tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC October 4, 2017 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
in other words, as always, but especially, watch this space. that does it for us tonight. rachel will be back tomorrow. hope to see you tomorrow on "the beat" which is every night at >> good evening. every night at 6:00 p.m. right? "the beat". >> i lost you for a second. >> i'm trying to do a promo for your show. you don't have to be involved at all. doesn't matter what you hear. i just told the -- doubled underline the 6:00 p.m. >> i was embarrassed. went quiet. thank you, lawrence. thank you. i'll be watching. >> thank you. well, the news day began with a nbc exclusive report about the secretary of state possibly calling the president a moron and it seems clear now that trump cabinet members memoirs will be the best ever. >> nbc reporting that rex tillerson called donald trump a, quote, moron.
>> i'm not going to deal with petty stuff like that. >> he didn't deny calling the president a moron. >> the secretary did not use that type of language. he did not say that. >> made up by nbc. they just made it up. >> for the record, nbc has total confidence in its reporting. >> fake news. it was a totally phony story. >> the president can call this fake news but he himself has made it very clear that he's broken with his own secretary of state on a whole host of policy issues. >> he ends up not being supported in the way that i would hope a secretary of state would be supported. >> i don't think anyone in the world thinks that rex tillerson speaks with the full backing and authority of this president. >> a president undermining cabinet, cabinet members understood mining the president, this is the most bizarre thing i have ever watched. >> secretary tillerson, secretary mattis and chief of staff kelly are those people that help separate our country from chaos.
>> in an exclusive report this morning, nbc news revealed that the secretary of state referred to the president as a moron in a room full of witnesses at the pentagon. the president's response to that report today was that it was fake news. the nbc news report said tillerson's stunned a handful of senior level officials calling the president a moron after a tense two-hour long meeting in a secure room at the pentagon called the tank. according to three officials who were present or briefed on the incident. the july 20th meeting came a day after a meeting in the white house situation room on afghanistan policy where trump rattled his national security advisers by suggesting he might fire the top u.s. commander of the war and comparing the decision making process on troop levels to the renovation of a high-end new york restaurant.
according to participants in the meeting. multiple senior administration officials told nbc news the secretary tillerson was on the verge of resigning this past summer amid mounting policy disputes and clashes with the white house. officials tell nbc news that vice president mike pence counsels tillerson to ease tensions with trump and other top administration officials, urged him to remain in the job at least until the end of the year. officials said that the administration beset would have struggled to manage the fallout from a cabinet secretary of his stature departing within the first year. the vice president's office denied that mike pence and rex tillerson discussed a possible resignation. today, secretary tillerson held a rare press conference, very rare thing for him to do. he did it specifically to respond to the nbc news report.
>> the vice president has never had to persuade me to remain as secretary of state because i have never considered leaving this post. i serve at the appointment of the president and i'm here for as long as the president feels i can be useful to achieving his objectives. >> and then, of course, came the question about referring to the president as a moron. >> did you address the main headline of this story that you called the president a moron? if not, where do you think the reports -- >> i'm not going to deal with petty stuff like that. i mean, this is what i don't understand about washington. again, you know, i'm not from this place. but the places i come from, we don't deal with that kind of petty nonsense. >> and the world noticed that the secretary of state did not deny calling the path moron. but president trump apparently heard something no one else did. he tweeted the nbc news story has just been totally refuted by secretary tillerson and vp
pence. it is fake news. they should issue an apology to america. today in las vegas, the president was asked about secretary tillerson's comments, the question did not clearly refer to the moron comment and so the president seemed to be responding to secretary tillerson's comments at his press conference today. >> i'm very honored by his comments. it was made up. it was made up by nbc. they just made it up. thank you all. total confidence in rex. i have total confidence. thank you very much, everybody. >> tonight, the daily beast reports that some aides in the white house held out hope that secretary tillerson would offer his resignation following nbc's reporting. three white house officials speaking as unnamed sources to the daily beast spoke about, quote, how they wished he would just leave. in a perfect world he would have quit right then and there another said.
buzzfeed is reporting that one expressed confidence do due to a suicide pact. forged between defense secretary james mattis, treasury secretary steven mnuchin and all three vowed to leave in the president makes moves against one of them. during the transition, when president-elect trump was holding virtual public auditions for secretary of state, including this one with mitt romney, republican senator bob corker publicly took his name out of consideration for secretary of state. today, senator corker said this. >> i think secretary tillerson, secretary mattis and chief of staff kelly are those people that help separate our country from chaos. and i support them very much.
