tv Morning Joe MSNBC June 6, 2018 3:00am-6:00am PDT
you can sign up for the axios newsletter by going to sign-up.axios.com. that's going to do it for us, "morning joe" starts right now. their role will be long and hard. for the enemy is strong, he may hurl back our forces, success may not come with rushing speed. but we shall return again and again. and we know that by thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph. >> in the end, those americans did triumph over tyranny, just as fdr predicted, 70 years ago today, allied forces, 74 years ago today, allied forces stormed the beaches of normandy in northern france to liberate the world of nazi aggression.
also today, marks the 50th anniversary of robert f. kennedy's assassination. he was celebrating a win in the california democratic primary, at the ambassador hotel in los angeles, only to be gunned down moments later. welcome to this special edition of "morning joe," it's wednesday, june 6th. with us we have veteran columnist and msnbc contributor mike barnicle. your piece in the "daily beast" is amazing, we'll be reading from it. nbc news national political reporter, heidi przybilla is with us. and author and nbc news presidential historian michael beschloss joins us, the author of the forthcoming book "presidents of war." out this october. also with us, columnist and associate editor for the "washington post" david ignatius. good to have you all on board on this special morning. joe? >> so much to talk about today. these two days always obviously
collide together on our calendars. this year, a bit more focus on what happened ondown the 6, 1968. but let's start with what happened, on this day in 1944. it is true and it is beyond dispute that america has fed and america has freed more people than any other country in the history of mankind. but so much of that legacy came from what these young boys, these young men, the young women did on june the 6th, 1944, when they scaled the walls of normandy. and liberated, michael beschloss, not only europe from hitler. not only jews from death camps, but also after that, america
ratelibeso many millions and millions o refugees across europerom hunger and homelessness. and michael, this was actually the first step for the united states of america, working with its allies, to set up a post-war order that actually led to the freest and also the most peaceful period in, well, i've got to say it again, the history of this world. >> absolutely. you are so right. you know this was one of the most important days of the 20th century. triumph of good over evil. and the other thing was, we were lucky to have fdr as our president in so many ways. but one way was that roosevelt had been through the experience of woodrow wilson and world war i, he was assistant secretary of the navy. he saw how wilson had tried to establish american entry into the league of nations and it
never happened. so when roosevelt was waging this war, even the very day he was commander-in-chief on d-day, he was thinking to himself, you know how can i build a, in this case, united nations so we've got a rule of law in which america helps the world to be a better place after world war ii is won. >> michael, you wonder how, you do wonder looking back and reading the old "life" magazines, the "time" magazines, old clips from newspapers after d-day, you do wonder how fdr, how eisenhower, how they all would have managed this war differently if they were subject to the 24/7 news glare that we're subject to today. there was, we always celebrate how wonderful the bravery of our troops on june 6th.
but there was a lot of complaining, a lot of grousing in the months that followed, that we weren't moving quickly enough across europe. and i just wonder with 24/7 news banners across the bottom of the screen, and fdr having to respond -- how things would have changed. it really is a lesson to us all. head down, stay the course, and continue the fight. >> and roosevelt never had to tweet, thank god for him and thank god for us. he did much better you know, in the fireside chats and the ways he did speak to the public. and i have to also mention, joe, and you know this extremely well, that before d-day happened, dwight eisenhower, by hand wrote out this note of what he would say, if the invasion failed. and as you know, they were very worried about the weather. eisenhower had to figure out, do we go on june 6th or do woe wait two weeks?
we now know that had he waited two weeks, there would have been one of the biggest storms over the english channel. they would have seen for a long time. and the invasion probably would have failed. but before the invasion took place, he writes out this note saying that the invasion has failed, this is what he would have issued if itfail. the invasion has failed and i take the responsibility. very different from what we so often see today. >> david ignatius, joseph nye has written a book about the american century. wrote it a few years ago. and there's so many debates, even about when the american century began. did it begin in the late 1800s? did it begin in 1917 when we joined forces world war i? or did it really begin in earnest on this day, when the united states liberated europe and set forth a new world order?
but this new world order was one that not only benefitted our allies, not only freed western europe from hunger and the scourge of communism. but also helped the united states of america immeasurably and again i believe is really what started the american century. >> i think you're right, joe, i think the american century emotionally began on this day, june 6, when the ramps of those landing craft went down and we saw the soldiers saw as they moved out toward omaha beach, this nightmare of fire. and walked into it. there were 85 machine gun nests on omaha beach i was reading yesterday. ready to gun down these soldiers as they came out of the craft. >> i think that image of american and allied bravery coming to the rescue of europe stayed in europe's mind through
the '40s and '50s and even into our time. that legacy is so precious. this idea of america, the generous, brave nation that comes to other people's rescue, even when it's not necessarily in america's interests, that's sadly what's being tarnished today. but the, you know we all grew up with those images of those brave soldiers and you want to hold on to them today, on the day of the anniversary. >> you certainly do. and anybody that has not been over to normandy, near or around the anniversary of this special day, take your children, take your grandchildren, it remains one of the most moving things that i've ever done. mike barnicle, it might surprise some, probably surprise many, i know it has throughout most of my life, that i was inspired to get into politics because of bobby kennedy.
bobby, his life, his story for anyone who even reads it today, for 16 or 17-year-old that wants to read about bobby kennedy today, like i did when i was a junior in high school. you find a man, an extraordinary man, who grew, who was flawed, and but the arc of his life story moved towards justice, moved towards freedom. it moved in the direction that america needed it to move. but the remarkable thing about bobby kennedy was that he believed that one man, one woman, could bend history, and he did. we saw it in indianapolis. the night martin luther king jr. died. and i was so moved by an article that you wrote, in the "daily beast." i want to read from your incredible column titled "what i saw on rfk's funeral train 50
years ago today." you write, they had all hoped to find a piece of the american dream. and now the train with the dead senator's casket clearly visible in the last slow rolling car seemed like one more fragment of the shattered hopes of that dream. a dream slowly being dismantled, crushed even, by the horrible reality of another assassination. and a daily death toll arriving from halfway around the world on the very day robert kennedy was pronounced dead in los angeles june 6th, 1968. on that day, 106 american soldiers and marines were killed in vietnam. it was time in america's life that seems now like distant sky writing, erased by the winds of past decades. those who have seemed to suffer the most often sacrificed the most. those who seemed to serve and protect the country in great
numbers often find that they are among the first to be put at risk when the economy collapses, a factory closes, an industry moves across the country or overseas. america in 1968, a america in 2018. same as it ever was. mike? >> yeah, joe, the, this day, june 6, for many reasons, you've mentioned d-day, we mentioned robert f. kennedy's death on this day. this is a far different country today than it was in 1968 and certainly a far different country than it was in 1944. there's one thread that remains the same. and that's the people who serve. the people who served in vietnam, the people who serve in iraq and afghanistan today, the people who came out of the higgins boats on the morning of june 6, 1944. they're all americans and
americans represent something to the world, unfortunately it's, it's being altered a bit by the current administration, but as david and michael just pointed out on june 6, 1944, those doors fell down on omaha beach, juneau beach, gold beach, sword beach, along the french coast and america arrived in europe to fight hitler. and we didn't seek treasure or territory, in what we left there, was the fact that we came to help. to help save europe and the world. and we left our dead, not only on omaha beach at the american cemetery above the bluffs of omaha beach, but throughout europe there are american cemeteries, and we don't remember that enough. and europe doesn't remember that enough. and michael beschloss might be able to back me up here. i really don't think we teach our own history to our children. we don't know -- >> totally agree. >> pardon me? >> i totally agree with you.
>> it's an incredible story. robert kennedy was an incredible story. he was a man who evolved in the course of his life and when he died, he had achieved, he had achieved such affection an such popularity, because unlike anybody else who has run for president since, he understood the meaning of loss. he understood vulnerability. and it made him a better man and a better politician. and it's quite a day, joe to sit here and remember all of this, a flood of memories. >> it really is. and david ignatius, though, just for younger americans, actually just for people that may be 50 years or less, i think it is important to remind people that when mike barn kill says that things are different today than they were in 1968, in many ways though still the same, a few, a
few quick points here. one, things were actually much worse in 1968. in many ways, our perspectives are so skewed by what's happened to us over the past 15 minutes that we lose perspective of just how horrific things were in 1968. not only the assassinations, but the riots, 100 young americans as mike said, coming home in caskets, cities, the day that rfk died, cities burning. chaos in the streets. chaos on college campuses. that's one thing to remember. but also, the economic challenges are in many ways the same. when i worked with joe kennedy jr. in renaming, working to rename the justice department after bobby kennedy, the thing several family members kept
asking me, and i thought they thought i might have insight because i was from the south, and it disturbed them. they always asked the question -- how could it be that the same people that were supporting my father after he died, then supported george wallace? well that's really a question that's tough to answer. but i have no doubt in my mind that a lot of those people that voted for barack obama in 2008 and voted for donald trump in 2016, were also kennedy supporters in 1968. >> kennedy tapped a yearning for a different country. there was something raw about everything about that year of 1968. but especially about rfk's campaign. this had been a man who had shown the toughest side of
politics. he was often described in his younger years as a ruthless man. in 1968 when he made the decision to come into the presidential praise, motivated by vietnam, by the civil rights struggles that were sweeping the country. by the way in which america in 1968 was coming apart, robert kennedy saw himself as a person who could pull the country back together. and you look at the footage. the campaign was only 81 days. rfk, the day he died i believe was only 42 years old. he was such a young man. but he was speaking in a language that was so raw. he was not great speeches, almost bleeding before the audience. talking about his values. about what the country was a moment that if you lived through it, you just never forget it today the kennedy family will be at therave site, at the eternal flame in arlington, gather the family to remember. and i hope we'll all cast an eye over there, also.
