Photo by Jeff Haynes/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Air Force One is one of the most iconic symbols of the American presidency. But as a flying monument tasked with transporting the commander-in-chief, it is also one of the most vulnerable targets.
“Every movie, they go after Air Force One,” co-pilot Lt. Col. Tom O'Boyle joked with ABC News’ Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl during an interview in the rarely-seen cockpit of Air Force One. “Whether it's a TV show or it's Iron Man, they're always trying to blow up Air Force One, which is a little concern to me because this is my day-to-day job, but in the real world he is very well protected."
The secrets of the recognizable blue-and-white Boeing 747 plane -- heavily modified by the military to be strong enough to function as an airborne bunker for the nation’s commander-in-chief while also providing the ultimate comforts fit for the traveling White House -- are closely guarded by a specially trained Air Force unit tasked with its operation and protection.
As the plane marks 25 years of flying presidents, ABC News was granted an exclusive nose-to-tail tour of the plane and its super-secure hangar -- fortified behind a military checkpoint and two layers of fencing within the boundaries of the already-secure Joint Base Andrews just outside Washington, D.C.
In a briefing to prepare for the plane’s 393rd mission on Monday, a simple flight to New York City’s John F. Kennedy Airport and back, every detail and possible interference -- down to the precise location of construction and alternative taxiing routes--– is accounted for ahead of time.
“Every day is not only game day, but it's the Super Bowl,” Air Force One Commander Col. David Banholzer, the 14th presidential pilot in history, told the crew members in the planning meeting. “It doesn't matter if we're on a week-and-a-half trip around the world or just up to JFK out and back, you always have to keep your guard up and anything can happen on any given day.”
But despite all the contingency plans, the plane’s head of security CM Sgt. Daniel Jacobs conceded that the greatest threats are those that are unknown and impossible to fully anticipate.
“When we're parked out on JFK it's a national monument, it's sitting out there for many people to see and it's more vulnerable at that time,” Jacobs said.
The unpredictable nature of protecting the president means that the Air Force team must constantly evolve. With the recent landing of a gyrocopter in the shadow of the Capitol and a drone that crash-landed on the White House grounds earlier this year, Jacobs said his team’s training now includes preparing for drones and other small flying devices that could pose a threat to the president.
“This week we just completed a joint-training exercise with the Secret Service, and we prepare for those exercises and those scenarios,” Jacobs said.
Whether it is a drone or a ground-to-air missile, Air Force One has an impressive array of defensive security measures to make it a flying fortress. Though many details are classified, the plane is equipped with features that allow it to repel airborne missiles and jam enemy radar. The plane also has the ability to stay airborne indefinitely thanks to a feature that makes the plane capable of being refueled mid-flight.
In another respect, Col. Banholzer points out, the flying White House is safer than the one on the ground: It’s a moving target. "The air space around us is always secure, so honestly we have a level of security that isn't afforded to the White House because we're mobile," Banholzer explained.
Though the Air Force has gone to great lengths to make the plane a presidential bunker in the sky, there are some rumored security features that remain the stuff of popular myth.
“There's no escape pod, really?” Karl asked Banholzer, a reference to the popular Harrison Ford movie Air Force One.
“There is no escape pod,” Banholzer said matter-of-factly. “Our take-offs always equal our landings. Sorry to disappoint.”
Escape pod aside, the flying White House comes with a number of other mind-blowing features:
Make that two
Though its title implies that it is one-of-a-kind, there are actually two identical planes that compose “Air Force One.”
Following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when then-President George W. Bush was unable to address the nation from Air Force One, the military updated the plane to install video capabilities.
"Immediately after 9/11, we re-modified the airplane and now we have video capability to both do video teleconferences and if we need to, do a broadcast off of the airplane," Banholzer said.
Video is only the most recent update to the plane’s impressive communication abilities, which also include 87 secure telephone lines and high-speed Internet.