>> joining us now, eli stokel, also with us max bood, and also with us, betty woodruff. so, max, did i just hear the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee refer to the president as chaos after his secretary of state has apparently referred to him as a moron? >> that's a pretty -- i'm sorry on the day, lawrence. i would have to say, i mean, what can you do except kind of laugh? this is like a bad reality tv show. it is like what the heck is going to happen tomorrow? i mean, any other administration this would be unbelievable. for the trump administration, it's, you know, more of the same basically. >> it is. eli, the one reference in the nbc news reporting about this that i don't quite get is the part where it reports the people in the room to have been stunned
when tillerson used the word moron. we live in a country where the -- one of the least stunning things you can say about the current president of the united states is moron. it's manager that's said throughout the country by millions of people every day. what's to be stunned about in that room? >> well, that may be so but this is the secretary of state after a meeting with the president, somebody that agreed to take the job and work for the president whose flaws all but all known already so, you know, obviously there's a reason why he's yet to resign, why he continues to stay in this job and subject himself to this ongoing humiliation of basically no clout, of meeting with diplomats that know he doesn't speak for this president and being humiliated by the president on twitter at the president's whim as he was over the weekend on the north korea stuff. this is sort of a bad reality show and we are past the scene in the reality show both of these characters have sort of talked to the producer off camera and explained how they
really feel through the tweets and other comments and yet that's -- still out there sort of, you know, the scene continues and they act like they like each other. rex acts like he wants to be there and even though he as i understand will be lucky to last a year and so the idea to be there forever, you know, the whole performance today just wasn't really all that believable nor was the president's statement that he has full confidence in rex as he said before he left vegas. >> betsy, this is a president who's publicly attacked his attorney general. he's publicly in effect attacked rex tillerson saying that it's useless for rex tillerson to try to do anything diplomatically with north korea. and so, in a way, there's an unsurprising component of this much friction between the president and his cabinet. >> exactly. and this friction is nothing new. remember, secretary tillerson refusing to disavow the reports that he called the president a moron, that's not the first time
he's opted out of going on the record defending the president. back when the charlottesville events happened, secretary tillerson refused to defend the way the president responded to the death there and the ensuing chaos. that's something that was very much noted in the white house. additionally, some of secretary tillerson's closest allies has, spokesman hammond and chief of staff peterland have built up significant groups of enemies in the white house. they're not well loved there. and secretary tillerson himself hasn't necessarily done the work that you would expect from a washington outsider to develop allies in congress which is why you aren't hearing many folks on the hill with the exception of corker sort of surge to his defense. instead, we are seeing a secretary of state under siege. of course, the challenge for him is that he is jeopardized, he is put his entire professional reputation on the line to head to the state department and he's forced to watch state be just diminished day by day.
it's a really tough position for him to be in. that said, i think the reports are correct it's unlikely he'll step out because secretary price was the guy who had to get out of dodge this week so that seems to give tillerson a bit of time. >> but, max, to most observers, no one has done more damage to the state department than rex tillerson himself. >> absolutely. i mean, when i think about who's been a worse secretary of state, i kind of scratch my head and can't think of anybody, lawrence. he is probably the worst of the last century. the way he's approached that job is just very curious because he's been really focused on this minutia and he doesn't have undersecretaries, doesn't have assistant secretaries, not speaking to the press, he is not, you know, taking a high profile policy stance. i mean, it is almost like the mind-set is to shed
underperforming divisions to get the stock price up and doesn't seem to have a conception of a secretary of state does. now that said, i mean, donald trump is also to blame because he is not a guy who believes in diplomacy clearly and undercuts tulerson at every step. if i blame tillerson for anything it's the fact he's not done a good job of managing trump in the way that jim mattis, for example, did a pretty good job of managing to steer him along and not getting implicated in some of the craziness around the white house and tillerson has not figured out how to do that and i think it is pretty clear everybody understands we're headed for a rex-it and rex wants to stick around at least a year and won't seem like he was forced out too fast and not going to be long for this job. >> eli, as to the difference that trump has -- the different regard he has for the people around him, it seems if the only way you get any kind of reasonable or possibly respectful dealings with donald
trump is if you have the title general. without the title general, which rex tillerson does not have, he seems to be treated differently than this defense secretary. >> yeah. title general or perhaps last name trump. but, you are right. rex, this is sort of an interesting pairing. he was sort of entered the game late in the secretary of state sweepstakes and unlikely pick, sort of a dark horse and he and trump supposedly hit it off. they're so different. not that just he is not a general. it is, you know, this is a sort of underspoken texan who likes to navigate things behind the scene. spent much of the career at exxon behind closed doors and very uncomfortable with the public component of the job and trump nothing if not a public fig chur. the presidency is televised and tweeted and that's the presidency. they just doesn't really get each other.
