tv The Week With Joshua Johnson MSNBC May 15, 2021 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
korean person come together in this moment that, yeah, i now want to recognize and show you that i am korean and i want you to know that. and that my life, my mother's life, mattered. >> reporter: that was nbc's life, mattered. >> reporter: that was nbc's richard lui reporting. it is the top of the hour and it's real good to be with you tonight. congresswoman liz cheney is tweeting today after the republican party decided that trump is in and she is out. now she's talking about the future of the gop, but why does she want to stay? plus, people are still feeling the pain at the pump in the south. we'll tell you when things are expected to return to normal. and the end of an era for both the "ellen" show and the golden globes. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, i'm joshua johnson. welcome to "the week."
you know, sometimes grown-ups can act like high schoolers, including on capitol hill. this week was all about who's popular and who's not. >> you got everybody there. you got your freshman, jocks, preps, jv jocks, asian nerds, cool asians, varsity jocks unfriendly black hotties, girls who eat their feelings, girls who don't eat anything, desperate wannabes, burnouts, sexually active band geeks, the greatest people you will ever meet, and the worst. beware of the plastics. >> oh, the mean girls we love to hate. but a new seat opened up at the cool kids' table after wyoming congresswoman liz cheney was told to sit somewhere else. on wednesday, she was purged from house republican leadership for refusing to echo donald trump's lies about the election.
yesterday, republicans voted for new york congresswoman elise stefanick to become conference chair. she made it clear that she shares minority leader kevin mccarthy's view on the former president's role in the gop. >> i also want to thank president trump for his support. he is a critical part of our republican people. the president trump is the leader that they look to. i support president trump. voters support president trump. republican voters are unified in their support and their desire to work with president trump. we are unified in working with president trump. my job representing our republican members, the vast majority of you look forward to working with president trump. >> so it seems donald trump will have a significant hold on the majority of the party, at least for the time being. but not everyone likes the in crowd. more than 100 republicans, including some former elected officials are ready to make a new table in the lunchroom and bring everyone else with them, if they can. they released a letter threatening to form a third party if the gop continues down
this path. now, previous never-trump campaigns have been largely unsuccessful. but recent nbc news polling shows that the former president's support is slipping among republicans. today, the party itself has more support than he does, but statistically, it's pretty close. so where does the party go from here? let's discuss all of this with our panel, david lick, the author of "democracy in one book or less." dean obeidallah, host of sirius xm's the dean obeidallah show, and msnbc political reporter, ali vitali. good to see the three of you. ali, let me start with you. how would you describe the mood and the tone on capitol hill now that at least some of the dust has settled from liz cheney being ousted and elise stefanick being evaluated? >> you know, it's possible that some of the rank and file republicans feel like that now
that they've done away this leadership battle they can actually move on, but look at how liz cheney has handled the fallout from this. even during that meeting, she knew what was happening. she knew that she was going to be losing her leadership seat. she lost the battle, but certainly not the war. she's not shrinking away. trump and her allies have said that they want to see her primaried and want to see her lose. she says she's not shig away and hopes to win again. but more than that, she's also talking about potential running for president, certainly leaving the door open for that. but also consider the fact that this has energized her donors. people in the conservative movement, and i say conservative as in traditional conservatism, not trump republicanism. because certainly, that's what this schism was all about. it has also amplified her name idea. and look at the media tour that she's going on right now. talking about an alternative future for the republican party. she is now one of the faces of that. republicans got a lot of positive attention for the way that they saw a wave of women
ushered in in 2020, to have a woman be the face of that party, and a woman with such deep conservative ties, that could be really powerful. because you have to consider the fact that her megaphone is even bigger now than it was when she was the number three house republican. i bet you a few weeks ago, no one could have named who that person was. now if you're at all politically inclined, you know her name is liz cheney and you know that she's going to keep talking about this. because this war is far from over. >> dean, let's carry forward that idea of a war. this has been described as something of a civil war within the republican party. it also feels like just kind of a purge in a way. i'm not sure that these are two evenly matched sides fighting over the same territory anymore. but how do you see it, dean? >> i think it's a purge. i think the gop is defined by donald trump and the fact that only 17 republicans in the senate and the house combined of 260 voted to hold the man accountable. you have the rank and file in
recent polls. 80% looking at donald trump favorably. you have elise stank going, president trump is an important part of our party. president trump, donald trump incited a terrorist attack on our capitol on january 6th, and the gop is censuring or purging anyone who is not loyal to the man who incited a terrorist attack. and to me, it's a struggle to watch this and not hear more than the media call this what it was on january 6th. it was a terrorist attack. donald trump radicalized and incited it. people said this in realtime. it's remarkable to me to watch the gop with few exceptions. and as a muslim american, they may denounce all of the bad people in our community. i want the rest of the republicans to denounce the bad people in the gop starting with donald trump. and if you don't, i'll hold you to the same standard. you're complicit. you must agree with it. that's how i look at it. it's not a war, it's a purge. >> david, i wonder about that. we spoke to miles taylor in his
