A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, August 30, 2020 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.
JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump makes his case.
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KARL: A convention unlike any other, team Trump unleashing a series of harsh attacks.
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MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You won't be safe in Joe Biden's America.
TRUMP: Biden wants to keep us completely in the dark.
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KARL: Team Biden hitting back.
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SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Republican Convention is designed for one purpose: to soothe Donald Trump's ego.
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KARL: As protesters call for change...
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UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Black lives matter!
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KARL: ... and thousands march on Washington.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have to stand together. We have to vote.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We will fulfill my grandfather's dream.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm marching for George, for Breonna, for Ahmaud.
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KARL: Anger and division in this final stretch to November.
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TRUMP: They don't even know who George Floyd is.
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KARL: Our guests this morning, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, Senator Amy Klobuchar, and insight and analysis from our powerhouse roundtable.
ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it's "This Week."
Here now, chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl.
KARL: Good morning, and welcome to "This Week."
Every four years, Americans come together to make a choice. We expect hard-fought campaigns, and we expect politicians telling us this is the most important election of our lifetimes.
But with the conventions that just played out, we saw something different. Democrats told us, if the other side wins, our democracy is over. Republicans said, if the other side wins, America is over, both suggesting an apocalypse if they don't prevail on November 3.
In the visuals of this week's Republican Convention, we saw the world as Donald Trump wants it to be, his name in fireworks over the Washington skyline, the White House South Lawn transformed into a celebration of all things Trump, and his supporters shoulder to shoulder, as if the pandemic had never happened and isn't still killing about 1,000 Americans a day.
On the streets outside, protesters offered their own visual reminder of the number unmentioned on the South Lawn, more than 180,000 Americans killed by COVID-19.
When it was over, some of those protests turned ugly, Trump supporters taunted and threatened on their way out, and, last night, more violence in Portland, clashes between protesters and Trump supporters, one person shot dead, images Republicans are sure to point to as a precursor to life after a Biden victory.
And at the Lincoln Memorial Friday, marchers, in the footsteps of Dr. King, called for action to address a subject barely mentioned at the Republican Convention, persistent racial injustice, after yet another black man was shot by a white police officer, Jacob Blake shot in the back seven times.
The president went almost a full week without commenting, but now says -- quote -- "I don't like the sight of it."
Joining me now, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.
Mr. Acting Secretary, thank you for joining us.
Can you give us an update on what exactly happened, as you understand it, in Portland overnight? What happened with the shooting? Who was killed?
CHAD WOLF, ACTING U.S. SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Well, we're still waiting, obviously, for that investigation to unfold.
I do understand that there were a number of counterprotests and countergroups in Portland overnight. And I think this points to a larger issue that we have seen in Portland for the last three months. And that is local and state officials not allowing law enforcement to do their job and really to bring this violent activity night after night after night to a close.
And so what -- as you see that continue to unfold over the course of three months, you are going to continue to see violent activity. And we have asked the governor, we have asked the mayor to step in if they don't have the resources.
The president has been very clear on this, as you know. We will -- happy to provide resources to bring this violence to an end, violence that, again, across the ideological spectrum, left or right, the violence needs to end.
KARL: So, I saw the president was up and tweeting about this before 6:00 a.m. It's clearly front and center on his mind.
Is he planning on doing something? Is there a consideration of sending in more federal law enforcement, even in the defiance of local leaders?
WOLF: I believe all options continue to be on the table, specifically as we talk about Portland.
What we have seen in Wisconsin, Minnesota and other places is those governors stepping up, calling in the National Guard, the state National Guard in many instances. Obviously, Wisconsin, we're sending in Department of Justice law enforcement officers as well.
So, when we talk about Portland, again, they continue to refuse federal -- any type of federal assistance to bring that violent activity going on for almost 90 days now -- a little over 90 days to a close.
The citizens of Portland want this. We need to bring some normalcy back to Portland, and again, if the state and local officials won't do it, they need to ask for assistance from the Federal Government.
KARL: Do you have a message to those Trump supporters we saw parading into Portland last night? We've seen images of apparent Trump supporters seeming to fire paintballs at protesters, pepper spray. What's your message to those groups?
WOLF: My message to any individual, to any group, if you are going to protest, First Amendment right, please do that peacefully. Once you cross the line to violence, that is what's concerning to the Department of Homeland Security. That's what I'm focused on, making sure that we bring any type of violence in any of our cities to a close.
KARL: I want to turn to Kenosha. The world saw those images of Kyle Rittenhouse holding an AR-15 walking down the streets of Kenosha after he had just allegedly shot and killed two people, shot and wounded another person. Really nothing -- no reaction from police.
He went right by police. Nobody attempted to apprehend him or anything. And that of course, was just days after what we saw with Jacob Blake getting shot in the back seven times as he tried to get into his car.
