tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC September 5, 2017 1:00am-2:00am PDT
and the last part of the farce keeps going and there's never the ending. we'll see the part of the fall if the farce actually happens. i appreciate you all coming. many thanks. that is all in for this evening. we'll be back at the desk 8:00 p.m. eastern tomorrow night. be there. happy to have you with us. in terms of scandal and potential criminal liability even, the real existential crisis is the russia crisis. the management handling of that crisis and the white house has been an unusual spectacle to report on. the frenetic pace of the turnover of white house senior staff, the colorful and profane cast of characters who the president has brought in, various lawyers on the issue. it's been weird and astonishing to watch in terms of the way this white house has handled this scandal and its fallout already. but when it comes to the more
important question, the bottom line question, when it comes to how the country is going to determine the way this scandal will end, how the congressional committee wills conduct and conclude their investigations, how congress will react to its own investigations, as well as to whatever we eventually learn from the special counsel investigation at the fbi, that ultimate response which is the most important thing for the country, that is not going to be determined by what the white house does. and it's not going tong determined by what the press does. it will be determined in a granular sense largely by republicans. especially if it happens soon while republicans still control congress. if you think there are eventually going to be impeachment proceedings, if you think the congressional investigations are going to be consequential and their findings are going to be known. all of that stuff will be decide
bid the people who run congress. and at least until the midterm elections that's congressional republicans. and that fact, the fact that at least, you know, until january after the next midterms, the fate of this presidency is in the hands of congressional republicans, that, if nothing else, makes the strain between the white house and the elected republicans not just human drama in washington. it makes it potentially a existential matter for this presidency. and of all of the things that have driven this strain between the president and the elected republicans, the most interesting dynamic, the most persistent and difficult problem for that relationship has turned out to be the president's expression of sympathy with the grievances of white supremacists and neo-nazis who gathered for a rally and riot in charlottesville, virginia. the president has sympathy with
their grievances and solidarity other their affection for the confederacy. that really has been a problem. reportedly it has been a problem for some senior white house staff working for this president, although you can take that as far as you can throw it since none of them have actually resigned from the white house or threatened to resign in response to the president's remarks. but congressional republicans too have described this moment, this problem their discomfort with what the president said, they've described this as something that bothered them. something that made them feel this presidency, maybe they're not going to go to bat to keep it going, if it comes right down to it. it's interesting how much of a problem this has been, not just if are the president's standing not just our soul as a nation but specifically his relationship with other republicans.
here's what makes that supposed revulsion on the part of other republicans. those comments from the president being a supposed breaking point. here's what makes that a shakespearian drama. at least a crock depending on how you look at it. white supremacists did not brand them as the alt right because donald trump was elected president. the hitler let's make a white homeland of america extremism, it didn't spring out of the toilet that it lives in because this guy elected. the white supremacist nightmare edge rebranded themselves as the alt-right years ago and i re-up for discussion the fact that well before this president moved on from reality tv, i was the
republican party in congress, before trump, that started to insinuate these guys into otherwise mainstream republican politics. don't believe me? watch this. this is what we did at the time. >> but we have to start tonight in montana at the headquarters of an organization that like to think of itself as america's think tank for the white nationalist movement. they don't like to same white supremacist. they like to say white nationalist. they think it stands better. you can judge for yourself. >> who stands for us. have you ever wondered why isn't there an organization that works for us. from african-american to illegal immigrants, from lesbians to left-handers, every ethnic and interest group has its own lobby or cultural foundation. the exception, of course, the
white americans. >> this is the white supremacist -- sorry, the white nationalist think tank group. they call themselves the white national policy institute. their slogan, for our people, our culture, our future. when they say our they're really specific about who they mean. >> as long as whites continue to avoid and deny their own racial identity at a time whenever other racial and ethnic category is reasserting its own, whites have no chance. this is our challenge, this is our calling. won't you join us. >> so if you poke around on the website of the white nationalist think tank, you can see how they're trying to update the racist image. some are still skin head guys but they wear suits and some of them have hair. this is an old school kind of
thing want no inner breed. it is exactly what you think it with improved haircuts. if you dig into the fine print in their online web presence, they're not just an online group that they hold physical conferences and events. they maintain a p.o. box in whitefish, montana. that's the exact same p.o. box for this online racist forum. and i awe a bunch of links to this today but no, it's all still there. it's called the alternative right. and it's an online racist forum. it describes itself as being founded by the won't you join us white power guy you just saw in
the think tank video. this is their post on holocaust remembrance day. they call it holocaust amnesia day. and under the picture it says, i can't believe it's crept up on me today. today i discover that today is holocaust memorial day and i'm fresh out of onions. the author goes on to describe his mixed feelings of commemorating a historic event and he goes to say we leave aside for the moment whether this whole holocaust thing actually happened. this is the real deal. this is alternative-right which lives in the same whitefish, montana p.o. box as the white nationalist think tank. this corner of the internet is relevant because it's suddenly front and center in super mainstream american politics. this arian nation crock is directly linked to the legislation that finally started getting a markup today.
