tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC October 16, 2017 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
joe biden presented the liberty medal to john mccain tonight in philadelphia and john mccain said this about joe biden. >> we served in the senate thi den. >> we served in the senate together for over 20 years, during some eventful times. as we passed from young men to the fossils who appear before you this evening. we didn't always agree on the issues. we believed in each other's patriotism and the sincerity of each other's convictions. we believed in the institution we were privileged to serch in. we believed in our mutual responsibility to help make the place work. and to cooperate in finding solutions to our country's problems. >> john mccain gets tonight's last word. the 11th with brian williams
starts now. tonight the president goes there on just about every topic imaginable during a free wheeling i am promise to you 40-minute news conference. and that man at his side, mitch mcconnell, the man steve bannon is trying to run out of office. and perhaps most troubling, trump falsely asserts that he does what other presidents failed to do when it comes to america's gold star families. all of it and more on a monday night as the 11th hour gets under way. well, good evening once again as we start off a new week from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 270 of the trump administration brought us an unexpected question and answer session between the president, the reporters who cover him, and senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. right there in the rois garden. it will likely live on as the source of many of the headlines you will see well into tomorrow's news cycle and these days, that's a long time.
their mission today was to talk up their closeness and cooperation, despite the bad blood and paralysis. mcconnell mentioned they talk often, even on weekends, and the president said they have a good relationship. >> we just spent quite a bit of time inside with the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell, who has been a friend of mine for a long time, long before my world of politics. early into his world of politics, i think, but we've been friends for a long time. we are probably now, despite what we read, we're probably now, i think, at least as far as i'm concerned, closer than ever before. >> more on that in a bit. the pair answered 31 questions in all, talking about health care, tax reform, cuba, the national football league and more. a reporter asked the president why he hasn't spoken publicly yet about the death of four u.s. green berets who were killed 12 days ago during an ambush in
niger in africa. in his answer he talked about how difficult it is for him when u.s. service members are killed in action, and he has to call their families. also noting incorrectly it's something his predecessors didn't do. >> i've written them personal letters. they've been sent for they're going out tonight, but they were during the weekend. i will at some point during the period of time call the parents and the families, because i have done that traditionally. i felt very, very badly about that. i always feel badly. it's the toughest -- the toughest calls i have to make are the calls where this happens, soldiers are killed. it's a very difficult thing. now, it gets to a point where, you know, you make four or five of them in one day is a very, very tough day. that's for me by far the toughest. so the traditional way, if you look at president obama and
other presidents, most of them didn't make calls. a lot of thm didn't make calls. i like to call when it's appropriate, when i think i'm able to do it. they have made the ultimate sacrifice. so generally i would say that i like to call. i'm going to be calling them. i want a little time to pass. i'm going to be calling them. >> earlier you said president obama never called the families of fallen soldiers. how can you make that claim? >> i don't know if he did. no, no, no. i was told -- and a lot of presidents don't. they write letters. excuse me, peter. i do a combination of both. sometimes it's a very difficult thing to do, but i do a combination of both. president obama, i think probably did sometimes and maybe sometimes he didn't. yop. that's what i was told. all i can do is ask my generals. other presidents did not call. they'd write letters. and some presidents didn't do anything. but i like the combination of --
when i can the combination of a call and also a letter. >> trump also talked about puerto rico and what he described as its peoples' inability to distribute the food and water the government is providing. in what we should quickly note is a country where 100 bridges and many more roads are gone. >> puerto rico is very tough because of the fact it's an island. but it's also tough because, as you know, it was in very poor shape before the hurricanes ever hit. we have done -- i will say this. we have done. >> people don't have drinking water. >> well, we've delivered tremendous amounts of water. then what you have to do is you have to have distribution of the water by the people on the island of the so we have massive amounts of water. we have massive amounts of food, but they have to distribute the food, and they have to do this -- they have to distribute the food to the people of the island. so what we've done is we now actually have military distributing food, something that's really they shouldn't have to be doing. >> for the record, u.s. military distributes food after any
number of natural disasters. after that the president took a shot at a familiar tarring. a reporter asked him about hillary clinton's response to nfl players' decision to take a knee during the national anthem to protest police violence. and he interrupted to say this. >> why -- >> oh, hope hillary runs? i hope she's going to -- i hope. hillary please run again. go ahead. >> our lead panel tonight. we welcome you all back to the broadcast. all right. matthew, you get to start because you were in the rose garden in effect in the room where it happened today. what prompted this and did anything about the president's motive in wanting to do this, have an appearance, take really unlimited questions, did that come through in his words as to what his motive was?
