Corona at CPAC
The conservative political action conference is a grand gathering that brings together members of Congress. Top trump administration officials and political activists for speeches and seminars aimed at decrying and ridiculing Democrats and liberals of every stripe but this year one of those attendees with a gold level. Vip ticket stoked fear and paranoia that rapidly spread through the political right the attendee whose identity has not been publicly disclosed was infected with the corona virus. He hobnobbed with high profile speakers and may have shaken hands with the conference leader match lap. Who later shook hands at the event with President Trump himself as we speak at least five members of Congress including incoming White House Chief of staff Mark Meadows have quarantine themselves while the national freak out over. The virus accelerates will other CPAC attendees get the lethal virus? Is the president himself at risk? We'll talk to match lap about how he's been handling the corona virus fears and the criticism from his fellow conservatives. That CPAC hasn't done enough to keep them informed about the risk. They are facing and we'll talk to Time Magazine's Charlotte. Alter about her new book. The ones we've been waiting for how a new generation of leaders will transform America on this episode of skulduggery because people have gotta know whether or not their president's across I told the American people. I did not trade arms for hostile my heart to my best intentions. Still tell me that's true. But the facts and the evidence it is not. I did not have sexual relations with that one. There will be no allies. We will honor the American depot with the Truth and nothing else. Michael ISIKOFF chief. Investigative correspondent for Yahoo News. And I'm Clyde editor in chief of Yahoo News so as we Speak we're taping this podcast in New York. I took the train up yesterday. the ACELA from Washington DC to New York and. There were two people on the car that I was sitting at. It was pretty remarkable. That people are staying away from public gatherings and public transportation. You know. I don't think I've ever covered a story quite like this In the sense that it touches every American and I talk about nine eleven. I was thinking impact of that story. but that was not sort of direct in the same way. I mean it did not have the in the sense that it did not have an impact on everyone's behavior shoreline wives. I mean it changed. Air Airplane travel forever the security. We have through every time we'd take a flight I mean that's certainly an example of how nine eleven disrupted and changed our lives and right now this virus is disrupting and changing our lives and the other thing is is the and this was true of nine eleven as well as the level of uncertainty and uncertainty is what strikes fear in people. Because they don't know what's coming next we look and see you know started in China but then now it's moved to Europe which is the new China that could've ground zero in in this third of Italy is essentially under quarantine while the entire country is in lockdown. Italians not well not tree right. Oh no travel right in in Italy and it's a One of those moments where our responsibility as journalists is to provide as much accurate information as responsibly. As we possibly can. But there's so much we don't know we don't know how this is going to play out and so trying to find that balance between figuring out What people can do How they can protect themselves. And and what Could actually happen going forward. It's just a really huge challenge for us and of course like everything it becomes a political story and a partisan story and I think we'll probably see a little bit of that when we interview our first guest match slap the chairman of the American Conservative Union who organized the CPAC conference. But it's already having a significant impact on the campaign trail. Oh absolutely I for one thing I mean the the meltdown of the market is pretty is something that touches a lot of people. Everyone who checks their 401k's occasionally as now Prepared for a complete disintegration of their savings and needless to say the political impact of that Trump gets it You know half. His campaign strategy was a booming economy and a booming stock market. You take that away and You've transformed the dynamics of this presidential race and that is in bad by the way is why this president seems to be doing his best to down. Play the severity of this of this crisis. Because he knows what impact it will have on on the markets And you know he there is a president does have a responsibility to calm the American people. But you have to do so with accurate information And he is not really done that you know talking about how everyone can be tested when a tiny tiny percentage of America of Americans who've contract the virus or believe. They may have have been tested. Suggesting that you know people will be going to work even if they have the virus Which is not something that people should be doing. He was pretty imprecise with his language and fairly ostentatiously shaking people's hands when he When he greets them on getting off of Air Force One which is something that. I'm not sure he ought to be doing well. Look let's try to get some accurate information from match. Lap who is at Was at Ground Zero at the CPAC conference. He was presiding. And let's see what we can find out from him. We now have with US match lap. The Chairman of the American Conservative Union the sponsor of the CPAC conference match lap. Welcome back to skulduggery. Hey great to be with you both so I guess my first question to starting out as having been somebody who is exposed to the CPAC attendee. Who was infected with Corona virus? How you feeling I'm fine. I have no symptoms. My wife has no symptoms. My children have no symptoms my eighty year. Old Mother has no symptoms my eighty three year old father in law and his in in. My mother-in-law had no symptoms We had other extended family at CPAC. None of them have symptoms in fact if you look at the whole ten thousand people that assembled during the course of CPAC WE HAVE NO NEW CORONA CASES. And that's a pretty amazing thing considering we had one infected person that showed up at the conference with the virus. And you're in a pretty large you know hotel with a lot of people it demonstrates to me that even if some more people get sick it's it's more it's more difficult virus to contract than I had thought Beginning of this but just to be clear that when you found out that you had been exposed to this person you made the decision to self quarantine. I'm not really using that term What I did is as soon as I was informed. And we started figuring out you know. The veracity of the situation was able to get to talk to the patient I did. I put myself in my house and my family did too and we practiced separation and distance from other people. So essentially we've been staying in our house so just tell us. I think this is important for people across the country who are thinking about this who realized that there is the potential that they could be exposed to someone with the virus. Tell us what the process was like. When did you learn that you had contact with this person or that person had the virus? What did you do? How did you gather the information that you needed to ultimately make the decision that you made? And what did you learn? From this process that would be useful to others. Who might be in the same situation that you're in? Those are all good questions so let me start with. I think my most important lesson after dealing with this for several days. Now the thing is is your symptoms. Don't be so worried that you might have been exposed because my guest is at this point in the in the expansion of this virus that almost everybody's been exposed. You know so this idea that you know that you could have been exposed because somebody where you were has tested positive. I can understand why that rings alarm bells in your mind but we should all be operating as if there's a chance we can be exposed where we've been exposed so that's why the CDC