Interview with Cory Booker. TRANSCRIPT: 8/19/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
And you know how proud the great Celtics legend Bill Russell is of his
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Sure, yes.
O`DONNELL: He`s even more proud that his daughter Karen Russell is a
Harvard Law School graduate. I`m very proud that Karen Russell is a friend
of mine and that`s the kind of name-dropping I thought I needed to lead
into who will be my final guest of the night because I`ve never met her and
I never read anything written by her until this weekend because Karen
Russell told me to.
O`DONNELL: And it`s changed the way I think about the presidential
MADDOW: Wow. This is like the best cocktail party conversation lead in
you have ever given me. This is great.
O`DONNELL: And it includes a very specific Electoral College prediction,
actual number –
O`DONNELL: – what`s going to happen on election night. You can learn
that tonight. I`m afraid I may lose viewers for the next 18 months,
because people are going to know at the end of the show tonight who`s going
to win. It`s locked. It`s locked.
And here`s the best part.
O`DONNELL: Here`s the very best part. Her name is Rachel.
O`DONNELL: And she may become my audiences` second favorite Rachel. It`s
MADDOW: You had me at that. Lawrence, thank you, my friend.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
Well, as I say, you`re going to hear from the other Rachel tonight, and for
many of you, I`m very, very sure she will become your second favorite
Rachel in the world. She is a political science professor who accurately
predicted last year`s big blue wave in the House of Representatives
election along before – I mean long before anyone else did.
She issued a couple of estimates of how many seats the Democrats would pick
up, 40, 41, or 42. And then the Democrats picked up 46. And now she is
ready with her prediction, very specific about next year`s presidential
election. She predicted what she thinks is the minimum number of electoral
votes the Democratic candidate for president is going to get whoever the
Democratic presidential candidate turns out to be.
And like me, you will probably be stunned at what that number is because
that number says it doesn`t matter what the candidates say at the debates,
or who the Democrats nominate because the Democrats are already virtually
guaranteed to win 278 electoral votes and the only variability in that
number is that it might go up.
Two seventy is the winning number for the Electoral College. So, you`re
going to want to hear this analysis at the end of this hour by the
political science professor who accurately predicted the big blue wave in
the House, and is now predicting the number of Electoral College votes the
Democrat will get and Donald Trump will get because of his weakness in the
Midwest now and the new Democratic voter enthusiasm.
You will want to hear this analysis. You want to repeat it tomorrow to all
of your friends. It will change the way you think about this election. It
has changed the way I think about this election.
We begin tonight with an issue raised in the last Democratic presidential
debate. Today, the New York City Police commissioner reached his decision
in the investigation of Officer Daniel Pantaleo who was shown five years
ago choking Eric Garner on Staten Island in a video that has been seen
around the world. And that became an issue in this year`s Democratic
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Officer Pantaleo used a
chokehold that was prohibited by NYPD. He did that for seven seconds, 11
different times, Eric Garner said he couldn`t breathe. He knew what he was
doing, that he was killing Eric Garner, and yet, he has not been brought to
justice. That police officer should be off the streets.
SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He should be
fired. He should be fired now.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The civil rights
division of the United States Department of Justice said charges should
have been filed. But this United States Department of Justice has usurped,
and I believe it is because that president did not want the charges to go
forward, and they overrode a decision by the civil rights division of the
MODERATOR: Thank you, Senator.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: In that video of Officer Pantaleo choking Eric Garner, if that
video had not been recorded by a witness watching the arrest, then there
would have been no real investigation of what Officer Pantaleo actually
did. And it is that video that allowed Eric Garner himself to testify
against Officer Pantaleo in the police department`s investigation. Eric
Garner now takes his place in the tragic history of police misuse of deadly
force, as the dead victim who was still able to testify against the police
Eric garner`s testimony was instantly memorable. We heard it on the video.
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 breathe. I
can`t breathe. I can`t breathe. I can`t breathe. Eleven times. I can`t
We will show you once again a portion of the video of Daniel Pantaleo
choking Eric Garner to death. And I say that by way of warning because it
has always been difficult to watch. We will show you about 20 seconds of
that video. You will hear Eric Garner saying, “I can`t breathe” four
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC GARNER: Every time you see me, you mess with me. I`m tired of it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold on.
GARNER: Don`t touch me. Don`t touch me.
