tv Weekends With Alex Witt MSNBC July 20, 2019 9:00am-11:00am PDT
that is our show today. "am joy" will be back tomorrow at 10:0. alex witt has our latest news. >> good job. here's the question, i want derrick pitts to stay because i want to ask him what the solar ambition is for nasa. >> you and i, we're going to be solar system ambassadors. >> you and i, my friend. let's do. good morning to all of you at msnbc headquarters in new york. welcome, everyone, to "weekends with alex witt." it's a storcorcher out there. dangerous heat on many looking for relief. donald trump on that spontaneous rally chant. what he's now saying.
a british ship meeting with an iranian official. is the country closer to conflict or talks? still a wonder. the miracle of a space walk and why it means so much, even today. but first, this brutal heat wave is sweeping much of the country this weekend, from the plains states to chicago all the way over here to the east coast. potentially record-breaking temperatures are putting millions of people under excessive heat warnings and straining those power grids across the country. then take a look at this. in sioux falls, south dakota, look at that, so hot highway pavement started to buckle with the heat index in the triple digits. nbc's kathy park is where the heat has caused several events. are we in record territory, gentleman n janessa, because it sure feels like it. >> look at the heat index at the
noon hour when we should be seeing the peak. heat index for 100 degrees in new york and washington rkwashi here. when you count in the moisture from the atmosphere, it's like a wall in the northeast. it's going to continue at least the next 36 hours. 169 million people under heat warnings or heat advisories throughout the weekend before we start to see relief here. now, we do have a cold front that's starting to sweep across the upper midwest. that will slide across the midwest and into the northeast on late sunday into monday. records are already starting to be broken heat indexwise, but the air temperature here, 91 for pittsburgh. we never like to see the darker pinks and oranges here. norfolk, we're going to see a high of 98, but when you factor in that humidity, up to 111.
let me move out of the way here. from chicago to detroit, that's the relief you'll start to see sunday afternoon, but still that stagnant air going to be in place across the northeast throughout the weekend. also, what this high pressure is building is this ring of fire, what we like to call it here. it's producing this dome of high pressure and it's allowing the storms for the great lakes to really spark up from milwaukee to grand rapids. i do think storms go to an enhanced zone for chicago. potentially damaging winds, also torrential rain here throughout your saturday afternoon. alex, we are just getting started at the noon hour. already feeling like 100 degrees. that is very concerning to me. >> i'll say, and it's amazing when you say relief is going to be in the form of 92 degrees. it will feel like that in detroit tomorrow. janessa, we'll see you tomorrow. kathy park in new york city. no relief out there, my friend. i understand a lot of activities
have been canceled. >> reporter: that's right. a steamy 90 degrees, but when you factor in the humidity, 100 degrees. it feels like a sauna. we're at madison square garden. typically these benches are filled. there are a few over there that braved the heat. they're munching on goodies and trying to cool off as well. events were canceled, including the new york city marathon, and ozzy fest which was supposed to be a two-day event today and tomorrow. 4,000 people all over the world were said to participate. we spoke with one man from barcelona with his family.
he's been training all year long and now has to find other plans this weekend. take a listen. >> we go down from the plane and i received the email twice. maybe it's my english i don't understand currently. it's a shame, but maybe next year i have to come back. >> reporter: so some good news. all those folks got their registration costs back, but they'll have to wait until next year if they do want to come back and participate in the triathlon in this city. but something else to keep in mind, health officials are warning folks to stay indoors, stay in the ac, and also, if you do decide to come out here, stay hydrated and just be mindful of how your body is reacting. if you're overheating, if you're nauseous, starting to become dizzy, you'll probably want to find shade right away. but if those symptoms persist, you'll want to get help right away. something else to note here in
new york city, kohn edison getting more heat after that blackout. so they've been asking people to set their thermostats at 70 degrees or higher to make sure the power grid doesn't overheat, but 4,000 personnel are standing by in case something does happen, but so far things are looking good this hour. >> definitely fingers crossed because of that. can i say this, kathy? you look so calm, cool and collected. i don't know what your secret is, but email me and share it because you look great in this blazing heat. the ittumult sparked by the president on people of color. he talked about the chant, send them back, and he also talked about the crowd being patriotic
as he was criticizing omar. he paused for 15 seconds and only talked after the chanting had run out. he described the congresswoman as the face of the democratic party, making specific references now to 2020. when asked if he was doing it for political benefit, he told reporters this. >> i don't know if it's good or bad politically, i don't care. i don't care about politics. i don't care if it's good or bad about politics. many people say it's good. i don't know if it's good or bad. >> well, the congresswoman targeted is depicting the president's attacks from distraction of other matters that appear most. she was cheered when she arrived on thursday. >> he is threatened because we are inspiring people to dream about a country that recognizes their dignity and their humanity. when i said i was the president's nightmare, you're watching it now.
