The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 6/30/2016
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: June 30, 2016
Guest: Aaron Belkin, Dan Roberts
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: Much more on my conversation with Secretary
Kerry tomorrow night.
That is “ALL IN” for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: You`re amazing, Chris. It is a privilege to
work with you, man. Well done. Thanks.
HAYES: Thank you, Rachel. Likewise.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Happy
President Obama and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton have not yet
campaigned together. She received President Obama`s endorsement a few
weeks ago and the two of them had intended to do a joint event a couple of
weeks ago in Wisconsin. But that ended up getting canceled after the mass
shooter in Orlando, Florida.
Well, President Obama and Hillary Clinton have now rescheduled their first
joint campaign appearance, it`s going to be next week in North Carolina.
And today we learned that in addition to Hillary Clinton appearing with
President Obama on Tuesday in North Carolina, later in the week on Friday,
she`s also going to do a joint campaign appearance with Vice President Joe
And that is interesting for a couple of different reasons. Now, the first
reason is that ever since Vice President Biden went through his long,
public, toing and froing over whether or not he himself was going to run
for president this year, ever since then, there have been a lot of
Washington whispers about whether or not Vice President Biden really,
truly, deeply supports Hillary Clinton for president and whether he would
really, truly deeply, enthusiastically campaign for her in this election.
Well, we know he`s going to campaign for her in this election, and we`ll
see what that looks like a week from tomorrow when they campaign together
just outside the place that oddly is both of their hometowns. Both Joe
Biden and Hillary Clinton were born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and they
will be together in Scranton next week.
The other reason next week`s campaign schedule is interesting for the
Hillary Clinton campaign is because we don`t really know what effect these
guys will have on the race. We don`t really know what it`s like in modern
American politics to have the popular, outgoing president and vice
president out on the trail, campaigning actively and presumably,
wholeheartedly, for the member of their own party who they want to succeed
them in the White House. You would think that would be a more normal thing
in American politics, but we haven`t had that in more than a generation.
Reagan for a number of reasons wasn`t in a position to be able to do it.
Al Gore did not want Bill Clinton to do it, even though he could have.
John McCain certainly did not want George W. Bush to do it.
So, this is really the first time that we have seen it in decades, in more
than a generation. And we really don`t know what impact it`s going to
have, to have the president and vice president out there campaigning for
Hillary Clinton. So that`s going to be really interesting to see on the
Democratic side, and we`ll start to see that next week. We just learned
about that scheduled event with Joe Biden today.
Now, on the Republican side this year, they`re got almost the opposite
situation when it comes to previous presidents from the Republican Party
and previous presidential nominees even. Both of the immediate past
Republican presidents are, of course, members of the same nuclear family.
George Bush Jr. and Sr.
Both have said they`re not endorsing Donald Trump, nor are they going to
the convention for Donald Trump, nor will they necessarily even vote for
Donald Trump. And these are the last two living Republican presidents. So
that`s it on that score. Mr. Trump has exhausted that opportunity, to have
Republican former presidents on his side.
In terms of previous Republican nominees, the last Republican presidential
nominee was Mitt Romney. Not only is Mitt Romney not supporting Trump`s
campaign, Mitt Romney is still telling people as late as today that members
of his own family still want him to get in and run for president again,
this year, somehow.
Mr. Romney is apparently at the Aspen Ideas Festival this week, and he said
in a public discussion there, quote, “I got an e-mail from one of my sons
yesterday saying, you gotta get in, dad, you gotta get in.”
I don`t know how he gets in at this point, but he wants you to know, he`s
saying in public that his family is begging him to.
The last Republican nominee before Mitt Romney was, of course, John McCain.
John McCain has had it hung around his neck at home in Arizona this year
that he said he will vote for Donald Trump. That`s turned into a political
liability for him at home. Other than saying that he`ll support Donald
Trump because he`s the Republican nominee, otherwise John McCain is doing
his best to keep his distance from Mr. Trump.
And Senator McCain was one of the first prominent members of the Republican
Party to say publicly he`s not going to the Republican convention this
summer. He explained that he has a re-election race at home in Arizona to
worry about and that has to be his focus.
And John McCain is in fact up for re-election this year. He`s one of this
poor, miserable group of Republican senators who have stumbled into the
political misfortune this year of having to share their own re-election
ballot at home with Donald Trump at the top of the ticket.
