House votes to condemn Trump’s “racist” remarks. TRANSCRIPT: 7/16/19, The Beat w/ Ari Melber.
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: This moment brought America and the world
together, a moment that peaked our collective curiosity about what else
might be out there and tonight Apollo 11`s rocket will be projected on to
the Washington Monument pointing toward the heavens just as it did back in
1969, calling us all to seek answers in the great beyond.
And that is all for tonight. We`ll back tomorrow with more MEET THE PRESS
DAILY and “THE BEAT” with Ari Melber starts right now.
Good evening Ari.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening Steve. Thank you. We are live in
Washington where there has been an absolutely scorched earth and raucous
debate on the House floor today over formally rebuking President Donald
Trump`s go back attack.
Tonight we have new reporting from inside the courtroom as well where a
federal judge has banned Roger Stone from social media and later in the
hour, news in the DOJ handling a potential charges against the officer who
killed Eric Garner. But we begin with breaking news.
At any moment tonight the United States House of Representatives will begin
formally voting on condemning the sitting President for “racist attacks on
four women of color who serve in the House of Representatives.”
This is not normal. This is not another day in 2019. This is a boiling
point. Now one sign of that is the Democrats joining ranks to stand up to
this particular Presidential attack when he launched so many. Another is
the vote Republicans just forced moments ago. They didn`t offer a
compromise resolution or an offramp.
They threw out a symbolic grenade of going after Speaker Pelosi because she
called Donald Trump`s attack racist and they started a rule that members
are not formally allowed to disparage the sitting President on the House
floor. And they used that rule, that precedent if you will to try to
literally remove her words from the congressional record.
Now that vote failed nearly entirely along party lines. House Republicans
knew the vote would fail. So why am I telling you about this news because
it is worth recognizing, this is the state of affairs right now in
Washington and in America.
Rather than even deal with the President`s words, many not all but many
House Republicans would rather wage a parliamentary war of attrition to try
to silence Speaker Pelosi to take the words out of her mouth as far as the
historical record is concerned.
Pelosi is of course pushing for this full House vote to condemn Trump`s
invocation of a racist trope against these four duly elected members of
Congress. Here`s how the Speaker characterized it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): These comments from the White House are
disgraceful and disgusting. And the comments are racist. How shameful to
hear and continue to defend those offensive words, words that we have all
heard in repeat not only about our members but about countless others.
Every single member of this institution, Democratic and Republican to join
us in condemning the President`s racist tweets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: The speaker`s deploring her control of the House floor to force
this choice on Republicans. Now most in the House have not done so. 30 some
Republicans publicly criticizing Trump`s comments, the party`s leaders have
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Were the President`s tweets that said go back racist? Yes or no?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
REPORTER: You`re married to an immigrant who`s a naturalized U.S. citizen,
if someone were to say to her she should go back to her country because of
a criticism of federal policies, wouldn`t you consider that a racist
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-AL): Well, the Secretary of Transportation came
here legally, not speaking a word of English and has realized the American
REPORTER: Was it racist for him to say go back to your country?
MCCONNELL: As I said, the legal immigration has been fulfilling of the
American dream and my wife is a good example of that.
REPORTER: You stopped short of calling his comments racist.
MCCONNELL: Well the President is not a racist.
REPORTER: But the comments are.
MCCONNELL: The President is not a racist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Senator McConnell felt the pressure to finally today take some of
those questions but apparently not enough pressure or motivation or
whatever to actually draw any line against the President who himself said
yesterday he is fine with white nationalists agreeing with what he said.
A contrast to civil rights icon U.S. Congressman John Lewis who made this
powerful argument today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D-GA): What you said and what you continue to say is
racist. It is racism, you cannot hide it, you cannot sweep it under the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: I`m joined tonight for a special coverage as the House prepares
this vote with Juanita Tolliver, Center for the American progress Action
Fund; Jason Johnson from The Root and BBC Washington anchor, Katty Kay and
we are moments from the vote that now has been slightly delayed but will
occur to rebuke the sitting President.
What are Americans to make of this? One could say well, there are many days
where you could take something the President has said or done and devote
the time on the House floor but that doesn`t mean that there is no
significance to putting this on the record for history.
JUANITA TOLLIVER, CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR THE AMERICAN PROGRESS
ACTION FUND: Absolute significance in getting this on the record. I think
honestly the Republican`s reaction to all this is a clear mark of where
they stand and what their values are in this nation.
And the fact that we have a President who was completely fine with white
nationalist agreeing with him says a lot. I mean, this is a man who called
verifying people on both sides after Charlottesville. This is a man who
called African nations s-hole countries. This is a man who has repeatedly
demonstrated racist behavior whether it is leading the charge with the
birtherism effort against previous President Barack Obama.
So there`s nothing new here as a woman of color that I`m saying so I`m
really surprised that more of the country is shocked by this but honestly
the weak reaction from GOP members is startling. I think also there, the
reaction to Speaker Pelosi even calling the President racist and his
comments racist on the House floor is a signifying moment as we wait for
this vote to happen.