because his nightmare is seeing a somali immigrant refugee rise to congress! >> nbc hans nichols where the president is spending his weekend, berkeley heights, new jersey. it appears the president is not moving on from this. >> he was an innocent bystander in the chants. that's how he's putting it, and then amplifying the attacks shouting, send her back, he said, look, i was there, i didn't know what was happening. his aides saying the president didn't really realize what was going on. what is clear is that the president is doubling down on his attacks from those four lawmakers. and it's clear what he said on departure on the south lawn as to what he thinks is to blame. >> these women have said horrible things about our country and the people of our
country. nobody should be able to do that, and if they want to do that, that's up to them, but i can't imagine they're going to do very well at the polls, and i say this. if the democrats want to embrace people that hate our country, people that are so far left that nobody has ever seen anything like it, if they want to embrace people that are so anti-semitic and anti-israel, they want to do that, that's up to them. but i don't have to do that. >> reporter: you know, when you look at that tweet, i think the most important word the president said was he wasn't particularly happy. that's the modifier he chose to use. what the president seems to be doing is absolving himself while also absolving the crowd, but he doesn't want to be too critical of his base because he realizes he needs their support and them to be enthusiastic for him to win reelection. you mentioned the president there, a moment of candor, saying he doesn't know which way
this cuts politically, it could be good or it could be bad, but the president is doubling down on this, and after that initial conversation where he was unhappy with the crowd, the president seems to be moving back toward embracing this. alex, there will be a test on all this, and that is the next time the president has a big rally, will he start chanting again, and if they do, will the president correct them? alex? >> that is something to watch for, that's for sure. we'll see you again next hour, hans nichols. joining me now, carol lee and john, senior editor at large. john, what do you make of him saying he didn't lead people on at that rally, that he didn't know what was happening? >> complete bull. the crowd was repeating his message. "send her back" was derived from the tweet he sent, saying they should go back to the original countries they came from, even though in three of the four cases the country they came from
was the united states. this is the president expressing his own racial resentments, which have characterized his entire life. they also happen to coincide with why he was nominated by the republican party, why he won the election. the people who elevated his campaign from the start were the parts of the republican party that are most antagonistic to y minorities that feel most besieged by cultural change in the united states. the president shares those views. he expresses them. he gets the feedback loop from them at his rallies, and that's going to continue whether or not he pretends to shush them the next time it happens or pretends to say, i didn't like it. no, he did like it. he inspired it and that's the reality of the situation. as for whether it helps him political oral not politicly or this is a president who has a relatively small base, and he
needs to win reelection to squeeze the maximum number of people out of that base. >> there were people who reveled as they were chanting there. the president said he doesn't care about this politically. do you buy that? >> he does care, frankly. he is in the thick of running for reelection, and this is where he's most comfortable campaigning. his go-to isn't to talk about various policy issues, racial issues, cultural issues where there are very sharp views on both sides that divide the country, this is where he's comfortable, this is a space that he likes to campaign in. it energizes his base. and john is absolutely right, these are his words so it almost doesn't matter what he did when the crowd was chanting because they were repeating something he
had said and that he continues to say. one of the other interesting aspects of this is that this has not just been something the country is focused on, but it's had international implications. we've seen other world leaders, angela merkel of germany commenting on this saying she stands in solidarity with these four congresswomen. two things that the president has shown is, one, that this is a fight that he is not ready to give up, we've seen from his tweet this morning, and two, this is where he wants to fight the campaign. while it might energize -- the risk as well may energize his supporters, it also energizes democrats as well. >> so, john, making this a campaign strategy, if you will, tying these four women together as being the face and reflective over the entire democratic party, a, how effective do you think that is, and b, how concerned should democrats be about that? >> well, in 2018 when the president was trying to help
republicans hold the house, he tried to make nancy pelosi and maxine waters, who is an african-american lawmaker from california, the face of the democratic party. that didn't work because other people were on the ballot. the democratic party in 2020 is going to be defined by who the democratic nominee is. it's not going to be aoc, it's not going to be ilhan omar. this is an old strategy. i have been covering this stuff long enough to remember 1988 when the campaign manager for george h.w. bush said he was going to make willy horton the running mate of michael dukakis. they did win that election, george h.w. bush did, however, the electorate was 50% white, now it's 70% white.
it's different that the president is facing. >> in terms of gop reaction, though, carol, we have only four republicans as well as justin mosh, the only republican there, has demolished the president. vice president pence said he was disturbed by the chants and he asked the president to reign in the chants. why did the majority of republicans not take a stand in this? >> it's for their own political gain. republicans think they're better at sticking with donald trump regardless of what he says and does. it's a bit of a come p --
difference there, and they've shown once again they're not willing to take on the president with this, and there is only a small, small sliver of the party that is. >> alex, the other thing that is true is that the people cheering at that rally are people that every republican candidate for congress relies on. we have a situation where racially conservative voters are a chunk of the republican base. they can't alienate them for their own political success. also by saying the president isn't racist or that his tweets weren't racist, given the fact that they've campaigned on an overlapping set of issues pursuing the same voters, declaring him innocent is sort of declaring their own innocence as well, and it's very different psychologically for them to stand up and say, mr. president, you're racist, and then everybody turns to them and
says, what about what you said and the voters you're pursuing and the themes you're sounding? doesn't work too well. >> let's go back to carol and just admire the fact you're at the beautiful aspen institute. i know the wind is blowing but we're all envious here. >> it is nice. >> let's talk about the support in the south where it shows voter support is growing. in fact 54% strongly are okay with how the president is handling his job. that's how it is in michigan and florida, important state. >> the president has his base, and he's really played to that base is tried to solidify that.
at the same time, i think you're seeing a democratic field that isn't consolidated. there is a large number of candidates. there is no real opponent. and the economy for now is doing okay, doing well, so the president is getting some credit fofr tha for that. he's had some policies where he tries play to florida, or when the democrats are campaigning less for their own base and there is a small group of them. when president trump has an actual opponent and it's more of a choice. >> carol lee and john harwood. john, sorry we didn't have a fan blowing on you. >> there are a lot of people in new york that would take that fan now. well, the articles of
impeachment killed in a vote this week. will democrats try again? my conversation with al green of texas, next. texas, next. award winning design. award winning engine. the volvo xc90. the most awarded luxury suv of the century. the volvo xc90. alice loves the smell of gain so much, she wished it came in a fabric softener too. [throat clears] say hello to your fairy godmother, alice. oh and look they got gain scent beads and dryer sheets too!
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the rally in greenville, south carolina this week. president trump referring to attacks of democratic congresswomen who refer to themselves as "the squad." congressman al green, let's get into it here. i have to ask you how you feel about the disavowal or such that we just heard from the president. >> thank you for having me on. the president is an insidious provericator. this is nothing but a p proverication and trying to convince us that it's not his desire to do what they've done, and it's not something he would encourage them to do. he brought this back to center stage and it was not something that was heralded across the country when the president started it. >> when you first heard those chants, what went through your mind? >> it went through my heart. i know what "send them back"
means. i've had it said to me. i've had people chase me because they wanted me to go back. when i was a child, a gang of young anglo men chased me. i've had a cross burned in my honor, i say, but it was a cross that was burned for me. i know what hate is all about. and this president is expressing the epitome of hate. what he is doing to this young member of congress is an extreme insult, it is the height of indignity, and if we don't take affirmative action, we're only going to allow him to continue. if he believes he has no guardrails, he will do whatever he can to win. it's all about winning with him, and he doesn't mind using the most insane, inane idealogy to accomplish it. >> so the president on the one hand says sees disavowing or
attempting to do so. let's listen to what he said yesterday about his supporters at that north carolina rally. here's that. >> those people in north carolina, that stadium was packed. it was a record crowd. and i could have filled it ten times, as you know. those are incredible people, those are incredible patriots. >> what do you say to that? >> i say this. the president uses our civility to impose extreme incivility. what we saw there was extreme incivility and the president was the manager of it, if you will. he allowed it to manifest itself. we've seen several new stories where for seconds he stood and watched this incivility. i'm being kind by saying incivility. there are many other ways to describe what happened. we are a people of values. the president is antithetical to liberty and justice for all.