there's friction on a lot of policy debates, pretty much every foreign policy debate we have seen and it is interesting that rex has been -- certainly not the only one to feel frustrated. sources tell me that even john kelly threatened to resign numerous times. yet he's still there. has dwroet really to our knowledge incur the president's wrath whereas secretary tillerson for whatever reason sort of been in the doghouse it seems like for quite a listening time. >> betsy, there seems to be an adults versus the children component to this. you have some people in the white house saying they were hoping that rex tillerson would leave. you have others in the administration saying that, you know, without the secretary of state, without the secretary of defense, this administration would be unthinkable. you have the chairman of the foreign relations committee saying that rex tillerson is one of the people who saves us from chaos. the chaos presumably that would be visited upon us if donald trump was given kind of an
unfettered, you know, frame work within which to work. so these cheerleaders, these anti-tillerson cheerleaders in the white house, we don't know how many there are without their names versus the adults. what do you make of the size of those factions? >> there is a substantial dislike and criticism of tillerson, not only in the white house, but also on capitol hill. i would say of all the quote/unquote adults we have referred to, secretary mattis is really the only member of trump's cabinet that thus far managed to preserve the reputation. the rest of the cabinet members to varying degrees taking significant and many cases self-imposed hits to their reputations. that said, look, it is important to remember how much criticism, how much dislike, how much venom even is directed at secretary of state tillerson and in turn how much his own staff are sort of
scratching back in a way that sometimes proves counterproductive. in the nbc story that ran this morning, rc hammond, the top spokesman gave a quote trying to throw nikki haley under the bus saying only time pence and tillerson had a challenging conversation was when they were talking about whether or not haley was doing a good job. hammond later had to walk that quote back. it is another example of the way secretary tillerson and some of his closest staffers have appeared to have been working overtime just to make enemies and i think that's why there really are some claws out for tillerson this evening. >> max, these two things can be simultaneously true. rex tillerson can be the worst secretary of state in history and he can be right about donald trump. >> yeah. let's not lose sight of the elephant in the room here which is that, you know, this was a gaffe in the michael kensly sense which is a gaffe in
washington is when a politician tell it is truth and this is an obvious truth what everybody acknowledges and, oops, rex tillerson went and said it and if you have to look at donald trump's job performance just the last few days and the way he's handled hurricane maria, does anybody think that anything he's done refutes the notion he's mentally challenged? who would advise a president with a wit of common sense to attack hurricane survivors or to attack a mayor whose town is inundated with floodwaters? and yet this is the second time this year that trump has attacked a mayor after a major disaster because previously he attacked the mayor of london after a terrorist attack. and then, of course, you had that inadvertent comic trump visit to puerto rico and the lasting image is throwing paper towels. it is just one gaffe after another or him going to a golf
club and presiding over a golf tournament instead of working on hurricane relief and then did kating the hurricane -- the golf trophy to the hurricane survivors. you know? which is a little bit like, you know, marie antoinette saying let them eat 9 irons. any president would not be doing this and getting, you know, approval ratings in the mid-30s. >> and the striking thing about the day is the only mutterings out of the white house and the unnamed sources group is that, you know, is that we wish tillerson quit. what you didn't get from any of the unnamed sources is here's the affirmative defense against the charge that donald trump is a moron. here is the case that proves donald trump is not a moron. we got silence on that front today. eli, max and betsy, thank you all for joining us tonight. really appreciate it. >> sure thing. coming up, what the senate intelligence committee wants to know about that dosier a former british spy created about donald
trump and the trump campaign involving russia. david corn who first reported the very existence of that dosier will join us next. today, the white house pulled back from the one good thing that donald trump actually did say in puerto rico yesterday. it was the most important thing he said in puerto rico yesterday and it's getting no support from his administration. each year sarah climbs 58,007 steps. that's the height of mount everest. because each day she chooses to take the stairs. at work, at home... even on the escalator. that can be hard on her lower body, so now she does it with dr. scholl's orthotics. clinically proven to relieve and prevent foot, knee or lower back pain, by reducing the shock and stress that travel up her body with every step she takes. so keep on climbing, sarah. you're killing it.