last hour about his efforts to try to reform the gop from within. there has been plenty of reporting including in "the new york times" and op-eds about the prospects of a third party historically being fairly slim and seeming slim now. what do you think in terms of where this could end up? i mean, building a political infrastructure, a financial base that could compete with either of the major parties could take some time, to say the least. and i think they want able to strike out at trumpism within the gop as fast as possible. >> yeah, the problem that gop reformers, the handful of them who are left faces, who are they appealing to. if you look at the real schism in the republican party, i mean, on one hand, you have people who are aiding an attack on democracy. and on the other hand, you have people who are abetting an attack on democracy. it's not like there's a lot of daylight there. you have a handful of people now. you have your liz cheneys,
perhaps, you know, people like miles taylor are trying to reform the party from within or start a third party. but right now, there's a very clear word for people who oppose the big lie and oppose donald trump's corruption of the republican party. and that word is democrats. what is going to make a difference here is for the liz cheneys of the world to say, sure, i disagree with democrats about everything, but because of my commitment to democracy, if that's really how she feels about it, she has to say, because of my commitment to democracy, i am still going to vote for democrats and encourage everybody i know to do the exact same thing until this is over. because that's the whole -- donald trump can't evaluate the republican party, but he can destroy the republican party by telling people not to vote for them. that's what liz cheney needs to be able to do if she's going to wield power. >> david, before i come back to ali, i think there's another word for some of those people besides democrats. that's independents. i think there are a lot of
republicans who might drop out of the party, but not necessarily feel like the democratic party is their new logical, political home. they may just decide to vote as they see fit. >> you're 100% right about that among voters. if you're a voter -- i'm a democrat, i'm a lifelong democrat, but if you're an independent voter, that's great. if you are a professional politician, if that's your job, the way american democracy is structured with some really small exceptions, you have to pick a team, you have to pick a side, that's just the way our system works. >> ali, we started with this mean girl metaphor at the beginning of the program. i wonder what the tone feels like in terms of all of it. this feels very personal on some levels, where you have some lawmakers who are just kind of like, how can they follow that guy? and others who threw out liz cheney like, she's so truthful. like, there's this real personal rancor that feels like it bubbled up out of the undergirdings of all of this this week, and there's got to be some hurt feelings.
especially because liz cheney is like, almost gop royalty in terms of her pedigree and the party and her family and like the roles she's had and her father was vp like, this has to hurt on kind of a mean girls in-group, out-group level at a certain point. >> it's kind of like her coming in and taking the crown from regena george. i don't know where the metaphor starts and ends there. i'm feeling all the "mean girls" feels right now. but to go back to one of our analysts on the panel was saying, if you're a republican who was turned off by trump and trumpism in 2020, i met these people. they either stayed home and didn't vote or voted for joe biden and kamala harris. and i think that is the realignment that could be taking place and that i'm really watching in the midterms is, how replicable are the circumstances of 2020? the coalition that joe biden built was very diverse but also energized by the trump of it
all. when he is not on the ballot what happens? and what a lot of surveys have shown from certain democratic groups is that progress is going to be really critical to keeping these voters that they earned in 2020 engaged. and that's why the policy pushes are not just checking boxes on a piece of paper, but it's political in that democrats really want to campaign on handling the coronavirus, getting direct relief payments to americans. they'd like to campaign on fixing roads and bridges but also solving child care for the millions of people especially women who have been put out of work because of the pandemic and the resulting recession. all of those things are important political points. republicans know this we're not doing a lot of talking about the republican policy agenda right now. we're talking about the battle of personality. certainly there are republicans talking about infrastructure. but for the casual viewer off election year before mid-terms that's not necessarily the
headline they're going to be getting out of this and just emphasizes donald trump's hold on the party. as much as some republicans like cheney are saying that's not the way forward kevin mccarthy knows donald trump's hold on the party is the way to take it in 2022. >> we have to pause in just a minute, but i want to note that we're talking about republican politics in washington. if you look in other parts of the country, tallahassee, austin, phoenix, republican politics are just fine. they're very strong, very solid, very stable. you know, as evinced by some of the gun laws or voting laws or the abortion law that's moving forward in texas right now that governor greg abbott seems eager to sign, there's a way that the republican party looks inside the beltway and the way it looks in other parts of the country. i think we need to moderate our view of just how much disarray the gop is in, at least right now. >> i don't think the gop is in disarray. i honestly think they're unified with a handful of exceptions.
