tv Smerconish CNN April 16, 2022 6:00am-7:00am PDT
i think his favorite color is purple. i'm michael smerconish in philadelphia. happy passover. happy easter, everyone. i just bought my second tesla. i was drawn into a sleek design, concern for the environment and a respect for the company's founder. until recently, i haven't thought of elon musk in political terms, instead, i've admired him for his innovation and critical thinking but like everything else around us he
just became the subject of a partisan divide. in a ted talk he suggested his bid for twitter is all about free space. >> as someone -- as someone you don't like allowed to say something you don't like, if that is the case then we have free speech. and it's damn anonnoying says something you don't like. that is something of a healthy, functioning free speech situation. >> his interest in acquiring twitter now being heralded on the right and greeted with trepidation on the left. on fox news, he was portrayed as a burr in the saddle of silicon valley progressives. >> to the far left, musk's desire to see the platform embrace freedom of speech and expression, what that's a growing threat to the censorship agenda? their efforts to censor conservatives? >> let's have someone in charge who actually favors free speech. i think it's great.
censorship at the very heart of neoliberalism. and elon musk is challenging that directly. >> but there was this tweet from max boot from "the washington post" who said, quote, i am frightened by the impact of society if elon musk acquires twitter. he seems to believe on social media anything goes. for democracy to survive, we need more content moderation, not less. and i bet these competing narratives of musk become self-fulfilling. when partisans hear their polarized outlets are welcoming musk or resistant to it they're going to fall in line. i think it's a mistake to cast musk in red or blue colors. what do we know about his politics? in 2011, this is how he described his political ideology to the atlantic. >> i'm moderate, half moderate, half -- i'm sort of in the
middle. socially liberal and socially conservative, like a lot of the country is. >> then in july of 2018, he tweeted that he's, quote, not a conservative, registered independent, politically moderate. doesn't mean i'm moderate about all issues. humanitarian issues are extremely important to me. shortly before the 2016 election, musk told cnbc this about then candidate donald trump. >> i feel a bit stronger that probably he's not the right guy. he just doesn't seem -- he doesn't seem to have the sort of character that reflects well in the united states. >> and in june of 2017, he quit two of president trump's businessed a advisory councils after trump pulled the u.s. out of the paris climate agreement. a year later he declared in a tweet, i'm actually a socialist, just not the kind that shifts resources from the most productive to least productive,
pretending to to do good while actually causing harm. true socialism seeks greatest good for all. he's also not a guy donating only to democrats or republicans. he's given a total of $11 million to politics, parties and pacs on both sides of the aisle. $1,000 to debbie wasserman sku schultz. 2500 to barack obama. 5300 to rahm emanuel. 2300 to hillary clinton and 5,000 to gavin newsom in 2018. to george w. bush, 2500 to marco rubio in 2011. 5200 to lintdcy graham. 2600 to kevin mccarthy in 2014 and 2800 to joni ernst in 2020.
the total donations to democrats and republicans are almost exactly even. here's what he said last march to kara swisher who join me in just a moment? >> who do you think will bring the country together? >> well, i think if there's a moderate, you know, sort of centrist president, then i think that would help. i can most people, mostly wants a president who is just very confident, you know, executive. you not too far left. not touo far right. and may well be like -- most people would prefer that. >> look, the guy is complex. in a good way. sorry to tell those of you on the fringes either left or right, but elon musk is not your guy. he's somewhere in the middle, as is the rest of the country.
and how can anyone object to the way he handled a potential saudi impediment to his bid to take over twitter. saudi prince al saud is one of musk's shareholders. when musk announced his bid for the company the prince proposed this, i don't believe the $54 a share pays prospect to twitter, being one of the largest and long-term shareholders of twitter, kingdom and i reject this offer. just how much does the kingdom own directly or indirectly and what are the kingdom's views of journalistic freedom of speech? well, we know the kingdom's disregard for free speech, the saudi crown mince mohammed bin
salman personally approved of the murder of jamal khashoggi. my color choices, pearl white, midnight silver, deep blue, solid black and red. i think it's time for tesla to add the founder's color which is clearly purple. i want to know what you think. go to my website at smerconish.com. vote on my survey question, do you want elon musk to take over twitter. joining meal kara swisher, she's written this column in the "times," elon musk knows exactly what he's doing. kara, what exactly is he doing? >> he's buying twitter. that's what he wants to do and that's what will he is doing. i know some people think is it's a plunk and dunk scheme. he can do that with cryptocurrency on any tuesday. but he's a big fan of twitter.