Does that disparity watching the very different treatment of somebody who is White and somebody who is Black by law enforcement bother you?
WOLF: Again, the circumstances around that are being investigated. I'm not going to get in front of that. What I will say is that if the governor had taken action early on after day one, day two of some of that violent activity occurring there, we probably -- a lot of this could have been avoided. Unfortunately, he acted a little too late.
I believe on the third or fourth night of this violence, he has taken a right action. He has asked for federal law enforcement assistance. My message to all these local officials, mayors, governors, and the like, if you see this activity, take early action, bring law and order to your streets and we can address and really avoid some of this violent activity that we're seeing.
KARL: But again, Kyle Rittenhouse is there with an AR-15 walking down the streets. He has just allegedly shot three people, and the police don't even give him a second look. Do you understand how people react to that? Especially after what had just happened with Jacob Blake?
WOLF: Absolutely. Again, I'm not on the streets there, Jon. I can't tell you what was going on that evening, that night with police, with this individual. That investigation is unfolding. I'm going to let that play out before I comment specifically on it.
But, again, I think what this shows, what this demonstrates, is that local officials or governors need to take action early on to address these issues. And we've seen that in a couple of other different cities and states, is if they see violent protests occurring, you take early action, you can address this, and this is what most reasonable Americans want. When they turn on their TVs, they don't want to see this violence night after night after night. They want to see their local officials, elected officials, taking action.
KARL: So the president just a short while ago liked a tweet that said, quote, Kyle Rittenhouse is a good example of why I decided to vote for Trump. Is the president suggesting that this 17-year-old White man who allegedly shot three people is somehow somebody to be celebrated?
WOLF: Jonathan, I haven't talked to the president about that. I have not seen that tweet. I'm going to let both the president and the White House comment on that.
Again, what I'm focused on at the department is making sure that we're providing the state and local officials the intelligence and the information they need to make good decisions. And if they don't have the resources or capabilities to protect their local communities, they reach out to the department, the Department of Justice, the Federal Government will provide them help and support.
KARL: We saw the president at the convention clearly making law and order the centerpiece of his re-election campaign. I want to play something that he said at his last convention four years ago in his acceptance speech there.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The attacks on our police and the terrorism of our cities threaten our very way of life.
Beginning on January 20th of 2017, safety will be restored.
KARL: I mean, it’s -- first of all, it's striking how it's almost exactly the same message at this convention, but did he fail to keep that promise? He said safety was going to be restored beginning on January 20th of 2017.
WOLF: Absolutely not. And, again, what we see across cities and across states, state -- sorry. Local law enforcement, first line of defense. State law enforcement, and if both of those fail, then obviously the Federal Government can step in. And we need that so -- we need that request from those state governors.
Many of them have requested that, and again -- and when we go back to Portland, we see exactly how not to protect your communities. It's a case study on the wrong way to do this. Ninety days of continued violence in that city. It can be stopped very quickly. You need to have some conviction, and you need to bring in law enforcement to do their job.
JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS HOST: After the president's supporters were confronted by protesters Thursday night outside the White House, the president in several tweets and statements has suggested that he was going to -- so let me read one of the tweets.
He says to Mayor Bowser: D.C. Mayor Bowser should arrest these agitators and thugs. Clean up D.C. or the federal government will do it for you. Enough.
What does he mean the federal government will do it for you? What does he have in mind in D.C.?
WOLF: Well, I think what's absolutely concerning is that individuals leaving an event at the White House cannot simply leave, go to their vehicles or wherever they might be going, that they're accosted time and time again.
So, I think the concern there is making sure that, again, law enforcement do their job. That, one, you can protest peacefully all day long, all night long if you choose to. Once you cross that line of violent activity, law enforcement needs to step in.
We saw that back in early June in D.C. where federal law enforcement came in, the Department of Justice came in, when we had a number of rioting and looting occurring, working with the Metropolitan Police Department to address that very quickly. Again, that sort of -- again, a little bit of a case study on how to do this correctly in other cities.
KARL: I want to turn to your role in the convention. You obviously took part in that naturalization ceremony that was played in a video at the convention.
Did you know when you were there for that naturalization ceremony at the White House with the president that it was going to be played that night at the convention?
WOLF: Again, naturalization ceremonies are what the department does. We do hundreds, if not, thousands of them every year. I parti -- I participated in several of them not only with the president, but with the vice president.
So, it's absolutely a legitimate role for the department to do. Again, we do them across the nation. I had -- I did one in Denver the day after on Wednesday of this -- of this past week, and we’ll continue to do that.
That was an official event at the White House.
