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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  October 24, 2017 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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ask for input from the? senate on this? >> as he said, we don't have any announcements on that at this time. but the president is taking that decision extremely seriously and he's being very thorough in the process and he'll ahave an announcement on it soon. >> it sarah is the white house concerned at all that these conflicts keep escalating could impact the president's agenda. specifically the remarks of senator corker that prompt him to do things that he -- >> i would hope that senator corker is more focused on getting things done in his final months and so we hope that he will be very supportive of the tax cuts and tax reforms that the people of his state have demanded and frankly elected him to go to congress and help do. >> the president in two different tweets today has said that senator corker was fighting tax cuts, those are his words,
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was fighting tax cuts and will now fight tax cuts but there's nothing public from senator corker that he might be against tax cuts. so what was the president referring to, has senator corker said privately to the president that he's against tax cuts? >> i don't know that he's against them, but he's certainly demonstrated his unwillingness to step forward and work with the president to get this done. and the people of his state have demanded and requested him 20 do so. >> do you think senator mccain and corker and flake will vote for tax cuts, because you need the three of them? >> i certainly think the american people hope they do. >> the president wanted senator corker to resign and you didn't want to go there. in light of what's happened
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since, has the president changed his position on that and at the very least, does the president think that senator corker should step down as head of the senate relations committee, especially as the president told senator corker today that he wants to investigate some of the things that he is breaking down, he, being president trump. >> i think that's something for senator mcconnell. >> the president doesn't think that he should step down or that he should resign? >> that would be up to leader mcconnell. >> thank you, sarah, two questions, our currently contested primary for senator corker's seat, congresswoman blackburn facing former congressman fincher and it's almost inevitable there will be a contested primary in arizona, dr. warren is going to be left to get the nomination. will the president take any role in the nomination process there?
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>> as i have said many times before from the podium, i'm not going to weigh into any political races and whether or not the president will engage. it's not appropriate for me to do from here. >> the other thing sarah, is in its all tultimate sal voe on tw, the president said that president corker asked him to be secretary of state and he refused the request. that's a pretty serious claim because no one really has been proven to have asked for a job in modern times like that, did senator corker actually ask the president to be his secretary of state? >> that's my understanding, but i don't know much beyond those initial comments. >> is the president confident that the majority leader mitch mo mcconnell can pull the senate together? >> yes, he is and we are going
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to work with republican senators particularly senator mcconnell to get this done this year. >> why has the white house and the president continued to say that senator bob kocorker helpe president obama on the iran deal when that's not true? >> senator corker wrote the legislation that -- flawed iran deal as a treaty in the senator. corker's deal rolled out the credit for the obama administration gaining congressional approval without the necessary votes, he may not have voted for it, but he certainly helped make it happen. >> he didn't vote for it. >> but he did allow it to take place. >> as i said before, i wouldn't use "the washington post" as my source, jeff. you should know that. >> the white house is clearly not telling the truth on this. why has the president continually saying he helped president obama with it.
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>> he put it in motion, he rolled out the red carpet and he made it possible for it to move forward and that is true. >> what have president trump's advisers advised him about his use of twitter, and on a separate unrelated issue, is the president seeking to kill a deal between boeing -- or boeing's deal to sell airplanes to iran air? >> as i have stated about twitter, it's always a whbenefi for the president to speak to the american people, without any filter, without any bias, i think that's a positive thing, i think that's one of the reasons that the president is president, is because he often goes directly to the american people, speaks directly to them and i think that's a plus. the second question, i'm not aware of that, any detailed conversations i couldn't weigh into that right now. >> sarah, on niger, and i don't want you to talk about the
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ongoing investigation. but the kbhacommanders told us night that only a quarter of the reconnaissance flights to do his job and indeed that did impact search and rescue missions. ask the white house concerned that the u.s. forces in africa do not have adequate resources that could have contributed to what happened in niger and has there been any outreach by the white house to nigerian officials? >> terms of specifics, we're going to wait until that investigation is completed. as general dunford said yesterday, we're going to make sure that we get full and adequate answers for not just the midwesteamerican people, bue families of those that were lost and the administration fully supports the department of defensi defense in that process. >> and has the white house reached out to niger? >> back on niger, an offshoot,