he thinks it's going the wrong direction. he's correct it's been mismanaged for a long time. that it's stock has been exactly where it was during the ipo and that he has some better ideas. i think the free speech stuff gets pulled by the right and left in a way that's not what this is about. in a way, he does believe that. he likes to say outrageous things and just like to say them. sometimes, he's tweaking people. sometimes, he's unnecessarily cool. sometimes, he's just having fun. i know it sounds crazy, blowing off steam. i don't like a lot of it. but i like some of it. i think he's buying twitter. that's what he's doing. >> you have noted that he himself has used twitter previously as a performance site. >> yeah. >> i was thinking of those words when i saw the exact dollar value of his bid. you know what i'm talking about. >> yeah, i think we can speak of it, he always makes a "we" reference. he said it was for the $420 a
share. it's called we the clock, i guess. i don't know. it's a weak joke, he likes to do that. he likes to do that. he loves memes, he likes all kinds of memes. he tends to be very playful. and then again he says things on twitter that are just obnoxious, almost like an 11-year-old boy who hasn't been raised particularly well but that's his manner. other times he puts up pictures of the rockets he's building or the car or amazing advanced technology. as you said, he's a complex figure. >> kara, i would argue that donald trump, to be successful coming back in 2024, needs access to social media, whether that's twitter or something else. >> yeah. >> but probably twitter. does elon musk, if he's successful, necessarily need trump and trump's supporters for twitter to be viable in the way he'd like?
>> i think he'd put them back on. he objected when jack dorsey who he's friends with -- >> you do? >> yeah, he said that right after it happened. he said he doesn't think it's a good idea. a lot of people thought it was a good idea, but twitter did. it's a public company that can do what it wants. it's very hard, if he's, one, running for president and two, were president. it would be very hard. he believes in temporary suspensions or time-outs. he calls them time-outs. you know, i don't agree with him on this but i think donald trump violated the rules of twitter many times. but the rules of twitter can be changed by anyone at anytime. because, again, it's a private company. >> in terms of where this ends, will cohen righting for puck. i'll put it on the screen. is there a better bidder out there for twitter than elon
musk's offer. the stock market is saying no. if the market in its collective wisdom thought there was a legitimately higher offer out there to compete with musk, then the twitter stock would be trading $54.20 a share. in expectation of that higher officer. bottom line, he says the price is fair and there's no higher bidder. your reaction. >> yeah, i think it's a low ball, but not that low ball because there's not a lot of bidders right now. a lot of people would like to own this. facebook would like to own this, but can't because it's under scrutiny. google would be probably be interested in. salesforce tried to buy it at one point. i'm sure there's a lot of private equity that could do a lot with twitter. it's actually a very small site. so -- compared to facebook, especially. so, that's the issue. it's not very economic what elon
is doing here, unless he can make it a better executed management company. now, he has that track record so perhaps he can. although it's in hardware, it's in rockets and cars. but who knows. he's proven himself to be a very good executive, for sure. so, i don't know there are bidders who may want it, but maybe aren't able to buy it because of all of the hooks around it. including elon musk owning 10% of it. >> as you wrote most recently for the "times," never boring. never boring to follow this guy. >> no. >> thank you so much for being here. >> thank you, mike. >> what are your thoughts? tweet me at smerconish. go to my facebook page, i will read social media reactions from youtube. content moderation is another phrase for censorship. timothy hollowell says, content moderation is another phrase for censorship. i think that kara swisher who
knows the subject matter far better than i and close to this and has interviewed musk several times when she says that musk will probably bring him back. i think people see this as a re referendum on trump, when at the outset, he said he's not a guy he's in lockstep with. answer my survey question, do you want elon musk to take over to witter? register for the newsletter. a number of americans are now feeling the urge to get on a plane and help ukraine fight russia. should they? i'll talk to an iraq veteran who did so in trainingwise, just back with unique insights. plus, at 88, california democrat, dianne feinstein, the oldest sitting senator this week, the hometown newspaper, ran a story, anon muns concerns
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are you or anyone you know an american veteran with an impulse to hop on a plane to ukraine and join the fight against russia? listen to the advice of my next guest. he's been there. matt gallagher is a veteran of the iraq war. just got back from lviv. and since returning, he and his fellow trainers have been deluged by other trainers asking if they should go. as he wrote in "the new york times," he wrote, should these men and women go to ukraine? it depends. matt gallagher is here, he's a capital and has published fiction works including the book "kaboom." matt, why did you take time on your own dime and go over there and train ukrainian civilians? >> thank you, with my two
