All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 9/29/17 Tom Price resigns amid private jet scandal
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: September 29, 2017
Guest: Rachana Pradhan, Ted Lieu, Lanhee Chen, Matt Mackowiak, Julie
Rovner, McKay Coppins, Bill Nelson
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Drain the swamp.
HAYES: Tom Price is out.
TOM PRICE, FORMER SECRETARY, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES DEPARTMENT: I work
at the pleasure of the President.
HAYES: The man tasked with killing ObamaCare packs his bags.
TRUMP: Tom, you`re fired!
HAYES: Tonight, the reporter who broke the story that led to the Price
resignation. What this means for the future of American health care, and
the implications for the other Trump administration travel scandals.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the swamp.
HAYES: Then –
TRUMP: It`s been incredible, the results that we`ve had with respect to
loss of life.
HAYES: As the President congratulates himself again –
TRUMP: People can`t believe how successful that`s been.
HAYES: The latest on the federal response in Puerto Rico.
MAYOR CARMEN YULIN CRUZ, SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO: We are treated not as
second-class citizens, but as animals that can be disposed of. Enough is
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. We go straight to
today`s big news. The resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary
Tom Price, the man tasked with dismantling ObamaCare. Following
revelations that Price spent more than $1 million in taxpayer money to
travel on private and government jets. Price traveling by private jet at
least 26 times in less than eight months, often when comparable commercial
flights were available at a fraction of the cost. I`ve spent 40 years both
as a doctor and public servant putting people first, Price said in his
resignation letter. I regret the recent events have create the
distractions from those important objectives. The White House announced
Price`s resignation and statement late this afternoon after the President
told reporters he was worried about the optics of what Price had done.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think it`s a shame because as a human being, Tom Price is a very
good man. I can tell you. Look, I think he`s a very fine person. I
certainly don`t like the optics. I`ve saved hundreds of millions of
dollars. So I don`t like the optics of what you just saw. I`m not happy.
OK? I can tell you, I`m not happy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We first learned about Tom Price`s use of private jets thanks to
the great reporting of Rachana Pradhan who along with Dan Diamond broke
that story for Politico and Rachana joins me now. First of all, what do
your – what does your reporting suggest about how this decision went down
behind the scenes?
RACHANA PRADHAN, HEALTH CARE REPORTER, POLITICO: So I think – I should
say it`s a team effort. We`ve had a lot of people on this, from our White
House team and of course from myself and my colleague Dan Diamond. I think
what`s been plainly clear is that President Trump has not been happy about
the stream of headlines that have come because of former – now former HHS
Secretary Price`s use of private planes. I think really probably the best
outcome that he could have hoped for was, you know, the Secretary would
offer his resignation and then the President would accept it. It`s well
known now that President Trump does not actually like to fire people,
despite the persona that he developed for years. So I think it just became
clear to the White House that this was a scandal that wasn`t going to go
away when initially they were told by HHS, in fact, that this will blow
over and it won`t be a problem.
HAYE: I want to follow up on that. Dan was on last night and talking
about sort of HHS appears to me, Price and the people around him, the
politicals at the top of that cabinet post, they seem to have not realized
what this was. Is that a fair assessment?
PRADHAN: I think that they thought, yes, like this maybe could blow over.
That it would just be one story, and as we know, President Trump alluded to
this very strongly today. He said, you know, he really cares about the
optics. As long as you have a big story like this out there, especially
about a cabinet secretary that wasn`t in particularly high graces with the
President anyway, that`s going to create a problem. And he responds to
that in a very real way.
HAYES: How much also – what are the dynamics like at HHS? I can imagine
that if you`re a career person at HHS, you`re watching Tom Price, both
attempt to cut the budget of HHS, cut the travel budget in particular,
while he`s also undoing a lot of ObamaCare by essentially executive fiat.
And meanwhile, you`re watching him fly around on private jets. I imagine
that there was some ill will there.
PRADHAN: Right, I mean, if you were an official that went to go work for
HHS or CMS, which is one of its agencies and you went in because you wanted
to implement the Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare, obviously they`re not
going to be particularly supportive of the current administration`s
mission, when it comes to that law. But that being said, you know, I
think, it`s fairly more common when you have Republican administrations, I
think, compared to Democratic ones, just the tensions that they have with
people who have been working for the federal government for a long time,
because sometimes their politics can be a little different even if they
follow the direction of the “politicals,” right, the people who are setting
HAYES: So did Price – how long did it take for Price to realize what kind
of trouble he was in?
PRADHAN: I think probably our best indication is the middle of this week
was when, based on our interactions with HHS, as Dan and I continue to
report the story that they started to realize that it was a problem.
Because we still had more reporting to do and I think it – based on their,
again, interactions with us, it seemed like they were realizing that there
might be more coming and they didn`t know what it was.