and others are saying you know. Wash your hands constantly. So when the President Vice President words CPAC I mean it was scrubbed dub dub constantly lots of pure al. Everyone's taking a lot of precautions. Rob O'Brian was at CPAC every couple of minutes. One of his assistant squares hands with Cheryl. This is I know it seems like a basic step but those are the types of things we can. Do you know you don't have to give everybody a French. Kiss when you see him you can say hello. Wave your hands. You could do the fist-bump do you can knock elbows. There's other ways and those aren't foolproof ways. Either I understand but there are precautions. You can take in so I think the one thing we have to be careful of is after CPAC And just one person. Having the virus a lot of people in our area started taking they had to shut down all the schools. You have to shut down all the neighborhoods you have to shutdown other places where people congregate and actually. If we all quarantined in our houses it would be a good way to not spread the virus. That's true but in a free society. That's a difficult thing to get everyone to do. So what we need to do is once you know you have the symptoms which starts with a fever. The state of Maryland has said. Check your temperature twice a day if you're worried if you have a fever spike then call your doctor then start the process of getting healthcare that you need so mad. I just wanted to drill down on the time line here. The CPAC conference was February. Twenty six through February twenty ninth. You said everybody was doing rubber. Dub DUB pure Every minute constantly did you know in to hand. Sanitizer stations like I the hotel in the state of Maryland of credit they. They took a lot of precautions as we got into CPAC Matt. Did you know in real time during the conference that one of your attendees was infected with the virus? No no I didn't know until CPAC ended on the twenty nine Saturday as you know when the president was done so I don't know what time that was at five o'clock ish or something like that and I wasn't notified about the problem until the following Saturday a week later and you notify notified by whom and what were you told. I talked to the patients brother. Who is someone that I know? Because of past CPAC experiences and He told me about the positive test and that had had been verified by the CDC. And then I started to have interactions with the Federal Government as well. And you know I just had to learn quickly on the steps that need to be taken in the first step that we thought was very important was to take what is private medical information in make as much as possible as was appropriate so we immediately started working on how we tell everybody who was there that they could have been potentially contact with. Somebody was corona. So how do you do that? I mean you email you have. Everyone's email you emailed everybody who attended all ten thousand people who attended the CONDO. I'm going to be honest with you. Guys they just been a whirlwind for four days. I mean I I am. I'm not trying to over-dramaticised size what I've had to do but it has been. It has been very intensive work so I might have some details. That are That are not going to be easily recalled. Yes we have been emailing and talking to the ten thousand person CPAC Community Multiple Times. I you know my call. My phone has not stopped ringing from people with basic questions. Ten days that are concerned members the media who were there so we immediately informed to see that community and on a. I believe exactly the same time. Actually I do remember this part. We pressed to go twice. One was informing all the CPAC community. And then also sending out a tweet letting folks know that We learned this fact so you can imagine you know you guys know busy. Pack is we. We are exhausted at the end of CPAC and we kind of thought. Wow that was one for the record. Books closed book on it. Even though there's a lot of follow up to do and it was quite a shock to learn. There's a week later so mad. The the individual in question has been identified as a fifty five year old man from Englewood New Jersey who had a VIP pass for CPAC. This is somebody you know. I do know the person who is Wasn't affected or is it back corona and just to be clear the persons infected is that person ill is. Is he suffering any consequences he is ill yes? Although I don't I don't know how legally appropriate for me to reveal his healthcare challenges but yes. He is not just an isolation because he tested positive. He's in a hospital which we which we did make public which we included in our public announcement that he's a hospital. You're you're in a hospital. 'cause you're getting medical care. That was a few days ago. What is your current information about how that person is doing? I just sent out a tweet is. I'm in regular contact with this patient and with family and He's making steady progress. They feel very optimistic. They're very relieved. So you shook this person's hand at the Combine. Not sure of that. No I don't think I did. It's possible you know I mean it's ten thousand people there. I know Mike you've been there. I make pretty fast progress around that hotel. I'm I'm on the go. The whole time. A lot of sell fees a lot of handshakes and candor a lot of very quick conversations not too many very long conversations to my interaction with him. I described as incidental and think that's accurate and you have not gotten tested. Is that correct? Because you haven't upon advice of the medical community. They believe that attest should only be administered. I if you have the center so all these questions about whether the president hasn't been tested or not or the vice president's been tested or not or off mark with the number of tests that are available With the medical professionals would like is for those tests to be used when someone comes into a doctor's office and says. I have a fever. I have these other symptoms. I need to find out now whether I have it. 'cause I need to find out whether I should restrict my movement you greeted the president at CPAC? You shook his hand neither one of us. Neither one of us have corona. We're fine well. We don't you haven't been tested in. The president hasn't been arrested. Let me be clear about right. Yeah we do know because we know with as much certainty as you can have in life you do realize with medical tests. I'm sure I I know you both. I know you're both of an age. I'M NOT GONNA pick on my. I'm of an age to where you know. Even with tests medical tests the most series of medical tests. There are false positives. Let me let me just put a punctuation on this when my oldest daughter I have five Gotten over very well over the last couple of days when she was first born. The doctor held her in his arms and said she had down syndrome and she does not have it. Doctors make mistakes medical tests make mistakes. It's wrong for us to assume that the test will always be right. There will be some mistakes and tests to see clears form to know whether or not you should be on the road to being concerned about the fact that you have corona. It starts with a temperature spike. At least this is according to the health officials in the state of Maryland and the directive. They gave to all these employees and people in the area. Check your temperature twice a day if you're concerned if it spikes immediately called call your healthcare professionals or the public authorities or call your doctor and then take the next step but if everybody rushes out now if all the ten thousand people from CPAC had immediately rushed to get a test as you all know because this virus his a bit by surprise there probably won't be enough tests for everybody same thing with hospitals. Everybody immediately says Oh my God I have you know an earache. I gotta run to the Emergency Room. The country is going to be in a rough place for those people who really are sick like this person from New Jersey. Well Matt speaking of that. I mean having gone through this yourself. Do you have a sense that by the way I one hundred percent do not have the corona virus but having one hundred