ERIC GARNER: I can`t breathe. I can`t breathe. I can`t breathe. I can`t
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: In the police department investigation, the medical examiner
testified that chokehold killed Eric Garner. Chokeholds are against NYPD
rules. But the departmental judge hearing the case found that chokehold
was acceptable for the first couple of seconds because Officer Pantaleo`s
grip slipped accidentally into a chokehold. It`s what happened after that
that killed Eric Garner.
Here`s how the police commissioner described that today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES O`NEILL, NYPD COMMISSIONER: During the struggle, Officer Pantaleo had
the opportunity to re-adjust his grip from a prohibited chokehold to a less
lethal alternative, but did not make use of that opportunity. Instead,
even once Mr. Garner was move to his side on the ground with his left arm
behind his back and his right arm still open and extended, Officer Pantaleo
kept his hands clasped and maintained the chokehold.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: It was for that reason and the judges finding that Officer
Pantaleo did not tell the truth to investigators that judge recommended
that Daniel Pantaleo be fired. Her recommendation was addressed to police
commissioner James O`Neill who has the exclusive authority to make the
final departmental decision in cases like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O`NEILL: I stand before you to day confident that I have reached the
direct decision. And that has certainly not made it an easy decision. I
served for nearly 34 years as a New York City cop before becoming police
commissioner. I can tell you that I had been in Officer Pantaleo`s
situation, I may have made some similar mistakes. And had I made those
mistakes, I would had wished I had used the arrival of background officers
to get situation more time to make that arrest, and would have wished that
I had released my grip before it became a chokehold.
Every time I watch that video, I say to myself as probably all of you do to
Mr. Garner, don`t do it. Comply. Officer Pantaleo, don`t do it.
I said that about the decisions made by both Officer Pantaleo and Mr.
Garner. But none of cuss take back our decisions, most especially when
they lead to the death of another human being.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Enough of that long preamble. After 13 minutes, 13 minutes
after the police commissioner began speaking today he finally said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O`NEILL: Therefore, I agree with the deputy commissioner of trials legal
findings and recommendations. It is clear that Daniel Pantaleo can no
longer effectively serve as a New York City police officer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Bill De Blasio, the mayor of New York City,
and a Democratic presidential candidate.
Mr. Mayor, thank you very much for joining us to night on this important
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You`re very welcome,
O`DONNELL: There was a lot of talk during the presidential debate about
why haven`t you fired the officer. Could you just clarify that for the
audience? It`s been very clear I think to people in New York who follow
this. But the lines of authority in these cases and how it works?
DE BLASIO: Absolutely, Lawrence.
So, our state law says that this is something that has to be handled within
the NYPD through a public trial, due process, a decision by a trial judge
that goes to the commissioner as a recommendation and the police
commissioner by state law is the only person who can ultimately act.
In decades and decades of New York City history, no matter what a mayor
says or doesn`t say, the only actual ability to fire a police officer after
due process is in the hands of the police commissioner. And, by the way,
if you want to see the due process and how it hold up in the end, it`s
actually important that a mayor not interfere.
Because I believe justice has been done here finally. It took way, way too
long, but justice has been done. And now, it`s important that this
I`m sure there is going to be an attempt to challenge it in court. But
it`s crucial that it stick. That justice be served and that we`re able to
move on as a city and a nation.
And I have to say, Lawrence, you watched the situations all around the
country. This is the premier police department in the nation, and not so
long ago it would not have been necessarily assumed that a trial inside the
NYPD with an NYPD deputy commissioner as the judge would result in this
level of accountability.
That judge said, no, that was a prohibited chokehold. That was wrong. And
this officer should be terminated.
The first deputy commissioner concurred. Sent back to the commissioner,
the commissioner concurred. This is actually the process working.
It should have happened a long time ago. And if it were not for the U.S.
Department of Justice telling the city of New York not to proceed, we would
have done this a long time ago.
O`DONNELL: And just –
DE BLASIO: And we learned a very painful lesson from that experience with
a Justice Department over two different presidential administrations.
O`DONNELL: Yes, let me go to – it`s not so much that they were not
telling you not to, they were requesting that you not proceed because they
don`t actually have the authority to slow you down. It is customary, and I
think pretty much every department and probably every city in the country
would have gone along with the Justice Department`s request.
