'This Week' Transcript 4-4-21: Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré (Ret.), Sen. Roy Blunt, Sec. Pete Buttigieg

This is a rush transcript of "This Week" airing Sunday, April 4.

ByABC News
April 4, 2021, 9:46 AM

A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, April 4, 2021 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form, may be updated and may contain minor transcription errors. For previous show transcripts, visit the "This Week" transcript archive.

ANNOUNCER: "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" starts right now.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to obviously understand the motivation.

STEPHANOPOULOS: One officer killed, another injured. The National Guard swarms the scene. New questions this week on how to balance security and democracy.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's big, yes. It's bold, yes. And we can get it done.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Biden's $2 trillion push to rebuild our country.

BIDEN: It's a once-in-a-generation investment in America.

STEPHANOPOULOS: A sweeping plan, a steep price tag. Republicans united in opposition.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): It's like a Trojan horse. It's called infrastructure. But inside the Trojan horse is going to be more borrowed money and massive tax increases.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Biden banking on public support.

BIDEN: I think the Republicans' voters are going to have a lot to say about whether we get a lot of this done.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Plus: Baseball moves the All-Star Game.

GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): It means cancel culture and partisan activists are coming for your business.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The latest fallout from Georgia's new voting laws.

KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), MAYOR OF ATLANTA, GEORGIA: I think this is just the first of many dominoes that will fall in this state.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We cover it all this morning with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Republican Senator Roy Blunt, retired General Russel Honore, and our powerhouse roundtable.


MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC "THIS WEEK" CO-ANCHOR: Are you changing history?

STEPHANOPOULOS: The battle over military bases name for Confederate generals. Martha Raddatz reports.


ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it's "This Week."

Here now, chief anchor George Stephanopoulos.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning, and welcome to this week on this Easter Sunday.

A quiet Good Friday in Washington was shattered this week by the second attack on the Capitol in three months. A troubled follower of the Nation of Islam rammed his vehicle into north barricade, ran towards officers with a knife, before police shot him dead.

And, this morning, flags at the Capitol and the White House are flying at half-staff to honor officer William "Billy" Evans, an 18-year veteran of the U.S. Capitol Police who lost his life defending that seat of our democracy.

All this has prompted renewed questions about how to secure the Capitol, so we begin this morning with retired General Russel Honore, who led the task force appointed to review security in the wake of the January 6 siege.

General Honore, thanks for joining us again on this Easter Sunday.

We don't know exactly what motivated the killer on Friday, but it does seem increasingly clear that the Capitol is becoming more of a target than ever.

LT. GEN. RUSSEL HONORE (RET.), U.S. ARMY: Absolutely, George.

From inside the Capitol, talking to many members of Congress on both the Senate and the House side, both parties, they all left us with the impression their number one mission is to secure the Capitol, but make sure it has 100 percent public access.

This is something that is valued by every member of Congress we spoke to in the six weeks we were there, and that they want public access. That comes at -- with a balance, with reengineering, with resources needed to the Capitol Police, with upgrading our cameras and sensors and the barriers around the Capitol.

That's going to come at a cost. And we have given part of that bill to the Congress, and we need them to work -- move forward now and fund the supplemental that would get this started, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But can an attack like this really have been prevented? This seems like a troubled loner.

HONORE: Well, we have always worried about the lone wolf.

Whether it's personally motivated or dominated by some ideology, at the end of the day 24/7, 365, the Capitol Police have to be ready to protect that Capitol.

This is the only police force in America that works for Congress. There's no layer of a command between that police force and Congress. That is their police force. It's designed and built to protect that one building.

And, yes, there are those who made snorty comments about, well, they have got all these police to protect one building.

Yes, it is the most important building in America, because it's the seat of our democracy. If that building and the people in it don't function, we no longer have democracy. And whatever price we have to pay to protect it, we need to do it, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You say we're trying to balance security and accessibility.

We know that many members of Congress have called for the permanent fencing to come down after the January 6 siege. Did it start to come down too soon?

HONORE: I don't think so, George.

The fencing and people we were seeing were a result of post-1/6, as well as preparation for the inauguration. It never came down because there was a lot of threat messages that came in for potential activity on 4 March.

So, the police left it up based on chatter.

And once that time passed, the reduction in the National Guard was reduced to about a fourth of what it was, and now they're in transition.

The architect of the capitol, along with the Capitol Police Board, we've given them recommendation, the Corps of Engineers is standing by to reinforce the outer grounds of the Capitol with contractors coming in to put advanced fencing that can come out of the ground as required, that can provide more sensors as well as an integration of the cameras.

We've given them the plan. We worked the plan hard. Now it's time for Congress to work the plan. We gave them the plan. We worked hard to give it to them. Now they've got to work to make that plan come through, and that's called a supplemental because the police in the Capitol deserve this. Our nation deserves it. And those families who have lost loved ones deserve it. And we need to up our game in support of the Capitol Police, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You did lay out a series of recommendations, including more officers, updated screenings and background checks. What's most important for Congress to implement right now?

HONORE: The additional resources. They are going to have to recruit hard, and in order to recruit, they're going to need a special budget to get someone to come and help them run -- you know, we are competing against police officers for police forces all around the country, including the Capital Region. And hiring police now is not easy, George. Maybe one in 10 get through the screening process.