there was a talk that the republican party were finally going to help see into law reform of our nation's royally screwed up immigration system. the writing was on the wall after losing the presidency again after losing seats in the house and the senate. the republican party had to get right with latino voters and the way it was going to do it was by supporting immigration reform finally. it is really not clear that enough republicans do support it that it's going to pass. jefferson be regard sessions iii introduced 49 separate amendment to the bill today and that's not because he's trying to help it along. and the most conservative think tank is against it. the heritage foundation is leading the conservative operation. and this is where the white supremacist problem comes in.
yesterday it was dylan matthews who looked up the credential of the people who wrote the anti-immigration study for heritage and they found out that one of the coauthors did his study. i'm only barely paraphrasing. the dissertation describing latinos has an an iq substantially lower than that of the white native population. they do not have the same cognitive ability as natives. no one knows whether hispanics reach iq parity with whites but the percentage of the low iq children and grandchildren is difficult to argue against. not only are they intellectually inferior to whites, but of course, they breed. it's disgusting, right? to be clear.
this guy with the thesis that white people are just naturally smarter, he isn't some temp that the heritage foundation bumped into. he has a titled position at the heritage foundation. a senior policy analyst. and even as they tried to disavow his dissertation, that's his student past, that's the one problem with him. today we learned thanks to some digging, that this fie's whole record of public output is the same kind of stuff. here's another article from him, this one from march 2010, model minority question mark? you get the implication, right? hispanics are in fact substantially more likely than whites to commit serious crimes. these findings are not due to age differences or immigration violations or other statistical artifacts. the reality of hispanic crimes should be one of the factors that we consider when setting immigration policy. that's not from a dissertation.
that's on the online machine, specifically that's on the online machine at alternative-right.com with the place where they're cutting up onions to make them fake cry over the holocaust. where the whitefish, montana post office box lives with this guy and where the heritage foundation author of the immigration study is expanding on these brown people who we really ought to consider keeping out of the count friday. and when the heritage foundation was considering hiring him, his most recent public output, the thing he was going online the month before heritage hired him was writing about the racial inferiority and criminality of latinos as a group. and this is the world where the heritage foundation went to, to find an author for their study of immigration reform. their study concludes that it's a terrible idea to reform immigration because these immigrants, and you know who we mean, these immigrants and their
children and grandchildren, everybody in their blood line, that are low achieving parasites who will need on the native born population and that will be expensive. and we learned all of this today about the character. we learned who the leading the immigration reform on the day it finally gets introduced to the senate. >> that was our coverage in may 2013 of the longstanding white supremacist movement in this country we branding itself as the alt-right and the republican party's willingness to dance with them for political differences even then. president trump's kind remarks about the white supremacists among us may make republicans proclaim their discomfort. but is there's a recent past for the republican to reckon with. a recent past of republicans and the heritage foundation really opening the door to those groups before donald trump was even
really gotten up and running. before thanksgiving, after the election this past year, there was a show of force in washington, d.c. that when you look back at it now, it rings like a bell in terms of what it foreshadowed for this new presidency. >> to be white is to be a striver, a crusader, an explorer and a conquerer. we build, we produce, we go upward. and we recognize the central lie of american race relations. we don't exploit other groups. we don't gain anything from their presence. they need us and not the other way around. [ applause ] two weeks ago i might have said the election of donald trump would actually lessen the pressure on white americans. but today it is clear his election is only intensifying the storm of hatred and hysteria being directed against us. as europeans we are uniquely at the center of history. we are, as hagel recognized, the embodiment of world history
itself. no one will honor us for losing gracefully. no one mourns the great crimes committed against us. for us it is conquer or die. this is a -- [ applause ] this is a unique burden for the white man that our fate is entirely in our hands. and it is appropriate because within us, within the very blood in our veins as children of the sun lies the potential for greatness. that is the great struggle we are called to. we were meant to overcome, overcome all of it because that is natural and normal for us. [ applause ]
