The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 08/25/15
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: That is “ALL IN” for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Also, a spot of the very rare phrase “I
don`t know” –
HAYES: Yes, I know.
MADDOW: – on cable news. That`s like seeing a dodo and unicorn all
wrapped up in one.
HAYES: Yes, we`re sorry to our viewers. It will never happen again.
MADDOW: It was really inspiring actually.
HAYES: Yes, it was.
MADDOW: Thank you, Chris.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
I don`t know. It has been an absolutely wild day in politics and we
have a lot to get to tonight. But we`re going to start with the answer to
a little bit of a cliffhanger. I did not think this was going to get
answered this quickly, but we`ve got an answer.
Last night, you might remember we reported very late-breaking news
that poor old Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas, Rick Perry had
fallen on yet further hard times in his beleaguered run for the presidency
this year. As you know, things really started to go downhill for Rick
Perry when FOX News wouldn`t let him into the primetime Republican
candidates` debate on August 6th. FOX consigned them to the kids` table
debate instead of the real debate.
And then to add injury to that insult, Rick Perry did a bad job even
at the kids` table debate. Since then, Governor Perry has sunk lower in
the polls than he was before. He`s approaching scratch territory in some
polls. His fund-raising is also dried up to the extent that he has had to
stop paying all of his campaign staff.
Well, last night, we reported late-breaking news that the chairman of
Rick Perry`s presidential campaign in Iowa had just quit. He`s a man named
Sam Clovis, not a national figure at all, but Sam Clovis is very
recognizable in Iowa Republican and conservative politics. He`s a former
U.S. Senate candidate. He`s a right wing talk radio host in Iowa.
Sam Clovis has been running Rick Perry`s Iowa campaign. Last night,
we reported that he was leaving the position. He said that he had great
admiration for Rick Perry. He thought it was an excellent man and an
excellent candidate, but said it was, quote, “Time to move on.”
The cliffhanger, though, was that we did not know where he was moving
on to. And it`s an interesting question, right? I mean, put yourself that
mindset. If you were a Republican operative involved in presidential
politics this year and for whatever reason, you picked the wrong horse, you
signed up this year with a candidate who you thought would do great, but
your candidate is failing.
So, you signed up with a Chris Christie or Rand Paul or Rick Perry,
any of these guys who look like they might have a shot but they`re now
really failing and doing poorly this year. If you were in that situation,
and you as a Republican operative decided you were going to switch horses
midstream, you were going to get off one of those losing campaigns, so you
could join another more promising one, whose campaign would you join? Who
would you sign up with?
Last night, we knew that Sam Clovis was breaking up with Rick Perry
in Iowa. But we did not know who he was going to jump into bed with
instead. Now, now we know.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Sam Clovis, in fact, I
think he`s probably someplace in the room. Where is Sam? Why don`t you
answer the question yourself, Sam, that would be better, Carl? I think so,
Come on up, Sam. Maybe come up to the mic. Thank you.
And a terrific guy.
SAM CLOVIS, TRUMP CAMPAIGN NATIONAL CO-CHAIR: I`m here as the new
national co-chair and senior policy advisor for Mr. Trump in this campaign,
and I`m excited about the opportunity and a chance to change the status quo
in America and I think he`s the man that can do it. That`s why I`m here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Up until five minutes ago that man was running the Rick
Perry for president campaign in Iowa. But today he let it be known he has
signed on with Donald Trump instead.
Robert Costa at “The Washington Post” reporting not only that move,
but actually bunch of other ones, too. The Donald Trump campaign today
staffing all over the place. Mr. Trump not only picked up Sam Clovis, this
Iowa conservative, as a new national co-chair of his campaign. Mr. Trump
also today hired a new state director in Nevada. He hired two new staffers
in New Hampshire.
In South Carolina, he`s made two new hires as well, including a woman
named Nancy Mace, who was the first woman to ever graduate from the
Citadel. She`s now working on Donald Trump`s campaign in South Carolina.
And, individually, right, none of those hires, none of those
announcements is the sort of thing that would make for a spectacular and
entertaining television from a celebrity candidate, right? None of those
is a celebrity move at all, none of them zingers.
But they are the kinds of serious staffing hires that will impress
Beltway, in terms of whether or not Donald Trump`s campaign for president
gets treated as a political campaign rather than just an ongoing and
admittedly hilarious publicity stunt.
I mean, on the political basics, stuff like staffing, stuff like
polling, today was actually one of the biggest days that Donald Trump has
had since he started running for president. The political news today
started with this rocket from Public Policy Polling.
Public Policy Polling is generally described as a Democratic-leaning
firm, they are. They were also, though, a firm that was distinguished by
their accuracy in the last round of presidential polling.
PPP just put out a poll today from New Hampshire. And on the
Republican side in New Hampshire, Mr. Trump, look at his lead. Look. He
leads by the biggest margins of any state all year. He leads by margins
that absolutely slay all the supposedly more mainstream candidates that are
supposed to be trying to keep up with him now.