But if this were to happen again and the Justice Department were to make
the same request and you have this kind of convincing video and a city with
a sense of urgency about it, what you would do differently?
DE BLASIO: At this point, Lawrence, I don`t believe that the United States
Department of Justice is dispensing justice anymore. There is no
conceivable way they could take five years to decide to do nothing. That`s
unacceptable from my point of view.
We would not – we would not honor their request in the future. But,
Lawrence, the key is not to have another Eric Garner case, to do things so
differently that we never have this kind of tragedy again. And I think
it`s important for all your viewers to understand, these situations, these
conflicts can be changed through de-escalation.
We`ve taught all of our officers, 36,000 officers, we retrained after the
tragedy of Eric Garner to deescalate any kind of situation at the
community, deescalate exactly what you saw on camera there. Now that would
be handled very differently.
There`s a body camera on every officer. That was not true at that time.
Every officer is getting implicit bias training to help weed out whatever
biases are in all of us as humans.
This is a very different city. This is a very different police force. And
it`s very notable that the first place there was a public trial in this
entire case, first time there was actually a trial, it was an NYPD trial.
O`DONNELL: Mr. Mayor, I think I`ve been studying this subject for all of
my adult life literally and the first book was titled “Deadly Force” about
this subject. And what is very clear is it is going to happen again, just
like plane crashes are going to happen again.
And what one of the things we absolutely need because there`s human error,
as you say. There say bunch of ways in which this can happen again. And
it`s the aftermath, the transparency of the aftermath that becomes so
And we see in your administration the two different versions of. One, on
the civil side where the family was in the process of filing a civil
lawsuit to sue the city and you very quickly settled that case with
basically no legal strain on the family for $5 million, a little more than
$5 million. And then all rest of the process, the non-civil process was
what dragged on for all of these years.
And so again, would you simply say, for example, on the parts of it that
the city controls, let`s just go ahead with the police internal affairs
investigation, the police department possible trial as we saw in this case
and let`s not consider the timetables of any of the other processes which
we don`t control and could be slow?
DE BLASIO: Lawrence, in the past I would have said and you indicated it,
when the Justice Department makes that request, we used to take it very,
very seriously. They had the higher charges. They were not just dealing
with personnel matters. They were dealing with potential criminal charges.
The Justice Department had often been throughout the whole civil rights
movement and since the place that you went for objective justice, even when
localities were not providing it.
And I have to tell you, especially because this started before the current
administration, this started in the previous presidential administration, I
just in a million years could not have foreseen this delay and this ability
of the Justice Department not to act. Whereas as I say, in the future, we
would never do it that way again because we`ve learned this painful lesson.
But I want to contest one thing you said and I have a lot more expertise in
the study you`ve done of this issue than I probably do. But I have to
contest one thing.
You know, for decades, we have not trained our police officers properly in
this country to deescalate conflict. We certainly never gave them implicit
bias training. We didn`t have body cameras.
I think it`s a very, very different reality now. We have a neighborhood
policing policy that`s all about actually building human relationships
between officers and the people they serve first-name basis. Officers stay
in the community long term, getting to know people and feeling at one with
This is happening on a mass scale in New York City. And we`re actually
driving down crime every single year as we heal the relationship between
police and community.
So, I do not think these tragedies are inevitable. I agree with you, human
error is always possible in life. But I`ve got to tell you, so much of why
this happened in the past was because officers were trained in a very
aggressive approach policing and over-policing approach, not in a humane
understanding, compassionate approach that was actually about building
relationships of mutual respect.
And as we`ve been doing that in New York City, you`re not seeing these
incidents. And I really think the goal should be for this whole country.
Every single police officer, good people who choose to serve all of us,
good people who follow noble calling deserve the kind of training and
support and opportunity to build a relationship with the people they serve.
But, bluntly, they have not been given, nor have communities been given a
chance to experience that kind of policing. I think we need to do that all
over this country.
O`DONNELL: Mr. Mayor, I want to go to something one of your critics said
today, Patrick Lynch. He heads the police officers union in New York City.
And let`s just stipulate that the leaders of police unions around the
country are always critical of any police department or mayor whenever a
police officer is disciplined.
But he said something very interesting because word for word, it is
actually what the protesters in the Eric Garner case want the police to do.
He actually said, we will uphold our oath but we cannot and will not do so
by needlessly jeopardizing our careers or personal safety.
