GOP Sen. Lankford on President Trump’s church photo-op

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., discusses President Trump’s visit to St. John’s Church, saying it “distracted” from the “message of unity” the president had just given in the Rose Garden.
10:17 | 06/03/20

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Transcript for GOP Sen. Lankford on President Trump’s church photo-op
Joining us now is Oklahoma Republican senator James Langford thank you so much for your time senator. That's a cute. So let's go back 24 hours a peaceful group of demonstrators were in Lafayette park next to the White House as a result of president comes free photo op in front of saint John's church authorities used in here attend. Similar to tear gas to clear up the score what's your response to that. Yeah surprising on it obviously defeat people are gathering peacefully Mueller protests the president wish he would have gone to visit that same church early in the morning after the siren and the night before it. Sixty Secret Service members and an injured MB. Protest and it happened the night before but. People throwing things at him so it's entirely reasonable for the presents me most about. I just wish you'd done in the morning. Residents time when there would have been people there they're trying to build a clear crowds people who need the ability to be able to protest publicly on its way seized a large crowd there tonight. The gentle Americans you can't do something I'd be tell Americans she can't be here you can't protest gill had ten times may show the next time. Because we know constitutionally rollout Paducah. Give any understanding why the president went there and typically people would go. To a church for a service or to pray and not to nearly take a picture. Right no I. I've not talked to the president about that I would assume it's because I just a couple of days before. That church had been Vernon church and been vandalized. That's a that's a historic church for Washington DC and I think it's a statement it hey we're we're not allow the people that are going to destroyed and it would take this away. The difficulty I have is the president just given a really good speech. About unity. About gathering together about honoring George Floyd. About trying to be able to speak out for law and in order and every community and protesters not altering nest. This is a slight unit you know there gonna face consequences of the law as they should. And I think him walking across the street distracted from the good messages but he just different the Rose Garden. And the president has threatened to deploy active military throughout the country to help calm down the protesters a few hours though Mike Mullen the former chairman of the joint chiefs under President Obama George W. Bush. Said in an op Ed in the Atlantic our fellow citizens are not the enemy and must never become so. Do you think the the president should be threatening to deploy active military who have not been trained to defuse protests. Well that I would leave that decision Knutson of the president on what he sat on that Xavier 70000. National car accident stated in 23 different states. The National Guard and a tremendous resource Hydro local law enforcement and assistance of the local law enforcement. Military is not a law enforcement arm National Guard supports what happens all over states. And every community over the National Guard has come out they've been helped a local law enforcement so I think that that's where I would. Prioritize. For the men and women earn National Guard in the work that they're doing to bail out our auto sports. I do think when he conceded they intentionally. Pull sapping her for a saint John's last night. But four police officers were shot in Saint Louis two police officers ever run over and a vehicle in New York. We had sixty Souter service members every injured unite schools or so and trying to be able to provide water rationing gasoline all of this dialogue. And to do what we're trying to do today did say is blacked out Tuesday to maintain real dialogue with everyone. And to be able to say what can we do to listen to each other is much better than threatens blame anybody for anything on either side. And demonstrators are now considering a sit in at the US capitol building tomorrow would you consider joining them. And also what bipartisan steps you thing that congress needs to take at this point to help address some of the protesters concerns. Well I don't know I would consider sit sitting in knowledge officers participating in a blacked out Tuesday today. But I would area obviously all of us got work to be able do river tremendous amount that's what the senate is in session all of this week because. No government for the nation both in this issued. Encoded nineteenth and a lot of foreign policy issues and nominations and things we've got to. I announcers there's a lot we still ought to be able to do I'm but I would say there is a lot of bipartisan conversation right now in the first thing that we can do is listen. It's slow down the field to make sure find out what has been missed in this that we've got to be able to engage and and to be able to reinforce the voices in my own community Oklahoma. And for around the country to make sure there were addressing the issues there is no one single item. That solves all of this are there issues all across our country in multiple ways what we've made a lot of progress in race relations in the last 100 years. Are we still have a ways to go for those individuals that say. No we're done with race relations in America everything's finished I would repeats of them over and over again we are not done. And there's a lot the Sunnis be done and that's one of the things that we can bring to this. It is start page repeating those voices from annulment makes more amplifying. What they need. And you previously directed a youth ministry do you. Think it's if you had the opportunity to have the president's ear do you think that his