tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC January 3, 2017 9:00pm-10:01pm PST
that is why i am here in washington, d.c. instead of our usual studio in new york. but it's good to have you with us. if you were her, would you go? would you go to the inauguration? today hillary clinton and former president bill clinton announced that they will attend the inauguration of incoming president donald trump later this month. i don't know if they sought assurances from the new president that he wouldn't actually lock her fun she shows up in washington for his inauguration but she will be there in person. if he wants to do his traditional thing where he leads his supporters in the lock her up chant, she will be there in person to hear it. that was news today that the clintons will both be there. we already knew that former president jimmy carter and his
wife rosalyn will be there at the inauguration as well but that was the only former president we knew was coming. at the same time today we learned bill and hillary clinton will be attending the inauguration we also learned that former president george w. bush and his wife laura, they, too, will attend the trump inauguration later this month, both the george w. bush family and the hillary clinton family, both of those had been up in the air before today. but now we know both the clintons and the george w. bushs are going to be there. we also have confirmation now that former president bush, george h.w. bush, he and his wife barbara will not be attending the trump inauguration and you can read anything into that y want but honestly the former president is now 92, their decision not to go to the inauguration appears to be nothing more than a health and age-bailesed decision, it doesn't appear to be any coded political message.
on this date in 1972, on january 3, 1972, "new york" magazine ran an article titled "new york's most overrated people." and george h.w. bush was living in new york at that time because he was the u.s. ambassador to the united nations so he had to live in new york and george h.w. bush in that article, 1972, he made the sad list, "new york" magazine calling him "overrated." but george h.w. bush, he responded to that in the world's most perfect way -- he threw a party at the u.n. ambassador's residence for everybody else on the list. he invited the 10 most overrated men in new york and he threw a party for them. and i'm sorry, but that is enough to make you like george h.w. bush whether or not you liked him as a president. one of the other guys who made that list that year, the most
overrated list, was gabe pressman, a tv reporter at the time at wnbc. after that article came out calling him overrated, he got this note from the u.n. ambassador at this time. he got this note from george h.w. bush inviting them to the party he was going to throw and the note from george h.w. bush, to this reporter, it said "in terms of being one of the most overrated men in new york city, it said "i was lucky, but you earned it." [ laughter ] and then he invited him to his house for the party, for all the people who were considered to be overrated in new york city. apparently he also invited the author of the article. god bless george h.w. bush. and god bless gabe pressman, the reporter. gabe pressman is now also 92 years old and, i kid you not, he's still reporting. one of the privileges of working at nbc is that you occasionally still see gabe pressman around the halls because he's still at work.
he's one of these guys who has been around since the dawn of tv reporting. his first job as a reporter was in 1949. is he has seen everything, he has been everywhere. he has done everything. he has spoken to everyone. and tonight, turns out, it is newly newsworthy to remember the moment in gabe pressman's long, long career when he was moderating a debate in a particularly pungent, particularly consequential election. and in so doing, in being the moderator of that debate, that meant he had to explain, during the debate, on live television, the meaning of the word "putz." and he did it expertly and nobody laughed. there was one little laugh. >> the latest issue that you brought up, congressman, involves a yiddish slang word that you, senator d'amato, used
to describe congressman schumer in a private meeting. we all agree on that, right? the specific charge is that you called him a putz-head and for those not familiar with yiddish, i read an excerpt from the dictionary of yiddish, putz he says is, one, a term of contempt for a ass, fool, or jerk, or two a term for a simplen the or yokel. an easy mark. it literally means the male sex organ but it that's rarely used. so it gets down to one simple issue. did you use the word to describe your opponent? >> yes, i did and i used it in the context of being silly and foolish. >> did you mean it as a term of contempt for your opponent? >> a term of foolishness. >> yes, i did call him a putz-head. political debates are always good, but they are rarely this specific kind of challenge for the moderator to keep a straight face. >> the statement he made, yeah, it's a slur, it's a vulgarism,
it doesn't bother me. that's not the issue. >> have you ever called anyone a putz yourself? >> i may have, but i tell you something, i wouldn't lie about it. >> that was 1998. >> he lied about it. >> he did lie about it. that was the issue. 1998, the incumbent senator from new york was a republican, he'd already been elected three times, he was running for a fourth term and along came this feisty democrat challenging him for his seat and that democrat was so aggressive, he raised so much money, he went after senator al d'amato so relentlessly that it drove the senator to distraction. he's a three-term senator that everyone thought was so tough but he lost it. he calmed his opponent a putz-head at a public meeting and he did lie and his democratic challenger got it on the record, nailed him with it to the point where he was answering for in the the debates. that incumbent senator didn't know what hit him. incumbents, especially rich, high-profile incumbents, they should be basically unbeatable in big expensive statewide races