I`m not sure Mr. Lynch under – realizes, but what he said there is exactly
what people who want police accountability, that`s exactly what people want
them to do.
DE BLASIO: Well, look, I`d say this way. I think the sad reality is, and
I`m someone who believes in the labor movement very, very deeply. But you
Unfortunately, there`s been too many times, when leaders of police unions
did not serve their members because they sent a message that was not about
how we heal, not about how we move forward, but ultimately a very divisive
message. And that`s what you heard today from Pat Lynch. Very
disrespectful of our police commissioner, Jimmy O`Neill. Very
disrespectful of the fact there was due process and there needs to be
accountable for all of us.
But look, I think our police officers are truly professional. I think
they`re going to continue to serve and protect people. They`re not going
to get caught up in an attempt to politically manipulate them by a few
I think our police officers are here doing this work. It`s tough. It`s
dangerous. But they do it because they want to help people and protect
And this city is going to move forward. I`ve got to tell you, Lawrence,
this has been a very, very painful episode. But it`s also finally a moment
where there is some visible justice and some closure for the Garner family
and a chance to build something different.
And that`s what I`m going to focus on. I think that`s what the vast
majority of New Yorkers and Americans want, and the voices telling us to go
backwards, that`s not what people are looking for. They want healing.
They want us to put that past that held us back behind us.
O`DONNELL: Mr. Mayor, we crashed over the commercial break. But I want to
squeeze in one presidential question about this, which would be – in a de
Blasio administration, with a de Blasio chosen attorney general, how would
the Justice Department approach these cases?
DE BLASIO: Lawrence, I think there should be an immediate commitment to
speedy justice. In fact, I would support legislation of the federal level
to require a time limit whenever there is an issue of police discipline,
the case involving a police officer, this case, an unarmed civilian. The
justice department needs to come in and make its decision in real time.
One year, two year, whatever frame that should be decided, it should be
In my administration as president, I would say the Justice Department makes
clear to local authorities, if you`re not going to address this issue, the
Justice Department will step in, in a speedy manner and address it
O`DONNELL: Democratic presidential candidate, New York City Mayor Bill de
Blasio, thank you very for joining us on this important night, on this very
important subject, important to New York City and the country. Thank you
very much, Mr. Mayor.
DE BLASIO: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: We`ll be joined by another Democratic presidential candidate,
Senator Cory Booker, next.
And later in this hour, we`ll be joined by the political scientist who
predicted last year`s 40-seat pickup by the Democrats in the House long
before anyone else saw that coming and she`s ready with her prediction
about the Electoral College. It`s very specific. You`re going to want to
O`DONNELL: What happened to Senator Cory Booker in the last presidential
debate when he began his opening statement will not happen next time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Dana.
Last week the president of the United States attacked an American city
calling it a disgusting, rat-infested, rodent mess. We need a nation that
understands this tired, old language.
(CROWD CHANTING: Fire Pantaleo!)
MODERATOR: Stand by, Senator.
BOOKER: I`ll stand by.
MODERATOR: Please stand by.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The crowd chanting “fire Pantaleo” got their way today when the
New York City police commissioner fired Officer Daniel Pantaleo who was
seen on video five years ago using a chokehold on Eric Garner that the
medical examiner said caused Eric Garner`s death.
And joining our discussion now is Cory Booker, Democratic senator from New
Jersey and presidential candidate.
Senator Booker, I just want to begin with the developments in the Eric
Garner story today that has been five years in the making and finally we
see the firing.
You`re a former mayor yourself. What is your reaction to what you saw
BOOKER: Well, first of all, this is justice delayed. And five years to
come to this conclusion, it`s very frustrating, the process. But I think
the larger point that I want to make as a guy who knows the fear of being
followed because of the color of your skin, being pulled over that for
every name we know like Eric Garner, there are thousands we do not. For
every video that we actually see, there thousands of incidents that aren`t
captured on video that never get the kind of justice that this enabled.
Remember, the police report after this incident, the way they wrote it
cleaned everything up and would have gone undiscovered. It was really that
video that captured it. So where we come as a society where we`re not
getting to the root of the large spread problem of police accountability
where it`s just time that something is captured on a videotape that we
actually see justice done.