>> well, like you said, this was a very impromptu press conference. i think it came about because during his cabinet meeting he said that he would be taking some questions on the steps, and we were all kind of left wondering what is he talking about? and then very soon after that we found out that the broefg was going to be canceled, the scheduled briefing with press secretary sarah huckabee sanders and we were ushered out for this sort of surreal rose garden press conference. there weren't any chairs set up. this was all very spur of the moment, so we all just sort of gathered around a rope and shouted questions to a president who loves being out there doing this back and forth with reporters and his goal, i think, was to show, hey, look, mitch mcconnell and i are friends. the things you read about this feud between us aren't accurate, and whether or not he got that across, i think, remains to be seen, but they certainly tried. >> tamara, why hasn't the president talked about the loss of four u.s. special operators in niger in africa?
the secretary of defense has. it's not operational security. the pentagon has already talked about the incident and their deaths. is there any reason why the president has not spoken about them here to for? >> it's really not clear. this incident happened or at least we were notified of it on the day that president trump was traveling to las vegas to meet with the families and people affected by that mass shooting there. as the air force one was coming in to andrews air force base, sarah sand ergs came back on air force one and talked to us reporters who were there on that flight, told the pool that the president had been broefd on the incident that had happened there. and that was really the last that we heard of it from the white house. >> jonathan la mere, we heard from general kelly, the chief of staff last week, saying really there's nothing to see here, especially about his relationship with the president. no panic behind the scenes, no
chaos. then this morning's "washington post," under the headline inside the adult day-care center, how aides try to control and coerce trump. some aides spend a significant part of their time trying to rein in and control the impetus president. according to interviews with, are you ready, 18 aides, kfts and outside advisers most of whom insisted on anonymity to speak candidateel. i will note general kelly told the press you need to get better sources. let's presume there's good sources among the 18. >> certainly some of the chaos has been arraigned in behind closed doors. there's more organization now than there was when reince priebus was chief of staff. that's right more control. there have been small steps taken. but at the end of the day and
today under scored this very nicely. the president does what the president wants to do. we know what he was -- he always fans i didn't see himself his best spokesman. he believes easy the pest person to communicate his message. he did want to display an improved relationship with the senate majority leader. he also wanted to have a better sense of controlling the narrative. trying to hit some of his favorites like the nfl which of course he brought up again today but also to defend himself. puerto rico is the biggest one here where he has been really frustrated with what he has seen he believes is unfair negative media coverage of the response to that hurricane and end to troo i to get his side of events out there. but as the president so often does, he sort of steps on what his intended message was going to be. today the headline that we're all getting from this is the idea of his accusation that his president obama, other predecessors didn't communicate to the families of fallen loved
once when that is simply not the case and has been widely blasted from both sides of the aisle as an inappropriate comment from a commander in chief. >> and matthew, on puerto rico i've read it's been said about the president that he can't hear the absence of empathy in his answers. he when wropgd, when he perceives he's been wlongd, he tries to relitigate as he did again today and it comes off as victim blaming all these 3.5 million american citizens in puerto rico. >> that's right. he turned to the same script today that he's been using on puerto rico, which is to say, first of all, it's an island which makes it more logistically difficult and second of all, the united states government has been doing its job by getting the aid and pliez is there. then pits on the puerto rican government. you're right that he doesn't seem to understand how that and some of his past tweets saying we can't be is there forever, some people want everything done
for them, that was his most explosive comment on this, how that sounds as they he's placing blame on the people of puerto rico for what has widely been considered a sun par response by this administration to a massive natural disaster. >> tom ra, talk about what we know was the chaos behind the scenes as he spoke. we know that because we heard from the press conference -- the press department after the press conference clarifying some of his remarks. also talk about the visual of mcconnell today. it was the face that launched a thousand memes whether hostage theemd or larry david theemd. what did the two shot as they say in television look like? >> well, that was sort of classic mitch mcconnell, just sort of standing there and trying to look mass i had. the thing that really stands out to me about this is that this is the third time in about a week
and a half that the president or one of his aides or rex tillerson have come out and said everything's fine. these stories that you're reading, they aren't right. everything is great. so you had rex tillerson come out and do his press conference. then you had general kelly come out -- come into the briefing room which is really uncommon for a chief of staff to come out into the briefing room to simply say everything is fine, i'm not trying to control the president. when i make faces, that's just me thinking hard. so there is this remarkable thing that has been happening, you know, every few days now where someone comes out and sort of says no, the chaos thing that you're reading about isn't quite right. >> kind of like a cop at a traffic accident. jonathan, the "associated press" stock and trade, is writing
