trump, a bunch of billionaires on Wall Street don't like Trump. But that's OK because Trump is with me.
And he has the benefit of having a lot of very unpopular enemies, as well. And by picking fights with the media, with Democrats, he is able to get his supporters, even in moments like this, where what he said was certainly not the best, they go but you know what, he's still speaking up for people like me.
CASTELLANOS: But this president is giving his supporters political Viagra every four hours. He's wearing them out. He is at -- he is never giving them a rest. And they can't remain this intense and aroused forever.
His supporters -- he needs to give his supporters a break. He's having -- they're having to defend him constantly. And eventually, they get frustrated. That resentment is building up in the pressure cooker. If there is ever an alternative, it could collapse like that.
RADDATZ: But is that really ever going to change? We saw this week Steve Bannon leaving. You said -- Dan, you wrote that Bannon is firing simultaneously changes everything and nothing.
We saw certainly John Kelly trying to rein him in, I'm sure. And the tweets were there and the language was there. You saw the expression on John Kelly's face as he was giving that press conference.
So, changes nothing, changes everything. What about inside the White House right now?
BALZ: Inside the White House will not change demonstrably because of Donald Trump. You know, General Kelly has made clear he's able to manage down, which is to say he's able to manage the staff in an effective way. He's setting some boundaries. And I think Steve Bannon's departure is one big symbol of that.
But managing up, which is the challenge of any White House chief of staff, is enormously difficult. He's been in there a few weeks. The tweets have not slowed down. The off message statements this week, were, the biggest that he's had. So, that's the challenge for General Kelly.
Certainly, Bannon's departure removes in a sense an irritant inside the White House, because he is a grenade-thrower. He is a bomb-thrower. And has a world view that is different from most of the people who are still in there.
But Donald Trump holds many of those same views and held some of those same views long before he was tied closely with Steve Bannon. So, unless the president changes a lot of that is not going to change.
RADDATZ: And what about Steve Bannon on the outside at -- back at Breitbart? You have heard sort of what he was talking about this morning and waging war on the opponents, basically. How do you see that playing out?BACON: I think it depends on what Donald Trump does next. What I think Bannon is hinting as if Donald Trump moves to the center, says no more wall, says we're not going to have the Muslim ban. If Donald Trump -- if the sort of Kelly and McMaster and other advisers sort of move Donald Trump, I think Breitbart is saying, and Ann Coulter, people like that are going to say, we're going fight, we're going to stand up for the Trump from the campaign.
So, I think this could be another fight between the establishment in the White House versus the people outside of it who used to be in the White House. That's where it could go.
But like Dan said, I'm not sure Donald Trump is going to change very much, because Donald Trump has been saying the same things for two decades on many of these issues.
ANDERSON: I think it's going to depend a lot on who specifically, and I mean individuals, the Bannon machine goes after.
So, if the Bannon machine turns its fire on congress, goes after Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, that will be entirely predictable. That's sort of what they've been doing. If they do it even more vigorously now, it wouldn't surprise me.
But there are individuals like Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, who have been notable for being sort of voices in Trump's ear, pushing him in a more moderate direction.
RADDATZ: It's really now just the family, the generals, and some Wall Street executives.
ANDERSON: And I imagine if the Bannon machine begins going after family, going after people like Ivanka and Jared, that is when I think a Trump-Breitbart war could happen and get very ugly.
RADDTAZ: And just very quickly, Alex, we have about 10 seconds.
CASTELLANOS: Oh, I think Bannon is going to finds out it's much tougher to be on the outside. What is as powerful as the American presidency? Nothing. Certainly not Breitbart. I think he'll be diminished.
RADDATZ: OK. Thanks very much for joining us.
Coming up, I traveled to Richmond, Virginia, where the simmering debate over Confederate statues may soon boil over. That conversation, up next.
RADDATZ: Up next, my conversation on how the nation can heal after the protests and violence in Charlottesville. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL GALLASCH, PRESIDENT, MONUMENT AVENUE PRESERVATION SOCIETY: I love the city of Richmond. And I want to see us grow.
We were the capital. You can't erase that. I mean we had, you know, five dreadful years of slaughter on both sides and we were the capital of the South.
