WASHINGTON WATCH ROUNDTABLE: GOP Launches $10 Million Initiative To Reach Out To Minorities (VIDEO) | Roland Martin Reports

WASHINGTON WATCH ROUNDTABLE: GOP Launches $10 Million Initiative To Reach Out To Minorities (VIDEO)

The Republican Party plans to launch a $10 million initiative this year designed to reach out to minorities in order to make the party more diverse.

This weeks Washington Watch roundtable features Avis Jones-Deweever, president and CEO of Incite Unlimited; Elroy Sailor, co-founder and CEO of the J.C. Watts Companies; Angela Rye, principal at IMPACT Strategies; rmstrong Williams, host of “The Right Side.”

MR. MARTIN: Welcome back.

The Republican Party plans to launch a $10 million initiative this year designed to reach out to minorities in order to make the party more diverse.

Good idea?

We’re taking it to the roundtable with Avis Jones-Deweever, president and CEO of Incite Unlimited; Elroy Sailor, co-founder and CEO of the J.C. Watts, Companies – pocket square matching his tie. He just broke a man law. Angela Rye, principal at IMPACT Strategies; as well as, of course, Armstrong Williams, host of “The Right Side.” And, of course, all of you have political consulting companies; and so we[’ve] got to put that out there. Armstrong – he[’s] just got all kind[s] of stuff.

[LAUGHTER.]

MR. MARTIN: He’s owning TV stations, consulting – you name it.

This report in many ways was very damning. I mean it dealt with issues like immigration. It dealt with issues like same-sex marriage. It dealt with any number of things. You know, but again, I think national media are looking at this report in a wrong way. I mean I get this whole notion in terms of the friction inside the party. I just think Democrats [had] better be real, real careful because if they fall for this notion that somehow the party’s dead, and they can’t attract votes in the future, they might be in for a rude awakening.

DR. AVIS JONES-DEWEEVER: I agree with you, I mean, 100 percent. No one can sort of take this to the bank now in terms of the Democratic Party, but what people are looking at is the future of this nation. The Republicans are losing a demographic battle. The fact of the matter is this is a blacker and browner nation, and it’s going to be even blacker and browner in the years ahead. So, the main Republican stalwarts – that white, male vote – is becoming smaller and smaller.

MR. MARTIN: Right.

DR. JONES-DEWEEVER: And what are they doing? Now, you have to reach out not only with message, but you have to reach out with substance. We’re not going to fall for the okeydokey. You have to really produce policies that people of color will be attracted to to have a real chance to come back and win future presidential elections and to maintain the lead that they have today on a state level.

MR. MARTIN: Elroy, your assessment of this what the national media are calling an “autopsy.” I look at it as simply an analysis of where the party is today [and] where they want to be in the future.

MR. ELROY SAILOR: Yeah, I agree with you. I think it’s analysis. I mean when you look at outreach, I mean it didn’t just start with Chairman Priebus. And we take our hats off [to] Chairman Priebus picking up. But you look at what Michael Steele did. It’s more inclusion. So, I don’t even like to use the word “outreach,” because outreach means it’s a group of non-black and -brown people who sit around a table and say, “How do we go talk to people of color,” but inclusion is when you take people from the community who might not even be Republicans – they might be liberals; they might be blue-collar; they might be independents – but you bring them in, and you have them help you design and determine what the meal looks like. So, that’s real inclusion, and that actually kind of started under Chairman Steele and the Department of Coalition, and you’re starting to see that build up.

So, I mean I think Priebus is off on a good track. You know, a lot of black conservatives, black Republicans, black Tea Party folks, black free-market folks came together and presented a lot of that plan to the chairman.

So, again, I like to call it “inclusion” versus “outreach,” because outreach kind of implies –

MR. MARTIN: Right.

MR. SAILOR: — you’re just going to –

MR. MARTIN: A- — A- —

MR. SAILOR: — talk to some folks, but there’s no substance –

MR. MARTIN: — Angela –

MR. SAILOR: — as you indicated.

