The Beat with Ari Melber, Transcript 8/22/17 Trump rally
Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER
Date: August 22, 2017
Guest: Anne Gearan, Daniel Drezner, Randy Bryce, Patrick Tucker, David
Hickton, Jenni Miller, Joan Walsh, Connie Schultz, Daniel Bonevac, Maya
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Hi, Katy. Thank you very much. As President
Trump tries to turn the page in Phoenix, Mitch McConnell dropping a bomb,
questioning whether “the Trump administration can even be salvaged.”
Bad news for Donald Trump, breaking from “The New York Times” just in this
past hour, leaks that Trump`s relationship with the top Republican in
Washington has “disintegrated.”
The report coming as Trump faces conservative criticism for flip-flopping
on Afghanistan and as Russia wedges its way back into the news for an
unusual reason. Trump has few details on his plan for more boots on the
ground and his rush to a rally right now has critics saying he is more
comfortable as candidate than commander.
In fact, even some allies have a basic plea right now. Mr. President,
this didn`t need to be a tale of two speeches, a rush from war to campaign
politics. If Afghanistan is worth so many lives, surely, it is worth more
than one day`s contemplation.
But that is not how the Trump White House programmed today, planning this
campaign rally in Phoenix, trying to move the spotlight off Afghanistan, a
spotlight that tonight is moving somewhere else, towards this thunderclap
report in “The New York Times”. We just got it.
Let me read you the key parts. It says “Trump`s relationship with Mitch
McConnell has officially curdled into a feud of mutual resentment and
sometimes outright hostility, complicated by the position of McConnell`s
wife Elaine Chao in Trump`s cabinet”.
“The Times” reporting that McConnell has privately expressed a view sure to
enrage Trump that he`s not sure “Trump will be able to salvage his
administration after a series of summer crises.”
Now, the political reason for Trump to turn this page from Afghanistan is
obvious. He used to campaign on this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Could have rebuilt our
country twice altogether on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Middle
East. It`s time to rebuild America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: And he has gone from that rare species in a Republican primary, a
conservative dove, to going full-on Missy Elliott as president, putting his
policy down, flipping it and reversing it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further
military activities. I will not say when we are going to attack, but
attack we will.
We are not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Republicans pushing back. Fox commentator Laura Ingraham asking
how will we win with 4,000 more troops. A Republican congressman saying
this is perpetual war.
That criticism and these new comments from Mitch McConnell breaking here
within the last hour are the backdrop for what you see, Trump hitting
Phoenix, the first place Trump had a rally that ever caught fire in those
In fact, we were looking at this. He drew one of the largest crowds to
date at the time, July 2015, and he appeared with Joe Arpaio, an anti-
immigration sheriff who has since been held in criminal contempt.
And Trump brought onstage the father of a teenager killed by an
undocumented immigrant. “The New York Times” account of that rally at the
time reads like a dispatch from frankly a bygone era.
Trump was described as a real estate mogul and reality TV star who
delivered a rambling monologue, which demonstrated what his party fears
most about him, an orator without regard for decorum, who is willing to
mock other Republicans.
Two years later about, just about two years, Trump is, of course,
president. Decorum pretty much gone. And here we are tonight with Trump`s
mockery of Republicans is part of what is enraging Mitch McConnell in this
incredible “New York Times” piece.
It says the two men clashed in a phone call that devolved into a profane
shouting match and McConnell - get this - is already mused about whether
Trump will even “be in a position to leave the Republican Party in the next
year`s elections and beyond.” This is not what the White House wants to
All of this coming as Vladimir Putin received a rare rebuke in American
courts today. Another important story we`re going to bring you shortly.
But, first, I want to bring on “The Washington Post`s” Anne Gearan who
reports today on Trump`s choice as effectively “tweaking” Obama Afghanistan
policy and Tufts professor Daniel Drezner who writes today that Trump flip-
flopped on Afghanistan because he is an exceptionally weak commander-in-
chief who lacks the expertise to countermand his military advisers.
Thank you both. A lot to get to. Anne, I want to get you on the McConnell
reports. But, professor, first, you credit Trump for admitting he flip-
flopped, but then you say it wasn`t his idea. Explain.
DANIEL DREZNER, PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICS, THE FLETCHER SCHOOL OF
LAW AND DIPLOMACY AT TUFTS UNIVERSITY: Well, basically, as you pointed out
in your opening, Donald Trump has never really talked all that much about
And when he has talked about it, or when he did during the campaign, he
basically would talk about why are we spending so much blood and treasure
over there, I want to get us out.
And as he admitted last night in a speech, that was his first instinct.
