NJ Governor on lead in Newark’s water. TRANSCRIPT: 8/22/19, The 11th Hour w/ Brian Williams.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: That is tonight`s LAST WORD. “THE 11TH
HOUR” with Brian Williams starts now.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Tonight, the President set to head to France
for the G7 where the White House says he will push for Russia to regain its
seat at the table. But an important U.S. ally says not so fast.
Plus, while Democrats draw big crowds, new polling shows the drum beat of
crisis and outrage has kept the President`s poll numbers remarkably
consistent and consistently low for this period in his presidency.
And our live interview here tonight with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy
about the water and public health crisis that has made life a struggle for
thousands in the biggest city in his state as THE 11TH HOUR gets under way
on this Thursday night.
Well, good evening once again from our NBC News headquarters here in New
York. Day 945 of the Trump administration on the eve of the President`s
departure for a major summit with our closest industrialized allies where
the President and his often divisive rhetoric will be on display on the
The G7 meeting with it leaders of Canada, the U.K., France, Germany, Italy
and Japan. Critics of this President have wandered aloud today if this
gathering isn`t already more of a G6 given the disengagement of the U.S. of
late, considering we`re in a fight with Denmark of late. They wondered
aloud if this President will indeed be welcomed at the leader of the Free
For starters the President and Russia are arguing that Russia ought to be
allowed back into the gathering. Tonight “The Washington Post” reports
that, “Trump has complained repeatedly to senior aides about having to
attend, White House officials said, and he sees his planned meeting with
Britain`s new prime minister, Boris Johnson, considered a potential ally on
the world stage, as the only bright spot.”
The Associated Press reporting the summit will open with a discussion of
the world economy and that according to the White House it was added, “at
the last minute at Trump`s request.”
Trump has praised the U.S. economy even amid alarming signs of something of
a global slow down did so again at the White House today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Job numbers have been
really good. We have unemployment at a level that it hasn`t been at for
many, many years. Fantastic numbers. The economy has been really
fantastic. If you look at the world economy, not so good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: “The Washington Post” also reporting that, “Trump has publicly
gloated about economic problems in China and Europe, but those strains
appear to be holding back the U.S. growth as well. “The irony here is that
Trump`s erratic, chaotic approach to the economy is probably the most
significant economic risk factor in the world right now,” said Gene
Sperling, who served as a top economic aide during the Clinton and Obama
Trump`s trade war and his response to fears of recession could worsen
already tense relationships with America`s allies. The President`s recent
comments about Russia and his scolding of Denmark are also unlikely to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It`s come up should we put Russia back in. I think it would be a
good thing if Russia were there so we could speak directly, not have to
speak all the – you know, by telephone and other things.
Harry Truman had the idea of Greenland, I had the idea, other people have
had the idea.
Denmark is losing $700 million a year with it. It doesn`t do them any
good. But all they had to do was say, “no, we`d rather not do that or we`d
rather not talk about it.” Don`t say what an absurd idea that is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: For the record, Reuters reports France has all but ruled out any
readmission of Russia to the G7 without some progress on Ukraine peace
And you heard Trump credit Harry Truman for the Greenland idea, but today
Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas said he suggested the idea to the
President, even met with the Danish ambassador to propose the sale. The
ambassador was apparently taken aback.
Trump also managed to stir up more division here at home with comments on
guns, immigration and calling out the loyalty of Jewish voters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have a lot of – we have a lot of background checks right now.
You know, it`s a slippery slope and that`s what actually your gun owners
and a lot of other people are concerned with.
Birthright citizenship where you have a baby in our land, you walk over the
border, have a baby, congratulations the baby is now a U.S. citizen. We`re
looking at a very, very seriously.
I think if you vote Democrat you`re very, very disloyal to Israel and to
the Jewish people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Tonight, there is a new Associated Press poll that finds 36
percent of Americans questioned say they approve of the way Trump is
handling his job as our president, 62 percent disapprove. It`s also a new
Monmouth University poll that shows 35 percent say Trump should be
impeached and forced to leave office. Notably almost twice as many, 59
percent disagree, almost 6 in 10 Americans against it.
As of tonight there are 130 House Democrats and one Independent, Justin
Amash of Michigan who say they support impeachment proceedings.
