tv MSNBC Live MSNBC April 22, 2017 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT
open.com. hello everybody. i'm gigi stone woods at msnbc headquarters in new york. happening now on this earth day, tens of thousands of people making their voices heard around the world by taking part in the march for science. marchers are hoping to bring awareness to the need for more funding for scientific research while others are there to protest lawmakers who ignore evidence-based research when enacting legislation. and some are angry with president trump who has proposed cutting funds toence. nbc's morgan radford is with marchers in new york city. but first we go to the main march at the national mall in washington, d.c. ali, what's going on where you are? >> reporter: so if you can see behind me there are people coming back from the capitol walking down pennsylvania avenue. and basically this march went from the national mall where they had a whole rally there this morning for several hours,
and then the thousands of people that gathered there did march down constitution avenue up towards the capitol. that has now seemed to diminish a little bit. crowds are starting to disburse, come back home, get a little warm because it's been raining out here. but the turnout didn't really seem that dampened, so to speak, by the rain. a lot of the people i spoke with here today felt it was important to come out not just in support of science but to show the trump administration that they were here supporting fact based and science based policies from the administration. this of course goes to the heart of the climate change debate among other things the administration is beginning to take action on. specifically when it comes to president obama's legacy on climate change. you've seen this administration take aim at things like the clean power plan, which sought to curb carbon emissions from power plants, as well as potentially the paris climate agreement which we'll be hearing a decision from this administration on in the coming weeks as we get closer to the g7 meeting. but a lot of people out here were focused on of course those specific policies but were also
here to celebrate science in general. you heard from a lot of researchers and scientists who wanted to be able toontinu researching and of course those budget cuts you talked about were front of mind for a lot of those people here. >> science becoming a political football. nbc's ali vitaly for us. and now we'll switch over to morgan radford, what's going on here in new york city that's different from washington? >> reporter: well, gigi, the rally here in new york city for the most part has wrapped up. we're standing here in the heart of times square. this is where the rally ended today. people marched for more than 20 blocks. as ali mentioned this was really a celebration of science. they said, one, they were here for climate and the environment, two, they said they were here for health. and three, they were here for technology. but bigger than all that, gigi, they said they were here for representation. take a listen. >> i came out here today to give science a voice and let it speak loud and proud. i'm here to represent women in science and people with
disabilities in science. >> i'm also here representing women in science and engineering. and i'm also representing women of color in science and engineering because like she said most people think if they're not able-bodied, white male then you are not a scientist. and i'm just here representing that because science affects 100% of people and we need to diversify it. >> for some they said this was a partisan issue. as they were passing trump international tower and hotel people were booing and they were saying it was time to dump trump and impeach the president. many said they were disappointed not only in his immigration policies, which they said prevent a lot of talented immigrant scientists and doctors from comin to this country and feeling comfortable that they can thrive in this country, but many of them also said they were disappointed in those deep proposed budget cuts, things that would slash funding for places like nasa, the kr,cdc. but others said it wasn't a partisan issue. they said this was coming out to
say rationale should win and how to approach our universe and how we understand it. >> galvanizing the scientific community. nbc's morgan radford, thanks for that report. joining me to talk about all of this and weigh in is democratic congressman bill foster of illinois. he's a member of the house science, space and technology committee. thanks for being here, congressman. >> thank you. >> you're the only ph.d. physicist in congress. you're in d.c. marching with thousands of protesters today. but not as a politician, as a scientist. why is this march important? it's bringing so many scientists out of the lab, people like yourself. why do you think it has such a strong turnout? >> well, i think scientists are really being energized by two things. first, as you mentioned the cuts that are proposed by the trump administration really have scientists on edge. we're seeing 30% cut to the budget of the epa and its science mission. we're seeing draconian cuts to the national institute of health, which will cut off the