I`m not sure we`re going to get any Republicans to sign on to this
JASON JOHNSON, POLITICS EDITOR, THEROOT.COM: Probably not. I`ve always said
this. I don`t really care about that the President of the United States is
a racist. He`s not the first racist President we`ve had and he`s not going
to be the last racist President that we`ve had. What concerns me going
forward for the Democrats is you can get all this energy together, we can
condemn the President but what about the next week and the next two or
If you have agreed that the President United States is motivated by racial
animus that says that some people are lesser than white people, let`s be
clear as to what racism is. He`s saying other people do not deserve this
country, do not have a right to be active in politics and commerce and
economics and everything else like that. That should frame every other
policy that comes out of the White House forevermore.
Everything that comes out of this administration should be viewed as like,
this is probably racist policy and therefore we shouldn`t agree with it
unless they`re willing to make that change ideologically in how they
interact with this administration, it`s a bunch of nonsense.
MELBER: Let me play for you Neal Katyal who served in the Obama
administration, who we usually have on as a real legal expert, opening up a
little more personally about this, about what we`re hearing from so many
Americans which is they have a story which you can read or you have to live
experience which you have to listen to learn of how these tropes are thrown
around. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEAL KATYAL, FORMER ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL: You know, I don`t talk
personally on your show much but I think anyone who has brown skin hears
these comments all the time.
For me it started when I was three years old, when my mom was pulling out
and of the car and pulling out of the driveway and someone knocked their
door and said, go back to your country and–
My mom laughed when I was 3, I remember this very vividly, that was her
response, just utter sheer laughter but I think this is different because
this is of course not some Rando on the street, this is the President of
the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KATTY KAY, WASHINGTON ANCHOR, BBC: You heard it again as well this
afternoon from another member of the administration when Kellyanne Conway
asked a reporter, what`s your–
TOLLIVER: I mean, what was that? Wow.
KAY: I don`t know what is going on in the White House at the moment but it
seems that ethnicity, race, religion, the group you come from, unless you
come from one particular group, Anglo-Saxon Christian group, then members
of this administration`s feel that it`s OK at the moment to question
whether you came from and the subliminal message, not even subliminal
message, I mean it`s the obvious, not even a dog whistle.
It`s very clear, the message is that somehow that is less than everybody
else. This is not the only country where you hear that message. I`ve heard
friends of mine who`ve come from other countries originally, families came
from other countries originally, the same thing happens to them in the
Go back to your own country. What are you doing here? It happens all over
the world. If you are not part of the group that feels that it has the
right and the privilege to be there then you should go back home and that`s
what`s racist about this.
MELBER: You wanted to speak to the Kellyanne incident.
TOLLIVER: It`s just – it`s a clearly blatant display of Kellyanne
following the lead of Trump and it`s something that I think we`re going to
see a lot more from other White House Staffers who do come out in front of
the cameras, really just normalizing, continuously normalizing these things
of racism throughout their interactions with the media in America.
KAY: Ad she didn`t say it once. She carried on saying it again.
MELBER: And then Juanita, put that in the context of what people are seeing
at home right now. If you look at your headline on the screen. The
Republicans trying to rebuke Speaker Pelosi for condemning racism, not
Trump. That is the doubling down.
That is different than silence however morally objectionable many find
silence, that is what`s happening right now.
TOLLIVER: That`s what`s happening right now and the fact that the
Republican Party is now carrying Trump`s mantle, carrying the water for him
in Congress says a lot about what`s at stake in the next round of
JOHNSON: They`ve been doing this for years. What – look, when the black
guy got elected, it was open season. This is not new, this is not shocking.
MELBER: But I think, I would fact-check you on that a little bit.
JOHNSON: About what?
MELBER: Double fact-check. I`m glad we can still laugh a little bit on a
night like this. The sentiment was clearly there, the chatter as they put
it in intelligence circles was there but the lid in a lot of the
traditional conservative establishment was still on it.
And people like John McCain who has a mixed record on all sorts of issues.
MELBER: And who may have opposed a Martin Luther King holiday and I`m not -
I`m not white washing, I use the term deliberately, but when Obama was
President and McCain was running against him, he did not on the record
reach into that, if anything he pushed back.
So there is a difference, is there not.
JOHNSON: There`s a difference but here`s the thing. I think it is only a
difference in degree but not experience. I can say that that the black
person anybody who`s been living here, the kind of hostility we saw on the
ground becoming normalized conversation because Obama got in office, it`s
just - it`s just on ten with Trump.
Because what happened is if I hate black people, I can use policy as an
excuse to criticize Barack Obama when it really boils down the fact that I
don`t think he was born here and I hate him and I hate his wife and I hate
his kids and that`s–
MELBER: And that`s what – so that`s why there`s space between the
conversation that we`re having that I think has great nuance which is what
you`re saying, it`s not so much that if I understand you right, that it was
all out there blaring the way it is today but that a historical
understanding of the energy of say parts of the tea party or the deficit
movement when you look at where the energy is now, looks worse.
JOHNSON: It looks worse but I also think what has happened is it was
believed when Obama was in office as angry and I – look, I go to C-pack, I
go to NRA stuff, I`ve heard this all the time. The problem was people
didn`t believe that you could win with it because it was just as nasty, the
memes were just as nasty with Obama.
But they didn`t think you could win and now that Donald Trump has won being
blatantly racist, people are like, we`re good, now I don`t have to pretend
anymore. So that`s what makes it more dangerous for every single person.
And I say this Ari because it`s so key.
White nationalism which is what`s being driven by this administration hurts
white people too.
MELBER: Of course.