KARL: But -- but -- but --
WOLF: It was uploaded to a public YouTube channel. Anyone, any individual, organization or political party can pull down that video and do with it as they wish. So again --
KARL: But sir -- but sir --
WOLF: -- legitimate on --
KARL: But, sir, respectfully, that was not my question. My question was, did you know when you took part in that ceremony that it was going to be used that night at the Republican convention?
WOLF: No. What I knew is again, participating in a naturalization ceremony, we had a number of USCIS employees there, as they do every naturalization ceremony, making sure that that ceremony goes off without a hitch. They were giving that oath of allegiance to those individuals there. And again, we’ll continue to do that, because that's our mission at the department.
KARL: OK. Finally, the story that broke over the weekend. The DNI, the Director of National Intelligence, is saying no more in-person briefings to Congress, including briefings on the critical question of foreign interference in our election. Isn't this a time when there should be more information shared, not less? What is going on here?
WOLF: Absolutely, and I think what the DNI specifically said is he was concerned about leaks, classified information. Obviously, the Director of National Intelligence deals with classified information, providing that information to Congress. He has seen -- I have seen and others have seen that information leaked time and time again.
So what he indicated is he's going to provide that information and those briefings to Congress in a written finished intelligence product and continue to provide them the information that they need to do their jobs.
On the other side, what the department is focused on is making sure we address any cyber threats we are -- regarding election infrastructure. A lot of the information that the department deals with is unclassified.
We'll continue to have in-person briefings with members of Congress and staff. We have two of them set up this week, to continue to highlight the work that the department is doing to make sure that we secure that election infrastructure.
KARL: You have a responsibility for protecting the integrity of this election. Are you seeing evidence, more evidence, new evidence of Russian interference?
WOLF: Yeah. What we've, again, seen and the DNI put out an assessment this month, not only information about Russia, but also China and Iran. So, these are three nation states that we have been well aware of, have been tracking them for the last four years, putting out a number of disinformation campaigns to sow discourse within the U.S., not only in 2016, but obviously the 2018 elections.
This is nothing new that -- that we're looking at. The department is on top of this, working with our interagency partners, the intelligence community and the like.
KARL: OK. Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, thank you very much for joining us this morning.
WOLF: Great. Thank you.
KARL: All right. Let's turn now to the Minnesota senator, Democrat Amy Klobuchar.
Thank you for joining us, Senator Klobuchar.
I want to -- I want to --
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Thanks, Jonathan.
KARL: I want to start right where we left off there, that this -- this -- the DNI saying that they are no longer going to brief in-person Congress, particularly on this issue of election security. They say it's about leaks.
KLOBUCHAR: It's a complete outrage. You heard what the acting secretary just said. He said that foreign countries are continuing to try to break into our Election, they're trying to influence our elections with disinformation, and this is not where you cut off Congress from getting the information. That's what happened in 2016, there wasn't enough information out there. Now we know. We've learned a lesson.
And I think the House is going to have to subpoena the director of intelligence in order to get information, which is crazy. We are just a few months out of a major election, and I have already experienced this White House blocking my bipartisan election security bill, which would have helped us years ago to beef up our efforts.
So, in the words of Speaker Pelosi, when it comes to this White House, all roads lead to Putin. That is exactly what's going on here, and we are going to have to demand the information to protect our election.
KARL: I want to turn to what the president said Friday. He went to New Hampshire, held a rally after the convention, and he had -- he talked about the treatment of his supporters as they left the White House on Thursday night.
Take a listen.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These incredible people from all over the country, all over the world that were there last night, they walked out to a bunch of thugs, and that wasn't -- remember this, that wasn't friendly protesters.
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KARL: So what -- what was your reaction as you saw that? There's no question that -- that Trump supporters were intimidated and -- and -- and approached as they left the White House in a -- in a rather menacing way.
KLOBUCHAR: Well, my first reaction is, and I have long condemned looting, violence, threats. That's not peaceful protests. And I don't care who's engaging in it, you condemn it. And, of course, Joe Biden has clearly condemned it.
But let's step back. This isn't just happening in one place. It's happening all over the country. It is happening under Donald Trump's watch.
What is going on? We have innocent people like George Floyd shot by police. We have what happened in Kenosha. And then we have a president that literally stands on the people's lawn, in violation of The Hatch Act, stands on the lawn with a bunch of pageantry and a bunch of fancy clothes with arias playing from the balcony and says, oh, do you want to be more safe?
We are not safe in Donald Trump's America. It's -- not only have we seen an increase in hate crimes, not only have we seen increases in crime, but we have seen 3,600 people die during the Republican Convention, Jonathan. Now over 180,000 people that died from this coronavirus. Seniors like my dad, visiting them behind glass windows as he stands alone with coronavirus in a room. I'll never forget that moment. And he survived that. But so many other people's parents and grandparents did not.