MR. MARTIN: — Angela, should Democrats, though, be very wary of this whole notion that, “Oh, we’ve got an easy path to victory in the future”? Everybody keeps assuming that Hillary Clinton is going to run in 2016. I’m not completely sold on that. If all of a sudden, let’s say, she chooses not to run, [the] Democratic field is wide open – what happened in 2012 [was] you often heard different folks in the Obama campaign – remember when John Huntsman got in the race. A lot of folks were saying, “Man! That’s a guy that, if you’re a Democrat, you want to be afraid of because he’s a moderate Republican.”

And so should Democrats step back and say, “We might want to get our house in order and begin to realize that we’re losing the battle in these state races”? You keep losing gubernatorial mansions. The battles, policy-wise, are now shifting to the states; and if you don’t control the house or the senate, or the governor’s mansion, you can simply get knocked out.

MS. ANGELA RYE: I think there’s no question about it; but, first, to the inclusion point, in order to really be included, you really have to talk about using minority vendors. There was not a single mention of a minority vendor anything in this GOP outreach inclusion plan.

The second thing –

MR. SAILOR: [Chuckles.] Thank you.

MS. RYE: — is when you’re dealing with Democratic policies and politics and even our inclusion practices, we really have to decide, you know, what are the policies that we’re going to put in place. The DNC has spent a lot of time –

MR. MARTIN: But let’s also be honest. Democrats also [have] got to deal with some issues about inclusion as well when it comes –

MS. RYE: — I’m getting ready to –

MR. MARTIN: — to contracts –

MS. RYE:sure.

MR. MARTIN: — because a lot of black political consultants and pollsters are saying –

MS. RYE: I’m getting ready to address it.

MR. MARTIN: — you look at De- — okay.

[CHUCKLING.]

MS. RYE:Yeah. No, I mean the DNC has hired a chief diversity officer. When I was with the CBC, the members urged the RNC to do the same practice. When you start putting people in place to say, “We want to correct this. We know it’s not right,” that’s the first step.

The second step is shoring up donor dollars. So, if you want to continue to reach out to people of color, you have to run candidates that they want to support.

MR. MARTIN: I want to deal with another issue that we saw this week when it comes to gun control legislation in the Senate. You see Senator Harry Reid say we’re going to have the background checks, but on the issue of the assault weapon ban? It’s clear Democrats –

MS. RYE: Right.

MR. MARTIN:Democrats

MR. SAILOR: Yeah.

MR. MARTIN: — are not necessarily supportive of that, and that’s not going anywhere. Senator Dianne Feinstein is saying, “Look, we[’ve] got to keep fighting for this thing.”

Democrats can’t blame this one just on the GOP.

MR. SAILOR: Yeah.

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: Well, you know, Senator Dianne Feinstein has to realize that it is not worth her pushing an agenda where – certainly, she has a legitimate debate, but it’s not worth making 12 Democratic senators vulnerable in the next election – what will be a crucial election. Harry Reid may have been in an unprincipled position, but he comes from a state like Nevada, and you just cannot win with the assault weapon [ban]. And you have to acknowledge the fact that the NRA is still a very powerful and influential organization, and it’s not going anywhere.

MR. MARTIN: I want to stop you right there, because you just said “unprincipled” dealing with Senator Harry Reid and then the principle of Senator Dianne Feinstein. So, at what point, if you believe in gun control, do you say, “I’m sorry. Your concern should be about principles and not the next election” – not –

MS. RYE: Right.

MR. MARTIN: — whether you keep your –

MR. SAILOR: Yeah.

MR. MARTIN: — job? I mean –

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: You’re joking – right?

MR. MARTIN: — no, I’m not joking!

[CHUCKLING. CROSSTALK.]

MR. MARTIN: I’m not joking, because I believe –

MS. RYE: [Crosstalk] – lives have been lost!

MR. MARTIN: — in principles!

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: [Chuckles.]

DR. JONES-DEWEEVER: I mean, frankly, we’re waving the white flag here on this issue, and we don’t need to. I believe a hundred percent in what the President said when he said in his State of the Union they deserve a vote. The parents of children who have been slain in Connecticut deserve a vote. The parents of children who have been slain in Chicago deserve a vote. The parents of children and family all over this United States who have been cut down ahead of their time because of gun violence, because of assault weapons that really belong on a battlefield and not in the hands of crazies, deserve a vote.