that's what we're seeing. and look, it's great point. around the nation, what are we seeing? you've got florida, you've got oklahoma passing laws. not just voter suppression, but essentially criminalizing peaceful protests. you've got other states like idaho passing a law that defund schools teaching about critical erase theories. and the voter suppression laws are everywhere. so the gop is really in lockstep. their idea of policy is not delivering for people in need. their idea of policy is giving red meat to their base, which is voter suppression, criminalizing peaceful protests that surround black lives matter, and banning teaching of critical race in the 1619 project, because they don't want to talk about systemic racism, and don't even want to let kids learn about systemic racism. the gop is united. >> david, dean, ali, stick around. there's more we want to talk about in just a minute. coming up, we'll get into the relationship between our colleagues at the nbc television network and the golden globes. that relationship has ended, while another relationship is
starting to heat up again, we think. plus, we're seeing fuel shortages in some areas not supplied by the colonial pipeline. what's happening there? but first, richard lui and is here with the headlines. hey, richard. >> hey, joshua. good evening to you. some of the stories we're watching, starbucks and disney are the latest major companies to relax their mask policies following the recent guidance from the cdc. the new policies take effect at starbucks on monday. masks will be optional for fully vaccinated customers. at walt disney world, face coverings will be required throughout all of the park's attractions but optional in outdoor common areas. china successfully landing its first rover on mars, so says state media. the rover named for a chinese god of fire landed safely on saturday morning. it's a three-month mission in search of signs of life. it's the first time a non-american rover reached the red planet. and finally, the 146th
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perhaps the relationships among some republicans cannot be salvaged, but one of hollywood's hottest couples might be back together. might. jennifer lopez may be rekindling her relationship with ben affleck. the two were spotted vacationing together in montana. meanwhile, hollywood is dealing with another shake up this week involving one of its largest award shows.
nbc announced that it will not air the golden globes in 2022. what ended this decades-long relationship? controversy over a lack of diversity at the hollywood foreign press association. that's the group that throws the golden globes, and ethical questions related to financial benefits given to some of its members. our panel is back with us. david, dean, and ali. david, i know you wanted to jump in on j.lo, but i'm going to ask you about golden globes. i wonder what you think about msnbc's decision to back off from the golden globes this time around? >> well, it seems like a no-brainer from nbc and i'm not just saying this because we're sort of on their sister air here. what is remarkable to me is the golden globes could not be put upon to do even the bare minimum. like, you know, you would think they would have looked around some time in the last several years and said, we could do more
than absolutely nothing. and they didn't. so i think what we were seeing, and i think this is true across hollywood and it's a really good thing. you know, hollywood is late to the game when it comes to making sure that its programming reflects america. and you're seeing, you know, maybe we're not there where we need to be. maybe we're not even close. but we're finally seeing that there is a sense that if you are not willing to put in any effort whatsoever, yeah, that's a little bit not enough. and so it's a good sign, i think, that we're seeing that at least some lines are being drawn. >> dean, i want to know, by the way, for those of you who are watching, that nbc is our sister network, but nobody at nbc told us to do this story or had anything to do with the writing of the script. just to be clear. that's not part of how all of this works. but dean, the effort around the golden globes is part of something larger that's happening in hollywood, that didn't just affect the golden globes, but also universal pictures, which is another
corporate cousin of ours, saying it's going to be more involved in diversity efforts in hollywood. this is kind of bigger than the hollywood foreign press association at this point. >> it is. and according to the script nbc gave me to read, it's a very good move by nbc what they have done here. >> see, why -- man, i just -- >> no, i shouldn't have said that. i'm sorry. my bad -- >> that's not on mine -- go ahead. >> the golden globes is 87 people and no one's black. even the republican party is tim scott. i mean, come on. they have two other black members in the house. i know that when you have 87 members in charge of the golden globes and no one's black, it's 2021, there's something wrong. same thing if you're a corporation now and you're looking around, it's important. representation parties, because behind the scenes representation has an impact on what you see on the screen. i worked at "saturday night live" years ago, i was the only person of muslim heritage. they would ask me questions, because they wanted to get things right. they wanted to represent things accurately in a very difficult time. behind the scenes representation, i can tell you firsthand, actually contributes to a better product on tv or in the films and people appreciate it more. so it's the right thing to do.