Flying emergency room
The plane has a medical annex that can operate as a fully functional operating room in the event of an emergency. The president’s appointed physician, Dr. Ronny Jackson, travels with the president whenever he flies and has a well-stocked pharmacy and medical tools at his disposal. On certain trips, there is even an extra supply of the president’s blood type on hand in a special refrigerator along with vaccinations that might not be easily available at the given destination. Stars on the carpet
The president and accompanying passengers enjoy 4,000 square feet of internal space aboard the plane across three decks. The spacious presidential quarters -- which are distinguishable by star-patterned carpet -- includes a living area complete with beds, a private bathroom and shower, a Situation Room, and presidential office. The office is so spacious the president can use a mobile treadmill, kept in the cargo hold but brought up for exercise sessions during long-haul flights.
Taking airplane cuisine to the next level
The president’s plane is equipped with two kitchen galleys capable of serving 100 people with carefully prepared food fit for a president. If the president doesn't like what's on the menu, staff keeps a supply of groceries on hand to prepare whatever he’s craving. Much of the food preparation is done by a dedicated team of Air Force chefs that go on undercover shopping trips to nearby local grocery stores to purchase the president’s food and vacuum-seal the ready-made meals prior to putting them in a secure location aboard the plane’s kitchen galleys. World’s shiniest plane?
Every inch of the president’s mammoth of a plane is waxed by hand by the plane’s maintenance team before each and every mission. It goes without saying that every element of the plane’s engine and operational devices are also hand-checked before take-off.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has agreed to testify again before House Benghazi investigators, but her attorney says she only wants to do it once.
Hillary Clinton’s lawyer responded on Monday to a letter from Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-SC, seeking testimony from the former secretary.
While Gowdy wanted Clinton to testify twice on the matter over the coming six weeks, Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, wrote she will stay to answer as many questions as needed, but will not appear twice when “one will suffice.”
“Respectfully, there is no basis, logic, or precedent for such an unusual request,” Kendall writes in the letter. “The Secretary is fully prepared to stay for the duration of the Committee’s questions on the day she appears.”
Kendall also asked the select committee to set a date for Clinton’s testimony the week of May 18, writing, “to answer questions the Committee may have about her email use at the same hearing – whether that be during the week of May 18th or at a later date.”
Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. officials confirmed that President Obama will nominate Gen. Joseph Dunford, the commandant of the Marine Corps, to become the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, who currently commands U.S. Transportation Command, will be nominated to be the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“I can confirm that General Joseph F. Dunford, who is currently serving as Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, will be nominated to serve as the 19th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” said a White House official. “A formal announcement is expected at the White House tomorrow (Tuesday).”
If confirmed by the Senate, Dunford will succeed Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, whose term as chairman of the Joint Chiefs ends on September 30. He plans to retire after serving four years in the post.
Dunford has been Marine commandant since October; prior to that he was the senior U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan.
He has experienced a fast-track career over the past decade since commanding the first Marine unit to enter Iraq in the 2003 ground invasion.
Dunford skipped a rank when he was promoted to the three-star rank of lieutenant general from the one-star rank of brigadier general.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the president’s principal military advisor and is often described as the nation’s top military official.
Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images(DETROIT) -- As he stepped onto a stage in the Motor City to formally launch his presidential candidacy on Monday, conservative firebrand Ben Carson was greeted by a sea of white and blue T-shirts that read, “Win, Ben, Win.”
“I'm Ben Carson, and I'm a candidate for president of the United States,” he declared at the Music Hall Center of the Performing Arts.
Carson’s first day as a presidential candidate took him to three separate events in his hometown: a prayer breakfast, an assembly at a high school named after him and the speech at the music hall.
And the long-shot candidate who is known for his fiery -- and sometimes controversial -- rhetoric dished out some choice lines, noting, “I'm not politically correct.”
Here’s a look at some of the newly-minted presidential candidate’s most memorable one-liners:
“Young ladies, it's a mistake to have a baby while you're young and out of wedlock. Wait and preserve yourself,” Carson said. “Don't just give yourself away to some guy. Don't look at the stuff on television thinking 'I'm gonna be cool' because guess what, you're gonna get a disease and it's gonna affect you for the rest of your life, so don't do it. And when you have that baby, young lady, it usually ends your education and that's the problem. And it usually sends that baby into poverty.”