he is antithetical for all persons being treated equal. this is not the way i would hope we would move in this century. my hope is we would come to our senses. we have mr. mueller coming next week. i hope mr. mueller brings a backbone. bring a spine, mr. mueller. give us in congress courage to do what we must. impeachment is the solution to an outlaw, lawless, reckless, ruthless president. we in the house of representatives, we have the power. we must have the will to impose that power and do what was done to andrew johnson who was the bigot of his time. impeach him, let the senate do what they may, but we must do what we must. >> i'm thinking about what you said was the heartfelt reaction to those chants. i know you called for additional
security for house members. so what seriousness should they be taking to this rhetoric? >> extremely serious, because while there are some members that are more of a target than others, there are people who do these things that are dastardly done, that's dastard with a d, not a b. when mr. scalise was harmed, he became a target of convenience for this person. we have to be sensitive to all the members of congress and all the people that they engage with. in any given venue, that can be someone who may not be as mentally stable as we would like in society, and that person could do harm in some person in an effort to harm a congressperson. these are some very dangerous times for us, not just the members of congress but for the american people. i want people to believe that we must make a sincere effort to
stand our ground. carlisle said no lie can live forever. even colin bryant, the true crust of earth shall rise again. the president spreads lies like we spread jam on toast. he spreads this hate, and we must not allow it to continue. we have the power to stop it, but there are 235 people vested with this, and the many people must move in that direction. >> so it looks like your battle with this president is far from over despite having lost this measurement, 332 to 95 in the vote there. for your colleagues who voted down impeachment, what do you believe it will take to get them on board with it? >> i believe i have more work to do. i believe that i have to present additional articles for them to
consider. we cannot just allow this to go uncheck unchecked. i take all responsibility for not doing it well enough, and i will continue to do what dr. king said we have to do for the moral of our justice. i hope our colleagues understand, but i'm not giving up. it would be far better for this country to impeach the president for his hate, for his means by which he's harming society with his bigotry rather than impeach him for observe construction of justice. it's his hate that's at the root of all of this. and we seneed to send a message that america is no longer going to tolerate hate. it will be far better to impeach him for obstruction of justice. obstruction of justice impeachment will not change and have an impact on the hate.
we've got to deal with this hate. if we don't deal with this hate, it's going to deal with us. we are at the crossroads of accountability. either the president must be held accountable or we're going to be held accountable. history is not going to be kind to me, it's not going to be kind to any of us because we're not doing enough to deal with the hate. >> it sounds like you have a new avenue of pursuit, representative al green. i look forward to seeing you again. >> thank you. meetings with iran. is it a level of certainty or could it meet with talks? r could it meet with talks at the alzheimer's association walk to end alzheimer's, we carry flowers that signify why we want to end the disease. and we walk so that one day, there will be a white flower for alzheimer's first survivor. join the fight at alz.org/walk.
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new today, escalating tensions with iran as britain is vowing serious consequences after iran seized a british flagged oil tanker. media says that move was a response to britain's role in the detention of an iranian tanker in spain earlier this month. while iran says the vessel violated international regulations, the british are calling this, quote, a hostile act. and it comes as the u.s. offers deployment of more troops to saudi arabia. joining us, courtney from aspen,
colorado. how is this move for military conflict and how is the u.s., how is britain, how are they both interpreting it? >> alex, this is just another step of ratcheting up tensions. it began in may when we had that surprise visit from john bolton saying they were moving assets into the central command region because of threats from iran. now we're seeing just another case where the potential freedom of movement into the strait of hormuz and into the persian gulf is being obstructed. they are saying seizing this tanker yesterday is in direct response to the british role in seizing a tanker as recently as well. but there have been other incidents where freedom of navigation has been threatened. just last week a british tanker was approached by a number of iranian small attack boats, and if it wasn't for the fact that britain had a war ship nearby
that was able to drive these small boats away, it's very plausible that british tanker also would have been driven to iranian territory of waters. you mentioned this deployment of military to saudi arabia. that was actually approved earlier in the summer, in early june, and the troops started moving in there. what it's looking like right now, they're expanding out a runway for a fighter attack air force squadron. they've already moved a system that will be specifically be in place to counter this threat from iran, and we're being told this is what the military calls an expeditionary deployment. so there is no specific time limit as to how long these troops could be there as long as iran continues to be a threat, alex. >> with regard to the talks, there are reports that the iranian foreign minister met with senator rand paul. i should add that nbc news does not have confirmation of that, unless you can tell us differently.