I mean, in this New Hampshire PPP poll, they`ve got Donald Trump at
35 percent of the vote. That`s not just him lapping the person in second
place, that`s him lapping the person in second place more than three times.
He`s more than tripping the poll numbers from the person who does second
best against him in that poll.
If you want to get a sense of how dominant he is in New Hampshire
right now, look at the supposedly most mainstream, most viable candidates
in the Republican race if you listen to the Beltway. If you add up their
support, you add up the New Hampshire support for Jeb Bush and Scott Walker
and Scott Walker and Marco Rubio, if you combine all their results, all
three of them, and then double their combined number, that`s what Donald
Trump is getting in New Hampshire. That`s New Hampshire today, PPP.
There`s also a South Carolina poll that`s out today from Monmouth.
In South Carolina, looks kind of the same, doesn`t it? Donald Trump
polling at 30 percent, which has him doubling the candidate doing second
best in South Carolina and, again, Mr. Trump is not only way out front, he
pushes all these supposedly more viable supposedly more mainstream
candidates down into single-digits low single digits for the most part, all
of them, just total dominance, a huge day for Donald Trump in those early
state polls, news that is very bad for the supposedly mainstream candidate
who the Beltway keeps saying are his real competition.
But here`s one thing to notice. In that PPP poll in New Hampshire,
yes, Donald Trump does better than Jeb Bush and Scott Walker and Marco
Rubio, but neither Jeb Bush nor Scott Walker, nor Marco Rubio even comes in
second to Donald Trump in New Hampshire. None of them comes in third in
In that New Hampshire poll, Donald Trump comes in first, second place
is John Kasich, third place is Carly Fiorina. What?
Look at the South Carolina poll – John Kasich doesn`t do great in
South Carolina but Carly Fiorina does great there, too. I mean, in that
South Carolina poll, Donald Trump first by a mile, then Ben Carson is
second, Jeb Bush comes in third in South Carolina, but then Carly Fiorina
is tied for fourth place with Marco Rubio.
Carly Fiorina relatively speaking is doing great right now. I mean,
she`s not doing like Donald Trump great but her numbers have absolutely
been going up in all the places where it counts and her numbers have been
going up steadily for the past few weeks. Even though FOX News would not
let her compete in the primetime Republican candidates` debate on August 6,
her numbers have been going through the roof since then.
What is truly incredible, though, is that next Republican
presidential debate which is due to be held September 16, that one is
hosted by CNN, not by FOX – CNN, I should say, has been much more
transparent, much more above board and professional than FOX was in terms
of explaining their criteria for who they`re going to let on to that debate
But even though CNN has been more transparent about it and their
criteria are being published in advance and they don`t seem to be just
bumbling their way through it like FOX did. Even so, CNN is planning on
keeping the kids table format where there`s one real prime time debate and
one consolation prize other debate that nobody watches and doesn`t get
taken that seriously and that implicitly disses all of the candidates
forced to sit at it.
Not only is CNN planning on keeping that kids table format that FOX
used to such disastrous effect on August 6th, not only is CNN keeping that
format, but in CNN`s case, the criteria they have chosen for who will make
the real stage and who will be shunted to the kids table, their criteria is
on track to keep Carly Fiorina at the kids table in the next debate, even
though she`s doing so well in these early states around the country.
I mean, point of personal privilege here, and I`ve got nothing for or
against Carly Fiorina as a candidate, but that`s ridiculous, CNN. That is
ridiculous. Just let them all debate. If you need to break them into two
heats, randomly assign them. You`ll be fine, seriously.
But just let them all debate. The kids` table format is an intrusion
into the Republican presidential primary process. It is complicated. It`s
a distraction. It is a huge disservice to a whole bunch of candidates who
do not deserve it.
And right now, that kids table format is set to keep out of the
debate the person running third in New Hampshire beating Jeb Bush and Scott
Walker and Marco Rubio and the rest of them. She`s running fourth in South
Carolina but she is not going to be allowed on to the debate stage by CNN
because somehow they believe she doesn`t qualify to be there. It`s
ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous. And there`s still time to change it.
You should change it.
Regardless of what happens with that debate, though, and with these
lower tiers of Republican candidates overall, bottom line story right now
is that the front-runner status of one campaign on the Republican side is
clearer than it has been in this entire process. Donald Trump is further
out ahead tonight than he has been all along.
Tonight, he`s holding a rally in Dubuque, Iowa, his campaign says
they`ve got 3,000 RSVPs for that rally. Before the rally, what was
supposed to be a short Q&A session with the press went on much longer than
it was supposed to because Mr. Trump had some very unexpected and
unscripted moments, and he kind of seemed to enjoy himself and he kind of
let himself get out of hand.
Something very unscripted happened at that media availability today.
