tv MSNBC Live With Velshi and Ruhle MSNBC October 19, 2017 8:00am-9:00am PDT
this provision in the constitution where spain's government takes over catalonia has never been invoked in the history of democratic spain. the forever here for reuters. as always, would love to hear your thoughts on facebook, twitter, and snapchat. i actually will not be talking with you after the show because i'm off tomorrow. but i'll see you back here on monday. still tune in for my colleague stephanie rhule who's picking it up from new york. >> hey there. thanks so much. good morning, everyone. my partner ali velshi on assignment. it is thursday, october 19th. let's get you started. >> the question of what went so wrong during that military mission in niger. >> the demand nor answers are growing. >> i think we do need to know what happened, why it happened. >> going into those places, it makes it difficult to help the group if they are ambushed. it seems like they were ambushed by a larger group. >> there's an attack in benghazi that we've been talking about for years.
this isn't that dissimilar. >> it's all getting sort of blurred by this fight that the president has decided that he wanted to pick. >> the aunt who raised johnson insisting the congresswoman's account is accurate telling "the washington post" mr. trump did disrespect him. >> i think to try to create something from that that the congresswoman is doing is frankly appalling and z disgusting. >> there were recordings of this phone call? >> no. but there were several people in the room from the administration that were on the call. >> the parents of murphy killed in may in syria say they haven't heard anything from the president. >> if that letter or that phone call could bring my son back, i would run from here on foot to washington, d.c., to get that letter. >> chris baldridge whose son was killed in afghanistan said president trump called in july to offer condolences and even offered to send him a personal check for $25,000.
but baldridge tells nbc, he has not received the money yet. >> we begin with the latest on the four american soldiers killed during an attack in niger. right now a team from the pentagon's africa command is in niger trying to figure out exactly what went wrong. the team is conducting what is known as a review of facts. after officials admit they don't a exactly know what happened on october 4th when a group of special forces soldiers was attacked and killed. apparently by a branch of isis. so let's look at what we do know about the situation. the 12-man team from the third special forces group was operating in niger, a country in western africa. a region known as the seshel. they were in a row mote part of the country. the mission was seen basically as routine. the pentagon says 29 similar patrols were carried out in the last six months. they were taking part in a key leader engagement. the practice of needing with
village leaders. they were also gathering food and water splitting the team up with eight members meeting with elders. as the team left between 40 and 50 militants attacked. the pentagon describes them as well equipped and trained. within 30 minutes, french firefighter bombers arrived. officials say they helped to break up the firefight. the confusing situation is highlighted by accounts by military officials initially saying the french military flew the medevac helicopter that flew the team out. now saying it's u.s. military. now revealing it might have been a u.s. contractor. sergeant la david johnson was separated from the unit. it took his fellow soldiers a total of 48 hours to recover his remains. senator john mccain chairman of the armed services committee said he has not been briefed on any of it yet. >> do you think that you know enough about the deaths of the four soldiers in niger? >> of course not. >> have you been briefed?