HAYES: All right, Rachana Pradhan, fantastic reporting, you and Dan
Diamond and the whole team at Politico, many thanks.
PRADHAN: Thank you.
HAYES: Congressman Ted Lieu has been calling for Tom Price to resign. He
has a new bill out to stop taxpayer-funded private jet travel by cabinet
member when is commercial flights are available. Your reaction to the
REP. TED LIEU (D), CALIFORNIA: I think Tom Price did the right thing by
resigning. But keep in mind, he`s just one example of the culture of
corruption inside the Trump administration. There have been multiple
administration officials that have violated the law, engaged in unethical
behavior and flown around on private jets. It`s clear by now from that the
Trump administration officials have not drained the swamp. They`ve become
the swamp and this needs to change.
HAYES: We have news tonight that apparently – first of all, Mick Mulvaney
send memo out basically saying don`t do this, that cabinet secretaries will
now have to get express written consent from the Chief of Staff John Kelly
at the White House for any such flights as this. You have legislation to
go further, is that even necessary now?
LIEU: It absolutely is. So the swamp fires act that I have introduced
will prohibit taxpayer-funded, non-commercial jet travel unless it`s for
national security reasons or there`s no commercial flight available. And
keep in mind, it`s not just about taxpayer funding of this luxury travel,
it`s all about the way it looks and feels because you have the Interior
Secretary charging $12,000 to taxpayers to fly on an oil executive`s
private jet. So you got a massive conflict of interest happening as well.
HAYES: What do you say to people who say this is essentially just the way
business is done, that these are important people who have lots of places
to go to, very packed travel itineraries in the case of say, Scott Pruitt
who has an 18-person security detail 24 hours, that the has genuine
security fears, that these are all justifiable costs.
LIEU: Scott Pruitt is paranoid, and he needs to be investigated because
he`s also charging taxpayers $25,000for a sound-proof booth in his
building. I can tell you, you know, the way we do it, is we just close the
door and talk in lower voices and that handles it. You don`t have to
charge $25,000 to the taxpayers. And the prior administration Kathleen
Sebelius did not take the private jets, Tom Price did. There`s a big
HAYES: Do you think that this is ultimately that the message comes from
the top? I mean, is there a culture here that people are getting signals
from the President of the United States about what is – what is and isn`t
LIEU: Absolutely. As Anthony Scaramucci said, right, the fish had rot at
the top. And what we have is the President who is enriching himself and
his family at taxpayer expense. He has all these businesses all over the
world and foreign countries and foreign nationals are staying at his
properties and paying him, and that whenever he goes golfing or stays at
one of his properties here in the United States, his entire entourage goes
there, has to pay lodging and has to buy food and drink. That`s all
taxpayer money and this starts at the top, and hopefully, the President
will change for the good of the country.
HAYES: Do you think that`s possible though? I mean, what`s interesting
here is that there does seem to be a difference in the way that people
react to Tom Price doing something and the way they react to the President
LIEU: I do think things will change because the public is not buying what
the President is selling. He`s still mired in very low approval ratings.
He`s back down to – into 30-something percent approvals. And as we head
to next November, hopefully, we see the President change or there`s going
to be a radical shake-up in the makeup of Congress.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Lieu, many thanks.
LIEU: Thank you.
HAYES: Lanhee Chen, Senior Official at HHS under President George W. Bush
and Matt Mackowiak is a Republican Strategist joining me now. This felt
inevitable I have to say earlier today. It felt probably inevitable
yesterday. You guys are nodding your heads because really, when you
brought up a million dollars in travel costs on private and military
planes. I want to play you, Fox, Price trying to defend himself last
night, and it was not – it was – it was hard to watch. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why didn`t you see the problem in the 26 private
PRICE: Yes, these were – these were 10 trips and with 26 different legs.
But we have – had a very ambitious agenda and we were trying our dog on
this to be able to accomplish the mission and make certain that we did all
that we could do to advance the President`s agenda. And clearly we got –
we weren`t sensitive to the taxpayer on these instances.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Lanhee, this guy`s whole brand, going all the way back to 2009 when
he`s railing against private jets as if like, we`re sensitive to taxpayer
dollars, how did this happen?
LANHEE CHEN, FORMER SENIOR OFFICIAL, HHS: Yes, I mean, there seems to be a
disconnect of common sense here, Chris. I mean, I understand wanting to
fulfill an ambitious agenda. As it turns out, Southwest Airlines has an
ambitious schedule, and so it wouldn`t be that difficult for him to figure
out that there are opportunities to fly privately. So you know, while I
understand that sometimes, you know, there`s going to be difficult
scheduling issues, you want to get to lots of events, maybe use a private
plane here or there. That doesn`t bother me. Using it for 26 legs, that`s
when it becomes a problem. When it goes overboard and there appears to be
no connection to common sense.