>> before i move on, dean, can i follow on that? when people at "snl" would ask you those questions, how would you feel about that? i know some people who would work in those kind of positions and they feel like i don't want to be your muslim whisperer. i don't want to feel like your black guy whisperer. like, go do your own education. don't make me your tutor? how would you feel when they would ask you this thing? >> they would ask me, is this offensive and if i said yes, they would put it in even more. i'm kidding. i worked there in the years before 9/11 and for five years afterwards, but they wanted to know. so i was really happy they'd ask questions. in fact, because of my cousin translated in arabic, will farrell said live from new york, it's saturday night, in arabic as george w. bush. so my cousin wrote it out phonetically for me and i gave it to will and will went on air and said it. so i was happy to contribute. i think honestly representation is not a buzzword. it's good for the industry.
it makes what you're showing people better. >> ali, i want to come to you first with this story. you are close personal friends with jennifer lopez. can me put this tweet up on the screen, please. she's a fan. she is a fan. i don't want to destroy the friendship, but i would love to get your sense of this whole beniffer story who got tweeted by someone tonight, i didn't even know this was happening. what is this about? the whole relationship, it felt like it was just hollywood fluff, but the way people talk about it, it feels like it's important to people for a slightly different reason than just typical hollywood fluff. but what do you think? >> joshua, i guess you would say this is why you watch, right? the benifer news. it really does feel everything old is new again. and i have to say, the best revenge is living well. and i guess going on vacation in
montana with ben affleck -- with jennifer lopez, the really interesting thing about this is less about their relationship and actually more about how we react to it. and my friend emma grey on msnbc wrote this interesting piece about the fantasy of nostalgia especially after the year and years we've had recently. i want to read just a little piece of it where she writes since benifr 1.0 we've experienced two devastating financial crises, interminable wars, a resurgence of white nationalism, four years of donald trump and a global pandemic. basically making the point that you really can't blame americans for latching onto something that seems so empty calorie pop culture fun even though it's really two celebrities who, yes i know my close personal friendship according to the tweet, but it really is something for us to latch onto that feels familiar after a year and several years of such upheaval. so everything new is low again
i'm going to leave the low rise jeans where i left them in my teenage years but i'll definitely take the benfer or whatever nickname we came up with in 2021. >> we love the low-rise jeans. i'm wearing mine. >> i don't know! >> that's why i'm behind a desk. david, i didn't know if you wanted to jump in on that. but there's another story. speaking of something that's kind of harkening back to perhaps simpler times, one of tv's most successful talk show hosts is going off the air next season, ellen degeneres has announced that season 19, next year, will be the last season of her show. one of the factors underneath all of this was, of course, this buzzfeed news investigation about problematic conditions in the workplace, behind the scenes. here's a clip of her interview with savannah guthrie that aired on "today." she talked about how the controversy, as she puts it, was not the reason she's going off air, but it compounded the damage, particularly because she has this reputation of being the "be kind" lady. here's part of what she told savannah.