Now to this talk of possible primary challengers for this President. There
he is, but one as of now, former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld announced
his White House bid back in April. Joe Walsh, a one term Tea Party back,
GOP congressman from Illinois and now a conservative radio host says he`s
considering a run. So is former South Carolina congressman and governor,
Mark Sanford, who himself was primaried by a pro-Trump candidate, lost his
seat. Earlier today both men made the case for challenging Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE WALSH, (R) FMR. ILLINOIS CONGRESSMAN: Somebody`s going to get in there
and go after him. These are not conventional times. Look at the guy in
the White House. These are urgent times. Somebody needs to make that
case. I have yet to hear any potential Republican make that case.
MARK SANFORD, (R) FMR. SOUTH CAROLINA CONGRESSMAN: I think that the more
the merrier and it creates a more robust conversation that needs to take
place frankly to improve the Republican Party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: That brought about this prediction from a long time Republican
strategist and Trump critic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK WILSON, GOP STRATEGIST: I think you have several primary opponents
and I`m with that philosophy you let a 100 flowers bloom when it comes to
the primary. I think he will have primary opponents, so, there are a lot
of reasons why Donald Trump should not be happy about this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Well, let`s bring in our lead off discussion on a Thursday
night, Nancy Cook, White House Reporter for POLITICO, Jill Colvin, White
House Reporter for the Associated Press. And here in our New York studios
tonight, former Democratic senator from the State of Missouri, Claire
And senator, you outrank the rest of us, so we`ll begin with you here in
New York. This is – it seems to me this trip the President embarks on
tomorrow night, one of those cases where like it or not – and I know you
don`t like it one bit – he speaks for all of us. He is America`s
President on the world stage. How do you think his colleagues, the leaders
of other countries are being briefed on how to handle him this time around?
FMR. SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL, (D) MISSOURI: Probably to ignore him.
MCCASKILL: I don`t think there`s any upside in trying to go to the place
that where we`ve always been, that the American President has led the Free
World, has been a leader. He is not reliable. He loves to attack our
allies and cozy up to the bad guys.
This whole thing with Putin, the notion that he`s trying to say that it was
because he outsmarted Obama when it was because he did something on the
world stage, Putin, that was violated every principle of how countries
should behave. He invaded a country and took over, and that`s why he was
kicked out. And that`s why France and our other allies are saying, “Hey,
we`re not going to let him back in until they acknowledge that you can`t
behave that way.” So I really think most of our allies are now thinking,
well, let`s see if America signs up for another term. If they don`t, then
it`s an aberration. If they do, then I think it changes the world order on
a more permanent basis.
WILLIAMS: Let`s put it another way, that title we toss around. We`ve
always traditionally customarily called our Presidents the leader of the
Free World, a very American thing to do. Do you differ with that title
where this guy is concerned?
MCCASKILL: He`s not the leader of the Free World now. Because he doesn`t
– he can`t build a coalition, Brian, to take on China and Russia. That`s
why they want him to win again. We need alliances. We need the countries
who agree with the world view of democracy and freedom and freedom of
press, freedom of religion. All of the freedoms that my Republican
colleagues used to wave around the Senate chamber.
What he`s doing is he can`t put that alliance together anymore. And who
benefits from that? The two biggest beneficiaries of that are China and
WILLIAMS: If he`s not leader of the Free World, who is?
MCCASKILL: I don`t think we have one right now? I think there is a lot,
you know, obviously – and by the way Europe`s a mess. This would be the
moment for an American President to try to unify Europe because of the
strategic importance of Europe to our national security. But instead of
trying to unify Europe he has been on a mission to bust up Europe. And it
makes no sense for our national security, but that`s what he`s done.
So I don`t think right now – I think Merkel would have been the leader of
the Free World if she were still there because of the strength of her
tenure in office and her strategic mind, but now we have a new leader
there. So I don`t know that right now you can spot one person who`s the
leader of the Free World. But we know who it isn`t. It`s not Donald
WILLIAMS: I`ll come back to this very point in just a few minutes. Hey,
Nancy, if this President, if reports are true that he`s been dreading the
trip, if he`s hoping not to go, what do they hope to get while there?
NANCY COOK, POLITICO WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, I talked to several
senior administration officials today and I don`t think that they`re very
optimistic that the G7 will really produce anything tangible. But what`s
interesting to me is they`re really going in this aggressive way to try to
sell these European countries on this pro-growth, what they call a pro-
growth policy. And so they are going to sell them on tax cuts and
deregulation and, you know, those sorts of things that the Trump
administration has done over the last few years.