JOHNSON: And I don`t think white – I don`t think enough white Americans
understand that this is going to hurt them.
MELBER: I hate to quote Kanye in this conversation.
TOLLIVER: Oh goodness.
JOHNSON: He will probably disagree with you.
TOLLIVER: He`s on Trump`s side.
MELBER: Should I leave?
TOLLIVER: Go ahead.
MELBER: He could say things in his poetry historically that may be
different than his politics today.
JOHNSON: This is true.
MELBER: Racism, still alive. They just be concealing it and that was to
your point, a period where concealing you`re saying was actually in the
political interests of the National Party, now it`s not.
MELBER: With that in mind I want to play for Katty Kay to bring you back in
here Anthony Scaramucci who briefly ran White House communications, a
defender of the President for whatever reason now this has hit his breaking
point and he uses the word racist, take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI: FMR WH COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: He`s blowing very hard
on a dog whistle that every ethnic group that`s landed in the United States
has had to hear. I don`t see the President as racist but here`s the thing.
If you continue to say an act in that manner then we all have to look at
him and say OK, well, maybe you weren`t a racist but now you`re turning
into one. I mean, what are you doing exactly?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAY: Anthony yesterday a length on my program on the BBC and he said the
same thing and you`re right, this does seem to have pushed him and he was
at a time when there were even fewer Republicans than there are right now
come out and saying anything critical of the President, he actually said,
the President needed therapy and that this was you know, something that -
this was something deep in this President.
MELBER: Well, we all need therapy.
KAY: No, you know what we need? We need a very long vacation.
MELBER: I mean, I almost think medicalizing it is letting him off the hook.
MELBER: It`s more than he needs therapy. When he says I`m just going to
read it again, this is someone who actually took the job running the
President`s communications. Maybe you weren`t racist, that`s the charitable
part but now you`re turning into one. And these are Donald Trump`s own
KAY: Yes, I mean, you go by the birtherism and I don`t know if you have to
say that you`re turning into one because as you were just pointing out it
was always there. And I think the key to what Donald Trump did today, you
read all those stream of tweets, there`s one phrase that really struck me
which was, I`ll see you in 2020.
And that gets back to this idea that this is now an electoral asset. I
remember speaking to Republican strategist right at the beginning of the
Trump administration. The one thing they said the Trump supporters really
liked about the President was when he railed against anything that was
politically correct and in that bracket is race.
It`s also about gender and that is the thing that gets his supporters going
and his other Republicans have also now felt as you say, that that`s OK,
that being anti political correctness, being - talking in racist language,
being sexist, all of those are things that are now political assets.
MELBER: Right and–
KAY: And not political detractors.
MELBER: That echoes the point.
KAY: And that is new.
MELBER: That echoes the point Jason made and goes to where the political
energy is in the war he wants which is a challenge for everyone engaged in
civil society. If you go home and you say I`m done with it, I`m turning it
off as some people may but if you`re engaged in civil society as a citizen,
as a voter, as a journalist or in politics, you have to decide when do you
fight this fight and when do you also pivot and say, he`s had enough time
dividing people that way which I think is a challenge.
We`re going to look at some live pictures of the House with the news
breaking so I want to thank Juanita. Jason and Katty Kay. What we`re
looking at on the floor here is the debate here. We are moving towards a
scheduled vote tonight on what Democrats say is an important historic line
they`re drawing in the sand.
That vote now scheduled to happen within our hour, we`ll bring it to you
live. It has been ferocious on the floor. Republicans as I mentioned not
giving an inch. We`re going to dig deeper later in the broadcast with a
special report into the rhetoric meeting the policy.
Donald Trump not only using this language but trying to limit human rights
protections on the border. Also later a judge rebuking long time Trump
adviser Roger Stone in court today for breaking a gag order and then do you
remember the tape of the officer caught using a choke hold on an armed man
until he died, screaming I can`t breathe.
I have a very special report on that tonight and how it involves Bill Barr.
I want you to see that if you stay tuned and then later in the hour,
Senator Amy Klobuchar joins me live on Mitch McConnell and a whole lot
more. I`m Ari Melber and you`re watching THE BEAT on MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PELOSI: There is no place anywhere for the President`s words which are not
only divisive but dangerous and have legitimized and increased fear and
hatred of new Americans and people of color.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Speaker Pelosi rebuking Donald Trump`s go back attack today as the
nation is scrutinizing more widely Donald Trump`s controversial appeals to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PELOSI: This is about keeping you know - Make America - you know this hat
`Make American white again.`
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what Trump meant of course by that was let`s make
America 1956 again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Make America white again.
REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA): This business about making America great again,
it is your President that is dividing this country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Make America great again was a euphemism for Make
America white again.
LEWIS: We heard this during the 60s when little children were trying to
desegregate schools. We`re not going back. We`re here to stay.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Congressman Lewis citing the history he lived through and of course
fought against. White protesters shouting at black children to go back
where they came from. They came from here. This rhetoric was backed by the
policy of segregation. Lewis says, “we`re not going back to that.”
As the nation reflects on what Trump means and what is he doing, it`s
important to understand, this isn`t confined to “just words.” Trump is
pushing policies that tell people to go back where they came from like this
new rule this week curbing human rights protections for people fleeing
torture and seeking asylum which has been a bipartisan policy for decades.