those instant leads on deadline that we all of us news consumers get to see. what would your lead be about this event at the white house today? go. >> the lead would be something along the lines of the president who enjoys pairing with reporters attempts to control the narrative, attempts to push back, attempts to display that in improving his relationship with the senate majority leader that he's trying to get some things done. this is a white house that does not have much nft way of accomplishments it can point to. they need help from the senate, the same senate that the president feuds with constantly. members of his own party he goes after by name often. he needs the senate majority leader for tax reform, other goals. he's trying to project to his supporters, look, we're in control. we're going to get some things accomplished. >> our thanks to our lead off panel on a monday night. thank you all. and still ahead after our first break tonight, bill kristol is with us to talk about the war
within the republican party happening now. general barry mccaffrey is back with us for more on this threat from north korea. a development on that front late today. and up next, more on the president's comments on our fallen men and women in uniform and his accusation that his predecessors didn't roach out like he does and speak to their families. that and more as our broadcast continues on a monday night. ah, dinner.
share our day and connect as a family. [ bloop, clicking ] and connect, as a family. just, uh one second voice guy. [ bloop ] huh? hey? i paused it. bam, family time. so how is everyone? find your awesome with xfinity xfi and change the way you wifi. the traditional way, if you look at president obama and other presidents, most of them didn't make calls.
a lot of them didn't make calls. i like to call when it's appropriate, when i think i'm able to do it. >> those comments and more today from the president caused fury from former obama administration officials, especially one telling nbc news president trump's claim is wrong. president obama engaged families of the fallen and wounded warriors throughout his presidency through calls, letters, visits to section 60 at arlington, visits to walter reed, visits to dover, regular meetings with gold star families at the white house and across the country. other responses were less measured. former obama deputy chief of staff alyssa wrote on twitter, quote, that's a bleeping lie to say president obama or past presidents didn't call the family members of soldiers killed in ak. he's a deranged animal. former depp any national security adviser been rhodes also posted on twitter this is an outrageous and disrespectful
lie, even by trump standards. also, obama never attacked a gold star family. the white house responded with a staple of its own saying the president wasn't criticizing predecessors by stating a fact. presidents pay their respects. sometimes they call. sometimes they send a letter. other times they have the opportunity to meet family members in person. this president, like his predecessors, has done each of these. individuals claiming former presidents such as their bosses called each family of the fallen are mistaken. that's where this debate stands. and with us tonight paul rye cough founder and ceo of iava. he happens to be an army first lut napt and platoon leader in iraq formerly. jeremy bash is also with us. paul, i look up these figures. pentagon tonight total dead
afghanistan, 2,388. total wounded, just over 20,000. total dead in iraq, 4,530. total wounded in action, over 32,000. these are all your brothers and sisters in uniform. you have them serving all over the planet tonight. how did you react to what the president said today? >> i was surprised. i mean, i've been in this space now for a decade and a half and i know that presidents call and they write letters, visit, they do all those things. i saw president bush, obama do it. i also, you know, want to take a step back here. i think what we've all found throughout the trump run and the trump president i is issues of national security, the stakes are higher. your margin of error is much smaller. so i think the american public pushes back. the margin of error is very small. and i think you'll see both sides of the aisle hold him accountable on this and
hopefully on all issues of national defense, invitation rans issue. there's also a bigger question. what are they doing in niger? there are four special forces folks that were killed? niger and we haven't had a national conversation about what they're doing there, what the families and the rest of the military can expect. >> yeah. it would be nice to know more about that. mr. bash, we asked that you be with us tonight because you have served at the pentagon in war time. you've served up close with former secretary leon pan et at that. you've seen this process. tell us about it. >> well, brian, on august 6, 2011 we lost 30 guys when a helicopter was shot out of the sky in afghanistan. and john kelly and the chief of staff who was then serving in the pentagon called the secretary, called myself and told us about it. and the president many of us went to dover not only to greet back the remains of our fallen
heroes but in fact to console and con dolly the families and friends of the loved ones. and it was a huge haul and i saw the president personally, president obama go up to each family member and spend several moments with each. this is and the president did regularly. president bush had to do it. they make phone calls, write letters, visit with gold star families. so for president trump today to say that his predecessors did not speak or reach out to those families is a disgraceful and despicable lie especially when 12 days after the biggest combat death in his presidency he has played 126 holes of golf and he has yet to reach out or even speak publicly about those deaths. >> paul rye cough, of course, thankfully the tempo of battle has cooled. we are not seeing the numbers sometimes weekly of killed in action, wounded in action as we were when both of these post 9/11 wars were at their height.