It was thanks to a reporter named Jorge Ramos who works at Univision. Mr.
Ramos initially was not called on by Mr. Trump to ask a question but Jorge
Ramos stood up anyway and started asking the questions he wanted to ask.
What ensued wasn`t a heckler situation because Jorge Ramos is a
reporter and not a heckler. But this was a very confrontational and tense
moment. And this may have happened before and I don`t know about it. But
at least as far as I know, this is the first time I have seen Donald Trump,
presidential candidate, confronted so bluntly in a way he could not
And that tells you something about Jorge Ramos, the reporter, but it
also today showed us something about Donald Trump, and about how he deals
with direct personal confrontation he was not expecting, and it turned out
to be super tense and super fascinating to watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JORGE RAMOS, UNIVISION: Mr. Trump, I have a question about
immigration. Your immigration plan –
TRUMP: OK, who`s next? Please?
RAMOS: Mr. Trump, I have a question.
TRUMP: Excuse me. Sit down. You weren`t called. Sit down.
RAMOS: No, no, Mr. Trump. I`m an immigrant, a citizen. Sir, I have
the right to ask a question.
TRUMP: No, you don`t. You haven`t been called.
RAMOS: I have, I have the right to ask a question.
TRUMP: Go back to Univision.
Go ahead. Go ahead.
RAMOS: This is the question: You cannot deport 11 million, Mr.
Trump. You cannot deport 11 million people. You cannot build a 1,900 mile
wall. You cannot deny citizenship to children in this country.
TRUMP: Sit down, please. You weren`t called.
RAMOS: Those ideas. I`m a reporter and I have – don`t touch me,
sir. Don`t touch me, sir.
RAMOS: I have the right to ask questions. I have the right to ask a
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, if you`re in order.
RAMOS: I have the right to request ask a question.
TRUMP: Yes, go ahead. Hi, Jeff. Yes.
REPORTER: Roger Ailes says you need to apologize –
REPORTER: Mr. Trump, you`re running for president and one of our
country`s top journalists, the man main anchor of Univision, was just
escorted out of your news conference. Do you think you handled that
TRUMP: I don`t know. I mean, I don`t know really much about him. I
don`t believe I`ve ever met him, except he started screaming. And I would
– I didn`t escort him out. You`ll have to talk to security. Whoever
security has escorted him out.
But certainly, he was not chosen – I chose you, I chose other people
to answer – you`re asking questions. He just stands up and starts
screaming. So, you know, maybe he`s at fault also.
But I don`t consider that. I mean, somebody walked him out. I don`t
know where he is. I don`t mind if he comes back, frankly.
KASIE HUNT, MSNBC: President Obama has taken some tough questions
from Jorge Ramos. Is there a reason why you won`t?
TRUMP: Because he was out of order. I would take his question in
two seconds but he started screaming.
HUNT: Would you – would you let him back in now?
TRUMP: I told you already if he wanted to I`d love to. But you
can`t stand up and scream. I was saying something to somebody else to, is
that correct? I was saying, yes, and this guy stands up and starts
He`s obviously a very emotional person, OK? So, I have no problem
with it. I don`t know him. I have no idea, but I would love to have
questions from him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I don`t know him. Stick a pin in that for a moment because
that`s clearly not true.
Now in terms of them dragging Univision reporter Jorge Ramos out of
that room there, I don`t know what happened after Mr. Ramos was taken out
of the room but it`s interesting.
After he was questioned, Mr. Trump was questioned by other reporters
saying, “Hey, what did you just do to Jorge Ramos? Are you willing to talk
to him? Why won`t you answer his questions?” Eventually, Mr. Ramos was
brought back into the press conference. They brought Jorge Ramos back in,
and then Donald Trump called on him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAMOS: So here is the problem with your immigration plan. It is full
of empty promises. You cannot deport 11 million undocumented immigrants.
You cannot deny citizenship to the children in this country. You cannot
TRUMP: Why do you say is this that?
RAMOS: You cannot that.
TRUMP: Well a lot of people think – no, excuse me.
RAMOS: You have to change the constitution.
TRUMP: A lot of people – no, no, but a lot of people think that`s
not right, that an act of Congress can do it.
Now, it`s possibly going to have to be tested in courts but a lot of
people think that if you come and you`re on the other side of the border –
I`m not talking about Mexico. Somebody on the other side of a border, a
woman is getting ready to have a baby, she crosses the border for one day,
has the baby all of a sudden for the next 80 years, hopefully longer, but
for the next 80 years, we have to take care of the baby.
TRUMP: I don`t think – no, no, no, I don`t think so. Excuse me,
some of the greatest legal scholars and I know some of the television
scholars agree with you, but some great legal scholars agree that`s not
true. That if you come across – excuse me, just one second.
RAMOS: You`re not answering me, Mr. Trump.
TRUMP: No, no, I am answering. If you come across for one day, one
day, and you have a baby, now the baby is going to be an American citizen.