HAYES: You know, Matt, I think there`s a little bit of a case to be made
that the Republicans are victims of their own success here in this respect.
There was some very serious issue raised in Tom Price`s confirmation
hearing about stock trades he made. There was credible evidence that his
story had changed under oath in front of the Committee about whether he did
or did not have control over those stock sales. But Republicans in the
Senate just sort of push through instead of saying, well, this kind of a
red flag, and then you end up with this eight months later.
MATT MACKOWIAK, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes, I don`t know Chris. I don`t
know that I see a connection between those two things. But obviously,
there were questions raised during his confirmation process. I will tell
you how they worked on Capitol Hill. Tom Price had a very strong
reputation up on Capitol Hill. Former Republican Study Committee Chairman
for Budget Committee Chairman, very close to Speaker Paul Ryan, very well
liked among the members. But look, he`s not had a good tenure at HHS. I
mean, it`s fair to say. The difficulty with passing replacement to
ObamaCare, he had some difficulty when he was trying to sell one of the
legislative proposals to governors in both parties at one ever the NGA
Obviously these negative – these negative headlines that have come back
and the timing could not be worse for the Trump administration. They still
want to do something on ObamaCare. The President said this week, maybe
January or February, they`ll take another run at it. And they`re, I think,
planning on this next week to begin a regulatory push to perhaps allow
small businesses to – excuse me – to – insurance companies to buy – to
sell plans across state lines through an executive action. Now they`re
going to have an Acting Secretary do that, someone who I think was several
layers down, I believe was a Deputy Assistant Secretary, not a deputy
secretary or an undersecretary. So the timing here is not good.
HAYES: The other thing that strikes me here, Lanhee here is that, remember
that this cost, this seat, Tom Price`s seat cost $20 million for GOP
donors. He got nominated and he left a seat that was actually narrowly,
very closely contested in the presidential. It was a very, very hard-
fought race in which Karen Handel defeated Jon Ossoff. You got to think
that GOP donors are thinking to themselves, man, that`s $20 million we
could have back.
CHEN: Yes, I mean, I suppose that`s the case. Although I will say at the
time when they picked Tom Price to Matt`s point, I don`t think anybody
thought that it didn`t make sense, if you were looking for somebody who had
been a leader in the repeal movement on ObamaCare, who had some operating
proficiency around health care, who had some experience. I mean the story
made sense at the time. So I don`t think you can fall in 2020. Obviously,
hindsight is 20/20 if you look back. But obviously, yes, special election
was very costly.
HAYES: I still say – I still say that people should – people should have
paid closer attention to that – to that hearing. I got to – I`m totally
honest and I say this as someone who watched Tom Daschle. Tom Daschle
didn`t even make it through the confirmation process for the exact same job
because he did not report imputed income from a guy who lent him his
driver, and that was enough to knock him out. And Daschle was gone. And I
watched the Tom Price hearings and I thought to myself, man, this does not
look great in terms of the judgment, just the judgment, whether he did
something wrong or not, the judgment that is being exhibited by this
individual. The other thing here, Matt, is just the amount of in and out
of that administration at this point. Price, Scaramucci, Bannon, Gorka,
Comey, Flynn, Priebus, Spicer, Schiller, Dubke, (INAUDIBLE) Walsh, Yates, I
mean, there has been an unbelievable amount of turnover in eight months.
MACKOWIAK: No question. Trump administration has been chaotic,
particularly in the first four or five months. I think the original
mistake was setting up competing power centers inside the White House.
That was not sustainable. And I think now they are actually in a better
place with an empowered, respected military, experienced Chief of Staff in
General John Kelly. That said, you do have a Homeland Security Secretary
position that`s been open for some time. You now have an HHS Secretary
position that`s open.
Both of those are going to take weeks, certainly maybe even months to get
confirmed, to get in place. To open question as to whether either one of
them would be confirmed before the end of this calendar year. So you have
had a lot of turnovers, and some of that chaos, I think, makes it hard for
them to find really good people to bring into government when they don`t
know how long they`re going to be able to serve. Tom Price gave up a very
safe seat in Congress and a lot of seniority in Congress to do this job.
HAYES: The most hilarious plot twist here would be Tom primary and Karen
Handel (INAUDIBLE) for that. That – I don`t think it`s going to happen.
The other question Lanhee yesterday was Tom Price in a sort of last bid to
save his job yesterday, you know, he tried to come out and say, look, I`m
going to reimburse the taxpayer for my seat on these planes. So he`s
chartered $400,000 worth of flights, he`s going to pay back $50,000, one-
eighth of the cost for his seat. The question to you, does he end up
writing that check or did he – did he hit the eject button, meaning he
doesn`t have to write the $50,000 check?