On Media Misinterpretation
"She even learned how to play pool because she knew I was a pool player. And she actually wins sometimes but most of the times I beat her," Carson said of her wife. "I should be careful because there’s some media in here, and their headline will be: ‘Carson Admits He Beats His Wife.’”
On His Childhood Music Tastes
“I was a black kid in Motown listening to Mozart. I tried to convince them that the Mo in Motown was Mozart.”
On His Mother
"I promise if my mother was secretary of treasury we would not be in a deficit." On Divine Intervention
“I was going to fail chemistry, and I wasn't going to become a doctor, so I prayed, ‘Lord tell me what you really want me to do’ -- or preferably work a miracle." On the Unemployment Rate
“You can make the unemployment rate anything you want it to be based on what numbers you include and what numbers you exclude.” On Brainpower
"Stop being loyal to a party or to a man, and use your brain."
“You're not there to have fun but to learn. You can have fun later on."
His Advice to Reporters
"You have a sacred occupation. Please don't abuse it."
“It's not the fault of the rich. It's just the only way to make money now is by the stock market.”
Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A State Department spokesman said on Monday that the department doesn't see any evidence that Hillary Clinton took actions as secretary of state that were influenced by donations to the Clinton Foundation.
“We are not aware of any evidence that actions taken by Secretary Clinton were influenced by donation to the Clinton Foundation or speech on honoraria of former President Clinton," State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said during a press briefing Monday.
The statement comes on the eve of the official release of Clinton Cash, a book about Secretary Clinton's tenure at the State Department, which alleges she used her influence as secretary of state to provide favors to foreign governments who made donations to the Clinton Foundation, a non-profit charity group establish by her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
However, Rathke also said the Clinton Foundation still has some documents to hand over. He said the State Department is aware of media reports that the foundation “did not meet some of the obligations to publish annually the names of new contributors" and that the department "welcomes" the foundation's commitment to turn in those documents.
Nevertheless, Rathke said, "we are aware of -- of no evidence that -- that there was undue influence.”
When Hillary Clinton took office in 2009 she signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the State Department that outlined ethics agreements pertaining to her relationship with the Clinton Foundation.
It stipulated she would not participate in a way that could influence compensation to Bill Clinton, that the foundation agreed to publish annually the names of new contributors or contributors that were increasing donations, and that President Clinton's attorney would forward all speaking or consulting arrangements to the State Department for ethical review.
Bill Clinton defended himself and Secretary Clinton in an interview Monday morning on NBC.
"There is no doubt in my mind that we have never done anything knowingly inappropriate in terms of taking money to influence any kind of American government policy,” Clinton said. Clinton also defended his speaking fees, which are reported to be worth nearly $10 million annually. “I gotta pay our bills. And I also give a lot of it to the foundation every year.”
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Just hours after former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina announced on Monday that she is running for president, another political outsider joined the race for the White House.
"I'm Ben Carson and I'm a candidate for president of the United States," Dr. Ben Carson told supporters in his hometown Detroit.
Like Fiorina, Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, said that he too will seek the Republican presidential nomination.
"I'm not a politician. I don't want to be a politician because politicians do what is politically expedient. I want to do what's right," he said.
Carson added, "I don't have a lot of experience busting budgets and doing the kind of things that have gotten us into all the trouble that we're in now but I do have a lot of experience in solving problems, complex surgical problems that have never been done by anybody before."
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(NEW YORK) -- President Obama will make his eighth and final appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman Monday night.
His visit to the set will mark his third as president. His last one was on Sept. 18, 2012.
Prior to his presidency, Obama appeared on the Late Show five times as an Illinois senator.
The president's appearance with David Letterman comes a little more than two weeks before the host's last day behind the Late Show desk -- May 20. Stephen Colbert will take over for Letterman, with his debut slated for Sept. 8.
File photo. Pete Souza / The White House(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama was informed of the shooting in Garland, Texas shortly after it happened Sunday night, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One Monday.
Earnest wouldn’t give many details because of the ongoing local investigation, but did comment on behalf of the president.
“In the mind of the president, there's no form of expression that would justify an act of violence,” he said.
Earnest also praised the bravery of the first responders who took on the two attackers. The two armed men were shot and killed after opening fire on a community center in Garland, where a group was holding a contest for the best cartoon drawing of the Prophet Muhammad.
