tv MSNBC Live MSNBC September 2, 2017 5:30am-6:00am PDT
here is what we're watching for you. in the next few hours, president trump will take a closer look at the impact of hurricane harvey, visiting houston and lake charles louisiana. the white house has requested more than $15 billion in harvey aid. $70.85 billion for immediate release and more at the end of the month. mitch mcconnell says the senate will reability quickly. the city of beaumont is facing a shortage of drinking water after the municipal system failed. residents have endured lines of almost a mile for access to bottled water. the arkema chemical plant had a second fire and explosion this week. so far they say no toxic emissions have been detected. right now let's go to houston. nbc's katy beck is joining us. it's been a week since harvey first hit the texas gulf coast. how are people there holding
up? >> reporter: good morning alex. people are surprisingly resilient and working hard to get their lives back to normal. you've got to image every street in this area had a pile of debris five or six feet high. to you and i this looks like sheet rock and carpet. but to them this looks like their home. when they look at this, they see pieces of clothing. they see watches, shoes, prescriptions. they see life as it was before harvey literally sitting in their front yard. as i said, this is not singular, this entire street, all the way down, every house has tons of debris that has to be cleaned up. folks have been through out the week have had dump trucks here, crews, contractors, starting to get this process started. but at this point it's a daunting task. there's a lot still to do and it's overwhelming when you come home, the home you left that had five or six feet of water, it's now dry but it's destroyed.
we've been talking to families here with heartbreaking stories throughout the week that are really trying their best to get things back to normal. it's going to be some time before that's possible. >> it's extraordinary when you look at that street now and what that street looked like in all likelihood a week, six days ago. catie, when people talk about reconstruction, replacing things, have people mentioned whether or not they have flood insurance and if it's applicable? >> reporter: so the statistic we've been given is one in six people have flood insurance. i'd say from the folks we've spoken to, that's probably on point. but even the people who do have flood insurance tell us, we're concerned we're only going to recoup a fraction of what we lost. there's just no way to put financial numbers on things that have septembermental value, for instance, or things you've had for years. so there are some people with flood insurance, but they're also suffering from the same anxiety that the ones without it
are. >> and also, health concerns. so the water has receded. is there any way to describe what's been left behind in terms of the muck that's inside of those homes? >> reporter: a lot of these are going to be a total loss, alex. we've spoken to neighbors here up and down the street. the mold, the destruction, there are some houses that the floor boards came up and there's dirt exposed. there's no floor in some of these homes. so there are respiratory risks involved with keeping the home as it is after this damage. it's not worth it. so many homes on this street will be a total loss. at this point the best they can do is get everything out so insurance adjusters can come in and take stock of everything and give them their best number. >> what a long road ahead. catie beck, thank you. we'll seal you again. as i mentioned, in just a few minutes, president trump and
the first lady will set off for their second trip to texas and while there will visit with people affected by hurricane harvey. let's bring in joe watkins, former white house aide to president george h.w. bush, rick tyler, an msnbc political analyst, and zerlina maxwell former adviser to -- >> did the first visit not cut it or things he couldn't see then that he wants to see now, can you explain that? >> he made an impetuous decision to go and ended up in corpus chris christi. corpus christi got a lot of wind damage, but only received about six, seven, eight inches of rain. that's fine because you don't want him drawing resources from people on a rescue mission at that time. so now he wants to go back and probably get closer to where the damage occurred. i'm not going to second-guess it. i think it's fine. you're not going to see donald trump have the sort of empathy
that, for instance, mike pence showed on his trip to houston. trump is sort of incapable of that kind of expression. >> zerlina, this is really the first outside crisis for the president. how is he doing so far? what kind of a grade would you give him? >> well, i think of it two different ways. one is the grade for the president himself. as rick said, i think his trip was a little too premature. he didn't go to any of the actual places where the damage was. understandably because of security and resources. but he actually didn't meet anybody who was suffering after harvey. he didn't meet any of the actual victims. so i give him an f personally. i give the federal response maybe a c minus. it's been sufficient, but hasn't been enough -- we've seen a lot of amazing volunteers and community members coming together in response to this crisis, and i think that certainly we learned some
lessons from previous hurricanes, but we can always learn more. and the number one thing is, the federal government needs to understand that climate change is real. and until we do that, we're just going to see this continue to happen. preparing for a hurricane without understanding the underlying causes of storms of this size is a really big problem. >> zerlina, you think that c minus has a possibility of raising in terms of the response from the federal government? it still is far from complete? >> absolutely. i think the federal government can kick into high gear because many of these people are going to have long-term issues. if you lose every single thing that you own and your home, you need a place to live, you need clothes, you need food in the long term. many people will be displaced, they'll lose their employment. this will be a long struggle for many folks who are suffering at the hands of this storm. and i think the federal government needs to be there for them as this process is sustained.