because for us, as europeans, it is only normal again when we are great again. >> see what he did there? when we are great again. we europeans. make white people great again. also, did you notice the white people are children of the sun? did you notice that line from him? i would just -- i'm not expert but i would think children of the sun would be more tan. you mow what i'm saying? this was not a tan group. but now that we've got this new president-elect, this is the news cycle on the monday of thanksgiving week because this is part of our national politics now. with this new president-elect and the way he got elected and who he is bringing with him to washington. this is the kind of thing we're getting used to covering now. honestly the view from inside today's news cycle, trying to figure out how to do an evening
news cycle had to today include a big serious self-conscious earnest debate inside the knew organizations about whether the white supremacists, there was a huge debate about whether when they got together they were saying heil trump or whether they were saying hail trump. it was a big debate today. >> because for us as europeans, it is only normal again when we are great again. hail trump, hail our people, hail victory. >> big discussion as to whether that was heil like german or hail. then late this afternoon we got tape of that event from a different angle which settled
the conclusion of heil versus hail. you see the guy at the podium saying hail trump and then you take the wide shot and you can see how the room reacted. watch this. hail trump, hail our people, hail victory. >> gathered in that room responding to hail trump. >> hail victory. >> with the straight arm hitler style salute. there's no use arguing about what's going on there and what particular vowel that genius bought at the end of his speech. this is not one guy in the room doing this. it's cropping up all over the room. once you see those eyes, i'm not hung on whether they're saying hail in english or heil. we know what they mean.
nbc news called him tonight, much to his deep delight and he told them that his mission as he sees it is to professionalize this movement that he's part of so that they will have more influence in this country. so yes, maybe there was some hail trump people giving nazi salutes. but he told nbc news tonight that people were giving that salute in that room in response to the cries of hail trump simply out of, in his words, out of exuberance. so we therefore shouldn't read that much into it. we know this kind of stuff exists in our country. we actually covered him because every once in a while real politics butts up against men
like him. we've been covering this guy on and off for a couple of years. what we're not used to cover is a part of our relevant presidential politics, which is what it has now become. and because the followers of this white nationalist, white supremacist racist agenda came in to the d.c. conference on saturday from all over the country, that means that folks with this agenda are all out there around the country and we know they're feeling super empowered by what just happened in this election and they feel like they've got a guy at the top. >> they feel like they've got a guy at the top. and the new administration soon took steps to prove them right. this whole thing, this did not come out of nowhere. more ahead.
before the current presidency we spent a long time on this show, years really, covering extremism. covering extremist politics in the united states. and in particular we spent a lot of time tracking the surprising inroads made by extremists into the political right, into what passed for normal conservative poll tings and even normal republican politics. but when donald trump brought in to run his campaign the purr vary of a conservative website that called itself the platform for the alt-right, we knew then that the far right had taken
those mainstream inroads to all new territory. this summer at the republican national convention steve bannon told us that at his old job, running a website at breitbart.com created the platform for the alt-right. alt-right is of course a euphemistic term that has not been around that long. breitbart.com, under steve bannon, they ran a long sympathetic profile e plain last year where they described the parts of the alt-right movements and its thinking. steve bannon describes breitbart.com as the platform for the alt-right. in their explainer about what the alt-right is, the breitbart website describe this guy with the trendy haircut as the center of alt-right thought. this is a man named richard
spencer who we've covered a number of times on this show. richard spencer, other leading rights of the alt-right movement, they held their own press conference in september in washington, d.c. to clarify what the alt-right is and what they stand for. steve bannon had given the alt-right all of this new publicity, all of the attendant attention that comes with having somebody that represents you that says they run the platform for the alt-right, having them operating at such a high level of national politics. steve bannon, new senior counselor to the president-elect describes himself as having created the online platform for the alt-right. so that platform, his publication describes richard spencer as the center of alt-right thought. richard spencer freely admits that his goal as the center of alt-right thought, his goal is to create a whites only homeland in the united states.