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the widow of sergeant la david johnson ais concerned that ther may not be remains in his coffin. what does the white house say because she has not been able to get any more than dog tags in trying to put to rest all of this? >> my understanding is that the family can request to see those remains and that would be a process handled through the department of defense and the casualty offer and i would refer you to the department of defense on that. >> one more thing on that subject really fast. beyond personality, beyond the president's personality, beyond flake, beyond corker, with the divide, when is there an effort to unify, because you have people saying in their own party, in the president's party, that the president is not helping to pave the way and the path the president's taken is wrong. when is there an effort for this
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president to start unifying, not just within the party, but with the country, because there's so many divides. >> every day there's an effort to unify, i think you see that in the policy initiatives that this president is pushing, tax cuts that affect everyone particularly the middle class, i think that's something everyone should be able to rally around, whether you're a democrat or a republican. that should be something that brings everybody together. you look at the defeat of isis, you look at the growth of the economy, you look at unemployment, these are all things that should bring our country together and certainly things that this president is focused on and will continue to be focused on moving forward. >> the president ask likening his tax cuts to what reagan did, but as we know after those 1981 cuts, there were a series of tax increases, particularly the payroll tax increase that affected middle class americans, today america's fiscal situation is far more dire, what does the president have to say about these entitlements once these
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tax cuttings go through? >> the president said he did not want to impact social and wanted to make sure that we protected that. the biggest thing he's focused on right now are those tax cuts and making sure they're permanent tax cuts that really impact and help the middle class and that's his biggest priority. >> no changes? >> not at this time, no. >> the three republican senators have hit at the same theme that there's this degradation of civility in american politics and we also heard that from three past presidents in recent days, does the white house agree with that sentiment that that is happening right now among american politicians and does this president bear any responsibility for that? >> as i have said before, we can all always do better, and we're looking at ways every sing single day, we're trying to bring the country together by
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implementing policies that really help people and really all americans. that's what the president has been focused on since he became president. >> thank you, sarah. i wanted to ask you about the president's detail ee's tweet called pastor robert jeffers -- why would he say that to somebody who's so viciously anti-catholic? >> i'm not aware of senator jeffers being anti-catholic, i know he engages with the catholics in his home state to participate in events like the march for life. those are the only actions i have seen him participate in so i couldn't comment on that. >> sarah, thank you. one of the aspects of civil discourse is for people in the discussion to acknowledge when they have made misstatements, and there's a pattern in this white house and with the president when they make misstatements those are not corrected. for example, the chief of staff came out here at this podium and
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mischaracterized a speech by a congresswoman, given at an f fbi -- >> i don't believe that general kelly mischaracterized. he gave his account of what took place, general kelly and his family have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. i think he's led with honor and integrity. i think he's doing a great job as chief of staff and i don't think he has anything to correct or apologize for. >> why wouldn't, if, when, even if president trump meant to console the widow of sergeant johnson, why hasn't he or anyone from the white house apologized for how she took his call, if she took his call as insensitive? >> the president was making the point that his call was meant to be respectful, sympathetic and to offer condolences on behalf
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of the nation. >> you talked be it the president's big policy initiatives, that that will be how history judges him. obviously now he has not had anything make it through the legislative process. >> that's not true. neil gorsuch made it through the legislative process. probably more than any other piece of legislative, is how the courts can shape and determine a lot of different things and i think you'll see that in justice gorsuch. >> when you talk about policy initiatives, like health care or tax reform that have not been completed, at least not yet on capitol hill. the lack of support from somebody like bob corker might make that a lot more difficult. given that, does the president feel like he's winning? >> i think he feels like america's winning. i think if you look at some of the progress that's taken place in the last nine months, if you
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look at congress has done very little, the president has made -- we're looking at a booming economy, i think those are things that people actually care about. we're looking at the defeat of isis, that's something that this president has led on and worked with our coalition forces to do. he's worked with presidents around the globe, he's bolstered the relationship with nato and had other countries encouraged and the growth of the amount of money that other countries are participating in. the historic moment that we saw with the president on his first foreign trip when he was in saudi arabia, and he spooke in nearly 60 muslim majority countries, these are historic moments he's done without congress, imagine how incredible and how many good things he would be doing if people like senator corker got on board and did their job instead of doing so much grandstanding on tv.