And even when justice gets done, five years later after someone, an unarmed
civilian was choked to death after saying repeatedly time and time again, I
can`t breathe. So, as a guy who actually had to run a police department
who learned a lot along the way and now as a senator has led on police
accountability legislation. We can so much better as a nation, dealing
with issues of implicit racial bias, accountability for use of force and
transparency in data and actions both from things like officer video
cameras, all the way to reporting requirements that could go much longer
way in dealing with this problem in our country.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Emerald Gardner, Eric Gardner`s daughter,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMERALD GARDNER, ERIC GARDNER`S DAUGHTER: Commissioner O`Neill, I thank
you for doing the right thing. I truly sincerely thank you for firing the
officer, regardless to however you came up to your decision, you finally
made a decision that should have been made five years ago.
I should not be here standing with my brother fatherless. I should be here
with my father. But Pantaleo took that away from me on 7/7/17.
So, yes, he is fired but fight is not over. We will continue to fight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Senator, I think you and I know that she`s not the last person
who is going to lose her father in questionable circumstances, an
interaction with police. In a Booker administration, what would your
attorney general do in cases like this and what should the Justice
Department do in cases like this?
BOOKER: Well, let`s go further than that, because unless you have an
administration that puts police accountability at the center of the
priority list, the Obama administration actually had a task force on 21st
century policing that came up with a whole lot of recommendations, which
this administration has failed to implement whatsoever. This was Black
Lives Matter activists sitting at the table with big city police chiefs,
coming up with a whole constellation of common sense things that can do to
deal with this problem in our country, not just a police involved shootings
but of police accountability in general.
And so, it`s not just waiting until something happens. We can`t be re-
activists in this situation. We must be activist in this situation. We
must have a president that understands this issue in a sense – with a
sense of urgency so that we can start doing things to create police
accountability in this country, not waiting for crisis to happen to respond
to them, but who make sure that crises, that this kind of actions are not
happening in our country again.
We can do something about it. But we must have a president understands the
urgency and feels intimately a connection to this crisis.
O`DONNELL: Another thing that Donald Trump doesn`t seem to feel like a
connection or urgency about is gun safety legislation. He made some
comments about the possibility of background checks after the recent mass
murders we saw, but then he has now since clarified that he`s not really
budging on it.
Let`s listen to what the president had to say about it and I`d like you to
respond to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: People don`t realize, we
have very strong background checks right now. You go into to buy a gun,
you have to sign up. There are a lot of background checks that have been
approved over the years.
So I`ll have to see what it is. But Congress is meeting, bipartisan. A
lot of people want to see something happen. But just remember this, big
mental problem and we do have a lot of background checks right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Senator, on a Presidential debate stage with Donald Trump on
that subject, what you would have to say after he says something like that?
BOOKER: I would say he`s wrong and the kind of ignorance and idiocy that he
is putting out there even NRA members, 84 percent of which believe we need
universal comprehensive background checks.
I would talk to him about my numerous visits to Mother Emanuel Church where
the white supremacists that came in there and shot nine people to death. I
would say to those folks that, that loophole that they used to buy a gun
through the porous holes within the background check system are
This President is wrong and people are dying because of his inaction. And
I`ll tell you this right now. We live in a country where we are
capitulating to fear. We are literally surrendering our liberty and our
freedom, freedom from fear and freedom gun violence.
We`re sending kids to school right now and into September literally giving
them the message we can`t protect you so we`re going to teach you in school
how to hide, how to shelter in place. This is unacceptable. No other
country does this to its communities.
Were people I talk to Latino activist and leaders and community members who
are afraid now Sikh Americans are Muslim Americans were terrified. We see
plots being uncovered this past weekend of white supremacists to go into
synagogues and cause more mayhem and murder.
What is it going to take in this country for us to do the common sense
things that we know will save us? This is an issue of freedom and liberty,
the culture of our country. The toxin of fear is taking over because of
inaction of leaders like Donald Trump who are ultimately responsible.
He is responsible for this rise of terroristic hate in our country. Leaders
take responsibility. His language is contributing to the problem as opposed
to him taking responsibility to stop it. I`ll be the President who lives in
the neighborhood where these shootings happen to one who`s had a Mr.
Hotsmith (ph) murdered on my block.