the issue of collusion is still open. that we continue to investigate both intelligence and witnesses and that we're not in a position where we will come to any type of temporary finding on that until we've completed the process. >> that was republican senator richard burr giving an update on the intelligence committee's investigation into russia's influence on the election and whether the trump campaign colluded with russia during that campaign. the bottom line, russia did interfere. that's the committee's conclusion. but whether russia colluded with the trump campaign is urn investigation. today, reuters reports that special prosecutor mueller is investigating the dossier by former british spy steel and it makes some personal allegations about donald trump and also accuses him of having a
compromised relationship with the kremlin. senator burr says the intelligence committee's review of the dossier has hit a roadblock. >> as it relates to the steel dossier, unfortunately the committee has hit a wall. though we have been incredibly enlitened at our ability to rebuild backwards the steel dossier up to a certain date, getting past that point has been somewhat impossible. and i say this because i don't think we're going to find any intelligence products that unlock that key to pre-june of '16. my hope is that mr. steel will make a decision to meet with either mark and i are or the committee or both so that we can hear his side of it versus for us to depict in our findings what his intent or what his actions were.
and i say that to you but i also say it to chris steel. >> joining us now, david corn, msnbc political analyst, washington bureau chef of mother jones with the first to report on the existence of the dossier in october 2016. also with us, david fromm for the atlantic. david corn, you were at the press conference today. what do you make of this update that we got today? >> well, richard burr was trying to, you know, straddle very fine line. he wanted to make it seem like the committee is doing a lot of digging and gave us a lot of stats, how many documents they looked at, people interviewed to show it's a serious effort unlike the house effort which hasn't done anything like this. the house intelligence committee. but at the same time, you know, politics still crept into this. he was asked what about the intelligence community's assessment that trump was the beneficiary purposefully of the
kremlin operation, that they did this to help trump? he said that's still an open question and another time he said they have confidence in the intelligence community's assessment and wouldn't accept that fully. and on the question of collusion, he said collusion is an open question. wait a second. we have donald trump jr. e-mails showing collusion, at least that one act of collusion that donald trump, paul manafort, jared kushner got together with a russian emissary as part of the russian government operation to help donald trump. so he's really staying away from, you know, from basically giving his seal of approval to some of the most explosive elements of this scandal that have already been proven to a large degree and that was kind of interesting and but we still have to see what happens with this investigation in the months
ahead. >> david fromm, i can understand why the chairman might want to take that position today in this public discussion. he might see himself and i think a chairman in this situation would see himself as in effect a judge in the middle of a trial, a juror in the middle of a trial. and jurors and judges in the middle of trials do have opinions about the evidence and they do have conclusions about the evidence during trials. but they just never say anything about that until all of the evidence is in and is that possibly the way you see the burr position today? >> look. you can't unsay something you have said which i think is the point you are making but look. throughout all this, this is a story with many secrets and no mysteries. the broad outline of what has happened has been apparent to everybody. and on this matter, the steel dossier, i have always been inclined the way to understand
donald trump's behavior and psychology is not to look back ward but to look forward because all of this is happening at the same time as he and his team mesmerized of the tallest hotel in the world in moscow and to understand i think the way to understand what donald trump was thinking and doing in those months is if anyone had a labrador retriever or any other hungry animal, the fixed devotion of the face watching the dog biscuit going on in the trump organization as the russians hold out this hotel prospect and they cannot think about anything else. and that is -- that's not a secret but it is kind of mysterious. >> you know, if i can, lawrence, in the first memo that christopher david steel sent in in june of 2016 he made the won't that david frum just made, the russians to cultivate donald trump for years dangled business deals in font of him.
he write that is in june of 2016 just after months earlier donald trump had come close to sealing a deal to build a tower in moscow. he was close again in 2014. he did in 2008. so time and time again he sought these deals and the russians kept saying let's see if we can work this out. nothing came to fruition and certainly during that period of time when he is running for president he's not telling the american voters that at the same time he's running for president on an american first platform he's also trying to get a deal in russia that can only go forward with the permission of a putin regime. >> and david, david corn, let me keep you on something that the chairman said today. >> sure. >> when he said this thing about the dossier you know so well, he said the ability to rebuild backwards the steel dossier up to a certain date, it has stopped, meaning he seems to be saying we cannot unlock the pre june 2016 information in that dossier.