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>> my second question, does the president believe there should be a loyalty test for republican senators. >> their loyalty should be to the american people and to the agenda that those people elected them to carry out. >> that is where their loyalty lies. >> i hope we'll see that in their votes. >> does the president have any reaction of chairman nunes's announced that he's going to open an investigation into the obama administration's deal to allow russia to obtain u.s. urani uranium? >> i haven't spoken to him directly about that but i certainly think it is a move in the right direction and something we have spoken about several times here, that if there was any collusion whatsoever during the campaigns at any point or any collusion at any point with another country, that they should look at the clintons, so i think that's the right thing. >> sarah, thank you. so the president regularly highlights the success of the
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stock market. it's only about 50% of americans are invested in the stock market. and you know, earlier today i spoke with with a prominent conservative voice pushing for tax reform. he characterizes the economy and, he says quote the economy itself still sucks, what's your reaction to that and for those people who aren't benefiting from the success of the market right now? >> i think there's also a lot of other things beyond just the stock market, the fact that the unemployment levels have dropped, that's certainly a big thing, the fact that 1.6 million new jobs have been created since donald trump was elected. we didn't say it was completely fixed, but i think we're moving in the right direction, we have been more successful in the last nine months than obama was in eight years. >> we understand that when the president gets hit, he hits back, but what is he trying to accomplish when he says that bob corker couldn't win a race for
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dogcatcher? what is he trying to accomplish? >> look, i think that the president is voicing the frustration that probably you see from a lot of people in the state of tennessee which is why senator corker's numbers are where they are. >> can y >> can you point to any votes that the flake and corker took thar that were against the president's agenda? >> i would have to look into their voting records so i'll check on that. >> you said before that senator flake and senator corker's remarks were petty, what did you find petty? >> i think a lot of the attacks that the senator made, i don't have it in front of me, but when i wases watching the speech, i thought that a lot of it didn't -- >> i was going to ask about the
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vote that seemed to happen at the senate, meaning where you saw, where according to senator scott, john taylor got the most votes, if that is going to influence the president's decision on that and then just a follow up on andrea's question. >> let me answer the first question first, as i said the president is taking this decision very seriously, he's going through a very thoughtful and thorough review and interview process and when we have an announcement on that, we'll let you know, he's talking to a lot of relevant stake holders and individuals about this and knows that it has a great deal of impact, this decision, and again, he'll take his time and make sure he makes the right one and not just a fast one.
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is. >> how does the president characterize his agenda. >> if he gets hit he's going to hit back, people didn't elected him to be weak, they elected him to be strong and if he feels it's necessary to respond, he's going to do that. and at the same time he can talk and chew gum at the same time. he's pushing forward on an agenda. it takes 30 seconds to send out a tweet and he spends the bulk of his day pushing policy initiatives like tax reforms, like tax cuts and that's what he's committed to doing. >> there's a confusion around 401(k)s, and senators are saying that makings their job more difficult in getting tax reforms. is it fair to say that the president's tax cut will not touch 401(k)? >> he wants to make sure we're protecting americans futures and americans retirements and that's
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part of that process. >> sarah, on the opiod crisis, we have seen the president organize a commission, we have seen him have meetings, he's used the words crippling, national emergency and we have seen him put more resources into law enforcement, and we have seen him giving kids the message just not to start. but kids who are addicted say they just haven't seen enough work in terms of helping people who are currentlily addicted. there is a need for a huge rush of money to get more people go treatment. what's the president's thinking right now and can they expect anything in the coming days when it comes to getting help to those who are addicted and need treatment? >> this is obviously a growing epidemic that the president is very committed to fighting against. he has been working with his
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policy advisors diligently and all of the relevant components and agencies and you'll see some more details on those efforts by the end of this week and in the next couple of days, the specific announcements that the president said he would have. thanks so much guys, that's all the questions. >> hi, everyone, i'm nicole wallace, you have been watching sarah huckabee sanders who with no irony came out to talk against grandstanding and petty men. his insults from the podium from retired senator jeff flake and senator bob corker. bob corker locked in a knife fight with president trump over his comportment in office and conservative gop senator jeff flake, one of the few republicans in the senate willing to criticize the president, today announced that he would retire instead of face re-election in this political
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climate. >> i'm aware that there's a segment of my party that believes that anything short of complete and unquestioning loyalty to a president who belongs to my party is unacceptable and suspect. if i have been critical, it's not because i relish criticizing the behavior of the president of the united states. if i have been critical, it is because i believe it is my obligation to do so. and as a matter and duty of c conscien conscience. >> that is one of the men sarah huckabee sanders called petty. we'll get to our reporters in just a moment. but first a look at how this extraordinary day started with a war of words between president trump and president corker who has also decided not to seek re-election. >> i have seen no evolution in an upward way, i mean, as a matter of fact, i would say it appears to me that it'sv
