tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC October 20, 2017 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
>> obviously important, and i will definitely be watching your interview with former attorney general questions to cheat in the prep. >> two is better than one. okay. have a great weekend. >> thank you. i'm ari melber in for lawrence o'donnell. yesterday john kelly went to the briefing room to defend president trump. as a journalist summed it up tonight, quote, it was spectacularly shambolic week for the white house and trump has no regrets about any of it. >> watching a grieving military family become a political football? pretty disgusting fie you want do get into a debate with a four-star marine general, i think that's something highly inappropriate. >> if you're the chief of staff of the white house and you say something that's wrong, we are going to call you out only it and we are going to look into it and we are going to investigate it and you are responsible for what you say. >> i'll put it simply. as we say in the south, all hat,
no cattle. >> i'm not familiar with that expression. i know this one, when you're in a hole, stop digging. >> he is with many other people coming in to contact with trump is lesser at the end of the week than the beginning. >> overnight victory for president trump. senate republicans finally passing a budget in a close 51-49 vote. >> instead of celebrating that victory, he's in this hopeless, revolting back and forth with the family of a slain serviceman and it's awful. >> the trump white house has a >> the trump white house has a problem with the truth. general john kelly said he was going to fix it. he would improve the information flow. but tonight, we know it's information, current events, recent history and lies that are haunting the white house. what began with president trump misrepresenting other presidents interactions with gold star families and escalated in a
fight over what trump said in a, quote, condolence call to the widow of sergeant la david johnson killed with three other staff sergeants is now turned into something much, much more problematic. donald trump allegedly told johnson he knew what he was signing up for but i guess it hurts anyway. that according to congresswoman frederica wilson and the president denied he said. >> mr. president, what did you say to sergeant johnson's widow? >> didn't say it at all. she knows it. she is now not saying it. >> didn't say it at all. okay. that's a denial defense. but then general john kelly stirred up more controversy with something else. a justification defense suggesting donald trump did say it and it's okay. >> he was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed.
he knew what he was getting in to by joining that 1%. that's what the president tried to say to a -- four families the other day. >> and the point isn't really the exact word choice, although it doesn't help that trump denied the words that kelly then seemed to confirm. the point is kelly contradicted trump and attacked the congresswoman who shared this story. this is not the president's political spokesman or a campaign strategist. this is the taxpayer funded chief of staff launching this allegation against a sitting congresswoman. >> the congresswoman stood up and in the long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise stood up there in all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building. and how she took care of her constituents because she got the money and just called up president obama and on that
phone call she gave the money, the $20 million to build the building and she sat down. and we were stunned. >> she got the money. she stood up. she talked about the money. herself. obama. and then she sat down. and he was stunned. well, that allegation today was demolished. a fact check reviewed representative wilson's entire speech and determined kelly got it wrong. tonight, msnbc's joy reid aired the entire speech so everyone could see all the facts and the entire address themselves. we have reviewed it here, as well. the video shows wilson spending most of her time praising fbi agents who were killed on duty and crediting republican speaker boehner by name for their team work in a vote on legislation, not money, for naming a fbi building after two agents. >> i went to the speaker, speaker boehner, and i said, mr.
speaker, i need your help. the fbi needs your help. and our country needs your help. and we have no time to waste. he went into attack mode and then in two days pulled it out of committee, brought it to the floor for a vote. >> now, let me be as fair and precise as possible. it could be that john kelly innocently misremembered this. and today's tension could have been tamped down with any kind of acknowledgment of what the video shows. if you had a court case built on this allegation against representative wilson and this video emerged, that case would get tossed out of court. but instead, today, sarah huckabee sanders reporting to general kelly says her boss stood by it. >> does general kelly still stand by the statement he made yesterday that he felt that she was grandstanding and that she was taking credit?