so is that suggesting that this committee doesn't -- isn't able to find out what the steel dossier reports prior to this 2016? >> the first memo is june 2016. june 20th to be precise. what he's saying there, he's speaking a little bit in code, is that we can't find out who was the ultimate source of the money that was paid to fusion gps, consulting firm that hired steel to do that and we can't suss out what's happening here and we don't know what christopher david steel's motives were or who the motives of people paying him. i understand that point. you want to try to figure out that part of the story. but at the same time, it's very apparent what happened. we know who christopher steel was. we know his background, one of the top mi-6 intelligence officers on the russian beat. we see the reports that he sent
in. we know that the fbi at a certain point in time and he seems to have information on this, too, asked steel for more information and he was sending them the reports. so he's just basically saying, you know, we need to know more about the motives. actually, some degree you do. some degree you don't. and ultimately what was in the steel dossier is not important in terms of the committee reaching conclusions about interactions between the trump campaign and russian officials or anyone representing the russian government. you can do that regardless of whether the material in the steel memos are accurate or not. >> david, go ahead. >> the answer to that question may be hidden not at all in moscow and the steel dossier but in the trump data operation. that's where this will all -- that's where the evidence really is, in the trump data operation implicates or involves very senior people in trump world including jared kushner nominally at least in charge of it. >> we'll talk about that operation next in the next segment. david corn, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
really appreciate it. >> good to be with you. coming up, congressman jim himes, a member of the house intelligence committee, will join us. later, the president's trip to las vegas today. that college experience that i had. the classes, the friends, the independence. and since we planned for it, that student debt is the one experience, i'm glad she'll miss when you have the right financial advisor, life can be brilliant. ameriprise it's easy-drinking... it's refreshing... ♪ if you've got the time ♪ it's what american lager was born to be. ♪ we've got the beer. ♪ welcome to the high life. ♪ miller beer.
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we now know thanks to information released today that very carefully crafted targeting was done in michigan and in wisconsin. michigan, which had a vote difference of 10,000 votes, 22,000, less than 1%. and how did this sophisticated targeting occur? who provided the insight to russia on how to target -- >> are you saying, senator, are you saying that the
circumstantial evidence suggests they would have needed american expertise to do that? >> yes. that is certainly the likely result. >> that was oregon senator jeff merkley making the point that david frum was making in the previous segment. join us is democratic congressman jim himes. congressman himes, your reaction to what senator merkley said today? >> well, the senator raises all the right questions and it's a remarkable thing because as the days go by and as groups like facebook and twitter and social media companies really begin to look and report the incredible breadth of the russian effort to influence our election in every realm, the questions just keep mounting, including the question that the senator was dealing with which is, you know, and again, you don't assume up front there was necessarily a u.s. person assisting in the very sophisticated targeting of those key swing states but it sure
raises the question. >> and this is the part that really hasn't been focused on until fairly recently. there's been a general notion, well, okay, whatever the interference was, it didn't reach into votes. >> well, yeah. and, you know, we will probably never know the answer to the question which comes up all the time which is did it all make a difference? you know, there's no way to go out and poll the sample size you would need to know and find out. look, which ad made the difference for your vote but we know one thing, very close election in which the popular vote one direction, electoral college the other way and in certain very, very critical areas, then candidate trump won and, you know, we should dismantle and pull it apart and understand exactly why that happened. >> and we know that the parties and the presidential campaigns spend enormous amounts of money
and use vast range of expertise to target the voters that might be able to tip a state and tip the electoral college for them in a particular state. and that there are very few of us sitting at the distance from a presidential campaign who have that kind of information. and that -- and so, senator merkley's point today of how did the russians figure out how to target the states with so few votes, flip the states and there by flipping the electoral college and the suspicion that that would be the point of collusion with the trump campaign is what david frum was identifying in our last segment. >> yeah, look. there's a couple of big leaps there that are not yet substantiated by the conclusions of the investigations that are out there that it was somebody in the trump campaign. that, of course, is the question, one of the central questions of the investigation.
but it is true that we live in a world where this has become immensely sophisticated just in the last decade or so. you knew a neighborhood irish-catholic and do this or that in the election and the thinking used to be. today, you can buy data on individual voters, what kind of car they drive and magazines to read and draw correlation, a subaru and living in this neighborhood of massachusetts is almost certainly going to vote in this way and then of course because we spend our lives online you can target ads to that individual's, you know, proclivities or ways of thinking. and so, yeah, it is immensely sophisticated and, you know, whether it's a russian or american, really driving these targeting vehicles, i run for re-election for myself and i have an inside view of how that happens requires people with huge amounts of sophistication of american behavior, how american consumers make their choices. this is not something that's left to amateurs.
