tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC August 16, 2019 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
country the way jack and bobby kennedy did back in the '60s. listen, people like to be heard, like to be carried about, like being asked. donald trump's entire political success has been and is the awareness of the lonely millions who felt left out in the cold by the good people who can we all agree might have worked a little harder to keep their faith. that's "hardball" for now. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. tonight on "all in." >> you have no choice but to vote for me. >> a panicked president tries the hard sell. >> because your 401(k)s down the tubes. everything is going to be down the tubes. >> tonight, how new polling and possible recession are reportedly rattling the president. then -- >> i'm going to speak to some of you union leaders to say i hope you're going to support trump, okay? >> new reporting on workers in a trump crowd that were ordered to show up or not get paid.
plus -- i.c.e. protesters run down by a corrections officer and trump tv comes to his defense. >> he sought to do what is within his rights which is to proceed to park his vehicle and go to work. and trymaine lee and nicole hannah jones on the legacy of slavery in america, 400 years after it began. "all in" starts now. >> good evening from new york. i'm ali velshi in for chris hayes. donald trump appears to be in deep trouble when it comes to winning reelection, and he seems to know it. he is reportedly rattled after a week in which we saw the markets tumble on fears of the economy could be heading into recession. and now he's facing a round of new poll numbers that border on catastrophic. a poll conducted by none other than fox news finds that trump isn't cracking even 40% support in matchups against the leading democratic presidential candidates.
he trails jooib 50% to 38%. he is down to bernie sanders. he is down -- bernie sanders is at 48 to donald trump's 39. he is losing to elizabeth warren, 46% to 39%. he is trailing kamala harris 45% to 39%. and his approval ratings continue to be pretty terrible. nationwide, fox found that 56% of registered voters disapprove of trump's job performance and things are not looking better for him in key states. polling this week found trump with a net negative approval rating in states like arizona, michigan, north carolina, pennsylvania, and wisconsin, all states that he won in 2016. republicans are trying to put the best possible face on the disastrous poll numbers after a conservative think tank released a poll showing that trump barely leads the democratic contenders in north carolina. republican national committee chair romney mcdaniel posted a celebratory tweet, crowing that
trump is beating every leading 2020 democrat. that prompted a data journalist for the economist to respond with this. a poll from right-leaning think tank shows trump within the margin of error versus biden, sanders and warren in a state that leans six points to the right of the nation and the republican chairwoman thinks this is good news? of course, polls can and with move in the run-up to the election, but things probably aren't going to get better for trump if the economy falls into a recession that can be traced at least in part to a trade war with china that he created. just this week, the dow had its worst day of the year, dropping over 800 points in a single day on signs that a recession could be on the horizon. now publicly, trump has been pretending that all the fine with the economy, but privately, it's a different story. he's reportedly, quote, sounded anxious and apprehensive, and essentially been retreating into fantasy to make himself feel better. a republican close to the administration telling "the washington post" that trump has been telling some confidantes that he distrusts statistics
that he sees reported in the news media. quote, he is rattled. he thinks all the people that do the economic forecasting are a bunch of establishment weanies, elites who don't know anything about the real economy and they're against trump. last night in new hampshire, trump told his supporters that they have to back him or face financial ruin. >> i know you like me, and this room is a lovefest, i know that. but you have no choice but to vote for me because your 401(k)s, down the tubes. everything is going to be down the tubes. >> joining me now to talk about all of this, zerlina maxwell, senior director for progressive programing for siriusxm. former senator barbara boxer, former policy director for hillary clinton and barack obama's presidential campaigns, and the president of the progressive think tank, the center for american progress. welcome to all of you. neera, let's start with you.
the president moving as we said into a hard sale now. it's no longer i'm the better candidate, but you better vote for me or somebody else is going tank the economy in a week that it's widely thought he is tanking the economy. >> bad economic news is bad for any president. but trump is in a particularly precarious position. because first of all, his approval ratings are lower than his -- people's views of the economy. so it's clearly the economy has been bolstering him. now, the economy goes south and it can be tied to his actions, which is very unusual for presidents. they have good economic news, very bad economic news. but it's not usually their actions that can be so directly tied to what he is doing. so obviously the trade war. and just the general lack of ability to plan, business investment itself is declining.