percent does not have the current support to keep saying because you said skulduggery the name of your show. I love the show. There's been a lot of poor media performance on the state of my health and the fact that I infected the president in the entire cabinet etc and it's inaccurate. But you took. I guess you would consider prudent actions based on being exposed to someone who did have the corona virus But I know they had it remember. I didn't know I understand that. But subsequently union no he had it either by way I mean this is the way just can work. He didn't know he had it. He actually removed himself from the conference on Friday. As soon as he knew that he was starting to have had he been by the way. Just one quick question on you know when. Somebody's sick in the hospital. You probably don't get all the answers to all the questions. My understanding is that he had not travelled overseas recently and that's not where he was infected. That's my understanding any sense of where he was infected how he contracted it would all be conjecture on my part so what. I was GONNA ask you. Matt is having gone through this process having made the decision to self isolate or however you want to say it. Do you think that we as a as a society are overreacting to this? There is a sense of a kind of a national is cough used. The term. For a national freakout or national hysteria. How do you think you should calibrate it? If you're my mom's age you're eighty years old. She came to CPAC she. You know she was going to have to travel back on an airplane and she did. She said a lot of health challenges. She's on a great health path. Now but you know I would. I could tell she made a bit nervous. My father-in-law's eighty three. He's got a lot of health challenges. He's got kidney problems. I mean this makes those people nervous. That's why I think the five thousand stories that have been written about CPAC mostly to create panic and alarm not all of it but most of it. It's really a disservice. Those people I tell you I'm talking to them on the phone at nauseam because actually they do need to be concerned if you're eighty years old plus maybe even a little younger than that if you do have health issues. You're concerned completely legitimate. The problem is is that because for instance in our case they said well. Our kids shouldn't go to school because they've been near me once you start doing the well. This person was near. That person was near that person. The only health solution to that is for everyone to quarantine. Because I guarantee something fellows you've been exposed to this virus and I'm not a doctor so listen to doctors but this viruses and a lot of places and you didn't just get exposed to it at CPAC matter of fact here's the craziness of it. Eight-pack started when CPAC ended downtown Washington DC. They had two cases that have since been discovered another case during the conference or shortly thereafter from their attendees. They had twenty elected Democrats from Congress. Mike Bloomberg Charles Schumer Jaffrey's lots of Democrats and some Republicans go to the conference can't find story on. It can't find a story. This is the insanity of the media a panic or whatever. The reason that people are writing about CPAC because someone they're contracted the virus. No that's a lie and the president has live. But that's untrue contracted. The virus came to CPAC in later. That was corona. And that's eight pack just so you know if we're GONNA if we're GonNa what's good for goose is good for the Gander. By the way I think APEC is in a very responsible. Job is not aimed at them but the meet the same reporters who live in the same city. Who were badgering me about the fact that I might have acted irresponsibly with one. Case of corona are not covering three cases of corona down the street. We're Democrats assembled and I do think that it. That is very unfortunate. Well one of the reasons for that is. You've gotten a lot of criticism from your fellow conservatives. Who are at CPAC about the way. This was handled right. Hime Qassam urged rational plus said he was academic. Dick to learn this. And let's go through that that's to do you know why we're Heen. Kasane is worried. Well he said he wasn't feeling well after the conference. So what do you do when you don't feel well? Mike? We've just gone through this. You if you have a temperature staying home you go to your doctor right instead. What this gentleman decided to do was take to twitter and induce in near panic. I'm sorry that Rehim was not included on our speaker schedule and I'm sorry that he has a bone to pick with us but using a healthcare moment of where people are worried to use that to try to stick a a stake in. My heart was mistake and other people associated. Look my movement isn't perfect we it's it's it's got a lot of characters in it and I think the conservatives who have acted irresponsibility irrresponsible here. I hold them in the same contempt as I hold reporters who are simply trying to make a big political all reporters fair number but look. I mean that you're blaming the media. You're blaming Democrats a but a you know one of the well. One of the reasons it's driven covered one of the things that's driven this story. Is We have five members of Congress including Senator Ted Cruz. Doug Collins of Georgia the new White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Who have all self quarantined themselves because they attended your conference? Isn't that the story Mike? You're good questions so I'm going to give you good answers okay. Those members are quarantined. We have been going through a exhaustive process of trying to talk to as many people as possible to ascertain who this person might have interacted with. I find it ironic that with the krona virus going all around the country were having these outbreaks or at least people who are infected that. It's the CPAC conference with only one person who has corona that has resulted in lawmakers Quarantining now there is a Democrat lawmakers who would tend to you if you could let me finish. It would be so fantastic. There's one Democrat who is also quarantined herself but you had twenty elected officials. Here's what here's the challenge. I give you. My twenty democratic elected officials went to APEC. They are still within their nine day window when almost all of the viruses are in their incubation this viruses into thinking Bachchan. I can't find a story where any reporter asked Charles Schumer. You went to APEC where there are three cases. How do you know that you didn't have any contact with the person? There's no attempt to find out who these people are ready to say that the the media coverage of this not by all but by most has been Paul in the case of crews for example. He said he knew the individual who was infected and he interacted with that person at the conference. That's an accurate. Nobody knew at the conference who was infected including the person who was infected Ted Cruz new a week later right because I called him that we had found evidence that there had been interaction. So that's when he learned and then he decided in consultation with the attending physician in Congress and his own healthcare professionals to make the statement. He made why. Why did nobody let me ask this question? I think it's important. You have democratic and Republican Law Congressional officials going to a lot of public events and events like APEC where they found three corona cases. All I'm saying is this if the media doesn't WanNa make it seem like this is just a way to bring trump down just follow krona where it leads you. It didn't just lead CPAC alleged APEC. They're in their nine day window. Why don't you ask some of these Republicans and Democrats who went to APEC? How do they know that the protocols were followed in that they didn't have exposure? I think it's a fair question. Let me ask you a broader. That's a fair question. I think it's look. I think there are a lot of questions that need to be asked of a lot of people right now. I don't know that that's top of the list because right country let didn't three three people that have corona. And