There are great – excuse me, there are legal scholars, the top, that
say that`s absolutely wrong. It`s going to be tested.
RAMOS: The question is, how are you going to build a 1,900 mile
TRUMP: Very easy. I`m a builder. That`s easy. I build buildings
that are 94 – can I tell you what`s more complicated? What`s more
complicated is building a building that`s 59 stories tall. OK?
RAMOS: But it`s really unnecessary. It`s a waste of time and money.
TRUMP: You think so? Really, I don`t think so.
RAMOS: Of course.
TRUMP: A lot of people don`t think so.
RAMOS: Almost 40 percent of immigrants come by plane, they overstay
their visa. So, you would –
TRUMP: I don`t believe that. OK? If you`re right, I don`t believe
it. And the drugs come I see – they have pictures, they have everything,
crawling over the fences which are, by the way, this high. I mean, you
have fences that are not as tall as I am.
RAMOS: Well, they`re coming by plane. So –
TRUMP: Well, they`re coming by many different ways but the primary
way is being right through, right past our border patrols who are
tremendous people, they can do the job but they`re told not to.
RAMOS: How are you going to deport 11 million –
TRUMP: Here`s what I`m going to do, ready?
RAMOS: Are you going to bring the army?
TRUMP: No, no, let me tell you. We`re going to do it in a very
humane fashion, believe me. I have a bigger heart than you. We`re going
to do it in a very humane fashion. The one thing we`re going to do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One question? Is there one question you want to
add? Because we need to move on, Mr. Trump has –
TRUMP: OK? The one thing we`re going to start with immediately are
the gangs and the real bad ones and you agree there are some bad ones. Do
you agree with that or is do you think everyone is just perfect?
No, no, I ask you a question. Do you agree with that?
We have tremendous crime, we have tremendous problems. I can`t deal
Listen, we have tremendous crime. We have tremendously – we have
some very bad ones and I think you would agree with that, right?
RAMOS: Just a little.
TRUMP: OK. There are a lot of bad one, real bad ones, because they
looked at the gangs in Baltimore. They look at some of the gangs in
Chicago. They looked even in Ferguson. They`ve got some rough illegal
immigrants in those gangs.
Do you mind if I send them out? Now, if they come from Mexico, do
you mind if I send them back to Mexico?
TRUMP: No, no, do you mind if I send them back to Mexico?
RAMOS: If they`re criminals, there`s no problem.
TRUMP: OK. So, those people are out. They`re going to be out so
fast your head will spin, all right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Donald Trump tonight with Jorge Ramos, the Univision anchor,
basically having an extended fight in front of the national press.
Extended, unscripted, very tense fight which culminated with Donald Trump
bragging to Jorge Ramos who, again, works for Univision, it culminated with
Mr. Trump bragging to Jorge Ramos about how great, how beautiful, how huge
his lawsuit against Univision is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Go ahead, Jorge.
RAMOS: I want to ask you about the Latino vote. You say that you`re
going to win the Latino votes.
TRUMP: I think so because I`m going to bring jobs back.
RAMOS: I`ve seen the poll. The Univision polls say 75 percent of
TRUMP: How much am I suing Univision for right now? Do you know the
number? No, no, tell me.
RAMOS: That`s –
TRUMP: Tell me.
Do you know the number? And you know you`re part of the lawsuit.
How much am I suing Univision for?
RAMOS: The question is, Mr. Trump, I`m a reporter –
TRUMP: It`s $500 million. OK, good, and they`re very concerned
about it. I have to tell you. I`m very good at this stuff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Remember when he said he didn`t know who Jorge Ramos was?
“You`re part of the lawsuit.”
Now, Jorge Ramos, in this extended confrontation tonight, he
obviously wanted it to be about Donald Trump`s immigration policies,
pressing him for specifics and specifics. Mr. Trump wanted it to be about
how giant his Univision lawsuit is. He started suing Univision, or he said
he would sue Univision after Univision dropped Mr. Trump`s beauty pageant
from its airwaves in protest of Mr. Trump`s anti-immigrant comments on the
This spectacle tonight, this is the first time we have seen Mr. Trump
as a presidential front-runner have to deal with an extended personal
confrontation. Nothing like this happened in the debate, right?
With him as the increasingly distant front-runner for the Republican
nomination, this was the first of these kinds of confrontations he had. It
will probably not be the last.
I mean, the way that Mr. Trump has dealt with critical press coverage
up until now has been to banish certain news outlets or pick fights with
certain news outlet he is thinks have been too harsh with him. This exact
press availability today in Dubuque, Iowa. he banished somebody from that.
“The Des Moines Register” is the largest newspaper in Iowa. “The Des
Moines Register” had their Dubuque, Iowa, reporter at that event and the
Trump campaign banned “The Des Moines Register`s” reporter from this press
availability because of an editorial that “The Des Moines Register” wrote a
couple months ago criticizing Mr. Trump`s comments about John McCain.