>> i can't honk my horn or else, you know, the "be kind" lady honked at me. you can't do anything with that. it wasn't supposed to be my title. it was just a message. >> what would your motto be now if you could go back. >> go [ bleep ] yourselves. >> i knew it would be something good. >> i don't know. my motto is, you know, still, you know, it's still "be kind," i just, you know, i don't want that to be my label. >> i presume she was kidding about the new motto. but david, what do you make of her comment and her rationale for wanting to get away from that label? >> well, i will say, i am as bewildered as anybody could possibly be that i am being brought on to talk about hollywood intrigue. >> you've got to be ready, man. the news can take you anywhere. >> that's right. so here's what i will say. i think that it's a little bit rich -- i mean, i love ellen degeneres' comedy. i downloaded her stand-up illegally when i was in high
school, so i owe her money. but at the same time, like, this was an open secret in hollywood that she mistreated people really badly. not just her producers, everybody knew that she was really cruel. and you know it was an open secret, because i knew about it. right? like, i am not a hollywood person. you don't realize how far a secret has to go for me to know about it? and i had heard these rumors. so i think the idea now that like she's trying to walk that back or trying to say, you know, this was all -- i don't know exactly what she was trying to claim, i don't think it's going to wash, based merely on the fact that if i had heard about it, you know, this was not a very big secret at all. >> dean, what do you think? we've talked about how things are changing in hollywood as it relates to race and culture. things are also changing in hollywood as it relates to workplace culture, i think just like they're changing in a lot of other places, especially because it's even easier now for the secret to come out through various corners of the web.
>> i agree with you. and she launched a million viewers, over 50% of her audience over this year. but her image was this nice person. and when people learned there was a toxic work environment, they didn't like it. what you see on the screen is not always what they're like behind the screens. look, joshua, you're really nice when we're on camera, but on commercial, joshua yells at us, i have to call him mr. johnson the entire time. only now i get to look at him through a camera. >> is there someone behind me that has my name that you're talking to. what are you talking about? >> look, again, i hope nbc's okay with this, it's on the script. they wanted me to say this about you. i was kidding about this. actually, i don't know you off the set, so maybe you are exactly like ellen. but ellen is right, her brand was be nice and that's how it was destroyed. if you're brand is one thing and you do something completely against it, that's how you get hurt.
she lost a massive amount of audience. but she has a basket of emmies that she's won and she has done 3,000 episodes, so she's had a great career. >> ali, i know we've got to go in a second, but nbc did give you anything on paper about me that you need to say? because now's your chance. >> i'm actually scriptless. i'm in the business of writing my own scripts, usually. so no, i'm good here. >> that is such a relief. that means that, ali, you can come back. these other two, i'm not so sure. that's the kind of mean guy that i am, dean obeidallah. >> see! >> i see. this is how it works. david dit, dean own dalal, and msnbc's ali vitali, appreciate having you all on tonight. i am a nice guy. i really am. i swear that i am. up next, we'll talk politics and pop music. it might show us something about dealing with our differences. ncs
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most controversial issues. how can we move people on opposite sides towards solutions? we might find a clue in the music world with an honor that was bestowed this week. on wednesday, the rock 'n' roll hall of fame announced its latest class of inductees. some of the names you may know like carole king, foo fighters, billy preston, todd rundgren and the incomparable tina turner. charlie patton is known as the father of delta blues. he was a successful musician for his day, cutting his first album in 1929. his hit song pony blues is preserved in the library of congress. ♪♪
♪♪ ♪ we are the robots, we are the robots ♪ >> that's about as far from delta blues as it gets, but craft work is also in this year's hall of inductees. that was their 2017 track, "the robots." craftwork pioneered using synthesizers in rock and edm. charlie patton and croftwork have very little in common, but this is rock music. on a long enough timeline,
everything connects to everything else. and eventually, the legacy of black music in american combined with innovations of synthesizers to create a whole new sound. ♪♪ >> "planet rock" by the soul sonic force helped create hip hop in the early '80s. fans don't need to know about charlie patton to love planet rock, but that's the point of honoring them. and that is the risk we run putting ourselves into rigid categories. it used to be that rock and roll was sold to white audiences, blues were sold to black audiences but the category never fit. breaking things into tight categories makes life simple. it can also make life shallow.