>> no. >> why not? >> you'd have to ask the pentagon. >> have you asked? >> what questions do you have? >> of course not directing the reporters to the pentagon. about 800 u.s. troops are stationed in niger. but less than a hundred work with the country's military. a majority work on surveillance and drone operations. military goals in the country focus on fighting terrorist organizations including boko haram, al qaeda, and a group calling itself isis-gs who are believed to be responsible for this specific attack. nbc pentagon correspondent hans nichols joins me live. the pentagon is collecting raw facts. why is this situation so confusing? >> because they weren't planning for it. it's in part of the world without great surveillance. and in a lot of way whence you have this kind of chaotic environment -- situation, it's always kwb stephanie, difficult
to gather all the facts. you did a pretty adequate job there. we have a good sense of what we know. there's bigger gray areas on what we don't know. what you said, we don't know how the troops were evacuated. was it the french, the initial report? or was it this military contractor barry aviation the second report? we also don't know whether or not u.s. forces killed any enemy. the initial reports were yes, they killed some enemy, but they didn't give us a total tally. now they seem to be walking away from that and there are no confirmed kills. finally you mentioned that they were very well armed, the ambush was. rpgs, machine guns. they're also very well concealed, stephanie. there was a lot of brush there. there were basically u.s. troops couldn't see the oncoming ambush. they arise out of the brush and that's when the firefight happened. we also don't have a good sense on whether or not that overflight from the french planes, if that actually broke up and dispersed the enemy or whether or not the fighting had stopped. we're going to get more answers
today. we have a variety of briefings here. we're talking to all of our sources but there still is a great deal of confusion. >> all right. well, we want those answers. also joining us live, retired u.s. naval intelligence officer malcolm nance and veteran major general robert scales. welcome. malcolm, i want to start with you. isis-gs, an al qaeda affiliate. this isn't a group i'm familiar with and a lot of other people aren't. do we know about them? >> well, it's a group that a lot of people aren't familiar with principally because they're very small. and to tell you the truth, we didn't think that -- or at least the assessments i've seen that they had a capability of this size. we've seen this from other groups that are al qaeda affiliated. aqim. but this group operated up there north/northwest of mali to have a 50-man ambush, that is an increasing capability for them.
it tells us they're an insurgency we overlooked. >> are groups like this going to keep popping up? we have to look at what happened in raqqah this week. that is a significant achievement of this administration, but it doesn't mean that isis is going away. especial will i when you hear about things like this. it feels like it's popping up in unsuspecting places. malcolm? >> oh, i'm sorry. yeah. well, they are popping up in unsuspecting places. although we've just broken the kcaliphate in the main force, stepping on the islamic state in iraq and syria is like stepping on a ball of mercury. we have dispersed that out to smaller balls. the fact they've decided to move into the islamic saddle which is the trans-saharan africa region there which we've had a security presence there for some time. we are doing the security liaisons and training in that
region for the sole purpose of stopping these things from gestating in the first place. but we've had more success against al qaeda who has popped up in and around there. if this is the remnants of the castoffs of isis and libya and they've pushed south there into that scrub desert region there. then we are going to have to increase our capacity and work closer with the french and the local nationals which is what this mission was supposed to be doing. >> stepping on a ball of mercury, that is a stunning but very good analogy. major general, tell us about the u.s. africa command. what is it like on the ground there? >> well, stephanie, it's often been called the forgotten command. we all know about european in europe. but african is a small organization. there are a thousand u.s. troops in niger, but only about 100 to 150 are actually out in the hinderlands doing advised and
assist missions which is what this 12-man team is doing. and from all i've been told from my friends at ft. bragg, they were very, very effective. they've started now to gain the trust of leaders in niger. tribal leaders. some even speculated one of the motives for this ambush was the fact they've gotten too popular and too influential and too good at their jobs and gathering intelligence on isis in the region. >> why do you think there's so little information about this attack? why does it seem like there's still not a clear statement? does it surprise you to hear john mccain say i haven't been briefed yet? >> yeah, stephanie. this is the most isolated someplace in africa which is the most isolated continent. >> then it's not a surprise that things would be this confusing? >> no. but the intensity of it is. the idea this isis splitter group can get 50 people together to conduct an ambush is extraordinary. but also points out a failure in intelligence. these things only happen because there's a black hole where the