>> texas governor greg abbott says it's going to be years of recovery. fox news has a new poll out this week that doesn't look good for the president. the number of voters happy with the way things are going is down ten full points since april. that is a four-year low. joe, how do you account for that? what's changed so drastically in just four months? >> i think the steady drip of bad news, hasn't been helped by some of the white house personnel who have come and gone in grand fashion and captured headlines. i know when i worked at the white house, the one thing staffers tried desperately to do is keep out of the headlines. the story is supposed to be the president. that's what you do, you help the president with his agenda and stay out of the head lieps. that hasn't happened for him. that's all cut away at his base of support and popularity certainly in the last few months. but these kinds of catastrophes give presidents a chance to
recoup a little bit and to show a different side of himself. he may not have legislative accomplishments to show for his time in office. but certainly by being on top of the response to this hurricane, he's showing that he's at least engaged which is good. the way americans have supported other americans is absolutely beautiful. if we were this america always, we would be so special a place, as i believe we already are. americans are no longer in these catastrophes republicans or democrats or black or white or straight or gay, we're just americans helping americans who need help. that's a beautiful thing to see. we need to be that america all the time. >> that has been incredibly inspiring. the groups who whose support has dropped for the president are republican men and whites without a college degree. those are key blocks for him in the election. how worried do you think the president should be about that? >> they want to see something
get done. donald trump ran on specific items, border wall protection, and he also ran on tax reform. we'll see if we get that done. he ran on repealing and replacing obamacare. so far none of those things have gotten done. there's been other distractions in the news. if i might, i'd love to pick up on joe's point. the story in houston is about americans helping americans. a lot of those people who took their bass boats -- i suspect a lot of them may be trump supporters and a lot of people they're picking up may be democrats. nobody cares. everybody is helping. to give you perspective of the relief coming from fema, super storm sandy was only $7,000 on average for each victim of that storm. katrina was less than that -- actually sandy was more like $8,000. the san diego wildfires were similar. even the largest payouts from fema was around $33,000. if you were in houston and you lost your home and lost your car and maybe even your job, that
money is not going to get you very far. what's going to happen is the churches and organizations like the red cross, samaritan's purse, those are the people that will rebuild katrina. your government won't be able to help you here. they will get the roads back open, get the water and sewer back up, the electric and power up. it's americans that are going to have to step up and rebuild houston and southeast sks sks. >> absolutely. >> zerlina, let's talk about twitter, shall we? earlier this week nbc pollster peter hart talked to voters in pittsburgh about that, and most of them were very concerned about the president's use of twitter. why does it bother them now and not during the campaign? is there any reason to think he would change? >> i don't think there was any reason to think he would change. i do think americans want to think that everybody has that level of responsibility, that when you're the president, you'll rise to the occasion. i think when you have the commander-in-chief tweeting things, alluding to nuclear
conflict, petty grievances he has with particular members of congress or his own administration. i just think the twitter illustrates a deficiency in his fitness for the office, and i think that's why you see people who voted for him critical of him in the focus group conducted this week. >> unfortunately out of time. joe, rick, zerlina, always good to see you. thank you very much. irma is now a category 2 hurricane. howe likely is it to make landfall? in the next hour, dr. john torres will break down the health effects that could result from hurricane harvey.
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refineries are not functioning. the average national is $2.59, a 23 cent increase in a week. in addition, shortages, long lines and disbelief. >> just noticed it, they are up 50 cents from a couple days ago. >> it's ridiculous. i was in sticker shock. >> experts say they could surge more in some areas with the short supplies. mandatory evacuations under way as a wildfire is burning out of control in burbank, california. dozens of homes are threatened as that fire is making et cetera way down the mountains towards a heavily populated area. in norther california, a scorcher in san francisco as the city hit 104 degrees, and all-time record high temperature. dangerously hot conditions are expected to continue today. in the atlantic, hurricane irma is picking up steam, now a category 2 storm. the timing and track is unclear.