it's very much related to the erratic nature of this white house and the decisions they make. i think he understands he is particularly vulnerable to poor economic news, and that's why he is saying insane things about your 401(k) plan. obviously, it's just a massive scare tactic that any rational person -- which never applies to him, but applies to him less this week than in prior week. >> barbara boxer, the fear goes deeper. there is reporting from around the white house that his advisers are saying they're not prepared for a recession. they're not even thinking about how that's going to work out. we're ten years and two months into an expansion. r everybody should be thinking about the fact there might be a recession. does somebody who doesn't acknowledge his contribution to an economic downturn and certainly has no planning in place for what would happen if there is one, i think the issue is going to be how does he possibly even start to see america through such a thing? >> exactly. and i was there during the great
recession, the greatest recession since the great depression. and i remember standing on the senate floor. my state just was losing jobs hand over fist. there were hundreds of thousands of jobs lost month after month, and then remembering when we got calls from the bush administration, you to bail out the banks. it's a nightmare. we're going lose our whole economy. and here you have a man who criticized deficits and debt, and we don't really get to talk about that much you. do once in a while. >> right. >> but most people gloss over it. he's got trillion deficits as far as the eye can see. what does that mean? it means when you do start to tank, you have nothing in your tool box. interest rates are fairly low. so where do you go? and so i do agree, there is really no thought. and in my very early days, i was an economics major and i was on
wall street. then it wasn't thought of as such a terrible villain. and people hate volatility in the market. it's very -- it's very worrisome, because one day you think you're going okay, then you're not going okay. so they flee the market. and you're right. he doesn't have anything in his tool box. >> you know, zerlina, i'm not sure if barbara boxer got the memo that the tax cuts are going to pay for themselves. they're not actually going to cause a greater deficit or greater debt. but this is the thing. that's what donald trump says. he says these things. he goes on, he speaks at rallies, and he just says things that are now provably wrong. some people don't even bother correcting him anymore because they're just lie after lie after lie. but the fact is there are some people who are believing him. there are some people who believe you can't let the democrats touch this economy because they'll tank it, not his trade war with china, not his economic policies, not his tax cuts that have actually increased the deficit, something barbara boxer said he railed against when campaigning.
>> look, the number that i always have to remind myself of every single day is that donald trump only got 26% of eligible voters. and so the economy, to neera's point, absolutely has bolstered his support, and he is up in the 30s because there are a lot of people who did get tax cuts, corporations and rich people, not necessarily the average american worker. and so i think that donald trump, you know, has essentially been coasting here on a 77,000 vote margin that gave the electoral college. and the chickens are coming home to roost. you cannot, you know, perpetually lie every single day to the american voter and then when it comes time to tell the truth about the economy, know one's going to believe you. yeah, i think he is probably fairly rattled because the only issue he had going for him was the economy, and i guess racism, which isn't really an appealing message. >> he uses that at rallies as
well sometimes. neera, here's the question. are the chickens coming home to roost? obviously, if there is an economic downturn in which unemployment increases, wages fall, that will have a material effect on people. they'll feel it. and probably if prices go up because of this trade war, as they're starting to, people will probably see it. so at what point does the president's ability to say anything he want at these rallies coincide with reality? >> so we should be clear that already lots of americans feel like they -- that there has been an economic boon for other people, not for them. so he already has to deal with that. and it does affect a fair number of his voters. the big challenge he has is as you see in polls, and it's not just one poll. it's multiple polls. it's not just states he won by a little bit, it's states like arizona. a republican hasn't faced a real race in arizona in decades. the fact that trump is
underwater in the state like arizona is probably one of the reasons why he is rattled, because that should be rattling for anybody. and that's from where the economy is now. so i think this is a real -- i think he is rattled for a very good reason, and i think he'll do what he always does, which is attack the opposition. he can't really blame obama for this economy, though he may try because he has taken so much credit for it. he will do what he tried to do yesterday which is to say if you vote for democrats, this terrible thing will happen. the economy will tank more or worse, because that's really his only tactic. it is to destroy the other side. i assume people will remember that the economy was pretty good, particularly in the second term of obama. but democrats have to make the case, and we have to be clear that when there are challenges there, his challenges, and it's because of the actions like the trade war and the deficits and other things, actions he's taken. >> barbara boxer, let's talk about congress.