>> yes. and mika, you know, david talked about and others have talked about how bobby kennedy had a reputation in younger days of being ruthless. it's one thing that i kept hearing time and again when i would ask people about bobby kennedy's campaign, what was it like. and i would ask professors in college. and even liberal professors in college. sometimes would say the same thing. he was a ruthless son of a bitch. and he was a tough guy. but he was something that the democratic party so badly needs. he was a tough, tough liberal. and haven't been a lot of tough liberals like bobby kennedy since 1968. mario cuomo, when he was governor of new york, he was a tough liberal. and unfortunately for the democratic party, there have been too few tough liberals since bobby kennedy's death. and too much apologizing for the
values and the beliefs of that party. >> you look at what was fought for and what was lost back then. all that is being lost today, kind of whittling away before our eyes, almost subconsciously, it's frightening. we're going to hear more from mike barn kill and also tom brokaw coming up on this special day. marking two major historic events. now to this -- president trump hosted a celebration of the american flag yesterday at the white house. in place of a visit from super bowl champion philadelphia eagles. the entire ceremony including the singing of the national anthem and "god bless america" lasted about eight minutes. trump also gave a short speech where he mainly talked about the unemployment rate and the state of the economy. not sure he knows the words to the song, some were wondering,
nbc news has learned that trump called off the eagles' visit, because he didn't want the optics of having fewer than ten people show up. that correlates with a white house statement from yesterday, which says that the event was canceled because only a quote smaller group of players planned to attend and that a deal could not be struck to reschedule. that is significantly different from the president's explanation on monday, that it was because they quote disagree with their president because he insists that they proudly stand for the national an them. no eagle players took a knee during the an them last year. although yesterday i believe somebody did in the audience at the white house. here is press secretary sarah huckabee sanders, who had a really difficult press briefing yesterday. explaining the white house's position on the matter. >> this isn't about the national anthem, it's about so few players coming in the end, correct? >> certainly the president has been very clear what his position is in regards to the
national anthem. the eagles were the ones that committed to an event on fr. they submitted over 80 members agles franchise for the event alwith over 1,000 fans to participate. and it was the eagles organization that tried to change their commitment at the 11th hour. if this once again if this wasn't a political stunt therngs they wouldn't have planned to attend the event and then backed out. they made that change at the last minute, not the president. >> i don't even know what to say. joe, in response to that. i'm, alex doesn't want me to say anything. so maybe i ought to go to heidi. what do you think? it's just, she was asked a lot of questions yesterday, at the press briefing, we're going to get those sound bites, where reporters were asking her, how can we ask you questions, how can you say you're telling us the truth, when everything that you say turns out to be not true? >> that's a problem that sean spicer had and at some point when you're in that position,
you just have to move on. because you don't have credibility. that will happen with sarah huckabee sanders, too, either she will have to leave or because she loses all credibility. or she will leave on her own volition. but yesterday, heidi, what we saw was in donald trump, i will say, i am, mika and i have had debates on this. i am a conservative guy. i am a conservative white guy, born in the middle of the century. in middle america. so of course, when i hear the national anthem, i want everybody to stand up and i want everybody to salute. one thing i do not want, and i understand, i understand the protests as well, because mika and i, unlike donald trump and his enemies that he tries to create. we've sat and talked through it and we've worked through it, which is something that what a
remarkable gesture it would be if the president went to philadelphia and sat and talked to these players. and said, let's figure this out together. >> civil respectful dialogue. instead, weaponizes the national an them and cheapens the whole thing. >> that's the problem here. is that trump has made a political calculation, that having this culture war is good for him. he said he wants to use this, as a mid-term issue and he may continue to bring it up. so much so, he wants this that he's actually misrepresenting the team players here. none of these players actually kneeled throughout the season. and yet, he's using this as an excuse to cancel the meeting. they said that they whittled the numbers. joe lockhart was on television the other night saying you never assume that all the players are going to be coming when you host one of these events so that's a farce. the president himself said it was because they weren't
kneeling. so he's misrepresenting these players. and he wants this as a campaign issue. to your first comments -- if he really wanted to have a civil dialogue with these players, the white house would start with acknowledging why they're kneeling. as you saw in the press briefing yesterday, sarah huckabee sanders, they will not even acknowledge that the reason why these players are kneeling, is to protest police brutality. and the uneven treatment of minorities. no, they want the issue. they want to say that they're disrespectful, disloyal and unpatriotic. >> again, as a conservative you know, i spent my time in congress and i've spent my time on television, again defending law enforcement whenever possible. whenever i can. but mike barnicle, in america,
we have seen it time and again, and it angers the 95% of the police force that are good, that do their job that protect us all. there are incidents where, where black men are shot in the back. as we saw i believe in north charleston. and you see it in t stops. you see it day in and day out. and again, this is something that the law enforcement community is working hard to, to, to solve, a problem that they're working to solve and you can't even get donald trump to sit down with the players. and say, i understand there's a problem. i'm pro law enforcementors there's a problem. what's a good way for us to resolve this? where you stand at the an them, we find another way where it's voluntary. where if you want to protest in
other ways, you can do that. just to start the dialogue, that's what a leader would do. donald trump just doesn't have it in his dna, does he? >> he doesn't, joe. and heidi was absolutely right. everything, including saluting the flag, the "star-spangled banner" has to be about him. it has to revolve around him. whether than the reality of a real issue that involves race and deep feelings about the inequitable treatment of minorities in this country. but that's not enough for him. because it's not all about him. and to talk about this and the president's behavior yesterday with his forced patriotism, on a day like this, when we're talking about d-day, when we're talking about what happened in 1968, seems almost like a stain on the day. we show these pictures in a loop of the people standing by the rail lines, all down the east
coast to washington, d.c., as robert kennedy's funeral train passed, many of them saluting, many of them holding the american flag. many of them with their hand over their hearts, they were not forced to do this. they did it because they loved the country and they were caught in the spirit of the moment, the sadness and the tragedy and the sense of loss. they weren't forced to do this. there wasn't a president then who said you have to do this and unless you do this, you are unpatriotic. there was no one like that on the scene. but there is today. >> you know, mika, those men that stormed the beaches of normandy ois day, in 1944, for to hoist the american flag on the top of those cliffs and march towards berlin and hitler,
and the men that held the flag up on iwo jima and at incheon, cason, that donald trump told aides earlier this year he was going to use the american flag and the star-spangled banner as a political backdrop, as a political prop. because he believed it helped his party. as the mid terms were approaching. and that's exactly what happened yesterday. the weaponization of the american flag. and all the things that those men fought and died for on the beaches of normandy so many years ago. >> we're going to try really hard, i agree with you, mike, not to make it a stain on the day and remember this day with the voices like michael
beschloss's, yours, mike, tom brokaw, we'll be hearing from him today. it's not just a stain on the day, it's a stain on the presidency, on the office of the presidency, on the white house and all over the halls of congress. never seen anything like it in my lifetime. don't know how they do it. still ahead on "morning joe," it was a tricky question for democrats -- were too many candidates running in california? we're going to break down last night's primary results and whether the party boxed itself out. plus president trump likes to mention jeff session business name on twitter. but the same does not extend to white house aides, new reports say the president doesn't even want to hear the attorney general's name spoken allowed in his presence. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. whoooo.
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i have some very sad news for all of you, and i think sad news for all of our fellow citizens. and people who love peace all over the world. and that is that martin luther king jr. was shot and was killed tonight. what we need in the united states is not division. what we need in the united states is not hatred. what we need in the united states is not violence. and lawlessness. but is love and wisdom and compassion toward one another. and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black. >> wow, take that in, that was then-senator robert f. kennedy, delivering his statement on the assassination of martin luther king jr., just two months before his own assassination.
joining us now, georgetown associate law professor and a contributing editor of the "new republic" michael eric dyson. his new book "what truth sounds like: rfk, james bald win and our unfinished conversation about race in america." in it he writes, quote, by the time he perished, robert kennedy had become known as a racial healer, even a prophet of sorts and ironically a witness for the invisible poor. his martyrdom made him more in death than he had in life. his death brought him closer to an image of the racial ombudsman he had aspired to be. a meeting with a few angry black folk more than 50 years ago taught him a valuable lesson about listening to what you don't want to hear. it's a lesson we must learn today if we are to overcome our differences and embrace a future as bright as our dreams allow. and his dreams, he had those same dreams, joe.
>> yeah, he did. and michael, the story of bobby kennedy, we were talking earlier, about his growth. especially in those final two years of his life, extraordinary growth. he made those tough phone calls to southern governors, to integrate, as his brother's attorney general. he had a mixed record on race, he was hostile at least quietly hostile towards martin luther king for quite some time. but that did change, in this remarkable story. that you're telling was a start-up. that was the start of it. >> that's an excellent point, joe, a lot of people missed that. the evolution and the growth of the man. remember he was, if not a henchman, certainly a fearless advocate for and problem matically for mccarthy in the '50s, he evolved to become his brother's united states attorney general and there they were in an ham bif lent position, they
were putting on to the bench people like judge cox who used the "n" word when discussing black people in court and calling to governor vanderberg to get martin luther king jr. out of jail. a key call that was seen as a profound gesture of symbolic identification with african-american people. but also, telling him, i will not use federal authority to intervene on behalf of integration. while at the same time telling black leaders they were going to support civil rights. so it was very tough and difficult. and the meeting that senator, that then-attorney general kennedy had with jimmy baldwin. lorraine hansberry and lena horne and harry belafonte, was meant to be a showcase with the administration and auger well with them and get their kind of gratitude for what had been done. they lit him up in that meeting. he got angry, but then he calmed down. he did sic the fbi on them. he got the dossiers of several members in the room and the fbi
began to surveil him, but then he calmed down and he pressed his brother to give a speech that june about the moral meaning of civil rights. the people in that room said to him it's not just enough to talk about the political consequences of race, use your bully pulpit to galvanize america for its better angels. and from there he went on to really commit himself to the most poor people in this country. to the most vulnerable people. and to those who were african-american. >> mike, michael beschloss, there was so much in robert kennedy's life post november 22nd, 1963, that formed the man who was killed in california in june 6, 1968. and its origin, after the initial wave of grief had subsided, when robert kennedy was in the senate.