There are so many of us that live in communities like this every single
day. We worry just about our children going to school. And so I`m running
for President and will be the President that takes a fight to the NRA and
the corporate gun lobby like they`ve never seen before and brings an end to
this terror in our communities and weakness in our country. We`re not
showing the strength that we really have to protect our children,
communities, our families and our country.
O`DONNELL: Senator Booker, I just want to take you back to Mother Emanuel
Church for a moment. Because I want you to talk about what it feel like?
What it felt like for you to be there. It`s not just a church. It`s a scene
of one of our worst mass murders of completely racially motivated mass
And it`s a place where we know Donald Trump is never going to visit. It`s
the kind of place we know most Republican candidates for office never
visit. Your neighborhood is a place most Republican candidates for office
will never visit. What are they missing by never setting foot in Mother
Emanuel Church never setting foot in your neighborhood?
BOOKER: We`re a nation that they`re used to be a time, forget party. Four
girls were killed in a bombing in Birmingham, the conscious of our country
responded, we changed laws. When women were dying because of the factory
fire throwing themselves out windows it affected the hearts of our nation.
This is about having a more courageous empathy a sense of love. Patriotism
is love of country. You can`t love your country unless you love your fellow
country men and women. Love is in a sentiment, love is saying that I`m
going to fight to defend folks. I`m going to be there when there is
And that`s why it is painful to me that we have such a constipation of
compassion and empathy and love in this country amongst some who just can`t
see the suffering of others we every single day have to live with the pain
or grief or hurt or the wretchedness of the violence that they or their
family experienced so enough of that.
We just need to get back to having a nation with a revival of a civic
grace. We understand that we have to be there for anybody. King said this
eloquently that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We
cannot have community that do nothing and wait until this violence is
visited upon them and then suddenly they`re awakened to the sense of
We have a crisis in our country that is ripping apart concerts and
nightclubs and churches and synagogues and schools. If we don`t stop this,
we wait for more and more bloodshed until we finally get it? Every day we
wait people in communities that I know intimately suffer.
Every day we wait to stop people from being able to walk in a gun show and
go to a casual seller and fill up with a trunk full of weapons. Every day
we wait. Someone right now in America, some white supremacist is plotting
against us and our values and our communities.
And so what I have to say is enough is enough. Enough talk. We need action
and if you`re not going to act, we`re going to remove from you office. This
is yet another reason why this man will be defeated in the White House
because now we need courage. We need strength and action. We need leaders
that will take responsibility. And that`s what I`m going to do should I be
President of the United States.
O`DONNELL: Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Cory Booker, thank you
very much for joining our discussion tonight. We really appreciate it.
BOOKER: Thank you, sir. Thank you very much.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, we`ll not be talking about Greenland
because Donald Trump wants us to talk about Greenland. We`ll be talking
about the very bad news that Donald Trump doesn`t want us talking about and
once again a reminder all of the Presidential candidates are always invited
on to this show.
If you haven`t seen your favorite Presidential candidate on this show, it`s
because your favorite Presidential candidate has declined all of our
invitations to be that show. While in show it`s an open invitation to all
of them in the interest of equal time and equal presentation. We`ll be
presenting you as many of the Presidential candidates as accept the
invitation to come.
O`DONNELL: Donald Trump is hoping that we spend a lot of time tonight
discussing his comments about buying Greenland. He wants us to do that even
knowing that he would be ridiculed from start to finish in that
conversation and he wants us to do that because he doesn`t want us
discussing the possibility of a slowdown in the global economy and economic
indicator showing a possible recession coming to the American economy.
And so we won`t be bothering with the Greenland distraction. In a new
national NBC News Wall Street Journal Poll, 52 percent of registered voters
say they`ll definitely or probably vote for the Democratic candidate in the
2020 election just 40 percent of registered voters say they will definitely
or probably vote for Donald Trump.
In that same poll, 55 percent disapprove of Donald Trump`s overall job
performance. Only 43 percent approve. 52 percent disapprove of the
President`s handling of the aftermath of the shootings, the mass murders in
El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. 36 percent approve.
The associated press reports that 74 percent of American business
economists expect a recession in the United States by the end of 2021
possibly the most ominous economic indicator for the U.S. economy is the
inverted yield curve and the Treasury Bond Market that we discussed last
One of the President`s economic advisors Peter Navarro was on television
this weekend saying that the inverted yield curve didn`t matter and Peter
Navarro says we should listen to him because he has written books that
explain the inverted yield curve and why it doesn`t matter.