the count and the number of democrats supporting an impeachment inquiry now 124. representative anthony brown came out in favor today. talk in an environment like this where donald trump is weakening. >> i tend to take my cues from speaker pelosi. i know her for so long. and i think what she is coming around to is there's just no choice. you know, if there is high crimes and misdemeanors, and it goes way beyond the mueller report and obstruction of justice to a president who winks and nods at white nationalism and tells women of color in the congress to go home and the rest, i just think there is no choice. and i do believe -- the congress is going to have to do everything. they're going to have to keep on passing legislation. i want to point out, they have passed great legislation, such as raising the minimum wage.
it's been 12 years since that's been done. and where is the check from mexico, mr. president, to help us with our deficit? you know, we have to keep reminding the people of these things. where is the infrastructure bill? you gave it away, mr. president, when you gave that huge tax cut. that puts people to work. i know that i was proud to lead the environment and public works committee. so, look, we have to look at this president. we have to uphold the constitution, the congress does. they take that oath. and if it leads to impeachment, so be it. but there are lots of other things out there including a backdrop of chaos and diversion and narcissism. and as vice president says, the soul of our country is really on the ballot. >> barbara boxer, zerlina maxwell, neera tanden, thank you for joining me on this friday night is. coming up next, union workers had their pay held
ransom unless they attended a speech by donald trump. his captive audience, after this. the first survivor of alzheimer's disease is out there. and the alzheimer's association is going to make it happen. but we won't get there without you. join the fight with the alzheimer's association. the business of road trips... ...adventure... ...and reconnecting. modernized comfort inn's and suites have been refreshed because our business is you. get the lowest price guaranteed on all choice hotels
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i'll pass. all right. on tuesday president trump appeared at a pennsylvania shell petrochemical plant to give what was build as remarks on american energy and manufacturing. it was a nonpolitical event, if there is such a thing in 2019. of course, because it was a trump event, he bragged about the economy and he attacked hillary clinton, joe biden, elizabeth warren, the media, and the academy awards for good mexico. now the "pittsburgh post-gazette" reports that the workers standing behind donald trump in their matching high visibility clothing were not
given a realistic option to not attend. the "post-gazette" reports the rules said to union leaders said attendance was not mandatory, but, and this is a very big but, quote, only those that showed up at 7:00 a.m., scanned their cards and prepared to stand for hours through lunch -- without lunch, would be paid. no scan, no pay the rules said. these people are standing there as if they all chose to be there maybe some of them are trump supporters. now that we know the option was to attend or take the day off and not get paid, it casts their presence in an entirely different light. one union leader told the "post-gazette" one day of pay might around to around $700 in pay, benefits, and a per diem benefit that out of town workers receive. basically the workers had to go, basically it was going to cost them $700 not to attend in some cases. not only that, they were given a list of rules about their
behavior. no yelling, shouting, protests or anything viewed as resistance will be tolerated at the event, the paper read. so these workers stood like props behind the president at an event that was not supposed to be a rally and listened to him say things like this. >> i'm going to speak to some of you union leaders to say i hope you're going to support trump, okay? and if they don't, vote them the hell out of office because they're not doing their job. it's true. vote them out of office. >> then president donald trump stood in front of those workers and claimed responsibility for the project they're working on. you have thousands of tons of concrete, aluminum and steel and nearly 6,000 of the strongest, toughest and most talented workers anywhere on earth. i know.