So, he`s used to banish news outlets he doesn`t like, even the
biggest paper in Iowa. In terms of television media, Mr. Trump is now
engaged in an ongoing and increasingly heated fight with the FOX News
Channel, of all places, where he is decided he doesn`t like one of the FOX
News Channel`s prime time hosts.
His objections to the way he`s been treated on FOX News in the past
have led to him to threaten to boycott all appearances on that network,
which might cause the FOX News network to collapse, I don`t know.
It`s one thing to control the universe in which you operate. All
candidates, all presidential campaigns try to do that to some extent, to
try to put their candidate in the best light. Ultimately, though, you have
to campaign in the real world which includes confrontation and includes
people who don`t like you, and includes people who will say not nice things
to you and won`t shut up when you ask them to.
Today, we started that chapter of the Donald Trump era in Republican
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I do a lot of things by myself. People would be surprised.
People are shocked at how smart I am, right?
OK, thank you. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Still ahead tonight, the political equivalent of Godzilla
versus Mothra. Only it`s bigger! And dustier! Save yourselves. That`s
MADDOW: Out of all the candidates in the Republican field this year,
there`s one candidate who`s appeared on FOX News Channel more than any
other – by a mile. Guess which one?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To Donald Trump on if these type of events are
just asking for trouble. He joins me on the phone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Great to see you, Mr. Trump. Thanks for being
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donald Trump, who`s on the phone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, he wanted his first post-announcement
interview to be on “The Factor”. Good for us. Here it is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 2016 GOP presidential candidate himself and the
latest one to get in and create the most noise arguably, Donald Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Moments ago, Donald Trump going on the record.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump, welcome.
TRUMP: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joining us now from his New York city
headquarters is Donald Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the GOP establishment is afraid of Donald
Trump and I asked him why.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joining us from his lavish headquarters in New
York City is Donald Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: On and on and on and on.
And if three months leading up to the first Republican presidential
debate on August 6th, those three months Donald Trump appeared on FOX News
Channel dozens of times, more than any other Republican presidential
Donald Trump any time, any place early morning on FOX News, daytime
on FOX News, prime time on FOX News, on set, on the phone occasionally from
his lavish headquarters in New York.
Donald Trump before the August 6th debate was a potted plant if FOX
News studio crew members kept finding new sunny places for. He was always
there: I mean, ahead of getting into the race, right? Donald Trump was a
celebrity but in terms of making the leap that he has made from celebrity
to political candidate, no entity midwifed that process more effectively
and more determinately than FOX News did.
FOX News basically gave him a rolling live platform on which he could
become increasingly more of a candidate on their airwaves everyday. Until
9:00 p.m. Eastern, Thursday, August 6th, when it turned out Mr. Trump did
not like the way FOX News asked him questions in that first debate. Didn`t
like what the FOX News hosts and moderators were asking him about. He
expressed his displeasure about that on social media and on TV news over
and over and over again.
But not on FOX News. He stopped going on the FOX News Channel after
that first debate. He had been wallpaper on the FOX News Channel. He was
all over FOX News basically every day until that debate. That Thursday
night at the beginning of August.
After that debate he didn`t go on FOX News the following Friday, or
the following Saturday, or the following Sunday. In fact, that Sunday
after the first debate he went on almost every other TV network news show
in the country – but not FOX News.
By Monday morning, he had still not been back on FOX News. But by
Monday evening they made up. “The New York Times” reporting that Donald
Trump and the FOX News president Roger Ailes spoke Monday night after the
debate and all was well again.
Mr. Ailes told “The Times”, quote, “I assured Mr. Trump we`ll
continue to cover this campaign with fairness and balance. We had a blunt
but cordial conversation and the air has been cleared.” And it was.
The following morning, Mr. Trump was back on with “Fox and Friends”
like the good old days, everything honky-dory. Some sort of truce was
worked out in that phone call. The air was clear.
Now, apparently, the air is no longer clear. That truce is
apparently over. As of last night, the war is back on, the leading
contender for the Republican presidential nomination is back at war with
the unofficial official TV network of the Republic Party that`s hard to
understand in terms of what it`s going to mean for Republican politics.
For whatever reason last night, Mr. Trump kicked it back on. He went
back to criticizing FOX News, specifically criticizing their conservative
primetime host Megyn Kelly. He sent out a series of tweets and retweets
criticizing her and her FOX News show, sometimes in profane terms.
But in response, something very unusual happened. FOX News is a
competitor of ours at MSNBC but, honestly, they`re also something unlike
anything else in the media landscape. They are Republican Party
television. So we compete with them but we cover them as a political
entity, you have to if you want to cover Republican politics.
So, in that context I have been covering FOX News as a Republican
political entity for years now. And over those years that I have been
covering them in that way, I cannot remember a time when they did anything
like this before they did this today.