in new york but along came this guy made to win a race like that. he was elected to the state assembly at the age of 23, he'd been elected to congress at the ripe old age of 29, he had never lost an election in his life and he took on and beat this entrenched rich incuent senator. it whe highest profile senate race in the country that year, mostly because of how hard that young congressman fought to get that seat. and he got that seat. and it's funny, look at the map of the race results that year, it doesn't much look like the democrat won but he halalf mill votes. but that was his first election to the senate. it was the upset of a sitting incumbent republican. now put that map on the left and then look at -- that other map there on the right? that's six years later. look what happened six years later when he had to run for reelection for the first time. yeah, that one you can tell it's not close.
and you know he's still never lost an election. he got his seat in washington with a campaign still famous 20 years later for its ferocity and he turned that upset first win into a dominant political position. and then he put it to work for other democrats, he got into the leadership and he stayed there, he became head of the part of the democratic party that works to elect democratic senators. in his first election cycle as head of the democrats' senate prospects, all of these democratic challengers took seats from all of those republican incumbents. all those yellow check marks there are on democratic heads. all those republican incumbents lost to democrats. that was his first cycle in charge of the democrats picking up senate seats. in the next election cycle he did it again. five democratic challengers unseated five more republican incumbents in the senate. plus the democrats picked up three more open seats that year besides. he fought tooth and nail in that
first election with the yiddish insults and everything. he fought tooth and nail to get into washington but once he was there he got 14 more democrats into the senate alongside him. and now, as of today, as of tonight he will be the most powerful democrat in washington in the era of donald trump. the new congress starts today and chuck schumer will be the leader of the democratic party in the one house in congress where the minority party has some power. i will say one thing before i bring him into this conversation -- it is inarguable that democrats feel thunder struck by this past election. but that is mostly because this election result was a surprise. i mean, compared to 2008, the last time the white house flipped from one party to the other, 2008, the senate democrats earned so many seats with chuck schumer heading their senate campaign arm for two cycles that newly elected president obama in 2008 came in with not just a majority in the senate, he had a super majority, 60 senate seats and the house was democratic, too, and the new
president won the election by a huge margin and he was wide ridi huge wave of popularity. that was a head of steam in 2008. in contrast, the republicans are coming in with a new republican president, but they just lost seats in both houses of congress. they've only got two-seat majority in the senate. their new president has the lowest approval ratings of any president-elect in the modern era and their incoming president, incidentally, i know it's a sore spot, he lost the popular vote by more votes than any incoming president ever in the history of this country. and so, democrats are thunder struck that they lost, but they're not exactly starting from scratch here. and the new guy taking charge for them on capitol hi has a history of winning uill political battles, even when they get ugly the point of being funny in retrospect. joining us now in his first interview since becoming minority leader in the senate is
senator chuck schumer. great to see you. >> great to be here. >> a little "this is your life." >> i remember that well. one interesting thought. so d'amato came out and it was reported he called me this name, putz-head. he said "i never would, i don't lie." and his slogan against me "too liberal for too long." we came back at one with him which we used the whole campaign "too many lies for too long." and he denies it and guess who pulls out the rug from under him? ed koch who was totally on d'amato's side. he was mad at me because when he ran against dinkins i didn't support him because i thought new york was a racial tinderbox. yet ed koch can said "i cannot tell a lie." he said it. and that was that. >> so i think a lot of people don't know your back story about how you -- first of all that you started getting elected to office when you were so young, that you never lost an election, you upset this incumbent to get there but should we -- are there extrapolatable things that you learned from the way you started and the way you started winning that apply to what's going on with the democrats right now? >> all through the years my
lodestar -- i've always been a middle-class guy, i came from a middle-class neighborhood, my father was an exterminator, didn't go to college, i grew up with people who were firefighters and store owners and teachers of all different ethnicities. that's what happens in brooklyn. but i learned you have to be true to yourself. you have to have an internal gyroscope that directs you and the higher up you go, the more fierce the winds blow and the only way you don't get blown off the mountain is by believing in things and believing in them without worrying about what people think, that's who i've been, that's who i've always been, i have focused on average folks, i care about them, i believe in them, i still identify and empathize with them and that's what i tell candidates -- be yourself. >> and you have been in public life and in national life for a long time.