he undertook a tour of the south of west virginia and appalachian, for what was then called the senate select nutrition committee. and all of husband visibility, all of his sense of personal loss seemed to pour out of him from that moment on. i'm wondering what your thought is on the evolution of this man. as we watched it in progress on the news occurring every day. >> i think by all means, mike, he was a different person after his brother's assassination. as i think you know, one of his sisters was once asked decades later when do you think bobby kennedy got over his dressn about jfk's assassination. and she said he never did. and the best thing about him as a leader was that thises with not only his own depression, he did develop greater sensitivity to that kind of suffering in other people. and just as you're saying, he went on that tour, he saw poor
children who were starving in america, who were the same age as his own children. and he went home and told his own children at hickory hill about what he had seen and tried to do something about it. the other thing is, we talk about a tough guy he was, 1968, i think we have to also remember one thing -- and that was, it was a very courageous thing for him to run for president. this was not ambitious, or just ambition. and he was courageous in two ways, one was, as i think you would agree, mike, and joe and mika perhaps come on this, too, 1968, was very hard for an insurgent to run against a president, lyndon johnson or a vice president, hubert humphrey, supported by johnson. the overwhelming number of delegates were establishment delegates. lyndon johnson would have moved heaven and earth to keep robert kennedy from many nominated at that convention in august. and he knew it, he ran anybody. and the other thing is that he
was warned if you run for president, you will be doing so at great physical risk. which of course in the end cost him his life. >> to this david ignatius, i want to ask michael eric dyson a question. michael, your book is about the unfinished conversation on race. that involves robert kennedy. involves all of us, really. i want to ask you, if we can imagine this remarkable man alive today, and joining that conversation on race, in 2018, what would that conversation be today? >> the first thing he would do would be listen. unlike contemporary leaders and the present potus this man had a yen, a yearning, a desire to hear the other side. not just pro forma, not just for the sake of argument, but to engage in a listening tour across this country. not only the south, but up north
as well. he went to bedford stuyvesant, after martin luther king jr.'s murder in atlanta, he even met with many of his aides and the fresh aftermath of an astonishing grief. the epic tides of suffering that had poured across black america. he sat there, silently, listening. and sometimes he took a beating. i mean those people were very angry, they were full of rage. they had righteous indignation against the limits of injustice that had been imposed, and he took it there as a symbol of an american government. and with patience and kindness, he learned. he began to address those issues. he would first of all listen and then he would encourage us to engage in an explicit dialogue that told the truth. he would not be reductive about patriotism the way this president is. only in a fascist country or in a dictatorial rule would the military by itself determine the legitimate outlines of what democracy is. the military is there to
reinforce the values of the culture. so when our present president says, well, you're disrespecting the military or the flag ohe an them when you protest, bobby kennedy had a much different vision of are democracy and a different sense of patriotism and he would have encourageds to listen. he would have gone to those nfl players and said i understand what you're speaking about. it's necessary to address the fact that unarmed black people are being murdered in this country. it's necessary to address criminal justice reform. and found a way to forge a connection between those on the one side of the divide and those on the other. that's the kind of healing that we could talk about. >> and that is what truth sounds like. the new book is "what truth sounds like." michael eric dyson. thank you so much for being on with us today. still ahead, president trump yesterday blamed attorney general jeff sessions for the ongoing russia probe. and his anger apparently doesn't stop there. we'll have that, "morning joe"
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is it just simply to remind the attorney general that he's really p.o..ed at him? is he trying to get him to quit? is he trying to emasculate him? what is the president trying to do? >> the president has made his position on this extremely clear and i don't have anything to add beyond that. >> he is so mad at jeff sessions, still, he's in recent weeks, he has stopped using sessions' name, he won't say it senior aide members, have copied that. saying "him" or "attorney general." >> white house reporter jonathan lemere, president trump's anger at jeff sessions has made even speaking the name jeff sessions in the president's presence, forbidden. citing a person familiar with the exchange, the a.p. cites a trip aboard air force base, when an aide mentioned sessions, the president abruptly ended the
conversation and unmuted the television in his office, which was broadcasting fox news, dismissing the staffer to resume watching cable tv. as the president slings accusations of corruption and malfeasance at the justice department, "the wall street journal" reports that the trump administration has put its search for a new associate attorney general on hold. people familiar with the matter tell the "journal" that three candidates have declined to consider the justice department's number three position. since rachel brand resigned four months ago. by "the wall street journal's" count, about half of the top 20 jobs in the department are lacking senate confirmed or permanent appointments. and this can be mirrored even worse at the state department. joe? >> it really can, david ignatius, first of all i've got to comment it sounds like donald trump is playing the role of pharaoh in "the ten
commandments" no one shall mention the name "moses" in my presence. you look at all of those positions not being filled in the justice department. the assistant attorney general, head of the criminal division, head of the civil rights division. head of the civil division. you can go -- u.s. marshal, the bureau of prisons, the d.e.a., the pardon attorney. president trump doesn't want a pardon attorney, because he would be told that his views on pardon are inappropriate. david this is the same problem that, that public servants in the state department are facing. it is hard to run a government effectively. it is hard to enforce the laws of this country if you don't have the leaders in place there in donald trump doesn't have them there. >> we're heading toward a hollowed-out federal government. the justice department numbers that you just cite reasonable doubt shocking. these are absolutely crucial line positions that they are the
way that we get our business done as a country. we continue with civil processes, criminal processes. these are not things you just kind of wait to fill when you have a chance. talking to young foreign service officers heading out to dangerous a i signments, her way to afghanistan, you know, it's very tough to take on these assignments these days in a department that has had so many vacancies. let's hope that mike pompeo, the new secretary, sees this problem and addresses it. i have a feeling this will come cabinet agency by agency. you won't wait for the white house to fill vacancies. individual secretaries have to do it. it's a real problem with some of these agencies. >> and it can impact long-standing relationships and long-standing projects, heidi. it's not just, wow, he's not filling the jobs. that's amazing. these jobs are really important.
we need them. and it could be a grand plan or a plan he is stumbling into, just sort of bumbling along but undermining the institutions of our democracy while he's at it? >> i think this is a really important illustration of the fact that when trump was elected on the campaign slogan drain the swamp, we didn't really understand what that meant. now we understand what that means. it means, leaving vacant a lot of these very important civil service jobs, people who come to washington in order to serve their country, in order to practice their profession and really actually not make that much money doing it. in favor of a lot of the corporate lobbyists who are now populating many of these agencies. you can go down the list whether it's epa or the department of education with betsy devos bringing in a lot of these for-profit school advisers. that is what's happening.
draining the swamp means hallowing out these institutions. >> listen, it's a good thing the special counsel is well staffed with already 19 witches. but the epa, you mentioned that, still ahead on "morning joe," he spent 43,000 on a soundproof phone booth. he lived in a capitol hill condo owned by a lobbyist. he spent thousandsover first-class travel and those are a few of the ethical controversies epa chief scott pruitt is facing after using your money, taxpayer money. now there's a new scandal involving -- how do i say it right? chick-fil-a. we'll explain ahead. you like dinosaurs? so do i. hey blue. i brought you something. okay. we're getting out of here.
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about d-day. on the 10th anniversary of d-day, 1954, guess who was president? it was dwight eisenhower, who had been supreme commander and the hero of d-day. so you go back in history. how did eisenhower spend the day? did he put on a big show at the white house soaking in public adulation for the great thing he had done in 1944? no. he spent the day at camp david. eisenhower was out of sight. he said this day is about the americans who made sacrifices and gave their lives, not about me. >> michael, thank you. thanks for being on this morning. >> my pleasure. thank you, mika. still ahead this morning, it was just two days ago that president trump said he had the absolute power to pardon himself. now he's reportedly become fixated on his ability to issue pardons. we have the latest reporting on this. plus, steve kornacki will break down his biggest take
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♪ lots to get to. welcome back to "morning joe." top of the hour here. it's wednesday, june 6th. a big day. my daughter's birthday, by the way, carly, happy birthday. >> happy birthday, carly. >> hurricane carly. with us, msnbc contributor, mike barnacle. heidi przybyla. columnist and associate editor for the washington post david ignatius and joining the conversation peter baker who had a very interesting exchange with sarah sanders yesterday at the white house and washington bureau chief for "usa today" susan page is with us. joe, you had a big night last night. he's a baseball coach to these kids who really listen to him. >> big night. >> and almost won the playoffs.
almost. >> almost. we had a playoff game last night. last game for the mets. look at these kids, mike barnacle. every one making eye contact with their coach. mika took that picture several weeks ago she took that picture and you can bring it down now for anybody coaching 9, 10-year-old, 11-year-old boys, you know you feel my pain. >> he was intense. >> no. they were such a great -- mike, i've coached high school football couple years and i've coached a lot of baseball, but there's something about seeing kids at this age when they're 9 years old, 10 years old and the difference from the beginning of the season to the end of the season how well they do and how far they come along. it's really exciting. >> yeah. and one of the tricks is -- and i'm sure you were on to this is you have to make sure that 9 and 10-year-olds realize that it's okay to fail. you can strike out. you can get thrown out trying to steal second base. it's called a mistake. they call it an error sometimes
when you make a mistake in the field, but it's okay to fail. you just have to win the game. >> yeah. i had a pitcher -- exactly had a pitcher a couple games ago that i went out to talk to that wasn't throwing strikes. and i went out and talked to him. i came back and the coaches said -- because he threw one strike after another right after another. what did you tell him? i told him to relax. it didn't matter at the end of the day. just do his best and have fun. that's what i told him. but i actually had told the coach, though -- that's what i told the player. the coach asked and i said -- what did you say to him? i told him if he didn't throw strikes i was going to make his life a living and breathing hell, which is exactly the last thing that you tell these kids. it's learn how to do it. i want to give a quick shoutout, though, miles, tyler, gus, jack, kay, ryan, trey, william, ryan
h. >> what about jack? >> jack. i'll do it again. charlie and tyler robert gus michael ryan ryan miles trey william, jack and jack. >> it was a heck of a season for the mets. it was heart breaking. bill quick. they were ahead 7-3 in the last inning. the giants came background and tied them 7-7. then we went up 3 or 4 runs. and just couldn't hold on, but what fun. >> yeah. it's the game of life. heidi has a little one, too. >> try the 4-year-olds. they're fun. the 4-year-olds. see the hat doesn't even fit. they all run the bases. there's no losing. >> no losing. >> you hit the ball on a tee and then you get to run, get a home run. it's fun. >> let me tell you, where i'm from, there is losing and there is winning. and we lost last night and we
were upset about it but happy. those kids i was so proud of the kids. >> you did a great job. very intense. okay. so i'm going to start off this hour -- we can go to peter baker, but joe i want to get your take on this as well. this is sarah huckabee sanders answering questions about her credibility. she throws it back at the media ying the media is not very credibility. but these questions came up yesterday in the briefing because so much has come out of the podium -- come out from her mouth that has turned out to not be true, especially the answer that she gave about the letter that was written about the meeting at trump tower. and i guess members of the press felt it was finally time to ask whether she really is someone who should be believed. take a look. >> i don't know how many times i have to address this, i work every single day to give you accurate and up-to-date
information and i'm going to continue to do that. frankly, i think my credibility is probably higher than the media's. and i think in large part that's because you guys spend more of your time focussed on attacking the president instead of reporting the news. i think that if you spent a little bit more time reporting the news instead of trying to tear me down, you might actually see that we're working hard trying to provide you good information and trying to provide that same good information to the american people. >> so, there were a lot of questions to her, joe, like why should we believe you when everything that you say or so much of import that you have to say from that podium turns out not to be true. and she just kept turning around on the media. >> right. >> here is the problem. we're not covering negative stories about them. we're covering the story about the president lying and then those lies being funneled through her podium. and at what point does the press secretary and that whole briefing become completely null
and void? because it is not credibility on a daily basis, on a daily basis they get lies from the podium. >> i get your point. get your point, mika. we have your point. and you know, the fact is -- first of all, let's talk facts. you can look at every poll that's been out on whether more americans trust the media or trust the president of the united states. and even fox news polls show by a wide margin more americans trust abc, cbs, nbc, "the new york times" "the washington post" than the president of the united states. and yes, yesterday the white house press core was stuff on them, but we showed somebody from fox news yesterday pushing sarah huckabee sanders. and this tweet from brit hume has been very tough on trump critics from time to time and tough on mueller's probe.