>> probably the most radical any of the three of us here, he just want a white identity. >> a lot of mainstream publications today are having a hard time coming up with the right way to describe who is going to be the karl rove figure in the trump white house. the senior counselor who president-elect trump has named to be his top adviser. and they're being explicit, equal in status with the white house chief of staff. you feel the discomfort in the beltway media referring to him as a white nationalist or a person who comes from the white nationalist corner of conservative media and conservative propaganda. but that really is true. that is documented. that is in his own terms the way he characterized his own work up to the point where he left tight go run the trump campaign. steve bannon has of course left the trump administration. he's back at breitbart, the
platform for the alt-right. but if the current proclaimed discomfort between elected republicans and the president on issues of white supremacy and his coziness with that faction of white extremism in america, that didn't come out of nowhere. that behavior on the part of the president is something that's been brewing for a long time. it's part of a plan and a plan that has a deep deep past as well as a scary future. and that's next. stay with us.
in 1915 woodrow wilson became the first president to screen an american movie at the white house. it was a movie based on the book that had been written by the president's old college buddy, thomas dickson jr., a movie called "the birth of a nation." it was sensation at the time. it was also a landmark cultural moment for american white supremacy. it's a false depiction of slavery in the civil war one where the emotional climax of the show is when the ku klux klan rides in to save the day. after he screened the movie at the white house woodrow wilson was reported as saying it's like writing history with lightning and my only regret it is so true.
but president wilson's endorsement of "birth of a nation" screening at the white house that year was an early sign of the klan's soon to be resurgence. not just in american terrorism but in american politics. and that story is ahead. no pun intended. stay with us. complete the job with listerine® help prevent plaque, early gum disease, bad breath and kill up to 99.9% of germs. listerine® bring out the bold™
in 1924 the democratic party needed to pick a presidential nominee to run against calvin coolidge. and they knew it was going to be hard. coolidge was fairly popular. he had become president when warren harding keeled over and died in office. as president coolidge was pretty widely liked. he was overseeing a pretty good economy. he was running basically as an incumbent to try to hold on to that seat. and the democrats knew that coolidge was going to be hard to beat in 1924. they knew they had two frontrunners for the nomination. one was a democrat named al smith, very popular, the governor at new york at the time. his chief rival was the guy named william gibbs mack mcadoo. he was originally from tennessee, ultimately became a senator from california. mcadoo wu secretary of the treasury and he pulled off the major cue of marrying president wilson's daughter while wilson
was president and while mcadoo was serving as the secretary of treasury. they held the wedding at the white house. he was a high profile secretary of the treasury to say the least. so so mcadoo is the son-in-law of the former president. he himself is a former treasury secretary. he is a senator. he's very rich. he's got ties both to the west and to the south. he had within the vice chairman of the democratic party. he was very very very well connected. mcadoo had one ace in the hole. a secret weapon which was that he also had the klan. this was 1924, ku klux klan was absolutely accendent in that part of the 1920. the racist film "birth of a nation" came out in 1915 and swept the nation helped the klan.
the klan got more wind in their sails when they became one of the major powers pushing for prohibition. looking back on prohibition it seems like one of the more unlikely things in american history that we ever would have decided. to ban alcohol as a country, really, we decided that? but an unsung but important part of why that happened was the klan supporting prohibition. and by the time the democratic party was making this hard choice about who they were going to pick to be their nominee for president in 1924, the klan thought it should have a say. the klan was big enough, confident enough, wide spread enough in terms of their reach that they really thought they should get to make the call as to who the democratic party would pick for their presidential nominee that year.