colleagues, at the end of november, we flew over to ukraine. we knew from the lviv city castle there was a need to come over and train the civilian defense force. we had no clue at that point how the war was going to go. the russian invasion towards central ukraine and kyiv was ongoing. we decided to go. we figured there was a need. we have these skills, it was on us to show up and do this thing. >> so, you get home. word's out that you have been there. veterans want to know should they go and fight? chance the answer? >> so much of life it depends. all three of us have heard from all kinds of military veterans wanting to get involved maybe joining the foreign legion. being trainers like we were. working in humanitarian relief capacity. and it really comes down to one
thing. do you know you can help the ukrainian people on the ground? do you have a particular skill set. like a former special forces medic who has a month between jobs and wanted to go over and treat wounded refugees and train other civilians on a combat mission. absolutely, there's a need for someone like that. i'm certainly not going to stand in his or her way. somebody who maybe is wishful for military life or how they remember military life being, giving them a sense of purpose, having some vague notion of wanting to participate in history, figuring they'll show up and ukrainians will help find them a place. no, sorry. i get all of that. that's romantic and foggy. and the last thing on a practical level what the ukrainian people and ukrainian government needs more of. because there's plenty of those types already milling about. >> matt, what's the attitude of the u.s. government about people who go over and join the fight against russia?
because it occurs to me if someone were to go over there and be captured i forces that's quite a prize. that would be a pawn what's going on a global level. >> that's correct. that would be a huge coup. for any american, wouldn't matter what they were working in to become that propaganda tool. the united states government, the state department in particular, has been very direct and clear with its language that all americans should get away from ukraine, stay out of ukraine. find sorry ways tosother ways . that said, they haven't really imposed any legal barriers. they haven't enforce any legal mechanisms for them. just speaking from my own first hand experience when we through back from ukraine in the third week of march, saw the ukraine stamps on my passport, asked if i was carrying any weapons. i was not.
that was it. and i was back on my way home. it's kind of a hands-off approach. is what i say that. >> how hard would it be for an american veteran to go over there to actually find the fight? >> more difficult now than it would have been a month ago, right? buy a plane ticket to krakow. easy enough, get a bus or taxi to ukraine. not too difficult for anybody who has done traveling. getting on a train to kyiv, again, not so difficult for anybody with travel experience. from there, pushing east to the donbas area where the war has moved, probably pretty difficult, right. the ukrainian foreign legion has temporarily shut down recruitment. the georgia national legion another paramilitary outfit fighting ukraine and using foreign volunteers, they've stepped up their screening to make sure no posers can get in their ranks. a month ago, when the fighting
was happening around the suburbs of kyiv, probably much easier. now, the ukrainian government is starting to understand all of the pressures and public information and war fare issues involved with foreign fighters. there are more barriers. you have to be who you say you are to actually get to the fight. >> matt, it's a fascinating subject. i'm conjuring up a vision in my head what the foreign legion looks like. i'm picturing like the dirty dozen from the old movie. thank you for being here. i appreciate your contribution. >> thanks for having me, michael. >> more social media react, facebook, twitter, youtube, from twitter, no to volunteers. russia will use that as an excuse to escalate. they will say those individuals are not volunteer from nato. stop pushing nuclear war. it's interesting there was a front page story i was reading, talking about propaganda, in the "times" today how there's a
psychiatrist hospital outside of kyiv, i think it said 40, 50 miles away. russian soldiers show up with weapons, bring the patients out in the courtyard and force them to thank vladimir putin on camera. i think the observation of how this can be used for propaganda purposes is valid. up ahead, does former president trump's endorsement in a republican primary influence those voters? it will be put to the test in pennsylvania where he anointed dr. mehmet oz. and now in ohio where j.d. vance just got the trump seal of approval. plus, what to make of this ""san francisco chronicle"" head line, colleagues worry dianne feinstein now mentally unfit to serve citing recent interactions. and please make sure to go to smerconish.com and answer the survey q question, do you want elon musk to t take over twitte?