CHEN: It`s a very expensive parachute ride if that`s the case if he still
ends up writing that check. But you know, that`s the problem –
HAYES: No, that`s an honest question. You think he`s going to write it or
not? Because I mean, the question is like, well, maybe he`s like, well,
screw it. I got –I got nothing – no bets to cover anymore.
CHEN: I think – I think the question, Chris, is it depends on whether he
wants to come back into politics again. I think if he does, he`s got to
write the check, if not, he probably says forget it, it`s not worth it.
HAYES: That`s exactly right. I going to go do some interviews over in K
Street. Lanhee Chen and Matt Mackowiak, thank you – thank you both.
HAYES: Next, Tom Price spent a million taxpayer dollars flying around the
country on private jets as he was actively undermining ObamaCare. What
tonight`s resignation means for that crucial effort in two minutes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They better get him. Oh, he better – otherwise, I`ll say, Tom,
you`re fired! I`ll get somebody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Tom Price had one job, to kill ObamaCare. And as Congress failed
to pass repeal legislation time and time again, Tom Price mounted an
unprecedented sabotage campaign. He cut the open ACA enrollment period by
half, from 90 to 45 days, slashed funding for ObamaCare advertising by 90
percent, according to Vox, and the funding for navigators that guide people
through the sign-up process got sliced by more than 40 percent. Then, on
top of that, the Department is shutting down healthcare.gov, the federal
health insurance exchange nearly every Sunday during open enrollment for 12
hours at a time.
And for the very first time, regional representatives from HHS will not be
allowed to participate in state open enrollment events. Tom Price`s deal
to undo the ACA was even specifically noted by the Speaker of the House
Paul Ryan today who in mourning Price`s resignation wrote, “His vision and
hard work were vital to the House`s success passing our health care
legislation.” But now that Tom Price is gone, what happens to the
Republican efforts to kill ObamaCare? Julie Rovner is the Chief Washington
Correspondent for Kaiser Health News. And Julie, I want to start with the
context here which is just how dogged HHS has been in attempting to
dismantle a program that it is statutorily tasked with administering.
JULIE ROVNER, CHIEF WASHINTON CORRESPONDENT, KAISER HEALTH NEWS: That`s
right. HHS has on its Web site a number of videos not talking about how to
sign up for health care, but talking about how ObamaCare has failed. I
mean, they`re basically – their entire message, you know, almost every
week, you get another press release not about what they`re doing but about
how ObamaCare isn`t working. And now they`re taking every effort as you
just detailed, to make sure it doesn`t work. In particular, to make sure
that healthy people don`t sign up. Sick people are going to find a way to
sign up, they know they need insurance, they want it. It`s the healthy
people who have to be reminded that the – that the time for open
enrollment is different and that there are different deadlines. And so
they may need extra help signing up. Those are the ones who are going to
not sign up as a result of all of this.
HAYES: And I want to be clear. What is the – what does that mean for
people who are, who need health insurance, who are purchasing it through
the exchanges, if healthy people don`t sign up? What does that mean for
their bottom line?
ROVNER: It means the premiums are going to continue to rise because there
will be no healthy people to spread the costs across. We`re already seeing
huge premium increases this year just because of the uncertainty because
the administration won`t say every month whether they`re going to pay these
cost-sharing subsidies that the insurance plans are required under the law
to provide. And that the administration is required under law to then
reimburse them for. But there was this lawsuit about whether or not there
was actually an appropriation or whether it needed to be an appropriation.
So every month there`s another piece of uncertainty. That`s added 20
percent to premiums around the country.
HAYES: I wanted to show this just an example of what that looks like.
This is in Idaho, (INAUDIBLE) Idaho. These are the premium increases
state-wide. So, bronze, 8 percent, reasonable. Silver, 40 percent, that`s
huge. Gold, nine percent. Now, why is that 40 percent? My understanding
is that those are the plans that these cost-sharing subsidies apply to. So
this is just a direct cost inflation from what HHS is doing to customers.
ROVNER: Exactly. And you know, it`s going to have sort of a perverse
effect on the market. People are going to be able to buy gold plans for
less money than it would cost them to buy what should be a less generous
silver plan because those subsidies are pegged to the silver plan. It`s
distorting the market in a really major way.
HAYES: How much was Tom Price the mastermind for this?
ROVNER: I think he was some of the mastermind. He`s certainly been you
know, one of the most outspoken opponents over the last seven years against
the Affordable Care Act. And certainly, they`ve done some administrative
things. One of the things that hasn`t really been noted is that they
offered states the chance to do these waivers, to let states do their own
thing. But then they sat on a bunch of the waivers. There was another one
just today that it got withdrawn because HHS didn`t act on it.
HAYES: Oklahoma tonight basically says, we – Oklahoma, red state Oklahoma
basically just said to HHS tonight, we applied for a waiver and you
literally never got back to us, so we have to pull it back because you guys
are just ignoring your job basically.