and the two strong front runners were that guy william gibbs mcadoo and al smith. and for the klan, that was a really easy pick because al smith was a catholic. and the klan was an anti-kathic as they were anti-semitic and anti-black. the klan went all in for william gibbs mcadoo. and the klan ended up being central to the presidential nomination that year. an anti-mcadoo delegate from alabama of all places put forward a plank for the party platform that would have condemned the klan. the fight over whether or not to approve that anti-klan plank for the party platform absolutely convulsed the convention that summer. they were literally fight in the aisles. they called in 1,000 policemen to break up the brawling on the floor of the convention. ultimately the anti-klan plank in the party platform it was voted down.
voted down by one point. politico.com did a reporting on this a few months ago. anti-klan plank loses by 541 3/20ths to 542 3/20ths of a vote. riotous scenes marked the roll call. you can see it there, bedlam over the klan. second poll is required to settle the question on this klan question. and then actually in the chart there in the third column, it's the list of all of the people at the convention and who voted how on the klan plank. it was that big of a deal. failed by one vote. so the pro-klan side won, right? when the anti-klan plank vote, 20,000 masked hooded klansmen rallied across the hudson river to mark the moment.
they didn't think they would be able to rally in new york city not with their robes and mask. so they crossed over to new jersey. they had an effigy of al smith at the rally and they beat it up and tore it apart. but then the convention had to move on to picking its nominee. that convention drags on and on and on in the july heat in madison square garden. that thing went on for 16 days with thousands of people in there. no air conditioning. and the fights and the cops and they kept going ballot after ballot after ballot. that one ultimately went to 103 ballots. a record. and in the end they couldn't decide. the democrats finally in the end exhausted, they picked neither of their two candidates. they did not pick. mcadoo nor did they pick al smith. they ended up throwing in the towel and picked some other guy named john davis who no one knew. they were absolutely spent in their fight with the klan and
over the klan that summer in new york. they ran this guy john davis. he got trounced. coolidge won the election, sworn in in march of 1925. and the klan, having flexed its muscles that way in national politics in the lead up to that election, coolidge wasn't their guy. they wanted a democrat in there. but they decided that once coolidge was in there it was time for them to make another show of political power. and this time they didn't want to make it within one political party. this time they wanted to flex their muscles on the national stage. this picture is from august 1925, so this is during the first year of calvin coolidge's presidency after the election in 1924. michael beschloss tweeted this out today. those are klan robes. the ku klux klan march in full white hoods and robes down pennsylvania avenue you. that was their show of force in 1925. and then a year later they
decided to come back and do it again, but this time even bigger. in the fall of 1926, september 1926, the ku klux klan held what they called their concave, their national conclave in washington, d.c., second time they rallieds thousands strong in d.c. in two straight years. when they turned up in 1926, they turned out 50,000 masked, robed klansmen who marched in formation through washington, d.c. most of these pictures are from the library of congress. no matter how many times i've
seen them, i still have a hard time believing that that show of klan force in washington, d.c., i still have a hard time believing it's real. but that was real. that was 1926. 50,000 klansmen march in washington, d.c. in may of 1927, a thousand klans men and some assorted fascists marched in queens in new york city and they ultimately rioted and fought with police. nobody was killed. there was a lot of news coverage of it at the time, which survives, both from the "the new york times," from the brooklyn daily eagle, a few other papers. the police commissioner at the time made a point of telling the public that this was a landmark moment for the klan in new york city. it's not that he didn't know that the klan was active in new york city. it's just that new york city had never before seen a thousand klansmen turn there was a lot of news coverage of it at the time, which survives, both from the "the new york times," from the brooklyn daily eagle, a few other papers. the police commissioner at the time made a point of telling the public that this was a landmark moment for the klan in new york city. it's not that he didn't know that the klan was active in new york city. it's just that new york city had never before seen a thousand klansmen turn out in the streets in robes and masks like they did in may of 1927. there were seven men arrested at the klans march in new york. one of them was fred trump, who is the father of donald trump.
donald trump has previously responded to reporting about this incident by saying it never happened, never happened. never happened. the whole thing is made up. but there is contemporaneous news coverage that describes and shows pictures of the mass klans march, including klansmen march in new york city in hoods and robes and his father's name does show up as one of the arrestees from that march. the whole thing is made up. but there is contemporaneous news coverage that describes and shows pictures of the mass klans march, including klansmen march in new york city in hoods and robes and his father's name does show up as one of the arrestees from that march.
but it's not ancient history to recognize that the white supremacist movement in this country which persists decade after decade after decade, their goals have never been to just exist on the fringe as some sort of cooky throwback gallery for parolees. their goals and expectations have always been that they should expert real, mainstream political power, that they should get to pick the president. at least they should get to pick who runs. who is unpredictable now is that we don't know what to expect from those groups going forward now that it's a modern president who appears to be picking them. >> when you say the alt-right, define alt-right to me. you define it. go ahead.