let's check in with nbc's bonnie schneider. what can you tell us about irma? >> it weakened a bit since the last advisory, a category 2. it's cloud filled. this is not going to last. irma will work its way over warmer waters and a more worst environment that will ignite it again to a major storm. right now 1500 miles east of the leeward islands. the west early movement continues. the shift to the more southwesterly movement. look in the days to come, category 4 hurricane, even by monday as a category 3. where is the storm going to go beyond five days and why is there so much uncertainty. a lot of dynamics in the atmosphere that can move it one way or another. if we have a weaker ridge, that would allow irma to turn to the north. if this ridge of high pressure over the atlantic is stronger, that would push the storm further to the west and not
turning to the north fast enough. plus, we also have this jet stream -- this is another uncertainty. we don't know how strong or how weak the jet stream will be. if it does get stronger and dip further to the south, it can kick the storm out to sea. there's so many factors happening in the atmosphere that are at least five days ahead. that's what makes it difficult to predict, whether or not irma will impact the u.s. >> that is why we have you on the job. thank you so much. appreciate that, bonnie. up next, how much can hurricane-ravaged texas expect to pay you, right? no, i got paid right away, but, at the very end of it all, my agent- -wouldn't even call you back, right? no, she called to see if i was happy, but, if i wasn't happy with my claim experience, for any reason... ...they'd give me my money back, no questions asked. can you believe that? no. the claim satisfaction guarantee, only from allstate. switching to allstate is worth it.
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joining me now -- the house is expected to vote on harvey relief. will it get passed? >> i would think there's going to be almost unanimous support among democrats and i would think largely among republicans at least for this initial request. we know that there's a desperate need for immediate assistance. i don't think there will be much haggling offer this one. >> you talk about $7.9 billion. i know there is a portion set aside for small business recovery. how much could possibly get diverted to other projects? >> well, i think probably in this initial phase i would say virtually all of it will go to relief, but, you know, what's happened in other areas is there's been a lot of money for research, money for studies, money for preventive measures. so i think the second request will be one that we're going to
demand a lot more detail and specificity as to how that's going to be used. >> as you know, republicans complained after superstorm sandy a some of the relief funds were diverted to other projects. is there any way to guarantee all of this aid goes toward harvey and the aftermath? >> i would doubt there's any way to guarantee it. you have a number of agencies with responsibilities here. you don't know what transportation or sba is going to do. there's no way to guarantee it. i think everybody's going to deal with the situation with goodwill and i'm not as concerned as i am about getting all the assistance to those people and we need to be on the job very quickly. >> we're talking about a lot of money here, as you know. $7.85 billion immediately. can you put in perspective the
impact of these numbers on the budget? >> well, what we're talking about, the federal budget is roughly $4 trillion. as a percentage of the federal budget, it's not all that much. when we're talking about the money that congress actually controls, which is what we call discretionary spending, that's everything but social security, medicare, medicaid and interest on the debt, we're tackilking at $1 trillion. we talking about something like 8% of the money that congress has authority over every year. so it could run up pretty quickly. but we don't even have a budget for 2018 yet and that 2018 starts on october 1st. so it will be interesting to see how we factor in this additional supplemental spending into what we appropriate ultimately for next year. >> at the same time, as you know, the president appears to be pulling back on his threat
recently to shut down the government over border wall funding, at least for now. what do you think has prompted this change in tune from the president? >> well, i think -- i'm not sure he realizes it but at least the people around him realize that nobody in the united states congress cares about the wall as much as he does. and you have members of the republican party all along the border who don't want the wall. so this is all about donald trump's personal standing with his base and i think he's realizing that to go to war over that when we're talking about possibly shutting down the government at the end of this month, raising the debt ceiling, all of these critical things we have to do, renewing the flood insurance program ironically and funding children's health insurance program, these are all things that i think he realizes finally that to precipitate a war over the wall that really not many people want would be silly. and i'm glad he's backing off.
i hope he doesn't take us to the wall again, no pun intended, at the end of the year, which is possible also. >> i was going to ask you about that. would the funding ever happen -- this is according to congressional aides who say he may be punting to the december negotiation with the budget. >> certainly when you're talking about the human tragedy that's occurred in houston, you don't want to be seen as holding anybody hostage over that wall. and as that recedes into most people's memory at the end of the year when we'll have to do a funding bill again, probably, i guess it would be another time to fight. but democrats have made it very clear that that is a non-starter with us. they cannot pass a spending bill of any kind, republicans can't without democrat being votic voe democrats are not going to pay for that wall. he can fight all he wants but he's not going to get it through congress. by the way, my math was gone,
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