So, no, we are not more safe. And I think Joe Biden has a very strong case to make about the changes he will make to make this country more safer. We have not seen this with this president.
KARL: Paul Soglin, who's the former mayor -- Democratic mayor of Madison, Wisconsin, told "Politico" that undecided voters, quote, are very distraught both with the horrendous carnage created by police officers in murdering African-Americans and for the safety of their communities. That's what you just hit on.
In -- in short, what does Biden -- what does a Biden/Harris administration do to address the violence that we are seeing in American cities?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, the first is to make very clear that we condemn violence. We condemn looting. And that has happened repeatedly. I have said that repeatedly.
But the second is solutions. The solutions are not to divide people, they're to bring them together. In Minnesota, yes, we had a horrific murder of George Floyd. That case is being prosecuted. We are mending our communities. We are doing all we can to rebuild.
But the third piece of this is police reform. And you can be against looting and for police reform. You can be in favor of things like banning chokeholds and having body cams, which we didn't have in Kenosha. You can be in favor of making sure that disciplinary records go with police officers so you know what happened. And you can do all that and still be for good law enforcement.
And there are so many good police officers out there putting their lives on the line every single day. I just don't see this as the wedge Donald Trump sees it as. I see it as something we can do together, but not with him as president. Not with the kind of rhetoric we hear from him.
KARL: The other thing that we heard from Donald Trump and -- and from everybody else really at the -- at the Republican Convention was suggesting that Biden would be a, quote, Trojan horse for the far left of the Democratic Party, for -- for the progressive left, for Bernie Sanders and AOC. Did -- what -- how do you respond to that?
How influential? Obviously, you know, Bernie Sanders has been very supportive of the Biden campaign here. How influential is the progressive left going to be in a Biden/Harris administration?
KLOBUCHAR: You know, I saw Joe Biden's beautiful speech where he literally in my daughter's words stood at the end of the kitchen table and said to the American family, we've got a mess. This is what's wrong, and this is how I’m going to fix it.
I saw our convention as one of unity. Senator Sanders' words were heartfelt, but it was unity not just within our party. John Kasich, former candidate for president, the former governor of Ohio, standing there proudly supporting at the crosswords -- roads, supporting Joe Biden. You saw numerous Republicans come and speak out for Joe Biden.
So I saw this as a convention of unity.
And at one point, you have the Republicans attacking Joe Biden for being too law and order, then not being enough law and order. Come on. They're just going to throw anything.
I mean, you know, listen to the words of Kellyanne Conway. She said this last week. The more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is. Those are her words -- for the very clear choice on who's best on public safety and law and order.
KARL: All right, Senator --
KLOBUCHAR: This is a strategy to wreak havoc, and what I think that Americans, especially in the Midwest where people work hard, and especially -- and they favor of government that's going to work for them, they're going to want to see Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. They don't want four more years of this chaos.
KARL: All right. Senator Klobuchar, thank you very much for joining us on "This Week."
KLOBUCHAR: Thanks, Jonathan.
KARL: Up next, this summer has been marked by nationwide protests unlike we have seen in decades. But how will they impact the presidential race?
Nate Silver is back, plus a look at Friday's march on Washington.
And we'll be right back.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You ought to see last night in Washington. It was a disgrace. It was a disgrace that these people are representing the United States of America. It was a disgrace.
Protesters. You know what I say? Protest this, your ass. I don't talk about my ass. They're not protests. Those aren’t -- those are anarchists, they're agitators. They're rioters, they're looters.
JON KARL, ABC CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Tough words from President Trump about demonstrators outside the White House during his convention speech. As the president tries to portray all protesters as anarchists and the Jacob Blake shooting reignites calls for racial justice.
What are the political ramifications? FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver weighs in.
NATE SILVER, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT FOUNDER AND EDITOR IN CHIEF: This is still a developing story and we don't have a lot of polling on the latest round of protests. But here are a couple of lessons that are instructive from last time around.
One is that when Trump tries to get involved, it may not benefit him. After Trump cleared D.C. protesters for a photo op in Lafayette Square on June 1, Joe Biden's lead in national polls expanded from six points to around nine points a couple of weeks later. Furthermore, Trump's approval on race relations has been consistently poor. 62% of voters disapprove of it in the last Gallup Poll for example.
While there is some evidence that support for the protests have been declining in polling before the police shot Jacob Blake and before the March on Washington, that doesn't necessarily mean that GOP messaging (ph) on them had been effective.
In the key state of Wisconsin, for instance, approval of the Black Lives Matter protests declined from 61% in June to 48% in a new poll this month with disapproval also at 48%. But in the same poll, approval of the Trump's handling of the protests was just 32%, essentially unchanged from 30% in June.