So what are we going to do, just wipe Washington and say it never existed?
No, it existed. But let's learn from it and don't repeat ourselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: That was Bill Gallasch, president of Richmond, Virginia's Monument Avenue Preservation Society. The city's Confederate statues are being hotly debated in the aftermath of the events in nearby Charlottesville.
So I traveled to the former capital of the Confederacy and spoke with Charlottesville Councilwoman Kristin Szakos, who first raised taking down her city's civil war monuments.
Richmond mayor, Levar Stoney, who says his city's statues should go. And Christy Coleman, the CEO of The American Civil War Museum.
That's where we gathered for our conversation.
And we started with the events in Charlottesville.
COUNCILWOMAN KRISTIN SZAKOS (D), CHARLOTTESVILLE: It was an armed invasion of our city. It was horrifying.
SZAKOS: From the march through UVA to about 500 fascists and Nazis and white supremacists and white nationalists with AK-47s and clubs and knives, we could tell it was a terrible event from the very start.
RADDATZ: And Mayor, your reaction, when you saw those people carrying torches?
MAYOR LEVAR STONEY (D), RICHMOND, VIRGINIA: It just made my heart sink to see that sort of gathering of hate and division and intolerance. You know, to me, it was akin to a Klan rally without the hoods. As a millennial, that's something we, as millennials, we just haven't seen. Normally, you see that on black and white film from, you know, the civil rights movement.
But to see that as clear as day, only 60 miles away from your city in your state, that you love so much, it made my heart sink.
RADDATZ: And Christy, you are affiliated with this museum, with the history.
What was your reaction?CHRISTY COLEMAN, CEO, THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR MUSEUM: I realized that an important flashpoint had been reached. We go through these cycles whenever there is forward progression in a social movement and social expansion of civil rights, there is always a very violent and very quick and very hot push-back on that.
COLEMAN: This is how the cycle works. This is what happens when we turn history into nostalgia.
RADDATZ: Tell me a little bit more of what you mean about that, turning history into nostalgia?
COLEMAN: There are people who really need to say, you know, this is who we are and these are our heroes and these -- we honor these people because they were good and they were noble and they were righteous and we don't want to look at the other complexities of these individuals.
And that's really about nostalgia. That's not about the real push and pull that is always a part of the history dynamic.
RADDATZ (voice-over): It seemed like Richmond had been able to accommodate the various sides. On one of its main streets, Monument Avenue, statues of five Civil War leaders loom over the city prominently.
But with the events in Charlottesville, even this former capital of the Confederacy is rethinking how its history should be displayed.
(on camera): So talk a bit about those monuments.
What do you do now?
STONEY: I've requested that they actually provide context to the monuments. Explain who these individuals were or why they got -- how they got there and why they were put there. And I thought these would be tools to teach and enlighten.
Unfortunately, what happened Saturday, we've seen that these are now rallying points for people to harbor, you know, hate and division and intolerance. And those are not the values of this city.
I'm offended by them. I think about my grandmother, who grew up in the segregated South, in the deep South, in the low country of South Carolina, 1923. She would be offended by those things.
And I want to be on her side. I want to be on the side of right.
RADDATZ: Is there any way to view those monuments that's not viewed as racist?
COLEMAN: I mean, well, clearly, they are, because there are people who don't view them as racist. They view them as symbols of virtue. They view them as a memorial to a sacrifice that people made for their homes. I mean clearly that's a part of the narrative.
They do tell us a lot of interesting stories if we're willing to hear them. Nobody is talking about being politically correct. Nobody is talking about being -- oh, what's the other one I hear, you know, you're being revisionist and -- no, no, no, no, no.
History is always a process of new questions. Every generation asks a new question. And as scholars, we go back and look at what the historical record left us to try to answer them.
And we would be irresponsible if, with these new questions, that we did not go back and say hey, now we understand this thing in a bigger way.
RADDATZ: You heard Donald Trump compare Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee to Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.
TRUMP: This week, it's Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson's coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?
MAYOR LEVAR STONEY, RICHMOND, VA: I don't believe there's a comparison at all. Washington and Jefferson were founders, you know, part of our Founding Fathers. They did not take up arms against the United States of America.