The problem for Peter Navarro is in his books, he says the inverted yield
curve has a “Excellent forecasting track record” with an inverted yield
curve and global economic slowdown and a looming disastrous Brexit in the
fall, how many more Greenland`s will Donald Trump have to come up with to
try to distract voters from the failures of the economic policy from
tariffs to giant tax cuts for corporations and these super rich?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The tariffs have caused nothing in my opinion or certainly very
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: How much will the tariffs cost Donald Trump in his re-election
campaign? After this break, we`ll consider those questions with Professor
Jason Johnson and “Los Angeles Times” Economic Correspondent Michael
O`DONNELL: And now to not discuss Greenland we are joined by Michael
Hiltzik Pulitzer Prize Winning Business Columnist for “The Los Angeles
Times” and Jason Johnson, Politics Editor at theroot.com and a Professor of
Politics and Media at Morgan State University. Professor Johnson is an
MSNBC Political Analyst.
And Michael, we have got the inverted yield curve which Peter Navarro has
decided now doesn`t mean a thing. And we`ve got the President and his
economic advisors trying to say publicly no Americans are paying one penny
of these tariffs that are disrupting the global economy. And it seems like
certainly American farmers have figured out how these tariffs work?
MICHAEL HILTZIK, LOS ANGELES TIMES BUSINESS COLUMNIST: Well, American
farmers, you`re right. The farm zone is in crisis it`s in chaos. We`ve seen
bankruptcies. We`ve seen suicides. It`s really a big problem.
When Trump and his minions talk about Americans not being affected by the
tariffs, it`s really a case of intern dysfunction or a disconnect because
after all Trump just last week said he was going to differ some of those
tariffs because he didn`t want to interfere with America`s Christmas buying
So that tells us right there that he knows that this is affecting sales.
It`s going to affect the economy. It is affecting the economy in a big way.
O`DONNELL: And Jason, tariffs are clearly having a global effect. And we`re
seeing this global slowdown. But the President has been just kind of his
method on this from the start has just been to lie and to lie nonstop. He`s
finding that he`s certainly having trouble lying especially in those
Midwestern farming states that he needs to win.
JASON JOHNSON, THEROOT.COM POLITICS EDITOR: Right. Well the President can
lie to himself. He can lie to the other members of his staff. He can`t lie
to my pocketbook. He can`t lie to my wallet. He can`t lie to the people who
are waiting to see if that tax cut ever trickles down into our lives.
He can`t lie to the people who are doing school shopping in the next couple
weeks and they`re not feeling any more wealthy. This is the thing. This is
really important for people to understand. The recession is not about what
the actual numbers say. The recession is about what people start feeling is
about to happen.
If people start holding on to their wallets, if people start seeing how
they see these things, you know what? Maybe I can`t travel for Thanksgiving
this year. May be we`re not going to take that trip for Christmas that, is
how the ball gets rolling.
If this President can`t convince people that all of his economic miracles
are going to continue, that is going to have serious consequences for him
electorally in 2020.
O`DONNELL: And Michael, the Republican Economic Theory has held that
everything that is happening in the California economy cannot happen
because California has a higher minimum wage several higher minimum wages
including local ones and then federal minimum wage, has more regulation,
environmental regulation. It has heavier state taxation than most other
states. And, yet, it is the leader of the American economy. Without the
California economy, the Trump National Economy would not be doing well.
HILTZIK: Well, I think there are two lessons for Trump and the Republicans
in the California economy. One is if you have a good fiscal policy, it
helps. California, but the trend we raise taxes a couple of years ago under
Jerry Brown. We turned our budget into something solid we`ve got a Rainy
Day Fund. We are more prepared than it used to be for a downturn that would
take the income tax down. That`s one thing.
The other thing is that California has welcomed diversity economic
diversity. Years ago, we had proposition 187 which was an attack on
immigrants that passed but it was over turned by the court and it destroyed
the California Republican Party. That party is out of business.
They don`t have the single statewide office holder, their Congressional
delegation has been decimated it was decimated in the last election. That`s
the message I think to Republicans around the rest of the country and to
economies and the rest of the country that if you don`t absorb and accept
and welcome immigration and diversity, you are going to be in economic
trouble and you`re going to be in political trouble.