ROVNER: That`s right. And Minnesota was promised its waiver weeks and
weeks and weeks ago. It finally came through last week, but HHS said at
the same time that they were taking almost as much money away through
another program as they would have gotten through the waiver.
HAYES: So then the bottom line is, how much does this become the topic of
the inevitable confirmation hearing when they have to appoint someone to
ROVNER: Oh, I think it`s totally the topic of the next confirmation
hearing. No matter who it is. You know, there`s talk of people who have
already been confirmed by the Senate, whether it`s Seema Verma, who`s the -
- who basically is in charge of the Affordable Care Act, or Scott Gottlieb
who`s at the FDA. But no matter who it is, I think this is what it`s going
to – the hearings are going to be a proxy for what the administration has
been doing to undermine the Affordable Care Act.
HAYES: All right, Julie Rover, thanks for being here
ROVNER: Thank you.
HAYES: Up next, the President again congratulates himself on the response
in Puerto Rico. But the reports on the ground paint a dramatically
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: If anybody out there is listening to us, we are dying. And you are
killing us with the inefficiency.
HAYES: By just about all accounts, Puerto Rico is in the midst of an
extended humanitarian disaster, with real obstacles and make it very
difficult to distribute aid. Roads are impassable, infrastructure has been
destroyed, there`s very little fuel perhaps first and foremost. The
President also wants everyone to remember that Puerto Rico is an island.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This is an island sitting in the middle of an ocean and it`s a big
ocean, it`s a very big ocean.
It`s on an island in the middle of the ocean. It`s out in the ocean. You
can`t just drive your trucks there from other states.
This is an island surrounded by water, big water, ocean water.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It`s true. There are unique logistical challenges to getting
across that big water. But despite the fact that more than half of Puerto
Rico`s residents still have no drinking water, some are going days without
food, nearly the entire island is without cell phone service and most homes
may be without power for months, the President continues day and day out to
praise his own administration`s response, like in this celebratory tweet he
sent last night. “Puerto Rico`s devastated phone system, electric grid and
many roads, FEMA, and first responders are amazing. The Governor said
great job.” But that doesn`t even compare to what he told reporters about
the death toll this afternoon. That`s next.
HAYES: Stopping to talk to reporters on his way to his golf resort in New
Jersey, the president of the United States said this about the death toll
in Puerto Rico.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The loss of life is always tragic, but it`s been incredible, the
results that we`ve had with respect to loss of life. People can`t believe
how successful that has been relatively speaking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So far, at least 16 people are confirmed dead in Puerto Rico as a
result of the hurricane, but it`s important to recognize that that number
is almost certainly incomplete. It`s expected to rise as recovery effort
continues, which is perhaps why the mayor of San Juan painted a very
different picture of what`s happening on the ground.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR CARMEN JULIN CRUZ, SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO: We are dying here. FEMA
asks for documentation. I think we`ve given them enough documentation.
And they have the gall this
morning, look at this, look at this, they think that weighs enough? We
have the gall this morning of asking me, what are your priorities, mayor?
I am begging, begging anyone that can hear us to save us from dying.
If we don`t get the food and water into people`s hands, what we are going
to see is something close to a genocide. The world will see how we are
treated, not as second-class citizens, but as animals that can be disposed
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: She`ll be on Rachel Maddow later tonight.
Well, joining me now is Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat from Florida, who has
urged the president to leverage all available resources to help the people
of Puerto Rico. He joins me now.
And senator, you and Marco Rubio, who also represents Florida, have been
sort of some of the
loudest voices on this. Do you think the response has been adequate?
SEN. BILL NELSON, (D) FLORIDA: In a word, no. And the mayor`s plea pretty
says it all.
I do think since they brought in last night a three-star general, that what
Marco and I have been
calling for is the military. You`ve got all of the food, fuel, water,
medical supplies, they`re in the ports, but they can`t get out into the
interior. And that`s what the U.S. military is trained for. They`re
trained for these long logistical lines of getting things where they need
And so as I quiz the three-star general this morning, I ask him, what`s
coming in? So, helicopter parts are coming in. They`ve got truck parts
coming in. They`ve got an army, a battalion, that can move things that`s
But the comfort ship is going to be another five days before it gets there.
If all of those troops get in. But how long is it going to take them to
get in? This is not the finest hour of the United States government
waiting nine days before you get command and control with the U.S. military
Remember General Honore, the three-star, it took him getting into Katrina,
New Orleans, and finally got things moving.
HAYES: Yeah, I have to say, I`ve been in contact fairly regularly with
people on the island, and what their dispatchers say to me, it`s been a
very slow line. I mean, and particularly areas outside
San Juan, we`re still dealing, we`re nine days in, no power, no
communication, and no drinking water. I mean, there are still people –
half the island doesn`t have drinking water. And you don`t have fuel.