pipeline for the life saving drugs that we're seeing these incredible breakthroughs in almost on a daily basis. so that's one thing. the other thing that really has scientists upset is the low regard for evidence-based policy and science-based thinking in our public debate. >> on that note, president trump called climate change a hoax on the campaign trail. do you think scientists see this kind of rhetoric as an assault on the facts they've worked hard to conclude? >> well, i think a lot of the progress that our civilization has made in the last centuries has been by adopting the scientific method, evidence-based policy. and when you get away from that, when science becomes a matter of opinion rather than evidence and research, then i think there's the opportunity to go off the rails. and that hurts our country a lot when that happens. >> but should politics be involved in science? you have all these people
marching saying science shouldn't be political and yet they're protesting trump's policies. >> well, most people are criticizing the behavior, not the person. one of the fupdmental lessons in raising a child is to criticize the behavior of the child and not the child themselves. and so that's the way i try to act in the u.s. congress. when i see non-scientific policies being put forward or a non-scientific basis for a policy that's really in the political realm rather than the scientific realm, you know, then i separate them and i speak out against the science. but let people form individual opinions on the personal part of policymaking decisions. >> speaking of policymaking decisions, we're facing cuts at the nih, epa as we mentioned. if we ignore scientific research, does america lose its place as the world leader in innovation? >> well, you have to first off support science at an
appropriate level. right now the u.s. leads in the world in these life saving medical breakthroughs that we're seeing. you know, almost on a daily basis we're seeing cancers that used to be incurable now, you know, have sometimes permanent cures. and that's because of many decades of federally funded research. and now when the trump budget proposal, the so-called skinny budget is being put together by mick mulvaney, a former colleague of mine in the u.s. congress, i served with him for many years. but he attracted the attention of the science community last september when he put out a posting questioning the need for any federally funded research at all. so when the trump administration appoints that sort of person to prepare the budget of the united states, then scientists get concerned. >> and as they should. democratic congressman bill foster of illinois, thanks for sharing that with us. >> thank you. >> president trump celebrated earth day with a tweet. he says he's committed to
preserving the natural beauty of our nation, but that tweet does come less than a month after he signed an executive order dismantling many obama-era environmental protections. now, today the president and the first lady made a surprise visit to the walter reed medical center. there he awarded a purple heart to sergeant first class alvaro recently wounded in afghanistan. a nice surprise for him and his family as he recovers. nbc's kelly o'donnell is at the white house with the latest there. kelly. >> reporter: good afternoon, gigi. while everyone is watching for the 100-day mark for the trump presidency and what gets accomplished, the president did add something to his list today that is expected of presidents as commander in chief. the president and first lady went to walter reed national military medical center today. they were able to visit personally with injured service members. and today the president was also able to present a purple heart to a service member injured in afghanistan. we're told that he had time to spend with sergeant first class
elvaro, his wife tammy, making that a personal presentation of the purple heart heret the whi house there were senior staffers at work on a very big week for the president. it is of course leading up to the 100-day mark and the white house is trying to do two things, downplay how significant 100 days is in terms of accomplishments, but at the same time embracing it to provide their own list of things they've been successful at. from executive orders to showing support for the military as in today and also the president's views on a lot of different topics that we will hear more of in the coming week. one of those will be tax reform and tax cuts. not something that's ready for congress to really act on, but he will unveil his plan to reduce taxes and change the tax system. that's a long-term plan. also, the white house is still hoping to see a repeal of the health care law obamacare, but advisors do caution that they don't know if that is something that can be accomplished any time soon with continuing
divisions among house republicans. so it is a big week. and the president will cap it by an announcement he made today that he will hold a rally in harrisburg, pennsylvania next weekend, and that will be one way he marks the 100 days in office. gigi. >> a lot on the agenda in the week ahead. nbc's kelly o'donnell, thanks. president trump reaching across the aisle to offer the democrats a deal on health care. next, how it could lead to a government shutdown. stay with us. don't let dust and allergens get between you and life's beautiful moments. flonase allergy relief delivers more complete relief. flonase helps block 6 key inflammatory substances that cause all your symptoms, including nasal congestion and itchy, watery eyes. flonase is an allergy nasal spray works even beyond the nose. so you can enjoy every beautiful mome to the fullest. flonase. 6>1 changes everything.