The Capitol made some adjustments. They increased their recruiting age to 40 that would allow them to take on veterans coming out of the military, as well as extending the age to 60. All of these internal actions they were able to take. But when you are 233 (ph) officers short today, you might have a problem and that has been exacerbated last year because they did not get a police class through because of COVID.

So they've got catching up to do. They're going to need help. And the National Guard are going to have to continue to assist them. After 9/11, we had 250 National Guard stayed at the Capitol for two years. And we may look forward to seeing that happen again. And thank God to the National Guard, all the great work they've done, and hats off to them, and those who are away from their families today at the Capitol, America appreciates the work they do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We certainly do. General Honore, thanks for your time this morning.

HONORE: Happy Easter.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And we are joined now by Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri.

Senator Blunt, thanks for joining us this morning. You just heard General Honore right there. He said it's time for Congress to pass this funding.

SEN. ROY BLUNT (R), MISSOURI: Well, in terms of supplemental budget, I agree with that. I think we need to be looking at what our needs are. We need to be thinking about how we're gathering intelligence as it relates to the Capitol, and what we're doing to recruit, and what we're doing to train. I think that's maybe even more important than the size of the force.

As the former chairman of the Rules Committee, and now the top Republican on that committee, certainly working with Capitol Police to help solve these problems and working generally to look at how we secure the Capitol, but at the same time, make it as secure as it needs to be but as free as we could possibly make it.

It's an important element of who we are. It's an important symbol of who we are. And we need to keep that in mind with every decision we make.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So no question, this permanent fencing still has to come down?

BLUNT: I think the permanent fencing should come down. I don't think it does the job. In fact, the fencing was right there when the car drove through. The question, how far back would you ever establish fencing? One of the things that General Honore talked about weeks ago was the fact that actually fencing can create a false sense of security on a daily basis.

Some kind of temporary fencing that can be put up when you need it like we always secure the Capitol before the inaugurations, two of which I've chaired, is an important element to that event, but I think it would be a mistake for fencing to be a permanent part of the Capitol. The message we send is the wrong message. Frankly, we're probably preparing for the wrong thing. The idea that what happens next at Capitol will be what happened last is almost certain not to be the case.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Are we indeed seeing intelligence? I know you have a special focus on Capitol security. Are we indeed seeing intelligence that the Capitol has become more of a target?

BLUNT: Well, I think the Capitol has always been a target. It was a target I'm sure on 9/11. It’s -- it’s been a target over decades, and we need to be aware of that.

I do think really doing a better job of analyzing the intelligence we have, knowing what we should be prepared for. Frankly, the new sergeant-at-arms in the Senate has a military intelligence background. The new sergeant-at-arms in the House was in charge of the D.C. guard on January the 6th. They both bring something different to the police board than that board has had in the past.

I don't think that board is perfectly structured, but I do think those two people with the architect of the Capitol, Naval Academy graduate Brett Blanton, who was in charge of building projects at both of the airports before he took this job, at Dulles and National, has a great security background.

So, I think we ought to be listening to them and we also ought to be looking at what we do to make that police board work more functionally when there is a moment of crisis. And all three of them are distracted in other ways at that time.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS “THIS WEEK” ANCHOR: Let's talk about President Biden's infrastructure proposal.

Your leader, Mitch McConnell, has already signaled Republicans are going to oppose those proposals. But polls show that investing more in roads, bridges, high speed rail, broadband is widely popular.

Any worry that the GOP is on the wrong side of this issue?

BLUNT: Well, I’m actually for all of that. If the proposal was to do just that, I don't think there’d be a problem with the bipartisan group of supporters for this package. I’ve reached out to the White House a couple of times now and said, you've got an easy bipartisan win here if you'll keep this package nearly focused on infrastructure, and then the other 70 or so percent of the package that doesn't have very much too do with infrastructure, if you want to force that in a partisan way, you can still do that.

Why would you pass up the opportunity here to focus on roads, bridges, what's happening underground as well as above the ground on infrastructure, broadband, all of which wouldn’t be 40 percent of this package, and that would be a stretch I think to get all of those things to 40 percent.

There's more in the package, George, for charging stations for electric vehicles, $174 billion, than there is for roads, bridges and airports and ports.

When people think about infrastructure, they're thinking about roads, bridges, ports and airports. That's a very small part of what they're calling an infrastructure package that does so much more than infrastructure that -- I understand the dynamic of taking a popular title and put it, wrapping it around a bill that it's a fairly small percentage of, but it's the difference of whether you have a bipartisan, easy win or a very partisan, broad-based $2.25 trillion package.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But that leaves the question of how to pay for it, and the Republicans are against the tax increase and corporate tax increase that President Biden is proposing, raising it back to 28 percent, which is still below where it was before President Trump's tax cuts.

The stock market is booming now. Corporate stocks are up.

So, isn't this a good time to invest some of those profits in the future? And if not a corporate tax increase, then how would you pay for it?

BLUNT: Well, it would be a corporate tax increase. Of course, we go back to the second -- first or second highest corporate tax in the world which works to our disadvantage. As businesses are thinking about resourcing and bringing things back to the United States, restructuring how their companies are put together, the corporate tax is an important element of that.

Every Republican in the Senate who was there in 2017 voted for the 2017 tax bill. To ask them to turn around, and within less than four years, turn that around is a very unlikely thing to happen.