Look, this country (ph) has a long history of racism and police brutality, and the protests are an understandable reaction to that. Of course, any reaction can trigger a counter reaction, but if Trump isn't careful, a backlash against the protests could turn into a backlash against him instead.
KARL: Our thanks to Nate. The Roundtable is coming up, but first, Rachel Scott brings us a closer look at Friday’s March on Washington nearly six decades after civil rights leaders gathered on the National Mall for the same cause. Stay with us.
KARL: The roundtable is standing by. We'll be right back.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Genuine equality is why we are here today, and why people are coming together all across the world.
We are going to be the generation that dismantles systemic racism once and for all, now and forever. We are going to be the generation that causes a halt to police brutality and gun violence once and for all, now and forever. We stand and march for love, and we will fulfill my grandfather's dream.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JON KARL, ABC CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s granddaughter, Yolanda Renee King, Friday at the March on Washington, speaking 57 years to the day after her grandfather delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech in that same spot.
After a summer of racial unrest, sparked by the police killings of unarmed black people, tens of thousands gathered at the Lincoln Memorial demanding justice and change, channeling the same energy as civil rights leaders decades ago.
Our Rachel Scott was there.
RACHEL SCOTT, ABC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): They came by bus. Some on foot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So many things.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No justice, no peace.
SCOTT: A new generation of marchers, lining up before sunrise, sharing the anger and hope of those who marched before them 57 years ago.
It was on those marble steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 where Martin Luther King Jr. dreamt aloud of an America free of injustice. And it's where a young John Lewis told a nation to wake up.
JOHN LEWIS: We do not want our freedom gradually, but we want to be free now.
SCOTT: More than half a century later, that fight persists. In the sea of thousands, Allyson Williams clenches a sign reading "good trouble."
SCOTT (on camera): The spirt of John Lewis is here today.
ALLYSON WILLIAMS, MARCH PARTICIPANT: Yes. Oh, it's definitely here. We're just so excited to be here, to live out his legacy.
SCOTT: I'm watching the tears swell in your eyes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
SCOTT: This is very personal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I have a son. I have to give him that talk. I had to sit him down to tell him what to do in case he gets stopped. He's been stopped multiple times. And every day I pray that God will put a (INAUDIBLE) protection around him.
SCOTT (voice over): For Tory Lowe and a group of 60, the journey to the nation's capital would take 24 days. They walked nearly 800 miles from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Washington, in hopes that the nation will take a step forward too.
TORY LOWE, MARCH PARTICIPANT: It's been 57 years since Martin Luther King spoke, and we're actually in a worser position now than we have ever been in America.
ADA JEFFERSON, MARCH PARTICIPANT: We're all still dreaming. We're waiting for something to happen.
SCOTT (on camera): This march is a call to action. Their goal is to turn this outrage into lasting reform and to keep on marching to the ballot box on Election Day.
CROWD: Justice. Now.
SCOTT (voice over): The March on Washington capping off a summer of racial unrest, bookending two weeks of political conventions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pass those bills. We're not going to stop. He thinks they can have that little convention. He thinks they can have that little firework. No, we're going to keep fighting.
SCOTT: Thousands standing united in the sweltering heat, overcome with emotion, carrying signs with the names of black lives lost.
CROWD: George Floyd.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say her name.
SCOTT: One by one, their families spoke. Five days after Jacob Blake was shot by police in front of his children, his sister speaking out.
LETETRA WIDMAN, JACOB BLAKE'S SISTER: America, your reality is not real. Catering to your delusions is no longer an option.
SCOTT: It's the question John Lewis asked here in 1963 that has waited 57 years for an answer. Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march on Washington?
REV. AL SHARPTON, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: Well, Mr. Trump, look right down the block from the White House. We've come to Washington by the thousands. We'll never let America forget what you've done. Call their names.
KARL: And Rachel joins us now.
Rachel, you were on the streets in the days after the George Floyd killing in May, and you have been tracking this ever since. Have you seen this movement evolve or change in the last few months?
RACHEL SCOTT, ABC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Jon, the calls for racial justice have really gained a new level of urgency following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, but the decision to march here on Washington came after the outrage over the death of George Floyd, and demonstrators that I spoke with here on the national mall say the story of George Floyd, the story of Jacob Blake has really been the story of black Americans in this country for centuries.
So they want this to be a moment of action, to be a moment of change. They were marching to put pressure on Congress to pass police reform, and they say doing these demonstrations without getting any legislation passed is not going to move the country forward, Jon.
KARL: Thank you, Rachel.
The round table is up next. We'll be back in 60 seconds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The current president's cloaked America in darkness for much too long. If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I’ll be an ally of the light, not the darkness.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will rekindle new faith in our values, new pride in our history because we understand that America is not a land cloaked in darkness. America is the torch that enlightens the entire world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: President Trump and Vice President Biden making their acceptance speeches.