a showdown over health care main may lead to a government shutdown friday and no budget solution is in sight. president trump is offering democrats a deal, funding for insurance subsidies under obamacare in exchange for money to build that border wall. now, senate minority leader chuck schumer mocked that off
as anon-starter saying he thought mexico was supposed to y f that wall. and for a president craving a bigictory befe his fst 100 days ends next saturday, a government shutdown would of course be a major setback. joining me now to talk about all of this is ginger gibson, political correspondent for reuters, and michelle riley, thanks for being with us on this saturday. >> absolutely. >> ginger, you first. the budget battle set to dominate this week. we have so much on the agenda between a new tax plan, replacing obamacare, as we sand now how likely is it we'll see a government shutdown on top of all this? >> there remains a possibility that the government could shut down after this friday's deadline lapses. house republicans are taking this threat really seriously. they worked today on a saturday, we don't normally see that in congress, holding a conference call with republican members. and a gop source tells us that speaker ryan told his members
that he's still working to achieve some kind of deal and that whenever they get the votes to be able to pass it they'll move forward with a vote, but at this point they're not saying that they have those votes or even a deal making the turmoil continue into the coming days. >> how important is it for president trump to avoid the kind of debacle he saw with health care last time? how much pressure is he going to put on republicans? >> well, i don't know if he's feeling the pressure, but i know that for people across the country, particularly in middle america, this would be one more example, one more piece of evidence that this administration is governing like 5-year-old children with the attention span of a saturday morning. there's no strategy, there's no planning, a potential government shutdown on top of not getting any kind of deal on health care, not having a budget plan and, you know, tax plan being a pipe dream, it's beginning to really look like they're out of control. >> but there are really specific ramifications here, ginger. more than 300,000 people in
michigan are signed up through obamacare. they're already worried coverage may be taken away. what do you think the political ramifications are if this this health care fight actually leads to this fear of government shutdown? >> the optics of this could be really bad. even just saying that they're willing to trade health care dollars for wall dollars, that's like trading sick people for a border wall that doesn't have robust support across the political spectrum. that could be very dangerous. we know that republicans think they shut the government down last time and didn't have any real political ramifications for that, but people are paying attention. and they left republicans completely in charge, so it's going to be hard for them to say that a government shutdown belongs to democrats when they control all of washington at this point. >> how much of this has to do with, you know, president trump is saying this 100 days is just symbolic, but historically it is how we have judged presidents in the past.
and he is saying that this is silly, but he does seem to be trying to put a legislative feather in the administration's cap ahead of this symbolic mark, michelle. >> well, i think he has set his own deadline and set up himself for failure because he wanted to do so much so quickly. so while it may seem silly now, he told people he would do many things on day one and then he promised to do things within that first 100 days. and so far he's not had the victories that h thought. and when you're talking about working ass families in michigan and wisconsin and pittsburgh and places that have been hurt by the economy and hurt by people not paying attention, they are absolutely watching. >> just this afternoon paul ryan told his conference there would be no vote on health care next week despite the president pushing for replacement bill. is this another blow to the president? and he's talking now about this new tax plan on wednesday. is the administration biting off more than it can chew? ginger. >> we've seen the administration start to come to the reality that congress doesn't exactly
take directions the way they would like to give them all of the time. and that it might not happen as quickly as possible. this is a lot. this is a white house that has shown struggles juggling one ball, juggling three balls could prove to be very difficult for them. we have minimal expectations about how much depth we're going to get from the administration on wednesday with that tax plan i'm told by the administration that it will be broad principles, not a lot of detail. so that may be a piece that gets quietly rolled out and then forgotten about by the time we get to friday shutdown deadline. but there's a lot going on. and there's a lot of risk, especially for an administration that's still trying to figure out how to keep the trains running on time to try to do all three things at once. >> and president trump's own treasury officials, rochelle, were surprised. how much specific information are we going to get this week?
is it even possible that something like a tax cut, which americans really do like, this is an opportunity for a positive headline for president trump if he's able to pull it off, but how likely is this that it could be possible without any real details being announced and that we know of? >> i think one of the challenges you have is when your budget director says you're not looking at the deficit as you try to figure out how to gather revenue, it's very impossible to do. you have to look at gross revenues and net revenues because you have to know where you're spending money. i think for the trump administration it needs to consider the possibility that it should stop juggling several things and find one thing that it can accomplish quickly and effectively before it moves to something else. right now it seems like there are several balls in the air and all of them are going to drop. >> right. whether the tax cuts will be revenue neutral is one of the many questions looming about this tax cut plan. ginger, another hallmark of the president's first 100 days has been russia, the fbi, the congressional investigations,
all of this looming over the administration. thursday the house intelligence committee asked former acting attorney general sally yates to testify publicly. also invited fbi director james comey and national security director mike rogers to testify in a closed door meeting. we're getting new revelations. is all of this testimony and this looming russian collusion threat going to hamper the president's agenda even further? >> it is a distraction. and it's a distraction the white house doesn't want. if they're trying to juggle multiple things, multiple balls, the last thing they want is someone throwing additional balls at them while they're trying to do that juggling. there's a risk that it derails their message every day. every time someone's talking about russia is a day that they're not talking about the tax plan is time that they're not talking about infrastructure or the veterans administration or creating jobs or changing steel policy or all the other things the white house wants people to be talking about.