>> i tell people i'm from brooklyn. sometimes it helps me, sometimes it hurts me but i know one thing -- i'd be less than whatever i am if i tried not to be from brooklyn. >> you have a brooklyn accent, you are from brooklyn, you have come up from new york politics, people think of you as a new york political figure but now indube bitbly you are a national political figure and a lot of democrats having been through the sanders versus clinton primary, having been through the shock of losing this election are trying to figure out how to place you and trying to think about what your leadership will be like at a national level. do you see yourself as a moderate? do you see yourself as a liberal? do you see yourself as ideological at all? >> i see myself as somebody who will fight really hard for the middle-class and people trying to be there and not be afraid. i am not afraid of donald trump. i am not afraid of the republicans. and we're going to hold their feet to the fire, i am actually excited about this opportunity. it's an opportunity.
there are so many contradictions in this administration. one, we're going after their nominees. mcconnell wanted to let all of them get through in these quick little two-hour hearings. get all of them done in two weeks. we're saying no way, price, the guy from hhs, donald trump said when he campaigned he wouldn't cut medicare and social security, but he turns around nominates as his hhs secretary, guy made his career on cutting medicare and medicaid. we're going to slam him on these things. he said he's going to clean the swamp. who's his cabinet? billionaires. people who own huge businesses. people who have been part of that swamp for a very long time. in other words, there was a certain populism. i worked really hard donald trump but he had a certain populism to him, a false populism but a populism. he now has sold out to the hard right. the pro-business, pro-corporate, pro-elite group.
and i think we can really nail him on this. we can be very strong and unflinching and hold his feet to the fire. the theme of the speech i gave today is we're going to hold him accountable. >> you talked about this being an accountability congress. >> right. >> there was also on the other side of capitol hill a weird start to the congress and -- >> but that's who they are. you see these hard right people who are ideologues on the hard right, they don't get it. how could it dawn on him that the first thing they should do is undo an ethics law? crazy. they had to back off but still. we have so many opportunities. he a great one. it's very important to me, aca. >> obamacare. >> they're like the dog who caught the bus. they don't know what to do with it. it has so many good things. 20 million people covered. you're 21 to 26. you get on your parents' plan. you're a parent, your child has
cancer, they can't deny you insurance. women have to be treated the same. planned parenthood. all these things are very popular. they say "we'll keep those but get rid of aca." they can't. so they say we'll repeal it and two years from now we'll tell you what we replace it with. >> but they have the votes to repeal it. they filed the legislation in the senate to repile it today. >> they do because they've used this reconciliation process. every democrat will vote against them and when they actually try, they either try to keep the benefits, that means they have to put in money. you know what happens then? the hard right guy says we're not paying money for this, to help poor people? help people get health care? forget it. or they cut out the benefits and there's an outcry and even now they can do this repeal and say we'll replace in the two years.