brit tweets yesterday no way around the fact that trump team lied. no way around the fact that trump's team lied when they said potus had nothing to do with the statement on the trump tower meeting. now they acknowledge that he dictated the statement. peter baker, there's one story after another story after another story that it does not take a pulitzer prize winning columnist or a new york times journalist to just stack one tweet up against another or one statement against the other to see as brit hume was saying yesterday that the white house is lying. >> well, you know, it's funny. i was thinking about this this morning. sarah sanders is my 12th white house press secretary. all the press secretaries i've seen in the past when -- they got stuff wrong from time to time but when they did it was
important and they understood it was important because the credibility of what is put out at that podium is as important to a white house as what they do. you showed that clip of sarah sanders is a trumpian response. yeah, i got it wrong or i was misinformed. instead attacking the people who are asking the question. she did get caught in a statement that was flatly not true. what we don't know, of course, is did she know it was not true when she said it or provided misinformation that she passed along. you suspect the later. she doesn't want to admit it. that leaves her in a very awkward position. it's certainly not any position the press secretary to be in. she's chosen to be there. but sympathy only goes so far. when you're asked to put that out on camera on a daily basis. >> well, you know, we've all
seen my gosh susan page, you were there during the clinton administration as was peter as was i. and in different positions. but you saw time and again the clinton administration. we all did. where they told lies. they told half truths. bill clinton shaded the truth with great regularity. but still, when you had mike mccurry go up behind that podium, mike mccurry was always careful to defend the president as much as he could but also to make sure that he maintained credibility with a very hostile and very skeptical white house press core. >> yeah. mike had a great phrase which was his job was to tell the truth slowly. so he didn't always tell you everything he knew but you could be pretty confident that what he told you was going to be correct. and in that way i think
spokesman and spokeswoman for the president are very much like the reporters who cover them in that credibility is really your prime asset. it really is what you bring to the table. and so reporters try very hard to be accurate in everything they write. if they make a mistake, we try to correct it and try to figure out why we made a mistake and not make it again. that is something we forgive spokesmen when they admit their own esmist as long as we feel like they're being honest. there are real consequences als when a white house press secretary does not have credibility. it makes things tougher down the road when the white house press secretary may be saying something that is absolutely correct but people cannot be confident that it is. >> yep. turning now to the latest in president trump's trade war with america's closest allies. yesterday mexico hit back imposing stiff tariffs on up to 25% of american pork, steel, cheese, apples, potatoes, bourbon, motor boats and other goods worth about $3 billion a
year. the move will specifically hit the u.s. pork industry hard with a 10% tariff on pork shoulder and legs that will rise to 20% by july 5th. mexico's the second largest market for u.s. pork exports, worth about a billion dollars a year and according to an estimate from the iowa farm bureau, the tariffs could cost u.s. pork farmers $100 million annually. and a top official at the iowa farm bureau tells nbc news that the on going trade issues have taken pork prices from being slightly profitable to a point where producers are now losing money. meanwhile, canada is set to impose its own stiff tariffs on u.s. goods starting on july 1st. david ignatius, your latest column in the washington post entitled trump's tariffs give democrats a big opportunity. explain that for us. >> so, i've been struck by the way in which some leading republican voices starting with
the coke brothers on monday, "the wall street journal" editorial page late last week, speaker ryan have come out strongly against the president's tariffs on steel and aluminum. these tariffs imposed against some of our closest allies. and these important, conservative voices in the republican party have said this is wrong, mr. president. you're making a mistake. this isn't good for the economy. it isn't good for the party. meanwhile, we're hearing almost nothing from democrats, as if the democrats are thinking they're going to do the #metoo thing along with president trump with the tariffs, outbid him. i think that's really too bad. republican voices arguing for free and fair trade here are right. and i hope the democrats will have a trade policy that looks forward to the jobs of the
future, not backwards to protecting jobs that are already diminishing. >> peter baker, we have already heard from prime minister trudeau of canada sending a message, or trying to send a message to the white house about the tariffs that have been imposed or in the process of being imposed. we heard a gaggle of voices from european nations about the harm, the damage it's doing to the relationship with the united states as well as the economic underpinnings of the tariffs. so my question to you is within the white house, tariff policy, which is global, which has an immediate impact globally and here domestically, how many people are in on forming this tariff policy, and who is in charge? >> well, that's a great question. in fact what you see right now is a big split inside the administration. even with gary kohn gone he left because of a fight over tariffs partly, you still have a resistance between the peter navarro and robert lighthizer the trade officials who are
advancing the president's views on tariffs and steve mnuchin, for instance the treasury secretary on the other side at one point saying we're going to put the trade war on hold only to find it's back on again. you have a conventional orthodox republican view that free trade is good, sort of fighting a losing battle in effect against the more protectionist wing of the white house which i think has the president's sympathy. the president is more sympathetic to that point of view. you mentioned justin trudeau. the timing is extraordinary. on friday, the president of the united states is going to fly to canada of all places where he is going to meet not just with justin trudeau but all leaders of the g7 nations, several of whom he just put these tariffs on. imagine what that meeting will be like. now he will go having imposed these tariffs on our friends. i talked to european officials the other day, they're referring to the g6 plus one. imagine the last time america was so on the outs in such a forum like this. >> so is it fair to say that the
tariffs, when brought down to their core, is basically donald j. trump's view of global economic policy? >> yeah, absolutely. this is one of the consistent things. we always talk about president trump not really having an ideological core, being particularly firm about one policy or another. this is something actually that he's been very consistent on going back to the '80s. his conviction that america has been shafted by its allies and adversaries that every trade deal we have ever done has been bad and he could do better. so far we haven't seen that. he's talked a lot about being a great deal maker. so far there has not been any great trade deals to replace the ones that are so flawed. it's still early. maybe he'll get there. he's talking about doing individual deals with canada and mexico because of the talks he's been doing to reup this three-way pact seem to have faltered. >> heidi? >> susan, nice to see you. i was up on the hill yesterday
and saw senator corker and senator toomey. they have every intention to push back hard on the tariff policy and what the president is doing to cut a deal with zte. do you think we're seeing some glimmers of republican party starting to unit and push back against this president's policies when it comes to what they see really as a real threat to the economic benefits, for instance, of the tax cuts? >> well, i would say no. i would say we do not see glimmers of republicans who are actually maintaining -- still in the form running for re-election, for instance, on the november ballot and pushing back against president trump on most of it. but i do think what we see is republican nervousness that president trump is putting at risk their biggest asset which is this economy which is just continues to be in the sweet sp wreunemployment is low, inflation isn't a problem, wages just beginning to tick up a bit. that is the calling card for republicans and for the president in going to american voters. and there is concern that these
trade wars that are beginning to percolate with our friends are going to really put this u.s. economy at some risk. >> all right. thank you guys so much. mika, i was just looking through tweets really quickly trying to find a quote on rfk and i came across one that reminded me of sad news out of new york yesterday. kate spade -- >> incredible. >> 55 years old, a fashion icon, this is -- was a remarkable american success story, just remarkable. she sadly passed away yesterday in new york. and going to actually bring up brit hume again. brit had a quote about kate spade. quoted an anonymous statement we've all heard but it is so true. quote, every one you meet is
fighting a battle you know nothing about. be kind. a reminder to me, a reminder to you, a reminder to all of us that everyone is always fighting a battle that we node nothing about. and we just got to do a better job, all of us, of being kind. >> yeah. >> doesn't mean that we don't fight for what we believe in. doesn't mean we don't call balls and strikes. but when ever possible, don't make it personal and stay kind. >> yeah. really well said. perfectly put. it was such a great loss. she was such a talent and a mother of a little girl. still ahead on "morning joe," there are important results from last night's primary races across the country. steve kornacki will break down those story lines. plus, "the washington post" robert costa is here with his new reporting on trump's apparent fixation on pardons.
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voters in eight states went to the polls yesterday to make their picks ahead of november's election. joining us now, we have national political correspondent for nbc news and msnbc steve kornacki, political reporter for the washington post and moderator of "washington week" on pbs and msnbc political analyst robert costa. good to have you on board. we could get a look of signs of what's to come looking at the outcomes of the elections. maybe too many dems are jumping in the game times we need one, good one. >> definitely maybe. steve kornacki, the results had something for everybody last night. there was a lot of fear and loathing in democratic circles that democratic candidates would be locked out of races. too many were running. that doesn't look like it's going to happen. it might happen in one race, probably not. but also democrats assumption
that they're going to automatically pick up seats in california that hillary clinton won. also, proven not to be the case in one district in particular, a republican looking very strong and even dana roar balker in his district, that one is going to be tight. >> yeah. look, you're right. the headline -- it doesn't look like there will be -- there were three going into yesterday. three potentially flipped districts for democrats where they were at risk of being locked out. the returns started coming out, a fourth one emerged up in the modesto area. the democrats will get on the ballot in all of those. the other wild card we should say in all this, it's california. votes are still coming in right now. they were postmarked yesterday and received by friday, they still count. it's still going to be a number of days maybe even weeks until you get a final read here on exactly how many were voting democrat, how many were voting republicans in these districts.
you're right, i can look at the 49th district, where darrell isa, republican not running again, premier battleground district this fall, looking at the democrat/republican vote there, there's very good news for democrats. the 21st district, a republican incumbent running another target, another clinton district. good news for the republicans in terms of the democrat/republican split. you're right. very much, look, the democrats think there are seven districts in california that they can flip that clinton won that republicans represent. some of them they got some very encouraging signs last night, some of them maybe not as much. but they have a candidate in all of them at least. >> steve, california is like three or four different states with huge economy. did anything that came out of california surprise you? >> yeah. i think there was -- we talk about the shutout of democrats in the house race. there was the potential also for republicans to be shut out of the governor's race in california. now, we're looking ahead to the fall in california. we don't expect republicans going to get elected governor there, but there was a lot of talk that the problems for the republican party were so severe
statewide in california that they wouldn't be able to field a candidate for governor. you see the results up there. john cox sort of at the end of the this race, republicans got behind him and said, you know what, if we want to compete in a lot of these house races we need somebody at the top of the ticket. let's make sure we don't get shut out there. again, the asterisk on all of this is a lot of votes will still be counted. that 26% may come down and may take a while. cox certainly in the numbers we're seeing here. aening stroer showing in the governor's race for the republicans than we thought. >> what are the take aways from the progressive resistance. it looks like in several of these districts democratic primary voters actually voted strategically. there was poll interviews with folks who said, look, i preferred the more progressive candidate but i understand that we've got to win this thing, so i'm going to vote for the party favorite, in this case we saw folks like applegate, like harley ruda who came to the floor.