Let's break it all down with the round table.
Former Chicago mayor and Obama White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, CNN political analyst and “Dispatch” staff writer, Sarah Isgur, Democratic strategist Karen Finney, also a CNN political analyst, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
Governor Christie, I want to start with you. We have a brand-new poll out this morning. The first -- our first post-convention poll, Ipsos/ABC News, and it shows that the president's approval rating has not -- his favorability rating has not changed at all post-convention. Take a look.
He has a 31 percent favorable rating, 31 percent, 59 percent unfavorable, basically where it was before the convention.
Did he -- why didn't he get a bounce out of this convention?
Rahm, we're having some technical difficulties. Let me ask you that question.
RAHM EMANUEL, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Let me do this for Chris.
KARL: You get to speak (ph) Chris Christie.
EMANUEL: Yeah, I have been waiting for this for a long time.
Here's what I think is interesting is not only did Joe Biden improve his likability, his approval ratings and also drop in his negative, Donald Trump didn't do anything. So all this effort is somehow painting a rosy picture of an empathetic, high quality person who cares about people and has this image actually that was not only wasted. It ran counter to 3 1/2 years of very fixed impressions, and I think this is basically those four days that were not days well spent, and I think the real reason also is it has this basically zigzag.
One moment you're supposed to say, forget the last 3 1/2 years of impressions. This guy is a really a cuddly teddy bear, and then the second this was all this darkness that he was prevailing on that this was going to happen, and all -- and people realized, this is Donald Trump's America. This isn’t some America in the some distant future.
It is here, it is now, and they’ve actually seeing Joe Biden as somebody who can fix it.
KARL: I mean, another thing we saw in our poll was half of the country, 50 percent, said they didn't pay attention to either convention at all.
But, Sarah, with a 31 percent favorable rating, less than a third of the country seeing you favorably, can you -- can you win re-election?
SARAH ISGUR, DISPATCH STAFF WRITER: Well, think back to 2016. He was the least liked candidate in the history of the United States running against the second least liked candidate in the history of United States, and he won.
Now, I do think you need these conventions by what their metrics of success were. There’s no question that the Biden campaign went into that, looking to raise his favorability, to increase enthusiasm among his supporters or, you know, wobbliers.
I don't think that was Trump campaign’s metric of success. I think it was about increasing those economy numbers. He’s 10 points up on Biden on the economy and I think he wanted to move those. And I think he wanted to scare those wobbly Republicans who had been shifting away, maybe weren't going to vote, into saying, look what happens if that guy wins.
KARL: Governor Christie, you're back, right?
CHRIS CHRISTIE, FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR (R) AND ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I am.
CHRISTIE: I'm deeply disturbed that Rahm was speaking for me.
RAHM EMANUEL, FORMER CHICAGO MAYOR (D) AND ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Trust me. I didn't like it any more than you did.
KARL: All right. So -- but, I mean, what does he have to do? Did you -- I mean, let me ask you the same question I asked Sarah. I mean, he's got these really anemic favorability numbers. I think if you look, worse than what he had four years ago, and Biden doesn’t have the negatives that Hillary Clinton had. Doesn’t he need to do something, and if the convention didn't do it, how does he do it?
CHRISTIE: Well, Biden -- first of all, the convention was not a traditional convention. As you saw, the viewership numbers were way down, and the fact is that no one got a bump out of this convention. Not Joe Biden, not Donald Trump.
But what the president needs do is to continue to do what he started to do on Thursday night which is not to draw contrast on personalities, but draw a contrast on issues. And he started to do that, I think, very effectively on Thursday night.
You're right, Joe Biden does not have the personal negatives that Hillary Clinton had, but he also doesn't have near the level of enthusiasm about him that Hillary Clinton had, and nowhere near the level of enthusiasm that the president has. And so the question becomes how does the president draw this into a binary race between his vision of America and Joe Biden's vision of America?
If he does that, I guarantee you, Jon, this is going to be a very, very close race. He started to do it on Thursday night. He’s got to do it even more over the next 65 days.
KARL: Karen, do you think Biden needs to be out there more? We're hearing now -- we just heard from Kate Bedingfield, his deputy campaign manager, that he is going to get out somewhere this week. But he basically left the stage to the Republicans for a full week.
KAREN FINNEY, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST AND CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I don't think I agree with that. I mean, the Republicans did themselves quite a bit of damage throughout this week with all their lies.
Look, I have a different take on what these conventions -- what we really know at the end of two weeks. What we know if we look at what's happening in Kenosha, Wisconsin is that a White 17-year-old with an AR-15 long gun approached police and was brushed off as he had just shot two people. And a Black man in a tank top with a cop holding him by the scruff of the shirt was shot seven times in the back while his three children watched. Those are the two visions of America.