>> absolutely. general kelly said he was stunned that representative wilson made comments at a building dedication honoring slain fbi agents about her own actions in congress. >> faced with the fact check and the video, kelly has an employee claiming he was stunned by representative wilson working with republicans on legislation. and i can tell you trump aides say maybe she made comments at other time at the event that isn't on video. and then sanders today went further. >> if you want to go after general kelly, that's up to you, but i think if you want to get in a debate with a four star marine general i think that's something highly inappropriate. >> this is not another squabble born of donald trump's neediness. and now includes a general dispatching a federal employee to tell the nation he's not subject to debate. this cannot be said enough. general kelly, you will be
debated. you will be questioned. the oath you take to uphold the constitution, that document places the military, which we respect, under civilian control. not above it. and that's relevant not only to this bitter fact challenged dispute. it's relevant tonight to the incident that got reporters pressing the white house in the first place. the death of four u.s. soldiers in niger. we have no idea if findings in the future will show things should have been done differently or not. it's obviously too early to say. and there are also new report that is after this bruising week trump shows tonight, quote, zero remorse even for dragging chief of staff kelly into the mess while kelly was looking for and more, quote, dispirited as the week went on. and then after business closed at the white house tonight, i can tell you sanders put out an additional statement saying, quote, of course everyone can be
questioned but after witnessing general kelly's heartfelt and somber account we should all be able to agree that impugning his credibility on how best to honor fallen heroes is not appropriate. there you have it. another effort to move the goal post. journalist find a video contradicting the attack on a member of congress and then they respond with this. of course, the factual dispute's not about the fallen heroes in this particular moment and by the way this is a free country. so if people did want to debate that, as sarah huckabee sanders refers to, they could debate that in or out of uniform. many in washington hoped when john kelly came to the white house he could change trump. tonight, it locks like trump may be changing him. joining me now for more, tim o'brien and author of "trump nation" and a former defendant
in a lawsuit with donald trump over that reporting. christina greer, associate professor of fordham university and james peterson, director of studies at lehigh university and host of remix podcast. christina, it's not often we get that friday night statement that at least reflects the awareness of a problem with suggesting you can't question a general. but does not as i point out deal with it. >> well, in this particular case, we have now seen general kelly dragged down to the level of donald trump. and unfortunately, this particular administration does not respect women. they definitely don't respect women of color. we see that he keeps calling representative wilson that congresswoman. he's called the widow of sergeant johnson just the widow or the wife. her name is myeshia johnson. we have had donald trump talk about susan rice, about maxine waters, about jemele hill, the
gold star families. he clearly has an issue in attack mode or whenever he's sort of wrong or lies, he just goes in to attack mode and unfortunately the people around him don't actually encourage him to ever tell the truth. they double down and we have seen time after time after time the people around him lie, as well. going for sergeant kelly. we have sanders, kelly and trump all lying all week long and just really disgracing the office of the presidency and a congresswoman a public servant since 1998. like, i mean, something that donald trump has never done. >> and on that point, regarding the call and how the call's being treated, listen to donald trump in new sound coming out tonight, interview with fox business which is his account of what he says bothers john kelly about it. >> he was so offended because he was in the room when i made the call. and so were other people. and the call was a very nice call. he was so offended that a woman
would be -- that somebody would be listening to that call. he was -- he actually couldn't believe it. actually, he said to me, sir, this is not acceptable. this is really not -- he knew it. i was so nice. look. i have called many people. and i would think that every one of them appreciated it. >> tim, as you know, in these settings, you have government phone calls. there are often parties in the room. mosha gesson, a journalist that fled vladimir putin's administration. they're private and the statement she writes contains a classic trumpian reversal and claiming for himself the right of privacy but myeshia johnson apparently voluntarily shared the conversation with the mother-in-law and congresswoman wilson.