guess who's getting hurt? workers. but hospitals. and rural hospitals. so you go to the reddest of states and who's complaining the most? these little hospitals, rural, that depend on the aca. >> are you saying that outcry is going to stop them from repealing it? >> i'm saying by the time they get up to having to put a repeal bill in they'll be so tied in a knot they may not be able to do it. we won't help them. they're going to have to get all the votes themselves and the more mainstream ones will say we have to keep the benefits. the more right wing ones will say we can't put in any money and they're stuck. >> i believe they will not be able to replace. >> yes. >> but i don't believe you that they won't be able to repeal it. >> they'll repeal two years from now but there will be chaos. we will tell america that they're replacing affordable care with chaos and once the chaos starts hitting the fan, i don't know what they're going to do. no, they're going to repiet because they're ideologues, they hit government. so this is the worst thing that could have happened to america, that government expanded in a major and significant way. but they don't have anything to put in the its place and when the chaos evolves, what are they going to do? they're going to be stuck. same thing with the cabinet. now, we are demanding hearings, first we're demanding everyone
get an ethics investigation, thaty all file these plans that they're supposed to fe, all the obama nominees did on how they're going to get rid of all their potential conflict of interest, all the businesses and stocks and things like that that they have. and they get an fbi background check. >> can you force those things? >> we can force the first two and if they don't do them we can demand -- we can't influence when they have the hearings. the original plan was to have eight or ten hear it is first week, but we can hold them up on the floor and for two months they'll all they'll do as their nomination so they're stuck there, too. what we're demanding is so reasonable. we call it the rigged cabinet. it's not the kind of cabinet
that represents america. it represents wealthy people, it represents a load of the people from the swamp and people who had views that are so out of the mainstream and donald trump didn't campaign on most of these things. >> the new -- excuse me. the new leader of the democrats in the senate as of today is senator chuck schumer. we have him here tonight. i won't let him leave. we'll be right back in just a moment. stay with us. >> my pleasure. from the first moment you met it was love at first touch and all you wanted to do was surround them in comfort and protection that's why only pampers swaddlers is the1 choice of hospitals protection to wrap your baby in blanket-like softness and premium protection mom: "oh hi baby" so all they feel is love wishing you love, sleep and play. pampers
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joining us again is the brand new democratic leader of the united states senate, senator schumer, thank you very much for sticking with us. i want to ask you about the last person who was in a position like yours. after barack obama got elected, mitch mcconnell was in your position and he basically bucked political science. he did an experiment. take on a very popular president who has a very popular agenda, make every effort to block that agenda without any regard for the polls and just sit back and wait for the voters to punish the governing party and reward you for being obstructionist. it seemed crazy and almost outrageous at the time to people
observing in the the moment but it worked like a charm for his party. you're not going to borrow from that play book? >> we are going to be tough. bernie and elizabeth agree with me on this. let's say he proposes -- as he said he would -- a trillion dollar infrastructure bill. we democrats always believed it. bernie campaigned on it but you have to look at the details. we're not going to just go for anything he pro poises. it's going to have to be our bill. so for instance they said we'll do it with tax breaks. you can't build roads and bridges with tax breaks unless you put huge tolls on them that no one can afford to pay back the bonds. let's say they try to get rid of environmental protections and labor protections. forget it. so do we say no absolutely on the first day or another one where i tend to agree more with trump than i did with obama and bush, trade. i think free trade has been a loser, i voted against nafta back in 1994. and if he comes up with a really