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devolving. it. >> so you support the president? >> it appears to be the policy of the president to purposely divide. >> is the president of the united states a liar? >> the president has great difficulty with the truth on many issues. much of what he said is untrue, but all of it is untrue, some of that you wouldn't be able to check. >> i want him to support diplomatic efforts, not embarrass and really mall line efforts that are under way. >> if you compared to the white house to an adult daycare center, he said he's perhaps putting us on the path towards world war 3 and you said most of your colleagues agree with you behind closed doors. >> i don't make kmchbt comments that i haven't thought about. >> the president did what we might expect, he struck back on twitter, bob corker who helped
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president o give us the bad iran deal and couldn't get elected dogcatcher in tennessee. now he's only negative on anything trump. look at his record. also this, senator corker is also the head of the foreign relations committee, and look how poorly the president has do -- bob corker has set the u.s. way back. now we move forward. and breaking news this afternoon that another principle contest chose today, this day to announce his retirement from the u.s. senate. arizona senator jeff flake last hour issuing a chilling and emotional warning about the new normal from the ftop of our government, invoking the questions senators often ask privately, what will we tell our children about what we did during these times. >> none of the current politics
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should ever be regarded as normal. none of us should ever lapse into thinking that is just the way things are now. when the next generation asks us, why didn't you do something? why didn't you speak up? what are we going to say? mr. president, i rise today to say enough, because politics can make us silent when we should speak and silence can equal complicity, i have children and grandchildren to answer to. so mr. president, i will not be complicit or silent. >> let's get to all of this with our reporters and guests, our own casey hunt, kimberly atkins joins us, white house reporter eli stockal s advisor to rand paul, and in milwaukee, conservative commentator charlie sikes is here. he's the authority of the new book how the right lost its mind, never a better day than
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today to have charlie sikes on board. kimberly, take us inside this dramatic and extraordinary day on capitol hill. >> reporter: it really, nicole, i was just listening to your open and feeling as though this has been many days all packed into one. but really with the same theme, and i think the question that underlies all of this is, is the republican party truly splitting in two at this point? and is there room in what is president trump's republican party for people like jeff flake and bob corker. and i think there is without a doubt a sense of sadness, i think, on the part of at least the members of the senate that i have spoken to who have come out, both on the democratic and on the republican side for the most part about jeff flake's decision to retire. now there are not a lot of them that have wanted to necessarily stand and back bob corker up in his feud with the president. i even actually put this
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question to chuck schumer, do you agree with bob corker that the president is defaming the country and all of those insults that bob corker leveled at president trump, i think there's still some concern about what those comments could mean in the future, people are still, in large part afraid to criticize him. one person that we saw who isn't was jeff flake, and that was a moment where certainly the members of this body all stopped to watch, they started to gather on the senate floor, they have been kind of coming out of here, we're standing outside of the carriage entrance of the senate, they have been leaving the vote in twos and threes, i interrupted a bare of democrats earlier, and said they sure we would like to talk about jeff flake, he was someone who was willing to work across party lines, he was working on the immigration bill, and there's a sign that there's not really very much hope for members who work like that. and jeff flake, i mean you're
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very well aware, i apologize for the audio here, we have a cop leaving on a motorcycle. but you're somebody who's very familiar with the kind of political risks that jeff flake took, and that taking a stand on immigration is something that may have worked well in this arizona senate seat. it's entirely possible a democrat could win it, so holding a moderate position on immigration seems like it would be good for a general election. >> it doesn't seem to be a moderate position, that used to be a very principled conservative position, one championed by george bush and others. i want to get to halle jackson and ask about what we just saw from the podium, these two men, jeff flake and bob corker, this was the headline in today's "washington post "washington post"--bob corker also today suggesting that donald trump is debasing the presiden
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presidency. how is the white house responding to that behind closed door. >> you heard it publicly from sarah huckabee sanders, and that traps a lot of you what hear privately, we know he's a counter puncher. but the question becomes when does he think it's appropriate to pull those punches and nicole, it seems as though for the last several days, the answer has been almost never, essentially for this candidate -- this president, rather. i was going to say as a candidate, i was so struck by on the campaign trail, this is somebody who divided his party again and again, you saw the never trump movement, you saw that group break up and at least rally around the establishment, eventually came around behind donald trump. this is the president sitting in the west wing, when i talk to a senior administration official, right before the news hit by bob corker at the time. of course there was an acknowledgement this is not helpful with the president's strategy, with the broader white house strategy of getting