information is supposed to be. and these guys walked into this ambush without knowing that this isis group is there. malcolm is exactly right. this may very well be a turning point in our commitment to africa. >> malcolm, last comment? >> yeah. you know, we have a base to the northeast of that about 150 kilometers which is a very large base. it's a u.s. drone base which carries out collections operations in that trans-saddle region between the town, the libyan border, and west of mali. it appears the intelligence support for this special forces team which by the way these small missions of leading with leaders and indigenous forces, that's what special forces with us tasked to do since they started under john f. kennedy. they just didn't have the intelligence support on this mission. and the worst part is, isis had the intelligence support. they knew they were coming. we're just lucky it didn't start with a suicide truck bomb which
could have been devastated and killed more. but i'll tell you right now. the nature of this mission, it's going to change. we're going to be sending in tier 1 assets now to hunt down these people. both us and the french. >> wow. extraordinary. thank you, both, so much. always an honor to have you here. malcolm nance and military analyst major general robert scales. thank you both very much. stick around, everybody. we're taking a commercial break. when we come back, i will speak with the widow of army sergeant jonathan hunter about president trump's communication with gold star families. her husband was killed on august 2nd. to this day president trump has not kauld or written. sergeant hunter was just 23 years old and was just one month into his tour. we're going to hear about that great soldier and the life he led. they always refer to me as master sergeant. they really appreciate the military family, and it really shows. we've got auto insurance, homeowners insurance. had an accident with a vehicle, i actually called usaa before
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welcome back to "velshi & rhule." i'm stephanie rhule. as we continue to dig deeper into how four u.s. soldiers lost their lives in niger, more gold star families are speaking out about their interactions with president trump amidst claims he called almost all of the families of troops killed in action. chris baldridge whose son dylan was killed by an afghan police officer said he got a call from president trump. and he said in that call president trump offered him $25,000 from his personal account which he never got. the white house says the check
has been sent. my colleague spoke to the parents of army specialist atian murphy who was killed in syria. they say only the thing that matters is someone remembers their child. >> it's not really whether or not a person may have called or did something than the previous one. it's about what are you doing now to help those who are left behind that have to struggle day to day? >> joining me now is another family member of a fallen hero. wh whitney hunter. her army husband was killed in a suicide bombing august 2nd in afghanistan. my most sincere condolences. he was only 23 years old and one month into his first deployment when he passed away. tell us about him and how did you meet him? >> i met him the day i graduated from nursing school. it was unexpected, but i later found out it was mutual.
once we saw each other, we kind of just -- we had to figure out how to talk to each other. we went on a date soon after and were together ever since. he was the most extraordinary man, unique in a way that i've never known. the love i had for him and the love i know that he had for me was just genuine and pure. it was strong enough to last a lifetime. i mean, he was amazing and i'm so, so thankful to have had the opportunity to have been with him. >> the commander of his brigade described him this way. he was respected throughout his unit. why did he want to go into the military. >> he was -- he was selfless and he wanted to do all he could to help and to make a difference and to just fight for our
nation. i mean, it takes a strong person to do that and he was that person. >> when he left, just before you lost him, did you ever think he wouldn't come home? >> no. i mean, no one ever wants to think of the situation, but i truly didn't think this could ever have been. i mean, no, i didn't. i miss him terribly, but he was -- he fought doing what he loved and he would do it as many times as necessary. >> again, i'm so sorry. now, you and many other gold star families are speaking out about your communications with president trump. you say you were told you were going to get a call from him. have you spoken to the white house? >> no, ma'am, i have not. >> would it be important to you? is that something that you want? >> honestly, as soon as i found out that i would be receiving all the way to this point, of
course it would be an honor to have the president, you know, express his condolences to anyone affected by this kind of tragedy, but i mean, it's an honor either way. >> what is important to you now? >> i just want jonathan's name to be remembered and all of the fallen soldiers. my heart goes out so, so strongly, i empathize so strongly with the women and the families. i just want these men to be remembered for all that they did and all they sacrificed for our country. >> what would you say to those four families, those four soldiers who were killed. they're experiencing right now what you did just a few months ago. >> i mean, of course like you said, it's at three months since it happened. i'm still trying to learn how to cope. i pray their faith and strength in god can get them through this. that's what's gotten me as far as i have.