and if we're not careful, it can make us shallow, too. the same thing that makes rock 'n' roll hard to define, that's what makes america such an amazing country. not just diversity, complexity. today's politics can seem very complex with lots of big challenges and no easy solutions, but really, they're pretty simple. too simple. and that may be the problem. researchers in germany and at columbia university here in new york wanted to know how conversations about hot button issues change as they get more complex. they recruited people with opposing views to write a statement of shared perspectives and these were on big issues, like abortion or euthanasia. the variable was that before trying to write it, they wrote a document laying out the issue. one group wrote a document with low complexity. kind of on one hand/on the other hand approach. the other group's document described the shades of gray inside an issue with nuance and detail. the result, only about 46% of the low complexity group was able to write a joint statement. but the high complexity group had a perfect record.
everyone in that group completed the statement. and researchers also say that the high complexity statements were better written than the low complexity ones. the study's authors hesitate to jump to big conclusions from their findings. there's still more research to do. but it's an encouraging sign. we struggle so much to find common ground on difficult issues. perhaps the way forward has less to do with showing how we are alike. maybe we need a more rock 'n' roll approach. more complexity, more nuance. more difference. and less eagerness to keep things simple. there's a word for this. complexifying. and yes, it's a real world. i checked with merriam and webster. they both said it's cool. i don't know about you, but i'm tired of being put in neat little boxes. i want more shades of gray, more complexity. more of the whole truth about how we really think and really live. and this will be especially important as the gop charts its future. battle lines are being drawn,
but not every republican voter will fit neatly within them. some will stick with the pro-trump faction, others will want the party to move on without donald trump. still, others will be torn between both. yet others will become democrats. and who knows how many will drop out of partisan politics altogether and become independents. now, you may or may not agree with some of them or any of them or all of them. but what good does it do to ignore them? you know, i've always hated talking about my politics. it's not just because it can close people off from talking to me. i hate it because it can stop people from getting to know me. especially if my politics make them assume that i'm just like them. it's a lazy kind of shorthand for whether you should like someone, and it actually spares you from actually getting to know me. once people decide what they
think you are, it can be really hard to reclaim your identity. what would happen if more of us lived more in our complex contradictions, and less in such bland, boring, binary biases. because that's what they are. biases. that's what they are. boring. i'm over partisan division, not because of the division, but almost because it's not divided enough. it's too simple. it's incomplete. without complexity, rock music wouldn't be rock. america wouldn't be america. you would not be you. maybe you're already living this full-color life, instead of sticking to black and white thinking. so tell us, how are you complexifying things where you are. and how's it going? tell us your story. 100 words or fewer, please. email email@example.com. or tweet us @theweekmsnbc. we're not just looking for happy stories. if you're struggling with this, that's okay to share, too. either way be sure to include your name and where you live. the firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @theweekmsnbc.
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♪ the things, you say ♪ ♪ you're unbelievable ♪ ♪ ♪ applebee's irresist-a-bowls are back. dig in for just $8.99. if you are stocking up on gasoline right now, please stop. panic buying is driving a fuel shortage in some state. a ransomware attack forced the nation's largest fuel supplier to close down, but the panic is making it worse. colonial pipeline is back delivering millions of gallons of fuel per hour, but experts say it will take a while for things to go back to normal. here's nbc's blayne alexander. >> reporter: all week long, we have seen the scramble. >> i have been here now for an
hour and 15 minutes and this is my fifth gas station. >> it's a panic. everybody is panicking, just like the toilet paper supply. >> reporter: across the southeast and up the east coast, gas prices are going up and pumps are going dry. in north carolina, where at one point more than 70% of stations were out of gas, the shortage led five school systems to switch to remote learning. now the bulk of the pain has moved up north to d.c., where friday, outages were still at a whopping 81%. >> i don't know how i'm going to make it home. >> reporter: all areas along the colonial pipeline, the nation's largest fuel supplier forced to shutdown after a ransomware attack. it is now back online, the $5 million ransom paid. but experts say that it will take a bit longer for that relief to trickle down to the pump. >> it's going to take one or two weeks to get it down enough
where motorist is no longer have to think about where to fill up. >> reporter: and it's doing a number of on prices, too. the national average topping $3 per gallon for the first time since 2014. but are the issues driven by the pipeline or panic? consider miami where at one point more than 40% of stations were out of gas, despite the fact that south florida is not even served by the pipeline. >> so essentially it came down to people panic buying. that is what was causing a majority of the problem, not the pipeline itself. >> that appears to be the case. definitely the concern played a big role. >> that was nbc's blayne alexander reporting. california is experiencing a multi-billion-dollar budget surplus this year. where will that money go during the pandemic with the governor facing a recall? we'll consider it before we go. o stay restless with the icon that does the same. the rx, crafted by lexus. lease the 2021 rx 350 for $439 a month for 36 months. experience amazing, at your lexus dealer. this is how you become the best!
