All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 9/22/17 Tom Price Travel Investigation announced
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: September 22, 2017
Guest: Jess McIntosh, Charlie Sykes, Sue Mi Terry
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: No.
HAYES: Senator John McCain rides again.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You can`t have everything.
Boy oh boy.
HAYES: Tonight the reaction from happy Democrats, angry donors, and a
late-night talk show host.
JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, ABC: We haven`t seen these many people come forward to
speak out against a bill since Cosby.
HAYES: As John McCain deals President Trump yet another setback.
TRUMP: Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.
HAYES: Then, the new investigation into Tom Price`s private jet travel.
Is there a gamble of the President`s Twitter beef with a dictator.
TRUMP: Rocket Man is on a suicide mission.
HAYES: We`ll go live to Alabama for a Trumpworld Battle Royale.
SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: The swamp can`t win here! This is
our red line!
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from Austin, I`m Chris Hayes. Minutes from now the
President of the United States will take the stage before a fervent crowd
at a campaign rally in Alabama. And one can only imagine what he`ll have
to say about Senator John McCain, who for the second time appears to have
dealt a fatal blow to his own party`s latest effort to repeal and replace
ObamaCare. In a statement earlier today, McCain blasted the process that
led to the current bill saying, “I cannot in good conscience vote for the
Graham-Cassidy proposal. I believe we could do better working together,
Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried. Nor could I
support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will affect
insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it. I
take no pleasure in announcing my opposition, far from it.
The bill`s authors are my dear friends and I think the world of them.” One
of the bill`s cosponsors Senator Lindsey Graham is McCain`s closest friend
in the Senate. He responded on Twitter, “my friendship with Senator John
McCain is not based on how he votes but respect for how he`s lived his life
and the person he is.” Republicans now have just over a week left to try
to pass the Graham-Cassidy bill with a simple majority under the special
procedural rules which expire September 30th. And it only gives them room
to lose two votes.
Now, with McCain`s announcement today, those two votes are now spoken for.
Senator Rand Paul has already declared his opposition on the grounds the
bill doesn`t go far enough. And of the two GOP Senators who voted with
McCain last time around when he took that dramatic stand on the Senate
Floor to kill the previous ObamaCare repeal bill, Susan Collins of Maine
now says she`s leaning against the current proposal, while Lisa Murkowski
remains undecided. A no-vote from either of those two women, who already
voted no once, would spell the end of Graham-Cassidy. Now it remains to be
seen whether Republican leadership will proceed with plans for a vote next
week, but according to Senator Joni Ernst at a town hall today, the writing
is already on the wall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JONI ERNST (R), IOWA: So we`re going through a discussion of the plan
that is in front of the Senate right now. I`ll be honest, if you watched
the news today, it seems unlikely that we will be voting on this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Even before McCain`s announcement, the tide had already begun to
shift against the Graham-Cassidy bill. It wasn`t just that almost every
single group representing doctors, hospitals, nurses, patients, children,
seniors, even the insurance industry, came out against the bill over the
last 48 hours. Last night, Medicaid Directors from every single state, all
50 states, red and blue, the very people who would be charged with
implementing this bill, put out a unanimous statement arguing the
legislation would weaken state programs. But the most outspoken crusader
against the bill was arguably late night host Jimmy Kimmel who used his
national platform four nights in a row this week to slam Republican
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIMMEL: Lindsey Graham, the Senator who co-wrote the bill, says Donald
Trump is focused like a laser on health care. And I`m guessing he means
he`s focused in the same way that cats on Youtube are focused on lasers. I
guarantee he doesn`t know anything about this Graham-Cassidy bill. He
doesn`t know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. He barely knows
the difference between Melania and Ivanka. So –
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Today Kimmel had a message for John McCain. “Thank you, Senator
John McCain, for being a hero again and again and now again. Lanhee Chen
was the Policy Director for Mitt Romney`s 2012 Presidential Campaign and
Wrote an Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal this week arguing Graham-Cassidy
is Republicans` last chance on ObamaCare reform. Lanhee? What do you
LANHEE CHEN, POLICY DIRECTOR FOR MITT ROMNEY`S 2012 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN:
Well, yes, it was the last chance. And it looks like that last chance has
gone away. I have a very difficult time seeing where the votes are on
this. I mean, obviously there are still two sorts of outstanding questions
around Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins but I don`t see either of those
individuals voting for the bill. So I think – I think this opportunity
has passed for Republicans.
HAYES: I mean, what is your diagnosis of why this keeps happening?
CHEN: Well, I think there`s a couple things, Chris. I think people don`t
realize that Republicans disagree a lot more on health care policy than
people really understand. I think that drove the failure of the first
effort back in June. You know, you talk about the Medicaid expansion as a
perfect example. You`ve got some Republicans like Susan Collins that come
from states where that was a very big deal. You`ve got other Republicans
that come from states where it wasn`t accepted and it wasn`t as big a deal.