But, again, if you went back to infrastructure and looked at the way we traditionally functioned -- financed the infrastructure of the country and added to that, some public-private partnerships.

I’ve introduced a bill with Senator Bennet in the past and Senator Warner in the past, a slightly different bill that would get us new funding sources, figuring out how if you're going to spend all this money on electric vehicles which I think is part of the future, we need to figure out how electric vehicles pay for using the system just like gas-powered vehicles have always paid for it with a gas tax.

It's a system that -- you can figure out how that part of the system supports itself, and again, then you can have a bigger, different fight on all the other things this bill purports to do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Blunt, thanks for your time this morning.

BLUNT: You bet.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is up next.

Plus, our powerhouse roundtable.

Stay with us.



REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): If we're looking at ideals and what we think is the actual investment that can create tens of millions of good union jobs in this country that can shore up our health care, our infrastructure, our housing, we're talking about realistically $10 trillion over ten years.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The last thing the economy needs right now is a big whopping tax increase on all the productive sections of our economy.

I'm going to fight them every step of the way because I think this is the wrong prescription for America.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Debate is joined on President Biden's infrastructure bill. We just heard from Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri. Now we're joined by one of the cabinet members leading the charge for this bill, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Secretary Buttigieg, thanks for joining us this morning.

You just heard Senator Blunt right there said, if you really focused on core infrastructure, you might have a chance of passing this. And it is true that only about 5 percent of this bill goes for traditional roads and bridges. You've got 20 percent caregiving for the elderly, about 13 percent for investments in -- in like the green new deal.

So why not focus on that traditional core infrastructure?

PETE BUTTIGIEG, SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION: Well, let's be clear, there's a lot more than roads and bridges that are part of infrastructure. I heard the governor of South Dakota recently saying this isn't infrastructure. It's got money for pipes. Well, we believe that pipes are infrastructure because you need water to live and too many families now live with the threat of lead poisoning. That's absolutely infrastructure.

You know, you talk about roads and bridges, but also airports and ports. We need to make sure that we have broadband. I know that traditionally the Internet wasn't considered infrastructure because in the Eisenhower years, of course, it didn't exist. But infrastructure investment has to include looking to the future.

Railroads seemed futuristic and then we actually built them. Now they're considered traditional infrastructure. You could say the same about highways.

And I've got a lot of respect for Senator Blunt, but I'm going to work to try to persuade him that electrical vehicle charging infrastructure is absolutely a core part of how Americans are going to need to get around in the future, and not the distant, far off future, but right now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I know you're going to work hard to persuade him. Didn't get any Republicans, though, on the original relief bill. Is it a realistic prospect to expect Republicans are going to come around now?

BUTTIGIEG: I think it can be. I'm having a lot of conversations with Republicans in the House and Senate who have been wanting to do something big on infrastructure for years. We may not agree about every piece of it, but this is one area where the American people absolutely want to see us get it done, where members on both sides of the aisle have been talking about getting it done for a long time.

And in my view, this is a once-in-a-lifetime moment. I don't think, in the next 50 years, we're going to see another time when we have this combination of a demonstrated need, bipartisan interest, widespread impatience and a very supportive president who is committed, by the way, not just to the infrastructure itself but to the jobs we're going to create.

And independent analysis by economists earlier -- last week -- said that this will lead to 19 million jobs. And one of the most interesting things is that a lot of the research is also saying that the majority of those jobs will not require a college degree.

That's critically important because of all of the changes that are already happening to labor and -- and to manufacturing in this country, to be creating and supporting those jobs for the future.

So, yes, I think this is something that everybody can get behind, and we're going to keep working to try to earn that support across the aisle.

STEPHANOPOULOS: There is some...

BUTTIGIEG: One way or the other, we've got to get it done.

STEPHANOPOULOS: There is some skepticism out there in some parts of the labor community. Shawn Steffee from the Boilermakers Local 154 in Pennsylvania talked about this focus green new jobs. And he said, "They keep saying, we're going to transition you into solar jobs. That's not how it works. We build power plants, petrochemical plants and maintain steel mills. Would you ask Tom Brady to play middle linebacker just because he's a football player?"

BUTTIGIEG: Yeah, I'm not saying we're going to take a machinist and turn them into a computer programmer. What I'm saying is that we're going to have jobs for insulators on these building retrofits and painters and -- and carpenters, all good union jobs.

We're going to have auto workers, union auto workers, I hope, making cars one way or the other. Why not have them leading the revolution into electric vehicles, which, by the way, there is a very hot competition for with China and a lot of other places.

We're not talking about extremely mysterious job creation here. We're talking about jobs that already exist that we can understand. If you're a specialist in -- in dealing with mining, we've got to cap a lot of mines, too, and that's going to create a lot of jobs.

So I understand there is hesitation, especially because, you know, frankly, there have been a lot of moments where promises have not been kept to labor, which is one of the reasons why I think having the most pro-labor president we've had in a very long time is going to work very well for workers. And it's one of the reasons why we're seeing workers right there alongside a lot of other advocacy and community groups lining up in support of this bill.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The biggest debates now are over how to pay for it. The margins are narrow. If you don't get any Republicans to vote for those tax increases, you need every Democrat. But senators like Joe Manchin have already signaled that a 28 percent corporate tax is too high. You can't pass it without every Democratic senator, if Republicans are opposed?