>> congressman, i want to take you to another subject. you wrote a provocative op-ed piece in "the washington post" this week in which you said last year after the shooting at the pulse nightclub in orlando i decided in desperation that i would not participate in anymore empty moments of silence, prayer or sympathy in the only body that could slow the carnage. and so, you once again refused to participate in that moment of silence on monday about what happened in las vegas. what do you think now might be the prospects of some kind of legislation moving in the house of representatives? >> you know, lawrence, i hate to say it but i guess my answer is one simple word which is nil. you know, i don't know. i suppose there's some outside possibility that there may be action on these kits that apparently can simulate fully automatic fire in a
semiautomatic weapon, you know, i don't know. maybe that would make us feel good and certainly have at least been relevant to what happened in las vegas. but look. you see all the tools coming out again. first is way too early to talk about this. this is not something we say about any other policy issue. attacked on 9/11, we didn't say, wait, wait. too early to figure out who did this and what our response should be. when a hurricane hits, we don't say we shouldn't think about a response to this. this is a deliberate tool to stop us from acting. of course, you get the argument that's made that wouldn't have stopped this shooter or background checks to stop the san bernardino shooter. it is throwing mud in the water in order to try to prevent actions which collectively would dramatically reduce gun violence in the country and not impinge on 2nd amendment rights and supported by a vast majority of the american public and you bring out the tools time and
time again and, you know, two weeks from now we will be on tax reform and budget and, you know, the minds of the legislators in the towns will have turned in a different direction and exactly what the nra is counting on. >> connecticut congressman himes, thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> thank you, lawrence. coming up, the most important thing and he did say something important, the most important thing that president trump said in puerto rico.
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yesterday the president was in puerto rico where he made a promise that would go a long way to restoring the viability of life in puerto rico. it was a promise that no one on the island asked him to make but it turned out to be the single most important thing the president said about puerto rico. >> we have to look at their whole debt structure. you know, they owe a lot of money to your friends on wall street and we have to wipe that out. that's going to have to be -- you know, you can say good-bye to this. >> wiping out puerto rico's debt is the single most important thing the federal government could do to support the economic viability of puerto rico. but today, no one in the trump administration supported the president's idea of wiping out puerto rico's debt and trump's budget director mulvaney said that, of course, no one should believe the president's words.
no one should believe what the president actually said. >> i wouldn't take it word for word. at least $72 billion in debt. 120 going by other accounts before the storm. we are not going to deal right now with those fundamental difficulties that puerto rico had before the storm. >> i wouldn't take it word for word. we'll have more on the president's trips to puerto rico and las vegas this week. we'll be joined by daniel dale, a white house correspondent who got blocked on twitter by the president of the united states for the offense of fact checking the president of the united states. you can follow daniel dale on twitter @ddale8. follow him just like i do. ♪ we're drowning in information. where, in all of this, is the stuff that matters? the stakes are so high, your finances, your future.