And they`re sort of going to go in and aggressively say, you know, Europe
wouldn`t be doing so poorly if they were following these policies. You
know, I think critics of that would say, you know, our deficit has really
risen in the last few years since Trump took office and, you know, the tax
cuts were fine but they were sort of a one time shot of stimulus. And so I
think some critics would take some issue with that. But people I talked to
said they`re really going in roaring with this message. And I think that
that will setup some potentially very adversarial conversations. I don`t
think that world leaders want to be told that it`s, you know, Trump`s way
or the highway in terms of how they run their countries.
WILLIAMS: Hey, Jill, it happened again yesterday, such a fuselage of words
and distractions. Look over here, look over here. The President made
legitimate news in his shouted 35 minutes of comments in front of the
idling helicopter, but even we could not get our arms around all of it.
We`ll play it and talk about it on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We`re holding thousands of ISIS fighters right now, and Europe has
to take them. And if Europe doesn`t take them, I`ll have no choice but to
release them into the countries from which they came, which is Germany and
France and other places. So we`re going to tell them and we`ve already
told them, take these prisoners that we`ve captured because the United
States is not going to put them in Guantanamo for the next 50 years and pay
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: So quick fact check here from the website Defense One. Trump
administration officials have emphasized the U.S. is not holding any
captured ISIS fighters. The Syrian democratic forces supported by the U.S.
are currently holding 2,000 of them. But, Jill, think about what that
statement means to allies that you`re about to break bread with.
JILL COLVIN, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Exactly. And
look, this is a pattern that we have seen with the President again and
again and again. It seems like whenever he is traveling to an allied
country, whenever he`s supposed to be meeting with a world leader that is
ostensibly supposed to be America`s closest friend he winds up sort of
lobbing one of these grenades. We saw him do it to Theresa May repeatedly.
Insulting her basically as he was in the air about to land and about to
greet her. He – it seems the closer he is to a country the more he sort
of sets up this adversarial tension before he arrives.
I don`t know if it`s a power play that the President is doing here, if he`s
looking for some kind of distraction. We know that the President really
doesn`t enjoy especially this kind of trip, the kind that includes
bilateral meeting after bilateral meeting, a lot of sort of pomp and him
having to sit through dinners and having to sit through policy discussions.
Those just aren`t the kind of interactions that he enjoys and would much
prefer, I think, to be talking and the press to be asking about things like
he was talking about on the South Lawn there.
WILLIAMS: Nancy, back to a point you were making about what the President
has been saying about the economy. Watching the air war against the
notion, God forbid, of the economy going to hell in a hand basket, there`s
the Democrats are pulling for it, that`s one of their sets of reasoning.
And there`s what you mentioned saying, look, it`s the world economy
dragging us down.
COOK: Yes, I mean there is some truth to that. There is a global economic
slow down. Germany is hurting, the European central bank. The President
last week said the bank would cut interest rates by the end of the year.
But part of the potential economic slow down in the U.S. is really also
self-inflicted and it`s due to this trade standoff that we`ve had with
Now we haven`t seen that show up yet in things like consumer spending but I
do think that a lot of businesses are feeling a lot uncertainty and I think
that it is causing economic growth to slowdown a bit. And the White House
is really unwilling to acknowledge that because it is a policy area that
the President feels so strongly about and he feels like he wants to be
tough on China and he refuses to back down on that. But, you know, it is
really something that I think they`ll have to explain and be on the
defensive about over the next few months.
WILLIAMS: Hey, Jill, the loyalty – questioning the loyalty of Jews has
been something used in the past to kill Jews. What do you think the
President`s underpinnings his thinking was there?
COLVIN: You know, it seems from the supporters of the President that I`ve
spoken to that they feel like the President, which is maybe didn`t quite
understand what he was saying there, the kind of loaded language that he
was using and what he was attempting to do there is something the campaign
is interested in, which is potentially trying to peel off at least some
Jewish voters in places like Florida, where if you could win over, you
know, a couple of 1,000 people in certain counties by making the case that
the Democratic Party is moving in a direction, you know, away from
supporting Israel, that the President repeatedly has pointed, you know, to
members of the Democratic Party, trying to elevate them as new progressive
members as the face of the Democratic Party, sort of trying to scare
moderates away from considering voting for a Democrat instead of him. So
the President`s language also is intended it seems to resonate with
Evangelical and Christian voters who have been quite supportive of him.