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something like tax reform done, they're going to need every republican senator, where there is not a lot of room for error. these advisors understand that this is difficult. maybe bob corker is trying to grab a headline on the way out the door. when you look at how this headline started, when you look at the conversations you have been having here, this is a significant moment here, the president feels victorious, and sarah sanders pointed to what she describes as how this moment will be judged in history. and i was also struck by the response that everybody in the white house is trying to be more civil, as she put it, everybody thinks they can do a better job, that's just hours after bob corker and his comments. this is not something that's going to change, donald trump is going to continue to be donald trump, so don't expect that will
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be different. what i think you can expect will be adjustments over on capitol hill, like what you are seeing today, jeff flake saying what he said, bob cork erk sersaying wh says, how does mitch 3mcconnell respond to this. how does that play out now? and house speaker paul ryan sort of lean toward the white house side or sort of stay switzerland, if you will, stay neutral. zbrif y >> if you stay neutral, you pay a price in one way or another. i have heard from white house sources that there is a general malaise around the west wing, that an eight-day feud with a gold star widow, didn't do much to buoy morale. and my conversations in and around this white house, and i'm lost told that there are a lot
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of internal critics, people that admire sarah huckabee standers but think that she made a hugely -- >> i can believe both of those things, we have seen the effect of the president's words and actions on his own white house, we heard bob corker today say there have been times that folks in the white house have called him to try and intervene, when the president was about to do or say something that was off the rails, so we have seen that happen consistently. sarah huckabee sanders is the spokesperson for the president and we have seen the president say and do things that we know are not true. and so it in a sense, perhaps she sees her job as carrying out that same thing. but i think when it came to that spat, especially the spat over sergeant johnson, it just seemed to unseemly, it was surprising
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to a lot of people that chief of staff john kelly didn't come out or at least release a statement saying i may have gotten some facts wrong, but the general sentiment, i stand by, that would have ended it too, but everyone chose to double down on everything and it made the entire situation first. can i say something about the jeff flake resignation? i think it's important to remember here, that senator flake was speaking even more to the gop conference than he was to the president today. look, he is not running for re-election, let's be honest, he probably would have lost, he had terrible polling numbers and i think he saw the writing on the wall. in addition to giving some time now in saying he's not running for re-election, it gave him the platform to say this speech to republican, to say, look, you have to choose principles over your job. when he spoke about putting your career, putting principles ahead of your career, he wasn't
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speaking about himself, his career in the senate was probably over anyway. he was speaking to his colleagues and really imploring them not to hide behind bob corker or him but to speak out more and to think about what they want the republican party to be. and in that sense, i thought that speech was pretty extraordina extraordinary. >> i agree with you, eli, let me bring you into this, i have also heard that some of the luster has come off of general kelly. it was pointed out to me over the weekend that the two biggest debacles of the trump presidency, charlottesville and now the eight-day fight with a gold star widow was on his watch, and that there's a regul resignation that this is as good as it gets. and they have abandoned attracting top tier talent and the focus is keeping those that are already there on the job? >> i think you're right and john kelly was maybe realistic about how he set the goal post for
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himself, i'm not going to change this president, i can't control his twitter feed. but there are probably people in the white house who roll their eyes about general kelly being in the grown up in the room but nothing has changed. nobody can really change a 71-year-old man, who watches tv, responds to it, lashes out on twitter, attacks anyone who comes after him, picks a fight with a gold star family, gets into this whole thing because he's just bragging, needs to brag about how he's better than his predecessor. >> you sit in that room, i don't often watch sarah huckabee sanders from gavel to gavel. but to paint bob corker and jeff flake as -- >> you have to turn your irony meter off. >> it's the truth meter. >> that is something that has to stay on. but it sort of wears out over time, i mean i think one of the things that was zpunin instunni
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>> in all of the tweets that we read about corker, bob corker could probably been state wide, dogcatcher or otherwise, he was against the iran bell. >> and she said they don't think they have anything to correct. the idea that jeff flake is out there today trying to get a headline, he's not worried about headlines, he's talking for history, and he is as kimberly said, the word complicit, was the word that jumped off the page at me, because he was talking to his colleagues. his colleagues to stand up there, engage in his magical thinking that they had a unity lunch today, and that everything is fine and they're united on tax reform. flake gave the speech right after that lunch, there's nothing unified about the republican party right now, they're afraid of getting primaried. they stand there and hope everything works out in the end.