For some of them, it may end up being politically fatal. It`s hard to tell
from this distance, but when you look at the sort of expert prognostication
on very swing states, senators like Ron Johnson in Wisconsin and Mark Kirk
in Illinois and Rob Portman in Ohio and Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania and
others, but particularly these guys, they`re all facing a situation where
they don`t have great approval ratings to start out with, they`re not super
popular to start out with anyway, and their states are likely to go bright
blue for Hillary Clinton if trends hold.
And they all have very strong Democratic challengers on that same ballot,
trying to oust them from their Senate seat. So, it looks not great for at
least these four senators but a lot more besides. John McCain is probably
also vulnerable this year because of the same dynamics at work in his home
state of Arizona. But John McCain is if nothing else a political survivor.
And at home in Arizona, he has faced tough re-election battles before. You
can tell that in part mathematically. Because he`s up this year in 2016,
that also means he was up the last time six years ago. And six years ago
And, yes, 2010 was a great year for the Republicans in the general election
in November. Republicans did very well. But 2010 was a scary time to be
an establishment Republican politician, running in the primaries, right?
2010, that was kind of the peak influence year for the Tea Party inside the
Republican Party. That was the year when old-school Republican senators
like Bob Bennett in Utah and Lisa Murkowski in Alaska, they were losing
Republican primaries in their own states, as incumbents, because these Tea
Party right-wing challengers were coming in there, in the primary this
year, and they had this throw the bombs out attitude about their own party.
John McCain looked particularly vulnerable to that the last time he was up
for re-election in 2010. He had been the Republican Party`s presidential
nominee in 2008, which sort of makes you the epitome of the establishment.
He, of course, lost that race, still had a little of the stink of the loss
on him when he was up for re-election two years later. And, in fact, the
Tea Party turned on him and they targeted John McCain in 2010 to try to
throw him out with a right-wing Republican primary challenge in 2010.
But John McCain, to his great political benefit, that year he did not
exactly get the cream of the crop when it came to Tea Party opponents
running against him in the primary. The first Tea Party guy who declared
against him that year was the national spokesman for one of those right-
wing vigilante, anti-immigrant border patrol groups.
You may actually recognize his face. He may look familiar to you, because
he has been back in the news recently after he was just convicted on
harrowing and truly upsetting child molestation charges. He`s due to be
sentenced to prison for child molesting next week.
John McCain`s other Tea Party opponent in 2010 was this guy. One of the
most recognizable – one of the most physically recognizable members of
Congress in recent years, mostly because of his amazing flat top hair cut.
But he`s a memorable guy. His name is J.D. Hayworth. He`s kind of
showman-like, charismatic, flashy, Republican congressman.
And J.D. Hayworth had some stuff rub off on him over the years. He`d been
a little tied up in the whole Jack Abramoff scandal for example. But that
wasn`t enough to sink him. He was seen as a rising star kind of guy. He
had tons of support from talk radio in particular.
Plus, he had the national profile of boldly taking on a figure as big as
John McCain. Things looked pretty good for J.D. Hayworth heading into that
primary run against John McCain. But here`s why John McCain survived that
primary challenge in a year that was otherwise going to be pretty tough.
Here`s why John McCain ended up not just surviving that guy`s challenge,
not just tipping this guy at the polls, here`s why John McCain ended up
beating him in that primary by 24 freaking points. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: The following is a paid advertisement for National Grants
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was able to get a grant for $13,000 for my roof,
for the electrical work. I don`t have to pay any of this money back.
KYLIE JAYE: Hello, I`m Kylie Jaye. Did you know there are billions and
billions of dollars set aside each year by the government?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were awarded this grant for up to $1.3 million. The
greatest news about that, we don`t have to pay any of it back.
JAYE: We`re going to talk to authors Mike and Iren Milin (ph), directors
of National Grants Conferences who is celebrating ten years of grant loan
and subsidies services to America.
Also joining us today is former Congressman J.D. Hayworth. Congressman
Hayworth served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2007.
Tell me, first thing, what is a grant?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Grant is like a gift. If you follow the terms and
conditions, you never have to pay it back.
JAYE: How much money? I mean, did I hear right, billions?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hundreds of billions.
JAYE: Hundreds of billions of dollars. Wow. Forgive me if I sound like a
skeptic, because that`s a lot of money.
It sounds too good to be true. Congressman, is it for real?