it was the trump administration that made it possible, no one else. without us, you would never have been able to do this. >> that last part is just straight up untrue. as the associated press reports, quote, shell announced its plans to build the complex in 2012, midway through president barack obama's term in the white house. lots going on here. joining me with more on the president's captive audience is chris lu, white house cabinet secretary under president obama. thank you for being with us. >> absolutely. >> your thoughts on, this a staged crowd, people who were told you don't get paid if you don't show up. it does seem a little not the way things are supposed to be in 2019. >> ali, we have seen a lot of bizarre events from donald trump since he first announced four years ago. this someone of the most bizarre. this idea of holding a captive audience offends me as somebody
who helped plan president obama's travel. we never had to force people to show up there. we never made people stand for ten hours without lunch. we never docked them their pay if they didn't show up. it offends me it's a the former secretary of laner who worked to ensure that american workers had opportunities. and one of the opportunities is you don't have to listen to a forced speech by your president. but there are so many crazy statements that he makes, this idea that obama would have stopped this project. this project was, as you said, proposed in 2012. it was approved in june of 2016 before obama left office. in fact, if there is one person who potentially impeded the construction of this plant, it's donald trump. pat toomey, senator pat toomey from pennsylvania complained that the president's steel quotas on foreign steel were preventing the construction of this plant. so actually, if there is anybody who potentially held this thing up, it was donald trump. and then there is a whole litany of just misstatements and gaffes and lies. and the kicker of all this thing
is that this ended up becoming an official event. so american taxpayers paid for this entire travesty. >> right. we paid for it. and it became rally. i think the average person watching this show has become confused over what the difference is between an official event and a rally, because the rhetoric sounds similar. now we don't air a lot of these rallies, so people don't realize he gets much more animated at these rallies, and he stands there while people chant "send her back" and things like that. but we do see these events that are supposed to be actually official events that feel much like what political rallies used to feel like. >> and until this administration, there was a clear line, that if the president was appearing in official context, he did not talk about his reelection. and if he did talk about his reelection, the entire costs of this, including air force one, all the staging for the event get paid for by political parties or by his campaign reelection. and so he is essentially profiting, as he always has, by
blurring this line or just trampling all over the line yet again. and that is just normal now. and there, again, no fuss at all from the republicans in congress who would have lost their minds if barack obama did this. >> let's talk a little bit about the -- what the law says about this. are you allowed to do that? are you allowed to dock people their pay if they don't do a political thing? >> well, look, i think it's a little fuzzy, and i think the union leadership has to answer for why they did this. essentially what they said was this is not a mandatory event, but if you choose to sit this out, we will pay you for the day off, but it will not count towards overtime that you would have earned for that week. and as you pointed out, that extra overtime potentially amounts to about $700 a day. so again, not mandatory, but they suffered a pretty severe financial penalty for not attending. >> what a thing. chris, thanks very much for joining me. good to see you as always.
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detroit, michigan. that's her in the middle. she was escorted out of that event. last year she went on to run for congress and won, becoming one of the first two muslim american congresswomen. shortly after she was sworn in, literally on the same night, congresswoman tlaib was caught on camera promising to impeach the president in words i cannot repeat right now on tv. what she said all but dominated the news cycle, she made no apologies. quote, he will always speak truth to power. and she hasn't backed down since. yesterday congresswoman tlaib and ilhan omar were blocked from entering israel at the urging of donald trump. f it was going to include a visit to her grandmother who lives in the occupied west bank. today the government changed course. they said she could come if she agreed in writing not to publish against israel during the trip. she changed her mind saying she would not be silenced.
here is someone closely following donald trump as he increasingly leans towards authoritarianism. mehdi hasan is a columnist at the intercept and a host on "up front lowe on al jazeera. the irony of the rashida tlaib stuff is a at some point a few weeks ago president trump said send them back. rashida tlaib is from detroit, but her parents are actually from palestinian. she was going back and he told israel to stop her. the call to president obama said that trump can't even keep his racist demands straight. what do you make of this mess? >> surprise donald trump has no consistency or principles. what do i make of the mess, ali? two big takeaways. number one, the president of the united states who styles himself as a great patriot, nationalist, wants to make america great again, wants to stick up for america in the world allies with a foreign government in order to throw two duly elected members of the united states congress under the bus simply because they are women of color, they