good trade position we're not going to just necessarily say no but we're going to hold his feet to the fire and i can assure you of this -- anything we're going to support will get almost no republican votes. that may mean we support them on nothing. but e not going to sacrifice our principles for the sake of compromise. >> but a unified party line vote at this point accomplishes nothing. i mean, can the democrats do anything alone? >> right now -- >> we can't do anything alone, but if it's really positive progressive type stuff -- it may not be -- and we pick up a few republicans, it would have to be with the majority of democrats in the house and senate. but the bottom line is our main job here is, as i said, hold his feet to the fire. it's not going to be to sit in a room and say where can we compromise? if he proposes things, that might -- he said he was for closing the carried interest loophole. i'm not going to vote against fit he proposes it. all the republicans will, but i
won't, i think we should close the carried interest loophole. there are a few examples here and i'm not going to rule them out but most of the things we'll be talking about whether it's health care or education or transportation or helping the poor or voting rights or guns or choice or planned parenthood we'll oppose them tooth and nail. there's no way for compromise on any of those. >> let me ask you a hard-line edge on that which is the supreme court. the republicans took this unprecedented step. they didn't let president obama make a supreme court appointment for almost a year now. >> very moderate, mainstream nominee. >> a nominee who a lot of progressives would have been very disappointed in. but that was an incredibly radical thing the republicans did. senator jeff merkley of oregon says they stole a supreme court seat. >> that's a fair statement. >> didn't they just get away with it? >> they did. >> there are no consequences for
it? >> well, the consequences will be down the road. we are not going to settle on a supreme court nominee if they don't appoint someone who is good, we'll oppose them tooth and nail. they won't have 60 votes to put in an out-of-the-mainstream nominee. then they have to make a choice, change the rules. it will be hard for them to change the rules because there are a handful of republicans who believe in the institution of the senate and won't. but we are not going to make it easy for them to pick a supreme court justice. >> is there an argument to be made, though, if it is a fair statement that that was basically a stolen seat, so it isn't theirs to fill, in that case, no nominee would be legitimate because that seat should have been filled by president obama. >> it's hard for me to imagine a nominee that donald trump would choose that would get republican support that we could support. so you're right. >> so you will do your best to hold the seat open. >> absolutely. >> in terms of your transition from harry reid to you, for the democratic leadership in the
senate, one of the things that harry reid sort of took on personally in a very ostentatious way is he took on a personal fight with the koch brother, charles and david koch. talked about them hundreds of times on the senate floor. >> he did a great job. >> he did a great job but the koch brothers now today were treated to the news that the guy who used to run freedom partners for them, their political network, is apparently going to be director of legislative affairs in the white house. >> i didn't know that. >> it's not official but that's the reporting today. >> and they opposed trump -- see, here's what's going on here. trump ran against the democratic and republican establishments. against both. trump as president-elect has been totally captured by the hard right. the koch brothers were opposed to him in the campaign and that will make him a failure. i said to this to him. he calls me occasionally on the phone. i said this to him. if you just get embraced by the hard right, and i named vice president pence and a few others
pushing him in that direction, you will be so far away from where the average american is, even the average trump voter was, the non-bigoted parts of them who just want to change because they were so upset you'll be a failure. >> how did he react? >> he didn't say anything. he didn't get that. but the right wing ideologues are so out of touch with america, trump just sits back and tweets things and i called him in my speech and i said we can't afford a twitter presidency. i said for instance he can tweet about his little friend putin but if he doesn't get the intelligence briefings how's he going to know the bad things putin is doing? you can tweet about saving 800 jobs in carrier, i'm glad he saved them. what about the 1300 going to mexico? 500 down the road at that rexnord and the thousands every week that we lose?