You know, policies like moving the embassy to Jerusalem, those kinds of
policies that he`s implemented are interestingly enough actually more
popular among Christians and specifically Evangelical Christians than they
are among American Jews.
And something I just go back to a point that you and Nancy were talking
about there in these discussions that the White House is having about the
economy. Even though the President has been very out there trying to put
on a happy face and spin this positively, my sources in the White House
have made very clear that they are concerned about this, that the President
is deeply concerned about this. And that that`s part of the reason why
we`ve been seeing over the last, you know, two weeks or so the President
really lash out in all these different directions.
WILLIAMS: And finally, Senator, you mentioned the Russian goal. Take the
Atlantic alliance, turn allies into enemies. And they`re frankly, for very
little expense doing a bang up job. Do you in your former capacity as in
the Senate or just in the walking around you, do you look back at Brexit as
perhaps the first bit of Soviet election experimentation that the world
MCCASKILL: Yes, in fact –
WILLIAMS: And say Soviet Russian, of course.
MCCASKILL: – when I was traveling in Estonia several years ago the
Estonian people were telling us that Putin was sending in propaganda that
if they join NATO, that NATO soldiers could rape the women there without
any consequences. They were very aware of the games that were being played
by Putin to try to undermine democracies and undermine the west. And he`s
found a great buddy in this quest to do this by the name of Donald Trump.
And talk about a primary, think about this for a minute, Brian. The
orthodoxy of the Republican Party has been blown up by this President.
Free trade, gone. Fiscal conservatism, record deficits, and being a hawk
as it relates to Putin and Russia and what they can do to our country if
they are not checked. Those are all gone. The notion that he`s not
getting a primary opponent tells you how far the Republican Party has gone
from what used to be iron rock rib orthodoxy.
WILLIAMS: And on that, our thanks to Senator Claire McCaskill, to Nancy
Cook, to Jill Colvin for starting us off this Thursday night.
Coming up, one Trump biographer describes the President`s recent behavior
as unbridled, unmanageable panic. That author coming here with us next.
And later we`ve heard pleas for his help on the Newark water crisis.
Tonight, our exclusive live interview with the governor of New Jersey, Phil
Murphy as THE 11TH HOUR is just getting started on a Thursday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I am the chosen one. Somebody had to do it, so I`m taking on
China. I`m taking on China on trade.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Our next guest is shaking his head on those comments from the
President. Bloomberg Opinion writer and our next guest Tim O`Brien writes
today, “you need a certain kind of appalling narcissism to be comfy
promoting yourself as heaven-sent in a televised press briefing and as a
deity on Twitter. It`s doubly unhinged when you`re doing this as
president.” He goes on, “The Trump of the past few weeks is the same
disordered figure the past several decades with, I suspect, a big dollop of
something new blended in, unbridled and unmanageable panic.”
That perceived panic maybe presidential fear of an economic slow down in
the middle of election cycle that you might have heard about. “The
Washington Post” offers this detail tonight, “Even as his aides warn of a
business climate at risk of faltering, the President has been portraying
the economy to the public as “phenomenal” and “incredible.” He has told
aides that he thinks he can convince Americans that the economy is vibrant
and unrattled through a public messaging campaign.”
Back with us tonight Tim O`Brien, Executive Editor of Bloomberg Opinion, he
also happens to be the author of “Trump Nation, The Art of Being the
Donald.” The President really didn`t like it the last time we had a
conversation here, so what could go wrong? What do you see that is
familiar in this tablo the last few days?
TIM O`BRIEN, BLOOMBERG OPINION EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Well, you know, it`s
always risky to say New Yorkers know something the rest of the country
doesn`t, but New Yorkers know who Donald Trump is. And anybody who`s been
in New York since the 1970s is very familiar with how Donald Trump rolls.
Free association, self-aggrandizement, self-preservation, nonlinear
thinking, he`s a force of nature, the media spotlight. None of this is a
And I think that he`s a profoundly disordered thinker. He`s been
insulated, I think, by wealth and celebrity from having to learn from his
mistakes over the years. And he`s just sort of perpetuated the same
shtick. And so I don`t think the Donald Trump who is taking 15 to 20
minutes in front of his chopper before he lives the White House just sort
of talk about whatever he wants, without a lot of factual basis to what
he`s saying or even preparation because he prides himself on freelancing.
WILLIAMS: Isn`t the problem here that people who get caught in this
economic downturn will know it and feel it and suffer no matter what the
verbiage coming out?
