Andrew Young on John Bolton: ‘He likes to bully people with other people’s blood’

Andrew Young, the former mayor of Atlanta and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, poses for a March portrait inside the Swan House at the Atlanta History Center. ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM

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Andrew Young, the former mayor of Atlanta and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, poses for a March portrait inside the Swan House at the Atlanta History Center. ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM

Andrew Young and John Bolton have exactly one thing in common. They both served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Young was nominated by President Jimmy Carter and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Bolton was a recess appointee by President George W. Bush, and as such required no confirmation.

Last night, Young found himself in front of an MSNBC camera. The topic was supposed to be the anti-gun violence demonstrations across the country -- a nod to his extensive resume as a civil rights leader. But Kasie Hunt surprised him with a question about Bolton, whom President Donald Trump has named as his new national security advisor. Young was unusually undiplomatic in his reaction. Watch it here, but here's most of what he said:

"I was horrified. It made me think of a quote from Martin Luther King about Vietnam, when he said, 'Nothing is more dangerous in all the world than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

"I spoke up for Tillerson, because he at least Tillerson had been around the world and knew people as a businessman. I didn't agree with him, but he was knowledgeable. I think that Bolt has been an ideologue, who at the U.N., was not known to speak to people, even. He's in his own little world, and looking at North Korea – I just got back from South Korea a few months ago.

"You can stay in the Trump tower and see North Korea. Everything is so close up there. There cannot be a successful war, when you are going to hurt South Korea, China, Russia and Japan. War is just not an option…."

Young and Hunt eventually got to the anti-gun violence demonstrations, which have been inspired and led by high school survivors of the Parkland, Fla., massacre in February. Young said the gatherings brought him to tears:

"They got a taste of the power of democracy. Dr. King used to say that unearned suffering is always redemptive. His motto was to redeem the soul of America from the triple evils of race, war and poverty. They saw blood on their students. They will never forget that. I'm 86, and I can't stop – by and large, because I can never forget seeing Martin Luther King with a bullet through his spinal cord…"

Afterwards, I texted the former ambassador and mayor of Atlanta. He responded with a quick phone call, and a final summary of his thoughts on John Bolton. Said Young: “He’s the kind of guy who likes to bully people with other people’s blood.”

And yes, he said, he did cry. Even before he heard Martin Luther King’s granddaughter speak at the Washington rally. Here’s the MSNBC video:

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Add this to the list of conservative grievances aimed at Delta Air Lines.

The New York Times reported Atlanta-based company donated three round-trip charter flights that allowed hundreds of students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to participate in the protest against gun violence in Washington.

The company said earlier this year it severed ties with the National Rifle Association to stay “neutral” in the debate over gun control. That led Georgia lawmakers to deny the airline a lucrative tax break on jet fuel.

In this case, the company said the charter flight donation was "part of our commitment to supporting the communities we serve." That prompted some blowback on social media.

"I'm looking forward to Delta chartering three planes to fly conservatives to D.C. for March for Life!" wrote Michael Williams, a Republican candidate for governor. "Glad they're remaining 'neutral.'"

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The first of three memorial services for former Gov. Zell Miller will be held at Young Harris College this morning. McDonald and Son Funeral Home and Crematory of Cumming, Ga., will be handling all the details.

That is not an advertisement, but a political footnote. The elder figure in “McDonald and Son” is Lauren “Bubba” McDonald. He is now a member of the state Public Service Commission, but in 1990, he was an unwanted rival to Lt. Gov. Zell Miller, who was in search of a promotion to governor.

Worse than that, McDonald was backed by Miller’s arch-nemesis, House Speaker Tom Murphy. McDonald finished fourth in the Democratic primary, but he (6 percent) and a state senator named Roy Barnes (21 percent) drew enough votes to force a runoff between Miller and the aforementioned Andrew Young.

Miller and McDonald made up years ago. It was Miller who, as governor, first appointed McDonald to a vacant seat on the PSC.

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Today is a committee day at the state Capitol, where lawmakers are preparing for the 39th (Tuesday) and 40th day (Thursday) of the 2018 session. Our AJC colleagues Mark Niesse and Maya Prabhu have an excellent wrap-up here on what to watch.

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One bill that has already cleared both chambers and awaits a signature from Gov. Nathan Deal is House Bill 876, which would prohibit counties and cities from restricting the use of wood in the construction of multi-story buildings.

The measure was aimed at Dunwoody and Sandy Springs, which require non-flammable construction materials to be used for structures taller than three-stories. But Savannah is now raising its eyebrows, too. But not with fire in mind. City officials there are thinking hurricanes.

Among those who were lobbying against the measure was Eric Johnson, a Republican and former president pro tem of the state Senate. From the Savannah Morning News:

Georgia is a home rule state that prides itself on the sanctity of local government. But "government isn't without its hypocrisy," noted former state senator Eric Johnson, an architect with Hussey Gay Bell who also consults with government affairs firm McGuire Woods Consulting. "We're all for local control until we're not."

… "Savannah has been battered by flooding and high winds the last couple years – first from Hurricane Matthew then Hurricane Irma – bringing along mold and costly cleanups," Johnson is quoted as saying in the coalition's press release. "If it's decided that stronger local codes would help prevent high reconstruction costs, we should be allowed to put them in place."