MR. MARTIN: But will the White House, though – and I get you on that. Will they, though, push the Senate and say there should be an up-and-down vote on [an] assault weapons ban?

MS. RYE: Well, there will be up-and-down votes on all of the issues the President mentioned in the State of the Union. They will not, however, be attached to the actual bill – which I think everyone can attest here is the principle. At some point, we have to say, “Laying politics aside, there are lives that have been lost. We are elected to serve the people.” If the people cannot live, given the constraints that we’re existing in and the fact that there are these very dangerous weapons on the streets and crazy people, we have a problem here.” And we have to address it not only politically, but policy-wise.

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: But what is lost here is that handguns create far more violence than assault weapons. The principle is –

MS. RYE: [Crosstalk] – Newtown.

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: — the principle is –

MS. RYE: Not a handgun.

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: — that legislating guns is not the issue. You’ve just got to do something about these gun offenders, these violent people who have guns in their hands.

And so you[’ve] got to get it away from the emotional debate. Listen, you can –

MS. RYE: It is emotional –

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: — pass all the legisla- –

MS. RYE: — though. It’s lives lost.

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: — it’s true. That’s true, but you can pass all the legislation in the world, but if some crazy person wants to go out and kill, you can’t stop them. The best thing you can do is arm schools, arm responsible people –

MS. RYE: Then there’re juvenile –

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: — to protect them.

MS. RYE: — detention centers. Instead of –

MR. SAILOR: But here’s the – [crosstalk]- —

MS. RYE: — instead of places of education, they become juvenile detention center[s]. At what point do you say, you know, “This isn’t really working”?

To contradict what you just said, the NRA has the House Appropriations process to push in riders. They’ve inserted riders just this week with the House on the continuing resolution to ensure that DOJ cannot take inventory on weapons that are stolen from gun manufacturers. So, you have folks that are doing the exact opposite of what the Senate is trying to push. I mean it’s extremely dangerous and contradictory. We’re not serving the people.

MR. SAILOR: — the real challenge with this debate is we spend so much time on gun control legislation – and it’s an important issue – but I wish we would devote as much time to educational issues in urban communities, employment issues in urban communities, health disparities issues in urban communities.

Look, people are going to get guns, and bad people are going to do bad things with guns.

MR. MARTIN: Well, first of all, let’s also be honest. It’s not like you have urban communities being a part of this whole gun discussion.

MR. SAILOR: Right, and that’s not even where the discussion is. I mean black folks and brown folks have been killing each other and shooting each other for a long time.

MS. RYE: And been getting shot. I bring to you Kimani Gray –

MR. SAILOR: But – [crosstalk] –

MS. RYE: — again.

MR. SAILOR: — so, now we[’ve] got this big, national debate. We’re getting ready to take up X-amount of hours on gun control legislation. Where are the hours being taken up on unemployment –

MS. RYE: Ask the –

MR. SAILOR: — that 40, 50 percent in urban –

MS. RYE: — Republican Party that’s –

MR. SAILOR: — communities?

MS. RYE: — running the House. I mean –

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: You should ask both parties.

[CROSSTALK.]

MR. SAILOR: Ask – [crosstalk].

MS. RYE: Or – or that! But I’m saying –

MR. SAILOR: Ask – [crosstalk]!

MS. RYE: — but I’m saying –

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: Yes!

MS. RYE: — even – you’re bringing up healthcare. Just ironically, you brought up healthcare. You-all had a repeal of the Affordable Care Act in this past –

MR. SAILOR: Which, I might add, as a small businessman, my premium –

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: I agree with him[?].

MS. RYE: — I –

MR. SAILOR: — have increased about 20 percent.

MS. RYE: — that’s fine, but –

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS:Twenty-five percent!

MS. RYE: — what I’m saying is –

MR. SAILOR: Twenty percent – [crosstalk] –

MS. RYE: — what’s ironic [is] –

[CROSSTALK.]

MS. RYE: — that you want to –

MR. SAILOR: — [crosstalk] – small business owner.

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: Twenty-five percent. I agree with you!

MS. RYE: — that’s fine.

[CROSSTALK.]

MS. RYE: You want to talk about healthcare disparities, though –

MR. SAILOR: [Chuckles.]

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: [Chuckles.]