BUTTIGIEG: I think we're going to find a really good, strong, deal space on this. Because, again, most Americans want to get it done. And -- and one of the things that's really striking -- you know, I don't spend too much time looking at polls, but I saw some research come back showing that the American people like this plan even more when you explain how we're going to pay for it.

And the reason is simple, which is that corporations, we all know, have not been paying their fair share. A lot of multinational corporations have been paying zero on billions of dollars in profits. They're -- they're paying more than a firefighter or a -- sorry --less than a firefighter or a school teacher, not just in percent terms, but in dollar terms, and that's wrong.

So we're going to reset the corporate tax rate to a rate that is, by the way, still lower than it's been for most of my lifetime, and has been a rate where America has been perfectly competitive for decades, and in doing that, create again, by some estimates, 19 million good-paying jobs, most of which don't require somebody to have a college degree.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Several House Democrats, though, have said they won't support the bill unless you reinstate the federal income tax deduction for state and local taxes, probably enough to sink the bill if they don't support it. What do you say to those Democrats?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, look. We can look at any number of ideas. We know that this is entering a legislative process where we're going to be hearing from both sides of the aisle, and I think you'll find the president's got a very open mind. But time is of the essence.

So we'll look at these ideas on how to pay for it. We'll look at ideas on where the investments ought to be, too. But the president is hoping for major progress from Congress before Memorial Day. And we can't allow this thing to just keep dragging on, because the need is there today.

Each passing day that our infrastructure crumbles, that hurts our economy and it puts our safety in danger. And, again, the American people are really impatient to get this done. I'm -- we're determined to make sure that Infrastructure Week is no longer a punchline around Washington. That's what this robust plan will do. And it's time for action.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And do those progressives like AOC -- we showed her at the top -- she says $10 trillion is needed right now, this isn't big enough.

Your response?

BUTTIGIEG: Yes, there are obviously a lot of people on the other side of the aisle saying, this is too big, too bold. And then some of our friends on our side of the aisle are saying it should be even bolder. Again, that's a natural part of this conversation and this process.

But let me stress, this is the biggest investment in American job creation proposed or, if achieved, since World War II. This is a huge deal. And what it would mean to have 10,000 bridges around America replaced, what it would mean -- or improved -- what it would mean to get broadband out to every single American, what it would mean to have zero lead pipes remaining in those water service lines is absolutely enormous, as is that 19 million job figure.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Secretary Buttigieg, thanks for your time this morning.

BUTTIGIEG: Thanks for having me.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The roundtable is next.

We will be right back.


STEPHANOPOULOS: The roundtable has already gotten started here.

We will be right back.



GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R), GEORGIA: Major League Baseball put the wishes of Stacey Abrams and Joe Biden ahead of the economic wellbeing of hardworking Georgians who were counting on the all-star game for a paycheck.

MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), ATLANTA, GEORGIA: You can't expect to take these extreme actions of limiting the access to the right to vote when we've talked so much about expanding access for our democracy and not expect that people like Major League Baseball will not take action in return.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS “THIS WEEK” ANCHOR: The latest fallout from that new Georgia voting law, Major League Baseball and moving the all-star game. One of the things we're going to talk about it on our roundtable.

We're joined by Chris Christie, Rahm Emanuel, the CEO of Democracy for America, Yvette Simpson. And we want to welcome Sarah Isgur, our newest ABC News analyst. She’s a veteran of the Trump Justice Department, also political analyst for “The Dispatch”.

Chris, let me begin with you.

You have a baseball affiliation now, one of the newest members of the Mets board. Was this the right move for the MLB?

CHRIS CHRISTIE, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Listen, it's just a symptom, George. It's a symptom of what's going on in our country right now.

I mean, let's talk about what the Georgia law is really about because we haven't had much of that. Drop boxes now become a permanent part of the Georgia landscape. They were not prior to COVID. They are now.

Minimum of 17 days of early voting, including two Saturdays and two optional Sundays. You're going to have all voters being able to have multiple ways to prove who they are, driver's license, last four numbers of your Social Security number, even a utility bill or a free ID provided by the state of Georgia, and voting is going to be until -- from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. as it is right now in Georgia.

This is what we --

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, what is this a symptom of? It sounds like you’re against --

CHRISTIE: It’s a symptom of, it’s a symptom of this, George. And I hate to come in here this morning to say this because I sat here and listened to the president's inaugural address. And I just want a couple of real quick points from it.

Politics need not be a raging fire that destroys everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn't have to be a cause for total war, and we must reject a culture in which facts themselves are manipulated or made up.

And Joe Biden's broken his own rule, 84 days. And now, he's lying to the American people, George. He's lying about this bill. He's lying to the American people about it to cause the raging fire he said he was going to put out. I’m very disappointed.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yvette, he did make some misstatements about the bill. The bill basically, though, restricts access to early -- not to early voting but to absentee ballots, but it does expand early voting.

YVETTE SIMPSON, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I mean, it depends on how you think about it. You know, you have to pick between a Saturday or a Sunday and what we know about early voting is a lot of folks appreciate, expect and depend on that weekend voting. We know that Sundays are a time when a lot of churches do go.

So, the fact that you have to pick between the two is a challenge. It still does not address voter purging which is a big significant issue and there are not enough drop boxes, in fact. Part of the challenge was, yes, you've solidified it, but no, you have not provided sufficient drop boxes for folks.