i just pray their support system is as strong as mine has been. i empathize with them so, so strongly. my heart and prayers go out to them. >> you know, unfortunately, it's easy for people in their day-to-day lives, those who are here in the continental united states to forget that there are brave men and william -- women protecting us defending us and they're thousands of miles away. we need to remember that day in and day out. i believe you set up a gofundme page. can you tell us a little bit about it? >> actually, one of my best friends set it up for me. i'm so fortunate to have gotten all the support and monetary donations that i've received thus far. i mean, i am -- i'm just so blessed to have gotten all that i have. i thank her so much for setting that up for me. and people i don't even know have donated money to help me get through this time. i just -- to anyone that hears me, i mean, thank you so, so much for all that everyone has
done. i genuinely appreciate it. >> and we appreciate all that your husband did for our country. thank you so much, whitney. i truly appreciate you joining me today. >> absolutely. thank you for having me. >> all right. whitney hunter whose husband bravely gave his life defending our nation. we'll be right back.
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welcome back to "velshi & rhule." this morning democratic senators are talking about president trump's shifting position on a bipartisan deal on health care. >> well, he has been a all over the map on this. although his most recent comment suggests that maybe he'll come on board. >> the president's backing and forthing on this as on so many other things is sort of making him a little bit irrelevant to the discussions in the senate. >> that's a wow. earlier this week, the president seemed to support the deal worked out by lamar alexander and patty murray. >> obamacare is a disaster. it's virtually dead as far as i'm concerned it really is dead. and i predicted that a long time ago. lamar has been working very, very hard with the democratic -- his colleagues on the other side. patty murray is one of them in
particular. and they're coming up and they're fairly close to a short-term solution. >> well, that seemed like a positive. yesterday he seemed to walk that back in a tweet saying, quote, i'm supportive of lamar as a person and also of the process, but i can never support bailing out insurance companies who have made a fortune with obamacare. with uncertainty now surrounding the bill, what does the murray/alexander plan look like? first, it funds a key subsidy program csr payments through 2019. they help low income families pay for insurance. you might remember that term being used a lot last week. that's because the president said he would not make those payments anymore. next, it expands something called a 1332 waiver letting states approve a wider range of insurance plans. it changes the words from as affordable as to comparable. affordability plans that are under -- offered under obamacare
but they would still have to meet minimum coverage requirements. it would also allow for people over 30 to buy catastrophic so-called copper plans. these are the skimpiest allowed by law and it would encourage interstate compacts making it easier to buy and sell insurance across state lines which so many people are looking for. as senators look over the plan, mitch mcconnell is giving no indication as to whether this bill would get a vote. but resistance, it is building in congress. house speaker paul ryan's press secretary said, coat, the speaker does not see anything that changes his view that the senate could keep its focus on repeal and replace of obamacare. garrett haake is live on capitol hill. garrett, republicans seem split on the bill. what are you hearing about the chances and are they going to try and spend more time with the president to help him have a better understanding of csr and who it actually helps and the fact it's a stabilizing factor, not necessarily a bailout for
the insurance companies? >> reporter: well, they are split right now. but there does seem to be some momentum for this. it's interesting. you're hearing from republicans, even some who voted for every version of repeal and replace like joni ernst of iowa when bob corker of tennessee. these are all folks saying they are supportive of this alexander/murray effort. that's a good sign it could potentially gather the vote it would need to move forward here. but it's ultimately going to come down to leadership's willingness to have another vote about health care. there's some political optics here. if the only thing that can pass the senate is a bill that's seen as propping up obamacare, that's not going to make a lot of these more conservative members happen. i. you played that tim kaine quote about the president not necessarily being relevant to the conversation in the senate. and i think that may be true on the senate side. but i do think it's a different story on the house. >> well, it seems that this seems to be a debate party versus pragmatism. i think a whole lot of americans
voted for pragmatism. garrett, thank you so much. also today puerto rico's governor will sit down with president trump in less than one hour. it is the governor's first trip to washington, d.c. since the devastating storm struck one month ago tomorrow. right now get your head around this. resident who is are u.s. citizens, let's not forget, on the island are struggling to get access to basic necessities and thousands of others are fleeing to central florida. in just the past two weeks, ready for this? 60,000 puerto ricans have arrived in the sunshine state. mariana atencio was on the ground talking to a mother who moved her two sons and her mother to a home in orlando after it hit. >> it's been horrible. and he's scared. he's scared. he don't want to see never, never that.