The problem is, is that Donald Trump doesn`t have any idea how to do that
without it leading to calamitous consequences.
Now, you could argue that when Steve Bannon was working at the White House,
he did come up with a relatively harebrained scheme, I believe, with the
Betsy DeVos` brother Erik Prince, in which the ideas that somehow US armed
forces would withdraw and would be replaced with contractors that Prince
and others would run. That was quickly dismissed.
And that was really the only out-of-the-box idea that the Trump White House
team really had. So, when stuck between a bad choice and an even worse
choice, he went with the bad choice, which was all of his military
commanders telling him just continue to stay the course, which was what the
speech was last night, as Anne reported last night for “The Post.”
So, essentially, Trump as a president, any kind of president in order be
able to push back against the military, has to have the knowledge and the
expertise and the staff to be able to say, well, what if we did this
instead. And it seems very obvious that Trump never did that during this
entire policy review.
MELBER: Anne, we will talk more about Afghanistan, although, as discussed,
the political calendar of the White House suggests they don`t want to have
But these breaking reports about McConnell, combined with your reporting in
general on what you`re seeing out of the White House, does this match with
your understanding of Mitch McConnell`s frustrations, the idea that he
doesn`t know whether this entire presidency can be salvaged?
ANNE GEARAN, NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT, “THE WASHINGTON POST”: Well,
I think, certainly, the relationship between Trump and Mitch McConnell has
been bad and getting worse for some time.
It`s been on this path for some time. The account of this phone call is
really kind of hair-raising that the two of them would be yelling at one
another, not only about their tactical differences over what piece of
legislation should go first and whether or not McConnell bungled Obamacare
repeal, which is which is the way Trump sees it, but also really what
they`re going to do from here.
Trump has no legislative successes to point to. And he is going to need
some. And Republicans are going to need some to run on next year. And
that`s what McConnell keeps telling him.
MELBER: Does that square for you, Daniel?
DREZNER: I think in Mitch McConnell`s world, he wishes that Donald Trump
would just have a timeout. You just leave him alone for a couple of days,
maybe get his anger out.
I completely agree. It`s even worse than that actually because, at some
point, between now and the end of September, Congress has to do minor
things like fund the federal government and raise the debt limit.
And these are votes that are not necessarily popular within the GOP caucus,
but, more importantly, Donald Trump hasn`t shown much interest in, except
if they aren`t signed, then we potentially breach the debt limit or default
on our debt obligations or the government shuts down. I don`t think either
of these outcomes are terribly good for the Trump administration.
MELBER: And, Anne, this is not by any means the first time we`ve seen a
White House with a spouse serving in the cabinet. Elaine Chao has served
This was clearly, though, something that was designed to bring these folks
together, serving together, if you want to put it in the best light. And
yet, “The Times” is reporting that this is a tension for Mitch McConnell.
Does that at any point become a tension that cannot hold?
GEARAN: Certainly, it could. From Trump`s perspective, having a family
member close by is not only something that he finds in his own experience
to be very natural and helpful, but it was seen when he reached out to
Elaine Chao as sort of certain extending that same kind of family bridge to
McConnell, with whom he had no relationship, and when they started to have
one, it didn`t go great right from the beginning.
The idea that that McConnell`s wife would be in the cabinet was definitely
seen as a giant olive branch being extended by Trump. And if it doesn`t
work for any of them, Elaine Chao might be at the top of the list for those
it doesn`t work for.
MELBER: And then, Professor Drezner, when you look at all this against the
backdrop of Afghanistan, as we know, this “Times” report says they`ve
talked to over 12 people. They`re doing the backroom complaints, the phone
There is another section of the report tonight that says that Mitch
McConnell was horrified over the president`s Charlottesville comments,
which suggests, even on that very combustible issue of race, his public
message may have been to give more room to the president, while privately
he was horrified, if you believe it.
Put that all in the context of Afghanistan where Mitch McConnell,
obviously, would like to know what the president is doing, so he can figure
out how to sell it. And it seems like this was, as you`ve written, another
issue, not unlike Obamacare, where the president moved around a lot before
telling the Senate what he wanted to do.
DANIEL DREZNER: I think it says something about the Trump administration
that frankly Afghanistan is probably the least of his worries right now
You`re correct. Obviously, McConnell wants to know what the strategy is to
be able to sell it. But I think the dirty secret about Afghanistan is that
the American public actually doesn`t care all that much about it.
They will care if it seems like ISIS is winning or Al Qaeda based in
Afghanistan is winning or the Taliban is winning. But, right now, it just
sort of - it appears to most of the public like a stalemate and it doesn`t
necessarily register all that much with voters. Certainly, not to the same
extent that even something that seems as symbolic as Charlottesville does.