by putting the president on speakerphone. if the call is for her as a gold star widow and she's with those people, they didn't plan to catch the trump call and she chose to share it and in the open grief period, where does the united states government get off saying the privacy is one way? >> i don't think it's a new phenomenon with the trump administration. i think they conveniently define interactions with the congress, with people in their own white house, with the public on whatever terms suits them vie-sa-vie the president defining narratives that make him look good in any situation where he looks bad and i think in this particular situation they've already said that they had a number of people in the west wing listening in on the call. >> not a one on one. >> defacto not a private call from the very beginning. i think the second thing that's happened here is they have put john kelly in harm's way. i think that --
>> but he is an adult. >> he is an adult. but they have had a series of inept spokes people. i think they put his capital on the line. he's put his own capital on the line to go out there and i think he's blown a lot of that in this week. he really, you know, walking -- i think in arlington cemetery, no one is going to give him any shade about what it means to be a member of the military and make a sacrifice but i think you can only play that card once or twice before it starts the lose some of the traction. and he put that out there in the service of a president who's been dissembling and i think one of the phenomenons in the white house is anybody going out to speak for the president looks like they're on a hostage video and you get a sense that somewhere back in the oval office some of their children are being held back unless they do what the president wants them to do. >> james, go ahead. >> yeah. just, i mean, there's so much wrong with that and i want to be clear along with my panelists
here of a distinction to be made of general kelly and chief of staff kelly. chief of staff kelly making a political intervention this week that unfortunately besmirches his record as a general. at the end of the day thinking of the sensitivity around the issues we have to include interpretation and the sense of tone, right? let's just say it's a tone thing. maybe the words sounded a certain way to chief of staff kelly and president trump on their end and the tone different implications for the family members and for the widow mrs. johnson while they were listening to it. they have the right to interpret the tone of the president and their interpretation of it is that it's disrespectful, harsh. given the track record of this president, i think we'd have to say that him being tone deaf, him being insensitive, him being rude or insulting is not something out of the bally wick as the president of the united states and so i think looking at it on its face, the real response that should have come out of the white house, come out of press secretary sanders was,
hey, maybe we got it wrong. right? if everyone's saying how sensitive this is and precious this is, again, i come from a military family, ari, i hate we are discussing the things on political news shows and doesn't make sense to me and politicized by this administration and their inability to acknowledge a different interpretation, to acknowledge the fact that the president shown himself to be tone deaf over the long course of the time as president of the united states and unable to in that moment say, hey, let's apologize to the family. the family is in pain. do you understand the pain that this family is in right now? like, can we acknowledge that? can we acknowledge the fact that the family is still -- they don't have an answer about what happened in niger. they don't know why la david was left behind. let's speak to congresswoman wilson for a moment. i met her once or twice over the course of the years. she's an extremely credible representative of her district. she has the kind of authenticity that the president does not have
nationally and the idea that she would be over politicizing this or making it up doesn't make sense not to her constituency or anybody that knows her and we need to be reasonable and sensitive about the particular issue and i don't see it coming from the white house right now. >> i think it goes back to the fact donald trump calling a sitting member of congress -- keep in mind that the presidency, congress and the courts are equal lateral system. he should respect the members of the supreme court and the members of congress just as he expects respect, as well. just because she wears hats, he's calling a sitting member of congress wacky. >> nobody calls roy moore wacky. >> exactly. >> gun touting roy moore wacky. >> wacky. a public servant almost two decades a. president with five deferments for the heel spurs and never served his country. we have a 50-year record of him not serving anyone else so the pain is real.
but it's also a deflection tactic because we are not talking about niger. we are not talking about this sergeant johnson was left behind for full two days and who found him and brought him back to the united states? we are not talking about the fact that donald trump was golfing. that's why he's calling the family and not there to greet the family. all of the diversion tactics to say nothing else about the systemic failure after failure legislatively and the lies every single day and we have to make sure we do not normalize the fact that this president is a liar and he's surrounded himself with liars and this is the way they're treating the american public which is quite frankly un-american and we have to call it out consistently. >> and, tim, this was -- who we're talking about congresswoman wilson on cnn with regard to the funding and anybody covering congress knows there's an appropriation process which provides for funding, an authorization process and the naming process of the buildings is different. these are things that general john kelly is quite familiar
with, a long record on the issues and she speaks to that with regard to why it's a false claim in the interview. >> i heard him say that i bragged that i secured the money for the building of the fbi building in miramar. and that's a lie. you know, i feel sorry for general kelly. he has my sympathy for the loss of his son but he can't just go on tv and lie on me. i was not even in congress in 2009 when the money for the building was secured. so that's a lie. how dare he? >> and what we're seeing here, tim, from general john kelly seems to be the view of he'll come out to the briefing room, he will give his lectures, yesterday he put a military spin on selective press censorship saying to call on reporters who know gold star family members and here he's been caught. we watched the video.