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so, how best to handle the sensitive issue of senator dianne feinstein? this week, the "san francisco chronicle" ran a story suggesting the 88-year-old democrat may be, quote, mentally unfit to serve. the unnamed source it cites, three unnamed democrats, a california member of congress and three staffers. the california lawmaker recounted the experience, quote, rather than delve into policy, finestein repeated the same small talk questions by asking what mattered to voters in the district with no apparent
recognition that the two had already had a similar conversation. those interviewed say, it also appears feinstein is no longer fulfill her duties. in response to concerns about our acuity, feinstein had this to say, i remain committed to do what i said i would when i was re-elected in 2018. fight for californiaens. the real question is whether i'm still an effective representative for 40 million californians, and the record shows that i am. the senator added she doesn't plan to step down from the end of her term which runs through 2024. i meet regularly with leaders. i'm not isolated. i see people. my attendance is good. i put in the hours. we represent a huge state so i'm rather puzzled by all of this.
the assessment of politics called on her calling her to resign if she's unfit for service. we invited senator feinstein on today's program. we'd welcome her at anytime. with me is a washington correspondent for the chronicle who co-wrote the original story. i'm going to put on the screen a photograph from the piece which says this, four u.s. senators, including three democrats, as well as three former feinstein staffers and the california member of congress told the chronicle in recent interviews that her memory is rapidly deteriorating. they said it appears she can no longer full full her job duties without her staff doing much of the work required to represent the nearly 40 million people of california. have any of those sources spoken to senator feinstein and shared the concerns that they? >> well, i don't want to get into exactly who has had what
conversations and how they relate to my sources. but i will tell you that my reporting indicated that there are conversations happening among they are colleagues and close to her, about what to be done about this. and that in the past if there have been efforts to sort of broach the subject with her or intermediaries, it's been brushed away. and you know, every single one of the conversations i had for this piece was painful. every person i spoke to had a deep respect and reverence for her. her trail blazing career which no one can deny the woman has had an incredible career. some of the concern actually comes from that place. they don't want to see her career be remembered in this way. they want to see her be abled to have a dignified exit and be remembered for all that trail blazing. part of what made her such a trail blazer, especially as a woman politician, breaking those ceilings along the way was that she had to ignore naysayers who
told her she can't live up to expectations or anything like that. some of that tendency. some of that stubbornness that made her a tremendous politician is still there. and makes it all the more difficult for conversations to happen with her about her own political future. >> right. i hear all that. and i think it's a painful subject to discuss as well. i'm drawn to it, because, we all go through this in life. and i think it's incumbent on the people closest to her to have this conversation. let me ask this, is it possible this is borne of sexism? is it possible this is borne by ambition of people around? is it possible this is borne of ideology, that people are gunning for her because she's too progressive, or not progressive enough? any of those factors in play here? >> let me answer in part. i will say that the chronicle does not take anonymous sources
lightly. and whether or not we want to grant anonymity. the factors we weigh how credible we believe them to be. how important we believe the information to be and the reason for anonymity. and in that process, we're absolutely confident in the credibility and motivation of our sources. if there's any suggestion that perhaps any of my sources were motivated by political ambition, we had those conversations, and we're very confident in what we publish and stand behind it. in terms of your question about sexism and ambition, i absolutely understand the criticism and noted it in my piece that there have been plenty of male politicians in history who have been in the senate past their time and no one, you know, called them out to a public degree. and whether any of that can play into this conversation that's happening i think is absolutely fair game for others to discuss if they would like to. it's part of the conversation. at the same time, at the end of the day, i have an obligation to california's, you know, nearly