Just like Trump campaigned on making America Christian again, proposing
banning Muslims, instituting a travel ban that grew out of that proposal or
in 2016 when Trump was on the campaign trail, at a certain point when you
looked at the birtherism and the Muslim ban and the rhetoric, there were
people who said is this really happening?
Well, Trump has launched his re-election campaign on these words and
policies and it`s time for people to come to grips with it out in the open.
This is happening. I am joined by Michael Steele. Man with government
experience who also ran the Republican Party in a different era, thanks for
being with me tonight.
MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIR: Yes, it`s good to see you, Ari.
MELBER: What do you think is important on the policy side. Donald Trump
talks this way and then what is he doing running the country?
STEELE: Well, they are very much two different things in some respects but
there is the sort of the reinforcement of that hot rhetoric through some of
the policies as you - as you noted from immigration to healthcare to other
issues that really impact people day in and day out.
And as we heard during the big debate on the tax cut that a lot of the
people who would not benefit from this tax cut interestingly enough for
people who fervently support the President so in one twisted sense, a lot
of this hot rhetoric that seems to be aimed at you know, minorities, men
and women of color seems to have an equally if not sometimes
disproportionate impact on the very consumers of Trumpism that that support
So that that for me is a very interesting sort of narrative to watch play
out Ari, particularly at this time. There are a lot of white Americans of
Donald Trump`s age who remember a time that when you said, go back to where
you came from and certainly a lot of African-Americans know exactly what
So there was - there`s no mixing what this rhetoric mean at this time and
how it impacts not just communities of color but also white folks.
MELBER: I think that`s all, well put. As we`re speaking here Michael, 6:23
PM in Washington here on Capitol Hill. They have dabbled in the beginning
of this vote. It was as I mentioned in my broadcast delayed by an effort to
strike words from Speaker Pelosi and in a party line vote that failed.
Now the house is holding this vote. We`re seeing the tabs - tabulations
quite early as you will know how this works, you got 400 plus members, the
yays here in the high thirties and ticking their way up as we have
technically 15 minutes although sometimes they hold it open longer for
these votes and so we`re going to see that be put on the record.
What in your view will that mean if it goes as expected a party line that
the Democrats have said, yes, he`s said many things over these weeks and
months but this one, we`re rebuking him on and we`re making Republicans in
the House take that vote as well.
STEELE: Yes, that gets - it`s going to get a little bit ticklish for
Republicans who are in purple districts or even blue districts, how they
land on this vote. This is - this is the political chess board that`s being
played out by Nancy Pelosi who`s saying, all right, you want to back this
guy, put your name behind that. Put your vote on the table behind that, one
way or the other.
And so how the consumers, how you and I, your audience and the people of
this country read this moment is terribly important. See, I look at the
drama Ari, and I see Trump doing the bright shining thing, throwing it down
a rabbit holes, everybody`s chasing, the media`s like writing these
But what are the American people taking away from this? Just how deep are
they involved in the idea that this man, this person in the Oval office is
saying things and doing things in their name that is representing them? And
so those attitudes that people hold either will conform to what the
President`s doing or they`re rejected and this is the first step I think
the Democrats are going to be taking to call this right to the attention of
the American people to see, is this really what you want?
And your representative either supports it or he doesn`t, that`s the first
part of the ticking clock, I think.
MELBER: The other thing that was really something that I think has become
the pointy edge of this, which is almost unanswerable if you want to be
charitable or obvious, if you reached your judgment about this President is
searching the mind and heart of this individual.
He`s been all over the place in his political and media life.
STEELE: Why would you do that?
MELBER: Right, exactly but we just played before the break you know, when
you have his own people like Scaramucci going out of their way to say,
well, I got to admit, he says now it looks like he`s racist. You have Mitch
McConnell saying, well, I don`t want to talk about the comments but I`m
going to say as a person he`s not a racist.
And you get into this metaphysical debate and then you have a lot of folks,
we`ve heard from tonight on this broadcast saying, obviously you can see in
the words and deeds what is - what is happened. Take a listen to some of
the sound that has been dug out, my colleague Nicole Wallace was using this
earlier today where you have earlier Donald Trump.
He may have changed his position allegedly on abortion, on gun rights, on
all kinds of these other issues and yet back in the day, he would go in all
sorts of forms from Central Park Five on and really drop the hammer on
these divisive racial issues, take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They don`t look like
Indians to me, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank God, that`s not the test whether not people have
rights in this country or not, whether or not they pass your look test.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Trump, you know - you know in the history of this
country, where we`ve heard this discussion before? They don`t look Jewish
TRUMP: Oh really.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don`t look Indian to meet. They don`t look Italian
to me. And that was a test whether people could go into business or not go
into business, whether they could get a bank loan. You`re too black, you`re
not black enough.
TRUMP: I want to find out – well, then why are you - you`re approving for
Indian, why don`t you prove it for everybody then?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: What is your view of the utility as I mentioned that search of what
Donald Trump was?
STEELE: You know, when you see that, you get a sense of orientation. You
know, because look, this is a guy who came into people`s living rooms. He
was a showman. He was a P. T. Barnum of his age. He made the reality T.V.
the thing to watch, to be a part of. It connected with our communities.