O`BRIEN: I think that`s totally true and I think that`s what`s ringing in
the back of his mind now. I think when you looked up at the heavens and
said he`s the chosen one he`s thinking very much about his evangelical
base. I don`t think that was – I don`t think he`s under any illusion that
he is the second coming. But I think he knows it`s a useful political
And why is playing on that particular string because he`s worried he`s down
in the polls, the federal deficit is soaring. Most of the weakness in the
economy now is trade induced. It`s of his own making. He can`t blame it
on the Fed. And you`re starting to see not only weakness in job numbers
but in the Midwest, you know, farmers in the Midwest are angry right now.
Whatever it is, Trump is going to say he can get past of messaging. That
messaging is not working with them. He`s been out there with Sunny Purdue
and they`ve been shouted down in meetings with farmers who voted for Trump
WILLIAMS: In 30 seconds or less why the Obama obsession, preoccupation, so
many more references just yesterday?
O`BRIEN: Well, because I think that Obama authentically pulled the country
out of an economic crisis and he and his administration and the business
community laid the foundation for the recovery that put the wind in Trump`s
sales. He knows that in the back of his mind.
If he gifts the country in a manageable deficit, job losses and a wage
downturns, he is going to look bad next to Barack Obama. And I think he`s
profoundly aware of that, Brian.
WILLIAMS: As I said what could go wrong. Our thanks to frequent guest of
ours, Tim O`Brien, for joining us on this Thursday night.
Coming up the governor of the State of New Jersey standing by to talk with
us about a public health crisis in the largest city in the state. That`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BISHOP JETHRO JAMES, PARADISE BAPTIST CHURCH NEWARK NEW JERSEY: I`ve been
to Phil Murphy`s home, the governor`s home. I`ve been there. If this was
in his neighborhood, they`d be digging up the streets now changing the
pipes going in. To say to poor people, stand in the hot sun. To say to
poor people you`re going to get two cases with 24 bottles in it and I`ll
see you next week is really asinine and insulting. And you can say
anything you want, but, Governor, your action is speaking louder than your
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Some tough words there. That was in this studio at this time
last night. That was Bishop Jethro James, our religious leader from
Newark, New Jersey. One of the pastors of the New Jersey state police.
Large portions of Newark, the largest city in the most densely populated
state in our union remained without safe drinking water. Thus far it`s
been the churches that have stepped up to solicit bottled water donations
to replace the lead contaminated water that flows through the taps of about
in 15,000 households.
Governor Phil Murphy who joins us in a moment has not declared a state of
emergency. There`s no time for when those lead pipes which brings the
water in from under the street and into the homes will be torn up and
replaced. The city handed out filters, they didn`t work, and two cases of
bottled water every two weeks isn`t enough for so many families. And thus
far the people who qualify for bottled water have been told by and large
they`ve got to come and get it. And for most that has meant long lines in
the hot sun.
So, with us as promised on the broadcast tonight, New Jersey`s Democratic
Governor Phil Murphy. Governor, first off, thank you for seeing through
your commitment and joining us tonight. And let`s first off stipulate one
thing. Lead pipes and lead in Newark`s water predate your term in office.
But with 15,000 households living 16 ounces at a time wondering every day
where and how they`re going to get clean water, why hasn`t the state
stepped in? Why no distribution? Why hasn`t the National Guard been
GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D), NEW JERSEY: Brian, it`s good to be on. The state
has stepped in a in a big way and I appreciate all the faith leaders,
corporations and others who have stepped up to offer water and contributed
water. The state has stepped up for 75,000 cases. So the fact of the
matter is water is being distributed every day. It`s not two cases. In
fact it`s now four cases in four different locations in Newark.
There were no lines on the hot sun today. We checked at each of these
locations. If you`re disabled and firmed or elderly, the water is coming
to you. And, by the way, the bigger picture is lead service lines is not
just a Newark problem, it`s not just a New Jersey problem, it`s an American
Newark for many, many years was on a testing regime with the federal
government and there were no evidence of lead exceedance. This began a
couple of years ago and there had been a series of methodical steps that
Newark has taken including a 10-year program to replace all the service
lines in the state, changing chemicals to flush through the system which
looks like it`ll have some positive outcomes. I hope sooner than later.
As you mentioned, passing out filters.