and now he worry for teverythin. it's hard. >> it certainly is. joining me now orlando mayor buddy dyer. mayor dyer, already in the last ten years, we saw half a million puerto ricans move out of puerto rico, many, many already to orlando. and now here you are with another influx and it's only getting bigger. what resources do you have available right now to take in these evacuees? i'm thinking your hospitals, your schools. >> well, one of the things we did, we knew we would be a natural recipient of people leaving puerto rico at this point. we have close to half a million puerto ricans that live here in central florida. so a lot of them have family members that are coming to orlando. so one of the things that we have done, the governor of the state has pledged our support in helping any evacuees. he's declared a state of emergency in all 67 counties. and we've set up three different disaster relief centers.
two are in miami. one is in orlando. and the disaster relief center. we have all of the agencies that would provide services. we have the red cross there. we have something called the hispanic office of local affairs that connects newly located people. identification cards. already in the past two weeks, 8,000 people have come through that relief center. and it's not just people that are flying in. there are people coming from tampa and other areas of the state to try to get information on the best way to assimilate into central florida. and there's a couple -- there's two different types of arrivees. there are people that have family and friends they can stay with. the bigger issue are the people that don't have anywhere to stay. >> i want to stay on these stats. it's not like it's just emergency shelters. people we've spoken to are going to stay there for good.
just yesterday we learned from orlando's hispanic office of local assistance yesterday alone 159 people were brought in. this month, 1,931. schools in orange county are also seeing massive rise in numbers in enrollment specifically from puerto rico and the virgin islands. it's only going to get bigger. we're looking at people by the end of the year much of puerto rico might still not have power. once people can mobilize, even afford plane tickets, they're going to move. is the biggest challenge you're facing and how are you going to handle this long-term? >> i know the school system has already absorbed at least in orange county public schools almost 700 students from puerto rico and over 120 from the virgin islands. >> can you handle that? >> and i think they can. they started making preparations. we're the tenth largest school district in the country here in orange county so they have the ability to absorb numbers like
that. but there's other services they have to set up in terms of counseling and some of the kids certainly probably don't speak english. the other thing a lot of the students that are coming aren't coming with the families. they're coming over and staying with friends or relatives. so that sets up another set of issues. >> earlier this morning, puerto rico's governor spoke to reporters after meeting with republican senator of florida marco rubio. i want to share what the governor had to say about his goal. >> you always have future problems that can arise such as public health emergencies and otherwise. we really want to take all the big picture into consideration. again, recognizing we're in this together. u.s. citizens in texas, in florida, in puerto rico, in virgin islands we need equal treatment. >> this is a major need. are you satisfied thus far with the federal aid package being
released along the storm ravaged territories? you are getting a huge amount of evacuees. >> you know, it's hard for me to evaluate the federal aid that has gone into the island of puerto rico. since we own a utility, i do know a little bit about the utility infrastructure. and at the beginning of this segment, you talked about i guess still 90% of the population is without power. and it's a total rebuild of the utility system. we had a hurricane hardened system that we just had to take trees off of power lines. they had their power poles and all of the utility equipment completely blow down. so they're having to rebuild an entire system. and that's going to take some time. so that means people are without employment, without jobs, no power to their mohomes. so i would assume that there are going to be more than estimated people that leave as they continue to be without the basic