So, my guess is McConnell won`t talk about Afghanistan at all because he
doesn`t have to.
MELBER: Professor Daniel Drezner and Anne Gearan, thank you for joining me
on a busy news night.
I want to move ahead to another interview here. Beyond Trump`s message
today, what are Democrats doing to pushback?
There`s an ironworker running against Paul Ryan. And he says Ryan is part
of the problem in Trump`s Washington. And this comes, as Paul Ryan said,
there`s no reason to censure Trump after Charlottesville.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: That would be so
counterproductive. If we descend this issue into some partisan hack fest,
into some bickering against each other and demean it down to some political
food fight, what good does that do to unify this country? Actually, the
worst thing we should do.
(END VIDEO C LIP)
MELBER: Randy Bryce, this candidate, is telling Paul Ryan maybe they
should just trade places.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RANDY BRYCE, CANDIDATE RUNNING FOR WISCONSIN`S 1ST DISTRICT: Let`s trade
places. Paul Ryan, you can come work the iron and I`ll go to D.C.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: He is an army veteran and an ironworker. Bryce strikes notes both
earnest and goofy. In fact, the day before the solar eclipse, he tweeted
allegedly to god saying, ” If you exist and want @realDonaldTrump to
resign, please give us some kind of sign tomorrow. Let`s say around noon?”
After Steve Bannon was ousted, he quipped on Twitter, “Trump fired the
And his name on Twitter also reflects his job and his look, IronStache.
Bryce says his mustache idols include Tom Selleck and Nick Offerman. And
here he is the man, the self-described IronStache, Randy Bryce. Good
BRYCE: Good evening. How are you doing, Ari?
MELBER: I`m great. I want to start with some inside congressional
baseball. And I think a lot of viewers of THE BEAT are interested in,
which is Mitch McConnell, the master Republican strategist, who kept his
caucus together against Obama for eight years and did all these other
things, he is saying according to multiple people, according to “The New
York Times”, that he doesn`t even know if the Trump presidency can be
salvaged. Your response.
BRYCE: Well, it`s good to see somebody stand up against Donald Trump for
whatever reason. And that`s on the Senate side. I`d like to see some
leadership from Congress, especially - that`s one of the reasons why I`m
running against Paul Ryan, is that there`s a definite lack of leadership in
Washington, especially when it comes to an event like Charlottesville where
- you can`t have it both ways.
You can`t come out and say you`re against racism, but yet coddle somebody
who - but yet not go after somebody who coddles racists. There`s a
definite lack of leadership. There`s nothing going on in Washington DC.
So, it`s good to see some kind of leadership from whatever party and stand
up against Donald Trump.
MELBER: Paul Ryan, who you`re running against, and you must be a pretty
tough political type of person because you`re running against the most
powerful person in the House, as you know, at one point during the
campaigns, he basically all but withdrew support for Donald Trump.
Now, he has been much, much more supportive and trying to duck ever
criticizing him. Who do you think the real Paul Ryan is? Do you believe
that he`s come around and changed? Or do you think he`s pretending to like
Donald Trump more than he does?
BRYCE: They seem to be pretty much arm in arm. I haven`t seen - he wants
to come out and say something bad about Charlottesville, but he`s not going
to actually point to the direct cause of it.
For so many years, Paul Ryan has been talking in the district about all
kinds of wonderful, wonky ideas that he has.
And now looking at him, he has the perfect opportunity. He is the speaker
of the House. He is the one that decides what legislation gets discussed
in Congress. He has a Republican president, a Republican Senate, and even
a conservative-leaning Supreme Court. They have the driver`s wheel - their
hands on the driver`s wheel, but the car won`t start.
MELBER: Right. I also want to ask you because you are prolific on
Twitter, not unlike so many other political figures. There is something
you re-tweeted recently that I want to put up that, as you may know, was
This is an image that superimposes sort of the make America great again hat
wear with Nazi imagery behind it. And I take that to be a criticism and
says, we`ll beat them again. And then there seems to be a sort of a
bayonet going at the first figure.
Do you view this as violent imagery and appropriate to share?
MELBER: Why did you re-tweet it and speak to that?
BRYCE: No. I`m not in favor of violence at all. And I take it as - we`re
the people - I stand up against racism in all of its forms. I`m about
getting more people to - about making a bigger table, about doing things
that are right to help people, and I`m seeing us as the ones that are under
And that`s evident as that woman, Heather, who stood up against racism and
lost her life, in addition to the two helicopter pilots, the law
enforcement officers, that lost their lives as a result, in addition to
many others that got hurt.