what you're telling me. You're not gonNA validate the thing. My question that it's fair to ask those twenty-one members have you has anyone communicated to you whether or not you might have had exposure to the three corona cases that were at that conference. I'm getting those calls and I'm answering those calls. How come there are no calls going into a conference that predominantly has Democrats show up? It's just Ri. Didn't pen speak at APEC? Yes one is by. Partisan there's plenty of Republicans who attend APEC Conference Democrat. I my I'll be quiet. Read give me your recollection of the One News Story. That's been written about Corona eight-pack. I will I will be quiet. I wasn't prepared for that particular question but I I knew it doesn't exist I. I'm pretty sure I read stories in Multiple News outlets that APEC attendees had infected the virus. So I'm aware and you saw the intrepid. Follow up questions from members of the media. That would've helped that would force them. Democrat members to also corn tea right. Let Lemme ask you a broader question here because clearly we do have something like a national freak out right now and certainly the two thousand point drop in the. Dow on Monday is is pretty good evidence of that and part of it is. I think you might agree because there is so much distrust of government institutions right now anything. The public is told. They are instinctively a question. No question about in skeptical about and part of that is because we have a president who has fed precisely that sort of fear and paranoia and conspiracy theories that have undermined our trust in public institutions would reject. Just you know I reject everything you just said everything every every word of it. Let's let me help trump. Let me go train trump. It is not a trump phenomenon that have a healthy skepticism of your government and the many mistakes it makes that that is that is a foundational principle to our country. The conservative movement is primarily established on the idea that the government gets so many things wrong it attempts to do now. Maybe you're sensitive to the fact that he also has taken on the news media but I have to say after living through the last three or four days of coverage we had at CPAC and trying to find some way to have balance on the conservative policies. Trump is initiating his agenda. I have to say this is the news. Media's worst our in the history of our country thinking of of the President Matt would you say that he has been in in his rhetoric in his comments on corona virus been a model of precision and accuracy. And cause those aren't those aren't the virtues with kind of a PhD administrative long. Okay all right. That's exactly the standard that we're talking about sort of simple basic consistency. Wilson did have his PhD and he got us into disastrous. Warden was the segregation. So I don't know all right but let me let me just go through a couple of things you know. He said yesterday that everybody can be tested. Now I mean the reality is like five thousand. People have been tested. That's it now. More tests are coming online but he said everyone can be tested now. Let me try to explain. I I in all candy. My left some words out with what what the doctors and I've talked to a lot of healthcare professionals over the course of the last three or four days and quite honestly in preparation to the conference. What the advice from the community is those who showed the symptoms should get the tests and there are enough tests however there are people that have symptoms that have had some difficulty getting the test. Because you could have too many tests in one part of the country. Nothing the other and it. Sometimes it can take some days and I know that increases people's you know their stress about this whole situation one other thing that he said. Which is there was this cruise ship Off of San Francisco with a significant number of people who had contracted the virus. The medical professionals were saying that they should come ashore. The president eventually agreed to that he he was opposed to it at first and he said publicly that he didn't want them coming ashore because of the impact that that would have on the numbers and it wasn't our fault the numbers. We're going to go up and it wasn't our fault. Is that responsible coming from the president of the United States. When these people were suffering on a ship in the medical advice was they should come ashore. I think we all think that if you are suffering if you have the symptoms and if certainly if you've tested positive that you definitely should be quarantined. And she got the healthcare. You need where that occurs I. I don't know if I'm the right guy to answer that. That's on a ship or a hospital or in a hotel that's dedicated to these people. I don't but what do you make? What do you make people who can transmit and keep them away from the general population? I I like that idea. But what do you make of his preoccupation with the numbers the impact that that would have that sounds like has the preoccupation or the media covering it. I'd like to know the answer to that because I've read so much coverage over the course of the last several days and there is a lot of this information out there. And there's a lot of there's a lot of this is the ten or the president is mishandling this and it's growing by exponential numbers and it's growing out of control and that is the theme of much of the coverage and. I think that that's part of the reason why people get so scared. I mean it's scary for my mom to read that. So why don't we all take a breath and the president's part of this take a breath and let's try to not make it bigger than it is. Don't hyped it. I actually think that's the responsible thing to do right now but look I mean. The numbers are going up and going pretty dramatically. We're now up to the eight hundred cases twenty-seven deaths and that is a serious problem. It's a crisis that the country's Sony seven people in their families. It's terrible so is it really helpful to turn this? Into a partisan food fight in which Republicans are blasting Democrats and vice versa. And you're blasting the media and you know what I'm going to see going into CPAC. The idea that America was GONNA face Corona. I knew there'd be people that would make politics of over it. I think the Democrats made a mistake on the supplemental to some of them to make putts to turn into a political question but after watching this attempt to turn corona into like the CPAC infection model and And and and the coverage of it I will tell you Mike. There are plenty of people in the media establishment who are guilty of turning this into a partisan thing and I think the fact that you didn't even agree that twenty one elected Democrat officials. Going to eight pack and not much coverage of it no questions of the members whether or not they know whether or not they had contact including the Senate leader. Charles Schumer Sh tells me that you want to focus on one case at CPAC and the fact that you think that I might be might have picked it up and I might have given it to the president and I didn't and I'm healthy and he's healthy and I think that's a damn shame that that's where the coverage goes. Now maybe it's because he's the president and he just gets all the attention. No one else gets any ten. That's just that's just the way it is but you yourself just said the vice president's spoke at a pack and you can't see any coverage about corona at other conferences. Look how many people have the how many people have corona in this country? You just went through the number. I think we're up to eight hundred seven hundred ninety four just before we had happened to interact with any Democrats pretty time sure but it just strikes me as kind of a preposterous question. Matt I mean who cares whether they interacted Democrats or Republicans. I feel real asking deal. Let's quit talking about it in terms of party. And let's have the national media quick torturing CPAC over the fact that one attendee came to CPAC with corona and one person lessee packed with corona. It's actually a good story that