So we never saw these other sides. We didn`t know his family history, we
weren`t aware of the role his dad played in certain types of politics in
this country that was not favorably disposed towards Jews and African-
Americans. We didn`t know it really to put in context, his view of the
Central Park 5 and his housing policy as you know, a landowner - a
And now as President, it`s coming out. And so these pass moments, these
vignettes help us contextualize I think in a sense who the man is and what
we discover is OK, this has been here for a while, this is not anything
new, which is again why I think it connects so readily with a lot of people
Ari, because these are feelings and emotions that are harbored by a lot of
We think we`re post racial, we think we`ve elected a black man President,
we`ve done the hip thing, we`re cool, we`re good, we`re not, there`s still
a lot of seeds that are fermenting in this race - race issue that Donald
Trump waters in moments like this.
And I think that`s where it comes back to us whether or not we want to
expel those seeds from our good soil, that American soil or do we want them
to take root as they once did in our history and we go into that cycle all
MELBER: And I`m curious given the life you have lived here, I mean you were
the Chairman of the Republican Party at the dawn of the Obama era.
MELBER: There was an echo at that moment, it might be easy to forget as we
look at the House floor here holding his vote to condemn what is written
into the House Resolution as “racist remarks” by the President of the
United States but that was a different Republican Party, at least I think
it`s fair to say, you tell me. They chose you to be a standard-bearer at
STEELE: Well, you know, I don`t hold any illusions about the selection
process both of the admirable components of that is as well as the not so
admirable components of that. Like yes, we – you know, this is the
counter-narrative to a Barack Obama.
The tests become and became for the party, OK, you ready to do what it
takes to actually put meat on the bones of the words that you use when you
talk about we want to broaden our tent, we want to expand our relationship
with communities of color. We want to have a conversation.
So when I go off to Harlem, my first week on the job, and people are saying
why are you going to Harlem, my response is because that`s where the voters
are. That`s where our future is. We need to be there. And the resistance
to that became more and more palpable.
So you can see there`s this tug within the body politic inside the GOP with
those who want to be expansive, inclusive, and opening up doors, and those
who think no, we need to build walls. Now, we need to make it harder for
people to matriculate here.
MELBER: Let me read a couple of headlines as well because the other big
shift with all of this is sort of what do you do. And it`s not just I want
to be clear on race. I think Donald Trump right breaks many, many values,
norms, and rules.
So traditionally there`s been debates about different presidents lying and
not on the truth that`s a very old story. But the Washington Post and
others have meticulously documented that this president habitually tells
falsehoods and lies more than anyone and so you get that running counting.
So folks who used to say gosh, you know we`re not as quick in the press or
even in politics to say that something is a lie, was a big deal when
someone yelled at President Obama “you lie.” In that case, it was wrong,
but also it was the notion that the president gets traditionally more room
unless they ruin it.
Look at some of these headlines then back on this issue of equality and
race. We have the Charlotte Observer saying to Republicans, are you OK
with a quote racist president? In Kentucky, GOP silent in the face of
Trump`s racist go back tweet. In Arizona, if you can`t condemn Trump`s
racist tweets, we can no longer be friends.
And the LA Times as I would note here, these are papers from around the
country, some southern, some Western, the LA Times says Trump is truly
America`s bigot in chief. What is the significance of the rules sort of
shifting in what is said about this president and do you think that`s
broadly constructive or does it had us towards 2020 with just everyone deep
in their camps?
STEELE: I think people are deep in their camps. There`s no doubt about
that and that`s exactly where I think Trump wants everybody to be. The
playground plays better for him when everyone is entrenched in their
particular corner of that playground because you know where they are and
you know how to excite them to get them to move out into a space where you
can engage with them.
The one thing I`ve been saying for quite some time, Ari, on this very
point, why do we continue to play this game as if Donald Trump is a
conventional President of the United States? He is not George Bush. He`s
not Barack Obama. He`s not Ronald Reagan. He`s not any of the 44
predecessors to that office. He is not. And yet the press, the media,
politicians, the parties still treat him as if he is.
And what he`s doing is playing an asymmetrical game in which you don`t know
whether he`s going to come from the left, the right, the up, the down. In
any moment he`s going to flip like he`s going to tell you the sky is blue.
When you challenge him on that, he`s going to say no, I didn`t say that.
And so in that moment, everyone is twisting and turning. Stop playing the
game in a conventional way. Play it asymmetrically with him because then
in that moment you`re on equal footing, because then you become
unpredictable to him. And that`s one of the features and in this – it`s
almost comical that Democrats haven`t figured out that Nancy Pelosi has
kind of figured that out in the way she`s approach something.
She`s not doing the obvious. Oh, impeach him. It rubs him raw that she`s
not playing that card right now because that`s one less thing Donald Trump
can pick at. It`s one less thing he can go after. So the more you take
off the table for him to go after, the stronger your position.
And we`ve got to stop chasing all those things down rabbit holes because
some of these stories folks, it`s not worth following, it`s not worth
tweeting about, it`s not worth even talking about because when you do,
you`re playing his asymmetrical game.
MELBER: former RNC Chairman Michael Steele, an expert we`ve come to draw
on for many stories including this rolling debate. I really appreciate
your time tonight.
STEELE: Thanks, Ari.
MELBER: Thank you, sir. Let me reset a little bit of where we are at 6:34
p.m. in Washington. You`re watching THE BEAT with Ari Melber and this is
our live special coverage, rolling coverage because we are as I mentioned
at the top of this hour witnessing something unusual.