And so I think that`s one issue. The other issue Chris is the process
really wasn`t very good here. Whether it was with the first bill back, you
know, several months ago, or in this situation. The process gave opponents
a hook, it gave John McCain a hook and it eventually sunk this thing.
HAYES: You know, one of the things that was so interesting. So, John
McCain, he flies back from chemotherapy to Washington, D.C.to cast a series
of procedural votes that culminate in this unbelievably dramatic thumbs-
down moment. And in that he gives a speech basically saying, this process
was ridiculous, this is not the way we should do business. And then what
happens is they go and do the exact same process. I mean, it`s like, what
did you think was going to happen? It was weirdly calling John McCain`s
bluff in a way that seemed to me would be humiliating for him to retreat
CHEN: Yes, I mean, I think there`s any number of different things. I
mean, you look at the statement that Chuck Grassley made. You know, I`m
sure you`ve covered this where he basically said, look, it almost doesn`t
matter what`s in the bill. That`s not exactly the message you want to be
CHEN: I can make arguments on the substance of this. I actually think
substantively there are things in Graham-Cassidy to like. I`ve made that
argument. But look, if you start talking about it in terms of raw
politics, that explains a lot. And frankly the reason that they went back
at this thing again is because they said, look, we have until September
30th, we have this bullet left in the chamber on reconciliation. If we
don`t use it, it`s essentially wasted. I think they figured they`d give it
one more try. But obviously the repetition of this the second time did not
work out any better than the first.
HAYES: So I want to present you a cynical view of this. And I want you to
try to persuade me why it`s not true. But the cynical view is they just
don`t care; have no real governing vision. And if you actually cared about
the way you structure the sixth of the American economy, if you actually
cared about what it would look like to devolve state health care regimes to
all 50 states which the heads of every Medicaid Division of every state
said, this looks terrifying, then you wouldn`t do this. It`s just – it`s
hard to square the process with any genuine serious engagement in a desire
to create actually some governing vision.
CHEN: Yes, I don`t obviously disagree. It`s not that they don`t care. I
think the challenge is, first of all, a lot of Republicans are
uncomfortable talking about health care policy. They haven`t given it a
lot of thought over the years. There are fundamental, as I said earlier,
disagreements. I think the other thing, Chris, here that is it would have
been very different if President Trump had, say, campaigned on a specific
plan. And let`s say Graham-Cassidy was his plan. This would have been
litigated during the campaign. This would have been an issue that would
have come up during the campaign. But that`s not what happened here,
So we ended up in January, and we have this mad dash to figure out where
the Republicans stand on health care policy. If the President comes out
and says, look, this is my plan, everyone in – by definition, particularly
in that first 100 days, is going to fall in behind the President. That`s
not what we had here. But look, there`s a lot of recriminations to go
around. One person, I`m not going to blame is John McCain. John McCain
served this country honorably. He`s got a point of view. I happen to
disagree with it. But this is not his fault.
HAYES: Well, we should also note that Jimmy Kimmel late night comedian
spent probably 1,000 times as much air time talking about this legislation
than the President of the United States did. So, I mean, that was part of
it as well. Lanhee Chen, thanks for being here.
CHEN: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Asawin Suebsaeng is a Politics Reporter for the Daily Beast where
he`s got a new report that Jimmy Kimmel got a hand from Chuck Schumer in
his fight against ObamaCare repeal. Asawin, tell me about this – tell me
about the back and forth between Kimmel and Schumer.
ASAWAIN SUEBSAENG, POLITICS REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST: Sure. Well, ever
since Jimmy Kimmel came out against Republican ObamaCare repeal efforts
months ago, Democrats on Capitol Hill, not just Chuck Schumer`s office,
identified him as a key media ally, or potential key media ally, in the
fights to come over health care in this country. And as the Graham-Cassidy
fight heated up, Schumer`s office saw this as an opportunity to reach back
out to Jimmy Kimmel and his team on the west coast. Having said that,
sources close to Kimmel told me and my two other colleagues at the Daily
Beast that Jimmy Kimmel was planning to do this anyway. This was an issue
he cared about. Having said that, Chuck Schumer and his team actively
encouraged the late-night host and was more than happy to provide him with
useful links to think Tank Data on why these Republican ObamaCare gutting
efforts were so bad or so barbaric, in their view. And periodically stayed
in touch for a matter of months, sort of building a relationship.
HAYES: You know, it strikes me as somewhat remarkable that, I mean, he`s
probably now devoted, I don`t know, 25 minutes of airtime, something in
that neighborhood? I mean, it is the most-sustained discussion of health
care policy in just terms of length of time on network television,
possibly, in recent memory.
SUEBSAENG: Right. And it was something because of the issue with his own
newborn child and his family that he cared deeply about. And as Mr. Kimmel
said repeatedly on the air, that he has money to take care of his family.