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i hate to tell you, puerto rico, but you've thrown our budget a little out of whack because we've spent a lot of on puerto rico, and that's fine. we saved a lot of lives. >> the president didn't have a script written for him in puerto rico yesterday so he ended up insulting and demeaning the people of puerto rico according to many observers. the president limited his visit to a relatively affluent area where the homes suffered relatively limited damage. in las vegas today the president's staff provided him a written speech. >> our souls are stricken with grief for every american who lost a husband or a wife, a
mother or a father, a son or a daughter. we know that your sorrow feels endless. we stand together to help you carry your pain. you're not alone. we will never leave your side. >> joining us now daniel dale, washington correspondent for the toronto star, who the president has blocked on twitter. and david frum is back with us. this is tweet you put out about puerto rico. it's part of the reason the president has banned you from twitter. it says -- and you're quoting someone in your reporting about it, someone in puerto rico telling you he takes two weeks to visit a disaster zone where 3.5 million american citizens lives. he arrives with a smile on his face, shows no empathy. lies on lies 24/7 and throws
paper towels to people in need as if he was playing go fetch with dogs. and daniel, that wasn't the only observer who saw it that way. >> no, it wasn't. it's hard for me here in d.c. to reach people on the island. but puerto ricans on the mainland i spoke to were flabbergasted, astonished, insulted even though their expectations going into this visit were low. he'd already spent a week demeaning them. and then he demeaned them even further. that was just an astonishing four hours he spent, but it was quite remarkable. >> there's a line from "the washington post" report tonight about the tillerson matter, which is relevant to this. it says "and as tillerson has traveled the globe, trump leaves his top diplomat often seems with what the world is concerned with the united states than attending to the president's
personal image." and so the president believes the secretary of state's job is to enhance the president's personal image, but of course the president is the person who does the most damage to that image. >> look, everything daniel said is, of course, completely right. and i have to say i found las vegas trump more unnerving than the puerto rican trump. during the second debate hillary clinton was asked is there anything you can positively say about trump? and she ended up talking about his kids. and he didn't pretend to be a compassionate or loving man. he was just donald trump. it's kind of unnerving when the presidential trump goes into this hypocrisy. it has to be unnerving to us to hear someone take words like that and use them so cynically. he can't mouth the words
correctly because it's so not in his nature. >> it's a very interesting point. would people have preferred that donald trump go to puerto rico with scripted remarks, or would they have preferred to see how he really feels about this? >> you know i think they would have preferred scripted remarks. i completely agree with david there's an over tendency to fawn over the scripted somber trump even when when he's mouthing platitudes that are so insincere. i think the message he conveyed to puerto ricans is they were not even worth the gift of insincerity. he would not arrive with a prepared text or not even pretend to meet the bear minimal standard for an american president. i don't think people would have fallen over themselves to compliment him in puerto rico,
but i think it would have been more superior to what we saw from him. >> david, that's such an interesting point that puerto ricans, they didn't feel the effort. >> from his first remarks from the white house after the las vegas shooting, that also is very false. and maybe the thing we're saying whereby, look if you're going to be insincere, maybe can you work hard at it? can you fake sincerity a little more? >> tonight's last word is next. to most people, i look like most people. but on the inside, i feel chronic, widespread pain. fibromyalgia may be invisible to others, but my pain is real. fibromyalgia is thought to be caused by overactive nerves.
lyrica is believed to calm these nerves. i'm glad my doctor prescribed lyrica. for some, lyrica delivers effective relief for moderate to even severe fibromyalgia pain. and improves function. lyrica may cause serious allergic reactions, suicidal thoughts or actions. tell your doctor right away if you have these, new or worse depression, unusual changes in mood or behavior, swelling, trouble breathing, rash, hives, blisters, muscle pain with fever, tired feeling, or blurry vision. common side effects: dizziness, sleepiness, weight gain, swelling of hands, legs and feet. don't drink alcohol while taking lyrica. don't drive or use machinery until you know how lyrica affects you. those who've had a drug or alcohol problem may be more likely to misuse lyrica. with less pain, i can do more with my family. talk to your doctor today. see if lyrica can help. the good life comes from the moments you live, not the things you own. ♪ if you've got the time welcome to the high life. ♪ we've got the beer ♪
every day around the world people of all ages, men, women, children, babies are saved from dehydration by purified water. lives are saved. the president of the united states doesn't seem to know that. >> and trump learned a lesson about water purification tablets. >> so you put it in dirty and then -- >> then you can drink it. >> would you do it? >> yeah. >> would you really? >> yes. >> yes, she'd drink it because it's the only water she has just like she's only talking to you
because you're the only president we got. [ applause ] >> she doesn't have a choice. she wishes the president wasn't so dirty. choice. she wishes the president wasn't so dirty. >> gets tonight's last word. the 11th hour with brian williams starts now. tonight 100 plus interviews, 100,000 pages of documents and counting and the senate's russia investigation still hasn't ruled out trump campaign collusion with russia. plus the u.s. state department came out today to say the secretary didn't call the president a moron, despite nbc news reporting to the contrary. and chilling words to say from a senator. what he had to say about the men surrounding our president and the role they play in our country right now as the 11th