Here, we do celebrate -- I don't think any other city out there, any other country in the world celebrates another army taking up arms against its actual country. Except here. Here in the south. And that's why they're different to me.
KRISTIN SZAKOS, CHARLOTTESVILL CITY COUNCIL: When we have the statues of Washington and Jefferson, they're portrayed doing things like being the father of our country, or writing the Declaration of Independence, or being president. Whereas these Confederate statues, they're in full army regalia, fighting a war against the United States for the perpetuation of slavery. So it's -- that's what they're being celebrated for.
RADDAZT: The country is worried about this. So what do you think going forward?
STONEY: Here's the thing, we -- I do believe that we need the take a moment the breathe. Chill out a little bit. And we're going get that time. And once we chill out and breathe, we're going to get back to the discussion in a civil manner and we're going to work on finding a resolution to this.
RADDATZ: And how do you do that, particularly when you have a president who says those monuments are beautiful?
STONEY: I appreciate the president's opinion. But here in the City of Richmond, I don't think that frankly matters. He doesn't live here. We live here. And so we'll be the individuals who will choose our destiny.
RADDATZ: Those people who say this is our heritage. These are our people. They fought, and whether they fought for a side that you may not think is a good side, they're still our people. How do you convince them?
COLEMAN: It's really trying to reconcile for communities and help communities come to understand this really interesting dance between what history really is -- which is all of this messy -- the notion of heritage, and the notion of memory. And how they -- how they play out in public life.
STONEY: There are always going to be people on opposite sides who are just going to frankly disagree. I think here in Richmond, we like to think we've fully healed from our difficult and unique past. But I think what we're seeing is that we haven't. You know, it's like putting a cast on a broken arm and not -- it not ever fully healing. And that is the case. But you know what? Just like Charlottesville, Richmond is resilient.
RADDATZ: Is this something that scars your city? Makes your city a better city?
SZAKOS: We are the town of Thomas Jefferson, who talked about all men are created equal. And we believe that. I have to say that I've been really proud of my city, the way that we've kind of taken this hit and tried to come together. We're still in the process and it's going to take a long time. It's a traumatic thing.
STONEY: You know what, things will get better. They always do. And so I try not the despair. Despite what President Trump may say or do, I know and have faith, and that's whey you get into this work, that things will get better.
RADDATZ: Have faith that things will get better. Our thanks again to the Mayor Levar Stoney, Kristin Szakos, and Christy Coleman. The American Civil War Museum is certainly a museum worth a visit.
I'll be right back with a closing thought on this week's events.
RADDATZ: As we end this week of political and domestic turmoil, a few thoughts. I watched this all of this unfold from thousands of miles away in South Korea with the U.S. military covering what is is surely the president's biggest foreign policy challenge. The very same day President Trump was defiantly defending his Charlottesville response by saying there were very fine people on both sides, even among those white supremacists and neo-Nazis, I was flying in the backseat of an F-16 near the North Korean border where thousands of American service members stand ready to give their lives to defend the U.S. and its allies.
And it would be Donald Trump, the commander-in-chief, whose picture hangs in every base at home and abroad, who would send them to war with just a few words. That underscores an obvious truth, our service members listen closely to what the president says. So, it was no surprise to me that in a rare foray into domestic issues, the heads of the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and National Guard all released definitive statements condemning the racism, extremism, and hatred ondisplay in Charlottesville.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford echoed his service chiefs, saying there is no place, no place for racism and bigotry in the U.S. military or in the United States as a whole.
The U.S. military makes that clear every day. Strict regulations guarantee that any support for supremacist groups means you can be thrown out of the military. That's because the strength of the military isn't defined by weapons, ships, or tanks, it's defined by the people who serve. And those Americans who do so are defined by their diversity.
Of all the institutions in our country, our volunteer military is the most diverse, the most representative, and provides the the most opportunities for all Americans. What they see and hear from their president, from their own country, about whether they are valued members of the society matters. I'm not talking about the pleasantries of thank you for your service.
So when those service members from all backgrounds return home and take off the uniform, there should be no confusion over whether every one of them is respected and valued. And that there's no place for groups that fuel bigotry and hate towards them or for individuals or leaders who condone it.
And that's all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out World News Tonight. And have a great day.