we hasten to add we have people in uniform in both theertsz of operation tonight. because people don't know, what is your experience with how previous presidents, there were only two during this most recent war time, have handled this kind of thing? >> they've handled it very well. they've handled it personally. i mean, i can't manly what it's like to be in the shoes of a president making those phone calls, but it's always a very intimate experience. each family usually wants something different or may not even want the phone call. it's the most sacred thing i would argue that our president does so it has to be handled incredibly carefully. and i've seen that done over a decade of working in the veteran space working with military families. and i think, again, a bigger issue that i'm concerned about, i think many veterans are concerned about is how often we're being dragged into politics. this happens again and again. our military and veterans. there are issues we just keep getting shoved in the middle of some of the naisiest fights in
america. we've got enough to deal with overseas. i think that's where all americans should be putting up the guard rails and holding this president accountable, the media accountable, anyone else who drags us into this over and over again. having us used as a shield or a bluj yon is a very dangerous place for america to be in. >> i was going to say there's a lot going on at the website but none of it is about getting involved in presidential politics. jeremy bash, just one more question because you have us thinking about niger. any reason -- it can't be what you guys all object sec that the president isn't talking about niger because the secretary of defense has discussed it. any reason why the president has not in 12 days? >> none that i can think of. i mean, i think it's possible that he did not want to shine a specific light on this mission, but again, as you referenced, when the department of defense acknowledges a mission, acknowledges that we have lost individuals in battle, it's appropriate and in fact i think incumbent upon a commander in
we are probably now despite what we read, we're probably now, i think, at least as far as i'm concerned, closer than ever before. and the relationship is very good. >> the president today singing the praises as you saw there senate majority leader mitch mcconnell from the rose garden despite what he has said about him in the today. while former trump aid steve bannon has launched an all out attack on mitch mcconnell who went out of his way today effusive by mcconnell standards to defend his close relationship with the president. >> i want to underscore what the president said. we have the same agenda. we've been friends and acquaintances for a long time. we talk frequently. we don't give you a read out every time we have a conversation, but frequently we talk, on the weekends, about the issues that are before us. >> trust us, that's efussive by mcconnell standards. back with us tonight is bill kristol, veteran of the reagan and bush administrations.
bill, how are we supposed to scare gaish are we supposed to not see the speech steve bannon gave this weekend that lights mcconnell on fire rhetoricically? are we not supposed to hear the war he has pitched against mcconnell and all who report to him? are we supposed to believe this? why are you smiling? >> i don't think supposed to from whose pointer of view? i think donald trump enjoys humiliating people. he lets bannon attack him. he's going to semi support a bunch of challengers to senate republicans. and then he sort of has mcconnell to the white house and in a way forces mcconnell to say these nice things, theep bends for a long time. it's humiliating for the senate majority leader, i think. >> i want to talk to you because i saw your reaction today about what the president said about
kaug gold star families. when he talked about the times when he has to call multiple families, quote, for me that's by far the toughest. >> yeah. it was all about him. i think he used the wordy 18 times in the ten sentences or said he said about that. look, i'm sure it is tough for him. that was so undignified and drive by slap to president obama totally unjustified. when peter alexander comes back and asks him the follow-up, how do you know that? he says i don't really know it, but i kind of heard something about that and you have to ask the generals. i'd love to ask the generals here donald trump whether he ever asked them about what his predecessors did. i don't believe he would have told them -- i know what president bush and president obama. they were very conscientious and performing this duty and did a lot of things that were never in the press. look, i'm writing letters, i talked to do families.