Donald Trump is trying to make this about who wants to stop violence. Black people want to stop violence. We have been living in violence since the beginning of this country. He's trying to make this about anarchy in the streets, but he's the president.
He's trying to blame Joe Biden when he is the president. Why should Joe Biden be responsible for Trump's failures? And all of this is a distraction from the complete incompetence, frankly, of Donald Trump as more than 180,000 Americans are dead from coronavirus, and we're learning very troubling things about the idea of the, you know, the CDC suggesting that we test less and so we will get less results, so we'll know less what's going on.
That's really what Democrats have to do, and what Biden has to do. Don't let Donald Trump take us off focus on what this election is really about, his incompetence, the danger that he himself creates. Him going to Kenosha, Wisconsin is like driving a Mack Truck full of gas into a fire.
That contrast of that -- that imagery -- the contrast of the imagery to anything that Joe Biden does is going to remind Americans that Joe Biden is a good, decent human being with a real plan to quell the violence in our streets, to do real policing reform, to move our country forward, and Donald Trump is a -- just full of chaos and anger and bile.
That's what we're seeing in the outcome of these two conventions moving forward.
EMANUEL: Two points here I would say is, look, if the president’s going to Kenosha, Wisconsin, does anybody for a moment think he's bringing calm or chaos and conflict? And he is -- his version of American politics is his version of "Hunger Games." In (inaudible) -- literally pitting American against America (ph).
I think Biden has actually touched on something that Americans are exhausted of this constant conflict. That actually, if you look at all the data, they see the president as exacerbating. May not be the source of it, but clearly not the solution to it either.
Second I would say the -- I want to bring up something Christie -- Governor Christie brought up. The fact is, I think, the president missed a major opportunity of making that binary choice on economics.
If you look at his interview with Peter Baker, he has a quote in there about the economy’s (ph) second term. Doesn't mention jobs, doesn’t mention health care, doesn't mention a single issue. I’m not even sure it's in English. And I think Biden has laid out not only four weeks straight of issues on rebuilding America, what he's going to do on health care, what he's going to do on all these efforts and I would -- and the reason his numbers not only improved but are strengthening in the battleground states is because advertising is very specific on what he's going to do issue-wise.
And I would -- and I think the campaign is going to continue to do -- and draw on, the Biden campaign, that contrast between an agenda that doesn't have anything to say about a second term and what Joe Biden is going to do very specifically on jobs, on health care, on the environment, on climate change, to bring America and move it forward as one country. And that contrast of unity as well as a very specific plan is going to be Joe Biden's ace.
KARL: Governor Christie, why does the president have such a hard time saying what he's going to do in a second term?
CHRISTIE: Well, this is -- I just disagree with the premise, as of Thursday night, Jon. He laid out very specifically, near the end of that speech, the things that he wanted to do in his second term.
And, listen, I encourage -- I agree with Rahm on this -- I encourage Joe Biden to go out, get out of the basement in Wilmington -- you know, he says, if you put a mask on, everything is going to be fine. I agree with him. Put a mask on and go out and articulate to the American people what your vision is.
Because I think, if he does that, one of two things is going to happen. Either the left wing of his party is going to revolt because Joe Biden is not saying Medicare for all. Joe Biden is not talking about Green New Deal. Joe Biden is not talking about huge increases in taxes. Or the center of his party and independents are going to be very concerned because Joe Biden is going to have shifted even further left than he has shifted already.
There's an opportunity here for the president to make Joe Biden go out and speak. And believe me, if that's what he's going to do over the next 65 days, this race is going to get closer every day.
KARL: Sarah, the president spoke from teleprompter for well over an hour in his convention speech. Some people said he lacked some of the energy. But -- but you made a point about what that signified, the fact that he was -- the speech might not have been tightly focused, but he was disciplined. He kept to the script.
ISGUR: It was the main thing I was looking for on Thursday is what were we going to get, campaign rally Donald Trump, who gets the headlines and gets the viewers, or disciplined Donald Trump that shows his voters that he's got this, that he's not the Twitter maniac that some people fear he is?
EMANUEL: By the time he got to New Hampshire, it all fell apart.
KARL: Yeah, I mean, very different the next day.
ISGUR: Which we've seen over and over again. But, you know, we've had poll after poll that shows that there are not undecided voters this time around. They know who Donald Trump is, which is exactly what Rahm was saying. And this is a referendum on that right now. Ninety-six percent decided that, three times fewer than we had in October of 2016.
So he went into that speech talking to his voters, trying to get turnout up, trying to have those people who were, like, "I just don't know if I can do Donald Trump for four more years, but I'm not voting for Joe Biden no matter what. I may stay home; I may vote third party."