The head of FOX News is Roger Ailes. He`s been chairman and CEO of
FOX News for 19 years. He`s very skilled at his job. FOX has achieved
unimaginable success both commercially and in terms of their political
influence on the Republican Party, under Roger Ailes` iron-fisted direction
But as far as I know, Roger Ailes has never before responded to
criticism in the way he did today. First, there was this blizzard from FOX
News talent. Clearly, Mr. Ailes or somebody else at FOX News gave some
sort of directive or suggestion or go ahead to the talent across the FOX
News Channel that they should go ahead and criticize Donald Trump publicly,
they should criticize him specifically for the way he went after that one
FOX News host.
Almost simultaneously, there was just a torrent of statements from
FOX News talent telling Donald Trump he`s wrong and must never say anything
like that again about a FOX News host. And then, on top of that, Mr. Ailes
himself put out what I think is an unprecedented statement and not only put
it out in writing. They read it on live TV.
And through all of the years I have spent goggling at FOX News as a
political entity and being amazed by the things they will do, I have never
seen them do something quite like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump tweeted out personal attacks about
our own Megyn Kelly. In response to those attacks, our boss, FOX News
chairman and CEO Roger Ailes has just issued this statement.
He writes, “Donald Trump`s surprise and unprovoked attack on Megyn
Kelly during her program last night is as unacceptable as it is disturbing.
Megyn Kelly represents the very best of American journalism, and all of us
at FOX News Channel reject the crude and irresponsible attempts to suggest
otherwise. I could not more proud of Megyn for her professionalism and
class in the face of all of Mr. Trump`s verbal assaults.
Her questioning of Mr. Trump at the debate was tough but fair, and I
fully support her as she continues to ask the probing and challenging
questions that all presidential candidates may find difficult to answer.
Donald Trump rarely apologizes, although in this case he should. We
have never been deterred by politicians or anyone else attacking us for
doing our job, much less allowed ourselves to be bullied by anyone and
we`re not going to start now.
All of our journalists will continue to report in the fair and
balanced way that`s made FOX News Channel the number one news network in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The number one news network in the industry. Of course they
have to end it with that. They always do that, it`s so funny.
They always do that. FOX`s highest-rated host is this man, who you
may recognize, his name is Bill O`Reilly. One of the very funny and very
reliable things about Mr. O`Reilly for years now is that wherever he gets
called out for anything – for example, earlier this year, it was revealed
he was not telling the truth about his time covering the Falkland`s war
back in the `80s, his response, FOX News`s response to questions and
criticism about that was really, really funny.
In our covering that scandal, we sent FOX News questions about Bill
O`Reilly`s reporting in Argentina in the 1980s. Their response to us was,
“Here are a bunch of documents showing just how great Bill O`Reilly`s
ratings are.” Totally irrelevant, and very funny.
It is a funny, reliably ridiculous thing about FOX News. FOX News is
very commercially successful but the “our ratings are bigger” response is
part of the reason nobody takes them too seriously as a supposed news
Now we know, though, this is Godzilla versus Mothra part, right? Now
we me one funny thing about FOX News, they`re – you criticize them, they
say they have great ratings. We know that is not only true about them,
it`s also true about Donald Trump. Because here is how Donald Trump
rejected this unprecedented statement of criticism from FOX News today.
Mr. Trump put out his own statement in response to Roger Ailes saying
how wrong FOX News and Roger Ailes are to defend this host Megyn Kelly and
he reiterates how much he doesn`t like that one particular FOX News host,
but then he finishes up his statement with this. Look.
“More importantly” – “more importantly, I`m very pleased to see the
latest polls from Public Policy Polling showing me at a strong number one
with 35 percent in New Hampshire and the Monmouth University poll showing
me at number one with 30 percent in South Carolina. It was also just
announced that I won the prestigious corn kernel poll at the Iowa state
fair by a landslide.” Look at my landslide in the corn kernel poll.
Sometimes the universe delivers poetic justice. On the one hand,
this feels like Godzilla versus Mothra, right? I mean, Republican news
network versus front-runner Republican presidential candidate. Two
monsters of roughly the same size. How can I fight between them possibly
On the other hand, if you want a more monster specific – a more
specific monster metaphor that`s maybe more accurate, it may be less
Godzilla and Mothra and more like Frankenstein and his own monster, because
when Donald Trump wanted to become a real candidate and not a celebrity,
when he wanted to start being treated like a candidate, FOX News did that
for him. They created this thing, which they are now fighting.
And the fight is happening on the exact terms that FOX News itself
invented. Ignoring the substance totally and fighting on the basis of “my
ratings are bigger, my poll numbers are bigger, therefore I can`t hear you
and I don`t have to hear you.” That`s been pure FOX News for years now.
And now, it is pure Donald Trump and the way he`s at war with FOX News.
The universe is a snake that eats its own tail.