are muslims and they are strong critics of his. doesn't care about the fact that they're members of the united states congress, allies with the netanyahu say yeah, don't let them in. outrageous, unprecedented. even aipac, even aipac comes out and says this is not a good move. number two -- >> big takeaway, which has been very clear about the fact that they are not on the same side as rashida tlaib. >> not at all. they're very much on netanyahu's side on everything else. but here is the big other takeaway related to israel and the debate in the united states which omar ilhan and ratio ratio have done so much to highlight. this is stark proof, if any more was needed that the occupation of the west bank in israel is a reality that the israelis control the lives, the everyday lives, the freedom of movement, the freedom of speech of ordinary palestinians to the extent that a palestinian-american who is a member of congress wants to come and visit her grandmother and she is told you must sign a letter giving up your freedom of speech? that's absurd. even steny hoyer, democrat who has criticized ilhan and
rasheedah came out today and said this is unprecedented. >> that would be a problem for anybody. if any american were blocked for a lot of reasons, except for america has given israel since 1945 in some fashion or other, whether it's deals or direct assistance or military aid, something along the lines of about $143 billion, about three plus billion last year nor the 2017 fiscal year, only iraq and afghanistan were ahead of israel in 2017. but historically, no one is even close to israel as a recipient of american money. last night bernie sanders was on the show. and had a few that maybe this is the opportunity to rethink whether that's a good return on investment. let's listen to what he said. >> israel doesn't want members of the united states congress to visit their country to get a first-hand look at what's going on? and i've been there many, many times. but if he doesn't want members to visit, maybe he can respectfully decline the
billions of dollars we gift israel. >> your take on that. american members of congress pass and determine that money going to israel. two of them got blocked. >> so i remember interviewing bernie sanders several years ago when he first floated the idea of making u.s. aid conditional on behavior, which it really should be. the u.s. gives. it's congress really who gives it. and two members of congress are being blocked. ilhan omar said we should use aid as leverage, to stop building illegal settlements. i'm sure elizabeth warren and others will soon follow. what's interesting now is netanyahu and trump have made israel a deeply partisan and polarizing issue in the united states. they've become the biggest recruiters for the bds movement, the boycott movement that so annoys them. that's the irony. they've taken this issue and actually energized it. and people who don't like trump's racism at home, why should we ally with netanyahu's racism abroad? it's younger, less white than the rest of the party is far
less pro-israeli than other and not a good direction for israel if israel continues to behave in this illegal and racist way. tim kaine said today prime minister netanyahu, lift your muslim ban. it's netanyahu's ban to go with trump's muslim ban. >> mehdi, good to see you. mehdi hasan for us. >> thanks, ali. coming up, the corrections officer who drove through i.c.e. protesters resigns. i'll talk toe one of the organizers of that event who watched it all happen, next. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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including tuberculosis, and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened, as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common and if you've had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have flu-like symptoms or sores. don't start humira if you have an infection. woman 6: ask your rheumatologist about humira. woman 7: go to mypsaproof.com to see proof in action. a corrections officer who drove his truck into a crowd of protesters outside an i.c.e. facility in rhode island has resigned. the wyatt detention facility in central falls, rhode island is a privately run holding center for migrants held by immigrations and customs enforcement two nights ago, a group of protesters from the never again project gathered outside the building to call for the end of i.c.e. detentions, forming a
line in front of the facility's parking lot. when a corrections officer who works in the facility approached that parking lot in his truck, things turned very ugly. the video i'm going to show you is disturbing. >> shame, shame! >> the world is watching! the whole world is watching. >> organizers say five protesters were hospitalized after being struck by that black pickup truck. guards from the detention center also deployed pepper spray on the crowd following the truck incident. the man believed to be the driver, captain thomas wood worth was initially placed on leave, and today he resigned. the rhode island attorney general and the state police are
now investigating the incident. equally shocking is the reaction of people who are supposed to be a little more responsible with what they say, especially at an age where terror attacks have taken place that look a lot like that scene. >> in jurisdictions all around the country by the way, what they committed is assault. trying to stop and block a vehicle is considered assault. it must just gladden your heart to see a bunch of demonstrators at an immigration customs enforcement facility blocking the path of a guard and then complaining about the fact that he sought to do what within his rights which is to proceed to park his vehicle and go to work. >> "all in" asked fox business network for a comment on lou dobbs' endorsement of a truck driver purposefully driving his truck through a circumstance ol' of protesters. we have not received a reply. joining me is a man who helped organize the protest at the
facility and was there when the incident happened. aaron, our view is from one perspective where you see the truck turning and making a right turn into the crowd. we can't see what happened right at that line where people were. where were you and what did you see? >> so i was right along that line, and i'd actually like to give a little context for that demonstration. it was a peaceful protest. this was hundreds of jewish rhode islanders alongside immigrants and allies of all faiths who came together on the most powerful jewish day of mourning to mourn this state's sponsored violence that we're seeing at places like the wyatt i.c.e. detention facilities, and to say that we're not going to allow rhode island institutions to continue partnering with i.c.e. and perpetrating that violence. again, it was a peaceful demonstration. it was full of prayer and song. there were faith leaders. there were faith leaders, rabbis, imams.