And all of the recent challenges have been based on three data points,
three different households. Each household saw the lead come down, but two
of them didn`t see it come down far enough. So in an abundance of caution,
we have gone aggressively to distributing bottled water, opening up testing
to I believe many hundreds of different data points. And in particular for
women who are pregnant, nursing, children under the age of six, the very
elderly, we strongly ask that they use only bottled water to cook, to
There`s no bathing exposure. That`s not an issue. But the fact to the
matter is many, many steps have been taken by Newark. The state has been
with them at every step of the way and we will continue to be.
WILLIAMS: Well let me put it this way. You`ve got little kids growing up
in Newark being tested for lead exposure and in danger of brain damage on
top of being born with just about every disadvantage we can name. Do you
believe this is a public health crisis?
MURPHY: It`s a public health challenge for sure. I also want to make sure
folks realize that for all the challenges, Brian, you just outlined, Newark
is a city on the rise under a terrific Mayor Ras Baraka. And I think any
insinuation that we`re dealing with Newark differently than we would with
some other community has no basis whatsoever in fact. I say up and down
the state as Newark goes so goes New Jersey. Whether it`s dealing with
this lead pipe challenge or the environment or public safety or education,
whatever it may be.
We also interestingly enough had a summit in Essex County yesterday hosted
by the county executives. And there were number of communities in that
summit, Newark most importantly. But if you looked at Belleville, in
Bloomfield, in Nutley, in Hillside, in Pequannock, you saw a rainbow of
different dimensions in those communities. So this notion that we`re doing
something differently in Newark than we wouldn`t do elsewhere is completely
baseless. As Newark goes, so goes New Jersey.
WILLIAMS: Well, let me try that again. We`re talking to you from your
home in Middle Town. Your driveway down were 35 – about 32 miles and I
grew up behind what used to be the shop right food market at the New
Monmouth Road intersection. So we share a town. My hometown, your current
MURPHY: You bet.
WILLIAMS: Are you telling me that the folks who are well-off in Middle
Town would be waking up all of these mornings trying to have to scrounge
for 16 ounces at a time of clean water for cooking and drinking and all of
their daily needs the same as the folks in Newark are?
MURPHY: Brian, I`m saying unequivocally we would handle Middle Town – we
had a summit about six months ago of communities up and down the state with
lead service line exposure. You have urban communities, suburban and rural
communities. The notion of the 10-year program the state is supporting
meaningfully to replace all the lead lines in Newark is something we would
do in other communities. The notion of switching chemicals, a key part of
this is when the right chemicals run through the pipes –
WILLIAMS: That`s right.
MURPHY: – they`re prophylactic and they prevent the lead from leaching.
We do nothing different in Middle Town that we`re doing in Newark, I`d
promise you that. The other comment I would make is this is an American
crisis. We have a big-water infrastructure crisis and we need the federal
government to step up in a big way. Our congressional delegation has been
leading on this, but we need a national water infrastructure renaissance,
and I hope that`s one good result that comes from this.
WILLIAMS: Well let`s talk also about optics because optics can also speak
for real life in this case. You`ve got churches who do take it upon
themselves to get water to folks and senior citizens high rises who can`t
afford water and can`t come down in the elevator to get it. You`ve got
Flint, Michigan, sending water to Newark, New Jersey, which can`t look good
for all the echoes of that water crisis.
MURPHY: Listen, Flint`s situation was a very different one with all due
respect. We have to make sure we understand the facts here. The source of
water in Flint had lead exposure in it. That is not the case in New
The Pequannock source has been deemed by the DEP in our state, by the EPA
as being completely clean of lead. It`s the lead service lines that are in
the process of being replaced. If folks are having trouble figuring out
how to get water, please I beg of them to call 973-733-6303, 973-733-6303.
It`s a one-stop shop.
And again with increase – the city has, within the past 24 hours,
increased the give outs of water to four cases of bottled water. Remember
this is now just for drinking and cooking. This is not for bathing.
There`s not exposure in bathing.
So as I said, I believe we are – are we bathing a thousand, nobody every
does. But are we trying to get out ahead of this? You bet and we`re
trying to balance an abundance of caution on the one hand while recognizing
on the other, these are three data points. And we don`t want to panic
people beyond any natural reason to. We`re now testing aggressively.