we're also seeing, for example, the hand picked candidates in other areas of the country by bernie sanders are not winning. do you see any national implications here? >> it's so interesting. just there's the question in california of party strength, right? if the democrat party, republican party for that matter, are the losing control of their own process? you're handed a system like this where every voter from every party that shows up to the polls gets the same ballot and top two get through. you saw democrats do apparently in california was coordinate their signals enough to get through in some cases the candidate they absolutely wanted to have on the ballot or in other cases zwrojust to make su they got a candidate through. california is such a unique state. you have to take it on its own. this dana roarbacher district. he comes in first. democrats came in there and spent a fortune trying to tamp
down scott baugh and now looks like he's going to finish fourth. you have to get your signal straight on your own side and do a little chaos on the other side as well. democrats it looks like they found just the right combination of that. >> well -- >> bob costa, again, you look at the numbers. there are some things for republicans to look at and be a bit hopeful they can save some of those seats that hillary clinton won in '16 and they're holding right now. it's interesting. i'm wondering what you're picking up from republican candidates out there. the first 15, 16 months of donald trump it's been fear and loathing in one special election after another special election. there were some out of missouri very bsad new for republicans. but also the have been some races, there have been some results that suggest it's just not going to be as much of a slam dunk for democrats this fall as many people have been predicting for the past year.
>> when you look at the california gubernatorial race, you see that two democrats did not emerge out of this jungle primary, rock john cox was able to make it through will be in the general election against the lieutenant governor the democrat. and john cox's message is something to pay attention to, even in california the republican multimillionaire businessman there is running as a pro trump republican. you saw this across races last night. there's not a separation that's occurring between many of these republican candidates even in swing states or blue states. they're sticking with president trump. they could pay a cost for that, of course, in november if voters sour even further on the president in the polls. for now because of the tax cut and really not another strategy at play, they are sticking with the president. you saw that last night. >> all right. bob costa, you also have reporting on trump's fixation with pardons. is it a fixation that we think
is going to continue in the months ahead? who is he pardoning? >> well, mika, when you look at not just the recent pardons he has made and issued, he's also looking seriously at the recommendation of kim kardashian, the actress and celebrity, about a woman who has a life sentence for drug crimes. and he is really being persuaded by people coming to him, not the usual department of justice or white house counsel process, this is causing tension inside of the white house reporting with my colleagues. a lot of people wonder is this assertion of executive power appropriate if people are not complaining publicly, but they see the president seizing on pardons as a way to underscore his own power but also send a signal to people involved in the mueller investigation that should things unfold in a certain way, he would have the power to pardon people and he's sending that message to them. >> david ignatius, maybe even himself? >> well, i wanted to ask bob costa about that. the president talked about
pardoning himself. he's made through a memo in january extraordinary assertion of executive power. just give us a snapshot of what this white house seems to feel like right now. sometimes we've had a chaotic white house, terrible internal turmoil. what's it feel like now to you? >> with regard to the pardons and how they feel, they think it's fanciful at this moment to think about the president pardoning himself. he's trying to consider whether to do an interview as a witness for the mueller probe. he's not a target of the investigation. but talking to former house speaker newt gingrich last night, he was pretty frank. he said, look, the president is sending a signal to everyone involved, stay cool with mueller. don't say much. if you get in trouble, the president can come and help you out. >> uh-huh. >> there's a lot of candor around this president about what's going on. they're going to have a public war against mueller and his credibility in the coming months. remember, the most important thing we may see politically this year for this
administration and they know it is that coming report from mueller to rod rosenstein about the president's conduct. that could come this summer or this fall. and that could be an explosive document. that's what's really on their minds when you talk to them. >> so robert, on the element of the presidential pardons. and i forget when he said it, whether it was during the course of the campaign or as a sitting president, and i forget what he was referencing, but he at one point said only i can fix this. >> yep. >> when he looks at the pardons, is it an only i can do this and that's why he seems to enjoy it so much? >> he is someone who is such an outsider in american politics, he is scleerly frustrated with congress, his aides tell us. he is someone who sees the presidency, it's full of fences and limitations but with pardon power, he feels like he can truly insert his influence. he relishes it. this is something that presidents are wary about doing
too much, especially early in their first term, using pardoning power, but he has grabbed on to the idea that this is his way he can make his imprint on many different cases regardless of the political consequence. >> you know, mika, the president of the united states and all those around him talking brashly about all the things they can do, suggesting they're the ones that will be playing hardball against robert mueller. the fact is they're horrified. they know this report is coming in the fall. they know more indictments are coming. they know that things are going to be exposed that they never imagined would be exposed during the campaign. so once again donald trump is trying to appear strong when he knows he's extraordinarily weak. you look again this guy playing -- he's got a busted straight. so he comes out and talks about pardoning himself. he can't. the justice department said he can't do that.
he's talked about the power of killing justice department investigations that are investigating him and those around him. good luck. richard nixon tried it. he was driven from office. even republicans suggested on capitol hill that if he tries to end this investigation it will be grounds for impeachment. he will be driven from office. this is a president that doesn't have the power that he thinks he has and let me just say to those people that support donald trump, that oppose donald trump, doesn't matter where you are politically, understand this. long before anybody in the trump administration or in the national media started talking about donald trump trying to send signals to pardon people so they wouldn't cooperate with the robert mueller investigation, robert mueller already played that out. he's already figured that out. and if there are not federal
crimes that are levelled at all these people, there will be state crimes. and for those people that are watching this show thinking that if they cooperate with donald trump then they obstruct the investigation and don't tell robert mueller the truth, know this, you will be tried in state court. you will most likely be convicted in a state court. and there already nobody that can pardon you from your time in jail in a ste court. so, good luck with that. >> all for donald trump. all for trump. >> good luck with that. go ahead and lie to robert mueller. and ask rick gates how that ends up for you. this does not get better. i'm not doing anything but a public service for you to let you know there is no escape from justice. this is still the united states of america.
and whether you believe it or not, even in the age of donald trump, the short, sad, sorry reign of donald trump, in america, no man is above the law. >> no. and all those witches they have in the witch hunt, they're going to have so much to say in sharing time. robert costa, thank you for your reporting. steve kornacki, stay with us if you can. still ahead, it is illegal to use office for public or private gain. has anyone told that to scott pruitt? he might want to get the memo. new details on the epa chiefs latest controversy coming up on "morning joe."
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sierra club -- >> hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on. >> this is the place we go to eat. >> of all the scandals he has had, this is the tastiest of them. but just this past week, you have pruitt trying to get a chick-fil-a -- >> franchise. >> business for his wife. >> yeah, yeah, yeah. >> wants to get his wife a job with chick-fil-a. and then earlier this week, mika, it came out that he had his assistants, people in the government payroll, calling the trump organization to get used mattresses. >> trump mattresses. that's really weird and something gross about that actually. >> used trump mattresses. and he wanted to get a good deal. >> was he going to get one of those special lights and scan it over the mattress to see how
many spots showed up. like what? why would he want a used trump mattress? my question is not that unusual given the fact that his request is extremely unusual. >> okay, okay, okay. >> what? >> well. >> why would you want a used trump mattress? and where from? exactly what hotel? heidi is really grossed out. >> i don't know, mika. but why don't we continue reading and pretend you didn't say what you just said. go. >> why? it's a good question. "the washington post" reported that while pruitt never succeeded in speaking with chick-fil-a's ceo dan cathy, directly, he did talk to someone in the company's legal department about the potential opportunity for marilyn pruitt, but the company's vice president of public relations told the paper ms. pruitt never completed the application to become a
franchisee. neither chick-fil-a or the epa responded to our request for comment from nbc. speaking yesterday at an energy policy forum republican senator joanie ernst of iowa accused scott pruitt of misusing his office. another republican tried to defend pruitt yesterday, why, he admitted there may be something to the accusations against his friend. take a look. >> the problem is i've known him for so long and i just can't see him doing something like that. but nonetheless, there's a lot of smoke and there may be some fire. >> well, that was fair. >> that's from a long-time -- heidi, that's from a long-time friend. and i understand he's probably known him for a very long time. and i think he and a lot of other people are very surprised, even people that supported him
in oklahoma, very surprised by the way he's reacted to the power he's been given in washington. it is about as bush league as anything i've ever seen. >> joe, i want to say something in defense of pruitt here. i think pruitt just missed orientation day. because on orientation day you learn ethics 101, which is that you cannot use your public position for private, personal gain. because in this case, it's so brazen he had to miss that very important lesson, joe, to not know better. he himself calling directly or e-mailing directly. look, there's a lot of this swampy-type behavior that happens at the margins. even it could be arguable that his wife approaching chick-fil-a would violate ethics laws. but in this case, he's making a direct appeal. and this is just one of a number -- this is the latest list and poor tom price. he took one flight. >> yeah. >> looking on what's happening
with pruitt, got multiple congressional investigators looking into his conduct. just another one to add to the pile. >> yeah. and steve kornacki, i don't really care again whether donald trump can get away with this stuff or not. i know people like scott pruitt, mere mortals can't get away with it, just like with what bill clinton got away with, other politicians couldn't get away with when he was in the white house, but these are just absolutely devastating. you take what he's done, what price did. just go down the list. those are some devastating with all the bizarre somethings that zinky has done, weird bizarre trappings of power. those are devastating 30-second ads not only 2018 but in 2020. and at least i found, i don't know about you, those seem to be the type of ads that stick. >> certainly and it has the potential to.
i also think when you start having the criticism, a little bit of a different dynamic here than we're used to with the typical eruption with this administration you have the media highlighting, democrats jumping on. it's republicans right now. that's joanie ernst, one of the most conservative republicans in the senate. he's not entirely comfortable it seems there signing up for the defense of pruitt on this one. so i think when the criticism starts coming from within the party and you don't always see that with republicans in the case of the trump administration and certainly the president himself, but when you start seeing it in this case, i think the story takes on different dimensions. >> steve kornacki, thank you very much. still ahead, president trump has lashed out at attorney general jeff sessions multiple times on twitter, and his anger has reportedly been noticeable inside the white house as well. we have those details coming up on "morning joe."