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that's billion, with a b. and that surplus is more than most states spend in a year. the surplus can be partly explained by success of tech companies in silicon valley. many of them have thrived thanks to us staying home. the surplus will almost certainly play a role in the recall effort of governor gavin newsom. supporters of the recall have secured enough signatures to put the question to voters. in the meantime, governor newsom has proposed returning some of the surplus, in the form of stimulus checks. $600 for middle-income residents. 500 more to families with dependents. let's discuss it with a political writer for the los angeles times. sima, welcome. >> thank you for having me on. >> what else can we attribute this surplus to? >> there is a number of things. first of all, california's budget is very reliant on high-income earners and with the stock market, high-income earners have done very well, despite the fact we have had so many problems be the economy because of the pandemic.
as you point out, i hadn't heard of zoom two years ago and i certainly know what it is now. so california's budget is doing much better than they expected it to be. >> we should know, by the way, that california has had surpluses, in the past decade or so under governor jerry brown who was able to pull the state in a surplus state more than once. >> look. governor newsom proposed a number of things. you mentioned the $600 checks to families. there is increased access to early-childhood education. billions of dollars for the homeless problem. everything, from utility bills to parking tickets. i mean, he laid out a whole bunch of proposals to use this -- this budget which has obviously drawn some criticism. >> let me ask about this recall. i wonder how you see it now. there was a poll out this week from berkeley that showed only 36% support for recalling governor newsom. not 36% approval of gavin newsom.
that's not what this is. this is 36% of people who support removing him from office, early. that's unchanged since january. none of his republican opponents receives more than 22% support. caitlyn jenner, who recently announced her candidacy, only has 6% support in one of the latest polls. how do you see this race and the impact of the surplus on it? >> i mean, clearly, he is in a better position than davis was at this point in 2003 which was our last governor that was recalled. but it's, also, the -- the election is many, many months away. we really don't know what is going to happen between now and november when the election's likely to be held. i mean, this surplus certainly helps him. gray davis was talking about raising car tax fees, et cetera. and gavin newsom is talking about giving you money back. but that said, this is all prompted by the recall. that all of his actions need to be viewed and quite frankly will be viewed through a recall lens going forward in the next several months. one of his opponents calls it
the recall -- so, it's -- it's going to be interesting to see what happens. i mean, also, while the state economy's doing quite well. it is -- the state's budget is very volatile because it is so dependent on high-income earners. so i think what happens in the next several months. there is concerns, you know, we saw that in the market this week. what happens with the economy going forward? and also, what happens with the coronavirus, with covid? do schools get shut down again? do businesses get shut down again? so i think he is in a better position now than gray davis was in 2003. but there is a lot that can happen between now and november. >> very briefly, before i let you go. one of the candidates, john cox, brought a live bear to one of his campaign events. now, being investigated by the san diego humane society. what is up with these campaigns? how did that play out, before i have to let you go? >> well, the bear. john cox has run for everything from county reporter of deeds in
illinois to president of the united states and senate and congress. and the bear probably brought the most attention that john cox ever received in this lifetime. that said, was unhappy that everyone's talking about the bear. >> i can imagine. sima, thanks very much. >> thank you. we hope you will come on back, tomorrow night. congresswoman pramila jayapal live at 8:00 eastern. they will discuss the deal for a bipartisan commission to investigate the attack on the capitol. the show starts tomorrow night at 8:00 eastern. then here on "the week" parkland shooting survivor and gun control activist david hogg joins us. we'll get his take how washington is taking on gun violence now. but until we meet again. i'm joshua johnson. thank you so much for making time for us. we'll see you sunday. good night. 'll see you sunday good night i do things a bit differently. wet teddy bears! wet teddy bears here! only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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