they're great heroes. deepest sympathy, something nice, right. it's all about him, how difficult it is for him. he thinks he's being criticized a little bit with the four soldiers who died, he can't help but sort of say i'm doing better than my predecessors. it's such a lack of understanding of what the presidency is about. what if president obama hadn't in every case made a phone call or if bush hadn't. obama wouldn't have said that about rush. >> right. graciousness costs you nothing. >> i don't think there's anything to litigate in this case. it just shows something so deep about trm. there's no sense that he is the president in a string of presidents who have to uphold certain standards and certain, you know, practices of decorum and it's want all about him personally. that's the thing that was most striking about that answer. >> i guess by comparison we are
institutionalists. somewhere the person in the white house? is it the gold star father, general kelly, who is his day to day chief of staff to tell him here is what previous presidents did? >> well, john kelly was bob gates and leon pan et at that's military aide. so he actually has some experience this this as well as having lost a son in afghanistan. and jim mattis has a lot of experience in this. i mean, it really is, i assume he's never asked them. i just can't imagine what their sentiments are when they hear -- i'm sure they liked better than others. but i don't believe they can look back at, you know, ronald reagan, george h.w. bush, bill clinton, none of them. they all behaved on this issue with dignity and in an appropriate way. it wouldn't have occurred any of them to attack his predecessor when asked a question about dealing with gold star families.
>> finally, give me a numeric chance that when the next congress comes in, the gop will have a majority, but it will include nationalist bannon iet numbers and the new senate could as well, meaning not a did he factor governing majority. >> i think the civil war is real. i think the gop may not have a majority. it's real. and trump loves -- that's why he loves having bannon attacking them and then the establishment republicans feel they need donald trump to defend him against the bannon eyesight. he's kind of pulling the strings. i was really struck by that with mcconnell today. that he enjoyed having mcconnell squirming and looking uncomfortable behind him as trump went on and on at that press availability. >> thank you so much. every time you come we look forward to it. bill kristol who we should tell our viewers even when the subject was a quiet car on am track last night remains a great
social media fellow. pointing fingers with an agenda that is going nowhere fast, president trump claims it's not his fault. said so today out loud. more on that when we continue. is now a good time to refinance? yes! mortgage rates are historically low. the time to refinance your home is right now. get started at lendingtree.com. the only place you can compare up to five real offers, side by side, for free. our average customer can significantly lower their monthly bills. quick. beat the fed's next rate hike.
you know, despite what the press writes, i have great relationships with actually many senators, but in particular with most republican senators. but we're not getting the job done. and i'm not going to blame myself, i'll be honest. they are not getting the job done. >> the president seeming to admit that his agenda is getting nowhere on the hill, but quickly saying he's not taking any of that blame. not quite the harry truman adage. trump's agent remains stalled. republicans haven't been able to move forward on health care, taxes, infrastructure. this is not the first time this president has tried to distance himself from any blame. >> coming from a different world and only being a politician for a short period of time, how am i
doing? am i doing okay? hey, i'm president. can you believe it, right? they should have approved health care last night, but you can't have everything. boy, oh boy. they've been working on that one for search years. can you believe that? the swamp. i said mitch, get to work and let's get it done. they should have had this last one done. we're not going to own it. i'm not going to own it. i can tell you the republicans are not going to own it. >> at least he's out there saying it. we welcome both of them back to the broadcast. carolyn, you watched that here in the studio with me. he's up front about not taking any blame. >> i find it so striking. the thing -- ronald reagan used to blame congress a lot. at least one of those houses was occupied by the opposite party.