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joining us now from capitol hill is democratic senator tina smith, who was appointed to her seat in minnesota earlier this year and will face voters in a november special election to fill out former senator al franken's term. welcome. good to have you on the show this morning. >> thanks so much. it is great to be with you. >> i want to talk a little bit about your maiden speech but also a lot has happened pertaining to women, their place in the workplace, and the me too movement certainly touches you and how you got to where you are. we've heard what's no longer acceptable, for sure, in the workplace. but what do you think our responsibility is moving forward? women. >> i think that our responsibility is to step in and speak up for ourselves. what i said yesterday in my speech i believe so strongly. women -- things go better when
women are involved in their community and in their politics. i talked about how i was a 22nd woman to be -- to come to the united states senate. now there are 23 of us. what my speech was about is how when women are involved, we get better results when it comes to child care and economic opportunity, health care. all of those things matter to women but they also matter to men and families. and that's what i'm really working on here in the senate. >> and getting women to be inspired to use their voices in real time, in the moment. >> absolutely. absolutely. >> not sort of wasting until later. there's always sort of that meeting after the meeting that women wait for. there are so many meetings. >> if you finish your job and you see that all the guys go in a corner, that means that you're not in the real meeting. >> that is correct. and visa versa. >> congresswoman, are you seeing that this movement is enduring in terms of change -- or
senator, pardon me -- in terms of changing the culture on capitol hill? there was some skepticism that this would be a flash in the pan, that the culture is so entrenched up there in terms of the power differential between lawmakers and chiefs of staff and often the age difference with interns. are you seeing concrete examples of a real shift in the culture? >> i think it is a work in progress and that we all have to keep pushing on it. i'm very focused on what's going on here in congress for not only women who are serving but also women who are working as staffers. but i'm also really focused on women, the millions of women who are in workplaces all over this country who are experiencining sexual harassment and even abuse in their workplace, but the difference is their abuse is not happening from a man who's famous, so nobody even notices it. those women deserve a real
voice, too. that's what i'm focused on that. >> senator, one of the most loathsome aspects of american politics pays no attention to gender. and that's fund-raising. so you have a primary campaign coming up in august, followed by, if you win that, you'll have a general election in november. that's just to complete the rest of the term, al franken's term. you'll be running again immediately. how much time in your day, in your week -- average -- do you spend having to raise money? >> raising money for these campaigns is a big task. i think there is too much money in politics and i am a big supporter of some of the bills that are out there right now that would help to reduce the influence of money and politics and reduce the need that we all have to raise so much money. i spend time fund-raising, there is no doubt about it. but one of the things that in my campaign is -- kind of gives me hope is that i've got a lot of
small donors -- thousands and thousands and thousands of small donors -- that are supporting this campaign and stepping up. the average contribution that i have is i think a little under $100. and so when you see that kind of grassroots support, it gives me a lot of hope. so i'm not complaining about that part of it. i'm just grateful to have that support. it is a double challenge, i have to admit, to be in the senate and run for the senate at the same time. but that's the way it is. >> do you hear from constituents about al franken? and what do they say? and how do you navigate that? >> yeah. well, al is a friend of mine. i've known him for a long time. al was a great leader in minnesota. he was a champion for a lot of causes that i care a lot about. let's talk about -- he was a champion for a lot of issues that matter to women. minnesotans -- this is how i feel -- i think also understand al had a really tough choice to make. he made the best decision that he could for himself and minnesota. i think minnesotans are now looking to see who can carry on
kind of the strong voice for families in minnesota and that's what i'm totally focused on. >> senator tina smith, thank you very much. good to have you on the show. welcome. >> thanks. i look forward to talking with you again. still ahead, we're remembering two significant moments that happened on this day in history. d day and the assassination of robert f kennedy. we speak with nbc news presidential historian michael beschloss. msnbc's chris matthews. and some great reporting from msnbc's tom brokaw. we'll also read from mike barnicle's incredible column about what he saw on rfk's funeral train 50 years ago today. "morning joe" will be right back. t choicehotels.com you always get the lowest price on our rooms, guaranteed? let's get someone to say it with a really low voice. carl? lowest price guaranteed. what about the world's lowest limbo stick? how low can you go? nice one, carl. hey i've got an idea. just say, badda book. badda boom.
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ask a business advisor how to get on demand tech support for as little as $15 a month. this week get boise case paper for only $29.99 at office depot office max. their road will be long and hard. for the enemy is strong. he may hurl back our forces. success may not come with rushing speed. but we shall return again and again, and we know that by thy grace and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph. >> in the end, those americans did triumph over tyranny. just as fdr predicted 74 years ago today. allied forces stormed the beaches of normandy in northern france to liberate the world of
nazi aggression. today also marks the 50th anniversary of robert f. kennedy's assassination. he was celebrating a win in the california democratic primary at the ambassador hotel in los angeles only to be gunned down minutes later. welcome to this special edition of "morning joe." it's wednesday, june 6th. with us we have veteran columnist and msnbc contributor, mike barnicle. your piece in "the daily beast" is amazing. we'll be reading from it. author and nbc news presidential historian, michael beschloss joins us this morning. he is the author of the forthcoming book, "presidents of war." out this october. and also, david ignatius. good to have you all on board on this special morning. joe? >> so much to talk about today. these two days always obviously collide together on our
calendars. this year a bit more focus on what happened on june the 6th, 1968. but let's start with what happened, of course, on this day in 1944. it is true, and it is beyond dispute that america has fed, and america has freed more people than any other country in the history of mankind. but so much of that legacy came from what these young boys, these young men, young women did on june the 6th, 1944, when they scaled the walls of normandy and liberated, michael beschloss, not only europe from hitler, not only jews from death camps, but also, after that, america liberated so many millions and
millions of refugees across europe from hunger and homelessness. and michael, this was actually the first step for the united states of america working with its allies to set up a post-war order that actually led to the freest, and also the most peaceful period, in -- well, i've got to say it again -- in the history of this world. >> absolutely. you are so right. you know, this was one of the most important days of the 20th century. triumph of good over evil. and the other thing was, we were lucky to have fdr as our president in so many ways, but one way was that roosevelt had been through the experience of woodrow wilson and world war i. he was assistant secretary of the navy, and he saw how wilson had tried to establish american entry into the league of nations, and it never happened.
so when roosevelt was waging this war, even the very day he was commander in chief on d-day, he was thinking to himself, you know, how can i build a, in this case united nation, so that we've got a rule of law in which america helps the world to be a better place after world war ii was won. >> you do wonder how looking back and reading the old "life" magazines, "time" magazines, old clips from newspapers after d-day. you do wonder how fdr, how eisenhower, how they all would have managed this war differently if they were subject to the 24/7 news glare that we're subject to today. we always celebrate how wonderful the bravery of our troops on june the 6th was. but there was a lot of
complaining, a lot of grousing in the months that followed that we weren't moving quickly enough across europe. and i just wonder, with 24/7 news banners across the bottom of the screen, and fdr having to respond, how things would have changed. it really is a lesson to us all. head down. stay the course and continue the fight. >> yeah. and roosevelt never had to tw t tweet. probably thank good for him and thank god for us he did much better in the fireside chats and the way he did speak to the public. joe, you know this extremely well, i have to mention before d-day happened, dwight eisenhower, by hand, wrote out this note of what he would say if the invasion failed. and as you know, they were very worried about the weather. eisenhower had to figure out do we go on june 6th or do we wait two weeks. and we now know that had he
waited two weeks, there would have been one of the biggest storms over the english channel they would have seen for a long time and the invasion probably would have failed. but before the invasion took place, he writes out this note saying that the invasion has failed -- this is what he would have issued in it did fail. "the invasion has failed and i take the responsibility." very different from what we so often see today. >> david ignatius, joseph nye wrote a book aew yea ago about the american century. there are so many debates when it began. did it begin in the late 1800s, did it begin if 1917 when we joined forces, world war i. or did it really begin in earnest on this day when the united states liberated europe and set forth a new world order,
but this new world order was one that not only benefited our allies, not only freed western europe from hunger and the scourge of communism, but also helped the united states of america immeasurably and, again, i believe, is really what started the american century. >> i think you're right, joe. i think the american century emotionally began on this day, june 6th, when the ramps of those landing craft went down and we saw -- the soldiers saw -- moved out toward omaha beach this nightmare of fire and walked into it. there were 85 machine gun nests on omaha beach, i was reading yesterday, ready to gun down these soldiers as they came out of the craft. they went ahead. and i think that image of american and allied bravery coming to the rescue of europe stayed in europe's mind through the '40s and '50s, and even into
our time. that legacy is so precious, this idea of america, the generous, brave nation that comes to other people's rescue. even when it is not necessarily in america's interests. that's, sadly, what's being tarnished today. but we all grew up with those images of those brave soldiers and you want to hold on to them today on the day of the anniversary. >> you certainly do. and anybody that has not been over to normandy, near or around the anniversary of this special day, take your children. take your grandchildren. it remains one of the most moving things that i've ever done. mike barnicle, it might surprise some -- would probably surprise many -- i know it has throughout most of my life -- that i was inspired to get into politics because of bobby kennedy.
bobby, his life, his story, for anyone who even reads it today, for 16 or 17-year-old that wants to read about bobby kennedy today like i did when i was a junior in high school, you find a man, an extraordinary man, who grew, who was flawed. but the arc of his life story moved towards justice, moved towards free democrdofreedom. it moved in the direction america needed to move. but the remarkable thing about bobby kennedy was he believed that one man, one woman, could bend history. and he did. we saw it in indianapolis the night martin luther king died. we saw it in so many other ways. i was so moved by an article you wrote in "the daily beast." your column, "what i saw on rfk's funeral train 50 years ago
today." you write, they had all hoped to find a piece of the american dream and now the train with the dead senator's casket clearly visible in the last slow rolling car seemed like one more fragment of the shattered hopes of that dream, a dream slowly being dismantled, crushed even, by the horrible reality of another assassination and a daily death toll arriving from half-way around the world on the very day robert kennedy was pronounced dead in los angeles june the 6th, 1968. on that day 106 american soldiers and marines were killed in vietnam. it was time in america's life that seems now like distant s skywriting, erased by the winds of past decades. those who seem to suffer the most often sacrifice the most. those who seem to serve and protect the country in great numbers often find that they are
among the first to be put at risk when the economy collapses, a factory closes, an industry moves across the country or overseas. america in 1968? america in 2018. same as it ever was. mike? >> yeah, joe. this day, june 6th, for many reasons -- we've mentioned d-day. we've mentioned robert f. kennedy's death on this day. this is a far different country today than it was in 1968, and certainly a far different country than it was in 1944. but there's one thread that remains the same, and that's the people who serve. the people who served in vietnam. the people who served in iraq, and afghanistan today, the people who came out of the higgins boats on the morning of june 6, 1944. they're all americans, and americans represent something to
the world. unfortunately, it's being altered a bit by the current administration. but as david and michael just pointed out, on june 6th, 1944, those doors fell down on omaha beach, juneau beach, gold beach, sword beach along the french coast, and america arrived in europe to fight hitler. and we didn't seek treasure or territory. and what we left there was the fact that we came to help, to help save europe and the world, and we left our dead, not only at omaha beach at the american cemetery above the bluffs of omaha beach, but throughout europe there are american cemeteries. and we don't remember that enough. and europe doesn't remember that enough. and michael beschloss might be able to back me up here. i really don't think we teach our own history to our children. we don't know -- >> totally agree, mike. >> pardon me? >> i totally agree with you.