Earnest said he had not been aware of the contest before the news broke of the violence, but he wasn’t sure whether or not the president had previously been aware.
Earnest would not use the word “terrorism” to describe the violence.
Pete Souza / The White House(WASHINGTON) -- At first glance, Air Force One might look like a typical Boeing 747 with a customized paint job. But there's a lot more than initially meets the eye with the presidential plane, specially modified by the U.S. Air Force to operate as a fully functional and secure flying White House.
Here are just some of the perks that come with flying as the commander-in-chief:
1. It Takes Two
The title of Air Force One implies that the plane is one of a kind. But, in fact, there are two identical planes. The planes are Boeing 747-200 models that have been specially-modified by the U.S. Air Force to meet the particular security and logistical needs of the president and his flying staff. 2. Gas on the Go
Who says you need to land to refuel a plane? Well, you don’t -- at least not if you’re the commander-in-chief. The presidential plane has the ability to refuel inflight, meaning it could stay airborne indefinitely. Though the feature would only be used in an emergency situation, Air Force One has a special fuel cap on the nose of the plane to which a second Air Force plane could connect a gas pump of sorts, while cruising above the presidential plane. The fuel cap is well disguised on the nose of the plane by an artful paint job, which would be chipped should the feature ever need to be utilized.
3. It's (Almost) Supersonic
Air Force One has the ability to fly at a speed of over 600 miles per hour (or 92 percent of the speed of sound) -- so fast that F-16 fighter planes escorting the president’s plane while in flight on Sept. 11 had difficulty keeping up and had to ask the plane’s pilot to slow down. Then-pilot Col. Mark Tillman later recalled that the plane was moving at almost supersonic speed.
4. Let's Talk
The plane is equipped with an encrypted telecommunications system so that the president is never more than a secure phone call away. The commander-in-chief can securely pick up one of the plane’s 87 phones and talk to anyone in the world from the sky. Should there ever be an attack on the United States, the plane could function as an airborne command center with high-speed Internet access and the ability to deliver a nationally televised address from its video-teleconference system. 5. Extra Leg Room
The president and accompanying passengers enjoy 4,000 square feet of internal space onboard the plane across three decks. The spacious presidential quarters include a living area complete with beds, a private bathroom and shower, a Situation Room, and presidential office. The office is so spacious that the president can use a mobile treadmill, kept in the cargo hold but brought up for exercise sessions during long-haul flights. There is also an onboard medical facility and two kitchen galleys.
6. The Finer Side of Airplane Cuisine
These days you're lucky to get a bag of peanuts on the average commercial flight. But on Air Force One, the president, flying staff and traveling press are served by two kitchen galleys equipped to feed up to 100 people with carefully prepared food fit for a president. If the president doesn't like what's on the menu, staff keep a supply of groceries on hand to prepare whatever he’s craving.
7. Angel in the Sky
If it's not complicated enough that there is more than one Air Force One, there is also more than one name for the famous presidential jet. While "Air Force One" is the most commonly known name, its Air Force designation is VC-25A, and its classified call name is "Angel."
8. Bullet Proof
Though the details of the plane's defense capabilities are shrouded in secrecy, Air Force One is a military aircraft with the ability to function as a de facto bunker in the event of a nuclear attack and is capable of repelling airborne missiles should the plane ever come under attack while flying. The plane also has a special electronic defense system that can jam enemy radar.
9. Flying Emergency Room
Not only does a doctor travel with the president when he flies, but there’s a medical facility on Air Force One that is equipped to act as an operating room in the event of a life-threatening emergency. The facility includes a well-stocked pharmacy and medical tools, operating table and equipment, and for long trips overseas, also carries an extra reserve of the president’s blood type in a refrigerator in the medial annex.
10. The "Beast" Flies First Class
Wherever the president travels, his specially-crafted limo, dubbed the "Beast," goes too. The presidential limo receives the commander-in-chief when he lands at his destination. Accordingly, the American made Cadillac limo is sent ahead of the president in a military cargo plane so that it's in place on the proper tarmac when the president does arrive.
