• Reince Priebus: ‘Voter Suppression Has No Place in Our World’

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    SYBIL WILKES:  But that’s Wisconsin.  That’s Wisconsin.

    TOM JOYNER :  Yeah.

    REINCE PRIEBUS:  But I’m just telling you about like in a state like Wisconsin, I’m just telling you that in a state like that, photo ID and making sure that people say who they are really is who they are and that they live in a place that they really live in.  And in many places, like Wisconsin, you have vote fraud where people are registering in empty lots.  I mean this is not made up stuff.  I mean this has happened.  Police reports were issued on this subject.  And it’s real.  And so that’s not true.

    TOM JOYNER :  Roland, you understand where I’m coming from, right?

    ROLAND MARTIN :  Yeah, and that’s one of the issues, that’s certainly one of the issues that we talked about, and not just the issue of even voters, but also you said explain our issues.  But isn’t this also about listening to what African Americans say are their issues, are their concerns, and saying how you, as a party, could also speak to those issues?

    REINCE PRIEBUS:  Well, listen, that’s the number one issue.  Sometimes you got to keep your mouth shut and listen.  And that’s what we’re doing in Cleveland tomorrow.  And I agree with you, and take your lumps, and you also learn and change.

    ROLAND MARTIN :  Right.

    REINCE PRIEBUS:  And be a party that gets to know people and builds genuine, real, authentic relationships.  And, you know, I agree with that.

    ROLAND MARTIN :  I got to ask you this real quick, you obviously had critics within your own party who are African American, J.C. Watts has made some statements, former chairman Michael Steele.  Do you plan on sitting down with them?  They’ve been in the trenches for a number of years.  Michael Steele came on this show several times when he was Chairman.  Do you plan on sitting down with them to get their thoughts?  Like I said, because they’ve been pushing this issue for a long time.

    REINCE PRIEBUS:  Yeah, but, you know, it’s a … but we also have a party though, even though that’s true, and number one, yes, of course.  You want to build our party, and J.C. and Michael are an important part of our party …

    ROLAND MARTIN :  So you do plan on …

    REINCE PRIEBUS:  But this is also something, Roland …

    ROLAND MARTIN :  One second …

    REINCE PRIEBUS:  … that has never been done before.  I mean hiring a few people down the hallway and saying that this is somehow voter engagement, in my mind, this isn’t true.  I think you need hundreds of people across the country that are working with you, and for, and on behalf of the party to engage voters.  And so, yeah, that’s the only way you’re going to build the party.  Now, look, guys – I’m not looking, we’re not going to carpet the world in three months, I’m not naive.  But I do think that we can do, you know, we can get to 10 and 15 and 20 percent if we work hard and have a long term view on what our party needs to do.  And so this is all part of it.  And I get it.  And the criticism in many cases is fair.

    SYBIL WILKES:  Just a suggestion, sir, but you might want to talk to members of Congress and have them start talking to members of the opposite party and get things going there as well.  And that might get people a little bit more open to what you have to say.

    REINCE PRIEBUS:  Look, I agree.  I think every member should fight for a majority of every demographic in the district and they’ll be helping our country, in the long term, obviously helping our party, but it’s about America, not the Republican Party, and I think this is all just one big part of it.

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