>> yeah. i mean it is an incredible story. robert kennedy was an incredible story. he was a man who evolved in the course of his life and when he died, he had achieved such affection and such popularity because, unlike anybody else who has run for president since, he understood the meaning of loss. he understood vulnerability and it made him a better man and a better politics. and it is quite a day, joe, to sit here and remember all of this, a flood of memories. >> and with that as a backdrop, there was a very different conversation taking place at the white house yesterday about the meaning of patriotism. why the president spent so much time of the day trying to shame a sports team. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. but as it grew bigger and bigger, it took a whole lot more. that's why i switched to the spark cash card from capital one. th it, i earn unlimited 2% cash back on everything i buy. everything.
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bowl champion philadelphia eagles. the entire ceremony, including the singing of the national anthem and "god bless america" lasted about eight minutes. trump also gave a short speech where he mainly talked about the up employment rate and the state of the economy. not sure he knows the words to the song, some were wondering. nbc news has learned that trump called off the eagles' visit because he didn't want the optics of having fewer than ten people show up. that correlates with a white house statement from yesterday which says that the event was canceled because only, quote, a smaller group of players planned to attend and that a deal could not be struck to reschedule. that is significantly different from the president's explanation on monday that was because they, quote, disagree with their president because he insisted that they proudly stand for the national anthem. no eagle players took a knee during the anthem last year,
although yesterday i believe somebody did in the audience of the white house. here is press secretary sarah huckabee sanders who had a really difficult press briefing yesterday explaining the white house's position on the matter. >> this isn't about the national anthem. it is about so many players coming in the end. >> the president has been very clear what his position is in regards to the national anthem. the eagles were the ones that committed to an event on friday. they submitted over 80 members of the eagles franchise for the event, along with over 1,000 fans to participate and it was the eagles organization that tried to change their commitment at the 11th hour. once again, if this wasn't a political stunt, then they would have planned to attend the event and then backed out. they made that change at the last minute, not the president. >> i don't even know what to say, joe, in response to that. alex doesn't want me to say anything. so maybe i ought to go to heidi.
what do you think? no. she was asked a lot of questions yesterday at the press briefing. we're going to get those sound bites where reporters were asking her how can we ask you questions? how can you say that you're telling us the truth when everything that you say turns out to be not true? >> yeah. this is a problem that sean spicer had. at some point when you're in that position you just have to move on because you don't have credibility. that will happen with sarah huckabee sanders, too. either she will have to leave -- >> will that happen? >> -- because she loses all credibility or she will leave on her own volition. but yesterday, heidi, what we saw was in donald trump -- i will say, i am -- mika and i have had debates on this. i am a conservative guy. i am a conservative white guy, born in the middle of the century, in middle america. so of course, when i hear the national anthem, i want everybody to stand up.
i want everybody to salute. one thing i do not want -- and i understand -- i understand the protest as well. because mika and i, unlike donald trump and his enemies that he tries to create, we actually have sat and we've talked through it and we've worked through it, which is something that -- what a remarkable gesture it would be if the president went to philadelphia and sat and talked to these players and said, let's figure this out together. >> civil, respectful dialogue. yeah. >> exactly. instead, he weaponizes the national anthem and cheapens the whole thing. >> well, that's the problem here, is that trump has made a political calculation that having this culture war is good for him. he said he wants to use this as a mid-term issue and that he may continue to bring it up. so much so he wants this that he's actually misrepresenting
the team players here. none of these players actually kneeled throughout the season. and yet he's using this as an excuse to cancel the meeting. they said that they whittled the numbers. joe lockhart was on television the other night saying you never assume that all of the players are going to be coming when you host one of these events, so that's a farce. the president himself said it was because they weren't kneeling. so he's misrepresenting these players. and he wants this as a campaign issue. to your first comments, if he really wanted to have a civil dialogue with these players, the white house would start with acknowledging why they're kneeling. as you saw in the press briefing yesterday, sarah huckabee sanders, they will not even acknowledge that the reason why these players are kneeling is to protest police brutality and the uneven treatment of minorities. no. they want the issue. they want to say that they're
di disrespectful, disloyal and unpatriotic. coming up on "morning joe" -- if president trump is trying to get jeff sessions to quit, it is not working. despite his twitter attacks, the attorney general is still on the job. but new reports say the justice department is having a tough time filling an important role. that's next on "morning joe." hais not always easy. severe plaque psoriasis it's a long-distance run and you have the determination to keep going. humira has a proven track record of being prescribed for over ten years. it's the #1 prescribed biologic by dermatologists. more than 250,000 patients have chosen humira to fight their psoriasis. and they're not backing down. for most patients clearer skin is the proof.
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he is so mad at jeff sessions still that he has actually in recent weeks, according to our reporting, he has stopped using sessions' name. officials in the west wing have copied that, just him, or that guy, or attorney general. >> accord being to jonathan lemire, president trump's anger at attorney general jeff sessions makes even speaking of the attorney general in trump's presence practically forbidden. citing a person familiar with the exchange, the ap describes trump's thursday trip aboard air force one when an aide mentions sessions, trump abruptly ended the conversation, and unmuted the television in his office, which was broadcasting fox news, dismissing the staffer to resume watching cable tv. meanwhile, as the president
slings accusations of corruption and malfeasance at the justice department, the "wall street journal" reports that the trump administration has put its search for a new associate attorney general on hold. people familiar with the matter tell the "journal" three candidates have declined to consider the justice department's number three position since rachel brand resigned four months ago. half of the top 20 jobs in the department are lacking senate-confirmed or permanent appointments, according to the report. this can be mirrored even worse at the state department. joe. >> it really can. david ignatius, first of all, i've got to comment. sounds like donald trump is playing the role of pharoah in "the ten commandments," no one shall mention the name moses again. >> amazing. >> you look at all of those positions not being filled in the justice department --
assistant attorney general, head of the criminal division, head of the civil rights division, head of the civil division. the u.s. marshals. bureau of prisons. the dea. the pardon attorney. of course, donald trump doesn't want a pardon attorney because he would be told that his views on pardon is inappropriate. but david, this is the same problem that public servants in the state department are facing. it is hard to run a government effectively. it is hard to enforce the laws of this country if you don't have the leaders in place there. and donald trump doesn't have them there. >> we're headed toward a hollowed out federal government. justice department numbers that you just cited are shocking. these are absolutely crucial line positions. they are the way that we get our business done as a country. we continue with civil processes, criminal processes. these are not things you just
kind of wait to fill when you have a chance. talking to young foreign service officers who are headed out to dangerous assignments. i was talking to somebody who's on her way to afghanistan. it's very tough to take on these assignments these days in a department that has had so many vacancies. let's hope that mike pompeo, the new secretary, sees this problem and addresses it. i have a feeling this is going to come agency by agency. you aren't going to wait for the white house to fill positions. individual secretaries have to do it. but it is a real problem. we circle back to the legacy of robert f. kennedy. nbc's tom brokaw has a powerful new piece on rfk. what we learned about america through his life and also from his death. that's next on "morning joe." hi.i just wanted to tell you that chevy won a j.d.power
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kennedy passed away succumbing to gunshot wounds just moments after celebrating his win in the california democratic primary at the ambassador hotel in los angeles. covering that 1968 golden state primary was a 28-year-old reporter for knbc tv in los angeles by the name of tom brokaw. tom takes a look back now at not only why rfk entered the race, but how he wagered everything on california. >> i think that we should start focusing attention on our problems here in the united states. that should be our first priority. >> reporter: one week before his death, bobby kennedy did something no member of his family had ever done. he lost an election, running second in the oregon presidential primary. >> i'm going to do all that i can and i've done all that i can so far and at the end of it if i'm not successful, then i will have to abide by that. >> reporter: robert francis kennedy didn't set out to be president. for years he was his older brother, jack,'s most trusted
advisor, his enforcer as attorney general. but jfk's assassination transformed bobby. his grief awakened him to the suffering of others. as senator, he turned against the war in vietnam which had been jack's war. at first he stayed out of the 1968 campaign. but when anti--war candidate eugene mccarthy almost beat incumbent president lyndon johnson in new hampshire, kennedy got in announcing from the same senate caucus room his brother had used. >> i am today announcing my candidacy -- >> -- for the presidency of the united states. >> i was not interested in running for president. i was not interested in opposing president johnson, per se. what i was interested in is trying to develop a meaningful policy in vietnam. >> reporter: kennedy knew it wouldn't be easy. >> i'm going to have a very, very rough road ahead of me. i have five months even before the convention comes. >> reporter: just two weeks
later, johnson dropped out. >> i shall not seek, and i will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president. >> i congratulate the president on his generosity and his patriotism in taking the step that he did toward world peace. >> reporter: in fact, kennedy and johnson hated each other. but kennedy asked for, and got, a meeting with the president hoping to keep him neutral in the campaign. johnson then met with vice president hubert humphrey who would later announce his own candidacy. then, the very next day -- >> i have some very sad news for all of you. >> reporter: the campaign was suddenly, tragically interrupted. >> that is that martin luther king was shot and was killed tonight in memphis, tennessee. >> reporter: kennedy calmed the crowd in indianapolis with an impromptu sermon. >> what we need in the united states is not violence and
lawlessness, but is love and wisdom and compassion toward one another. >> reporter: indianapolis was one of the few american cities spared from riots that night and kennedy went on to win the indiana primary. >> what do you feel in your bones now about your future? >> i think it is better today than it was 24 hours ago. >> reporter: a week later he won nebraska. then after losing oregon, kennedy bet everything on california. >> senator robert kennedy brought his presidential campaign to southern california today. >> you here in the state of california might very well decide who's going to be the democratic nominee, and therefore very possibly the next president of the united states. >> reporter: he campaigned against the war. >> the american people want no more vietnam. >> reporter: and spoke out for social justice for black and white, for the poor, and disenfranchised. >> every american, no matter what his background, what his
creed, what color of his skin or where he lives, shall walk with dignity and honor in the united states. >> reporter: the california campaign was an exhilarating, exhausting marathon. you could feel the danger in the air. nowhere more so than at this rally in san francisco. a heartstopping moment that turned out to be just firecrackers. the next day at his ambassador hotel headquarters in los angeles, kennedy was victorious. >> senator kennedy is the winner in the democratic presidential primary in california. >> the country wants to move in a different direction. we want to deal with our own problems within our own country and we want peace in vietnam. >> reporter: finally, he told an aide, he had escaped his brother's shadow. >> my thanks to all of you. now it is on to chicago and let's win there. >> reporter: just minutes later -- >> senator kennedy has been
shot! >> stay back! >> he's been shot in the head. >> in the head? >> he is still alive. that is correct. in the head. they just removed him to the hospital on a stretcher. >> reporter: kennedy's death brought shock and grief to the nation. it seemed to be more than we could bear. >> what has violence ever accomplished? what has it ever created? no martyr's cause has ever been stilled by an assassin's bullet. >> reporter: we really don't know if robert kennedy could have won the no many nation or the election. but without him, we did get more deaths in vietnam. more racial division. we got nixon and watergate. even now we think of what might have been, and we remember him today as his brother did 50 years ago. >> simply as a good and decent
man who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it. those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today pray that what he was to us, what he wished for others, will some day come to pass for all the world. >> our thanks to tom brokaw for that report. also to nbc news senior producer andy franklin and editor rob kaplan. that was beautiful and we look forward to hearing from tom again, having him back. hardball's chris matthews joins us next on "morning joe."