and we aired on msnbc the entire video. and it just says what it says. and so it seems that if general kelly were back serving in the military or this were ten years ago and he watched a politician act this way he probably would hold them in some consternation for this. yet, now he's becoming that. >> well, i think it's emblematic beyond just the disaster of this week is this complete lack of adult discipline in this white house even when you insert someone like kelly in there. why didn't they get the ducks lined up on making sure they had it right about all of the events in florida? about all of the communications with the family. and then at least get on the same page with each other. but when what's happening is we have a president that creates the outrageous fires day in and day out whether it's on race, the tax bill, whether it's on immigration and then send someone out there to clean up the mess.
>> right. >> and they don't have a process and it. an adult process for managing this and then they just dig themselves in further. it's sort of sucks everything in to it. it's as if the west wing right now is just a giant pit of quick sand. >> james peterson, i want you to carry us home if you would. give us where we go from here if we want to respect our military and also make sure that as a society, citizens, journalists and the rest, we maintain the tradition of civilian control and not give in, not an inch, not a foot, not a mile because how it starts doesn't tell you how it ends and don't give in to what we're told by the government tonight which is more or less generals are different and better than other people and won't be questioned and certainly not the oath that they take. >> i mean, first, i would say for this administration it's kind of open season on black
women. those are the most vulnerable targets for them and followers, most successful targets for them and they should look at who they have attacked and how they have attacked folks and talked about and understand that piece but the narrative around the trump administration, ari, has been that these generals are going to balance them out. they'll serve adds a moral core. they're going to protect this nation. >> right. >> they'll keep everything intact. the fact that chief of staff kelly made a political intervention that was not accurate based upon the facts of the situation suggests to us that basically that narrative is null and void. these generals in this administration have succumb to trumpism and only way out is be vigilant and understand the rights as american citizens. >> james peterson, thank you. other guests, please stick around. coming up, white house not the only place republicans having factual problems. mistruths on republican tax plan, an expert to break it down. later, my analysis on the news that donald trump is personally interviewing potential prosecutors but only in certain
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sometimes it helps to be honest with you. we'll see what happens in the end but i think actually sometimes it helps. sometimes it gets people to do what they're supposed to be doing and, you know, that's the way it is. >> president trump and republicans hoping to pass tax cuts before the end of the year. 34% of americans favoring what they know to be the current trump plan. today speaker ryan said the present republicans are changing part of it. >> how do you make a case it's not a tax cut for the well think? >> we're changing the fourth bracket. those resources go to the middle class. the president's the one who's been very insistent to reintroduce the fourth bracket meaning we don't lower taxes for high income individuals. >> now, obviously, there's been much talk all year about how the republicans are going to do taxes after the failure of health care and other proposals. it's what they hope to bring home so, of course, they have worked it out and have a coordinated message. jk.