but is this significant in any way? >> these are rumors that we've been chasing, actually, for several days that he met with them. what's unclear here is exactly what this means. is this just another game of smoke and mirrors, or is this actually something president trump, the white house, sanctioned and told senator paul to meet with the iranian foreign minister. when he comes to the united states, he meets with a whole slew of people, including members of congress, senators. that is very common. he meets with a number of journalists as well. if, in fact, they did have this meeting this week, was he actually in contact with the white house. the iranians try to meet with american influencers, lawmakers and whatnot, to try to get people on their side. >> courtney qube, thank you, from aspen. how president trump is making matters worse. w presidens
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just out of the political crisis engulfing roughly 3 million citizens in puerto rico. for seven consecutive days, thousands of protesters have demanded that the governor resign amid corruption accusations. that includes members of congress representing puerto rico. the last straw for puerto ricans appears to be a leaked group
chat in which the governor in his inner circle made sexist and homophobic comments. that occurred because of the dead bodies accumulating because the morgues were understaffed. the governor has apologized for the quote but has refused to step down. alise is joining me on the phone from iran. there appears to be things that are stemming from these protests, but can you tell me why puerto ricans are so fed up? >> this is sort of an accumulated outrage. some would point to muhurricane maria sparking the rhetoric and now it explodes into these chants. but it goes further than that. this is more than a decade of a
public debt, a crushing debt on the population, stagnant wages, it goes on and on and on. but what most people are upset about was the joke that was made about the cadavers of hurricane maria's dead. almost everyone on this island is connected to someone directly from the hurricane or in the months afterward because of lack of electricity, lack of water, lack of medicine or access to health care facilities. including myself. i later found out of those who died from hurricane maria. >> politico says the local officials do not inspire
confidence. if anything, that is cause for the federal government to pay closer attention to the island, not abandon it. >> i'm looking to the relationship between the u.s. and puerto rico. the one consistent policy between united states and puerto rico has been one of massive indifference. even the fight for statehood rights and those who fought for it and continue to fight for it in puerto rico feels like it's a long ways off. they tell me they always suspected that things were not the way they were supposed to be, but these chants sort of confirm their worst fears and their worst suspicions about the way things work. they're looking around and trying to figure out, well, this system doesn't work for us. i don't know what that's going to transcend into. i think we're seeing the beginnings or well into a movement of change in the way the local government works.
what that has to do with the united states and how that plays will put puerto rico subject to the world of congress to a great degree. so congress is going to have to decide. again, taking a queue from history, that history tells us that puerto rico continues to not be a priority for the united states, but in this case with billions of dollars in disaster aid that puerto rico still needs and still needs to be distributed to the people, it's unclear what will happen next. >> all right. from the "washington post" in puerto rico, joining us, arlise hernandez. thanks for joining us. >> thank you. democratic congresswomen say how a polarizing strategy could both hurt and help his campaign. .
i don't know if it's good or bad politically. i don't care. many people say it's good. i don't know if it's good or bad. i can tell you this. you can't talk that way about our country. not when i'm the president. >> the president there defending his shots at congresswoman ilhan omar and the other three progressives. the "new york times" looking at the political implications in a new report titled "trump's
electoral college edge could grow in 2020, rewarding polarizing campaign." we have elise beverly who worked for the obama administration, cerline from sirius xm, roger tyler, both political analysts. erlina, i'm going to start with you and the president saying this isn't about politics. is this about politics? >> yes, it's about politics. it doesn't matter because racism is something we should reject full stop as americans, because it is the antithesis of american values. he seems increasingly desperate to win reelection, because if he is not reelected, he could face indictment, as we know. so i think that this president is only down to the only
strategy he has, which is to rile up a base which he clearly believes will respond positively to explicitly racist messages. sk and we talk a lot about trump's base, but we need to be talking a lot about the opposition to donald trump, so let's talk about his opposition which is coalescing around the idea that we must reject this racist president in 2020. >> i must say representative al green did that wonderfully a little earlier. but they say, a strategy rooted in racial polarization could at once energize parts of president's base and rebuild support among wavering white working class voters. many of these voters backed mr. trump in the first place in part because of his views on hot
button issues, including on immigration and race. could this affect the president's reelection base? >> i still have this abiding faith that american people overall are not racist and will not vote for a racist president. i mean, the president is going back and forth, saying it's not racist th racist, that he didn't imply racism and now he's walking back, walking back. his basic argument above and beyond that is that he's able to say these things because these four are somehow unamerican and unpatriotic. let's quote what the president has said in the past. he says the united states is a laughi laughingstock. the united states is a stupid country. the united states is a dumb country, we're not great, the country is going to hell in a handbasket. the united states is like a third world country. the united states is dying, and finally, the american dream is dead. so we can have that argument all day long. in fact, he keeps quoting the
four out of context. he says, they say the country is garbage. i've seen a quote that included the word garbage. it had nothing to do with the united states' garbage. he's lying about what they're saying. what's most disturbing to me, i would love to have a substantive argument about the issues these four believe in, because i think conservatives could win that. instead i find myself rooting for them, because the president has attacked them using race baiting, and i find it disgusting. >> mike, you just offered a mic drop on this list of things the president said and saying, i can't believe this if i'm president. this controversy does help the president with his base. look at the latest numbers we've seen. certainly throughout the south, it has galvanized his support down there. >> look, alex, racially polarized voting has been a consistent feature of the electoral process in the south
for generations. racist campaign appeals has also been a consistent feature of our electoral process when race is still a very polarizing issue in our country. but i think that we are going to see the democrats double down on our values of what make us great, our values of diversity and inclusion. to quote michelle obama who tweeted prolifically yesterday, what makes our country great is our diversity. and it's whether we were born here or whether we sought refuge here, there is a place for all of us here, and i encourage the democrats to continue to speak to those values rather than trying to amplify this continued division. >> yeah. with the president, zerlina, trying to distance himself from the backlash on twitter, he is
defining himself as being patriotic. >> the president lies all the time, so most of the time i take his words and i dismiss them. if they're not factual, then i can ignore what he's saying and focus on the facts. that crowd, alex, was very scary. going back to his rallies, i remember there being a ral dily a campaign in chicago that got out of hand. this reminds me of that rally and it really hearkens back to a time in history, a klan that are chanting along with each other and attacking someone of color who is not present. i think that this is an ugly thing that we must wholeheartedly reject, but also we must stand up against it because it could lead to violence. we've seen that already in his tenure as president. people were sending bombs, supporters of president trump were sending bombs to prominent democrats, including two former
presidents. additionally, we've seen white national terrorism just this past year. we need to make sure this is rejected full stop, because it is a very, very dangerous sight to see. >> with regards to objecting it, rick, republican lawmakers, they overwhelmingly avoid condemning the president for his words. he writes, they're rejectly him and condemning his comments. is there nothing we can do about the racism toward these women? >> there are. if you can take this bigotry head on, this is what ronald reagan was talking about. i don't understand what the