should make people relaxed. Not that they can't get it but that it's hard to get it and fifty percent of the people that come to CPAC or high school and college kids and it reiterates the fact that younger people. It's very difficult for them to get the virus story out of CPAC SHOULD BE CALMING STORY. But they refuse to tell that story all right. You've said you're one hundred percent sure you are not sick. You don't have no iris. Don't let me use better words. All right I don't know in this life with your health. You can be one hundred percent sure of anything I'm telling you. I had no symptoms for Corona. And I've talked to my doctor and I've talked to other healthcare professionals. I've talked to some doctors who some pretty impressive letters after name. Let's just say that. And they have all told me that. I'm clear that I should not worry about this if I get a fever calling back so the American people is the certainty that you can have because like energy if you've been to a grocery store and movie theater a restaurant something like that certainly in the DC area the percentage chance that you have been exposed to krona is high so does that shouldn't panic. That should make you realize you could have been exposed and you could be just fine and it's actually harder to pick up the spires especially if you're very careful with cleaning your hands and how you interact with others. It's very hard to get it. That should make you become doesn't mean that you should have a false sense of security but you should be relaxed and calm and listen to the fast. Just my last question is we're now ten days past the time that you were potentially exposed. You have no signs. Are you lifting your ban on battle house? I'm glad that you care about me. My Question Your Daddy The nine the period of time that's critical for the incubation nine days after contact so we're well through the nine days well through it. So upon doctor's advice I could absolutely Do anything I wanted to. I'm GONNA still take this day by day. I stayed in my house today on like a decision about what I do tomorrow. The one thing I have to. I'm not a famous person but maybe notorious and I don't WanNa get the last thing I want to do. I've spent actually. It's been pretty hard on my kids. I WANNA get serious for a second year. I got five. Little girls have been very hard for them because people said some terrible things because they read terrible things about how their father infected the president. And it's a sad thing for them and they've had their people in there and that they thought they were friends with some pretty horrible things so when reporters right things that are wrong about people who have kids It's hard for the families. It's been a hard hard little stress from my family. But they're brave little girls and they're looking at the coverage and they're saying dad. Why did they say things? That aren't true and I say you know kids you're going to have to deal with this your whole life and so we're gonNA take this day by day And the country is going to be fine if you actually look. You guys are good reporters if you actually look at the numbers with other. You know outbreaks like this. We're not in a terrible position. It could get worse. The Best News for America maybe not the globe but for American people in this part of the globe is this virus has a very difficult time surviving when the weather gets warm so I spent a lot of time in the sun yesterday. You know there are things you can do sit by the fireplace There are things you can do to make sure that the virus that you're more protected from the virus and I'm not the doctor but go to the CDC website. Really follow that. It was scary to think that I could have had this. It's scary for the people who came to see packed. I thought they could have had this. The Greatest News as of today is that nobody picked it up and And we should tell that story more often which is yes. There are the victims and there are the people who were worried but there are the people who haven't gotten it won't get it and thank God because can you imagine this virus that you could pick up easily and almost everybody was getting it. We would be in panic as a country. Well Matt Slap. Thanks for joining US. Sharing your experience on this and of course we hope you stay. Well I am well. Don't worry about me well and so is my family. Hey thanks a lot. Thanks Matt Guys. Thank you and we are now joined by Charlotte. Alter Time magazine correspondent and author of the Fascinating New Book. The ones we've been waiting for. How A NEW GENERATION OF LEADERS WILL TRANSFORM AMERICA CHARLOTTE? Welcome to skulduggery. Thank you guys so much for having me. And congratulations on the book. It's really a great read. A look at Millennials who are in Congress in the political world and making an impact. How'd you decide to do this book? Well I started thinking about this book on the day. That trump withdrew from the Paris climate agreement. Because it was such a moment that just seemed very obviously to me an act of generational warfare. I mean this guy was set was at that point. He was seventy one years old. He was the oldest first-term president he was elected. Overwhelmingly by white voters over sixty five surrounded in his cabinet by men in their seventies and eighties when I looked at the senators who had encouraged him to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. It was all these guys in their seventies and eighties and a couple of guys in their sixties. And I just. It was the first time I thought to myself. Oh my gosh you know. This administration is the leading the young in some ways and then as soon as I began to see that I began to see that that was happening on immigration. It was happening on student debt. It was happening on. You Know Trans Rights in the military an issue that young people care a lot about. But there aren't a lot of Sept- Septuagenarian Trans People in in the military and So then I began thinking about the generational. Divide that we have and I. I didn't really want to write a screed so I figured I would start going around and looking for the young people who were trying to change the system from the ground up. And that's how I came to Charlotte. Your thesis is that the millennial generation is poised to take over and is going to have a huge impact on our politics and policies and our values as a society. And they are I guess. Soon to be the largest generational cohort in the country so by the numbers that make sense but here we are recording this on the day of Another primary and the irony of course is that the three presidential candidates in this race are all Septuagenarians and some of them are almost octogenarians. So why do you think that's the case? And what's the time line for this generational takeover? I think that's a great question. So you know the challenge with a project like this is that obviously you can't see the future but I think one thing we can all agree on is that young people grow old and that old people don't last forever you know. That's just a fact of human life disapprove and we'll have a major bestseller on your hands right right. I wish you know that I would be rich if I go away around that one but yeah so the question of course is when right so I think it's pretty clear that we're not gonNA see a millennial president in two thousand twenty. Obviously but in some ways the more top heavy our government gets and the the the more we have guys in their seventy late seventies early eighties in positions of power. The closer that turnover becomes. Because we're not JOE BIDEN OR BERNIE. Sanders is not going to be in charge in ten years period. If for example we were talking about a Ted Cruz or a Comma Harris. There would be an argument. That may be okay. Well you know. They've got another twenty years in them and you know but but we're really seeing the last gasp of a particular twentieth century style of politician Bernie Sanders is in some ways. Like an exception to that. Because he's got so much support from young people and he is talking about ideas that were really unpopular in the twentieth century. But I think that