It`s going back to - we already fought a war against Nazis and I`m done
with the bloodshed. I don`t want to see anybody else get hurt.
The only way we`re going to come together, it`s time to have our leaders
call out and have the country be healed. That`s what leaders do. They
heal instead of any kind of discursiveness.
MELBER: I appreciate that. And I know that you`re also veteran and I know
you take these issues seriously.
I guess what I wonder about that image, to be clear, because these are
discussions we`ve been having across the country and on air is, do you
think that image is sort of helpful or not constructive when there is a
sensitivity to whether any of these images and messages could be construed
as somehow encouraging violence because of the bayonet is what I`m asking?
BRYCE: I guess there could be other images used. I do things that that
stick a chord with me, that stay with me, and that I think about. And so,
when I see an image that`s a powerful image, and again, I in no way condone
any kind of violence towards anybody, it`s something that sticks with me
and it`s like - we already had these issues.
We had a war against Nazis and we saw what happened as a result and we
can`t let that happen again. And we need to stand together to make sure
that it doesn`t.
MELBER: Now, my last question, if we have you back on the show, Randy, and
I appreciate your time and what you`re doing is, do I call you Randy or do
I call you IronStache?
BRYCE: Randy. You can call me Randy. Anything except for late for
MELBER: Randy Bryce. Appreciate you telling us about your campaign
against Paul Ryan and spending the time with us.
BRYCE: Thank you for the invitation. Pleasure to talk with you.
MELBER: Absolutely. Coming up, this pivotal ruling I mentioned at the top
of the show. Today, against the very Russian hackers who disrupted the
2016 election, and it doesn`t involve Bob Mueller. It is a different
angle. Very interesting.
Also, the clapback heard across Instagram. We have a live interview with
the woman who confronted the wife of Donald Trump`s Treasury Secretary and
sparked this debate about privilege within the Trump administration. I`m
looking forward to it.
And also, a kind of a milestone. More than a thousand false or misleading
claims by Donald Trump. We`re going talk about truthiness and lies.
I`m Ari Melber and you`re watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.
MELBER: Big news today. A federal judge ruled against the Russian hackers
linked to the DNC attack. This is a blow to Putin.
The rulings set a new marker in the quest to make those Russian hackers pay
in some way for their efforts in the 2016 election.
Now, this ruling against the hackers is designed to restrict future hacks.
It could limit their access to some tech weapons that have attacked
American political and business interest.
The idea is to limit how they can abuse domains to attack computer systems.
And in the web of international groups battling these secret hacking plots,
the ruling strikes a blow for the US and against some of Russia`s
And this federal case was not brought by Special Counsel Mueller, it was
not brought by the Justice Department. It was actually the work of a big
American company, Microsoft, which says that this powerful Putin-backed
hacker collective known as - yes - Fancy Bear has been hijacking and
impersonating Microsoft systems to do attacks.
US Intel identified Fancy Bear as one of those key hacker collectives that
attacked the DNC, allegedly with the backing of Putin`s intelligence
So, while the Trump administration sits on the sidelines of the attack on
this election, even doubting whether these hackers did hack the DNC,
tonight, there is a victory of sorts on this battlefield, and it started
with an American tech company that had had enough and spent its own money
and time to pursue these Russian hackers.
The setback comes amid some other news on the investigation tonight. A key
person at the center of that dossier goes before Senate Judiciary
investigators with a transcribed interview about Russian meddling.
The dossier under scrutiny, the Russian hackers on the run to some degree,
all of this shows the investigation still kicking into gear even regardless
of what the Trump administration does.
Joining me now is Patrick Tucker, the technology editor for “Defense One”,
which reports on the future of US defense, and David Hickton, Founder
Director of the University of Pittsburgh cyber institute and a former
Patrick, who won today beyond Microsoft?
PATRICK TUCKER, TECHNOLOGY EDITOR,”DEFENSE ONE”: Well, really anybody
that`s seeking to put some sort of damper or bumper or speed bump in front
of future Kremlin or nation-state spear phishing activity.
This is a victory for them because this allows potentially anybody that
offers email services like Microsoft, Yahoo!, whoever else, to go to a
court and say, if a nation-state is using our email service to send fake or
false emails to somebody else to get them to download malware where then
their data is exfiltrated away, which is what happened with the DNC,
happened with John Podesta and has happened to numerous targets around the
world, then we, the company that offers that service, we can have that
traffic instead sent somewhere else, and that`s because the hackers that
are using our name inappropriately, they`ve given up any right to any
traffic that`s associated with the faulty email that they set up.