In an era where FOX News is dominant as Republican television, can a
Republican candidate for president win without them? Or more to the point,
can a Republican candidate for president win while being against them?
My personal sense is no. My personal sense is that FOX News will
endure no matter who the Republican nominee is and there can be no
Republican presidential nominee without FOX News championing them.
But that`s my personal take. I mean, if it`s true, and this has to
end somewhere different than it is right now. If the Republican front-
runner and FOX are at war, then that person cannot be the Republican front-
runner anymore. FOX must win.
I know it has to end that way someday. But I do not know how we get
MADDOW: Today was the day when the political news was off the hook.
One of the off-the-hook things in today`s political news is that the ghost
of Ronald Reagan is back haunting today`s headlines. And the ghost of
Ronald Reagan is haunting the political headlines on the Democratic side.
And that story involves a sheep barn in Missouri. Not kidding. That`s
still to come tonight.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Roger Ailes said you need to apologize to Megyn Kelly.
Would you do that?
TRUMP: No, I would don`t that. She actually should be apologizing
to me, but I would not do that.
REPORTER: Why does she need to apologize to you?
TRUMP: Because I thought her questioning and her attitude was
totally inappropriate. So, it just – if you look – all you have to do is
look on the Internet today and you`ll see who people favor in that one.
But I couldn`t – it`s a very small element in my life, Megyn Kelly, I
don`t care about Megyn Kelly.
But no, I would not apologize. She should probably apologize to me
but I just don`t care.
KATY TUR, NBC NEWS: What`s your strategy behind the Twitter fights?
TRUMP: The which?
TUR: The Twitter fights? The late-night tweeting about Megyn Kelly.
TRUMP: It takes two seconds. You do a couple of tweets.
TUR: But why?
TRUMP: Because when people treat me unfairly, I don`t let them
forget. And maybe we should have more of that in the country and maybe the
country wouldn`t be pushed around so much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Donald Trump tonight defending his war with the unofficial
official channel of the Republican Party. Mr. Trump has been a permanent
fixture as a guest on FOX News Channel TV programs this year, but he spent
last night and today and tonight attacking the FOX News Channel and the FOX
News channel spent the day and the night tonight attacking him right back.
What happens where the Republican nomination and the place where
Republicans watch TV decide they`re not on speaking terms? What`s the
strategy here? Or what`s the math here?
Joining us is NBC News correspondent Katy Tur. She`s following the
Trump campaign for NBC News. She was there at the press availability
Katy, great to see you.
TUR: You, too, Rachel.
MADDOW: First, I have to ask you because you were there in the room,
I have to ask you first about this huge confrontation between Jorge Ramos
from Univision and Donald Trump today. You were in the room.
What happened there? Did anybody know that was going to happen?
TUR: Well, Jorge Ramos was sitting one person down from me and we
saw that he was on one of her colleagues planes. We knew he was coming.
He`s been trying to get an interview with Donald Trump since the racist –
not the racist, the immigrant remarks earlier this – a couple months ago
when he was announcing for his presidency.
He has not been able to get an interview with him so we knew when he
was there, there was going to be fireworks. Donald Trump came in, took the
first question from Carl Cameron of FOX News, then Jorge Ramos stood up and
started asking him about – trying to ask him about the 11 million
undocumented immigrants in this country.
Trump immediately felt like he did not want to answer that question.
He felt sandbagged by having, or seemed like he did for having Jorge Ramos
there, and the mood gotten very tense. He kept trying to shut him down,
saying “sit down, sit down, sit down,” and then going to a question from
another reporter, at one point looking at his body man and giving him just
a look to say, “Get this guy out of here”, and that`s when he was escorted
It was definitely a tense moment within the room but I think
everybody in there knew it was coming because they had seen Jorge there and
they knew he was trying to get an interview with him for quite some time.
MADDOW: Katy, in all the time you have been covering this
presidential campaign this year, seeing Mr. Trump at these events,
obviously he`s getting big crowds and lots of reporters. Have you ever
seen him have a confrontation like that before today?
TUR: No, that was maybe the strongest confrontation he has had. He
usually gets into a scuffle with reporters during the press conferences.
He`s told me to sit down a number of times. He`s told another reporters he
think it`s a dumb question. He moves on.
He`s not polite to the reporters. He`s never been polite to the
reporters. This might have been the most tense exchange. But it wasn`t
surprising. I mean, I think everyone expected there to be some fireworks
within that room.
MADDOW: Katy Tur, NBC News correspondent following the Trump
campaign – always an adventure. Katy, thank you very much.
MADDOW: All right. We`ve got lots ahead tonight, including that
promised Reaganesque remodeled sheep barn.
Please stay with us.
MADDOW: If you`re feeling like you haven`t seen or heard from
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton in a little while,
that`s because she`s been on vacation. She`s been taking a little break
from the campaign trail. She`s been in the Hamptons.