I hope sooner than later, in the matter of, I hope, a couple of weeks we`ll
have enough data points to be able to draw conclusions. Were the filters
faulty or will they OK? Was it just those homes? Is there a particular
chemical that we need to add into the mix, et cetera? So I just say to
folks bear with us, that`s the number to call and God willing we`ll have a
much clearer sense of the way forward in the next few weeks.
WILLIAMS: And that`s your message to the people living 16 ounces at a
MURPHY: Well it`s not 16 ounces at a time, Brian. It`s four cases of
water. And, by the way, if you can`t come physically to get the water –
and we checked all four distribution centers today. There were only small
lines when the distribution centers opened. There was no meaningful lines
or waits for people who come.
There was none of this notion of people standing around the blocks waiting
for the water. And if that were to happen, by the way, we`ve got a lot
more water and a lot more manpower that we can deploy. And we`re watching
this as you can imagine. We`re not spiking any footballs here. We`re
monitoring this not just day to day but frankly hour-to-hour. And again if
you can`t get out to get water, if you`re not sure whether or not your home
is in a lead service line, no problem. 973-733-6303.
WILLIAMS: Let me say what I said at the outset. First of all, thank you
for honoring your commitment and coming on. Secondly, lead pipes and lead
water issue in New Jersey predated your time in office. Yet this is a
crisis that has been placed directly in your lap, and we appreciate you
coming on to talk about it. The Governor of the state of New Jersey Phil
Murphy joining us tonight from Middle Town.
Coming up for us as we continue, the reach of one American company and all
of our daily lives in ways we don`t all realize. It happens to be a
colossus in Republican politics. The news tonight from a new book about
the Kock brothers after this.
WILLIAMS: I`m guessing you have heard of the Koch brothers, the
billionaire siblings Charles and David Koch. They preside over a sprawling
industrial machine. The family business and a political machine pouring
big money into political causes.
In his new book called “Kochland”, author and business journalist
Christopher Leonard notes how prevalent their company Koch industries has
become. He writes, “The company is embedded in the hidden infrastructure
of everyday life. Millions of people use Koch`s products without ever
seeing Koch`s name attached.”
So before we bring on the author, we want to show you how our own Ali
Velshi and a friend of his named Jane chose to illustrate the reach of Koch
Industries into our every day lives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: Meet Jane. I want to follow Jane, just a person
as she interacts with Koch products throughout the day. Jane wakes up
after a good night sleep made – good night sleep on a mattress that`s made
of memory foam from Invista one of Kochs company. She gets out of bed, she
walks on a carpet with Antron fibers, another Koch product. She gets up
early, so she grabs her workout shirt and her yoga pants from let`s say
Lululemon, both of them contain lycra, a material also made by Invista.
After her yoga sessions, she gets dressed, her bra and underwear contain
lyrca. She also grabs jeans because they have Coolmax technology also made
by Invista. Then she gets her kids off to school. She makes sure they
take their backpacks which contain cordura fabric, another Invista product.
Jane that gets in her car and goes to work, the windshield and side lights
are made of Guardian glass with a green tinted, the paint on the outside of
the belts running her engine are produced by SRG Global, Guardian glass
SRG, both divisions of Guardian Industries, another Koch Company. Jane
works in a building with windows made of Guardian glass, it also its
hardwood floors made with wood from Georgia Pacific, another Koch brand.
And the zip ties sorting all the cables sneaking out her computer also made
After a long day at the office, Jane heads to the grocery store to pick up
some bread and corn, the wheat and the bread and the corn on the cob were
likely grown using Koch fertilizer. Then she returns to her house. It`s a
frame made of wood from Georgia Pacific. Her son is working on a computer
with a USB hub made by Molex, a Koch Company. Her daughter is listening to
music on headphones padded with more material made by you guess it Invista.
Once the kids are asleep, Jane goes to her room, walks across her carpet
with Koch produce materials and gets in her bed with that Koch produced
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Thanks to Ali. That is the reach of Koch Industries into our
every day lives. “The New York Times” is calling this new book, Kochland,
among the best books ever written about an American corporation. The
author joins us here right after this.
WILLIAMS: You saw the setup, and now as promised, the author of the new
book “Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power
in America”, already a “New York Times” best seller. Business reporter
Christopher Leonard with us tonight.
Christopher, we`ve seen big companies before and we`ve seen entities with
huge political clout before. Is it fair to say we have never seen a
company this big with this much political clout before?