Like, this wasn`t as much a problem for him and that he was speaking out on
it because he was concerned with the millions of Americans who may not have
the same luxuries as someone as famous or as wealthy as he is. And the
funny thing about this is, as you and your viewers certainly know, it does
not take that much for the President of the United States to launch off a
barrage of hate tweets against celebrities or enemy politicians nowadays.
And the people we talked to in the White House were actually surprised that
President Trump has not yet hate-tweeted Jimmy Kimmel. Having said that,
as of today, one White House official told us that they suspected the
President will be more occupied with people like John McCain on his Twitter
feed, or Rand Paul, instead of Jimmy Kimmel. But his barrage of Saturday
morning tweets is not that many hours away. So we`ll see.
HAYES: Well, and he`s also going to be taking the stage at a rally where
he may very well go off on whoever is in his sights at this moment. Asawin
Suebsaeng, thank you very much.
SUEBSAENG: Thank you for having me.
HAYES: Josh Barro is a Senior Editor of Business Insider and MSNBC
Contributor. Michelle Goldberg is a Columnist for the New York Times. And
I mean, this has really been a remarkable thing to watch. And we were
talking about discussing this, how to do this segment earlier and it was
sort of walking a fine line between, like, it`s dead again, but that it`s
never dead. It`s a – it`s a groundhog`s day sort of situation. That
said, I was really – I thought this New York Times article was fascinating
about behind the new ObamaCare repeal vote, furious GOP donors. And this
to me, Josh, is part what was has made this process decrepit from the
beginning is that they were – it was all driven by Republican officials
feeling like they had to make good on a promise to their donors more than
JOSH BARRO, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, and there are two aspects to this.
One is going back and trying again because they feel they`ll be punished by
the donors if they don`t pass this. But the other thing is all of these
individual Republicans in Washington trying to prove that it`s not their
fault personally that this didn`t happen. And so Mitch McConnell has to
show that he tried as hard as he could. And so he has to – I think they
may vote on this thing, even though they know it`s going to fail because
Mitch doesn`t want to be blamed, he wants the blame to lie with whoever
votes no it. so there`s a certain kabuki aspect of it there. And I`m not
sure – I mean, I don`t – now that they`re not getting this done, I really
– I don`t think they`re going to repeal it in this Congress. But I don`t
think it`s done at September 30th either because remember this deadline is
This year the budget – the fiscal year for the government will end in
eight days and the budget instructions they have for this year were set up
and you can`t use this after September 30th. But they can write new
instructions next year and the plan had been to do tax reform. But Orrin
Hatch, the Senator from Utah, raced the prospect today that, well you could
write the instructions to do both and you could stick both of them in one
bill. Now, this is politically a horrible idea. It`s a good way to kill
tax reform by tying it to ObamaCare repeal.
BARRO: But I think, you know, once we get to October 1st, people will
forget that there was a deadline and basically say, well, you promised, you
have to try again, let`s try doing it in next year`s budget. So I think we
may be – the story may be with us for another year with these periodic,
episodic efforts to repeal. But as you get closer to the election, the
politics of actually doing it just get worse and worse.
HAYES: Michelle, speaking of the election, I am particularly obsessed with
Dean Heller, the Nevada Senator who is the only Republican up for election
Senator in a state Hillary Clinton won. So he`s in a sort of precarious
position. And, you know, here he is standing next to the Governor in a
state just a few months ago basically – initially opposing the last
version of the Senate bill because of Medicaid cuts. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DEAN HELLER (R), NEVADA: I want to protect Medicaid expansion states,
and I want to make sure that the work that this governor did continue long-
term and make sure – this all about Nevadans, this is all about health
care. This is about individuals being able to go and see their doctor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: All right, so Heller, who is seen as a squish, then gets a primary
tea party challenger named Danny Tarkanian from right who then comes out
against this version of the bill Cassidy-Graham which Heller`s a co-sponsor
of because it cuts people off from Medicaid. Listen to this. You mean at
the same time we have a press conference promising not to cut Medicate for
Nevadans, wow, this is double deceitful Dean Heller. I mean, how
incredible is this plot twist, Michelle?
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: I mean, I think it goes to
show how much the politics of this are divorced from the content of the
bill. My sense is that Dean Heller basically realized that although he`s
in the state Hillary won that people who voted for Hillary are by and large
not going to vote for him and so his primarily political hurdle lies in
this primary, which is the problem that we face all across the board,
right? We might have a majority of the country that hates – that hates
this bill, just as we have a majority of this country that hates this the
President, a majority of the country that wants a Democratic Congress.
They`re not the majority that has any influence in either the creation of
policy or in Republicans` electoral calculations.