But tomorrow, the break is over. Hillary Clinton breaking off her
vacation early to hold three events in Iowa tomorrow and then she`ll off to
Ohio and Minnesota.
The big news for her campaign today came actually from New Hampshire.
Big political news out of New Hampshire this morning was not just that
Donald Trump has widened his lead even further over his Republican rivals
in New Hampshire.
The other New Hampshire news is that Bernie Sanders is winning there.
Bernie Sanders is leading Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire 42-35 in this
PPP poll that`s out today. This is the second straight New Hampshire poll
to show Bernie Sanders leading Hillary Clinton. Earlier this month, it was
a “Boston Herald” poll that showed him leading her by seven points. Now,
today, he leads Clinton by seven again in a poll from Public Policy
Tell me again why Vice President Joe Biden is the guy who could
challenge Hillary Clinton from the left?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: NBC news presents, “Preview: The 1976 Republican National
Now reporting from the NBC News Convention Center in Kansas City,
here are John Chancellor and David Brinkley.
DAVID BRINKLEY, NBC NEWSD: Kansas City has done a good job setting
up for the first political convention since 1928. It has even emptied a
barn, normally filled with sheep, run air conditioning into it and made
offices in it for Republicans and what Kansas City gets for its effort is a
convention genuinely interesting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: NBC`s David Brinkley not lying when he said it was going to
be genuinely interesting. That Republican convention in 1976 was the last
time we went in to a convention not knowing who the nominee was going to be
from a major party.
I mean, at the time, Gerald Ford was president. But that was thanks
to Richard Nixon. Gerald Ford had never been elected president or even
vice president. So, the Republicans had to decide whether they wanted to
nominate Ford for a whole term in his own right.
But he was facing a strong challenge from the right, from former
California Governor Reagan. So, it was a dramatic situation heading in to
that convention in 1976.
News agencies at the time were keeping a rolling whip count of the
Republican delegates at the convention, about whether Ford had enough
delegates to sew it up, whether Reagan could potentially take it away from
him. And the tail was finally told decades later, that the Reagan campaign
was so freaked out by looking the whip count was going against them, three
week out ahead of the convention, that they decided on the Reagan campaign
they would throw the biggest Hail Mary they could think of.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT: As I now feel the people of the
delegates have a right to know in advance of the convention, who the
nominee`s vice presidential choice will be, I am today departing from
tradition and announcing my selection. I have chosen the distinguished
United States senator from Pennsylvania, the honorable Richard Schweiker.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That had never been done before. Surprised everybody.
Front page of “The New York Times” the day after the announcement said
literally, a total surprise, a bold gamble. A make or break move. It
turns out it was a break. It was not a make.
Reagan did something nobody had ever done before, he announced his
running mate ahead of the convention. It didn`t work. He didn`t win at
that convention. Ford got the nomination and earned him the privilege to
lose in the general election to Jimmy Carter.
But for Reagan in `76 when you are desperate you are desperate and
there`s only so many Hail Mary moves in politics. Right now, things are
unsettled and unprecedented enough in a lot of ways in this presidential
race that possibility, that Ronald Reagan 1976 Hail Mary move is being
talked about as a possibility on the Democratic side.
There was a huge amount of press this weekend over a meeting held
between Vice President Biden and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren for
further steam under that kettle arriving when Senator Warren said she
didn`t want to talk about whether she would run for re-election of her
But now, it`s being raised and the pundit press again, this
possibility of Elizabeth Warren running with Vice President Joe Biden.
Them running as a team, there`s so much interest in that possibility in
fact, that there was a stakeout outside Elizabeth Warren`s house in
Cambridge, Massachusetts, today, just for people to try to get some comment
on the possibility of this being a story.
You know, if they did it, I don`t know that would make the prospect
of Mr. Biden`s run more viable or even anymore likely, but something is
happening. Something is going on. Today, politico.com reporting that Vice
President Biden`s inner circle is working aggressively behind the scene to
line up big donors even before he formally makes a decision. We also know
that Vice President Biden is planning to meet with major Democratic fund-
raisers over the Labor Day weekend.
And now, there`s new news from “The New York Times” today about the
national Democratic Party meeting which is happening this week. All five
candidates set to address that meeting on Friday. Linc Chafee, Jim Webb,
Martin O`Malley, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton all speaking Friday.
Vice President Biden declined an invitation to address the meeting. That
was the word as of yesterday, but today, they scheduled a call tomorrow
afternoon for the vice president and DNC members on the subject of the Iran
deal. Two committee members who received the invitation said they couldn`t
remember a conference call with Mr. Biden on a foreign policy issue before.
So, this could be an effort to raise his profile with top members of
the Democratic Party right before they`re about to hear from all the other
candidates. I have been a skeptic from the very beginning that Joe Biden
is going to run, but something is really going on here and it cannot remain
a mystery much longer.
That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL.”
Good evening, Lawrence.
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