you can't tweet a policy. so the combination of the hard right running the show -- even though trump didn't campaign as a hard-right guy, he campaigned as this populist sometimes with very bad and racist bigoted overtones then him just out there tweeting, it's not going to work. and we have an opportunity. as the chinese say, danger is opportunity. so i am -- i was distraught after the election but i'm now actually invigorated by the challenge and our ability succeed in this challenge. >> let me ask you. i don't know if you have seen this. i don't want to blind side you with this. this is the latest statement, latest tweet as you were just saying, president-elect's latest unsolicited pronouncement on the intelligence community. this was his tweet just a little while ago tonight. you can see the scare quotes there. the "intelligence" briefing on so called "russian hacking" was
delayed until friday. perhaps more time needed to build a case. very strange. we're told -- intelligence sources tell nbc news that since this tweet has been posted this intelligence briefing for the president-elect was always planned for friday, it hasn't been delayed. but he's taking these shots, this antagonism, he's taunting the intelligence community. >> you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from sunday at getting back at you so even for a practical supposedly hard-nosed businessman he's being dumb to do this. >> what do you think the intelligence community would do? >> i don't know. but from what i am told they are very upset with how he has treated them and talked about them. we need the intelligence community. look at the russian hacking. without the intelligence community we wouldn't have discovered it. >> do you think he has an agenda to dismantle parts of the intelligence community? this form of taunting hostile di -- >> whether you're a super liberal democrat or a conservative republican, you
should be against dismantling the intelligence community. >> senator charles schumer of new york, as of today the senate minority leader, leader of the democrats in the senate for the new congress that begins today. please stay in touch over this time. >> we will. >> i will tell you that we have not always had the easiest time in the world talking to leadership of the democratic party in the obama executive branch or the democratic party legislative branch and i hope this is a new era for that, too. >> they can say a lot of bad things about me, inaccessibility ain't one of them. >> i'll hold you to it, thank you, sir. much more on deck tonight, including senator bernie sanders also here live. >> also from madison heights.
we've got much more to come tonight. i said it was a big show and i meant it. just had this fascinating conversation with the brand new as of today new democratic leader of the senate chuck schumer, the most powerful democrat in washington now in the trump era. now, next, we're about to be joined by the most influential progressive in the country, and he really is a graduate of the same high school that chuck schumer went to in brooklyn. james madison high school, this live next. we'll be right back.
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he'll be the democrats' new chair of outpalm beach the democratic leadership team in the senate. you can see him doing his thing today in new york in supporting the new york governor's plan to make a college education way, way, way more accessible. watch this. >> in a time when we have a president-elect who thinks it's great idea to give hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the top two-tenths of one percent, we have a better idea and that idea -- [ cheers and applause ] -- and this idea is to make public colleges and universities tuition-free for every person in new york state, in vermont, and in america. [ cheers and applause ] if new york state does it this year, mark my words, state after state will follow. [ cheers and applause ]
>> joining us now, i'm very pleased to say, is senator bernie sanders, leader of outreach for the senate democrats, former candidate for president and now the leader of his own post-election nonprofit called "our revolution." senator sanders, great to see you. >> good to be with you, rachel. >> are you rested and recovered after your election journey? >> ready to go. >> you look like it. i know you heard a bit of my conversation with senator schumer here. you guys went to the same high school, you've known each other for a long time. let me ask you candidly, how rested and ready do you feel like democrats are for the trump era? are you confident in the plans? in the strategic planning? in the operations thus far? >> no. i think chuck is off to a good start, is he has brought together some very, very good people and he understands something and that is that at the end of the day the way we're going to bring about change, the way we're going to stop trump is not just inside the belt way. you need an outside-the-beltway
strategy and that's in a sense what my job is as part of the democratic leadership. >> what does that mean? >> that means on january 15 for the first time in the modern history of the democratic party democrats are going to be organizing rallies all acros this country in opposition to the republican budgewhh calls for throwing 30 million people off of health care, throwing their insurance away. privatizing medicare, making massive cuts in medicaid and at the same time giving huge tax breaks to the wealthy. so what i think chuck understands and what democrats increasingly understand, is you can't just go to fund-raisers with wealthy people. you have to get out in the real world, mobilize people, educate people, listen to people and that's the transformation they need which, by the way, is why i am strongly supporting keith ellison to be the new chair of the dnc. >> you feel like he has that same organizing model? >> absolutely. absolutely. >> this day of sort of resistance, this january 15
plan, this will be the weekend before the inauguration. you're not expecting people to convene in one place, not telling everybody to come to washington. you're telling people to rally in their home districts, in their home states. >> what we're asking is u.s. senators, members of the house, labor unions, environmental groups, senior groups, ordinary people to come together and tell the republican party that their priorities are absolutely backwards, we will not accept -- you know, rachel, if you simply throw 30 million people off of health insurance, this is what the republicans intend to do by repealing the affordable care act, they have no alternative. it's not like we're replacing it. they're throwing 30 million people off of health insurance. their estimates are that thousands of people eversingle year will die, people will get much sicker than they should have been because they won't be able to go to a doctor. this is vulgar, it is vicious, it is unacceptable, we have to fight back.