it's pretty clear that even that no matter who we elect president this time you know that same man in their late seventies is not going to be of course Pete. Buddha judge thirty eight years old now and he won Iowa and You know did pretty. Well in New Hampshire just talk a little bit about the impact that this general when it does finally become the sort of leadership generation. What is the impact that millennials will have on on American politics? So for this book I talked to just to kind of explain my parameters. I was looking at elected leaders. Who were born between nineteen eighty one and nineteen ninety-six in both parties? I talked to more Democrats than Republicans because this generation leans democratic but they're not all democratic so I have a couple of Republicans in there too. I think the way to look at it is that millennials have a broad agreement on some of the problems that they're going to face in the later part of the century but they disagree on the solutions so young Democrats and young Republicans agree that climate change is a problem and agree that it's caused by humans and agree that the government has to do something about it. They disagree on exactly what that is young. Democrats and Republicans again. This generation is the most racially diverse in history. They tend to agree that racial diversity is good and is something that is like an important and that we should live in a multi-racial society in that people should be treated with respect. They tend to disagree on exactly what that should look like. And there there are sort of internal culture wars onto of woke politics. But they're you know. Gay MARRIAGE IS SORRY MARRIAGE. Equality is something that young. Republicans have basically given up on. That's like a an an issue of the past. Tac regulation is something that Young Democrats and Republicans agree is something that the government has to do more on that you know. The federal government should be doing more to regulate companies like facebook and twitter and Google. A foreign affairs interesting. I noticed in your book that you Had A statistic that I think. Only a third of millennials believe that America is the greatest country in the world shift. Yeah but I mean think about it like this. The this generation this book starts on nine eleven right because that wasn't a lot of ways of real formative moment for people this age and you know in the twenty years since they've seen the US get into to disastrous foreign foreign wars that were based on faulty intelligence. Either either a mistake. Aurelie whichever way you look at it so it doesn't surprise me very much that that they're much less likely to think that America is the greatest country in the world so the strength of the book is these portrait of your characters from Pete Buddha. Judge who you are onto long before the rest of the world heard heard of him to Alexandria Cossio Cortez of course you've also got a few Republicans in their At least the phonic a sort of moderate Republican from upstate New York who emerged as one of Donald Trump's biggest defenders in impeachment. Dan Crenshaw a hard right conservative from Texas former navy. Seal and I guess. Although each of the portrait's is fascinating a struggle a little bit with what unites them because these are people coming from very different perspectives. Max Rose another one Staten Island Brooklyn Congressman Conservative to Centrist Democrat. Completely opposed almost everything. Afc stands for. What is it that is the common bond among your characters so other than their age right so I think you know there are a couple things that I mentioned earlier? Climate change is one of them. Familiarity with technology is another one and you know everyone no matter where they're coming from on the ideological spectrum understands modern technology and what in the way the way that it's fundamentally reshaped our society in a way that Chuck Grassley doesn't right? You pointed out. The chocolate Grassley was in kindergarten when the chocolate chip cookie was invented. Yeah imagine that you know just guys helping to regulate facebook so so. I think that that's one of them. Another one is that you know you are seeing on some social issues but not all social issues like abortion as an exception to this but on most social issues. This generation is moving towards a more a more tolerant perspective and not getting as bogged down with some of the the like Christian right culture wars. That were happening in the nineties. But I also think more broadly you know. I'm not arguing. That they're all the same and they all agree with each other and that they're all ideologically similar and they're going to act in lockstep with each other. The point of the book. Is that the situation that we have now. A government that is run of buying for old people is not sustainable and won't exist in the exact way that it does now in ten years and so in some ways. This book is just meant as almost an introduction to some of the people who might stay relevant if they lose if they don't lose their elections you know and and just kind of like a. Hey there are other people who matter in American democracy besides Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. So here's one of the many ironies that occurred to me while starting the book you do have this great portrait of Buddha judge and just who he was where he came from him what he was like in Harvard and all that but as the campaign was playing out I noticed that a Buddha judge was not getting all that much support from his fellow millennials. Xactly fact I have a millennial nephew who's a big Bernie guy and I was grilling him up at on this over the holidays and when I mentioned Buddha judge used the word contempt contempt Mike. My kids use the word. Torp WORK THAT YOUNG PEOPLE. Don't have fatal they they're not big fans. So here's you know in many ways the most accomplished millennial who's gone further than anybody else. You know a guy who was a serious contender for the presidency. And you know he gets that kind of tepid reaction. Yeah or worse from his fellow millennials. How do you explain it? I mean because I don't think that millennial politics is necessarily about supporting other millennial politicians and in fact one of the things that I've heard from voters on the campaign trail. This cycle is It's really interesting. How voters of different ages see age so for example younger voters are not at all bothered by Bernie Sanders is age? It doesn't matter to them. They like him on the. That's that is the role. This had the most support young voters. Eight and the youngest candidate may have had the lease. Yes exactly and I think that a lot of it has to do with. Pete's policies people you know he's significantly more moderate than sanders and as we are seeing in the polls right now voters under forty or like breaking for Sanders Bhai unbelievable margins but also when I would talk to voters in there. Let's say early. Sixties earlier mid Sixties. They voiced the greatest concern about. Biden's age and Sanders Age and it was because they understood what aging meant. They understood what aging does to your mind and your body and they were saying things to me like you know. I'm slowing down. I'm having a harder time running after my grandkids. I forget my keys. Sometimes how could somebody fifteen years older than me take on the most challenging job on the planet and I think younger voters don't have you know they just are more likely to say. Oh well you know seems fine. They say that he's fine. After his heart attack I like him on the issues. I'm with him but the isn't it with with Sanders isn't it? Also that young people are responding to his authenticity and his conviction as a politician. Don't doesn't generation feel like they've been lied to since they were young that finally. Here's someone who not only is expressing policies that we agree with but is a true kind of conviction candidate and does not an Pete on the other hand feels a little bit like the kind of politician. He's very polished little mass-produced yeah he's the he's like. What Michael Kinsley called? An old person's