HAYES: And not only that Josh. I mean, one of the remarkable things
watching all of these different legislative attempts, it`s almost been like
a political science experiment because there`s so much bizarre behavior. I
mean, you know, interest groups carry a lot of sway on Capitol Hill. They
really carry a lot of sway on these sorts of issues. Health care, for
instance. And here you have everyone, like everyone from like the most
sort of benign march of dimes to like lefties like the nurse`s unions to
very conservative organizations like AHIP, the American Medical
Association. Everyone saying, don`t do this, don`t do this and the
Republicans still trying to do it.
BARRO: Well, but they failed. And I think – or they appear to have
failed. And I think part of that interest group opposition is a reason for
that. But I think – I think you`re right that a lot of the behavior here
has been really inexplicable. I mean, for example, the reason Jimmy Kimmel
has been so prominent is that Senator Bill Cassidy, the sponsor in this
latest version, went on Jimmy Kimmel`s show months ago to talk about all
the wonderful things he was going to do to protect people like Kimmel`s
son. And Senator Cassidy coined the term “The Kimmel Test” and said he
would not support a bill that didn`t pass the Kimmel Test, which is to say
it had to protect people so if they had pre-existing conditions they could
buy health insurance. Why would you do – why would you go on national
television and say that, if you were going to some months later turn around
and sponsor a bill that failed that test?
It`s similar to the stuff that Senator Heller did there with getting on one
side of the bill and getting on the other side of the bill. Politically it
seems way worse to get on both sides of the issue than to be on one side
and stick with it. And it doesn`t make sense to me strategically. It only
makes sense that this sort of – all these Republicans in the Senate are
only able to see ten feet in front of their face trying to do the thing
that will get them the least abuse in the next 24 hours, whether that`s
from the electorate or from their donors or whoever, and it`s made them
unable to formulate a strategy, it`s why they keep running in circles like
HAYES: Well, and Michelle, it also I think has to do with promises that
were made that they cannot square. So the President ran on not cutting
Medicaid, quite explicitly. They – you know, we`re going to cover
everybody, we`re going to have a great plan. They kept ending up in a
position where they couldn`t deliver the thing they said they were going to
GOLDBERG: Right, because they`ve been lying to people. They`ve been lying
to people for eight years. And then Donald Trump lied to people throughout
his campaign, both about ObamaCare`s failures and about the possibility of
replacing it with something that was at once cheaper and more expansive,
right? This was never possible. He never had a plan. And in terms of
what Cassidy and some of these other people have been doing, which is
basically, you know, just blatantly lying about what`s in the bill, saying
one thing, thinking that their previous statements won`t apply when they
come out with this new plan, I wonder if that`s the influence of the
President on this party in which there`s just been a total destruction of
the reality principle.
And I think the reason that it doesn`t work here, the reason there`s such a
backlash, is because people understand in their guts what health care means
and what it would mean to lose coverage for pre-existing conditions.
There`s other issues that are maybe more abstract and politicians can get
away with lying more easily but this isn`t one of them.
HAYES: I`m convinced that like at some point the President is going to
say, the wall is built even when it`s not and just everyone`s going to, OK.
Josh Barro and Michelle Goldberg, good to have you both.
GOLDBERG: Thank you
BARRO: Thank you.
HAYES: Up next, at least 24 private flights and over $300,000 later, HHS
Secretary Tom Price now facing a review of just how he`s spending taxpayer
dollars. I`ll talk with a reporter who has been breaking this story about
the latest development, his latest scoop in just two minutes.
HAYES: Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is now under
investigation following the truly astonishing reports this week that he
used hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to routinely take private
charter jets. Politico first reported on Tuesday that Price chartered five
private flights last week, over three days, including a 30-seat jet that
cost $25,000 to fly him from Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. Those are
just 135 miles apart. Then last night another Politico report finding
Secretary Price had traveled by private plane at least 24 times since May
at a price tag in total exceeding $300,000. And that`s in just four
Now seeking to justify the costs an HHS spokesperson told the Washington
Post today, this is Secretary Price getting outside of D.C., making sure
he`s connected with the real American people. An eight-year HHS veteran
who left in January tweeting today, as former Director of scheduling at HHS
during Obama admin, I can confirm this is a crazy departure from precedent.
And now we`ll see if the Inspector General for HHS agrees. Their office
telling NBC today, OIG is conducting a review of Secretary Price`s federal
travel using chartered aircraft. Review focuses on whether the travel
complied with federal travel regulations and may encompass other issues
related to the travel. We take this matter very seriously and when
questions arose about potentially inappropriate travel, we immediately
began assessing the issue. I can confirm that work is underway and will be
completed as soon as possible.
I`m joined now by one of the Politico reporters who broke this remarkable
story, Dan Diamond. Democrats cited his reporting when they requested an
investigation from the OIG. Dan, fantastic reporting.
DAN DIAMOND, REPORTER, POLITICO: Thank you.
