It's clear that America is deeply divided on the issue of gun rights after this weeken's mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. On his Tuesday show, MSNBC host Craig Melvin invited fellow MSNBC journalist Stephanie Ruhle on to offer a suggestion that would be guaranteed to only further that divide, which was that corporate America, mainly Walmart, must go after organizations and people that MSNBC does not like.
The segment began with Melvin invoking a New York Times column by Andrew Ross Sorkin in which he begged Walmart to use its influence as the nation's largest retailer to "help end this violence."
After being introduced by Melvin, Ruhle declared that getting Walmart to stop selling all guns was likely a dead end because not everyone agrees with people who work in New York City newsrooms, but "we could look to companies and say you don't need to be anti-gun but you can be more pro-gun safety." She added: "[It] doesn’t mean they have taken some guns off the shelves, by the way, they have taken some off the shelves already. They don't sell handguns, they don't sell some automatic and semi-automatic weapons but they could do more in the name of safety."
While that is better than Ruhle's Monday statement where she declared Walmart was, "one of the largest sellers of assault-style weapons" in the country, it is still incorrect to say "they don't sell some" because, outside of handguns in Alaska, they don't sell any of those type of firearms.
Ruhle concluded by holding up CEO of Dick's Sporting Goods Ed Stack as a positive example of corporate leadership and having the courage to urge Mitch McConnell "to do something." Ruhle then urged CEOs to stop donating to "Mitch McConnel or lawmakers with A+ ratings from the NRA."
She then urged Walmart specifically to pressure Wells Fargo: "Wells Fargo wants to do business with Walmart. Wells Fargo is the NRA's primary bank. Walmart can say to Wells Fargo, you need to push the NRA on sensible gun safety."
Here is a transcript:
MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin
August 6, 2019
11:53 a.m. Eastern
CRAIG MELVIN: Calls growing now for corporate leaders specifically to step up and break the seemingly endless cycle of gun violence in this country. "New York Times" columnist and CNBC co-anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin penned an open letter to the Walmart’s chief executive Doug McMillon entitled “Dear Walmart C.E.O.: You Have the Power to Curb Gun Violence. Do It.” He writes in part, “in the depths of this crisis lies an opportunity for you to help end this violence. You, singularly, have a greater chance to use your influence as the country’s largest retailer and largest seller of guns with greater sway over the entire ecosystem that controls guns in the United States than any other individual in corporate America.” MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle joins me now. Steph, always good to have you. First of all, how big of an influence does Walmart have? How much of an impact could they have in stopping gun violence?
STEPHANIE RUHLE: Let's make something clear. Walmart is the biggest employer in the United States. It's the biggest retailer in the United States and one of the biggest gun sellers. Walmart is America. So you have people who are anti-guns, who are saying, Walmart, just stop selling guns. But you and I can say that sitting in a New York newsroom, but that's not reflective of the entirety of the United States. Gun culture is part of who we are. We could look to companies and say you don't need to be anti-gun but you can be more pro-gun safety. Walmart in and of itself could say to all of the gun manufacturers that sell through Walmart, let's up the game. Let's go fingerprint authentication. They can say to those gun manufactures, they can say to buyers there might be base level background checks, we're going to enhance our background checks. Doesn’t mean they have taken some guns off the shelves, by the way they have taken some off the shelves already. They don't sell handguns, they don't sell some automatic and semi-automatic weapons but they could do more in the name of safety.
MELVIN: We know that leaders at Dick's Sporting Goods took a stand against gun violence. Did it affect their bottom line? Did they make less money
RUHLE It did. I spoke to the Ed Stack, the CEO and chairman of Dick’s Sporting Goods. Actually, we have a bit of that, let's share it.
ED STACK: I will tell you we had a number of people who are avid shooters and hunters and outdoorsmen who said we understand this, we don’t think there’s a need for the assault-style rifle and continued to be a part of our customers. There was a lot who left us. We understood that and knew it was going to happen, but there was an awful lot of people who endorsed this. To me, this is an easy decision. It was an expensive decision for us. But I can tell you if we had a chance to do it all over again, we'd do it all over again exactly the same way.
RUHLE: They lost $150 million worth in sales. They're happy with the decision. His frustration is with government leaders. He and other CEOs wrote a letter urging Mitch McConnell to do something. He's frustrated with the NRA. In terms of what can CEOs do, they can say to guys like Mitch McConnel or lawmakers with A+ ratings from the NRA, we're going to stop giving you money unless you do more. Walmart could say to Wells Fargo—Wells Fargo wants to do business with Walmart. Wells Fargo is the NRA's primary bank. Walmart can say to Wells Fargo, you need to push the NRA on sensible gun safety.
MELVIN: Essentially, corporate leaders who would say us or them.
RUHLE: We know that money makes the world go round. A company like Walmart has financial leverage. So when CEOs say I'm heart sick, they can do something not to be anti-gun, but in the name of safety. More people are calling for it.