and it still remains a risk that it could snowball out of control, that the white house could lose control of the message and that the house or the senate doing these investigations should start to uncover even unrelated things. we've seen that historically happen with administrations that cause even more problems. >> especially for a president very concerned about abjects. one of the things he's doing is holding a rally in pennsylvania to mark those first 100 days. what achievements will he be able to give to his supporters considering we have a lot of executive orders, supreme court pick but not a lot of legislative successes. >> well, he's proven in the past that with these rallies he can keep his supporters' attention away from other things. in this case it's the white house correspondents dinner. but in that case they're not talking about the budget, health care, russiagate. i'm just stunned sometimes at the idea that he would be out doing something like that instead of really focusing on
one of these situations, one of these issues to have a victory. i think while he's having a rally with supporters he should be trying to figure out how to fill some of the ambassadorships in 50 countries because the state department is in a mess. and then he's got attorneys generals that he has to pick and that's not done. it's almost like there's no real work going on while they're trying to pretend at work. if you had one word to describe this white house, it would be chaos. >> well, they do have a lot of work ahead. that is indisputable. but his support from his fan base is unwavering. rochelle and ginger, thank you for joining us on this saturday. voters in france getting ready to elect a new president and it comes in the shadow of the most recent terror attack in paris. could that help the far right candidate who's been compared to donald trump? we'll see in a minute. ♪
killed a police officer. [ gunfire ] >> france this weekend is going from the chaos of thursday's assault on the champs-elysees to the dramatic uncertainty that the country's election brings. thousands of police and soldiers are on patrol with the first round of presidential voting tomorrow, after the shooting by a man carrying a note supporting isis. this latest terror in paris could help put marine le pen in office. the far right candidate known for her hard line on muslims and immigrants. she wants france to leave the eu and drop the euro. and she is skeptical of nato. le pen also has a warm relationship with russian leader vladimir putin. president trump thinks the attack will have a, quote, big effect on the election. he's not endorsing le pen, but he does call her the strongest candidate on issues like bord now, her mai rival is emanuel macron on the center left. he wants france to stay in the,
u. he spoke on the phone this afternoon with former president obama who also stopped short of an endorsement. >> hello. >> hello, mr. president, how are you? >> the main message i have is to wish you all the best in the coming days. and make sure that as you said you work hard all the way through because you never know it might be that last day of campaigning that -- >> yeah, i do agree. >> -- makes all the difference. >> with us from paris, msnbc contributor christopher dickey, world news editor for "the daily beast." thanks for being with us, chris. >> my pleasure, gigi. >> i think some americans might be watching and think french elections, what does it have to do with me? and the answer is a lot because if france decides to ride this anti-globalization wave and elect a candidate that would leave the euro, it could have far reaching implications for the u.s. economy. so i have to ask you, one in three french voters right now said to be undecided, are you
sensing a shift toward either candidate in the wake of this latdest terror attack? >> well, actually, the polls taken after the terror attack suggest that emanuel macron, the centrist, is stronger than ever. but you really can't trust that. as you point out one in three voters claim to be undecided. i think in france you have to take that with a grain of salt. a lot of people say they're undecided when asked by pollsters but in fact they've made up their minds. and the truth is we just don't know how they've made up their minds. there are four candidates not just marine le pen and emanuel macron, but also a very far leftist and former prime minister all of whom could emergeomorrow ght as one of the two candidates or two of the two candidates who will go into the final presidential election on may 7th. so it's really up in the air. >> and hanging over all of this
is of course this recent terrible terrorist attack. is terrorism now dominating the political conversation in this election? >> well, it isn't dominating the political conversation although marine le pen would like it to, and francois would like it to because they're both very hard line on muslims and immigration and so on. but people are definitely nervous. you know, there's a building very near here where some of my friends work that was searched just a couple of hours ago because somebody thought they saw somebody with a mask somewhere on the roof. that wasn't the truth. that wasn't the case, but the police came and they searched that. earlier today there was an incident at a major train station here where a man walked in with a knife. he obviously was a little deranged, but he wasn't a terrorist. in fact, when the police stopped him, he said he was just terrified himself. he just needed to defend
himself. but people saw him with the knife and panicked and they fled. so i would say people are very, very nervous. >> sounds like there's a lot of anxiety in that city. but we do have to discuss this political conversation with the election looming and the idea of frexit which surprised so many people when britain decided to leave the eu, marine le pen supports this. where do the french stand from your conversations on this idea of leaving the european union? >> well, you know, i've been following marine le pen for a long time, and she's very articulate on this. she says if you look at history, whenever europeans have had a chance to vote in a referendum about european unity, more europe, more eu, they voted against it. the classic case here was in 2005. there was a european constitution that had been written very much by the french,
former french president had been the head of the drafting committee, and the french voted it down. they voted against it. and it was only after the governments got together that they were able to pass the lisbon treaty and move ahead with the european union. so she looks to that and i think a lot of people should look to that and say if she holds a referendum right after she's elected, if that happens, she can probably count on a very skeptical vote here in france. and if that happens, then one of the two core countries in the european union will withdraw, which would be the end of it. and if that happens, we can also see nato weakening dramatically. an that happens, we see the whole european sphere opened up to russian how shall i say ambitions, both economically and territorially. so is it an apocalyptic vision?