I mean, I guess the question is how long can people be expected to wait for
these – Americans be expected to wait for these vital necessities?
NELSON: Americans waiting for vital necessities from Americans, that`s
what`s so frustrating
about it. I do believe, and my – in essence a cross examination of the
general by telephone this morning, that he understands what he`s got to do,
but he`s got to get all of those troops in to help him move those things
into the other parts of the island.
HAYES: The president – the context here, of course, is that Puerto Rico
is deeply in debt. It did not have the statutory ability to declare
bankruptcy. There was a law called the PROMESA Act, which set up a sort of
austerity regime there. It will need billions and billions and billions of
dollars to rebuild. This is something that one person on the ground said
close to societal collapse.
Are you confident that while the president`s talking about how to work out
how its pay for and its debts that, Puerto Rico is not going to be begging
essentially for the money it needs to rebuild?
NELSON: Well, in essence, at the end of the day, I believe Puerto Rico
will get the money. But, Chris, you know there are people in the congress
that they won`t even increase the debt ceiling so we can pay our bills. I
mean, there`s this kind of mentality. So with the bills mounting in Texas,
in Florida, the Virgin Islands, and now Puerto Rico, I think it`s going to
be a big bill. And I think it`s gonna be for the real, real long-term in
We`re seeing a utility, electrical system that has been totally destroyed.
We`re going to have to start thinking creatively, instead of necessarily
stringing wires, maybe we ought to start putting solar panels in some of
these remote villages and small towns, so that they would have some self-
sustaining in the future.
HAYES: Puerto Rico is – has an outstanding debt largely owned by
bondholders and traded by
hedge funds in the distressed debt markets. I think it`s around $70
billion. Will there be voices in congress calling for some cancellation or
forgiveness of some of that debt?
NELSON: Well, this voice has already started that, by saying earlier this
morning that they ought be cutting some slack on their debt payments.
PROMESA, the board that was set up to oversee the finances, they are first
in line for all the debts. But with this tragic humanitarian crisis, the
bondholders are going to have to give some give in this situation.
HAYES: You would think so. I mean, the regime that`s been set up with
PROMESA is an austerity regime. And this is not an austerity time for the
people that are nine days into not having clean drinking water.
Senator Bill Nelson, thank you for making time tonight. I really do
NELSON: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Still to come, will the Tom Price resignation over a private jet
scandal be the last? Ahead, the other dubious spending coming out of
Plus, budget tips from a millionaire – this is a good one – in Thing One,
Thing Two next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, Gary Cohn, former Goldman Sachs CEO and
president of Trump`s chief economic adviser pitched a hard sell of the
president`s big tax cut plan that was unveiled this week.
And it showed just how in-touch he is with the prices of things. When Cohn
was asked about the tens of millions of dollars the president would
personally receive from his tax proposal, Cohn, who claimed a quarter
billion dollars in assets when he started working in the White House,
ignored the question about the president`s spoils and responded instead on
behalf of the American people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY COHN, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER: I think what the American
people are concerned about is their financial position. I think what
they`re concerned about is when they go to work every week and they get
their paycheck at the end of the week, how much do they get to keep? How
much goes in their pocket versus how much goes to the government? How much
do they get to spend versus how much do they send the government?
If we allow a family to keep another thousand dollars of their income, what
does that mean? They can renovate their kitchen. They can buy a new car.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Oh yeah, you can totally get a new car for a thousand dollars.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Introducing the new Yugo, a paramount engineering achievement
from Yugoslavia. From busy traffic to rough terrain, Yugo will lead you
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Reliability is its second name. Dependability and safety now have a
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Do not hold your horses, your dream of a tough dependable car can finally
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: OK, well that was 1985. And that car was actually $4,000. But
none of that matters if you`re not getting Gary Cohn`s thousand dollars in
the first place, which is Thing Two in 60 seconds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COHN: I think what the American people are concerned about is their
financial position. If we allow a family to keep another thousand dollars
of their income, what does that mean? They can renovate their kitchen.
They can buy a new car.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Director of President Prump`s economic counsel Gary Cohn failing
the Price is Right in his rollout of the Trump tax plan this week.
And about that thousand dollars the average American is going to get as a
tax break, not so much. The Tax Policy Center crunched the numbers.
Quoting CNBC, “the biggest winner would be the richest 1 percent of U.S.
taxpayers who would get more than half the benefits of the entire plan,
according to the center. But as Vox notes, middle class households earning
between $49,000 to $86,000 would get $660 back. The poorest fifth of
Americans, earning $25,000 or less would only get
So the people who are really going to be able to can redo their kitchens or
buy new cars are
people like Gary Cohn.
HAYES: HHS Secretary Tom Price could be forgiven for wondering why he had
to resign today for flying around on private jets on the taxpayer dime,
seeing as that sort of behavior is essentially common practice in this
Scott Pruitt, the climate change skeptic and oil and gas industry darling
that President Trump put in charge of environmental protection has himself
taken at least four private and military flights at
a cost to taxpayers of more than $58,000.