here's the president. >> paul mentions maybe one more category. which i'd rather not have. may not happen. but the only reason i would have and he does say this. he's plain on what he said. if i feel the middle class is not properly taken care of. >> i'm joined by jared bernstein from budget priorities and an analyst at msnbc. i don't have a question for you. just tell us what we need to know. >> well, first of all, i think the fourth bracket sounds like an interesting science fiction movie for tax wonks so let's just get that on the table. secondly, when he says i'm going to make sure i take it to the middle class, boy, they really do take it to the middle class and not the way the middle class wants to see it. even if they were to add a higher bracket, that's not where the real action is on this tax cut. and kudos to you for calling it a tax cut versus tax reform because it's all about the cut. the vast majority of high income
beneficiaries from this tax cut come through the business side of the tax code so there's a large cut in the corporate tax rate. foreign earnings get zeroed out in this tax code. that's underreported. there's a big, new loophole -- >> if you don't own a company, the corporate tax cuts don't help you? >> go buy a company. that's where the money is. >> small -- lemonade stand. let's show you deficit numbers, jared. we heard about the deficit from the tea party. "the new york times" analysis. tax measure of trump could add $1.5 trillion to the deficit over a decade. >> yeah. i think that's probably lowballing it. and by the way, now that republicans in their budget have signed off on this, in the senate, it is moving over to the house where they're probably going to sign off on it, too. so, you know, these folks have made representations for themselves as fiscal hawks. fiscal chicken hawks coming to
tax cuts. they simply don't care about the debt and the deficit and unless they can use that to badger obama and other democrats. >> and let me show you steve mnuchin saying if the markets are up that's because of future success they haven't achieved yet. >> there's no question that the rally in the stock market has based into it reasonably high expectations of us getting tax cuts and tax reform done. to the extent we get the tax deal done, the stock market will go up higher. but there's no question in my mind if we don't get it done you're going to see a reversal of a significant amount to these gains. >> is that a true, maybe or false? >> well, i'd say in a sense it's a maybe because the stock market when it goes up, it's essentially reflecting future expectations about corporate earnings and when's fascinating to me about all this is that really belies this claim that
white house economists have made that all these benefits will flow to the middle class. now, 80% of the stock market wealth is held by the richest 10% of shareholders. so if they're the one who is are going to get rich off of this tax cut, how's it going to trickle down to the middle class? of course, the answer is it's not. by the way, mnuchin keeps making what's a rookie error here. he keeps making the stock market a report card for the administration. that's fine when the stock market is on a tear like it's been but what goes up will go down and i appreciate having a chance to come back and we can talk about the excuses that they're going to be cooking up when that occurs. >> let's do it. i know lawrence and "the last word" loves you here at 10:00 and i love you at 6:00 on "the beat." thank you. coming up, my take on the news that donald trump is interviewing potential prosecutors. that's next. (avo) if you're burdened by belly pain and constipation,
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politico reports that president trump personally interviewed two candidates for u.s. attorney to be federal prosecutors. president interviewing the candidates is totally unusual. in fact, no former justice officials recall another recent president interviewing the nominees. there are about 90 across the country. to be clear, it is not illegal. but it does go up against a tradition of keeping the president away from these prosecutors for independence. something else that caught people's attention. of the 93 u.s. attorney positions that trump administration has to fill, right now according to these public reports, it's only in three places where donald trump has decided to get so personally
involved that he wanted to meet candidates face to face. the southern district of new york, the eastern district of new york and the u.s. attorney for washington, d.c. and all three positions obviously intersect with potential cases that could involve donald trump or the trump organization and the special counsel's investigation of collusion. the u.s. official tells nbc news trump spoken to senator rubio about the nominees for one other place -- a particular part of florida. it's southern district which is jurisdiction over mar-a-lago. president trump said filling other positions of judicial is the untold story of his entire administration. >> something that people aren't talking about is how many judges we have had approved, whether it be the court of appeals, circuit judges, whether it be district judges. mitch and i were saying that has consequences 40 years out. depending on the age of the
judge. but 40 years out. numerous have been approved. many, many are in the pipeline. the level of quality is extraordinary. >> now, extraordinary, generally, just a matter of opinion. but qualifications for these types of posts are also assessed by the nonpartisan american bar association. it determined that charles goodwin one of the nominees from oklahoma is, quote, not qualified. and we can tell you that's actually the first time a judicial nominee has gotten that label in over a decade. senate majority whip john corn, republican, said he had a, quote, big problem with jeff matier after it emerged that in a speech the nominee, quote, referred to transgendered children as proof of satan's plan and implied that the supreme court decision supporting marriage equality is, quote, disgusting and could lead to polygamy or bestiality. two officials are going to join
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>> do you know of any president anywhere in our history previously interviewing a candidate for united states attorney? i certainly wasn't interviewed by the president. you weren't interviewed by the president before we were appointed united states attorney. has it ever happened before? how many other attorneys general candidates has the president interviewed besides new york? >> i'm not aware. i'm not sure i remember whether he had interviewed for new york but if you say so i assume so. and he has the right to for sure because he has to make an appointment and i assume that everybody would understand that. >> joining me now is matt miller working for attorney general eric holder and msnbc counselor and christopher king and oversaw nominations for now years. matt, there's a slight of hand i
think viewers are quite familiar with attorney sessions while he has the right, you could say something really terribly offensive and have the right to say it, because that's the country we live in. but it is very striking, number one, that these interviews are taking place when they never have before. and number two, as you have been pointing out, where they're taking place, matt. >> yeah. that's exactly right. so one thing that attorney general said, the president obviously does have the right to interview these people, presidential appointees. but the important point is he's not interviewing all 93 u.s. attorneys that he's nominating. he's interviewing only the ones in districts where he has potential exposure, either people where he's lived and operated businesses or in the case of d.c. the u.s. attorney who would oversee criminal cases not just into the white house but cabinet members, if there's scandals that erupt in the cabinet for criminal investigations, those likely launched out of u.s. attorney's office and never happened in the obama administration.