republicans control everything. if they get any kind of substantive legislation to his desk, he will sign it. and yet, as you say, the agenda is completely stalled. >> and speaking of harry truman, he turned them into the do nothing congress. it worked to his great advantage. kimberly, perhaps of that building over behind your shoulder, can you remind us of what is in the pipeline? i think the president mentioned a measure or two today that was a surprise to everybody. if congress worked 24 seven from now until new year's eve, what would be on the list of items that would have to tackle? >> i mean, at the very least they would have to pass a budget, which we forget about. that's the first step. >> oh, there's that. >> moving anything. particularly this tax plan. they need that budget passed in order to pass the tax reform, any sort of tax cuts under reconciliation with 50 votes plus a potential tie breaker
from vice president mike pence. and it's unclear whether they have the votes to do any of those things at this point. and as you mentioned, in addition to the fact that the president has not given up on healthcare reform, although it seems that members of congress have, they have things like infrastructure. and today the president added easy things like welfare reform and economic development to the list of this very long and nonmoving list that congress has to pass. and to your point about not taking any blame for anything, if congress fails on any of this measure, on any of these measures, not only will you have the president continuing to hold the members of congress responsible, but you also have steve bannon on the outside saying, look, you know, congress isn't doing anything, it isn't giving any americans what president trump asked for, so we need to, you know, alleng incumbent gop congress men. it's a lot of pressure on members of congress right now and they're really up against
it. >> carolyn, i'm not being flip. it was welfare reform he tossed out today. ask the clinton administration what that was like. >> yeah. and think about all the collisions over policy and i hadology and personality. it like tore apart the cabinet. you're talking about big issues. the other thing that was so striking from that press conference is they seemed to be backing away from the notion that they would get tax reform done this year. >> mitch mcconnell was in real time kind of treading backwards. >> he mentioned that obama hadn't gotten several items on his own agenda done until july -- >> he was ready with those dates. >> very precise. >> so that seems extraordinary because as you know when health care went down, everybody moved and supposedly the energy and momentum was moving to tax reform, which is another incredibly complicated measure. >> kimberly, we can't remind people enough. a small point that you made at the start of your remarks. no budget, no tax reform.
and a lot of these issues are like that. you've got debt ceiling and on and on and on. and i don't have on me the number of legislative days the house and or senate are supposed to have between now and then, but are we talking six weeks of work time for them? >> not even. i mean, we're talking -- when you look at when both sides are in session, it's probably a little less than 30 days between now and the end of 2017. so there's not much time left at all to accomplish a great deal of things. you have senator cochran, who is ailing and who is not here. we still don't know what john mccain or senator susan collins might vote on the budget. i mean, there's still so many unknowns. rand paul. it's not a lot of time. there's a great deal of uncertainty. we don't ooen know even if a budget is passed what the tax measure will look like yet
because it hasn't been finished. there's a lot of uncertainty and very, very little time. >> kimberly, if you want to get all technical about, i suppose that's true. you actuallyment to know what's in these things. here is a gentleman who keeps his powder dry since leaving the administration. eric holder has tweeted stop the damn lying. you're the president. i went to the dover air force base with president 44 and saw him comfort the families of both the fallen military and dea. carolyn, this is one of those issues, paul rye cough said you kind of don't screw around with this kind of thing because the american people have a funny of saying this is sacred, don't get this wrong. >> it's sacred. it's profound. we've done a lot of reporting about how other presidents handled it. if you remember george w. bush, barak obama kept this very private and there is something that is so solemn about this
part of being president that is felt incongruous about the way president trump watched this today. obviously he set off a fury about president obama. he was talking about his feelings rather than the feelings who were berooefd rather than the families who lost. >> carolyn ryan, kimberly atkins, thank you both. tonight a warning from within the republican party on the importance of america's role in the world and what it could mean if this nation doesn't rise to the challenge. flrp. >> we have a moral obligation to continue in our just cause and we would bring more than shame on ourselves if we don't. [applause] we will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals
[applause] and pyongyang when we continu i think he does want to be clear with kim jong-un and that regime in north korea that he has military preparations ready to go, and he has those military options on the table, and we have spent substantial time actually perfecting those. but be clear, the president has also made clear to me that he wants this solved diplom diplomatically. he doesn't want to go to war. >> so he doesn't think it's a waste of time. >> no, sir. he's made it clear to me to continue my diplomatic efforts. those will continue until the first bomb drops. >> until the first bomb drops.