So, it -- let’s stop and back up and say, first, the motivation was not to do more. The motivation was actually to do less.

We know that voter fraud was not an issue. And so, this just the motivation enough was enough, and I don't think this goes far enough. I think that, you know, what do we need to do to make sure early voting gets expanded? Seventeen days is not enough early voting.

CHRISTIE: Well, Stacey Abrams, by the way, Stacey Abrams was in New Jersey, in my state, praising Phil Murphy this week for a voting law where New Jersey early voting is nine days. Half, half of what Georgia is.

Yet she's on TV in New Jersey -- I saw it myself -- saying that this is one of the greatest voting expansion bills we've ever seen, but this is Jim Crow? I’m sorry, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: She’s not -- she's not for moving the all-star game.

But, Sarah, one of the interesting things we’re seeing here is not just Major League Baseball. It's Delta. It’s Coca-Cola. It does appear here that corporate America is out of step with the Republican base.

SARAH ISGUR, ABC NEWS ANALYST: That's certainly true, but I think that Republicans have stumbled on a pretty good message here which is Delta, Coke, et cetera, these corporations coming out and condemning the Georgia bill, which, as you said, is ridiculous compared to other states. Delaware, Joe Biden's home state, didn't even have early voting in 2020. They won't have it until 2022. They're condemning that. They're condemning this Georgia bill without really understanding it. Joe Biden has been labeled a recidivist liar for what he has said about the bill by the fact checking organizations.

And what about China? We have actual concentration camps going on in China and these corporations won't say word one about it. And the hypocrisy of that, I think, is very clear to a Republican base that this isn't about whether the feel strongly about a Georgia bill that doesn't do what the Democrats are afraid it will do and it doesn't do what the Republicans want it to do, by the way. But, at the same time, unwilling to say word one about China because that's where the money is.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC "THIS WEEK" ANCHOR: They wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't in their corporate interest.


RAHM EMANUEL, (D) FORMER MAYOR OF CHICAGO AND ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, the -- you've got to put this in a lineage. Also, if you go back four years ago, when North Carolina changed their laws as related to bathrooms, corporations then took a -- pressure in isolating North Carolina. That's also the situation here. It's a shot across the bar to every other state that's looking at changing the laws. They're trying to fix the problem that did not happen.


EMANUEL: And one of the worst part -- that is the fundamental. There was no problem and they're coming up -- it's like -- they're coming up with the solution to a problem that doesn't exist. And it's a shot across the bow to a bunch of other states. And the worst case that this bill, which none of you have mentioned, is the fact that the state legislature wants to overrule both the secretary of states (INAUDIBLE). They're -- for what -- what other reason. I'll repeat what I said last week, which is, if Donald Trump would have won Georgia, there'd be no change in the law. And the fact that because Joe Biden won that this is -- look, it's a, you know --

ISGUR: If Joe Biden and Stacey Abrams were saying that, I think we'd have a very frank (ph) conversation.


EMANUEL: I have no problem fixing the -- there's a lot of problems to fix. This was not a problem to fix.

ISGUR: But they're not. Joe Biden said, it ended early voting. It doesn't end early voting.

CHRISTIE: This is -- it expands early voting in Georgia. The president said it ended it.

Listen, he's what Joe Biden's got to live with when he wakes up this morning on Easter morning. He is doing exactly what he sat around in the campaign and the transition and accused Donald Trump of doing. He is lying to cause racial divisions in this country. That's what he accused Donald Trump of doing and he's a liar and a hypocrite this morning (ph).

EMANUEL: Yes, wait -- so, hold on -- hold on --

STEPHANOPOULOS: Then how do you explain why Major League Baseball is making the move?

CHRISTIE: It's a business judgment, George. It's a business judgement. Major League Baseball has to make a decision about what is in their best business interest. And I'm sure that's what --

EMANUEL: Chris --

CHRISTIE: I haven't spoken to anybody there, but I'm sure it's what this is (ph).

STEPHANOPOULOS: If it -- if it's in their best business interest, doesn't that suggest that there's something wrong with the law?

CHRISTIE: No. What it suggests is that's the climate in this country right now. That's the climate of what it is.

SIMPSON: You should ask the people who know. You should ask the people who know. I've been doing voter protection for 10 years. Just the idea that you can't give people water in line. I know people's babies --

CHRISTIE: No, that's just not true.


CHRISTIE: That's not true.

SIMPSON: I have held people's babies while they go in to vote in order to enfranchise the vote. Do it by -- do it by all (INAUDIBLE).

CHRISTIE: You can't do electioneering -- excuse me. That's -- I'm sorry, that's just wrong.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, within 20 -- I think it's within 25 feet.

CHRISTIE: A hundred and fifty feet, where, in New Jersey, in Chicago and any place else in the country, you're not -- he's saying partisan groups cannot do electioneering by giving out food and water. And in the Georgia bill says that there can be water provided by the state of Georgia, just not by partisan groups.

EMANUEL: Two things, George.

ISGUR: Also, look, that's a stupid part of the bill, but it's not a threat to democracy.

CHRISTIE: And this is the kind of stuff that --

EMANUEL: Two things. Two things. Two things. Two things.

SIMPSON: Every time you try to restrict voting rights it's a threat to democracy.

ISGUR: But that's no restricting voting right.


EMANUEL: Two things.