O`DONNELL: It sounds like an area that the Democratic Candidates should be
talking more about and find the language for. Michael Hiltzik, Jason
Johnson, thank you both very much for joining us tonight. We really
JOHNSON: Thanks Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back, we`ll declare the winner. The candidate
who is currently pretty much guaranteed 278 electoral votes in next year`s
Presidential Election. The Political Scientists who has made that
prediction is the very same Political Scientist who accurately predicted
the big blue wave last year in the House of Representatives long before
anyone else saw that coming. She will join us next.
O`DONNELL: Okay Class, the Professor is here and you might want to start
taking notes. The Professor who accurately predicted the 40 seat pick up
for the Democrats in last year`s Blue Wave Election long before anyone else
saw that one coming is about to join us with her prediction for the
Presidential Election using the very same analytical tools she used to
predict last year`s House Election with astonishing accuracy.
Now imagine if you were taking notes about her prediction for the Big Blue
Wave Election and then been able to tell your friends many months before
anyone else could that the Democrats are going to pick up 40 seats. Imagine
how that would have felt.
Well, now imagine what it would feel like tomorrow to tell your friends the
new magic number. 278. And here to explain why, 278 are the most important
number you are going to learn tonight is Political Science Professor,
Rachel Bitecofer with the Wason`s Center for Public Policy at the
Christopher Newport University and Newport News, Virginia. Rachel I have
actually actively been avoiding attempting to pronounce your last name
throughout the hour. How did I just do with that?
RACHEL BITECOFER, WASON CENTER FOR PUBLIC POLICY ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: You
know what, you did really well and you are not alone. I married that
monstrosity and it tackles everybody. So don`t you worry?
O`DONNELL: We`re going to turn it into a beautiful thing for our audience.
So, Rachel I have read your writing on this. It is really persuasive
survivor I urge everybody to follow you on Twitter and get to your actual
writing because we`re going to do a tip of the iceberg version of it now.
278 which you see the Democrat tonight whoever the Democrat is with 278
electoral votes eight more than needed for victory.
BITECOFER: That`s right and that`s at a starting point, they`re going to
start at that 278 before we get into four swing contests in Iowa, North
Carolina, Florida and Arizona.
O`DONNELL: And you are using tools that you first developed in the Virginia
State Elections and the legislature there where we saw a surprising surge
for Democrats in 2017 and then you transferred that experience into 2018.
What does it tell you about the electorate? What is that tell you about
what is motivating the voter that will produce this result that you expect?
BITECOFER: That`s right. I really do urge everybody who is watching this to
go and read the model read the theory that drives the model because it
really is a very huge departure from what you are used to seeing in
It is arguing that the election of Donald Trump is a needed kerosene on a -
I hate to use the word lazy but lazy and complacent Democratic Electorate
who was taking a kind of a go for granted some of the ability to kind of
sit back and ride Obama`s coat tails and then did not show up in big
numbers in 2016 and kind of took for granted that Trump would not be
elected and in 2017 in Virginia and 2018 all across the nation, we saw big
And of course the media likes to talk about 2018 is as moderate Republicans
rejecting the party of Trump and joining hands with Democrats and these
swing districts. That`s not what the data shows. Albeit really seeing a
fourth coming analysis very shortly that shows the house gains in 2018 are
powered by two things, turn out surges among Democrats and left leaning
independents, not moderate Republicans jumping ship.
O`DONNELL: And so your argument is, it is all about that turnout and
energizing that turnout and speaking to those voters and that`s an easier
vote to get than trying to convince a Trump voter to switch in 2020.
BITECOFER: Exactly. I`m arguing that this ant or grand daddy`s electorate
anymore. And I think we need no more proof than to look at the election of
Donald J. Trump to the American Presidency, the time when you can persuade
large swifts of the electorate over has passed. We are in a deeply hyper
partisan era now. And I`m not saying that moderates aren`t important and
that they aren`t moderates are certainly are.
And they can be appealed to although Democrats don`t do it well. But
really, it`s all about the base.
O`DONNELL: Professor Rachel Bitecofer, thank you very much for just the
tip of the iceberg version. We`re going to have to have you back and we`ll
take more notes. Really appreciate you joining us tonight.
BITECOFER: Oh, love it. Thank you so much for having me.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. That is tonight`s LAST WORD. “THE 11TH HOUR” with
Brian Williams starts now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the