Democratic presidential candidates are making all the usual stops heading into the 2020 election, meeting in key battleground states like Ohio and Iowa. But they're also stopping by the popular radio show "The Breakfast Club" in New York, sometimes fielding uncomfortable questions from one of the hosts, Charlamagne tha God.
Charlamagne tha God sat down with CBS News correspondent Vlad Duthiers to talk politics and more in an exclusive interview on. See all the highlights below.
Charlamagne tha God says conservatives "do not care about black or brown people"
Charlamagne tha God said he'd be open to having mainstream conservative figures as guests on his show, including President Trump's sons and Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
"So it's just like, you wanna come on? Come on. I'm not gonna block anybody," he said. "If Sarah Huckabee Sanders wants to come on the show I'm not gonna block her. You know, if Trump's sons want to come on the show, I'm not gonna block them. You know, I see that a lot now in all these conservatives, and people on the right, saying Breakfast Club never has us on. Let's not sit here and act like there's a bunch of conservatives banging on the door begging to come on The Breakfast Club."
The radio host did criticize conservatives, though, for what he believes is their lack of concern for issues facing minorities.
"Like I've said when people ask me that, I just don't think they care about our audience. They don't care about black and brown people," he said. "Conservatives do not care about black and brown people. Their bread is not buttered by black and brown people. They have a whole population of people that they can just cater to them alone, and they could vote, and they could still get into these positions of power."He pointed out the fact that U.S. demographics are changing, and suggested conservative should take note.
"By 2045 all of that will change, you know what I'm saying, so maybe they need to get an early start by starting to tap into the black and brown market now. But other than that I just don't think they care to come to The Breakfast Club."
Charlamagne tha God on Candace Owens and Jussie Smollett
During his interview with CBSN AM, Charlamagne tha God discussed two figures who have generated controversy within the African-American community and beyond: conservative speaker Candace Owens and actor Jussie Smollett. Owens has recently argued America is not a racist country because she, an African-American woman, "has never been a slave in this country."
"I don't have a problem with Candace Owens," Charlamagne tha God said. "Um, I think she says some things recklessly to people I love and care for and I will always ride with my people. Sometimes I wonder if she's just doing things for the sake of shock value. Sometimes it's a lot of currency, attention currency with saying certain things on social media or attacking certain people. Sometimes I wonder if she gets caught up in the performance of it all as opposed to it being her real values. Other than that, I don't think she's bad for the ecosystem."
He added, "All voices are welcome, and I have to pay attention to anybody who's saying they want to make things better for black people."
He also weighed in on the controversy surrounding actor Jussie Smollett, who is alleged to have staged a hate crime against himself in Chicago earlier this year. Charlamagne tha God said he did not believe Smollett's story.
"I mean, I never believed it," he said. "Not even for a minute. I actually said this sounds like some bull****. I actually said this sounds unbelievable. It was just too much sauce on that taco, man. It was just too much. Gay slur, racism, in the news, bleach, and 2-in-the-morning and 'this is MAGA country' in Chicago? It was just too much."
He did say that he does not hate Smollett, and that no one can know what happened that night except for those involved.
"Look, man, listen, man: He's not past the point of redemption," he said. "We all make mistakes, you know, to be honest we still don't know. None of us will ever really know what happened that night except for Jussie Smollett and the people involved. If there was people involved. We never will really know, so he's not past the point of redemption. I don't hate Jussie. That's like your cousin who does something stupid. What the hell were you thinking?"
He continued, "There's enough racism out here, enough homophobia out here. You don't have to make this stuff up."
Charlamagne tha God on Hillary Clinton and "pandering"
In stopping by "The Breakfast Club," 2020 candidates may be taking a cue from Hillary Clinton, who appeared on the show when she was running in 2016.
CBSN AM anchor Vladimir Duthiers asked Charlamagne tha God about a memorable exchange in that interview, when Clinton quipped that she always carried a bottle of hot sauce in her purse.
"I said, this is going to be one of those times when people say you're pandering to black people," Charlamagne tha God recalled. "And she said, 'Is it working?' Which I thought was a very honest moment."