idea of what a young person should be exactly. Yeah Jaren Weinberger our Washington bureau. Chief call them an algorithm yeah right created by Algorithm. Yeah so I think that's exactly right and I also think in some ways what this book tries to trace is the series of establishment failures that happened in during the early adulthood of the millennial generation. And why they're so skeptical so like if you think about it nine eleven and the wars that followed maybe not nine eleven itself but the wars that followed nine eleven representative total failure in many millennials minds of the foreign policy establishment right. They said that we should go. Get into this war and it turned out to be a huge disaster. The financial crisis was a failure of the financial establishment. Everyone who said they understood? How markets worked and they were supposed to be in charge of managing our economy. Were totally wrong right. A lot of millennials see the failure of Hillary Clinton and the election of Donald Trump as a failure of the political establishment particularly in the Democratic Party. So you have these this series of establishment failures in rap in fairly quick succession over the course of just really fifteen years and that can help explain? Why so many millennials are so attracted to somebody who is not only conviction candidate but is defined by his anti establishmentarian them and who seems to reject a lot of the things that they think have already failed them? But why should we think that this is that this new generation is somehow going to lead to a new politics? I mean first of all. I mean certainly the idealism of youth which over time you know turns into the pragmatism and perhaps wisdom of getting older is a common theme in throughout history. This happens all the time. What makes you think that? This millennial generation is somehow going to break the mold in any meaningful way. So I think this is an important distinction to make. I'm not arguing that they're going to be better. I'm not arguing. That millennials are going to come into power and it's going to be this utopia of all the you know everything's GonNa work better and everyone will treat each other nicely and America will be you know like a happy in joyful place. I'm arguing that it will be different that the that the particular that millennials will make their own their own mistakes. They'll come in with their own flawed assumptions. They'll make their own strategic errors but the those mistakes will be different in kind than the mistakes. That boomers made. Because and this is I think central to the argument of the book that people build their political assumptions based in their bill their political attitudes based on the experiences of their early adulthood. And that baby boomers are fundamentally. Different from millennials mostly because they are building their politics based off of a different set of experiences in early adulthood. So I mean I think socialism is probably the best example of this right. Baby boomers think of socialism they think of the Soviet Union. They think of Cuba they think of Gulags and bread lines and horrific war and starvation millennials think of socialism. You know millennials who by the way the oldest ones were nine when the Berlin Wall fell right. They think of socialism and they think of Sweden where there's free childcare and you know universal health care and accessible education for everybody. I'm not saying whether that's right or wrong. They could be wrong. The point is that it's different and that this generation is in charge. We will have a different set of assumptions guiding the way our leaders and our voters act. But isn't it also the case? That mean you suggest. That millennials are going to usher in a new age of progressive politics but in two thousand eighteen when. Eo was elected and she was the shiniest of that class most Democrats who were elected and I think a lot of younger Democrats actually were centrists. Were more moderate and and you know they. They flipped trump seats So what is the evidence that this generation is going to drive a more kind of progressive liberal agenda than something more moderate just responding to the electorate. So I think you're totally right to point that out and I always like to say that you know it is true that the way to think about this is that the millennial progressive socialist base is changing the conversation. But they're not putting points on the board. They are not flipping the seats in the place as the Democrats needed to win. That was done by moderates But to go back to Pete Buddha judge I actually think Pete Judges a really good example of this because the far left has always been the far left. Right what's changed at? The center has actually moved to the more liberal. Yes so pete who is as you just described moderate reviled by the left younger progressives. Don't like him. He's not considered to be a true progressive. P supports universal healthcare. Even though he doesn't go as far as burning on medicare for all he supports the idea of universal health insurance and massive government intervention to make that happen. He supports a massive government intervention to address climate change. He supports student. Debt forgiveness he wants to put millions of people to work you know building infrastructure creating jobs in communities like those are for the moderate standard bearer of the Democratic Party of the millennials to be advocating positions like that that indicates to me that the center has moved to the elbow. One could argue that. Our Algorithm candidate is simply trying to appeal to a democratic base in a primary. And that's what you gotta say. And that's not really where he's at. Chevron is not always true yes it is and I mean. That's the political process. I gotta say. I'm glad though that you make the point that you're not arguing that this is going to be a new dawn of America. That's going to transform us because one of the books I was thinking about when I was reading yours was Something well before your time. The greening of America in nineteen seventy by Charles Reich which argued that the baby boom. We're going to bring in this new higher consciousness of personal freedom and anti war sentiment and the counterculture that was going to transform America ten years after he wrote that book. Ronald Reagan was elected president than the country went on a very different path so his excitement about what the baby boomers. We're going to bring the country but the baby boomers. I don't know it may be that. The baby boomers did something similar to what Charlotte was just talking about which is the they should have changed the baseline right that That the baby boomers with their fight for civil rights antiwar okay. That gets a little more complicated but they may have moved the center a little bit to the left well and chain certain assumptions. What I wanted to ask you about Charlotte is how the Republican Party is reacting to this. This wave that that is coming because you know. The Republicans in power are also pretty old Mitch McConnell is seventy seven seventy eight years. Old Is the Republican Party. Doing anything to get ready for this. Are there any signs that they understand that this generational change is you know is going to have a huge impact on their ability to retain power in Washington so they were and then trump got elected so basically over the course of Obama's presidency? The Republican Party actually was doing a couple really smart things to try to attract young people and in fact you know the two thousand famous two thousand thirteen. Rnc autopsy after Romney Law Forgotten. Yeah you know that I S- are you in this book that that was actually basically right. It's just that the timing was off so that autopsy argued that in order to survive. The Republican Party had to do better with women people of Color and young people and during Obama's second term. They actually made some real progress. On that day elected some young women they elected they got a couple young Hispanic Republicans in office like At least a phonic Carlos Carabello who are in this book those young