president thinks the many is. what makes us great is anybody can come to the united states and assimilate. by the way, many, many cultures have, and unfortunately, we treated many of them badly as they arrived, and muslims and hispanics seemed like the latest way. we never seemed to learn a lesson. and you know what? none of those cultures have overwhelmed the american culture. the italians didn't, the germans didn't, the irish didn't. they all assimilated in this country to make this country the way it is and why it's so strong and great and why we have a unique culture. >> guys, i'm out of time, which, zerlina, i promise you're the first next time. the dangers of the heat, coming up. ime. the dangers of the heat, coming up. the vacation rental that led to the ride ♪ which took them to the place
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these women have said horrible things about our country and the people of our country. we're dealing with people that hate our country. >> divisive rhetoric. why it might not make the difference at the 2020 ballot box, but the president's attacks on the federal reserve could. soaring temperatures, scorching heat. a sizzling saturday under the sun puts tens of millions in the danger zone. it's that heat blanket that's covering you out there right now. >> as we get through the day today, 100 degrees, that's right, 100 degrees. >> and it's a footprint for the ages. marking history 50 years ago
today. man on the moon and the new boundless hopes for humanity. >> that's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. >> good day, everyone, from msnbc headquarters here in new york. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." we begin with the president renewing his attack on four congresswomen of color for criticizing his administration and u.s. policies. the president this morning insisting he did not encourage supporters who chanted "send her back" in a rally on wednesday. he called that crowd, though, patriotic. the target of those chants, congresswoman ilhan omar who has been a u.s. citizen since she was 17 years old. it is crucial to note that the president attacked omar when the chants started. he paused for 13 seconds and spoke only after the chants faded out. yesterday the president claimed he doesn't care if the chants are good for him politically, but he has declared the
congresswoman as the face of the democratic party. >> i can't imagine they're going to do very well at the polls. and i say this. if the democrats want to embrace people that hate our country, people that are so far left that nobody has ever seen anything like it, if they want to embrace people that are so anti-semitic and anti-israel, if they want to do that, that's up to them, but i don't have to do that. >> and amid all of this, the symbolism of this moment. congresswoman omar greeted by cheering supporters when she returned to minnesota on thursday. she vowed not to relent. >> when i said i was the hope of the united states, i embody what that hope should look like. and when i said i was the president's nightmare, well, you're watching it now. because his nightmare is seeing
a somali immigrant refugee rise in congress! >> just in the last hour, i asked a member of congress what he first heard when he heard the "send her back" chants. >> i know what "send him back" means. i've had it said to me. i've had people chase me because they wanted me to go back. when i was a child, a gang of young anglo men chased me. if he believes he has no guardrails, he will do whatever he can to win. it's all about winning with him, and he doesn't mind using the most insane, inane idealogy to accomplish it. >> nbc's hans nichols is following the president. he's in brooklyn heights, new jersey. hans, welcome to you. is it clear where the president stands on all this, because he appears to be sending mixed messages. >> reporter: alex, it's clear the president's position is moving ever so slightly.
he almost seems agnostic at this stage about the "send her back" chant. he tried to disavow. it wasn't firm, but he was putting some space. then he said his real unhappiness is the four congresswomen he finds offensive. and he said he was not particularly happy with that chant. he is trying to be transparent and say he doesn't know how it will play politically. >> i don't know if it's good or bad politically, i don't care. i don't care about politics, i don't care about it's good or bad about politics. many people say it's good. i don't know if it's good or bad. i can tell you this. you can't talk that way about our country. not when i'm the president. >> reporter: so, alex, in the three different iterations we had of the president on this, we had thursday, friday and now this tweet this morning. it almost seems as if he's trying to figure out how to stay close to his base without
putting much distance between what his base is saying and that chant. that's the challenge for the president. what happens in the president's next rally? do his crowd, do his people somehow understand what he intended? will they get his message? or will they think the president wants to hear it? will some of them start shouting it, start chanting it, or will the president rebuke them and firmly put an end to this? alex. >> that's definitely something to look out for. hans nichols, thank you from new jersey. joining me right now, betsy, and josh weinstein, msnbc contributor joins me as well. josh, you first and your read on the president's handling of all this. he starts with the controversy. he then doubles down and calls the crowd incredible people, they're all patriotic. how do you explain this? >> i think we've seen this pattern from the president before. i think back to his remarks
after the charlottesville events where he took a lot of criticism and then he began to backpedal, but in the middle of back ped pedestribackpedaling, he then r and you try to figure out what his position is. i do think in the grand scheme of things, most americans who respond to these kinds of statements by the president, this sort of race baiting type rhetoric sometimes, i think those lines are pretty well established. there are a certain group of americans that do respond to it, there is a certain group that's revolted by it, but i do still think the majority sort of slough off what the president says. >> and betsy, what do you think the crowd should say along the lines of "send her back" while the president says, "no, no,
stop saying that" while he's at the podium. >> this is something officials, of course, find quite stressing, but we have yet to see some serious pushback from prime officials who point to the president and his fear of silencing the crowd. it's unclear how the president might respond if these chants start again. i can think of in the 2016 election how these chants repeat themselves. unless the president is willing to publicly rebuke or block this rhetoric happening between his supporters, it's more than likely to happen again. >> the president has brought all the attention to these four women he calls "the squad." is he defining the face of the democratic party by doing so? and how should democrats handle
all this as they head into the election year? >> to an extent, he is unifying democrats, right? there were major divisions between the democratic party and many of these congresswomen and other members of the -- on a variety of substantive issues as well as close personal issues and the anti-semitism. all of that seems to be cast to the wayside and democrats are being brought together in response to what they view as a racial attack by the president. i don't know if that necessarily makes these women the face of the democratic party. i think ultimately whoever the candidate is for the presidency will be the face of the democratic party and the congress people that individual americans vote for. so i do think that it is still possible for democrats to stand up for these women in the face
of these attacks, but not embrace each and every position that they take. >> how about, betsy, let's talk now about the republican reaction to all of this. there is a "washington post" article that says -- it's an op-ed and it sums it up this way. republican lawmakers are behaving worse than trump, but that elected officials in congress should know better. nbc news has learned that some of the president's republican allies on the hill, they voiced their concerns about the "send her back" chants. it was in a private meeting on thursday with the vice president. so what is holding them back from saying so publicly? >> there are some members of congress who publicly have criticized the way that these chants have come together and have criticized the president's rhetoric directed at these four democratic members of congress, these women of color. but that said, of course you're not hearing any major significant pushback, and, in fact, some republican leaders in the house have essentially defended or tried to justify or at least tamp down the public
criticism of these racist chants. i think part of the reason, of course, is that the republican party belongs to trump, and it's something that many republican leaders certainly wouldn't have dreamed would be possible back in 2015, but now this is very much his party, and the members who historically push back against them, most of them either lost their primaries or have chosen to retire. if you look at senators roger flake and jeff corker. both of them have retired. meanwhile, benassasse and mitt romney have largely been silent during these ugly episodes. as a whole, speaking broadly, the republican party, at least on capitol hill, isn't pushing back in a meaningful way against the president on this particular manner. >> add paul to that list. he's got that book where he's responding negatively to the
president there. this is from survey monkey. it's focusing on the south and saying trump support is growing. 54% approves of the way trump is handling the job. an nbc poll said it had risen 55%. josh gerstein? >> it may be a situation that we saw in the last election where hillary clinton ran up a huge tally in california, but the margin not mattering that much. i do think when the economy is going well and you see trump with these large attacks of rhetoric that he is in the psychology.