CHRISTOPHER LEONARD, AUTHOR “KOCHLAND”: Well, I think that`s absolutely
fair to say. You saw in the introduction how deeply embedded this firm is
in everybody`s lives. And it is also one of the largest companies in the
United States with annual sales larger than that of Facebook, Goldman Sachs
and U.S. Steel combined. So, the corporation itself is massive, but the
political network that is really run out of the CEO`s office of Koch
Industries is unlike any political network in the United States. Over 40
years, Charles Koch has patiently built one of the most effective political
lobbying machines in the country. It has one of the largest registered
lobbying shops in the United States. It has a constellation of think tanks
that seed Washington, D.C. with ideas.
It has one of the largest donor networks in the nation. And then, finally,
it has this army of volunteers and employees, if you will, called Americans
for Prosperity, that can literally deliver bus loads of angry voters from
around the country to very specifically targeted offices in Washington,
D.C. So, yes, I think it`s very fair to say this is unique in America.
WILLIAMS: What do they make of Donald Trump and what`s the short version
of what he makes of them?
LEONARD: Well, the two networks are in tension with each other. You know,
Charles Koch has been patiently trying to make the Republican Party more
libertarian. This has been a long-term project. Charles Koch believes
basically there`s no good government program. Donald Trump has a
completely different vision. We could call it America first, if you will.
Donald Trump is not only willing, but sometimes eager to use dramatic
government interventions, think trade wars, tariffs, tearing up trade
deals. And the Koch network really sees the Trump revolution as a danger.
And I think they know that if Donald Trump wins re-election he could redraw
the priorities of the Republican Party for a generation.
WILLIAMS: Strikes me sitting here, I had orthopedic surgery in a building
donated by them, they do give away a ton of money to charity, we should
note that. Also strikes me, I`m sitting in Rockefeller Center. Is there a
modern day parallel to the Rockefellers, to Andrew Carnegie, to Jeff Bezos?
LEONARD: There`s a direct parallel. You know, reporting this book, it is
amazing how history sort of repeats itself. And we do live in an era of
corporate power that we haven`t seen in the United States since the early
1900s. When you had these barons like John Rockefeller or Andrew Mellon
who owned huge chunks of the American economy.
Once again, we have seen wealth consolidated into the hands of a few
individuals, and I think what`s most important is that in the United States
today, you could have a decade of economic growth, but most Americans don`t
advance economically during that time. The gains are captured by a handful
of people like Charles Koch where a century ago, it was John Rockefeller,
but the structure is the same.
WILLIAMS: Thank you very much for coming on our broadcast and good luck
with it. We`ll follow the story and its progress. We appreciate it.
LEONARD: My pleasure.
WILLIAMS: Coming up for us. What we could not fit into this broadcast
last night due to a flurry of words in front of an idling helicopter, but
we found time for it tonight. We`ll play it for you on the other side of
WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight. So intense was the flurry of
yesterday`s words that a couple of things got by. The President touched on
so many topics during his shouted Q&A with reporters in front of the idling
helicopter, from calling himself to a chosen one to an anti-Semitic loyalty
trope to changing his stance on taxes again, to threatening a close
American ally with the release of fictional terrorist prisoners.
There was something else. The President talked again about how he was
received after the shootings in Dayton and El Paso. Where, remember, in El
Paso, a member of Congress there said the people there felt like they had
targets on their backs because the President had called them invaders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: These people, the families and
also the people that were so badly injured that I was with, they love our
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do they (INAUDIBLE) –
TRUMP: And frankly, you want to know the truth, they love their President.
And nobody wrote that. Nobody wrote that, because you didn`t write the
truth. “New York Times” doesn`t like to write the truth. But they love –
they totally love our country and they do love our President.
So, when I went to Dayton and when I went to El Paso and I went into those
hospitals, the love for me and me maybe as a representative of the country,
but for me and my love for them was unparalleled. These are incredible
people. But if you read the papers, you`d – it was like nobody would meet
with me. Not only did they meet with me, they were pouring out of the
rooms. The doctors were coming out of the operating room. There were
hundreds and hundreds of people all over the floor. You couldn`t even walk
So, you know, there`s a lot – there`s a lot to happen. The people in
Dayton, let me just explain. People in Dayton, people in El Paso, these
are incredible people. And those victims and the survivors and the
families, I love those people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Donald Trump on how he was received after the two massacres that
left a death toll combined of 31. And with that, that is our broadcast for
this Thursday night. Thank you so very much for being here with us. Good
night from NBC News headquarters here in New York.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the