HAYES: So, you`ve got a new –you`ve got a new scoop and I want to sort of
set it up with this. Which is that the spokesperson for HHS basically
said, look, here`s why we started doing these charter flights, that Price
had a commercial flight that was canceled and he missed a very important
event, wasting four hours in an airport and having the Secretary cancel his
event is not a good use of taxpayer money. That`s Charmaine Yoes, the
Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs. You`ve got a scoop tonight on what
actually happened that time that prompted this, what happened?
DIAMOND: Well, Chris, the story that we were told was that he had an
important meeting somewhere around the country, they wouldn`t get any more
specific with us or with the Washington Post but what I found out digging
in, that meeting was in California at a Ritz-Carlton, one of the nicest
Ritzs in the country in Laguna Beach and it was an industry conference with
several hundred CEOs, investors. The kind of confab we have in D.C. or New
York City too. And the reason the flight didn`t get off the ground wasn`t
because of any normal commercial airline problem, it`s because of a massive
storm. There were tornados that had touched down all over the region.
Charter jets weren`t taking off, commercial jets weren`t taking off. So
it`s – when you look a little bit closer, it`s another justification that
really doesn`t hold up.
HAYES: I mean, I just want to be clear. It`s an interesting confab.
First of all, we`re talking about his getting out of D.C. to talk to real
Americans. These are industry CEOs. I mean, obviously, this is important,
it`s the industry he sort of oversee. So –
DIAMOND: They`re Americans, yes.
HAYES: Right, yes, exactly. It`s a Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Beach. And the
commercial – I mean, it just also strikes me that it`s a little bit of a
tough sell to say, I need to take chartered jets because sometimes
commercial flights get canceled. Like that presumably has been true for
every other HHS Secretary, and you know, everyone else who takes commercial
DIAMOND: That`s right. We talked to the staff for Secretary Burwell,
Secretary Sebelius, the last two administrators under President Obama. So
between eight years of their time in office, they were only able to
identify one charter flight, when Secretary Sebelius was in Alaska and
trying to get to a rural village. And as you noted, Chris, there have been
at least 24 flights that Price has taken since May alone and that is the
floor, at least 24.
HAYES: Yes, why do you say at least24? I mean, does that mean that we
don`t actually know the full total yet?
DIAMOND: It means that we`re in the middle of our reporting and I don`t
want to step on any stories that might be coming.
HAYES: OK. One of the - one of the dazzling details here is that in June
– according to your reporting here – in June, Price spoke at a
Physician`s Association Conference in San Diego where he vowed to wring out
wasteful spending in the government`s health care programs, getting value
for spending is incredibly important, he said. Price took a private plane
to get to that meeting where he said that, which was one stop on a five-
state sprint of charter travel that cost $50,000. Have they responded to
you about how they square this sort of message with this expenditure?
DIAMOND: Well, the message that we have in our reporting is basically the
message that we`ve heard from them, Chris. We first brought the story to
them on Monday. It took them over 24 hours to decide what they wanted to
say in response to us. And the statement has been pretty consistent
throughout. First, that Tom Price needs these charter jets because of
hurricane emergency travel, or other public health emergencies. I`m not
sure an industry conference in San Diego or in Aspen, Colorado, or even in
the opioids announcement in Philadelphia is a public health emergency
that`s urgent, requires a charter jet. The story has now evolved to at one
point Price missed a commercial jet and that`s why he needs the charter
flights. I think tonight`s story gets into why that also doesn`t hold a
lot of water.
HAYES: All right, Dan Diamond, who`s really been doing excellent reporting
and your colleague there in Politico, thank you for joining me.
DIAMOND: And my colleague, Rachana Pradhan, too, thank you.
HAYES: Yes. Coming up, a top White House aides worry that President
Trump`s personal insults at rogue dictator could backfire. New reporting
from the L.A. Times ahead.
HAYES: Today, areas in Northwestern Puerto Rico were evacuated when a dam
suffered structural damage less than 72 hours after Hurricane Maria`s
catastrophic hit of the island. The dam at the Northwestern end of
Guajataca Lake which holds 11 billion gallons of water is a structure 1,000
feet long built in the 1920s by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Governor
of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello saying, “close to 70,000 is the estimate
of people that could be affected in the case of a collapse. We don`t know
the details, it`s time to get people out.” And today flash flood warnings
continue to be issued for parts of Puerto Rico, which has already suffered
extensive flooding from the hurricane. The governor said the island was
beginning to get deliveries of generators, mattresses, food, and water from
FEMA. Ahead, President Trump and North Korean – the North Korean Leader
in a dangerous escalation, that`s next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is
forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to
totally destroy North Korea.
Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Aides warned President Trump against attacking the leader of
nuclear armed North Korea personally in the speech he gave to the United
Nations this week. According to the L.A. Times, quote, “some of Trump`s
top aides, including National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, had argued
for months against making the attacks on North Korea`s leader personal
warning it could backfire. And in fact today Kim Jong-un in an
unprecedented move issued a personal lengthy statement against President
Trump saying, quote, “his remarks have convinced me, rather than
frightening or stopping me, that the path I choose is correct and that is
the one I have to follow to the last. I will surely and definitely tame
the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire.”