>> the president has a 60% approval rating, and the majority in georgia approve of what he's doing. that will be heartening to democrats, especially as they're holding out hope to get a credible candidate to run in the majority race in 2020. >> thanks, guys. temperatures bearing down on a lot of the country. cities all the way from the plains states making heartbreaking temperatures feel pretty uncomfortable all the way through monday now. indices are putting pressure on the power grid in new york city. let's go to hollywood meteorologist janess webb.
do we have a relief coming from this? >> a relief is coming. but right now it feels like a turtleneck tight feeling. it's not the air temperature. we're really going to see the record here. a high today of 101 degrees for new york city. that would be a record high. we're still at 94 degrees and that warm air continues to make its way a krots the northeast. it's going to be as high as 99, that record as well. we're concerned about the dew points. that's the moisture in the atmosphere. if it's around that 50 or 60-degree range, that's kind of a moderate range here. this is a 70 to 80-degree range here, and that's oppressive that's. so still, 34 states, 161 million
people at risk. the data has changed here, it's heat advisories and heat warnings. these are all major areas, raleigh to new york, boston as well here. unfortunately, we'll be dealing with this. alex, we're only seeing that hot pink color so it's packing a punch for people in the heat. now to kathy park who is in new york city. kathy, what's the latest there? >> if you step outside of new york city, you're hit with this steam bath in the middle of washington square park. these areas would be full of people, people would be sitting
on these seats, these benches. you'll notice people have converged on this one shade i spot. probably a good idea concerning it it's. and because of this, the mayor decided to kans travelthon was expected to have 4,000 participants from all over the world. they make plans for this. obviously, the mare said the ex. between, especially after last woorpgs are in stand bs by, but right now they say they're moderating the situation very
closely. if you do happen to be outdoors, obviously toupt stay hydrated, but pay attention to how you will. if shows symptoms persist, you'll want to get ready for the thick of this. it's probably best to be indoors today. representative tulsi gabbard is going to join me next to talk about her new video with a message for the president. r the. well i switched to swiffer wet jet and its awesome. it's an all-in-one so it's ready to go when i am. the cleaning solution actually breaks down dirt and grime. and the pad absorbs it deep inside. so, it prevents streaks and haze better than my old mop. plus, it's safe to use on all my floors, even wood. glad i got that off my chest and the day off my floor. try wet jet with a moneyback guarantee
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new today, escalating tensions in the persian gulf. the iranian revolutionary guard releasing what it games is video of its forces in action detaining one of two british tankers yesterday. british officials are now threatening serious sanctions against its reactions and iran saying they detained another tanker in spain. msnbc's ali rusy joining me in iran. folks think this could lead to some sort of terrible miscalculation. >> hi, alex.
circumstances seem to be rising rather than deescalating. it's showing no signs of cooling off which is evident from this latest incident with this british oil tanker. i don't think we're on the precipice of a conflict quite yet, but in the absence of dialogue and the longer this standoff continues, then it has the potential to end very badly, especially as more and more countries are getting drawn in. the british foreign minister called this seizure of the ship hostile and unacceptable. let's take a listen to what he had to say. >> this is not about the u.s. maximum pressure strategy. they have a different approach to dealing with iran to us, france and germany. we continue to support the iran nuclear deal. this is about safety and security of british and international shipping in one of the most important seaways in the world. and that is why we are calling on iran to reverse this illegal
act. we're looking for ways to deescalate the situation, but we're also very clear that we will do what it takes to ensure the safety and security of british shipping. >> reporter: alex, there were some mixed reports of why the tanker seized authorities first. they said it collided with fishing boats and ignored their distress signal. but earlier today, senior officials said iran had taken reciprocal action because the u.k. had seized its super tanker illegally on the fourth of july in gibraltar. gibraltar authorities said they would impound the ship for another month, and then iran saw two ships, one of which was released. i don't think the timing is a coincidence. once the tanker was seized by
the u.k., it enacted a serious response from the leader here. they got some just-released footage saying the swarm of speed boats around the british tanker while helicopters were flying above and members of the guards were rapelling on the dock of the ship wearing ski masks. it was provocative, it was dramatic, it's aggressive and that's exactly what iran wanted everybody to see. they wanted to send the message out to say, if you threaten our interests, we will threaten your interests, and we will make the cost of shipping through the straits of hormuz, through the persian gulf extraordinarily expensive for everybody if they can't sell their oil as well. >> and we should say right now, there are 23 sailors on board that seized tanker, so something to keep in mind. at the very least, ali,
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axios out with this big takeaway from a michigan focus group discussion with swing voters. quote, some swing voters here told us even though they hate president trump's behavior, they'll place more importance on the state of the economy and their personal financial situations when deciding how to vote in 2020. bill press, host of the bill press pod, amy holmes, former speechwriter for senator leader lauren fritz, and lauren. lauren, first to you. does this mean the president can get a pass on what he says from some swing voters as long as the economy looks like it does now? >> the president shouldn't get a pass for all the rhetoric, but i think he may get a pass. this is what you're hearing from swing voters in places like michigan, as the story suggested, but also other places on the rust belt, pennsylvania and ohio. a lot of people don't like the
tweets, they don't like the rhetoric, but they're happy with what is happening with the economy, and whether reports are true or not, i know that that article you mentioned cited that manufacturing is actually on the downcline. i think the administration has actually really focused on manufacturing jobs and making sure people are aware when those jobs are coming back. so i think tie lo a lot of thes people, they feel the economy is stronger, manufacturing is coming back. they don't like the rhetoric or the tweets, but otherwise they're pretty happy. >> as we look at a historical perspective, axios' focus group said every incumbent president since fdr who has avoid aid recession in the lead-up been reelected. is that true?