Photos.com/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Authorities took a major leader in the New York State Senate into custody Monday on corruption charges.
Dean Skelos and his son Adam surrendered to the FBI to face charges involving bribery, extortion and fraud.
Court records say income for Adam Skelos was intertwined with political contributions for his father in a longstanding scheme to monetize the position of State Senate majority leader.
Charges against the Republican come three months after Democratic State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested on corruption charges in a crackdown by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who has labeled New York’s capitol Albany a “cauldron of corruption.”
State of Maryland(WASHINGTON) — As the political discourse surrounding Baltimore has ramped up, especially among 2016 hopefuls, former Democratic governor of Maryland and potential Hillary Clinton challenger, Martin O’Malley, said Sunday that the situation in Baltimore would be central to his campaign.
"We have deep problems as a country, and we need deeper understanding if we're going to give our children a better future," O’Malley said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
O’Malley also defended his record as Baltimore’s mayor — a job he held before becoming Maryland’s governor.
When asked if he would announce in Charm City that he’s running for president, the Democratic presidential prospective replied: “I wouldn’t think of announcing anyplace else.”
ABC News(NEW YORK) — In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America Monday, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina said she is running for president, becoming the first female contender for the Republican nomination this time around.
“Yes, I am running for president,” Fiorina said. “I think I am the best person for the job.”
Fiorina, 60, has never held elected office. She lost her 2010 Senate bid in California to incumbent Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer by 10 points. She was an economic advisor to Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.
She served as the CEO of HP from 1999 to 2005, becoming the first female CEO of a Fortune 50 company. In 2014, Fiorina founded the Unlocking Potential Project, an initiative to bring more female voters into the Republican Party.
Since December, she’s traveled extensively through the early the voting states, and has emerged as a vocal critic of Hillary Clinton, hitting her record at the State Department and the Clinton Foundation’s acceptance of donations from foreign governments.
"Like Hillary Clinton, I too have traveled thousands of miles around the globe, but unlike her, I've actually accomplished something," Fiorina said at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February.
Fiorina will also sit down with ABC’s Robin Roberts on Good Morning America to discuss her new book, Rising to the Challenge: My Leadership Journey. She will follow up her announcement with an online town hall Monday afternoon, and will finish the week finish the week with a swing through Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is not out of the woods on Bridgegate, according to John Wisniewski, Democratic chair of the New Jersey State Assembly Select Committee that has been investigating the matter.
Wisniewski said Sunday on This Week that his committee's work is not yet complete, saying it has an "entirely different agenda" than prosecutors who released federal indictments Friday against a top aide and an appointee of Christie, shortly after another key figure pleaded guilty to conspiracy to shut down access lanes to the George Washington Bridge in September 2013.
"There are at least three different versions of the facts," Wisniewski told ABC's George Stephanopoulos of conflicting accounts of who had knowledge of the bridge lane closures.
One account comes from the so-called "Mastro Report" commissioned by Christie's own office, which places the blame largely on former deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly, who was one of the two former Christie allies indicted on Friday.
Another version of events, Wisniewski said, comes from Kelly herself. "You heard Bridget Kelly ... say that others in the governor's office knew," the chairman told Stephanopoulos, referring to her statement Friday that it was "ludicrous" for federal prosecutors to suggest that Kelly "was the only person in the governor's office who was aware of the George Washington Bridge issue."
A third version, Wisniewski said, came from David Wildstein, who pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of conspiracy -- knowingly misapplying property that receives federal funds and conspiracy to violate civil rights -- in connection with access lane closures in 2013.
"You heard David Wildstein the other day say that the governor knew," Wisniewski said.
Wildstein is a former Christie ally whom federal prosecutors convinced to take a plea deal in exchange for telling what he knew of the scandal.
According to emails that were revealed in January 2014, Wildstein shut down two out of three local access lanes to the George Washington Bridge at the direction of Kelly. Their alleged goal was political payback against the mayor of Fort Lee -- where the bridge is anchored in New Jersey -- because the mayor would not endorse Christie's re-election bid.
Wildstein's lawyer, Alan Zegas, said Friday that "evidence exists" Christie knew of the lane closures as they were happening. He has made similar allegations in the past, but the governor's office has repeatedly denied it.