Republicans over the course of Obama's second term you know we're carving out this conservative path on climate change a conservative path on immigration They were sort of you know helping to draw the Republican Party into the future on marriage. Equality trying to say like. Hey let's come down about this you know. And then trump happened and suddenly it became much much much more difficult for those young moderate Republicans. Who were trying to drag their party into the future. Well it's interesting. You know anybody who knows who at least phonic is these days rose who she is because she was such an ardent defender of Donald Trump in his point that you you spent a lot of time with her death portrait of her but I think most of it was written before this trump defender so explain. Yeah how and why so she so at least a phonic is one of the most calculating ambitious people I've ever spoken to. She and I should clarify that. Listen I had to finish this book in October. It went to the printer in November. She didn't really get her star. Turn in the impeachment hearings until January. Right I could tell already that. She was inching towards trumpism and that she had kind of depart that this path that she was she was kind of in this position of doing this little dance and sort of creeping down this path of. I like something president does I don't like other things. And she spent most of the last four years trying to trying to sort of distance herself from trump. And I could tell at the end of this writing process that she was that period had ended and that she was about to embrace him. But I just didn't know exactly how that would happen so I couldn't write it because it hadn't happened yet. I mean the thing about at least a phonic is that she is a Republican from upstate. New York right which means that. She has no path in statewide office. She's never going to get elected to the Senate and she's never going to get elected to the governor's mansion because this is New York state right so her and she is deeply loyal to the Republican Party. She's George W Bush person. She's a Mitt Romney Person. She cares a lot about the future of the GOP. And that's why she's been somebody who's been really active in trying to get more women into the party trying to get more young people into the party. I think she made and again. This is just. She didn't tell me this. This is just what I think. Based on knowing her talking to her I think she made a calculation. She realized that her only path forward is up through the house. She has to keep her house seat. She wants to. She seems pretty. Well positioned to be in leadership and the only way to do that is in this era of the Republican Party is to support trump. I also think she has. She's trying to have her cake and eat it too. Because in ten years or fifteen years when she runs for something else you know she'll be able to say to the trump people. Hey I was with your guy and you'll also be able to say to the moderate Republicans. Hey here's my record on climate change. And here's my record on immigration. So I think that she's like this is a woman who's yearbook photo. This didn't make it into the book. Her background of her yearbook page was the White House. Okay so I think that that tells you a little bit about her aspiration a little naked question now. She was a contemporary with Buddha. Judge Harvard. And tell us about their relationship such as it was so they were both at Harvard at the same time. They both did the I. O P Institute of Policy Institute the Institute of Politics which is like this sort of politics nerd like thing at Harvard. Basically multiple people who knew them on campus. Say that they went on a date. That was the scuttle butt on campus. Both of them strenuously denied us but in ways that seem like a bit protesting too much. I think what it was was one of those like maybe dates where they got A. They weren't like interrelationship. They weren't in love clearly. Pete's gay like But Pete was dating women at that time and you know it seems to me like the most logical explanation for this is that they went on this coffee date that was like a maybe date and they both kind of realized podcast. That trolls using air quotes quotes. Pseudo date okay last question for you. Charlotte are there new millennial candidates Who you're looking at in this Upcoming election who you think Are going to be exciting to people. The way that was. I mean I did notice that some of the some of these primary races. The progressive candidate who've taken on more moderate Democrats have lost Cisneros Yeah for example. What are you seeing in the kind of next class coming In terms of this this wave that you write about so I have to be declared by like I have been really focused on twenty twenty so And I've been covering that for time so I haven't been as much like searching these people out as I once was. I definitely think Charles Booker in Kentucky is really exciting. There are some exciting young people who are running for mayor in New York City. And I think that you know one of the challenges of having this presidential election right now. Is that frankly one of the reasons I wrote. This book is to give oxygen and give some profile to people who don't get covered because they're not going to be president right and the way. Our political media is is operated right. Now it's like so focused on the presidency And maybe I've fallen into that a little bit since I finished this book because I've been really focused on the presidency but I will do some research and I will get back more nails. I've got one more for Charlotte because it's a passage in my favorite chapter in the book. The chapters called Harry Potter and the spawn of boomer and in the courses that you cite a book by somebody named Gene Twinge who wrote that. The new millennials simply take it for granted that we should all feel good about ourselves. We were all special and we all deserve to follow our dreams. And then you write. This of course has led to widespread perception. That millennials are entitled Selfie obsessed narcissist more concerned with their personal brand than the state of the world a stereotype that is firmly rooted in obnoxious. Truth no wonder so. Many of their elders find them so irritating lender white so Should we all be prepared to be irritated for the Years to come SOFA entitled millennials. I think that I think that's a good question. I also think that no generation has a monopoly on being irritating right so you know you millennial find us boomer irritating you that we just think was jen's e- exactly and this gets back. I think almost precisely to this question very smart question you asked earlier about like. Are we talking about better or are we talking about different? Because boomers were irritating in so many ways and continue to be irritating in so many ways and listen. Millennials are also irritating in totally different ways. And guess what I bet Gen Z. Are going to find their own exceptional ways to irritate everybody around them so Yeah I mean listen. We've got an irritating future ahead but fortunately unfortunately cost from the greatest generation graphic that way charlotte. We should point out that Charlotte is the daughter of a frequent skulduggery guest. Our old Newsweek colleague. Jonathan Alter he may be losing the altar seat. That's skulduggery right. Also we've been guests. We should we should actually promote the serious politics. Ultra family politics. It's the best name for a show about exactly that you alter family get together and they talk politics. Who needs to wait for Thanksgiving alter family fighting among themselves Charlotte? Thanks for joining us. Thank you so much for having me. Thanks the chairman of the American conservative Union match lap and author and time correspondent Charlotte Altar for joining us on this episode of skulduggery. Don't forget to subscribe to skulduggery on Apple podcasts. Or wherever you listen to your podcasts and tell us what you think. Leave a review. Latest episode is also on Sirius. Xm On the weekend. Check it out on channel. 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