He was talking to them and saying, "Look, I can stay on script; I can do this; I can deliver a speech; I'm not a maniac."
EMANUEL: Here's the one thing I would say. You know, they tried this effort to make, basically, Joe Biden's running mate Bernie Sanders, not Kamala Harris. And it failed. For the first week, they spent a whole bunch of time trying to tear up Kamala Harris. It did not -- not only didn't it work, it backfired. And then they tried to spend their convention saying that Joe Biden was going to be basically a Joe Biden-Sanders ticket. And that also isn't going to work.
Joe Biden has higher approval, lower negatives, compared to Hillary Clinton, where she was four years ago. And that is their major problem because it's inverse to where the president stands from approval and disapproval.
FINNEY: Well, and I would add, I mean, going to something Governor Christie said, the enthusiasm for this ticket, particularly with the addition of Kamala Harris, has been exciting.
I mean, you have -- they raised $48 million in, what, 24 hours. So the energy and enthusiasm is there. I think the point of the two conventions was more about trying to put out your -- make your case, right?
Donald Trump knows his base very well. He gave them what he thinks they needed to see. But the most important thing I think we have to remember is conventions do not decide elections. It is a lifetime between now and November. And we don't know -- there are so many unknowns between now and November.
I think, for Donald Trump, OK, so he can do one speech on a teleprompter. That does not a presidential record that he needs to defend make. He did not defend his record. Instead, they had to completely ignore, again, as I mentioned, what is happening in the country.
And the problem that Trump has this time is that we know him, right? We know four years of his record, but also we know, in our everyday lives, that what he is telling us is not true. So that discordance is part of why people are moving away from him.
And again, the question is can Democrats continue to move people towards Joe Biden? I think they can, in part, because Joe Biden does have a plan. In fact, he has been out there talking about issues. He now has Kamala Harris. She is also talking about a plan. And they're talking about how to address the challenges and the problems that people are facing right now, like what is happening in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where people are -- you have a mother crying out for justice. Where is the president? He could be doing something right now. He's not doing anything. And I think people, you know, sort of -- the mask is off and people see it. And so in the -- but remembering that, again, a long time between now and the election itself.
CHRISTIE: OK. Wow.
KARL: And -- Governor -- Governor Christie, go ahead.
CHRISTIE: Wow, when does this end? Listen, you know, if Joe Biden -- if there's such enthusiasm and popularity for Joe Biden, why isn't he out there stoking that enthusiasm? He's hiding in his basement in Wilmington. He's unwilling to campaign.
FINNEY: Oh, stop.
CHRISTIE: If there's such great things about his plan, where do we -- where do we hear this from? And, you know, the president gets criticized for going to Kenosha, and then Karen just says, where is the president on Kenosha? If Joe Biden wants to make this -- this race about the Covid crisis, then what he should do is call these Democratic governors in Wisconsin, in Oregon, the local Democratic mayors, and tell them to do their job and have law enforcement do their job and stop the rioting in the streets.
EMANUEL: OK, Joe --
CHRISTIE: If that were the case, we wouldn't even be talking about it, but --
FINNEY: We haven't even --
KARL: Rahm -- Rahm -- Rahm, you have the last word.
EMANUEL: Here's -- here's what I would -- here's what I would say very -- here's what I would say --
CHRISTIE: Same with the governor of Minnesota isn't doing his job either.
EMANUEL: Here's what I would say very clearly, during the Republican -- one, Joe Biden stayed specific to the issues. Number two, and very clearly, during the Republican Convention, the equivalent of what happened in 9/11, that's how many Americans we lost. And remind people in those four days, we lost the equivalent of Americans on 9/11 --
KARL: All right, thank you.
EMANUEL: And bring it back to the core issue of who has a plan moving forward.
KARL: Thank you. Thank you to our round table.
Before we go, we saw a lot of speeches over the last two weeks. Dozens of them delivered on the biggest stages in politics. But, to me, the most compelling speech wasn't at a convention and it wasn't scripted. It was from Jacob Blake's mother, Julia Jackson.
We leave you with her words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIA JACKSON, JACOB BLAKE'S MOTHER: Clearly you can see by now that I have beautiful brown skin, but take a look at your hand. And whatever shade it is, it is beautiful as well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
JACKSON: How dare we hate what we are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
JACKSON: We are human. God did not make one type of tree or flower or fish or horse or grass or rock. How dare you ask him to make one type of human that looks just like you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow.
JACKSON: I'm not talking to just Caucasian people. I am talking to everyone, white, black, Japanese, Chinese, red, brown. No one is superior to the other. The only supreme being is God himself.
Please, let's begin to pray for healing for our nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: Julia Jackson in Kenosha.
Thank you for joining us today. Thank you for sharing part of your Sunday with us and have a good day.