>> i'm saying -- >> no. define it for me. >> senator mccain defined them as -- >> what about the alt-left? excuse me. what about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt-right? do they have any semblance of guilt? not all of those people were neo-nazis, believe me. not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch. those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue, robert e. lee. excuse me. you take a look at some of the groups, and you see, and you know it if you are honest reporters, which in many cases you're not. but many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of robert e. lee. so this week it's robert e. lee. i notice that stonewall jackson's coming down. i wonder is it george washington next week, and is it thomas jefferson the week after? you really have to ask yourself where does it stop? but they were there to protest -- excuse me. you take a look. the night before, they were there to protest the taking down
of the statue of robert e. lee. >> neo-nazis started these things. they showed up in charlottesville. >> you had some very bad people in that group. but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. you had people in that group -- excuse me. excuse me. i saw the same pictures as you did. you had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from robert e. lee to another name. you had many people in that group other than neo-nazis and white nationalists, okay? and the press has treated them absolutely unfairly. >> you're saying the press has treated white nationalists unfairly? >> no. there were people in that rally, and i looked the night before. if you look, there were people protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of robert e. lee.
you had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest and very legally protest. >> after the president's remarks today praising the white supremacist gathering in charlottesville, virginia, this weekend, this became another one of those days where there was condemnation of the president from democrats and observers. there was mild condemnation of the president from members of his own political party. there was an interesting thing that happened late this afternoon, early this evening when some white house officials tried to distance themselves from the president's remarks as well. at least one senior official anonymously telling nbc news that members of the president's team were stunned by the president's words today. this one senior white house
official telling reporters, telling nbc news that the president went rogue, that there was no expectation among the white house staff that the president was going to make remarks on this subject at all. and as much as some white house official might want us to believe that, it's clear that that account is not true. the associated press caught this great high resolution shot of the president folding up notes clearly about the white supremacist rally and sticking them into his suit jacket pocket before he started taking questions on this today. the president was not there to talk about infrastructure today. he was obviously intending as well to talk about this matter today. he had prepared to talk about this matter today. this was a lot of things today. it was not apparently a mistake. and at some point it's going to have to stop being treated as a surprise. this was not the president accidentally blundering into something that inadvertently sounded like sympathy for people with unpopular political views, right? i mean this is on purpose. this is what it is meant to be. the president building up and trying to center up in american politics a longstanding force in white american politics and
culture that we have been trained to think of as a fringe thing. but it does have a very long history, and it does have real force. the president is not messing up here. he did not trip and accidentally praise white supremacists and neo-nazis and pro-confederate demonstrators who actually killed somebody this weekend. this was not a screw-up. what he is building back up is something that was a longstanding force for political power and terror in this country for generations, and he is now doing what he can to help them come back. partisan affiliations couple and go, right? the party having the huge fight over the klan in 1924 was the party of the civil rights act by 1964. parties change. partisan affiliations change. ideological alliances come and go. candidates come and go to the point where we can't even remember the names of most presidential candidates not too long down the road in history. but whether you voted for trump or not, whether you have any partisan affiliation or not,
whether your own family has ever lived through the terror that is this persistent, violent, racist element of american culture, this is a real thing that we have lived through before as a country. and it waxes and wanes, but it has never really gone away. and now the president working overtly as president is doing what he can to bring it back and build it up. and so far honestly it's working. heads up. this is not a mistake. he is not screwing this up.
>> texas continues to recover from harvey, but all eyes are now on hurricane irma as it tracks closer to the u.s. today the white house is expected to announce plans to end the daca program. the obama era policy protecting dreamers who were brought to the u.s. illegally as children. good morning. it is tuesday, september