North Korea`s foreign minister followed up saying North Korea might
conduct a hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific.
President Trump then responded on Twitter, quote, “Kim Jong-un of North
Korea, who`s obviously a madman who doesn`t mind starving or killing his
people, will be tested like never before.”
To discuss this unprecedented face off, I`m joined by Dr. Sue Mi Terry, a
former CIA analyst on North Korea who worked in both the Bush and Obama
Dr. Terry, first your reaction to the L.A. Times reporting, does it
surprise you that he was given that advice, does it surprise you he ignored
SR. SUE MI TERRY, FORMER CIA ANALYST: No. And I`ll feel infinitely
better if Mr. Trump will listen to his advisers.
So, no, it does not surprise me. And when I heard his speech at the
United Nations. And my reaction was that this is going to of course just
escalate. Kim Jong-un, we know, is a paranoid man. He`s very thin skinned
with large ego, and we`re just taunting him in an unprecedented way. Of
course, Kim reacted in his own unprecedented way.
And of course, Kim Jung-un now reacted in his own unprecedented way.
We`ve never seen North Korean leader make such a personal statement using
his own name in first person, because now Kim Jong-un is taking this issue
very personally and he will react. I don`t think it`s necessarily going to
be a hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific, but he will follow through with a
HAYES: I read one analyst on North Korea who made a point I thought was
interesting. Basically that in the back and forth that`s become this sort
of personal war of words between these two leaders, that the statement from
Kim Jong-un cuts off the possibility of a diplomatic roadmap because no one
working under Kim Jong-un would want to be associated with that, because it
will appear to be disloyal to the supreme leader. Is that what you think
One of the main problems in the decision-making process in North Korea is
no one can dare
challenge Kim Jong-un. And everybody knows where Kim Jong-un is going with
this. He wants to complete the nuclear program. He wants to complete the
– perfect the nuclear arsenal and have the
capability to attack mainland United States with a nuclear-tipped ICBM.
And there`s not a single person who can challenge it now.
And Kim Jong-un has made it personal by making this statement and signed
his name. So you are absolutely right, and this is going to be a major
HAYES: I want to play – the president apparently reprised his rocket man
insult just at the rally just now. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We can`t have mad men out there shooting rockets all over the
place. And by the way, Rocket Man should have been handled a long time
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So when the president says that, I mean, I guess – you`re shaking
your head. Why are you shaking your head?
TERRY: Just because this is the kind of rhetoric that you expect from
North Korea, not from the United States. And this is extremely
counterproductive. How does this help, this kind of taunting Kim Jong-un,
this North Korean leadership? You can show resolve, you can show strength,
without using this kind of rhetoric.
HAYES: So you think – I mean, I guess my hope always during these back
and forths as a
person who would like to not see a nuclear war, is that the North Koreans
will brush this off as – that they will brush off these statements in
somewhat similar way the U.S. tends to brush off the sort of ridiculous
braggadocio of North Korean statements.
But it sounds like you as someone who`s studied this regime for the CIA
don`t think they brush it off. Do you think they really take it
TERRY: I do think that Kim Jong-un is taking this personally. And no
U.S. president has quite said it like this. Of course, we`ve always said
all options are on the table, and nuclear – pursuing nuclear program will
end badly for North Korea. But I don`t think any previous U.S. president
has used this kind of rhetoric, taunting him, rocket man on a suicide
mission will utterly, completely destroy North Korea. I don`t think any
U.S. president has said something like that.
HAYES: All right, Dr. Sue Mi Terry, thanks for sharing your expertise.
TERRY: Thank you for having me on.
HAYES: Still to come, why a brutal Republican runoff election has the
president`s full attention
as he heads to Alabama to campaign for Luther Strange.
Plus, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, the last time Turkey`s president was in the
United States, his bodyguards brutally attacked a group of peaceful
protesters, including Americans, in broad daylight, of the streets of our
nation`s capital. At least 11 of the demonstrators were injured – kicked,
punched, and choked as President Erdogan looked on nearby standing beside
The vicious beating prompted Senator John McCain to suggest expelling the
Turkish ambassador. And this summer, 15 of Turkey`s security officers were
indicted on felony charges; however, all are believed to have left the
On Tuesday, however, President Erdogan told PBS that President Trump
personally called him about this issue saying, according to a translator,
“Trump said that he was sorry and he told me he was going to follow up on
this issue when we come to United States within the framework of an
Now that would be a major development if President Trump apologized for
against the Turkish security guards who beat peaceful American
demonstrators. But the White House said it didn`t happen, “it is not true.
The topic was discussed but there was no apology.”
Now, given that backdrop you probably would not expect the self-dubbed
America first president to immediately shower Turkey`s strongman leader
with praise, right? Right?