SIMPSON: And the fact that they didn't address the elephant in the room, which is voter purging. A hundred an ninety-eight thousand African-Americans Georgians were purged from the rolls.

EMANUEL: Well, wait --

ISGUR: But that's now what Joe Biden and Stacey Abrams have been complaining of.

CHRISTIE: Yes, look --


EMANUEL: I feel like a middle child at a dinner or breakfast.

SIMPSON: Always.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You really have a hard time getting in.

EMANUEL: Two things.

CHRISTIE: Yes, everyone feels bad for you, Rahm.

EMANUEL: One is -- one is you said that corporate America is out of step with the Republican Party. Corporate America has no home in the Republican Party anymore. And this is the first of many times where corporate America is going to make a clear decision. And it's a wakeup call to every other state.

Second is, Joe Biden is not a liar.

CHRISTIE: Yes, he is.

EMANUEL: No, no, no.


EMANUEL: And coming from a -- you know, we just spent four years with a person who had literally couldn't find the truth if it actually -- it went choo-choo in front of him in the morning.


EMANUEL: Joe Biden, you may disagree with his characterization.

CHRISTIE: Did we restrict early voting?

EMANUEL: He is not a lie.

SIMPSON: It does restrict early voting.

EMANUEL: You may disagree with his characterization. That bill is only done -- passed for one reason, because Joe Biden won Georgia and the two senators won Georgia.

CHRISTIE: He lied. He lied, Rahm, and he's going to have to live with it.

EMANUEL: That is not. He has not.

CHRISTIE: Yes, he is.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about the infrastructure bill right now. We're seeing the first flurries of this, Sarah, so let begin with you here.

It appears that Biden is going to go full speed ahead. The biggest, boldest program. Not worry right now about getting the Republicans on board.

ISGUR: And a very different Republican message then when we saw Barack Obama come into office in 2009. They went straight at Obamacare and took what could have been a very popular piece of legislation through messaging and a lot of consistent messaging from every person in the Republican Party, drove down the popularity of that bill. So instead of being a legislative accomplishment, it really hung around the necks of Democrats in the midterms.

With the American Recovery Act that we saw last month, Republicans were talking about Dr. Seuss. It will be very interesting. Mitch McConnell and McCarthy, they want to go after this bill and message about how it's not really infrastructure, that only 5 percent is going to traditional infrastructure. Will the rest of the Republican Party follow suit?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, and you just --

ISGUR: Or are they going to be talking about the all-star game?

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you just heard --


STEPHANOPOULOS: A, but you also just heard Roy Blunt saying, wait, I love a lot of the infrastructure as well because they know so much of the individual investments in this bill are popular.

ISGUR: And they're no longer the party of fiscal restraint.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, both parties have given that up.

EMANUEL: Look, I mean, Joe Biden made a very clear statement. If you want a 21st Century economy, you can't have a mid-20th Century foundation. And if it runs on roads, rails or runways, we're going to get you there on time.

And it's very, very popular, because the American -- look, right now in Jackson, Mississippi, you can't get fresh water. You can't -- if you're in rural America, you can't get your child on the Internet for school.

And all of us know, all of us know parents can't get to soccer games or after-school activities on time; they have to budget an extra 20 minutes because of all the congestion and all the problems. So it's very popular there.

The other thing that he has done very well at the White House, on the relief bill, it was all about COVID. On infrastructure, if you vote no, you're with China. If you vote yes, you're with America. And they're picking the right enemies for each of these battles.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Chris Christie, Republican governors, not in exactly the same place...


STEPHANOPOULOS: ... as Republicans in Washington?

CHRISTIE: No. Look, how many times have we said this on this program? If you're going to give governors, Republican, Democrat or independent, money from Washington that they don't have to get by raising taxes themselves? Amen, baby.


They're all going to say it, and I don't care whether you're talking about the most conservative Republican governor in America or the most moderate Republican governor.

EMANUEL: There's a born-again Republican, right there.


CHRISTIE: They're going to say -- they're going to say "Give me the money."

ISGUR: Right this way.

CHRISTIE: That's what governors always do. Because then they don't have to raise taxes themselves. But here's the problem. And again, it goes along with the deceit of this White House. And there is no doubt there's deceit. The COVID bill, a fraction of the COVID bill was about COVID. Now we have an infrastructure bill. A fraction of the infrastructure bill is about infrastructure. About...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Oh, but it depends on how you define infrastructure.


CHRISTIE: Oh, no, now the care economy is infrastructure, George -- the care economy. I don't even know what the hell the care economy is. But, you know what, it's now a huge part of an infrastructure bill.

EMANUEL: I think you need to go to services for Easter. You're a little worked up here.


CHRISTIE: I was praying already for you this morning, Rahm, believe me.

EMANUEL: I can feel it.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Is the care economy not infrastructure?

SIMPSON: Well, let's talk about why this is important. We know that, without ending the filibuster, we're not going to be able to get legislation passed outside of reconciliation. And so what progressives are concerned about is you give moderate Democrats and give Republicans everything they want in that bill, and then how do you come back and get the things that you need, like Medicare, extended child care, all the things that we know are the human infrastructure, the human economy.

And so that's why we're concerned that it doesn't go far enough. In addition, we think that we need to make a bigger downpayment on climate infrastructure.

We just saw what happened in Texas. Last year wildfires raged almost the entire Pacific coast. So we know that, you know, we can talk about it in a vacuum; we can think about the fact that we don't need to do more, and then we see the real effects.