chilling language from the secretary of state rex tillerson this weekend. and we should tell you north korea is out tonight with a chilling statement of their own. they've told cnn they are committed to developing a long-range icbm capable of reaching, quote, all the way to the east coast of the mainland u.s. they say they're not currently interested in diplomacy and instead want to send a clear message of their ability to counter any aggression from the u.s. on top of everything else, south korea is carrying out evacuation drills, so there's the looks of that. let's talk about all of it tonight with retired four-star u.s. army general barry mccaffrey, a veteran of that part of the world. an msnbc analyst. general, i want to start you with what we just heard from the secretary of state there. what do you make of his choice of words and tone? >> it's one of the more remarkable statements by
secretary of state in the history of u.s. diplomacy. there's almost an erie ring of it of the japanese foreign ministry while the bombs were falling on pearl harbor. secretary mattis is supposed to be in charge of threatening people and secretary tillerson is supposed to be trying to keep us out of war. i don't think there's a serious diplomatic engagement strategy here at all. where is a conference of the head of state of japan, south korea, australia, the u.s.? where is the intervention with the chinese directly at presidential level? it's just an astonishing situation. by the way, there's 2.1 million women in the armed forces that are listening to this language and they're saying we'd befrt ged ready to go to war. >> i was going to say 28,000 of them in south korea. another 40,000 of them not far away in japan. >> sure. yeah. and offshore navy. and by the way, in the background, the second question one asks is where is congress in
this? where is the senate? where is the notion of advice and concept, authorization of the use much military force? are we conceding unilateral authority to the president of the united states to conduct preventive war potentially including the use of nuclear weapons? i think sort of the deal must be, well, he's just bluffing. but kim jong-un at 33 with his murderous generals around him don't know we're bluffing, if we are. i think this is a huge potential tragedy unfolding in slow motion. >> and then we see this statement released to cnn tonight from the north, kind of a commensurate hike in the wording where they say no, thanks, we're not interested in diplomacy right now. we are trying to perfect an icbm with a warhead that will make it to your owes coast. >> well, they're going to have it, too, there's no question,
within five years. the military preparations make a lot of sense. one of the other problems, it seems to me, brian, is using conventional air and sea power only. my guess is within six months we could destroy the north korean armed forces and bring down the regime. i don't know if they know that or not, but if we go to war, if that event wallet becoming apatient that they're losing, they're going to go nuclear. again, the consequences of all this could be profound. i want to see more involvement by the u.s. congress and more engagement on diplomacy and economic leverage. >> i have to you ask this. the president is about to embark on a big pacific rim asian trip, including a stop in south korea, which may include a trip to the demilitarized zone, the war, of course, that never ended, a very tense part of the world. your opinion on whether or not he should go to the dmz at this time? >> the minute i saw that i was
absolutely horrified. that is a huge mistake. it's an invitation to kim jong-un to make some provocative action, potentially involving the security of the president of the united states. the president ought to be going to beijing, not south korea. he ought to hold a conference of heads of state, not in south korea, but outside the region. so, again, i think this has been very badly mishandled, and the consequences could be profound for the u.s. armed forces, but more importantly, brian, we're not going to get hit by nuke weapons in the united states, not in the next year or three. the south koreans, the japanese, guam, okinawa, those are the potential targets in a nuclear exchange. our allies have to be aboard with whatever is going on. >> general, it's chilling stuff. scary world right now. thank you so much for coming back on our broadcast tonight. a final break for us.
coming up, a late injury report tonight, having nothing to do with the baseball playoffs or monday night football. having everything to do with the world of politics when the 11th hour continues. plsh ow what's difficult? adulting... hi, guys. i'm back. time to slay! no,i have a long time girlfriend. you know what's easy? building your website with godaddy. get your domain today and get a free trial of gocentral. build a better website in under an hour.
thank you so much for being here with us and good night from nbc news headquarters in new york. tonight on "all in" -- >> obamacare is finished. it's dead. >> trump world gives up the game. >> is going to blow that thing up. going to blow those exchanges up, right? >> as the president lashes out over his lack of achievements. >> i'm not going to blame myself. i'll be honest. they're not getting the job done. >> and explains why he hasn't called the families of fallen soldiers. >> president obama and other presidents, most of them didn't make calls.