This is a controversial president and a divisive one and he says and does
many things. But what you`re watching on the House floor is significant
precisely because it is somewhat unusual. It is one arm of government
holding an official vote to sanction effectively another arm of government,
in this case, the president, the commander-in-chief.
I can tell you that the preliminary vote count we have doesn`t usually tell
us much because who votes later in the order is not ordained in any
particular way. But with that caveat in mind, this vote right now is
winning not losing. It`s 126 to 107 to condemn the president`s “racist
There has been a lot of a program ever since Donald Trump attacked those
four duly elected women of color, telling them to go back when most of them
are from here. As part of that coverage, we have new sound from the civil
rights icon and Congressman John Lewis as part of this debate. Before I
bring in our next guest, I want you to hear that. Take a listen.
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D-GA): I know racism when I see it. I know racism when I
feel it. And at the highest level of government, there`s no room for
racism. Some of us have been victims of the stain, the pain, and hurt of
On this vote, we need our moral obligation to condemn hate, racism, and
bigotry. The world is watching.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: A very powerful and clearly a motive. Congressman John Lewis
there in the House floor. That was some of the last bit of the debate we
heard before this formal voting began. I can tell you as I mentioned at
the top of the show, Senator Amy Klobuchar, obviously, a member of Congress
and a presidential candidate is joining me shortly.
I want to turn back now to Juanita Tolliver who`s been watching this unfold
with me here in our Washington studios as we look at this floor vote. As I
mentioned, there`s not much you can make of the early count but it is a
widely expected to be a party-line vote and the Democrats here with 100-
plus, 142 moving towards this resolution. What does it mean to you?
JUANITA TOLLIVER, CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS ACTION
FUND: I mean, definitely following along party lines. And based on some
of the reactions we got from the GOP when these tweets first came out, it`s
par for the course, right. We have one Republican voting to really hold
the president accountable with this resolution and so I`m not surprised by
I definitely hope that there are more that emerge, that have the backbone
to really stand up to this, hold their values for this nation true, and
really meet that moral obligation to call out racism because Speaker Pelosi
hit the nail on the head earlier today when she said voting against this
resolution is abdicating that responsibility. And this is a responsibility
that I think all Americans should take seriously especially elected
MELBER: As you say that, viewers who are eagle-eyed will notice at the
bottom of your screen we`re hitting triple zeros. In terms of
parliamentary procedure that does not mean much of anything. There`s the
15 minutes automatically allotted but votes particularly big votes are
often held open.
So what we have now is the preliminary count, 157-131. We`re waiting on
clearly a lot more members of Congress. We expect and I`ll update you if
we hear anything else about Capitol Hill team, but we expect them to hold
this vote open, hold the time open to get more votes to come in. It won`t
be official until there`s more votes and ultimately it`s gavelled in.
As I mentioned, Senator Klobuchar joining me shortly, but Juanita, how do
you pivot and how do you apply what Michael Steele called the asymmetric
approach to Trump? Because I noticed him in yesterday`s press conference,
you had this this vision of these four duly elected members of Congress
both rebutting and defending themselves and also saying this is a
TOLLIVER: I think they also got it right too because what does Trump do
best? He is a weak president who`s been ineffective and he doesn`t have
anything to show for his presidency so he creates chaos. He turns to
Twitter to really get people riled up and distracted from the reality that
he`s done nothing for the American public.
And so this is something that they got right when they said they called it
out yesterday. Ayanna Pressley repeatedly said don`t take the bait. And
this is something that I think Democrats needs to do a better job of.
The other thing I want to flag here is the note that Jason Johnson made
earlier. This is an opportunity for Democrats to really draw the through-
line that racist beliefs beget racist policies. And they should hold the
president accountable with every policy that follows now since the American
public is now captivated by this attention that the president is getting in
through these racist tweets.
MELBER: Juanita Tolliver, thank you. Stay with me because obviously, this
is an unfolding story on the House floor. But has promised, I turn now to
U.S. Senator and 2020 candidate Amy Klobuchar. Thanks for joining me
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you. Thanks,
MELBER: On this breaking story and your colleagues in the House holding
this vote, what does it mean to you?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, I think the points that were just made were incredibly
right on. This is something the president brought us to because he is
deliberately putting out these racial tweets. There is absolutely no doubt
about it. He basically is saying now in writing to people who are American
citizens who are members of Congress, go back to where you came from.
And by the way, what does that mean? I`ll tell you what it means. There`s
a little girl in Minnesota who went out to dinner with her parents a year
ago or so during the height of the Trump rhetoric. And they were out
there, they`re Somali. And a guy walked by, the parents told me this
story, and said you four go home. You go home to where you came from.
And the little girl look up at her mom and she says mom, I don`t want to go
home and eat. You said we could eat out tonight. You think of the words
of that innocent child. She only knows one home. That`s my state. She
only knows one home, that`s our country.
But when he sent that tweet out, that`s what he was saying and that`s what
some of the people that listen to him are saying because he`s saying it.
And so that`s why I think it`s important that this resolution happen, but
at the same time I just want to emphasize these points. He wants us to
talk about this. And we have to take a stand but then we have to take a
stand on something else, and that there are broken promises all over the
carpeting of that Oval Office that he has made to the people of this
I talked about him today about what I want to do in my first 100 days,
pharmaceutical prices shooting up, nothing, nothing. Going on with
infrastructure, when people can`t even drink the water in some cities in
this country, that`s broken promises and that`s what people are talking
about in their everyday lives.