REP. J.D. HAYWORTH (R), ARIZONA: It is for real. I understand the
skepticism, in part because President Reagan used to say the greatest
contradiction ever uttered was, I`m from the government and I`m hear to
help. But I`m telling you, this is really true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: This is really true. Congressman J.D. Hayworth left Congress in
2007. That same year he started doing infomercial infomercials for, the
government wants to give you free money. And he wasn`t just sitting there
like a potted plant, he was really selling it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYWORTH: But it`s important to take advantage of the program. It doesn`t
happen. It`s not like winning the lottery. It`s not sitting back and
suddenly a thunderbolt. You have to take action, and that`s where the
conference comes in. It`s vital you attend the conference.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Will it shock you to hear that attending the conference will cost
you a little money? But don`t worry, there`s so much free money that
you`re going to get from the government, thanks to the secrets you`re going
to learn at the conference, and you`ll never have to pay any of the money
back. You`ll be so thankful to Congressman Hayworth for letting you in on
this secret for how to get rich quick with no strings attached.
Senator McCain was certainly grateful to Congressman J.D. Hayworth for his
judgment to do something like that, because that infomercial became one of
the best attack ads that John McCain has ever had the privilege to run
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYWORTH: Now, you may think what you`ve heard is too good to be true.
But let me assure you, it`s real.
AD ANNOUNCER: Well, it was too good to be true. 24 attorneys general
condemned this company for promising people free government money and then
ripping them off.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t have to pay any of this money back.
AD ANNOUNCER: J.D. Hayworth, pork barrel spender, lobbyist, huckster –
HAYWORTH: It is real.
AD ANNOUNCER: Character matters.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I`m John McCain and I approve this message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Yes, so John McCain beat huckster J.D. Hayworth by part of, that helped 24
points in that primary. That`s why John McCain is still around today to be
facing re-election again this year. But that get rich quick scheme that
J.D. Hayworth was part of, that helped cost him that possible seat in the
Senate, it was not something that J.D. Hayworth invented. It was part of a
get rich quick scheme run by the other people on set with him in that fake
TV show. Not the lady with the Australian accent, but Mike and Irene
Milin, these folks.
By that time in 2007, Mike and Irene had been doing this sort of thing for
decades. Back in the `80s, their get rich quick seminar was called “Cash
Flow Now.” Others have succeeded, you can do it too. Here`s your chance to
retire in two years, working part time. As get rich quick schemers, they
were sued by the attorney general in the state of Vermont, in the state of
Texas. They reached a settlement with the state of Florida under that
state`s deceptive and unfair practices act. The same year that J.D.
Hayworth did his infomercial with him, it was 33 attorneys general who
signed a letter accusing that company of deceptive trade practices.
But in the midst of all that, those good folks were also hired to do
something not as themselves, not as America`s best known real estate
couple. They were not hired just for their patented Milin method to get
rich quick. In the midst of all that stuff and all the states coming after
them for fraud, they were hired to run a similar get rich quick scheme,
seminar, scam, under somebody else`s name. They were hired to run one
under this guy`s name.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, REAL ESTATE MAGNATE: I made a lot of money in real estate,
and I understand real estate. And I`m teaching what I`ve learned and I`m
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In continuing that effort to share his knowledge,
he`s created the Trump Institute to conduct wealth building seminars
throughout the nation. So his methods of success can be taught to anyone
who wants to have that power, knowledge, and know-how.
TRUMP: I put all of my concepts that have worked so well for me, new and
old, into our seminar, and people are loving it. People are really doing
well with it, and they`re loving it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He calls his seminar, the Donald Trump way to wealth.
Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming our honored guest, Mr.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Welcome, Donald Trump.
TRUMP: Well, thank you very much. It`s nice to be here. Nice group.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Nice group. To be clear, this isn`t like a TV show that exists
for some other purpose. And this episode of the TV show happens to feature
Donald Trump. And so the live audience is surprised to see Donald Trump
This is actually a Donald Trump infomercial. The only show here is people
hired to sit there in matching suits and applaud Donald Trump. So of
course he thinks they`re a very nice group. Wow, what a great group of
people you got here.
“The New York Times” this week reported on the Trump Institute, which was
very clearly advertised as a Trump product. Mr. Trump himself appeared in
multiple infomercials, touting this institute, saying the institute would
teach you all of his personal secrets for how to get rich on real estate.