yeah, actually, it is. >> well, you do speak of russia, and le pen has this close friendship with vladimir putin. is this going to help or hurt her? we have seen president trump's relations with president putin sour quite quickly. >> yes, but there's a lot of in-built anti-americanism. the french are very funny when it comes to the united states. and that reflects their attitudes towards russia. the attitude of three of the four leading candidates toward russia is very favorable. there's even been talk of renegotiating the borders of europe with russia. she's not an outlier on that one. actually macron, the centrist, with obama's support who looks like he's very different from the rest of the field. but we'll see how that plays out. the fact is putin, russia stands to be the big -- the very big
winner of this election if we are talking about any of the three candidates winning except macron. >> interesting election with far reaching implications. christopher dickey in paris, thanks. >> thank you, gigi. they may not be the first people you think of when it comes to angry protests on the streets, but today scientists are actually demonstrating across the country against what they see as a war on facts. and i will be joined by one of the organizers of today's earth day marches. stay with us. a daily struggle, even if you're trying your best. along with diet and exercise, once-daily toujeo® may help you control your blood sugar. get into a daily groove. ♪ let's groove tonight. ♪ share the spice of life. ♪ baby, slice it right.
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rallies today across the country and around the world marking earth day with marches for science. tens of thousands of people are out today even in the rain drawing attention to the need for more federal funding to government programs that support science research. now, others are pushing back against lawmakers who ignore fact-based data when enacting policy. and joining me now is one of the organizers of today's march, marine biologist and
conservation strategist iyana johnson, thanks for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> why did you feel the need to organize this march? >> i was really concerned by what i was seeing in terms of policy. we were seeing scientists being censored and silenced. we were starting to see data sets disappear from government websites. obviously the funding -- threats of funding cuts were really concerning, epa budget by 70%. and that's the funding that keeps our drinking water safe and our air clean and our food safe to eat. when you cut the budget of the national institute of health, that has real implications for our health and well being. and it seemed like the problem was that the public didn't understand the value of science in our everyday lives. and that was a failing on the part of the scientific community. so one of the main goals of the march for science in the long term is to make sure that we improve scientific outreach in communication as well as the seco being improving scientific literacy across the u.s. and the world by making
sure that people have great opportunities to access really good scientific education. >> president trump is taking notice of today's activities. he did tweet on this. at least today on earth day, he said, we celebrate our beautiful forests, lakes and land. we stand committed to preserving the natural beauty of our nation. so what's your reaction to this? do you think that the president understands the need to science and climate change efforts? is he celebrating earth day? >> i don't know. i wish i had a crystal ball. i mean, i can't read his mind but certainly if what he wants to do is protect our rivers and streams and forests, then that takes dedicated policy efforts. that means you have to fund the environmental protection agency and the department of interior and the fish and wildlife service and noaa because those are the agencies that do that really important work. >> all right. on the campaign trail president trump criticized barack obama
for the landmark paris climate accord to cur b greenhouse emissions. so far president trump hasn't said what his administration is going to do. if you could speak directly to the president, you can't read his mind but you can talk to him. what would you say? >> i would say the science is settled. climate change is real and the question is only what are we going to do about it. and so it's been a really amazing opportunity to be part of planning this march for science because we're seeing a huge array of scientific societies, ngos and museums and aquaria all come together with universities to talk about the science in society. that's why i've been working on the director trying to build this broad and diverse coalition of almost 300 organizations across the world who really want to make sure that science continues to play a critical role in evidence-based policymaking. that's the major thrust of this is that we have this amazing thing called the scientific
method. so what we really need to be doing is using that to inform the decisions we make. >> so many scientists coming out of their labs today to join in this political effort, ayana johnson, thank you. >> thank you. >> crucial time for president trump's foreign policy agenda as tensions continue to build with north korea. we'll dive into that with former ambassador and former white house policy advisor. and next hour my colleague yasmi looks at the bill o'reilly sexual harassment scandal and what it says about the changing workplace in america. stick around.