As much as he wants to claim he`s going to do raids and send out tweets
whenever he wants, we have to make sure we have an optimistic, economic
agenda for this country. That`s how we win.
MELBER: Well, you mentioned that and there`s also the battle with you`re -
- the guy in charge of your Senate Mitch McConnell which is something we
were looking at. We were prepping for this interview and he, of course,
today was appearing to really dance around or avoid wanting to take much of
a position on the president`s remarks. You and other Democrats have
obviously been battling with him. I want to play a little bit of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When someone were to say to her, she should go back to
her country because of the criticism of federal policies, wouldn`t you
consider that a racist attack?
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Well, the Secretary of Transportation came
here at age eight legally, not speaking a word of English, and has realized
the American Dream.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was it racist to say go back to your country?
MCCONNELL: As I said, illegal immigration has been fulfilling of the
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you ever use the words go back to where you
MCCONNELL: Look, I`m obviously a big fan of legal immigration. I`m a big
fan of legal immigration. The President is not a racist. The President is
not a racist. And I think the tone of all of this is not good for the
From the President to the Speaker, to the freshman members of the House,
all of us have a responsibility to elevate the public discourse across the
ideological spectrum in the country, all across them. Everyone ought to
tone down their rhetoric.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: That`s the way Senator McConnell has been talking about it which
we`ve been discussing. I also think – bear with me. I think we do have
some of your history battling McConnell which what I mentioned. So I want
to play that as well and then I`ll give you all the time to tie it all
KLOBUCHAR: Oh, wow, OK.
MELBER: We don`t have – I`m told we don`t have it. I`m going to – I`m
not going to do an Amy Klobuchar impression because I don`t know how to do
that, but for the sake of my viewers, it was some of what you`ve done in
the past which is really trying to call Mitch McConnell to account, to
criticize him, and to say at times that you don`t think apart from your
ideological disagreements, that you don`t think he`s running the Senate in
a forthright and fair manner. I give you your time back to speak to any or
all of the above.
KLOBUCHAR: Well, thank you. I mean, first of all, I think you have to
call out racism when you see it, and he refused to do that and that is very
wrong. You had a Republican congressman in the House from Texas who
actually said it and he voted that way today.
Secondly, I think one of the biggest problems for the American people right
now is that we`re not able to get things done. The House has passed things
that would help people. They have passed things to keep dark money out of
our politics. The House has passed gun safety legislation.
It is bills that are just sitting in a graveyard outside of Mitch
McConnell`s door. And I think that is one of the major problems in
addition to the president that we`re dealing with right now. And we
already heard the people speak in 2018.
They want to see change and they want to have a president and a Congress
that`s actually getting these things done that are going to help them in
their everyday lives like pay for college and do something about the price
But every time we try to move in the Senate including on immigration reform
and allowing the DREAMers to stay, it`s topped by Mitch McConnell and he`s
backed up by the President of the United States. So to me this is just
part of a bigger problem that`s going to be solved by this election.
MELBER: And then when you say more broadly, when you talk about your 100
days, and we`ve had this conversation that obviously the Democrats are sort
of having in public, what do you do about all this and how do you outline
For Americans who are watching who say OK, I got it, the House is having a
war with Trump. Trump said terrible things. He`s being condemned for it.
What else do the Democrats stand for and what would you do for people`s
daily lives if you win, if you`re the president Klobuchar? Your answer.
KLOBUCHAR: Well, the first thing is we need to bring some decency back
here. You`ve got parents that don`t even want to have the kids watch the
president on T.V. because of the embarrassing things he says.
Secondly, in the first 100 days, it`s unbelievable what you can get done
within the parameters of the law. You can do things like bring in less
expensive drugs from other countries that are safe, to bring down the price
of prescription drugs. That is something that I will do.
I will get us back into the international climate change agreement on day
one and bring back the clean power rules. One of the points I made today
is a lot of people have plans and I`ve got some good ones at
AmyKlobuchar.com that people can check out. But I`ve also given myself a
And I`ve cited Franklin Delano Roosevelt who back in 1933 basically
understood you need the long haul. You need to have long term plans things
to get done, but you also have to completely gain the confidence of the
people in the first 100 days.
And sadly people have lost confidence in our democracy because we have a
present that undermines it every single day. And so that`s a lot of my
focus, bringing that back, and getting things done for people, and telling
them the truth instead of the over 10,000 lies that have been documented
that we`ve heard out of the mouth of this president.
MELBER: Senator Amy Klobuchar on a big and busy night on Capitol Hill,
thanks for making time for us.
KLOBUCHAR: Thanks, Ari. It was great to be on.
MELBER: I really appreciate it. If you`re watching our special coverage
here live in Washington, we`ve been keeping an eye on the House floor where
they`re holding the votes open. You can see the count for yourself there,
228 in the affirmative, 185 in the nay. We are waiting to find out if and
when they`ll gavel the result.
