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Abuses of Power: Heather McGhee on Matt Lauer, Trump, Sexual Assault, Patriarchy and the Tax Code

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As NBC News fires Matt Lauer after accusations of “inappropriate sexual behavior,” our guest Heather McGhee, president of Demos, makes the connection between patriarchy and abuses of power in media and government, from the White House and its endorsement of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, to the GOP tax plan that Republicans are pushing toward a vote in the Senate.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Heather, we have to wrap up now. In fact, we’re headed to Oklahoma to talk about another issue, to speak with a Cherokee lawyer and attorney about Pocahontas, what is her life story. But I did want to briefly ask you, in this last 30 seconds, this latest news—Matt Lauer, NBC has fired him. This follows Charlie Rose. Right now, Congressman Conyers, we hear he may be holding a news conference. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are also calling for his resignation around issues of sexual harassment. Of course, Harvey Weinstein. Your thoughts on this?

HEATHER MCGHEE: This is a moment of reckoning. It is a moment of collective power for women who have felt that they, individually, could not speak up because men hold so many of the cards in workplaces, in industries. They hold so much of the political power in this country and the economic power. But women are discovering that there is strength in numbers and that they may just be believed. That’s a wonderful thing.

There is so much more accountability happening, though, on the side of media and in private industry than at the very top, in the most powerful seat in this country, which is in the White House. And the idea that Roy Moore, someone who is so clearly a repeated child molester and pedophile, could be endorsed meaningfully by the White House, it makes your skin crawl. And I think that the Republican Party has a reckoning that they have to do about their morality, as they take away children’s healthcare, as they bankrupt our future and endorse a pedophile.

AMY GOODMAN: You make a link between the tax plan and patriarchy.

HEATHER MCGHEE: Absolutely. I mean, this value system, that there’s this sort of hierarchy of human value, that some groups of people are just worth more than others because they have more money and more power, is a part of a system of racial hierarchy, patriarchy, white supremacy. And we’re seeing it. We’re seeing it play out very much, where women, people of color and the next generation are going to suffer from this tax plan.

AMY GOODMAN: And, finally, of course, this is all happening under President Trump, President Trump who himself has been accused by at least 16 women of sexual assault, now questioning even the tape, that he did not question before, where he is caught on tape boasting about sexually assaulting women.

HEATHER MCGHEE: I don’t think he’s questioning it. I think he realizes from the first year of his presidency that he can lie and lie and repeat a lie, and that some people will believe it. And that’s what he’s doing now.

AMY GOODMAN: Heather McGhee, head of Demos, thanks so much for being with us, and Demos Action. And Jenna Freudenburg, Ohio State graduate student, with Save Graduate Education, thank you for joining us, from Hilliard, Ohio.

This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we head to Tulsa, Oklahoma. President Trump attempted to insult the Massachusetts Congresswoman Elizabeth Warren—Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren by calling her “Pocahontas.” Who was Pocahontas? We’ll speak with a Cherokee writer. Stay with us.

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Cherokee Writer: Trump Pocahontas Slur Reflects Centuries of Colonial Violence Against Native Women

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