Wisniewski said that the different versions should be considered in light of the fact that federal prosecutors didn't explicitly exonerate Christie on Friday, saying simply that based on current evidence, no further indictments would be coming.
"Mr. Fishman said even in that press conference that this does not implicate or exonerate him. It had absolutely no specific findings for him," Wisniewski said of U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman's remarks Friday regarding Christie.
Wisniewski was pressed Sunday by Stephanopoulos on what he could hope to accomplish after the federal government brought its resources to bear and found insufficient evidence to tie the governor to the bridge-closing. Wisniewski said that his committee's work would continue because its scope exceeds that of federal prosecutors.
Indeed, the select committee's mandate is quite broad, charged within investigating the Port Authority, which runs the bridge, and "any other matter raising concerns about abuse of government power or an attempt to conceal an abuse of government power," including but not limited to Bridgegate.
"This all came out of the Port Authority," Wisniewski said. "We need to understand who gave the order to Bridget Kelly to do this so that we could stop it from happening again. So, for our committee, there's an entirely different agenda than the U.S. Attorney's Office."
Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(NEW YORK) -- Newly declared presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders said Sunday he hopes to lead a "political revolution" for working families and against money in politics in his bid for the White House.
"I think I'm the only candidate who's prepared to take on the billionaire class," Sanders, I-Vt., told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on This Week. "We need a political revolution in this country involving millions of people who are prepared to stand up and say, enough is enough, and I want to help lead that effort."
Sanders, who will run in the Democratic primary against Hillary Clinton, told ABC's Jonathan Karl earlier this week the millions of dollars flowing into the Clinton Foundation poses a "very serious problem."
"It's not just Hillary. It's the Koch Brothers. It is Sheldon Adelson," he said, referring to billionaire backers of conservative causes and candidates. "Can somebody who is not a billionaire who stands for working families actually win an election?"
Sanders could challenge Clinton from her left. He opposed the Iraq War, which Clinton supported in the Senate, and is against Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which the Obama administration is trying to get through Congress.
Clinton fully supported TPP as secretary of state but has raised reservations about it since announcing her presidential bid.
"Hillary Clinton has been part of the political class for many, many years," Sanders said. "I respect her and I like her, but I think what the American people are saying, George, is ... maybe it's time for a real political shakeup in this country."
He has raised more than $1.5 million since announcing his campaign on Thursday, but has pledged not to have a Super PAC that could accept unlimited contributions.
A self-described socialist who won his first election to become mayor of Burlington, Vermont, by just 10 votes, Sanders has a message for his doubters.
"Very few people thought that I would beat an incumbent Republican to become United States congressman from Vermont by 16 points," Sanders said. "And people weren't so sure I could beat the richest person in Vermont to become a United States senator.
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, whose district includes parts of Baltimore, said Sunday that the unrest in the city after the death of a black man who was injured while in police custody should be a lesson to city leaders around the country.
"We have to invest in our cities and our children. A lot of young people feel that they have been disconnected and we have to have what I call an 'inclusion revolution,' and address issues such as joblessness and training for young people," Cummings told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on This Week.
"Just the other day a young man told me, 'Mr. Cummings, I feel like I'm in my coffin trying to claw out of it.' And that is not the way that we want our children to feel," he said.
Sen. Tim Scott, R-South Carolina, the only African American Republican in the Senate, agreed with Cummings, saying on This Week that he was once a struggling African-American high school student himself. Scott said that the large number of high school dropouts in distressed areas lead to unemployment and ultimately, hopelessness.
"There is a trend that can be broken at its foundation if we focus first on education and then second on work skills," Scott said. He pointed to a bipartisan bill he introduced last year with Democratic New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, which would provide tax credits to employers who offer apprenticeships.
On the charges announced Friday against six members of the Baltimore police force in the death of Freddie Gray, Cummings said he agreed with the decision by the city's state attorney Marilyn Mosby.
"I feel very comfortable with regard to what Ms. Mosby has done," Cummings said. "She looked at all of the evidence and did what she had to do."
The police union has called the decision to file charges a rush to judgment.