It`s all every technical, but it basically means that a group that is
pretending to be not only a person, but also, in a way, Microsoft can`t do
that, and the judge ruling also means that whatever they get, it goes to
Microsoft to potentially route, rename that domain, move that traffic
somewhere where they can analyze it. It becomes part of an investigation.
MELBER: Yes. You are hitting two key points. Number one, these hacks
against DNC staff worked in part because the Russians were able to
impersonate seemingly trustworthy domains like Microsoft.
And number two, this war is going in both directions. David, “The Daily
Beast” writing about this and saying that the Microsoft folks went after
them, sending notes to the hackers. They didn`t get a reply, but they used
a tracking bug planted in emails that went to these folks responsible for
the DNC hacks and it showed those messages opened at least 30 times.
That`s a type of progress, David. The big question for someone like you, a
former federal prosecutor is, what do you, though, when you get judgments
against people and they`re all over the world. They are not here in
America to catch.
DAVID HICKTON, FOUNDING DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH INSTITUTE FOR
CYBER LAW, POLICY AND SECURITY: Well, that`s part of a challenge of
dealing with this asymmetrical threat, which in the case of nation-state
hacking has to be seen by all citizens as an attack on our sovereignty.
So, for those of us who are forward leaning in this area, we always
recognize it would be a campaign and there would be naysayers and doubters
about attribution and about the efficacy of charging people, who you
couldn`t bring here.
But let`s look at the record. We brought the case against the PLA here in
Pittsburgh in 2014. And it led to a reset with China and an agreement
between President Obama and President Xi in September 2015 and most people
recognized changed the course of history.
MELBER: Can I slow you down, Patrick? Are you referencing basically using
the federal court system to go after the Chinese military and that then had
further ramifications? That`s what you mean by PLA?
HICKTON: Correct. The PLA case which was brought here in 2014. And two
weeks later, we brought a case against Evgeniy Bogachev who has been in the
news again because he`s had a resurgence, particularly in connection with
the announcement of sanctions against Russia and to the hacking in the 2016
The Bogachev case has been defined as sort of a prototypical Russian
MELBER: And, David -
HICKTON: The Chinese hackers have a different signature than the Russian
hackers, but the fact that they are overseas -
HICKTON: - is not a reason not to bring these cases.
MELBER: Exactly. And on the Russians, this is what I want to ask you, do
you think Bob Mueller - you say the Russians are overseas, you still bring
these cases. Do you think Bob Mueller is looking at the outcome of this
HICKTON: I think it`s a very important initiative by Microsoft and I think
that it doesn`t necessarily directly overlay with the work of the special
But I think this is an all-tools approach where we need criminal law, civil
law, and we need private entities such as Microsoft to take this great
initiative. And the decision that came out of the court in Virginia today
is a good decision for everyone.
The court retains jurisdiction until 2020. The court put a special master
to monitor potential further breaches by these identified Russian hackers
and we are now at a place where, through the resort of civil process by
Microsoft, you can posit developments in the future where, if there`s a
contempt of court ruling off of the ruling that occurred today, we could
actually have seizures of Russian assets. The court wrote the order very
MELBER: Well, David, I think you`re making the key point, which is we have
three branches of government, when it comes the Russian hacking, the
Congress has been concerned, they`re acting. The judicial branch has been
concern and they`re acting with this ruling today. It`s the executive
branch amazingly that still seems MIA.
Patrick and David, thank you for your expertise today. Appreciate it.
Coming up, we have new reporting that President Trump has been caught now
making a thousand false or misleading claims in office according to “The
Washington Post” fact check.
And, first, the wife of the Treasury Secretary got into quite the Instagram
brawl, mocking an Oregon woman about not being rich enough. Can`t make it
up. And that woman is here on THE BEAT next.
MELBER: Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and his wife Louise Linton share
some of their travels online like this new photo on Instagram. Linton
getting off of government plane there with him and she meticulously
appended this photo with hashtags of her expensive attire, Roland Mouret,
Tom Ford, Hermes Scarf, Valentino Rocstud Heels and Valentino. Those shoes
retail for about $955. So Linton opened the door for discussion of her
conspicuous consumption and people responded. Jenni Miller commented on
the photo, glad we could pay for your little get away, #deplorable. And
that line drew quite a response from Linton which I`m about to discuss here
with Jenni Miller herself who joins us today on THE BEAT.
Now, here is how Ms. Linton, the wife of the Treasury Secretary publicly
responded. “Blowing a kiss emoji, did you think this was a personal trip?