>> we've never had a president like donald trump before, so you have to put that in context. the other thing is, i just want to point out this focus group, there were 12 people. out of 350 million americans, i don't want to put too much importance on what 12 people say, but let's take them at their word. it is true that our economy is in pretty good shape. donald trump could make the case that unemployment is at an all-time low and the dow is at an all-time high. i think the problem is, and here's where i disagree with lauren, if donald trump talked more about the economy, he'd be better off. that's what he should be talking about. instead we hear all these personal insults, racist attack, spewing hatred, and i think that could turn who otherwise might vote for him turn them off to donald trump, because that's not who they are. they're uncomfortable with that. it happened in 2018, remember, typically with suburban republican women, swing voters and independents, and i think they ought to be careful of that
in 2020. >> they said they basically couldn't stomach him. i was watching lauren and lauren was agreeing with you on that point. but amy brought this up this comment about not having a recession. and the tariffs are the reasons for not making any purchases or investments. might this be a problem for the president? >> that's where president trump was able to break hillary clinton's blue wall. the economy added 224,000 jobs and unemployment is at an all-time low. but when the president is involved in these twitter fights or "the squad" or whoever he's citing, these have all impacted
farmers. it might be seeing that some of his policies, while they might have a long-term benefit to the american income generously. so tell him to put that down and start talking about what he's actually been able to deliver to the american people. >> you know, lauren, i want to get back to what bill is saying and have you react to that, because if some voters are thinking about their bank account, couldn't that also impact turnout? >> it certainly could, but i don't think it will. i completely agree with bill that the president -- and with amy as well that the president needs to be talking about the economy. i just think the reality of the situation is that he's not going to. he's not going to put the twitter down. >> trump is trump is what you're saying. >> yeah, trump is trump and that's not going to change. but what i think the democrats need to do a better job of is they need to do a better job of
doing something other than running against the president. you know, that didn't work in 2016 and i really don't think it's going to work in 2020. they need to talk about their message, their vision in the economy, otherwise i think the president has a very good chance of getting reelected. >> alex, the division in the economy we've seen on the debate stage is far to the left of the american people. the american people do not support government-subsidized free health care for immigrants, the american people do not support the green new deal. even nancy pelosi doesn't. so the democrats aren't focused on the economy, either. >> i want to say we call them undocumented immigrants, we don't call them illegal immigrants here. ten seconds. >> the democrats are focused on the economy. they're talking about issues facing middle class americans, something donald trump promised to help and have totally
forgotten. that's democrats' focus. moving on, joining me right now, hawaii representative in 2020, democratic presidential candidate tulsi gabbard. i'm very happy to speak with you, congresswoman. i know you're in puerto rico right now, and just hours ago on your twitter, you called on your 2020 democratic opponents to also come like you are right now to that u.s. territory to support the democrats. tell me what you're seeing firsthand? >> thank you for having me on, alex. what is very evident here, i've been out on the streets with people who are gathering literally by the thousands to make sure their voices are being heard. their voices are not being hearded.
i'mly. really, what is unifying the country around the world is this corruption in government that's been causing so much suffering for far too long. that is where these voices coming from all walks of life, all different ages, people from different backgrounds coming together and saying, this governor must resign. there has to be a change going forward where the puerto rican people truly have leadership and they need to have focus to serve their interests. >> i want to move now to the controversy that's surrounding the president's attacks on four of your colleagues in the house of representatives. i know that you tweeted out a while ago. >> donald trump's dissenting
views is weighing on america. for those americans who voted for trump, i will never disparage or demean you. i know that you love and care about our country and our future. this is why i'm sure that all, or at least many of you, are disheartened by the president's racist and xenophobic attacks. you know they're unamerican, but they're also anti-american because they divide us. >> you say there you won't reject his supporters, but what do you think when they chant "send her back"? >> i want to point to the person who is occupying the white ho e house. it requires a sense of responsibility to lead our country, to serve our country, to serve the american people and to put them first. and he has failed on those
accounts. what is so dangerous about what donald trump has been doing over this last week especially, but even more than that, is using these racist and divisive comments for the sole purpose of his own political power, for his own political benefit to try to tear our country apart. this is a very dangerous thing. and even further to that, he's undermining these freedoms and principles that all of us have as americans. no matter the color of our skin, our ethnicity, our religion, our background, our orientation, each of us is endowed by these inalienable rights of our creator, freedom of speech, freedom to doubt, freedom to worship. the president is using the power of his presidency by saying that if you as an american are speaking out and critical of his vision, his leadership, then you should, quote, unquote, go home. these undermine the very values of who we are as a country and
what we stand for as americans, the values of so many of my brothers and sisters in uniform have sacrificed to protect and defend. that's why it's so important for us to set apart partisan politics. this is bigger than that and we have to stand and protect these comments, we have to stand and protect what we disagree with. that's why i'm running for president, because mr. trump is devaluing who and what we are. >> when he says it is not political, do you take him at his word? why does he behave this way publicly? >> no. no. it's clear the things that he is doing that are so harmful to our country and to our people. he is doing for his own political interests because he thinks that will somehow strengthen his political power or base or whatever it is. regardless, the thing that comes
through very clearly to me and to so many others is that donald trump is thinking about himself rather than thinking about the well-being of our country and the well-being of our people. the american people deserve a president who will unify this country, who will put their interests ahead of -- put the interests of the people ahead of their own selfish interests, put people ahead of profits, ahead of politics and actually come together and find ways we can solve the problems that people are facing, actually have this dialogue and debate to deliver real solutions to the challenges that folks are struggling with every single day. >> let's move on to the race for 2020. as you know, you will be on stage for the second democratic debate on night two. this is a time you will share the stage with some of the same faces, some different debates. what about your strategy this time around? >> i'm looking forward to having that platform and the