description drug costs which are now outrageous will go up for senior citizens because when you repeal the affordable care act you're going to be doing away with the provision that provides federal funding to subsidize drugs for seniors. so -- the so-called doughnut hole. so this is a disaster. this is a disaster and we have got to fight back and we have to tell mr. trump and his friends that they're not going to get away with this. and the other point that has to be made -- and i think it's an important one -- is during the campaign, as you well know, trump said over and over again, he said i am the only republican out there who will not cut social security, medicare and medicaid. and right now we have the republican party working overtime trying to cut social security, medicare and medicaid. so trump has got to tell the american people one of two things -- either he lied blatantly and he has no intention of keeping his campaign promises or else he has to tell republicans right now he will veto any legislation that will cut social security, medicare and medicaid. >> in addition to that role
you've gotten, senate leadership and the kind of demonstrations you're calling for there, it's interesting calling for members of congress themselves and congress themselves -- >> ain't it? >> making that bridge. brings go both ways, i get it. in addition to that, though, you have your own organization. you have this post-election organization -- >> it's not my organization. that's illegal. i'm a united states senator and i can't head it up. an organization came out of the sanders campaign for president called "our revolution." and what that organization has done -- i am not involved, it would be illegal for me to be involved in the day-to-day operations. what they have done is a pretty good job in trying to elect candidates from the school board upo the united states house of representatives. and they have a pretty good record and they've won some good victories and the goal of that organization is to get people involved in the political
process at the grass-roots level from city councils, school board, governor, whatever it may be. and get people to be thinking politically and to be active politically. >> do you feel support for this type of strategy you're describing? obviously the kind of strategy you're talking about right now for resisting what the republicans are doing for building the kind of future of the democratic party you're talking about here, a lot of that is an extrapolation of what you did in order to have such success in the primary. do you still feel like a man alone in the democratic party for preaching that way of approaching politics? >> less alone. less alone. the fact that senator schumer is supportive of these ideas. >> put you in leadership. >> that's right, put me in leadership. but i think the democrats -- many of them, i will not tell you all, some democrats say, hmm, we're doing obamacare, i have a good position, i'm a member of the dnc, do i really want all these young people, working people, to come into my party? my party. some say no.
on the other hand there are a lot who understand that when we have lost the house, when we lost the senate, when we lost the white house, when we have lost 900 legislative seats. two-thirds of the governors' chairs are controlled by republicans maybe, maybe something is fundamentally wrong with the democratic party and i think within the democratic party more and more people understand we have to change the dynamics. we have to open the doors to young people, working people. we need to bring more people into the process. >> senator bernie sanders, independent of vermont now in the democratic senate leadership is our guest right now. we'll be right back with senator sanders right after this.
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back with us is nator bernie sanders. thank you for your time. on the other side of capitol hill from the senate things went wobbly. the house republicans, who have a big majority, last night, behind closed doors, they voted so that the first thing they would do as a new congress is gut the congressional ethics office. then black box, we don't know what happened, but the results, you know, the next day, this afternoon, was they had to take it all back. you see a lot of press headlines today crediting trump tweeting against the timing of their changes. maybe that's what caused it. the other thing is apparently the phones lit up like you couldn't believe on capitol hill and social media went crazy. >> if you think the phones are going to light up because of
what they did the other day, you are going to see phones really light up when they try to cut medicare and medicaid and social security. here's most important point that people have to understand. republicans think they have a mandate, let us not forget that trump lost the popular vote by almost 3 million votes. that on virtually every major issue facing the people of this country, whether it is cutting social security or expanding social security, whether it is raising the minimum wage, whether it is pay equity, rebuilding our infrastructure. the american people want to go forward in a progress you have way. they want the wealthiest people to pay their fair share of taxes. the republican ideology is way out of touch with where ordinary americans are. our job is to bring the people in to the process and say do you want to give huge tax breaks to billionaire and cut social security and medicare?