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but the president will throw pieces of the policy under the bus as soon as he hears a negative worth about them on tv. he'll say the bill is good, he'll say the bill is bad. so why they're lining up for another beating, electoral politics are still not a big deal for corker and flake. they're still not paying attention to how it's gone for nine months. >> is it deep, psychological, traumatic stress disorder, what is going on? >> i think it's a bad case of the stockholm syndrome. >> yes. it. >> i think the ongoing damage that donald trump is doing to the republican party and to the republican governing coalition is incalculable, when you think about it day by day. think about last week, the speech that john mccain gave, what george w. bush had to say, the very, very pointed comments
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by senator corker. and what i think is going to be remembered as an historic speech by jeff flake, who now is liberated. look, the republican party has not changed, has not turned on donald trump and you really won't see that until people who still are running for re-election are going to be around. you are seeing this drip, drip, drip, the willingness now to come out and say the things in public that everyone is saying in private, but eli's point is i think important. irony is dead. irony has been beaten to death with hammers in this administration. also, you know, what was your favorite part of unity day in the capitol today. this was the unity lunch and think what in fact happened during this news cycle. and i think he's also absolutely right that every senator knows that this is a president who demands absolute loyalty but has no loyalty in return. but i do think that now you have bob corker who is unshackled. you have the unchaining of jeff
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flake and i think it's going to be very interesting what they're willing to say, what does jeff flake mean when he says i'm no longer going to be complicit, i am no longer going to stay silent. he was speaking to the conferen conference, but he was also speaking to the conscience of fellow republicans and conservatives. i hope that at least some of them will listen, especially as you begin to contemplate a republican party that no longer has a place for senator corker and senator flake, but is bringing in roy moore. >> we're just seeing pictures of the president walking into that lunch, someone threw a russian flag at him and i want to bring this back to this concept at least jordan of deflection, of projection, a lack of irony and sort of a lack of -- there's no capacity for humanity, these do not appear to be human beings, they trotted general kelly out as a human shield last week,
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political human shield to take the swings that donald trump wasn't man enough to take for himself, for the disgrace, he was a disgrace last week, the way he treated the family who, the widow of a fallen soldier. they trotted kelly out there like a human shield. he got a little fact thrown, i think everybody can give him the benefit of the doubt. but why this white house, they don't dig with a shovel, they dig with power tools, why can't they stop? >> i think it's part of the cultive personality that is to central to this president. you look at someone like jeff flake, who's perceived as such a republican need and outsider, he voted with donald trump 90% of the time. a main stream republican is picture of jeff flake's face. they are only become sort of perceived moderates because they have the courage to stand up to donald trump.
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there's nothing conservative about donald trump. you almost need a glossary for the old republican party. >> it's about this distasteful behavior that constantly is happening that you cannot in good conscience go along with. and i think that's what you're seeing with bob corker and with jeff flake and they're just saying enough, i want to be liberated, i don't want to have to defend an indefensible, i want to have my conscience back. someone like jeff flake, who was a mormon missionary, and he has seen societies that are at real crisis points, i think you look at the stand he's taken today and i wonder how much that background has influenced him. >> let me play a sound about from early today about what bob corker is talking about. >> i have had private meetings with him. dinners with him, i have played golf with him. i have had multiple occasion
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where is the staff has asked me to please intervene, he was getting ready to do something that was really off the tracks. and look, i have seen no evolution in an upward way. as a matter of fact i would say it appears to me that it's almost devolving. but look, almost everybody has their own opinion about that and i'm here to serve for another 14 and a half months. >> bob corker is giving voice to something i heard over the last 72 hours. they give a lot of the blame to the president, they say this is who he is in private. he's not a different person in private. julie pace said it once, there's no inner monologue, or outer monolog monologue, what we see on twitter, he's still the same as when he engages in appearances. he is the same person in private, someone who's man nyically -- a whom who's feeling
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comforted by a call that's intended to comfort is fair game for eight days of smears. to me what donald trump should do is call corker and say, what are they saying about me? how can i make it better with my own national security team? what is is wrong with him? >> i'm going to get to your question in one second, but i want to play the role of ombudsman for a second. why do we televise the press spokesman talking to reporters? that is not news. that is propaganda. it's almost disinformation and we watched it for 15 or 20 minutes, that is not enlightening our viewers, that is somebody not telling the truth and trying to think of an interesting way to tell it, as opposed to a president who just prevaricates. so that's my little editorial about that. but, you know, talk about
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devolution, and bob corker said it but it beautifully. >> she said that bob corker was grand standing. >> you know how he ended that speech w the second moist beautiful speech in american history, lincoln's second inaugural. he said what we have to do is appeal to the better angels of our nature. the thing about donald trump is he has never, not once, appealed to the better angels of our nature, as a people and as a republic. and when bob corker talks about the debasement of the republic, he's talking about the undermining of these principles, the principle of separation of powers. >> do we have that corker on debasement? i never thought i would call that up. we don't have that. we're going to get it. we had it earlier.