In addition, the APA inspector general is investigating Pruitt`s frequent
tax payer funded travel to his home state of Oklahoma seemingly for his own
Pruitt also gave himself, and listen to this, an 18-person 24/7 security
detail at a cost of more than $830,000 in just three months. You heard
that right, $830,000 in three months.
And to top it all off, he spent nearly $25,000 to install a sound-proof
privacy booth in his office even though the EPA already had one.
Then there`s the Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke who we learned last
night has taken at least three taxpayer-funded private flights in the U.S.
and Caribbean, including a $12,000 private jet flight from Las Vegas to an
airport near his home in Montana when similar flights were available for as
little as $300.
Now, that plane happened to be co-owned by oil and gas executives. And
Zinke boarded it in Las Vegas after giving a speech to a hockey team owned
by one of his big donors.
Zinke today called criticism of his flights, quote, a little BS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN ZINKE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR: Every time I travel, I submit the
travel plan to the ethics department that evaluates it line by line, to
make sure that I am above the law. And I follow the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Make sure that I am above the law, interesting phrasing.
Now, that brings us to the Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, the
Treasury inspector-general is now investigating a flight on an air force
jet that Mnuchin and his wife Louise Linton took to Fort Knox where they
toured the gold and viewed the solar eclipse.
Mnuchin also famously requested a military jet to fly him and Linton on
their entire European honeymoon this summer, over 10 days. He later
withdrew that request.
Then just today the Washington Post reported that the Secretary of Veteran
Affairs David Shulkin took his wife on a taxpayer-funded trip to Europe
this July where they spent about half their time sightseeing, viewing fort
castles, attending the Wimbledon championship in between official
Now, this all looks really bad, and you`d be forgiven for wondering what on
Earth are these guys thinking? Well, maybe they`re thinking about their
boss and where he is at this very minute. That`s next. Don`t go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We`re going to get rid of the waste, fraud, abuse, all of the
waste, the disgusting waste and the fraud.
There is going to be tremendous fraud, waste, abuse.
There is tremendous waste, fraud, and abuse, and everybody wants to get rid
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Just get rid of it.
HHS Secretary Tom Price is now out of a job after misusing private jets.
But when it comes to exploiting the taxpayer, Price has nothing on his now
former boss. I mean, just one small example. The president regularly
takes $200,000 per hour flights on Air Force One to his private golf club
in like Bedminster, New Jersey or Mar-a-Lago, among others. In fact, he
arrived there tonight in Bedminster. And while he`s there, the Secret
Service has to rent the golf carts they need to follow the president around
on the golf course.
During just a single trip in August, the Secret Service spent $13,500
taxpayer dollars on golf cart rentals alone.
Joy Reid, host of A.M. Joy on MSNBC and McKay Coppins, staff writer of The
Atlantic, join me now. And I have to say that I genuinely think Tom Price
is thinking to himself, like, yeah, what did I do wrong here? Like what
JOY REID, MSNBC: What about Mnuchin who is like taking his bride to go and
land on the – you know, the head of the Treasury or whatever in
helicopters. They are all using these jobs as sort of a luxury vacation.
He`s not the only one doing it. Kellyanne Conway was on that trip to
Philly with him. Is she in trouble?
HAYES: The D.C. to Philly charter, which is one of the most insane
chartered flights in the history of human kind.
REID: Yeah. And she`s not offering to put up $50,000 or whatever it cost
to have her on the seat. So what makes him stand out? Health care didn`t
pass. Trump was mad.
HAYES: So, you think there is a connection there?
REID: I definitely do.
HAYES: You know, McKay, I also think – I have to think, you know, one of
these things that we go around and around on in the world of Trump is like
what – his base doesn`t care, his base doesn`t care. And I think that`s
generally true. And that`s almost kind of a truism in American politics,
the North Star, those 35 percent of people.
But I do think that like whereas a lot of Russian stuff I think hasn`t
broken through at the water cooler, I think like the guy that took $1
million in private flights around does. What do you think?
MCKAY COPPINS, THE ATLANTIC: Yeah, well, it`s interesting. I was thinking
about this scandal. And the thing about the scandal, in a lot of ways
it`s almost quaint.
HAYES: Yes, it`s like a normal scandal.
COPPINS: Yeah. It`s like it`s a tale as old as time, like high-ranking
government official indulging in exorbitant personal luxuries on the
taxpayer dime, like that happens – that`s a very classic political
But it`s also exactly the thing that Trump`s base has railed a against
forever. Do you remember, I was thinking about this, remember when every
time the Obama`s took a vacation, there was like a huge uproar in the
conservative media about how much money is being spent on their security
and on their travel and I mean, at least in that case there was ideological
consistency there. I mean, partisanship, it was Obama bashing, but it was
also, you know, conservatives who don`t like the government spending
taxpayer money on stuff.