40 million people, to make sure that that they are fully informed about their elected officials and those elected officials are held accountable. and we felt the information related to us and the very specific details that we were being told were absolutely too important to ignore and needed to be reported. >> tal, one other question, so, you write the piece. you co-authored this piece. and then she presents herself in some fashion to the editorial board. and the editorial board of your newspaper write about this. kathryn, this is the final draft -- in the editorial they say, if feinstein's mental fitness has indeed deteriorated to the point where it's an open secret where she's incapable of doing her job. democrats need to forego the jokes and say so openly. you know who your sources are, you've had the conversations, do you think they will now speak openly? >> i think it's going to be ultimately up to them. you know, i have followed -- you
know, the aftereffects of my piece. and i know it has been a controversy starter. and we'll see where the conversation goes. you know, i've seen so many emails and tweets. and just outreach from readers who have felt, you know, relates to this piece in terms of experiences in their own life, in difficult conversations they've had to have with family members or perhaps those close to them. i think it struck a nerve for a lot of people. and we'll see whether, you know, those who believe this strongly, as they told me they do, that this is not a position she should continue to be in, whether they try to do something about it. you know, the conversation will have to go on from here. >> tal kopan, thank you so much. i appreciate your time. >> thank you for having me. >> checking in on social media reaction. what do we have from the world of twitter? how about a mandatory retirement age, say, 70 years old, most
enterprises use one. yeah. i mean, paul, age is such a relative thing. you know, 70 on one person is not 70 on another. i can tell you, i would say if you're going to have a mandatory age, i don't think it should be 70. i think it would be north of 70. it's painful to talk about, but it is. it's important. it's important. i want to remind to you answer the survey question at smerconish.com. do you want elon musk to take over twitter? when you're there, register for the daily newsletter. balance delivered daily. still to come when former trump endorsed dr. mehmet oz in pennsylvania, maga world went nuts. and then yesterday, trump endorsed trump antagonist j.d. vance. could this choice have r real impact on these swing state elections? without a pill
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as democrats and republicans battle for control of the u.s. senate this fall, how impactful is a primary endorsement among republic casses from former president donald trump? on may 3rd, in the swing state of ohio, republicans will choose among seven candidates to replace retiring gop senator rob portman. on friday, president trump announced his reference, j.d. vance, the author of the book "hillbilly trilogy." despite it's reported that three
county shares banned together to sign a letter, urging trump not to endorse vance, noting that he is referred to your supporters as racists. and trump endrorred mehmet oz. writing oz has liveed through it with the screen and has always been popular respects and smart. he seven said that i was in extraordinary health, although i should lose a couple of pounds. and both candidates travelled to mar-a-lago to kiss the ring. mccormack had thought to have the inside track because he's married to former deputy security adviser dina powell.
and his campaign includes several veterans including hope hicks. joining me now is hope zito. and the reporter for the wgs examiner where she wrote this piece, what the hell was he thinking. actually, celina, here's what you wrote. it was a decision that left many pennsylvania perplexed. why did he choose someone who had not resonated with conservatives in such a key state on the senate map? who wisped in his here that this was a good idea? he's like a moth on a flame. when you tell him not to do something, the odds are higher that's exactly what he'll do. >> you're exactly right. part of his appeal and part of why people didn't like him in 2016 and 2020.
there's a lot to unpack with this endorsement, and why pennsylvania conservatives across the state, not all of them were, but a lot of them were really upset about this choice. they actually thought that trump was going to sit this one out. and his decision to endorse oz who hasn't really stuck with the primary voters, if people don't know this, in pennsylvania, it's a closed primary. so republicans have to register republicans, vote for republican candidates. and registered democrats vote for democrats. >> in ohio yesterday, he endorsed j.d. vance. here's something j.d. vance said in the past about donald trump. >> i'm a never trump guy. i never liked him. but i've noticed this willingness from people who think a lot like i do. that, look, we told you so. to all of these white working class voters.