the president didn't interview one u.s. attorney candidate in eight years and i think it -- the fact that the president is doing it in just these three, you know, really calls into question his motivation in doing so. >> on top of that, christopher king, you have how we're learning about it. plenty of nominees we know in the press we get the leaks. interviewing fbi candidates, they made a point of showing some of who they are and public meetings we saw in the transition. they're not announcing this, christopher. it's only coming out like so many stories lately through a lot of shoe leather reporting. >> you have to wonder if the reason why it's coming out is people are troubled with it. this president has a very different understanding about the rule of law than we expect from our presidents and i think if given an even playing field there's a good chance what his actions are found illegal or unconstitutional to put the thumb on the scale stacking the court.
>> you have the federal prosecutor in new york with the jurisdiction over trump tower, he was summoned by president trump to trump tower and then we know both from leaked e-mail that is came out through foia and then the statements that the outrage he got from donald trump was so repetitive and concerning that he consulted the rules that you're old boss put a memo on about whether you can return the president's phone call. take a listen to him here speaking about all of this. >> there needs to be some arm's length distance between the president, the political people in the white house and the effective, fair and independent administration of justice in the field which is done by united states attorneys all over the country. now, it's perfectly lawful for the president to interview people he appoints but there's lots of things that are lawful but are yet stupid. >> matt? >> you know, preet's exactly
right. there's a pattern here. the president trying to cultivate a relationship with preet bharara. and then he didn't return the phone call and would have been a violation of justice department rules and i think we have to ask the question, is it just the interviews or is the president going to try to continue an ongoing relationship with these u.s. attorneys the way he tried to do with preet and he objected to and reported to the attorney general? that's a troubling thing for the president to do and ultimately it's up to jeff sessions and rod rosenstein to police that and tell them not to return phone calls from the president and tell the president cut it out. keep your hands off the justice department. >> yeah. i mean, christopher, should jeff sessions basically re-up the memo? we have seen that happen on dea when the president made the bizarre and offensive statements to maybe rough up suspects. the dea chief said don't do that.
>> is that where this needs to go? >> i think more than just re-up the memo at this point. the fact he's not aware the president is interviewing candidates for the positions should be troubling to him, to the entire department of justice and he should reach out to the white house counsel right away saying this has to stop because this is inappropriate. >> christopher king and matt miller, thank you both. two people that know the process well. se days. businesses are thinking. factories are thinking. even your toaster is thinking. honey, clive owen's in our kitchen. i'm leaving. oh nevermind, he's leaving. but what if a business could turn all that thinking... thinking... endless thinking into doing. to make better decisions. make a difference. make the future. not next week while you think about it a little more. but right now. is there a company that can help you do all that? ( ♪ ) i can think of one. ( ♪ )
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i am not so frustrated in this job that i'm thinking of leaving. i am not so frustrated in this job that i'm thinking of leaving. >> this, in my view, is the most important job i ever had. i would offer, though, it is not the best job i ever had. >> that was just a week ago. not the best job he's ever had. still this week, donald trump trying to manage some other issues on the agenda. remember health care? >> lamar alexander's working on it very hard from our side. and if something can happen, that's fine, but i won't do anything to enrich the insurance companies. >> and the president and general kelly's feuds are distraction from what they said was their last best hope for a single legislative victory this week. i mean this year, excuse me. week in review. taxes. >> our tax plan will insure that companies stay in america. we will lift our people from welfare to work, from dependence to independence. and from poverty to total beautiful prosperity.