And it`s a very – this scandal with Tom Price and the other administration
officials you just went through, it`s a very easy to understand. And it`s
something that the average Trump voter is going to look at and be like
yeah, that`s ridiculous. I would never fly a private plane. Why does this
guy get to do it at my expense?
HAYES: Plus, the other thing I think we`re learning here – and I just
want to give a special shoutout here to Scott Pruit, because – no,
seriously, because Pruitt is not in the crosshairs the way Price is, but
the security detail that he`s assembled for himself, he`s got an 18-member
security detail that`s 24/7. Now, let me just be clear, they say they`re
getting threats. And I think there is not a person in the country who
doesn`t want the head of every cabinet agency to be secure and safe. The
horrifying thing that happened to Steve Scalise.
But there are people far, far, far more prominent in American politics who
have nowhere near that security detail. And it is massively expensive.
And, you know, that`s – I think that`s going to come under scrutiny as
REID: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, don`t forget we just got finished having
the first black president of the United States have more threats against
him than any president – any of his predecessors.
And look this is an administration that at the same time they`re jetsetting
around the country on luxury planes is also plotting to cut their own taxes
by billions and billions of dollars. It starts to look like the monopoly
men are laughing at the Republican base. The only question is whether the
Republican base can see them laughing.
HAYES: Well, and there is one other distinction here, McKay, which is that
I think people will forgive Trump things they won`t forgive Tom Price or a
Scott Pruitt. And I think there`s two reasons for that. One is that Trump
has a sort of singular hold. He`s the person they voted for. They didn`t
vote for Tom Price. Whatever about Tom Price. And I also think when you
saw Tom Price speak before when he was accosted by reporters yesterday at
the flu vaccination event, when he was on Fox, you could see
something that looked like recognizable human shame in him. He looked like
a person that was busted, like was caught. Donald Trump never looks
busted. He – I`m serious, man. And it matters. He never looks busted
and he never looks caught, and so it`s like Trump can get away with things
that Tom Price and Mnuchin and other people can`t. Do you think that`s
COPPINS: I think you`re right. I remember, Chris, you and I during the
election were talking
about once about how the feeling of shame is actually a disadvantage, like
from a game theory perspective.
COPPINS: When it comes to politics, and a lot of other things, frankly,
the inability to feel
HAYES: It`s a super power.
COPPINS: …really helps you. And Donald Trump has, I think, a lot of his
success in politics has come from the fact that he never seems to feel
sorry about anything, which gives his supporters a reason to think that
maybe he`s never in the wrong.
HAYES: Now, here is, though, where I do think there is a real danger point
for the president. When you combine this stuff, which again, is like to
what McKay said, it`s is a classic scandal. I covered stories like this as
a Chicago beat reporter on Alderman, right. Like this like everyone –
that when you combine that with the fact that you`ve – the fact the idea
of him being sort of co-opted by
HAYES: The narrative that was coming out of Alabama and with Steve Bannon
out on the trail, which is like you`ve gone swam.
REID: That`s correct.
HAYES: That, I think – those things together do present a kind of
REID: Here is the irony for Donald Trump. He hired these people, but the
narrative from Bannon world is that they now own him, that that world runs
him and that he`s their captive.
He`s their boss, but they still see him as sort of the one guy who is
supposed to be fighting for them and really deep down wants to do the right
thing but the swamp has kidnapped him.
HAYES: And in fact, Roy Moore was on the trail saying don`t listen to what
he says. He`s basically being held hostage. Luther Strange had to say,
well, that`s a condescending thing to say about the president of the United
And here is the problem, McKay, is that there is going to be more shoes to
drop. Maggie Haberman saying she`s – and also, I think people are going
to look at stuff that we already do with fresh eyes. So, today we learned
the Trump kids` ski vacation was $300,000 in security costs.
Now, again, you got to protect these people, like, you know what I mean?
Like, security is important for everyone in the president`s family, but I
wonder if you start to see more and more stories of stuff we already knew
with fresh eyes?
COPPINS: Oh, totally. And it`s kind of low-hanging fruit. I know that
reporters from a lot
of different outlets are digging into the different agencies, all the
different cabinet officials to seeing what kind of luxuries they are
indulging in. There is going to be a bunch more stories like this next
week, the week after. And I do think that Trump voters are going to balk
at that, because it`s just a bad look for a president who is elected on a
drain the swamp platform.
HAYES: Yeah, alright, Joy Reid who will be back in just one hour hosting
the Last Word at 10:00 p.m. tonight right here on MSNBC. Don`t go
anywhere. And McKay Coppins, many thanks to you both.
That does it for All In for this evening and this week. The Rachel Maddow
Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel..
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