necessities over the course of a long period of time. >> and even if they get their basic necessities, think of the u.s. virgin islands. their entire business, over 70% of the business that exists in the virgin islands is tourism. and it's not coming back. people are without jobs indefinitely. so a year from now, what do you think the demographic will look like in orlando? >> well, i certainly think there will be a significant increase in the puerto rican population here in central florida. but it's been growing rapidly. it was the largest growing sub of our population for the last decade as well. but i think there'll be a significant increase over the next year. >> all right, mayor. thank you for joining us this morning. orlando mayor buddy dyer. we've got breaking news. former president george w. bush spoke moments ago about the state of american politics. take a listen. >> -- by recognizing one not by the color of their skin but by
the content of their character. this means that people of every race, religion, ethnicity can be fully and equally american. it means that bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the american creed. [ applause ] and it means the very identity of our nation depends on the passing of civic ideals to the next generation. we need a renewed emphasis on civic learning in schools and our young people need positive role models. bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone. provides permission for cruelty and bigotry. and compromises the moral education of children. the only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to
them. finally the call to action calls on major institutions of our democracy public and private to consciously and urgently attend to the problem of declining trust. for example, our democracy needs a media that is transparent, accurate, and fair. our democracy needs religious institutions that demonstrate integrity and champions civil discourse. our democracy needs institutions of higher learning that are examples of truth. and free expression. in short, it is time for america's institutions to step up and provide cultural and moral leadership for this nation. ten years ago i attended a conference on democracy and security in prague. the goal was to put human rights and human freedom at the center of our relationships with repressive governments. the prague charter signed by
champions with liberty called for the isolation and ostracism of regimes that use threats or violence. little did we know that a decade later, a crisis of confidence would be developing within the core democracies making the message of freedom more inhibited and wavering. little did we know that the repressive governments would be undertaking a major effort to encourage division in western societies and undermine the legitimacy of elections. repressive rivals along with skeptics here at home misunderstand something important. it's the great advantage of free societies that we creatively adapt to challenges. without the direction of some central authority. self-correction is a secret strength of freedom. we are a nation with a history of resilience and a genius for
renewal. right now one of our worst federal problems is the -- but the calls to freedom justifies all our faith and effort. it still inspires men and women in the darkest corners of the world. it will inspire a rising generation. the american spirit does not say we shall manage or we shall make the best of it. it says we shall overcome. and that is exactly what we're going to do. with god's help. thank you. [ applause ] >> that's former president speaking out today. other things to think about today, it's an anniversary. 30 years ago today, october 19th, 1987. the day that became known as black monday. stock markets crashed worldwide. the dow jones industrial average
dropped 508 points and lost 22.6% of its value. it was the greatest percentage loss in a single day. today the dow is far less vulnerable to those kind of factors that caused the crash. this week it has been trending and trading at all-time highs. look at this. above 23,000 and janet yellen fed chair is having her meeting with president trump today. something that really stands out this week. we're talking so much about tax reform and president trump often takes credit for the boom we've seen in the stock market. and he can certainly take credit for some of this trump bump. corporate america feeling positive about tax reform and deregulation. but we have to remember janet yellen, the fed, since the financial crisis interest rates being as low as they have been have led to companies being able to borrow easily, not just here, but around the world. you're seeing the same kind of central bank intervention. so for treasury secretary steve mnuchin yesterday to warn people
that the stock market will face a significant decline if the stock market -- excuse me. if tax reform doesn't get through, is not just untrue, but it's also irresponsible. when you think about how strong our economy is doing and that people are getting back to work and wages are slightly improving, it is a positive. we want to thank corporate america. we want to thank the work the administration is trying to do. and we've got to turn to the fed because yellen has sure kept things steady. and slow and steady as i've heard wins the race. you are watching "velshi & rhule" live right here on msnbc. stick around.