Adorable! Do you think the U.S. government paid for our honeymoon or
personal travel? LOLOL. Have you given more to the economy than me and my
husband?” She asks. “I`m pretty sure we paid more taxes towards our day
trip than you did.” She goes onto write, “I`m pretty sure the amount we
sacrifice per year is a lot more than you`d be willing to sacrifice if the
choice was yours. Curled bicep emoji, blowing a kiss emoji, you`re
adorably out of touch, face with hearts for eyes emoji.” And then she
writes – and this is what got me personally – but then she writes,
“thanks for the passive aggressive nasty comment. Your life looks cute.”
Out of touch is an allegation that can boomerang easily on people who are
out of touch.
Late today, Linton`s publicist released a statement from her, apologizing
for her “insensitive comments, Republic effort to compare her household
income to a – shall we say, random individual or ordinary citizen – is
certainly unusual. We can tell you according to Forbes, Mnuchin`s net
worth is over $380 million. He made part of his fortune from the mortgage
housing crisis of 2008. In fact, under his reign, the bank that he founded
foreclosed on over 36,000 homes. I want to welcome Jenni and here we are.
I just read her response to you. What were you thinking when you saw it?
What do you want to say to her?
JENNI MILLER, SUBJECT OF LOUISE LINTON`S INSTAGRAM COMMENT: Well, I think
a lot has been said but mostly I wanted to make sure that she had an
opportunity to look at what she said and try to really think about the
hypocrisy of it all. And you know, I originally posted what I did in just
a moment of frustration. I had a weak moment. I don`t usually post on
anybody`s Instagram. I don`t post much anywhere. But I did do it this
time and I honestly wish I hadn`t in retrospect but I`m trying to make
something good of it. But as far –
MELBER: Jenni –
MELBER: I don`t wish you hadn`t. I think that you – I`m just as person -
- you as a citizen sort of spoke up and got a response from a government
official that was – I mean, a government official`s family member I should
say, but was using government plane and talking about government stuff in a
way that was far more searing than what we sometimes see in other forums
when questioned by the press for example. I mean, why do you think you
drew this response from her?
MILLER: I think it probably hit home. And it got under her skin and who
knows what else had happened to her that day. But she really, I feel like
overreacted. She said a lot of things that were incredibly condescending
and ill-informed and just ridiculous. It was really something that I had
to read a couple of times in other to let it all soak in because it was so
shocking that someone who has all the money and all the time in the world
decided to take some of that time to try to put down somebody who just
lives her life and works hard and takes care of family and does what I do
MELBER: Do you think that she was suggesting that because she and her
husband have more money they`re somehow better than other people?
MILLER: Absolutely, absolutely. And her original post with all of those
brands tagged, you know. When I first read it, to be honest, I was a
little frustrated because I just been reading about the Secret Service
budget issues for other excesses of the administration. And so, then, when
I read this and saw them getting off the government plane on a government
trip and she had tagged all those brands, my first thought was, well, isn`t
it nice that you know, all of us, the taxpayers can pay for them to go on
this trip no matter where it is, and then she can afford to buy anything
that she wants and brag about it. The bragging was the amazing part to me
especially when you`re in a –
MELBER: I mean, the – you`re so right Jenni, the bragging was on the
level of a rap video. I mean, it was like all the brands, it was bizarre,
again, stepping off the government Plane. I want to bring into this
conversation because we were planning to talk about it, Joan Walsh from the
Nation and Connie Schultz who`s a Pulitzer Prize Winning National
Syndicated Columnist. Joan?
JOAN WALSH, THE NATION NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Jenni, can you tell
me, have you been harassed by any folks on social media as a result of
MILLER: A few. I – you know, I just block them and move on.
WALSH: Smart as I am.
MILLER: I don`t have the time to deal with them which I`m really surprised
that Louise did not do the same with me but that`s fine. But 99 percent of
the response I`ve received has been really positive and people saying very
WALSH: So why do you regret it? Why do you regret that you did this?
MILLER: When I look back at it, it`s not the kind of thing that I would
normally do. It was snarky. It isn`t something that you know, I would
normally think would be helpful in the grand scheme of things. Even though
she did put out that statement, it`s hard to convince me that someone could
change their entire outlook on life in 24 hours. So, who knows? Maybe it
did have some impact but I guess a little more skeptical than that.
MELBER: I think skepticism is always warranted. Connie, let me read a
little more from the statement and get your response. She also wrote, “I
know you`re mad, but deep down you`re really nice and so am I. Sending me
passive aggressive Instagram comments isn`t going to make life feel better.
Maybe a nice message, one filled with wisdom and humanity would get more
attraction. Have a pleasant evening. Go chill out and watch the new Game
of Thrones. It`s fab.” Connie?