Well, that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: This summer, 15 Turkish security guards were indicted on felony
charges for beating peaceful demonstrators in D.C. as President Erdogan
looked on and they remain at-large.
And this week the White House that President Erdogan was lying when he
claimed Trump apologized for those felony charges. So, what happened when
President Erdogan and President Trump met face-to-face yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It`s a great honor and privilege, because he`s become a friend of
mine, to introduce President Erdogan of Turkey. He`s running a very – a
very difficult part of the world. He`s involved very, very strongly, and
frankly, he`s getting very high marks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The strongman whose bodyguards beat down American protesters in
the streets of D.C. getting very high marks for running Turkey very, very
The White House readout of their meeting did not mention the beating of
American citizens by
Erdogan`s bodyguards, and neither did President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have a great friendship. As countries I think we`re right now
as close as we have ever bee, and a lot of that has to do with the personal
relationship. So president, thank you very
much, it`s a great honor to have you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Earlier tonight, we told you about the pretty momentous decision
of John McCain to again defy his own party and announce he`ll vote no on
the latest Republican attempt to kill Obamacare. Moments ago on stage in
Alabama, President Trump responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They gave me a list of 10 people that were absolute noes. These
are 10 Republican
Now John McCain`s – John McCain`s list – John McCain was not on the
list, so that was a totally unexpected thing, terrible. Honestly terrible.
Repeal and replace. Because John McCain, if you look at his campaign, his
last campaign, was all about repeal and replace, repeal and replace. So he
decided to do something different, and that`s fine. And I say we still
have a chance – oh, we`re going to do it eventually.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So, why is the president in Alabama tonight? Well, he`s there for
the most fascinating race of 2017. More on that ahead.
HAYES: Right now in Huntsville, Alabama, President Trump is holding a
rally for Senator
Luther Strange, which would be a normal thing to do for any president
supporting his parties incumbent Senator and favored nominee, except that
Strange is opposed by a whose who of the president`s staunchest supporters
– Steve Bannon, Ben Carson, Sarah Palin and Sebastian Gorka are all
opposing Strange, a man who Trumpists says is the very embodiment of the
swamp that candidate Trump vowed to drain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You know, I have a lot of friends and some of them called do you
mind if I go for the other candidate. They said really you can. I mean,
some of them are working for me and they feel – and that`s fine. Of
course, they may not have a job on Monday, but these are my – right,
Richard? We may have to get rid of a few of them. I`ve already gotten rid
of a few of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Strange was appointed to the seat vacated by Jeff Sessions. And
Mitch McConnell desperately wants him to win next week`s GOP primary.
A McConnell`s aligned super PAC called the Senate Leadership Fund is on
pace to spend more than $9 million to try to keep Strange in the Senate.
But right now Luther Strange is losing. A new poll finds Strange trailing
rival Roy Moore by
eight points with just a few days left until Tuesday`s primary. Even by
the standards of Trump-era Republican Party, Roy Moore is pretty out there
– a birther who has advocated criminalizing homosexual conduct, which he
compares to bestiality, Moore has been removed as Alabama chief justice on
two separate occasions, once for refusing to remove a giant Ten
Commandments monument from the Supreme Court, and then 10 years later for
defying the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.
The Washington Post reports that among the prices Moore says this country
has paid for denying god`s supremacy are the high murder rate in Chicago,
crime on the streets of Washington, child abuse, rape and sodomy.
Last night, Moore and Strange had their first and only debate with Strange
stressing again and again that the president has his back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LUTHER STRANGE, (R) ALABAMA: The question is who does the president
support? The president supports me. If you have not followed the
president on Twitter, I urge you to do so. He just tweeted a great tweet
out about his enthusiastic support for me and my campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: But across town, Moore supporters are pushing a very different
message. Congressman Louie Gohmert, Sebastian Gorka and Sarah Palin held a
rally for Moore after emerging from a bus that had previously been
emblazoned with the misspelled URL Alabamadeservesmore, someone eventually
covered the Typo with a home made sticker.
Later, at the rally that night, Palin suggested that the swamp in
Washington, as typified by McConnell was trying to co-opt the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN, FRM. GOVERNOR OF ALASKA: A vote for Judge Moore isn`t a vote
the against the president, it is a vote for the people`s agenda that
elected the president. The swamp can`t win here. This is our red line.
Just you watch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, MSNBC contributor and conservative radio host
Charlie Sykes, author of the new book how the right lost its mind. I`m
also joined by Jess McIntosh, executive editor at Share Blue, former senior
adviser to Hillary Clinton`s 2016 presidential campaign.
Charlie, let me start with you. Today, another endorsement came through
and I think the president was sort of referencing it earlier in the rally -
- Ben Carson.
CHARLIE SYKES, CONSERVATIVE RADIO SHOW HOST: Ben Carson.