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welcome back to "velshi & rhule." i'm stephanie rhule. here are the stories we are watching right now. the suspect in a two-state shooting spree that left three people dead will remain behind bars on $2 million bail. 37-year-old r rarks dee prince was arraigned on attempted murder charges. he killed three coworkers and critically injured two others in maryland before traveling to delaware where he shot another person. an appeals court threw out a $72 million lawsuit against johnson & johnson. an alabama woman's family had won a lawsuit after claimi inii talcom powder contributed to they are cancer.
johnson & johnson maintains its products are safe. meal kit delivery company blue apron laying off hundreds months after going public. the stock is down 50% since its ipo in june when it was overshadowed by amazon's announcement it was buying whole foods. the layoffs make up about 6% of the workforce. listen to this story. especially those of you who believe in trickle down economics. chipotle has a new problem and it is not the norovirus. it apparently is paying its employees too much. bank of america, the wall street analyst, downgraded the stock yesterday partly blaming labor costs. chipotle has been struggling with declining sales in the last few years with outbreaks of e. coli and norovirus and has already slashed from weekly paychecks. shares are down 12% this year. just remember that idea that if companies get tax breaks and
have more money they're automatically giving it to the employees and not shareholders, guess again. wall street analysts are speaking for shareholders and the shareholders are saying give me the money. and today is the deadly day for city who is want to become home to amazon's next headquarters. dozens of cities are said to be in the running. they have until the end of the day to get their bids in. amazon says it plans to invest 5 billion bucks. no wonder everybody wants it. and hire 50,000 people for its second headquarters. and we've got to go back to this controversy. in light of this controversy involving president trump's reported comments to a widow of a fallen service member, i want to read a response that really, really stood out to me. someone who knows very little about the military. they come from former u.s. army captain brandon friedman. he served in afghanistan and iraq. he says, quote, let's talk for a minute about, quote, he knew what he signed up for.
which is something that president trump did say to a widow. quote, there's often a misconception among non-veterans that service members sign up with the expectations that they may die. he goes on to say, a i did two tours in combat as an infantry officer and never met a soldier that thought dying was a reasonable result of their service. take the numbers. since 9/11, roughly one out of every 5,000 troops to serve in iraq or afghanistan die there. i'll say it again. one out of every 5,000 dies in combat. that is neither common nor expected. but when things do get dicey, troops expect leaders at every level to do everything in their power to keep death from happening. take roadside bombs. when they began killing u.s. troops, president bush never said they knew what they signed up for. instead dod designed mine resistant ambush protected vehicles.
it was a concerted effort to keep more people from getting killed unnecessarily. and that's what keeps troops going. the knowledge that your life is valuable. that it is not being wasted. that air support is inbound. he goes on to say, quote, so when we have a commander in chief respond to a combat death with he knew what he signed up for, it tells us a few things. the president has no idea how the military works or what his roles and responsibilities are. more importantly it sends a message to troops. if you're looking for a support from the white house, you know what you signed up for. joining me now is the veteran who wrote that. brandon friedman. obviously you know a lot about the military. i don't want to spend our time parsing through what the president said or what he knows. i want you to help us know what do our officers sign up for? >> well, people sign up to be part of something that's larger than themselves. they want to serve.