Charlagmagne tha God believes reparations are important
During his interview with CBSN AM, Charlamagne tha God talked about the issue of reparations for slavery and defended why he thinks it's important, stating that "America needs to pay what they owe."
"For people that act like reparations are such a far-fetched thing is crazy," he said. "If you were working for a company and you worked for that company for free for a long period of time, you would probably want back pay because of all the work you put in. And then you got Jim Crow segregation and you have mass incarceration -- you have all of these things that was systemically done to black people to oppress them, to marginalize them, and we wonder why there is such a socioeconomic gap now between black people and white people? It's because of that."
He went on to say, "It's because of those policies America implemented. It's because of that free labor we put in, free labor we were forced to do that helped build this country. So, America needs to pay what they owe."
The radio host said reparations would not necessarily be a lump-sum payment but a public acknowledgment to begin to absolve for past wrongs.
"It don't have to be in check form but just acknowledging it, acknowledging the idea that you all did something wrong to a group of people and let's start over."
He also said he would like to hear each of the 2020 presidential candidates explain their position on the issue and what the concept of reparations means to them.
Charlagmagne the God thinks Democrats doing "a piss poor job"
During the interview, Charlamagne tha God said he thinks the current crop of Democratic presidential candidates are so far doing "a piss poor job."
"There's a lot of people now running for president of the United States, and you've had some of them on your show: Who do you like?" Duthiers asked.
"That's a tough question 'cause I think the Democrats are doing a piss poor job," Charlamagne tha God said. "The reason I think they're doing a piss poor job is because a lot of them are running on an 'I'm not Trump' agenda. They're running on this whole anti-Trump agenda but they're not telling the American people what it is they're going to do to get America in a better space."
"I like Andrew Yang because he has ideas. You know, when you're sitting down and having a conversation with him he has actual ideas for America." On the other hand, he adds, "But then I look at Andrew and I be like, well do I want another person in the White House who has no political experience whatsoever?"
Charlamagne tha God would vote for Kamala Harris for president
Charlamagne tha God told CBS News he would vote for Kamala Harris for president if the election were held today.
"If I had to vote for somebody running today it would definitely be Kamala Harris," he said in the interview.
"I was liking Kamala before she even announced she was running for president," Charlamagne tha God said. "I had been following her for the past two or three years. I just was intrigued by Kamala Harris for some reason."
He said he understood Harris's record as a prosecutor has been criticized by some Democratic activists for contributing to high incarceration rates, but that she has pushed progressive policies, notably her "Back on Track" program to reduce recidivism and a requirement to make police officers wear body cameras.
"Stuff like that had me engaged," he said.
Kamala Harris on marijuana
Sen. Kamala Harris appeared on "The Breakfast Club" in February and revealed she has smoked marijuana, after Charlamagne tha God asked her about her views on legalizing the drug.
"I have. And I inhaled -- I did inhale. It was a long time ago. But, yes," she said.
She went on to say she tried marijuana in college and noted it was in the form of a joint.
"I just broke news," she said.
Cory Booker's personal life
When Sen. Cory Booker appeared on the show in February, he was asked about being an unmarried candidate.
"How much should a presidential candidate's personal life factor into people's decisions? Because people feel like you being single could affect your chances," Charlamagne tha God asked.
The conversation led to Booker revealing he has a "boo," though he didn't name names.
When asked if his girlfriend would make a good first lady, Booker said, "Yes, she would."
Actresslater confirmed she and Booker are dating.
Questioning Bernie Sanders
Earlier this month, Charlamagne tha God asked Sen. Bernie Sanders whether the country needs another white man as president.
"So, Bernie, 44 out of 45 presidents in this country have been white men. Do you think we need another one," he asked.
"Well, I think you need this one," Sanders said. "Look, we are living in an unprecedented time. We have the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country, somebody who is a pathological liar, a fraud, a racist, a sexist, a homophobe."
Sanders went on to say the most important thing is to defeat President Trump.
"I'm going to do everything I can to defeat him. I look forward to winning the Democratic nomination. And if I don't, I will support anybody else who's out there to defeat him, but this guy cannot win another term," Sanders said.