Right now -- you talked about water. Kids in Flint, Michigan...

EMANUEL: Right, definitely.

SIMPSON: ... and in the rural South who still can't get clean water. We need to make a significant investment, and that's why progressives are supporting the THRIVE Agenda, which is $10 million over the next....


STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me just ask Sarah a question. First, let me come to -- is there a chance -- let me ask you the question I asked Roy Blunt right at the top. The Republicans will pay a price for opposing a program that seems, right now, broadly popular?

ISGUR: Well, again, go back to 2009. If they are able to actually message around this bill, which I'm not convinced they'll do --Christie makes great points, but you're not seeing a whole lot of Republicans make those points in a consistent, drumbeat fashion. But what they were able to do in 2009 to Obamacare paid huge dividends in the 2010 midterms. That was one of the biggest freshman Republican classes in history.

So, absolutely, Republicans have a way to turn this to their political advantage. Will they take that? And have they lost that moral high ground over spending when, for the last four years, they were on a spending spree and Donald Trump didn't care about spending?

EMANUEL: Here's the -- here's the thing. Comparing 2009 or 2010 and the midterm, the fact is this infrastructure is not about healthcare. And everybody who lives through the problems that we have today around America's transportation system, water system, Internet or energy distribution -- and that is a real, real problem in America and people know it has to be...


STEPHANOPOULOS: But does that mean the home health care workers is coming out...


EMANUEL: But here's -- here's the point that I think is important in this, and you get to the point of Republicans. They -- what is designed in this bill, and you even see in the relief bill that was first done, 25 percent to 30 percent, depending on what you'll get, of Republicans support it.

They -- what the Biden White House is doing -- and still do -- what the Biden Republicans -- what Biden has figured out is he is driving a wedge between the Republican establishment and Republican voters. He's telling you up front exactly what he's doing. And each bill, which is why not only is he popular but what he has done on both the vaccine, the economy, and Friday's jobs numbers are only going to give him further wind in the sail why we've got to make this investment. And it's popular with Republicans.

CHRISTIE: Well, Republicans need to make the argument that this is about 25 percent of $2.2 trillion goes to what he just talked about, roads, bridges, tunnels, airports, Internet. The rest of the bill goes to a lot of other things, which Yvette is totally for, and that's fine. Let's make the arguments on the merits for those things and not call them infrastructure.

And the last point on it is this. Yvette brings up the filibuster. Very important. The filibuster that Joe Biden supported, fought for, yelled and screamed for on the floor of the Senate for 36 years, he now calls that Jim Crow.

What else is Jim Crow to Joe Biden?

SIMPSON: Well, in this country, a lot.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But all -- but all he's for now is a talking filibuster. He's not for eliminating the filibuster.


SIMPSON: Well, I mean, they're talking infrastructure.

I just wanted to go back to what Sarah said. Here's the reason why I don't think Republicans are going to support it, no matter how much candy is in this bill.

They have set their sights on opposing everything that Biden does, because that's how they make the claim that they need to take back control in 2022 and 2024.

And that's the reason why I think it was ill-advised for Biden to actually put all the things that Republicans want and moderate Democrats want in this reconciliation bill, because, if we can't go back to the well again, now you have got progressives and most Democrats not being able to do the things that we actually need.



EMANUEL: And here's the one thing -- here's the one thing Republicans haven't caught up on.

Sorry, Sarah.

Here's the one thing Republicans haven't caught up, which is a real difference. 2009 was a financially -- financing-induced recession. This is a natural disaster. It is a different permission slip to deal with what's ailing America when you have a natural disaster, the virus.

You can see like how we respond to New Orleans, how we respond to California or Texas. Americans come to help people who are victims out of no reason for what happens to them because of a natural disaster; '09 was a banker-driven scandal.

And what I will say here, we have lost a half-a-million Americans here. Back then, Americans wanted to kill half-a-million bankers, OK? It's a big difference.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Sarah, does the fact that the economy is starting to boom -- we just saw 900,000 jobs created this week -- does that help Biden's case to get this done or hurt it?



ISGUR: Honestly, I...


EMANUEL: Was that an oy for Passover? Or what was that?



STEPHANOPOULOS: Chris, do you want to comment on...

CHRISTIE: Very well put, Sarah. Very, very well put.

EMANUEL: I'm so glad they signed you last week.


CHRISTIE: She -- you're already a veteran.

SIMPSON: But yet we still knew what she was saying.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Now she only has seconds, 10 seconds left to answer the question.

ISGUR: All right.

Both sides are going to argue that this helps their case, that this is part of their message. You have the Republican base saying, this is the Trump recovery. And you have the Biden folks saying, without me, it would be less than it is.

I think, in the end, you have another base election coming in 2022, the same thing we have seen repeated over and over again. You want to talk about the Democrats -- or the Republicans doing everything to stop Biden. Welcome to the last four years of the Democrats.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That is going to be the last word. Lively roundtable.

Thank you all very much.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Coming up, Martha Raddatz takes a closer look at the effort under way in the U.S. military to rename its bases honoring Confederate leaders.

We will be right back.



BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: For the very first time, hundreds of thousands of young people will be experiencing the White House roll through the Internet.




GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN OF THE CHIEFS OF STAFF: We have to improve the substance of promotions in the military, but we have to take a hard look at the symbology, the symbols. Things like Confederate flags and statues and bases and all that kind of stuff. The Confederacy, the American Civil War was fought, and it was an act of rebellion, an act of treason at the time against the Union. The way we should do it matters as much as if we should do it.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS “THIS WEEK” ANCHOR: That was the chairman of Joint Chiefs, Mark Milley, on how the military is confronting racism in it ranks and legacy of Confederate symbolism in the military. This week, Virginia’s high court ruled the Charlottesville can take down two more statues and Congress recently created a commission to rename bases named for Confederate generals.

Martha Raddatz spoke with two generals who took very different paths to similar conclusions on the controversy.


MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: There stands Jackson like a stone wall, it says, but --

TY SEIDULE, PROFESSOR EMERITUS OF HISTORY AT WEST POINT: You see me rolling my eyes? It's meant to show that he is a hero. Who was he? He’s somebody that fought against his country to support and create a slave society.

RADDATZ: Ty Seidule rolls his eyes today, but growing up in Virginia, he revered Confederate generals. Robert E. Lee was not just a hero to him, but the greatest human to ever walk the Earth.

SEIDULE: On a scale of one to ten, I would have put Lee at about 11. So, it wasn't just that I liked him. I revered him and my entire culture revered him.

RADDATZ: That's Seidule at Washington Lee University where he chose to be commissioned into the Army at the foot of Lee's tomb.

SEIDULE: The altar of that chapel is Robert E. Lee surround by Confederate flags, and I went back and sat down and raised my right hand and took that oath and it's an anti-Confederate oath written in 1862 to ferret out Confederate traitors.

RADDATZ: Did you know about his history in the Confederacy and what he represented? Did you think about that at the time?

SEIDULE: I thought the Confederates were honorable people that lost. It was noble. It was romantic.

Oh my God. I was so wrong because I didn't realize what they fought for was slavery.

RADDATZ: His epiphany came years later walking the campus of West Point where he came across the Lee barracks.

SEIDULE: I said, why are these things named after Lee? What I found was that in the 19th century, West Point banished Confederates at traitors. They named nothing after them. In fact, they only come back in the 20th century and they come when African-Americans come back to West Point, and that made me so angry that Confederate memorialization is a reaction against integration.

RADDATZ: Now a professor at West Point and on the commission to rename U.S. military bases, Seidule’s focus is on the sullied history of those confederate generals whose names are emblazoned on U.S. Army bases.

Dr. Nadia West knew it all along. She spent much of her Army career at Ft. Bragg.

RADDATZ (on camera): Did it occur to you, did you think about those names, did you know who those forts were named after?

DR. NADIA WEST: Absolutely. Absolutely. But at some point you think, that's just the way -- that's just the way it is.

RADDATZ (voice over): And no wonder. West's entire family, father, siblings and now her son serving in the military. Dr. West, the only African-American, the only woman in her senior class at West Point.

WEST: You take an oath to support the defend the Constitution, and then you've got, you know, things named for people who didn't do that. And anytime something happens or some of the ugliness comes up, the comment is, that's not who we are. But, in fact, it is who we are unless we do something about it.

RADDATZ: Dr. West eventually becoming the first black female three-star general and highest ranking woman to graduate from West Point.

RADDATZ (on camera): It goes without saying you're pretty happy the Army is considering name -- changing all the names, right?

WEST: Absolutely. I think it's -- it's important because that's -- what message are we sending?

RADDATZ: When you had your epiphany, before that, had you ever thought what it might be like for black officers to walk around those bases?

SEIDULE: I never thought of it. And, listen, I -- I -- one of the reasons I'm so passionate about this, I hold myself responsible for this. I didn't see what was -- and I've had black bosses, I had black friends. I saw -- but I didn't understand what it meant.

RADDATZ (voice over): Seidule wrote about his evolution in his book, "Robert E. Lee and Me: A Southerner's Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause."

SEIDULE: History is dangerous because it goes after our myth and our identity. And what I was doing was challenging the Army and West Point about who it is and what it wants to be. And now I am so happy the Army is leading the way. It can't wait to change. West Point can't -- they've already got a plan.

RADDATZ (on camera): Are you changing history?

SEIDULE: We're changing commemoration. History is what historians do to look at the past to try to understand what happened, but -- but commemoration is who, as a society, do we honor. And we should honor those who lived the value that we cherish today, not those who fought for slavery and treason 160 years ago.

RADDATZ (voice over): But that battle is not over. As the country witnessed on January 6th, those symbols of the past are still very much alive today.

RADDATZ (on camera): When you saw that confederate battle flag, and -- and I think people don't understand the difference between the confederate flag, and confederate battle flag.

SEIDULE: It's the flag of treason. That's what I call it. And when I saw the flag of treason go by there, I tell you, I was ready to put my uniform back on and -- and go there and say -- because, listen, we don't do rebellion in the United States of America, we don't do insurrection.

WEST: It was the surreal nature to it, is this really happening in the United States of America?

RADDATZ: Any final thoughts on where we'll be as a country, where the Army will be after this changes?

WEST: Well, Martha, I'm the eternal optimist. We've seen so much improvement. I think we can get there maybe now that they're like -- their eyes are open and we can have a better dialogue.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Thanks to Martha for that.

That is all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Have a Happy Easter.

I'll see you tomorrow on "GMA."