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with the threat of north korea launching another missile at any time, the u.s.s. carl vinson is set to arrive in the sea of japan before the end of the month. now, that word today from vice presidenmike pence who i traveling in australia with his asia pacific tour winding down. in sydney pence joined australia's prime minister urging china to put pressure on north korea. >> the president and i have
great confidence that china will properly deal with korea, but as president trump made clear just a few short days ago, if china is unable to deal with north korea, the united states and our allies will. >> meanwhile, defense secretary james mattis is in the middle east meeting with the emir of qatar. iran, isis and syria were all expected to come up. let's look at the trump foreign policy agenda with former u.s. ambassador to morocco mark ginsburg also former white house middle east policy advisor. thanks for joining us, ambassador. >> good to be with you. >> all right. let's start with north korea. in general president trump has said that he is trying to be unpredictable, but he doesn't want his adversaries to know where he's coming from. is there value in this unpredictability or is this just a lack of cohesive foreign policy? >> no, i think there really is a great strategy in unpredictability, particularly when it comes to north korea because after all it's the north korean who is are trying to be
unpredictable with respect to their nuclear weapons program. so those of us who've been in the foreign policy game don't always want to broadcast our goals and objectives. but at the same time i'm not going to give the trump administration a complete pass. there has been a lot of ball dropping here with respect to what happened to the vinson, the aircraft carrier it was heading south when the president sai it was heading north, things like that. you wanto make sure if you're going to be unpredictable, you at least know what you're doing in your unpredictability. >> absolutely. vice president pence went to the demilitarized zone on monday. we've seen leaders from reagan to obama do the same, does the north take that seriously? what's different here? >> i think the north is beginning to take it seriously because they're mostly concerned about a potential real strategic alliance with the chinese and americans to squeeze them. look, throughout the last three decades every success of
american president has tried to convince the chinese to really turn the screws on the north koreans. and the chinese just have done a little screw turning. they've really never stopped the banking relationships. they've never stopped the food exports to north korea. they've never stopped the call imports completely. they've never really put the sanctions on the way we put sanctions on iran that forced it to the negotiating table. >> so what does the trump administration do besides cozying up to china to put the pressure on china to put the pressure on north korea, if that's the diplomatic tact we have to take? >> well, if i were the chinese and sitting across from president trump, i would be damn worried that the president indeed was going to act militarily against the north koreans. look, after all e nth korean regime has threatened to build and test a ballistic missile that could carry a nuclear warhead that would hit the west coast. they already have missiles that can hit american military bases
in the western pacific. now, do you take this seriously? a lot of bellicosity? i myself haven't yet met anyone in the united states who really knows how to gauge the true intents of the north korean regime. maybe dennis rodman does, but i don't. >> over a piece of chocolate cake. a lot of worrisome -- just a lot of worrisome issues right here. ambassador mark ginsburg, thanks for breaking it down for us. >> sure. good to be with you. >> up next, senator bernie sanders and dnc chair tom perez join forces to heal divisions in the democratic party. a live look from las vegas coming up.