HAYES: His own secretary at HUD comes out and endorses Roy Moore, you
know, saying how great he would be. This is – I find it astonishing to
watch this happen because to me it looks like the GOP establishment trying
to put the genie back in the bottle, and basically being like, well, you
can`t vote for this guy, he would be a terrible senator. He`s crazy. He
says nutty things. And it`s like, well, have you seen the president?
SYKES: Well, that`s what does make this so astonishing. I mean, this is
is a moment piled high
with irony when you think about it, because the GOP in recent years has
opened this Pandora`s Box of political crazy. And you`re seeing that on
stage tonight. You know, the Sarah Palins, the Sebastian Gorkas, the Steve
Bannons, all of those folks. And what they found out was that they had
unleashed something that they could not control, and Donald Trump himself
may be about to discover that. You can light the fire. You can go into
the crazy covered. You can indulge all of that. You can play along with
it as long as you think that it`s a wedge issue and then you find out that
it`s completely out of control.
And, Jess, what was fascinating last night is, so here you`ve got Luther
Strange. He`s sort of reluctantly being endorsed by the president. There
is all sorts of behind the scenes reporting about how much he had to be
lobbied to do that. But he got Ryan Moore. And they are debating. And
it`s the most bizarre debate you`ve ever seen. They are both trying to
convince the audience the president really wants them to win.
Listen to this exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROY MOORE, REPUBLICAN SENATORIAL CANDIDATE, ALABAMA: The problem is,
President Trump is being cut off in his office. He`s being redirected by
people like McConnell.
STRANGE: To suggest that the president of the United States, the head of
the free world, a man who is changing the world is being manipulated by
Mitch McConnell is insulting to the president. It`s absolutely insulting
to the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Jess, this is the argument, though, that basically the true spirit
of Trump is with Roy
JESS MCINTOSH, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, SHARE BLUE: Yeah, no, this is an amazing
thing to watch and we have – it`s not the first time that we`ve seen it.
Every time Trump does something that goes against the MAGA crowd, you get
these stories like when he fired Steve Bannon. you get these stories that
somehow he`s being manipulated by the deep state, which is both Democrats
and McConnell and establishment Republicans and it`s getting crazier and
Like, in the super right-wing media sphere right now, there are stories
about how Trump is being drugged and manipulated and told to do – I mean,
at a certain point, like you can`t control how nuts this base is, Charlie
is absolutely right. And I think that with every time that Trump goes
against them, we`re going to see that get weirder and weirder.
This is particularly strange because he doesn`t like Luther Strange, like
he literally said at the rally he was excited that he would be the tallest
senator ever, like this guy is not about an ideological agenda for him,
it`s because Mitch McConnell told him to.
HAYES: He also had a great classic Trump quiet (inaudible) loud when he
first announced the
endorsement. He said, I`m endorsing because he`s loyal to me, like there
was no feint that there is any
substantive reason to endorse the guy.
And, Charlie, what I – what I also find really interesting here is people
talk about Trump base and Trump base is a sort of cult of personality
around Donald Trump. But this is a test of that, because if it is a cult
of personality, then they listen to him and vote for Luther Strange, but
maybe it`s just that the base likes the candidate that`s more bigoted in
any contest in a Republican primary.
SYKES: Well, that is what is interesting about it.
So, you know, is it the cult of personality that will do what Donald Trump
wants? Or will they buy this line that no, no, no, the orange god king is
being betrayed and that the real loyalty to the orange god is in fact
voting for Roy Moore?
And you don`t want to think about the irony here. Roy Moore is the
reddest of the red meat. Here is a guy who has been stripped of his
judicial position because he has defied the rule of law. You know,
conservatives talk about we have to vote for Donald Trump, because of the
Supreme Court and rule of law, because we love the constitution. Here is a
guy who has shown contempt for the rule of law and the constitution, not
once but twice.
So, yes, this is the most extreme, the rawest sort of meat out there. And
it will be a fascinating test about whether or not Donald Trump can draw a
line on something that he played such a significant role unleashing in the
HAYES: Jess, as a veteran of the Clinton campaign, quick question, do you
think Moore wins on Tuesday?
MCINTOSH: I think he does, yeah. I don`t think Donald Trump has the
juice to get it done. I think the people who voted for him were voting for
a very specific set of ideological beliefs that he was pretending to embody
for them. And I think the second he goes away from that, they`re going to
go away from him.
HAYES: Charlie Sykes…
SYKES: Yeah. I`m getting tired of all the winning.
HAYES: …both for being with me tonight.
Before we go, a reminder, tomorrow the phenomenal Joy Reid and I are
hosting Global Citizens Festival, 60,000 people, many of whom won their
tickets by doing some form of action to fight global poverty. We`ll pack
into Central Park for the annual concert. They will see performances by
Stevie Wonder, Green Day, The Lumineers, and many, many more. You can
watch it exclusively on MSNBC.
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