and as you showed at one point, the prison officer drove his truck into a line of peaceful demonstrators that included three minors. it included seniors and elders, a number of people were hit. several were hospitalized. and then a squad of prison guards marched out of the wyatt and pepper sprayed this crowd of young people, of senior, of elders. >> i interrupt you because we're showing this picture of the truck. so what happened? the truck goes up there at quite a clip. i'm a little surprised. clearly you could see the protesters. everybody was wearing brightly colored shirt. what happened? when that truck came up, did it hit anybody at the first instance or once everybody stood up? >> so it initially drove up. it did hit several people. we rushed forward to make space to try to shield some of the folks that were pushed back that
were on the ground. so as you saw, it paused. and then it's very clearly deliberate. he made a choice to accelerate through the crowd once again. >> yep. >> i don't know if you heard lou dobbs' comment that the protesters, you were doing something unlawful by preventing a vehicle from getting through. what's your take on that, that he was doing something lawful, that he was trying to get to his parking spot? >> well, obviously there is no right to drive a truck into a crowd of peaceful demonstrators. that is a violent act. it's assault. i think for us the real lesson was to see that if this system is willing to unleash that kind of violence against us, against peaceful protesters with cameras and media and lawyers there, you know, what is happening behind those walls? what kind of violence is being perpetrated on immigrant detainees who do not have cameras, who do not have bystanders, who do not have legal access to anything that can shield them from that
violence. >> i'm a little curious. when this happened and then the truck seems to get stopped a second time, people sort of got on it and stuff, and then you see these corrections officers coming out and momentarily you see the pepper spray, there you go, what -- was the officer in the car, was he apologetic? was he belligerent? did the officers who came out have some sense of what had just happened or they pepper sprayed the crowd? that seemed to be not the right thing to do. >> it was not. certainly there was -- no one was apologetic. the prison guards came out very aggressively to pepper spray, and people were put in real harm's way. and it underlines why we are in this fight. it underlines why we are coming together to say never again, because this is too violent of a system to allow to continue operating. >> too violent of a system indeed. thank you for being with us. we appreciate it.
aaron reaganberg is a former state legislator, and he was there and an organizer of the protest. thank you, sir. just ahead, an amazing new project on the lasting legacy of slavery in america. 400 years after the first african slaves set foot on this land. trymaine lee and hannah jones joins me ahead. you wouldn't accept an incomplete job from anyone else.
we know donald trump is obsessed with his crowd sizes, which is why th ththe the #emptyseatmagatour that has been trending on twitter today is such a masterful troll, highlighting examples of empty chairs at donald trump rallies. take a look at this example. but there is another issue at those rallies that is clearly bothering the president, all the protesters. and he has found an interesting way to deal with it recently. instead of continuing on with his speech and talking over them, he stops mid sentence, turns around and stares until they stop, for whoever long it takes. >> in chicago last year --
>> this guy was running against a so-called star. >> minnesota, great state. >> it really happens that way. it happened again last night at a rally in manchester, new hampshire. and after a whole minute, a whole minute of standing sile silently, an apparently frustrated trump started throwing insults. >> that guy's got a serious weight problem. go home, start exercising. get him out of here, please.
got a bigger problem than i do. got a bigger problem than all of us. now he goes home and his mom says what the hell have you just done. >> there are a lot of things wrong with that, but perhaps what the president got most wrong is that the guy he was talking about, the guy with the weight problem is actually one of his own supporters. his name is frank dawson. he is a retired law enforcement officer. the president called him from air force one last night after the rally, notably not to apologize. in fact, "the new york times" reports that trump claimed he wasn't even talking about him. either way, frank dawson didn't seem to care. when interviewed today, he basically said thank you, mr. president. may i have another. >> he said hey, that guy pleads the to lose a little weight. >> everything is good. i love the guy. he is the best thing that ever happened to this country.
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1619 20 enslaved africans arrived in what would become the united states, ironically, a place called point comfort. the 1619 project is a remarkable commemoration of the 400-year anniversary and the legacy by "the new york times" magazine. joining me the domestic correspondent for the new york times magazine focusing on racial injustice. she conceived this massive 1619
project and produced it with the new york times. she also wrote the lead piece spiegtsed our democracy's founding ideals were false when they were written. black americans have fought to make it true. also with us, tremane lee who contributed to the piece. thank you to both of you for being here and for this remarkable work it has take ton get it done. your argument here, it's written in sort of a sub headline. it says america wasn't a democracy until black america made it one. >> yes. >> it's a very long piece that i think everybody should actually read it. printed out as 20 pages for me. what's the argument in the shorter version? >> so the argument is basically two pronged. the first argument is that we were a country based on both an idea and a lie. that our founding fathers as they were writing these words of liberation and that -- saying they were going to found a
country based on the individual rights of men were also holding one fifth of the population in bonda bondage, and those people would receive none of those rights. the second prong is black people believed in those words and took them literally and have spent really the entire time we've been in this country fighting to make those words real. and to make our constitution which actually was somewhat anti-democratic. it excluded the franchise -- >> more than somewhat. >> women, native people, black people. it codified slavery even though it never mentions the word. black people fought to make the words real. >> you mean really fought, dying in the revolutionary and civil war and the economic pursuit of making this the wealthiest country in the world. >> absolutely. the first person to die in the revolutionary word is a man who himself had run away. he was a fugitive from slavery and fought for a freedom that his own people wouldn't see for another 100 years. black people have fought in
every single war in this country and to this day are the highest percentage of people who fight in the military. so we're much more likely to be in the military than any other group. >> which means die for your country. >> exactly. but outside of that, outside of just fighting in external wars black americans have also had to fight an internal war. if you do the body count of how many people black people have died trying to get the right to exercise a franchise and to be seen as equal citizens before the law, they were always having to wage an internal and external war. >> tre mane, you wrote about how this is currently a fight. this is where my work is done, in economics. the median wealth for white families, tis $171,000.