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we have corker on debasement, debasing the nation, oh, we have got it. here it is. >> do you think this president is debasing the nation? >> i don't think that's any question that that's the case, just in the way he conducts himself and goes to such a low level. i just -- i do. but look, i mean the rest of us need to do what we can to act as statesmen and to try to move our nation ahead. >> so here is where we are. donald trump, the commander in chief is debassing the nation. sarah huckabee sanders in which you disagree with our decision to air, is providing disinformation. what hope is there? what do the rest of us do? >> he used the word statemen, saying you guys need to step up and be statesmen. >> okay, so?
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>> as you said, he's talking to the republican caucus and saying, you know what? you have to look at your conscience, you have to look at your children and your grandchildren and say, can i in good conscience abide by what that coarse western in the white house. >> and senator corker i personally believe is so moved to speak out because he's worried about the looming threat of north korea and that donald trump's twitter handle specifically is escalating the threat. so he sees that as something that is ratcheting up the threat level, that's completely dangerous coming from the commander in chief. >> one of the things that sarah said that was not wrong, was when she was asked does the president ever reflect when he's getting criticized from every direction, does he ever step back and think, maybe i'm doing it wrong? her answer was no.
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she's right about the underlying electoral realities for republicans and that explains, whether you like it or not, i don't know what the answer is, but that explains why mitch mcconnell, and the whole crew, with the exception of the people who said i have had enough, i'm done after 2018. they're all standing by and refuse to come out and say something that takes actual courage because they know they will lose the seat. what good the seat is when you're not doing anything and unable to pass anything is an open question. it donald trump may be an opa culture war president. >> let me give charlie sikes a quick last word. if you're doing what you need to do to save your seat in a political climate that's so toxic because of trump, but to what end? >> to what end? and the deep moral and intellectual corruption of the republican party and the republican electorate i think is
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on display here, the pettiness of the president's failure to -- all of that has been rationalized and enabled and empowered by republican elected officials who are saying what has happened to the conservative base and the conservative electorate and that's all playing out here. >> we're going to sneak in a quick break here. i want to let you know, don't go anywhere, pop some popcorn because jeff flake will be on with chuck todd in the next hour with "mtp daily" and we'll be right back after this break. >> we must argue our positions fervently and never compromise, we must always look for the good. until that day comes we must be unafraid to stand up and speak out as if our country depends on it. because it does.
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is the president of the united states a liar? >> the president has great difficulty with the truth on many issues. >> do you regret supporting him in the election? >> let's just put it this way, i would not do that again. so -- >> you wouldn't support him again? >> no way. no way. no. i think that he's proven himself unable to rise to the occasion. i think many of us, me included,
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have, you know, tried to, you know, i have intervened. i have had private dinner, i've been with him on multiple occasions to try to create some kind of aspirational approach, if you will, to the way that he conducts himself. but i don't think that that's possible. and he's obviously not going to rise to the occasion as president. >> clearly. joining us by phone now is msnbc contribute and republican sheev schmidt. steven, you have often singled out the penchant for lying as the thing that troubles you the most about the trump presidency. but i want to get your thoughts on senator corker's ongoing feud with the president today, the post pointed critique of the man's character and lack of fitness and stability for the office he holds. we now know a fuller pick of what corker meant when he first stuck histoin these waters over the summer. and your thoughts about the
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retirement of jeff flake, one of the most respected sort of most principled men in the republican party that you and i once knew. >> great to be with you, nicole. first i think when you consider jeff flake's remarkable speech today, it was a reminder and an assertion boldly of reaganism. and i think what's inscribed on ron reagan's tomb, which is that i know in my heart that man is good, that in the end what is right will always triumph over what is wrong, and there is words and purpose in every human life of that's reaganism. quite the opposite of trumpism. and i think it is a mistake to cover these disputations between bob corker and jeff flake and donald trump as feuds. jeff flake and bob cork remember making an emphatic point about