reaction is the right response and as a man of faith. What do you think. If you if it again you had that moment to talk to the president of craps give him some suggested as as far as healing and moving forward in this country. What that might be. What our court correctly go back so Mike a six state to surpass what does a lord require us that is should act justly which we desperately need just right now loves. Mercy. And a walk humbly. Those three things are desperately needed right now we need justice we need mercy for people and that situations that therein. And we need people to walk humbly assumed that that something that can increase our conversation it's biblical principle. I'm but it's something that we agency and do it I want to gratitude and the civil rights from fifty years ago Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. asset often. Darkness doesn't drive out darkness only light and do that hate doesn't drive hate. Only love him to death. So does most basic principle that his boat they scriptural principle. And a great principle or society is if we wanna be able drive out hate her culture you don't just add more exuberance. That just increases the volume if you want to decrease the volume and increase the conversation. You've got to pour love on the top of hate that actually does that the bug in the biblical principle is an original answer turns away wrath. We need more general answers and disparage general answers this point and more conversation with families and individuals. And just want to talk for a second about the annual legislative report card from last congress the NAACP gave you an F. Saying that you voted for the organizations civil rights priorities 9% of the time. You're one of the 114 GOP members who voted against more than 90% of the end of Lee ACP's. Priorities as well. Are aware it is sadly though this is not a new problem. Why haven't you and your colleagues engage more with the NAACP in the past. So I appreciate you trying to bring some minutes try to show that I'm not for racial reconciliation and a moment when we're trying to talk about racial reconciliation. I don't know what was on in delay CB's scorecard. It could have been a lot of issues that are not race related. And I hope you're not implying. That I haven't worked on a race relations issues when I most certainly have my entire ministry. Before it came in a congress and certainly Osama bin in congress so I hope there's not some secret implication that you try to be able spin on Republicans on that the fact it is. I don't know what's on there's scorecard. Everyone puts a different scorecard on different issues might focus has been on what can we do to be able to establish. Better relationships and people I've shown that in my actions in in my words and how voted over and over again so. All the authority and you see that scorecard suitors race related audit. But I would say euros are outspoken advocate for the second chance bill that was a major priority not only of the NAACP. But it might as well that that actually became large part of it and work through that was Cory Booker where we both had a section we're trying to be able to get done so. That there's a lot that we can do and what I recommend to you and others says let's not find ways to divide each other they're try to be able plant different things to be able to divide. Let's do what we should do for all of America let's find ways to unite and to say what are we doing going forward in how do we solve this. Looking at or past and looking forward and listening. Senator there is nothing about this that is an attempt to be divisive views or fax this is what the NAACP said this is the rating that they gave you. I simply giving you a chance to react to them giving you an act. But I'll move on. Last question to you if you don't mind. He repeatedly said that Americans need to engage with people who are different even invite them over for dinner so should the president meet with the protesters were outside of the White House right now. And what would you advise him to sit at the time. That would absolutely incursion into this this is summing up done for years now Issa sent to people sit very simple statement as your Stanley. Ever invited a Stanley of another race to your home for dinner. Because I find it often times people of all races will say to me I have friends of another race but there's never been someone from another race in my home for a meal. It's meter breaks down the bears as one of the most basic things that we saw it. Is that we had were friendly with people of another race. But not been filling friendships. And so for me one of the challenges that I put in different people of all races and I have for years. This to be able to say what you're doing to develops friendships. Would people and that begins most often by inviting someone to your home. For a meal to be able to sit down together so I'd certainly recommends. That for the president as well to be able to have any group of leaders to be able to sit down every long conversation. Beginning national conversation about race. Is not about elected political officials with cameras all around them around a big a conference table that's not a national conversation on race. A national conversation on race happens at dinner tables all across America. Because race is not a legislative issue. Race and racism is part issue and it's a family issue. And it gets passed on through a family and it only gets solved when Stanley sit down and talk about it as a family. And when you get to know families that or just different ethnicity. And signatures to be able to develop real friendships and to be able to break down those Beers so that's a long term solution that starts and won Stanley at a time. To be able to have a national conversation on race. National conversation and thank you for joining this conversation here tonight senator Lankford we appreciate it.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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