CONNIE SCHULTZ, PULITZER PRIZE WINNING SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: (INAUDIBLE)
Ari, I usually come at this only as a Journalist, as a Columnist but as you
know, I`m married to U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown. And Jenni, (INAUDIBLE)
years ago, a conversation I had with my editor Kate Medina at Random House
and we were putting the final touches on my book his first successful race.
And she kept taking out things that I wanted to include about nasty things
people had done to us. And I said I want people to know about this. And
she finally – her response has become the motto for my life. She said,
honey, no whining on the yacht. Your husband gets to be Senator, you get a
new book and you`ve got a great life. And I wish somebody would tell Miss
Linton that sooner than later.
Jenni, I really hope you rethink this regret because look at the voice you
have given. So many who would never have thought they could say anything
and ever have this kind of response. And because of you, we`re having this
conversation right now about privilege. When one has it – I`m not saying
that being wealthy is immediately darkens your character but if you only
hang out with people like you, you can start to think the rest of America
is invisible. And I think that`s – we got a moment, a glimpse into that
and I thank you for that. I think it`s terrific that you did it.
MELBER: Jenni, to that point, I want to raise, if it`s OK if we could talk
marginal tax rates for a second if everyone is willing. You know, the
millionaire`s federal tax rate is supposed to be 40 percent, but many in
that bracket pay as low as 17 percent according to Forbes reporting because
there are so many benefits there. We requested from the Treasury Secretary
their tax rates because Miss Linton was apparently bragging about the money
and urged that they paid such a high rate. We said we`d like to see them.
As of this hour, they have not provided it. But it goes to another point
which is the idea that people in that bracket are somehow doing their share
or more without providing the documentation. It was fascinating. I wanted
to put that on the record, Jenni. I also understand that you said you –
there`s something you`re starting to come out of all of this. Tell us
MILLER: Sure. First of all, I would venture to guess that my marginal tax
rate is higher than hers. We are comfortable but we don`t make enough
money to hide a bunch of it or work a lot of those loopholes. So, that`s
just where we are. But as far as what I`m trying to do to spin this around
and do something positive with these 15 minutes that I seem to have landed
with, we have a friend who had a stroke a few months ago at the age of 49,
very unexpectedly as strokes typically are. And he has been first fighting
for his life and now seems to have recovered mentally and parts of his
physical being have recovered but he needs more help and he needs
rehabilitation. And he`s been turned down by his insurance plan and his
employer to get the rehab that his doctors say that he needs.
So, we have a You Caring Account that another friend set up when this
happened that I posted a link too on my Instagram. And I`m really grateful
that lots of people have been taking advantage of this opportunity to do
something nice for someone who really truly needs it.
MELBER: Wow. Thank you for sharing that, Jenni. Briefly, Connie, final
thought on this sort of civic government relationship here and why it is
that it`s important – it seems to me when citizens speak out in Town Halls
or online, they do get more response in a good way sometimes.
SCHULTZ: Well, let`s be clear here. Public service is always a privilege
and honor and how interesting that Jenni who is not a public servant is the
one who`s most acting like it at this moment. Thank you, Jenni, for your
MILLER: Thank you.
MELBER: Connie Schultz, Joan Walsh, Jenni Miller, thank you all.
WALSH: Thank Ari.
MILLER: Thank you.
MELBER: Up next, we have a new milestone that you might want to hear
about. The Washington Post fact check has a record breaking number.
President Trump has now surpassed 1,000 false or misleading statements
since he took office. We have more, next.
MELBER: Donald Trump just passed a milestone. A thousands false and
misleading claims that he`s made since taking office, 4.6 per day .topping
the list, 19 about Russia. 19 times (INAUDIBLE) took credit for reducing
the cost of fighter jets, 42 misleading statements about job growth and
leading the pack from his Washington Post fact check, 50 false claims about
ObamaCare. In the art of the deal, Trump explains why he doesn`t stick to
the facts saying, people want to believe something is the biggest and
greatest and most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole, an innocent
form of exaggeration and an effective form of promotion.
With me now, The New School`s Maya Wiley, who served in the de Blasio
administration in New York and joining me here as well Daniel Bonevac who`s
a Philosophy Professor from the University of Texas and has written about
his support for Donald Trump. He`s also made several T.V. appearances on
the Fox Business and elsewhere. Professor, I understand you support the
President politically. But if one of your students had this record,
wouldn`t you give him failing grade?
DANIEL BONEVAC, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS PROFESSOR: Well, I`m not sure the
record is nearly as bad as that Washington Post piece makes it out. It is
true he has a tendency towards hyperbole, exaggeration. But I think most
people listening to him realize that and make corresponding adjustments.