MS. RYE: — but your party continues to push repealing the Affordable Care Act, and it’s a losing issue! You lost the –

MR. SAILOR: Well –

[CROSSTALK.]

MS. RYE: — presidential –

MR. SAILOR: — anytime you put a 1200 –

MS. RYE: — election behind it!

MR. SAILOR: — anytime you put a –

DR. JONES-DEWEEVER: And – [crosstalk] –

MR. SAILOR: — 1200-page bill out there that most members of Congress haven’t read, yeah, it ought to be repealed and rethought!

MS. RYE: You – and talk to people –

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: [Crosstalk.]

MR. SAILOR: [Chuckles.]

MS. RYE: — about reading. Talk to people – it’s fundamental, honey. I don’t –

DR. JONES-DEWEEVER: And the reason –

MR. MARTIN: Avis, go ahead.

DR. JONES-DEWEEVER: — you don’t have such a strong focus on jobs is your party wants to talk about the deficit.

I would argue that our real is not some big, amorphous number that you wield around like a weapon. The real crisis that we face in this country is, in fact, the employment crisis –

OFF CAMERA: Right.

DR. JONES-DEWEEVER: — and every time this president tries to push through some legislation that would get people back to work – that would get people working on infrastructure; that would put jobs on the street, with teachers, with policemen, with everything we all know that we need – who obstructs it?

MR. SAILOR: You made some very –

DR. JONES-DEWEEVER:It’s your party!

MR. SAILOR: — valid points, but the President first needs to present a budget. I mean as a small businessman –

MS. RYE: — oh, come on!

MR. SAILOR: — how’re you going to set priorities –

[CROSSTALK.]

MR. SAILOR: — without having a budget?

DR. JONES-DEWEEVER: He’s already provided [the] Jobs –

MR. SAILOR: Well, you[’ve] got to – you[’ve] got to –

DR. JONES-DEWEEVER: — Act over –

MR. SAILOR: — give a framework!

DR. JONES-DEWEEVER: — and over and over –

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS:Really?

DR. JONES-DEWEEVER: — again. And, yes, every little –

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: Really!

DR. JONES-DEWEEVER: — minute portion –

MR. SAILOR: And the Senate –

DR. JONES-DEWEEVER: — of that –

MR. SAILOR: — hasn’t — [crosstalk] –

DR. JONES-DEWEEVER: — [crosstalk] –

MR. SAILOR: — a budget in three years!

DR. JONES-DEWEEVER: — that he tried to push forward –

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: The Demo- –

DR. JONES-DEWEEVER: — every portion of that –

MS. RYE: [Crosstalk] – in the red –

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: — the Democrat –

MS. RYE: — to pass their budget –

DR. JONES-DEWEEVER: — [crosstalk] — attempted to push forward –

MR. SAILOR: — [crosstalk] – three years.

DR. JONES-DEWEEVER:you stopped.

[CROSSTALK.]

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: — the Democrats nor the Republicans are paying much attention to President Obama and his agenda.

MR. SAILOR: And – [crosstalk] –

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: He is officially –

MR. SAILOR: — but you got zero votes.

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: — a lame duck president –

MS. RYE: Oh, my God.

MR. SAILOR: [Crosstalk] –

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: — and – [crosstalk] –

[CROSSTALK.]

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: — has started.

MS. RYE: Chile, please!

[CROSSTALK.]

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: Yeah, it has started.

DR. JONES-DEWEEVER: [Chuckles.]

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: They’re not paying him any attention.

MS. RYE: That’s not true.

MR. SAILOR: Well –

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: They’re thinking about their own interests now – not the interests and the agenda of –

MS. RYE: And that’s exactly –

MR. ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS: — the President.

MS. RYE: — why they’re about to –

[CROSSTALK.]

MS. RYE: — do the up-or-down vote that he required in the State of the Union on gun control.

MR. SAILOR: Well –

MR. MARTIN: And I’m ’bout to pay –

DR. JONES-DEWEEVER: [Crosstalk] – the problem.

MR. MARTIN: — some particular attention –

MR. SAILOR: [Chuckles.]

MR. MARTIN: — to my advertisers.

Folks, we certainly appreciate it. Thank you – [chuckles] – very much, Avis, Elroy, Angela and Armstrong.