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a few minutes after midnight on june 5th, 1968, america faced the murder of yet another kennedy. >> pop pop pop pop pop pop. five shots. >> reporter: journalist pete hamlin who helped subdue robert kennedy's assassin says the wound america suffered that night has yet to heal. >> it is a story of what might have been. not about what happened. but what we lost when it happened. >> what did we lose?
>> hope. >> with us now, the host of the msnbc's "hardball" and author of the book, "bobby kennedy, a raging spirit," chris matthews. also, "morning joe" senior producer, john r. bore. we call him back. he is author of "the revolution of robert kennedy, from power to protest after jfk." i wanted to read -- we read mike barnicle's wonderful column before. i wanted to read a little bit of what charles pierce wrote in "esquire." quote, i would like to think that robert kennedy would have been able to stand against the foul gayles that were then rising. i prefer to think he would have, because i prefer to think of this country -- this is beautiful -- perpetually redeemable. so many of our wounds are self-inflicted, and by and large, through our history, we've at least made some good
faith effort to heal them, to atone to ourselves for having inflicted them in the first place. that ultimately is what robert kennedy stood for and, alas, what he died for, as well. wisdom through the awful grace of god. of course that line the awful grace of god, chris matthews, what bobby spoke of, quoting his favorite poet, the greek poet, the night of martin luther king's death just a few months later, he would be the one killed. tell us, chris, fromou column yesterday in the "waington post," what made bobby so special? >> well, i think he was always learning. i think what separates him from so many politicians today that you and i cover, mika, he was always learning -- he was a hot head. he was a lot like john mcenroe in many ways. in the cuban missile crisis he
wanted to bomb away. he learned, we don't want to be the japanese empire. we don't want to do the pearl harbor in reverse. he did the same kind of thing with civil rights. at first when the kennedy people went out and tried to help the kings after king was arrested in '60, he wanted to just fire all those guys. he called them the bomb throwers. he thought you know what? should judge should have thrown away the key when king was thrown in jail for traffic violation. he kept learning. he learned about pain. he became much more compassionate. i think he really became a guy who was looking for people to help. >> and jack, you talk about the revolution of bobby kennedy and what a remarkable revolution it was. all you have to do is look to capetown '66. nobody wanted him to go over to south africa but his speech to years to the day before his
death, one the most remarkable speeches i've ever heard. indianapolis, 1968. the cops didn't want him to go into the inner city that night. he did anyway. he also did something even harder, and that is started to speak out against what essentially was his brother's war in vietnam. >> yeah. it was an incredibly difficult thing for him to have to take on the people who sat around the table that he had sat with, the same people who made the decisions to commit ourselves to vietnam, the same way where then few years later he's speaking out against the war, after privately criticizing to lyndon johnson multiple, multiple times, but he can't move him. so he decides to say something. then he has this incredible blowback against himself, which -- from people like hubert humphrey who said he was trying to put arsenic in the poison pill for the vietnam military solution there. and it stopped him from running
for president -- until late in the game. i mean in early 19 -- march of 1968, he's talking to reporters about eugene mccarthy saying, well, if he had only done this, he could have got the kennedy supporters on board. then when he saw there were real divisions in this country with the new hampshire primary in 1968, he said i have to get in. and he kind of faced a lot of blowback for that, too. there's this cartoon in the "atlanta constitution" around that time that shows bobby sitting with a bunch of kids on his lap and the caption reads -- you must be this nice man named ruthless opportunist. that's robert kennedy in a nutshell. >> you know, chris, we're old guys now, you and i. and june 6, 1968, the california primary. it was a single event. a single tragic, horrific event. y a year filled with horrific events. i don't know about you, but i would kind of urge people out
there today who are reflecting on the meaning of june 6th, whether it is d-day or whether it is robert f. kennedy's death to specifically remember the year 1968 and think about your arrange wish today, if you have it, about our political system. pump the brakes. it is going to be okay. we brakes. it's going to be okay. we survived 1968 from the day that robert kennedy died. 106 young americans were killed in vietnam. on a single day. 322 killed in the month of june. 6,600 had already been killed at the end of the year. and along with everything else that occurred in this country. and yet the country stood straight and tall on january 1, 1969, and it stands tall today. i don't know about you, but i mean, the memory of that is sort of helpful today. >> you know, i once was talking to pat monahan, the great senator from new york, and he
said, we'll never get over it. and he looked me in the eye and said you'll never get over it. it was induction into knighthood. i imagine if you imagine how we had a hard time getting over dallas, imagine bobby kennedy trying to get over it. that scene of him in the lincoln bedroom basically talking to god that chuck spalding overheard, he's in that room, saying why? why god? why this? i think that led to him going to reading the greek poets that joe just talked about, going to escalis, trying to understand, what do we get out of this, we got to get wisdom, as you just said. we got to earn, or else it's worthless. it's day-to-day life. right to the day of life, bobby was trying to go. he doesn't know he was going to get shot.
jack was trying to figure out why dallas weigh so right wing. and sitting there with bobby in the car. bobby was sitting with dick goodman. you knew dick, thinking how he is going to get macarthy aboard. he's going to have to promise him secretary of state. these guys were sitting there talking jut like we are now. every day alive, none of us see this coming. that's why i write about it and thing about it, what was it like when they're alive? because we know what it's like when they're dead. that's the thing to remember that they were once alive and once great leaders. >> joe, how would bobby kennedy's hopes and dreams hold up today? >> well, i think they still do hold up well today. you know, i remember, one of my first memories of any political or historic event was the morning that bobby kennedy was assassinated. i was 5 years old. i was in the suburbs of atlanta georgia, we were driving to
vacation bible school. i heard it on the radio. and i watched my grandmom watch in horror, the news across the tv. that said his words inspired me as a teenager. his actions in cape town, indianapol indianapolis, the extraordinary campaign in 1968. you know, i've spent my life reading and studying and loving american history. and i always believed, like charles pierce said, when you're redeemable, constantly falling, constantly picking ourselves up and i do still believe that. but, jack, i must say, the older i get the more i understand this was not a singular event, that this was an event without being too melodramatic 50 years later, we have not still not recovered from. we still haven't come together at the tracks, working class whites, working class blacks. that bobby kennedy coalition
still is waiting to be united by someone who can think outside of themselves. like bobby kennedy learned to do the last few years of his livfe. >> yeah, you heard both pete campbell and charles pierce say the wound. robert kennedy was talking about the national wound and how do we bring the country back together. and that's the thing that he focused on as we went forward to in the senate. 1966, he was giving speeches about how do we solve the problems in the innercities, northern cities. he said one of the to dl with the poverty of satisfaction and poverty of time. the people in the working class who didn't go to college in 1966, and now they're alone in 1968, and they were left behind like the rest of the country. robert kennedy had a plan.
he understood change. that was what the whole country was going through. the national wound, he was constantly urging them to come together, the wisdom through the awesome grace of god. >> chris matthews, you look back at how bobby kennedy in so many ways wanted to unite people, unite americans, all americans, compare that to how you ended "hardball" last night, talking about donald trump and the contants bco constant barrage of trying to break down and divide. >> one thing we know, we were never more divided than on sunday mornings, we go to different churches. this is such a truth in american life. it is a lot about how we see ourselves. fragmented and divisive. everybody in washington, d.c. roots for the skins. everybody roots for the eagles. it's a unifying thing and it's magical, you root for the
running back, you root for the guy with different ethnic problems overcomes his roots on sunday and roots for his favorite player. and trump walks in that one time week when we're all united, sunday afternoon and monday morning talking about it, he says, let's divide here. let's cut the heart here in america, right where they're united. let's cut it in half, make it black against white. i mean, that's vicious stuff. he knew exactly what will he was doing and he's going to keep it up, because that's his game plan. >> joe, there doesn't look like there's any end in sight. chris matthews, thank you. >> well, i just -- i just have to say that's the reason why we have people like bobby kennedy in our history books. so, we can look back at a time that was even more bleak than our time. >> uh-huh. >> and figure out a way to try to understand those, or at least love those we don't completely understand. and bring this country together.
and redeem ourselves once again. >> we hope. chris matthews, thank you. the book is bobby kennedy, a raging spirit. we'll be watching "hardball" at 7:00 eastern time on msnbc. jack borrer, his book is "revolution of robert kennedy." tomorrow on "morning joe" stephanie rule picks up the coverage in a few minutes. it's technology was engineered to see.
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sparks outbursts and protests including a harsh rebuke from one of the world's biggest athletes. >> no matter who wins the series, no one wants an invite. so, we won't be going state or cleveland going. and winging it, embattled epa chief scott pruitt appears to be at it again, again like he ever stopped. e-mail show, he made his aide contact the ceo of chick-fil-a, reportedly, to get his wife a job. but nonetheless, there's a lot of smoke and there might be some fire. >> we begin this morning with mexico, firing the latest shot in the escalating trade war between the united states and its allies. how is this going to play when the president sits down with the leaders of those countries on friday. we'll here to break it all down. but first, let's go through exactly what we're talking about. this is america's largest trade