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character. and i think it ought to be put to every member of the republican party who holds elected federal office if they dispute that donald trump is a liar, because he lies every day. do they dispute that he's debasing our country and our institutions in a week where the pregnant wife of a fallen green beret is attacked by her fallen husband's commander in chief? it's high time i think that republicans reckoned with the perniciousness of the trump administration on a range of fronts. we've seen malfeesance. we've seen incompetence. we've seen the cost of the incompetence with regard the human lives in places like puerto rico and we've seen the dangerous rhetoric and buffoonery which is posturing and threats towards north korea. so every day we continue to be shocked by the fact that there
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seems to be no basement too low in a world that grows more dangerous by the day. and so i think a great contest looms, you know, between this sewer republicanism and sewer conservativism versus the traditional high ideals of both the conservative movement and the republican party. >> steve -- >> it may now be in this next election that it is a coalition of republicans and democrats that will work together to stand up against this. >> let me ask you about something jeff flake seemed to be warning against. i'll something i hear all the time. i'm sure you hear it, too. it's about not accepting the new normal. some people say don't cover his tweets, this is how he is. or how are you harping on this story, that's what he is, he is a counter-puncher. we are supposed to suggest that part of what a first lady does, her initiative is disjointed
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from the man she's married to, her anti-bully iing platform. can you see this as jeff flake warning of accepting the new normal. >> of course. why would we ever accept it, the lack of decency, the lying that emanates every hour of every day from the white house? when did it become the case in this country that when melania trump goes out on an anti-bullying campaign people aren't like, what, what are you talking about? how absurd the premise. and so decency is decency. there is an old book about everything i learned in life i learned in kindergarten about how to treat team and how to act the right way. we are all imperfect people. and all of us have room for improvement. but when you look at the conduct
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of this administration, the corruption of the cabinet, you know, the lack of rectitud, the meanness, the nastiness, the bullying, why is it that only a handful of elected republican officials all of them ran claiming the mantle of ronalds reagan are so timid, fearful, so cowardly that they can't stand up to address what is so obviously wrong and to stand clearly on the side of right. >> let me see if charlie sykes can answer that question. >> every point he is making is right. i want to go back to one of the first things steve said. this is not a feud. this is not a twitter war. this is a fundamental fight for the soul of the conservative movement. i think that a lot of conservatives and republicans have been numbed into thinking that somehow this is normal, that if in fact you do descend from this, if you do talk about
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the cruelty, the meanness, the lying and all of that, that somehow you are betraying conservative principles. exactly the opposite is true. it is interesting the euphemisms republicans use to describe this. i read an article talking about donald trump's brashness or that we are objecting to his personality. no. this is character. these are fundamental issues of human decency. and i do think that all of those are in play. and i would urge everybody to go watch jeff flake's speech. because this was an eloquent and a powerful plea for a return to fundamental decency in american politics because that is exactly what is at stake right now. >> someone around the white house said to me, nicole, you know what it's like. imagine if sarah palin had won. that's how they described the trump white house. >> you think it couldn't get any lower, but it always can. that's what i am most concerned about going forward. you know n a week where you see the commander in chief call out
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the wife of a fallen soldier, a widow, argue with her publicly in her moment of deepest grief, and you think how could he go any lower. but the amazing thing about donald trump is he always can. and that's why i think it's just enough is enough. i mean, we have seen what this man's character is. more people need to be speaking out. and i commend jeff flake for what he did today. >> but the truth is, i mean, this is -- bannon is popping champagne if someone like steve bannon drink and celebrating tonight. >> when some of these moderate republicans leave, they create a vacuum. >> they are not moderate. he is a very conservative republican. way more recall no. >> bannon is eager to claim scalps and brag about this. >> exactly. >> and if he can to fill this vacuum although we don't know
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what's is going to happen in these races. mitch mcconnell said steve bannon is out there supporting people who won't get elected. democrats are raising a ton of money right now. if next year sets up as a referendum on donald trump, i don't know if steve bannon will be bragging. >> might have help from republicans. thanks to everyone that joined us today. that does it for our hour. i'm nicole. "mtp daily" starts are the now with chuck. hi, chuck. >> nicole, wow. >> yeah. you have jeff flake, right? >> i have jeff flake here in a few minutes. >> i'm going to race to a tv. >> excellent, and whatever question you have, text me now i'll ask him, i promise. if it's tuesday, is it the day the republican establishment officially fell apart? tonight an extraordinary day in the united states senate. republican jeff flake of arizona calls it quits. but calls out president trump while he does it. >> mr. president, i rise today


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