they want to serve their country. they want to help make the world a better place. and they do it selflessly. and when we hear the president talk about this stuff every day, it's almost as if he -- everything to him is transactional. he doesn't he doesn't quite get the selflessness of serving your country. >> so what should we know? those who are fighting for our democracy who are overseas, what does their life look like every day there and when they come home? because it's so important to remember their lives when they come home and our responsibility to them. >> yeah. well, when you're over there, you're very focused on the mission and that takes up all your time. but you don't necessarily wake up every day thinking you're going to die. everybody who joins assumes that risk, and you know it's a possibility. but it's not what you focus on day in, day out. you focus on accomplishing the mission and getting that done. and then when you get home, you try to support the people who are still over there doing their jobs. >> how hard is it to come home? what's it like? >> i mean, it's different for
everybody. you know, in my case, you know, it's pretty rocky. when you go into combat and you come home, it's -- i mean, it can be -- it's kind of a hard break between what you're doing over there and when you come home. it's a lot different here. and you have to work very hard to sort of reintegrate yourself and you rely on friends and family and that sort of thing. >> it's sort of hard to make that call. we're discussing at length the president reaching out to these gold star families, whether it was offering the $25,000 to one family or word choices with another. that's a very, very difficult call to make. what can our government do or our leaders do to help those families? i can't imagine that it's just a phone call that is what they need the most. >> well, right. i mean, you want to offer your condolences, but what families want the most is to know that they're going to be taken care of. and when you haven't had someone die in combat, you want know
that your loved one serving overseas is going to be taken care of and the government is going to do everything in his power and the president is going to do everything in his power to make sure they're taken care of. what you doen't want is a president who is going to shrug when these things happen and say, he knew what he signed up for. that's an ab diddication of his responsibility and sends a message to our troops and their families that we have a president that does not take on the responsibility of troops over there. >> we can tell our troops how much we care and how much we appreciate it. does it surprise you two weeks out there is still so much confusion over what happened over there? vice president pence says he still hasn't been briefed. this is part of africa. >> everything that happens in combat is confusing. that's why we have the term fog of war. i can't speak to that specifically. i wasn't there.
i haven't talked to anybody who was there. but it's not unusual for there to be a lot of confusion and for it to take a long time to figure out what happened. i would suspect at this point a couple weeks later that we would know a little more about it than we have actually heard. >> i certainly hope we will and we're going to keep focusing on it. brandon, thanks so much for joining us and thank you for your words on twitter. for people like me, we learned a lot. >> thank you, stephanie. in light of the ongoing fight against confederate monument s in this country, i want to introduce you to monumental americans, those who may be deserving of a statue. it's not about what ones to take down, let's talk about who deserve to be erected. all four of these soldiers were members of the special forces group based in fort bragg, north carolina. sergeant brian black leaves
behind his wife michelle and their two sons. 31-year-old jeremiah johnson. he has a wife crystal and two young daughters. 29-year-old army staff sergeant dustin wright whose brother i spoke with earlier this week who followed his dad, his mom, and his brother in the military service. and 25-year-old army sergeant ladavid t. johnson who leaves behind his wife myesha, two young children and a third on the way. we know that in the last day, the johnson family has received over $500,000 in a college fund for their kids and other gofundme pages have been started for these families. these are great american families who deserve our support. whether it's connecting one of the world's most innovative campuses.
welcome back to "velshi & ruhle." the forbes list is out. trump dropped 92 places on forbes 400 list. his earnings dropped $640,000. he's still worth 240 billion bucks. that's still a lot of coin. others include jimmy buffett. it is take your parents to workday. you know, this is my mom louise ruhle. you're welcome to be here, mom. i talk about you all the time.
president trump won the last election. he won with suburban white women voters. one of them is sitting right next to me. mom, you watch our show hopefully every day. president trump watches a lot of cable news. what's your message to him? >> i did vote for you. i'm disappointed in the job you're doing. i know you didn't prepare. you're not ready for all the things that come down your way, but please work a little bit harder, listen to all the women around you and do a better job. there's always tomorrow. >> do you think i'm one of those women he should listen to? >> absolutely. >> oh, my goodness. and see, there's my life with you, mom. see, that's a tribute to new jersey right there, there's my sister stacy, you and me. i'm so proud to have you here. ali velshi -- >> i'm proud of you. >> you are? >> you're the best. >> i'm proud of you, too. ali velshi, we'll see you tomorrow, i don't know.
louise might be sticking around. that is going to do it for us today in this hour of "velshi a & ruhle & ruhle." celebrate us on #velshi&ruhle. >> i'm loving ruhle & ruhle. thank you. now andrea mitchell reports, families of the fallen. they're speaking about that check the president offered at the white house. he says it's in the mail and the call one family says it never received. >> we haven't heard anything from the president, but, i mean, we have the chief of staff has called us. >> my pain is just so great. so if that letter or that phone call could bring my son