that's homes, cars bank accounts, all that stuff. for black families it's 1/10 the value. that's because we have not been able to build up the ownership society in black america as we have in white network. there haven't been the houses to pass down, or where there have been, sometimes they have been taken. >> it's not just the inability to acquire the wealth. it's once you've got the wealth and any degree of success, it was violently stripped away. that's one of the points i think is often missed. the violence it's taken to maintain this system the way it is now, it was violent and bloody. i think that's one thing that's really important about this project. the reframing. it's been intentionally misframed all this time. and so trying to set the record straight that black folks didn't just fall from the sky and here we are struggling to make ends meet. there's been an intent here all along. that's the part that has been missing. really looking at the saying that you can't separate the leaves of a tree from the roots.
it comes to american experience, the violence, the well stripping, what i call the violent economic disposition of folks experience. there was a sweet spot right after emancipation with reconstruction and so much hope. then the redemption. it swung back so hard and we've never recovered. >> you make an argument, nicole, about the flag. when you were a little girl, and your father would fly the american flag, and everything you had learned. your learned experience at that point in school and society was this wasn't really as much your america as it was white america, and you didn't really get why your dad was flying this flag, and you have learned that it was his flag, and black people's flag, and earned to be their flag as much as it was anyone else's. and your pride in america grew from that realization. >> absolutely. if you look at from our founding documents, if you look at the supreme court ruling that said black people no matter if they were enslaved or free could
never be citizens. if you look at the fact that it took until 1968 before black people got full citizenship. i had always been taught through society and through reading texts in school that we actually weren't fully citizens. that this country did not belong to us. >> why is my dad so happy? >> exactly. abraham lincoln tried to ship black people out of this country after emancipation. my dad, it seemed like he was bowing to our subordination. but really through working on this project and having to think about the role that black people have played, and really the undying faith that black people have had in this country, made me understand that we have as much right and maybe more in some ways to be patriotic about this country and claim the flag. and there's no shame in our lands beginning here. it felt like it was shameful, but i'm arguing is through slavery we created ourselves as
a new people, and we should have a tremendous amount of pride to the accomplishments that we've made on these lands. >> are we in your opinion in 2019 the face of racism and white supremacy and bigotry and division like we haven't seen in a long time in america. are we heading toward possibly righting this wrong because people are having conversations around righting some of the historical wrongs? >> righting the wrong would be a big step forward. first is a true reflection of who we say we are. the picture so many people have grown up with, we kind of knew it was false. we're living a different kind of reality. i think until we first have that full picture, we will continue to be unmoored. but the first step of realizing that we aren't still just some subhumanen second class. a lot of people grew up whether they're racist or not, they're inferior, they must be. but the other part of the story of their legacy is tied into everything we've experienced.
>> i'm grateful to both of you. unfortunately we're out of time. we'll continue this discussion. i have a lot of shows in this place. you'll come back and talk to us. nicole, tremane, thank you to both of you. chris heayes will be back monda. the rachel mad doe show starts now. >> before you go, i want to say you have a lot of shows, particularly right now. you have been doing double duty, triple duty this week including hosting this prime time show. it has been inspiring to watch. you make me reconsider my own work ethic. you have done great, my friend. >> you're too kind. have a great weekend. >> you too. much deserved for you. and i hope you at home have a good peeweekend too. i'm sure you deserve it too. i can tell. before we get there, we have kind of a doozy of a show tonight including some of the weirdest newsto