This is what has largely been a party-line vote. We`ve counted about four
Republicans who are on record as yes in condemning the president. And of
course under the rules of the House, if you want to – you want to get
into it, folks can always change their vote up in the last minute, and
there`s reasons why sometimes on a motion to recommit, people change their
But this has been largely party line and it looks like the House will take
this historic step tonight soon maybe by the 7:00 hour to actually say the
President`s “racist attack should be formally condemned” and that will
stand on his record. Many of the Democrats saying that`s a blemish on his
So that`s our story tonight. We`re going to stay on the House floor. I
want to bring back in several panelists, some you`ve seen if you`ve been
watching our special coverage, and some you haven`t. Jason Johnson and
Juanita Tolliver are here at the table in Washington. Good to see you
both. And former Federal Prosecutor Paul Butler is also here.
And what I`m going to try to do is split the difference. I want to warn my
viewers if at any moment we get breaking news from the House floor or we
get a ruling, we get a vote, and a final resolution, we`ll bring that to
you. We`ll cut in.
Having said that, this is not the only story about racial justice in
Trump`s America tonight. You are here because I want to walk through and I
think we can pull up some of the video about a very infamous case, and that
is the Eric Garner case.
This was an unarmed man, a father, who was held in a chokehold by the NYPD.
And for five years, this case has been under various investigations.
Today, it`s Donald Trump`s Justice Department that ruled they will not –
this is the infamous video. He was held. He was selling loose cigarettes.
And he was held down on the ground, and he ultimately died saying I can`t
breathe. The chokehold was ruled illegal.
Today, Donald Trump`s Justice Department said there will be no charges in
that case despite some recommendations from civil – to Civil Rights
Division. I would say it`s not a far cry according to many from the other
story we`ve been discussing all hour. Walk us through the significance.
PAUL BUTLER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: So the only person to go to jail
for the death of Eric Garner is Ramsey Orta, the man who made the
videotape. The man – the hero who took out his cell phone and showed the
whole world what the NYPD was doing.
So the federal prosecutor in Brooklyn said that he couldn`t prove
willfulness and that`s why he didn`t want to bring the case, but that was
contradicted by the experience career lawyers in the Civil Rights Division
of the Justice Department who said that they could prosecute and win the
Now, why would they think that? In part because in 1998, the Justice
Department won a case against an NYPD officer who killed a man by putting
him in a chokehold. And in that case, Ari, they didn`t have cell phone
video. And this video we see Mr. Gardner saying 12 times I can`t breathe.
MELBER: Right. And that`s what I want to play. And I`m going to tell my
folks, we`ve got a live-action situation watching the House. I`m telling
my control room to pull up. We have some of that video which I think we`re
going to pull up in a moment. And that and that puts together what you
I want folks understand because it`s directly relevant to what`s happening
on the House floor and the question of civil rights and equality in
America, and whether the Justice Department here is even trusted to deal
with this. I`ve talked to a lot of sources who are very skeptical of how
this process played out.
So what I`m going to show you at home right now is parts of that infamous
video and the resolution that we`ve had. It`s been five years. The
officer is still on the job. He hasn`t been removed from the workforce.
And every there`s been an investigation, it has not resulted in charges.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC GARNER: I`m minding my business, officer. I`m minding my business.
Please leave me alone. I told you the last time. Please leave me alone.
Please don`t touch me. Don`t touch me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your hand behind your neck.
GARNER: I can`t breathe. I can`t breathe. I can`t breathe. I can`t
breathe. I can`t breathe. I can`t breathe. I can`t breathe. I can`t
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: As mentioned, we`re cutting into our live coverage so let`s take a
listen in to the vote on the House floor condemning Donald Trump`s racist
remarks. The United States House of Representatives has approved the
resolution. We are watching the gaveling of this vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Members will take their conversations off the
floor. For what purpose does the gentleman from Texas rise?
REP. AL GREEN (D-TX): Madam Speaker, pursuant to clause 2A1 of rule nine,
I rise to give notice of my intention to raise a question of the privileges
of the House. The form of the resolution is as follows. Impeaching Donald
John Trump, President of the United States of high misdemeanors.
Resolved that Donald John Trump, President of the United States, is unfit
to be president, unfit to represent the American values of decency, and
morality, respectability, and civility, honesty, and propriety,
reputability and integrity, is unfit to defend the ideals that have made
America great, unfit to defend liberty and justice for all as extolled in
the Pledge of Allegiance, is unfit to defend the American ideal of all
persons created equal as exalted in the Declaration of Independence, is
unfit to ensure domestic tranquility, promote the general welfare, and to
ensure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity as lauded in
the preamble of the United States of the Constitution.
He`s unfit to protect the government of the people by the people for the
people as elucidated in the Gettysburg address, and is impeached for high
misdemeanors that the following article of impeachment be exhibited to the
Article of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives of the
United States, in the name of itself, of the people of the United States
against Donald –
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: We have been listening to the House floor live where two things
just happened. One, the House formally voted to rebuke President Trump for
“racist remarks.” And then two, directly after that, Congressman Green
came to the floor to push his resolution for impeaching the President of
the United States. Not a normal day here in the House floor, not a normal
day for America.
I want to give special thanks to all of the people who joined our coverage
tonight, a discussion of civil rights, of equality, of what the president
is doing, as well as our coverage of the Justice Department announcing
today no charges in that civil rights case regarding the killing of Eric
Garner by the NYPD.
As always, thank you for joining me. This has been THE BEAT with Ari
Melber. We`re fitting in a short break. And when we come back, “HARDBALL”
with Chris Matthews is up next.
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protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the