we told you so. we told you that trump was going to be a terrible candidate. we told you you were an idiot if you voted for him. the problem is if you take that attitude, you give what took rise in the first place. >> celina, it's astounding, i guess if my glass were half full to the former president, he really is a guy you are never dead in his orbit. >> look. i think there's a nuance that people are missing. trump received more votes in 2020 than he did in 2017. and that's because people change their minds. people change their minds all the time. they can literally loathe someone. and end up voting for them four years later. that's why traditionally, presidents get more votes in
their second -- in their re-elect. barack obama was one of the few candidates who didn't do that. so, i think that, you know -- and the other nuance is, there are voters -- primary voters in pennsylvania that are really mad that he did this. however, that does not mean they do not like him anymore. and it goes to that point where, you know, people always called trump voters, members of a cult. i think that prove that is not the case. they don't go in lockstep with everything he does. >> if dr. oz loses -- here's what i hear you saying, if dr. oz loses the race and all of a sudden the world of punditry says, oh, what a major setback for donald trump, i here salena zito saying, not really, his supporters would still be for him, even if they weren't on
this pick? >> there is definitely tha, i to keep in mind, if oz loses, if his -- perdue loses in georgia. if liz cheney wins in wyoming, all of a sudden, things start to change. because that's not telling you that people don't like trump anymore. but that is telling you that, as i've always said, trump supporters, it's a populist conservative coualition was not caused by him. he was the result of it. in politics, it's like tectonic places. there's always movement. we tend to miss that because it's a tiny shift. >> salena zito, the trump whisperer. happy easter. >> happy easter. thank you. >> let's check in on your tweets and facebook comments. what do we got?
bad news moves. trump's hold on the party could weaken if his guys lose and he's clearly endorsing name-recognition candidates. dr. langer, i don't get it the party apparatus, saying please don't go for j.d. vance. you heard the clip that i played. what does trump do -- you tell him not to do it. the gop apparatus in ohio should have said, mr. president, would you please endorse j.d. vance? he would have probably endorsed tim ryan. still to come, more of your best tweets and facebook comments. go to smerconish.com. please go vote right now. do you want elon musk to take over twitter?? you get free nights fast! book now at bestwestern.com.m. do your eyes bother you? my eyes feel like a combo of
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by the way, i don't get the results in advance. i do not. when you vote, you see the result. i have yet to vote on this. do you want elon musk to takeover twitter? that's the question at smerconish.com. yes or no? here are the results. no. 79%, you must be joking. 21,000 voted. i will still vote. i'm going to leave that survey question up and try to turn the tide. i will be among those who says yes. yes, i do. the guy is, in my view, a first amendment, free speech absolutist. now being -- i tried to convince you of this in my opening commentary. i guess i failed. now manipulated by the far left,
far right, he's one of ours, he's one of ours. is he a conservative? is he a liberal? he's like the majority of the country, somewhere in the between. he's an independent critical thinker. i don't think he's motivated by profit on this. i think he can make more dough focussing on cars and rockets. social media, what do we have? what do we got? i'm floored by that. >> all the rad right support, a renewable energy forward thinking mogul taking over the biggest social media platform, love it. it's like the people who are fearful of musk and his first amendment or free speech absolutism overlooking what he's already contributed to society with electric vehicles. does anybody think that the f-150s would be rolling off the line, the electric versions, if
musk hadn't cleared that path? i don't. wish i had more time, but i don't. happy passover, happy easter. keep voting at smerconish.com. let's try to turn the titide on the elelon musk question. see you next week. i booked our hotel on kayak. it's flexible if we need to cancel. cancel. i haven't left the house in years. nothing will stop me from vacation. no canceling. (laughs) flexible cancellation. kayak.earch one and done. she's my sister and we depend on each other a lot.
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