the american people do not want that to happen and our job is to mobilize them through social media, rallies and on the streets. >> the congress they elected, by hook or crook, the congress they elected has that as their agenda. tax cuts for the wealthy temperature dismantling obamacare. they have filed legislation to do that. they prepared slation to build the freaking wall on the southern border. the congress they selected will not pursue the american people's priorities. >> what every poll out there tells us, you say to the american people should we raise the minimum wage, yes, we should. pay equity for women, absolutely. should we is ask the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes, yes. this is what the american people want. the failure is we have not mobilized people around that agenda.
and republicans have been able to win thanks to koch brothers and their friends. >> it feels there is something different in this election, beyond disappointed and angry. i'm asking you because you embody the hopes for so many progressive americans an other people alienated from politics. people are afraid of what will happen in the country because 0 trump is president. fear is a weak place from which to operate. fear is not a position of strength. what do you say when people tell you they are afraid? >> i think there are legitimate reasons to be afraid. this guy will have his finger on the nuclear button. i think what is important, though, is to remember there have been very difficult times in american history. we have had a rocky history. i ask people, people say things are so awful today, 60, 70 years
ago, black kids in the south were going to segregated schools, could not drink in a white water fountain. people fought back. a woman lost her run for president this year, 100 years ago today, women didn't have the right to vote. couldn't go to the schools they wanted. you are sitting here. you are a leading correspondent. that wasn't the case 50 years ago. gay rights, think of the revolution that has taken place over the last 20 years. the trade movement union and the struggle workers had to face. i get impatient when people say i'm giving up, i'm in despair. forget about that. you have to fight back as people have throughout the history of this country. people have stood up and fought back. the most important point, as i
said a moment ago, on all of these issues the majority of the people are with us and we have to go out and reach out to people. bring them in to the political process and fight for the kind of nation that we know we can become. if there's anything that i learned, running for president, is there are -- this is not rhetoric. this is truth. there are so many decent, good, wonderful people out there who want to create a nondiscriminatory society, want to create a society of environmental justice, of social justice and economic justice. i believe that's the majority spirit in this country. our job is to mobilize those people. >> senator bernie sanders of vermont. thank you. come back soon. we'll be right back. there are jobs that haven't been filled but at 10:00 last night we started to get word the president elect had settled on a pick for trade representative. his name is robert lighthizer. ♪ think of your fellow man.
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causing him to stop, drop and roll. luckily jack recently had geico help him with renters insurance. because all his belongings went up in flames. jack got full replacement and now has new pants he ordered from banana republic. visit geico.com and see how affordable renters insurance can be. there are jobs that haven't been filled but at 10:00 last night we started to get word the president elect had settled on a pick for trade representative. his name is robert lighthizer. he had the job under reagan. and today we got the official announcement from the trump transition they had picked him for this post. this was their announcement -- president elect trump to nominate robert lighter as u.s. trade representative. you put them side by side you will see there is something wrong here. these are not contrary announcements or two different guys announced for the same job. you see the trump transition team trying to announce robert lighthizer picked as u.s. trade representative so they just call him robert lighter.
it's easier. people know what we mean, right? been wonderful to have senator schumer here, the new leader of the democrats in the senate and senator bernie sanders here. hoping to make a standing date with senator sanders in the months ahead. we will see you again tomorrow. now it is time for ""the last word with lawrence o'donnell." can't , standing date with senator sanders and rachel maddow. for republicans the real worst news of day one of the congress is not the ethics story. we will get to that.