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that's why we're working every day to make pg&e the safest energy company in the nation. dnc chair tom perez and bernie sanders teamed up for their come together fightback tour. they started in maine and the last stop was las vegas. sanders and perez hoping to energize their democratic base against donald trump and the gop
party. the tour consisted of visiting seven red states the democrats lost in the 2016 election and two purple states democrats won in 2012 and 2016. the duo addressed key policy issues such as health case, immigration reform and equal pay for women. nbc's alex sikes wald is in las vegas and joins us. what are you hearing? >> the tour has just wrapped, as you said. after this week, we can say it was a mixed success. bernie sanders and tom perez out here who have in the past been on different sides of the dnc chair race. the fact he came out here a year and a half after fighting a tough primary battle against hillary clinton in which he accused the dnc of meddle with the process and the fact tom perez invited him out here shows the direction the party is trying to head. perez took some venting from people, some frustration but he
wanted to come out and put a down payment on reaching out to this side of the party that at least hopefully buys some trust and maybe down the road fully unify the party. everyone is happy this tour is over who was involved in it. >> supposed to be unity tour. does it highlight some of the divisions within the democratic party, though? >> yeah, it certainly did. there was a bit of a controversy early in the week when bernie sanders declined to say jon ossoff is a progressive. and then separate controversy when he campaigned for a mayoral candidate in omaha, nebraska, who has a mixed record on abortion. that caught flack from pro-choice groups. but this is a party that lost and when you win elections, the party looks very happy and everyone gets together. when you lose, that's not the case it's going to take a lot of work. this w the beginning of a process and after this week they'll see it will take longer than they initially hoped.
let's continue with a look at the -- joining us is kerstin hagland and david burstein, director of run for america seeking to bring new voters and candidates into the system. speaking of bringing in this new democratic party, the new voices, we've got bernie sanders up there who is like the most mobilizing figure in the democratic party, even though he's registered as an independent. don't we need to see some new blood to bring the democratic party together? >> the democratic party not only lost but they're a rudderless ship. no one can even tell you who the leader is of the party. there are hundreds and thousands of people. you see them marching today and all year who are activists. they start channeling their efforts away from protests which
may continue to draw attention but not change anything and stepping up to run. more energy and we see it every day, run for america in people who want to step up and serve their country. we need to start seeing more of those people step up to the plate because the democratic party needs it. it's not going to be solved by bernie sanders or another generation of people in the system for too long. the world has changed. the landscape head changed in a meaningful way and the democratic party needs to listen to that and spend more time talking to those people and hopefully this tour is the beginning of it. clearly a long way to go. >> both parties are very fractured right now. what does the democratic party need to do to bring itself together? the republican party need to do to bring itself together? there are a lot of different voices out there fighting. >> there are. it's interesting the difference between how the parties look in washington and on the ground. in washington, the democrats are very united against donald trump. unfortunately, they don't have any other suggestions about how they want to move forward. it's just this opposition
because they're being pushed by these liberal activist groups like david describes. republicans, though, too, are fighting. this division playing itself out with health care between the house freedom caucus and those more moderate. as we've seen over the last couple of weeks as members go home to their districts where maybe 23 house members where hillary won their district but they're there. they are moderate republicans having to figure out how to deal with these two passionate sides of the aisle, people who passionately dislike donald trump and those who absolutely love him. these members are, especially the ones in swing states are trying to find that delicate balance. at the end of the day, they not only need to run, but democrats need to get out and vote because that's w trump won and they didn't show up at the polls. >> they need to start having a vision. all we hear and have heard for the past six months now is why donald trump is the worst. the same stuff that frankly they said for 18 months and failed to -- >> republicans did with obama. >> so the democrats are falling
into the same trap the republicans fell into under obama of saying no to everything, opposing everything. and really they are playing the entire game on trump's turf. >> congress has so much to do this week. they are coming back from this recess going to deal with this new tax plan that's going to be announced wednesday potentially. health care reform again. they want to avoid another debacle. of course, the biggest looming threat, this government shutdown that could happen as early as friday. how -- are they biting off more than they can chew, the administration? how is all of this going to happen? >> well, with the budget showdown, you might see some unique bipartisanship here because of the fact they didn't have the win. republicans didn't have the win on health care they wanted and they know tax reform is looming. they don't want to shut down the government. it would look bad for the gop and they'd have no one else to blame because they're in power in the house, senate and white house. with the health care bill, it will be interesting if ryan can bring these factions together
because they've got something for boat. red meat for both. the essential health benefits which are going to stay intact, however, the state waiver. so the good news would be that it passes in the house and goes to t senate wheou'll see more debate. the bi will change a little more and they can show sething in progress. so the compromise between the two house factions might happen this week. >> none of this is going to matter if they don't have the votes. this is a unified congress that we're looking at and they still can't manage to avoid a debacle. kerstin hagland and david burstein, thank you for joining us. that wraps it up for this hour. stay with us for much more news in our next hour. my colleague yasmin vossoughian picks things up right after the break including the latest on global marches taking place today on earth day in support of science. way to say this. it's over.
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