He recently, for example, said that business confidence has never been
higher. I think most people understand he really means it`s been a long
time since it`s been this high. And a lot of his statements strike me as
like that. Yes, exaggeration –
MELBER: Professor, let me – let me grant you this. Some of his
statements are like that and many others are not. I think you know that
because I take you to be an academic person based on truth. I`ll give you
an example. Here he was in January saying, in Philadelphia, the murder
rate is terribly increasing. In fact, the murder rate has significantly
fallen. There was 397 murders back in 2007 and it`s fallen all the way
over 100 down in 2016. Isn`t it important when you`re talking about murder
and homicide and people in America, to tell the truth and shouldn`t you be
able to acknowledge that rather than call that some kind of hyperbole? Do
you think people who support Donald Trump hear him say murder is going up
and they understand murder is going down?
BONEVAC: No, of course not. It is important, to tell the truth. But
that`s a good example of what I consider the principle that people seem to
use in applying the things to the President`s speech that they don`t use
elsewhere. It`s a sort of principle of uncharity. They try to make his
statements seem as false as possible. And it`s not really very fair. For
example, when he said the murder rate has gone up, but what he said was in
the most obvious interpretation true. Now, there are places and time
MELBER: No, no. He says – I`m sorry, this is important. I`m going to
bring my end but I got to catch you on what you`re doing which is
misleading. I guess like the President you`re trying to support which I`m
surprised because I know I`ve had you on before and you`re a professor. He
said here in Philadelphia the murder rate terribly increasing. And I just
showed you the numbers. That`s false.
BONEVAC: Well, here`s the – here`s the reason. There`s a vagueness in
that statement so I don`t actually know how to evaluate it as true or
false. Increasing over what time period? The murder rate might have
fallen since 2007 but during the previous year, had it gone up or had it
gone down? Basically, if I say something has been increasing or decreasing
and don`t specify a time period, it`s just unclear.
MELBER: Yes, I don`t – I don`t – I`m going to bring in Maya because I
got to go back and forth. I don`t think you would give this reading to
your students on a factual exam. Maya go ahead.
MAYA WILEY, THE NEW SCHOOL SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE: Yes,
absolutely not. I mean, I think this is critically important for anyone in
the position like the President of the United States who in his speech is
also driving how we as country should be thinking about policy. So for
instance, if you tweet out that 80 percent of white – people who are
murdered are who are white are committed by black people, which is a flat
out falsehood, at a time when we have actual violence and white supremacy
on the rise in this country, that`s extremely dangerous.
If you have a President that actually states that for example, as he did
after Charlottesville, that in fact, there was essentially violence on both
sides, as if ramming a car into a group of peaceful demonstrators, I don`t
recall anyone on the other side of that rally actually ramming a car into
peaceful demonstrators, is actually driving not just what how we understand
the facts and misleading some on the actual facts, it is also impacting how
we consider the policies we should be adopting as a country and that`s a
MELBER: Do you think – do you think he is normalizing more falsehoods
among his supporters?
WILEY: I certainly do. Although there is also a study that is, a recent
study by four university that`s has demonstrated that a lot of his
supporters actually understand that he lies. And yet still support him and
there`s some research that suggests that`s because people support their
candidate whether or not they believe what they`re saying.
MELBER: So they think that – they`re not confused about the truth but
they think the lying is somehow OK.
MELBER: Very interesting. We`re out of time, I`d love to have you both
back. Maya Wiley and Professor Daniel Bonevac, both of you professors I
should mention. We`ll be right back with one more thing.
MELBER: OK, we`re trying something new. You guys can let me know if it`s
good or bad but it`s something on THE BEAT called Who Said It? Now, here`s
our quote for you. “The silent majority is back and we`re going to take
the country back.” So who said it? We have the answer for you right after
a quick break.
MELBER: Welcome back. I see some of you have already started responding
to who said it on Twitter. Here again is the quote we are putting out
there. This is, “The silent majority is back and we`re going to take the
country back.” If that phrase silent majority is familiar, it is probably
first and foremost because of President Richard Nixon talking about Vietnam
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: To you,
the great silent majority, my fellow Americans, I ask for your support.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: It caught on Televangelist Jerry Falwell saying in 1980, God is
calling millions of Americans in the so often silent majority to join in
the moral majority crusade to turn America around. But who said it this
time around? Who says the silent majority is back? Yes. Donald Trump
said it at a candidate rally in Phoenix. The very month he first began
running for President two years ago. He is of course back there tonight
and we`ll see if he revisits the greatest or most infamous hits. That does
it for THE BEAT. I`ll see you back here 6:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow.
“HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews starts right now.
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