opportunity to be able to share a little bit about my background with the american people, the experience that i bring to this job of president and the most important responsibility that the president has is to serve as commander in chief, the experience that i bring as a soldier for over 16 years, deploying twice to the middle east as well as almost seven years in congress, working on foreign affairs, the armed services and homeland security committees, understanding how important the responsibility the president has to keeping our country safe. also understanding this terribly high cost of war and the consequences of the decisions made in that office. and i think central to that and recognizing the cost of war not only on service members like myself and several veterans but on every single american. given the trillions of taxpayer dollars that have come out of our pockets, out of hur
communiti -- our communities, out of our schools, out of our hospitals to continue to pay for this war that has become so destructive. that's why i'm for ending this new cold war in arms race so we can keep the american people safe and make sure we are redirecting those resorts toward having health care for all, protecting our infrastructure, protecting our environment, making sure people have clean water to drink. that is where our focus and priority will be and that's the kind of leadership i will bring. >> we look guard forward to hea you on that debate stage as well as any other time you want to join us. tulsi gabbard. one challenger to senator john corbin of texas is talking to me next. s talking to me next border with
right now the race for the u.s. senate in texas certainly heating up. the democratic field growing up as they are vying against john corbin for his seat. joining me now, houston city councilwoman and u.s. candidate, margaret williams. i know you'll be facing off against five other democrats for the party's nomination. if you win, you then face the challenge of going up against the three-term incumbent. why are you the best person for
texas? >> thank you for having me on this show. i serve 3.3 million houstonians and get a chance every day to talk to them about the issues surrounding them. the focus of my campaign will be inclusive and focusing on solutions, making differences in people's lives that have an impact on them. i think it's important we cut past the political rhetoric that is so pervasive today and really focus on making change happen for real people. >> well, you throw your hat in the ring and you get a response from cornyn's team, releasing a statement that portrays you too liberal for the state. it reads in part, councilwoman edwards is a true progressive with a record that would make elizabeth warren jealous. what do you say to that? >> i want to say the texan people deserve our focus and not political banter back and forth. it's been too long where we haven't been focused on delivering more access to health care or more economic opportunity for texans who are living in urban, rural and
suburban markets. we have to be more focused on policy and results rather than just political banter. >> you know the 2016 race caught a lot of national attention as it was texas' closest senate race in four years. you had democrat beto o'rourke nearly losing to ted cruz. is there a look at that race as you approach your own? >> absolutely. beto did an incredible job going across texas, persuading people to come and vote in the last election cycle. we want to build upon beto's success in terms of being able to bring more people into the fold, but we also have to galvanize more of the base. we saw underperformance of populations under the age of 35 with people of color. me being a woman of color and who also will speak to this generation of those that are 35 and younger will also help to galvanize that base as well as
bring others along. we've got to be focused on the issues that matter to those people swaas well as broader tes and they have to be able to achieve those results. you have to have trust in your elected officials that they will deliver for you, and that's the way we will approach this race. >> amen to that. houston city councilwoman and u.s. senate candidate from the lone star state, the great state of texas, a mmanda edwards, tha you for being here. >> thank you for having me. >> come back any time. next the author of a new book explains that nobody realized just how dangerous this mission was. t how dangerous this mission was. $4.95. delivery drones or the latest phones. $4.95. no matter what you trade, at fidelity it's just $4.95 per online u.s. equity trade. no matter what you trade, at fidelity we're oscar mayer deli fresh your very first sandwich,m...
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around the world were watching that. the astronauts were on the lunar surface for 22 hours. they collected rocks and soil. and studied particles and gravity. james donovan joins me now. i'm curious what's been going through your mind this week as you've seen all this old footage, marking the anniversary. >> truly amazing, 50 years later, and i was a kid then, huddled around the tv with my family, not believing it was really happening. in a way i still don't believe it happened. >> yeah, it is pretty extraordinary. you also said no one realized how dangerous a mission this was. nasa made it look easy. >> since the fire in '67 which almost derailed at poll low program, they really downplayed any dangers. this was going to be dangerous
anyway. most astronauts i talked to didn't think apollo 11 was going to land because there were too many unknowns. this was a spacecraft that -- no one had ever landed that was going to land on a world no one had ever set foot on in 1/6 gravity in a vacuum. beyond that, when they got to about 50,000 feet, the primitive apollo guidance computer started shooting out these alarms, 12:01, 12:02. only one 25-year-old guy at mission control knew whats that were, and knew that everything wasn't going to go crazy. they were in unfamiliar territory, the guidance computer was about to land them on the side of a large football sized crater with large car sized boaters around it, that's when
armstrong took over manual control scooted past that, and they were almost out of fuel. so a lot of people didn't know what was happening while they were watching that. >> you talked at length about the numbers of people it took to put this lunar module on the moon ultimately. nasa which has said they want to land people on the moon again by 2024. do you support that, you think it's going to happen? >> i don't know if it's going to happen. i do support it, because i think it's part of our heritage, birth right that we are an exploring civilization. but it takes a lot of money, billions and billions of dollars to get that done and that's going to take congressional approval. many presidents had large grandiose plans in outer space. a few of them have happened since kennedy and johnson made sure that apollo landed. >> we will see what happens by 2024. i'll enjoy reading your book.
the author of shoot for the moon. the space race and extraordinary voyage. thanks so much, james, appreciate it. dangerous heat, more than 100 records are on track to be broken this weekend. the latest on the excessive heat warnings at the top of the hour. you can find it in the vitamin aisle in stores everywhere. prevagen. healthier brain. better life.
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