>> total beautiful prosperity. rolls off the tongue, sounds wonderful. stay with me. we're going to fit in a break. christina greer and tim o'brien will weigh in. that's next. this guy is upping his game by listening to an audiobook on audible. and this guy is just trying to get through the day. this guy feels like he can take on anything. this guy isn't sure he can take it anymore. unwavering self-confidence. stuck in a 4-door sedan of sadness. upgrade your commute. ride with audible. dial star star audible on your smartphone to start listening today.
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>> it's been a real nine months. >> and i'm just going to make a very basic political point. we talked about ethic, truth tonight, civility and military relations. on the politics, this is a nightmare for donald trump trying to build the bridges and the capital to do the thing they said was left which is we'll get taxes and people won't notice a lot of the other failures. i don't think, i'm asking you a question but i'll give you my view first. i don't think this week was a net march on the coalition to tax reform. >> this is man who just gave himself a 10 out of a 10 in puerto rico when we still have almost 3 million people without running water or electricity. this is a man who consistently speaks in superlatives about himself and what he's doing and his legislative record is pretty abyssmal. he's unified government, which means he has republican control of the house, senate, and presidency, and we have not seen
repeal and replace of obamacare. we have not seen any huge legislative victories. the biggest victory he has had is gorsuch. tax reform, i don't see it being a success because this president doesn't actually know how to build coalitions. he's got a lot of factions. he's actually a businessman, and he says he knows how to negotiate. he knows how to bully. and the tax reform and all the micro communities that exist in this country are way too important for certain members of the house to roll over. so this president doesn't know how to get things done because he doesn't know anything about d.c., he hasn't read the constitution, and he doesn't understand he works for the american people and putting their best interests first. >> tim, i'm going to play some of the same day attacks from two former presidents, which was really remarkable. we have never seen anything like that. i don't know if you know, in the rules of the former presidency, there's what is sometimes known as the three-six mafia rule.
keep my name out your mouth, so they don't really criticize the current president by name, but i'm pretty sure they were talking about donald trump. take a listen. >> 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 ] >> what we can't have is the same old politics of division that we have seen so many times before. that dates back centuries. some of the politics we see now, we thought we put that to bed. >> the politics we see now we thought we put to bed. blasphemy against the american creed, referring to racial division from president bush.
were they talking about president trump? >> of course they were talking about trump. the white house will say they weren't talking about trump. also, the white house may not recognize is what a breath of fresh air it is to have two rational former presidents standing in front of a group and talking about values, which we have not gotten out of this president. the other thing i think that's interesting about it is it's only a former member of the gop who is willing to really go after trump on some of these issues. or members of the gop on their way out. corker and mccain. the gop itself, the heart and soul of the party, has yet to demonstrate the same kind of political courage about what is contemporary conservatism, what do they stand up for, what does trump represent vis-a-vis all of that. it's been left to former president bush, who by the way, left office without a halo around his head. he was very unpopular, obviously, because of the iraq war. >> son, he was missing more than
a halo. but christina, it's not an endorsement of everything george bush did as president, right? he got a lot of things wrong. but there was a thing he got right. when it was hard. because after 9/11 -- >> he gave a speech that said we will not denigrate muslims. when his brother was running against donald trump, he went to south carolina and he said, this is not an american value system where we sit here and we talk about muslims, we talk about mexicans. he's from three generations of public servants. donald trump is from three generations of grifters and greedy people. i mean, this is, he's from charlatans. he's not from public service. george bush, when the rubber hits the road, his father, his brother, his grandfather have served this country. in multiple ways, and he knows better and he does better. >> as we often say in newsrooms, preach but also we're out of time. christina greer, tim o'brien, thank you both. that is the last word. lawrence is back monday. you can find my 6:00 eastern on the beat.
i'll be joined by howard dean as well as motley crew guitarist nikki sixx. brian williams is next. tonight fbi agents are trawling 5,000 miles to an open field in africa to find out what happened as the 11th hour gets under way on a friday night. on this friday evening, good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. as we come to the end of day 274 of the trump