He also promised at one point if you came to the Trump Institute, you might
meet somebody good looking.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any final words of wisdom for those of us who are
going to attend the Trump Institute?
TRUMP: Well, I really think it`s important that you attend. You`re going
to learn a lot in the seminars. You`re going to learn a lot from the
institute, about the institute.
And another thing, you`re going to meet a lot of interesting people. It`s
a great place to meet people. They`re sort of like you, smart,
intelligent, in some cases, they`re beautiful or good looking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Donald Trump`s Trump Institute was fronted by him in a very
personal way. But it was run, according to “The New York Times” this week,
by Irene and Mike Milin, the same people from the J.D. Hayworth scandal,
the same people from the 33 attorney generals, right, from their multiple
lawsuits. They ultimately earned the Trump Institute an F from the Better
Business Bureau as essentially a scam to separate the gullible from their
“The Times” also reported this week that a significant portion of the
written materials that people received as part of their tuition was just
copied word for word from a real estate hand book that was published by
“Success Magazine”, copied over without attribution.
So it`s been another tough week as a presidential candidate for Donald
Trump. The Trump Institute reporting from “The New York Times” was
devastating. “The Washington Post” simultaneously reporting this week on
Mr. Trump`s charitable giving and part of his business reputation, part of
his public reputation has been built on this self-proclaimed image that he
is a person who gives millions of dollars to charity.
“Washington Post” investigated those claims and said they`ve only been able
to document $10,000 given to charity by Mr. Trump over a period of seven
NBC News reported today that even Mr. Trump`s claim just this past week
that he had forgiven the personal loans he made to his presidential
campaign and had converted those loans into donations, so Donald Trump
campaign donors would never have to worry that actually he`d just pay
himself back with their money. Today, NBC News reported there`s no
verification whatsoever that Donald Trump did convert those campaign loans
into donations. He may have, but there`s no documentation that proves it.
So, you have to take his word for it. If you`re thinking about giving him
money and you`re worried he might just put it in his pocket.
Still, though, the Trump campaign continues to really focus laser like on
running Trump as a rich guy, running Trump as a businessman, running him
for president on the basis of his business record and his financial
success. Even as his business and financial record just starts to get
absolutely shredded day after day by the mainstream press.
It was the third straight day in which Donald Trump`s campaign events have
been centered on what his campaign calls trade and he does sometimes talk a
little bit about trade, but mostly the last three days on the campaign
trail, he`s been talking about himself as an excellent deal maker and
businessman, and that`s why he should be president.
That part of his reputation is getting shredded. And meanwhile, on the
pure political side of things, the Trump campaign appears to just not be
doing anything. And that story`s ahead.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TRUMP: I go to Ohio, we were there two days ago, and Pennsylvania and near
Pittsburgh and we – I was in West Virginia, the crowds are massive. You
know, I walked out of one, I said, I don`t see how I`m not leading.
You know, you see the kind of crowds. We had thousands of people standing
outside trying to get in. They`re great people and they have such spirit
for the country and love for the country. And I`m saying, you know, why am
I not doing better in the polls?
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Why am I not doing better in the polls? Such a mystery. That was
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on conservative talk radio
today, wondering about why things aren`t going better for him in the polls.
Here`s a little perspective on that. What you`re looking at here is one of
the odder moments at today`s Trump event in New Hampshire. What happened
here, you see the guy in the black shirt and tan shorts there with Hallie
One of the odder moments in New Hampshire today was when this guy, Donald
Trump`s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, showed up at today`s
Donald Trump event, despite the fact that he was very publicly fired by the
Donald Trump campaign two weeks ago. So him turning up at the Trump event
today, that was personally awkward, in terms of what Corey Lewandowski was
doing back at a Trump event now that he has been fired and is supposedly
working for CNN, even though he has a non-disclosure agreement that
prevents him from talking about Donald Trump.
But it was also a good reminder today that we don`t yet know if anybody has
replaced Corey Lewandowski as Donald Trump`s campaign manager. As far as
we know, the Donald Trump campaign fired their campaign manager two weeks
ago and they haven`t replaced him with anybody else. Who is the campaign
manager for Trump?
The political side of the Trump campaign in some fundamental ways just
seems to be not really up and running. For one thing, there doesn`t appear
to be any one state in the country where the Trump campaign has a fully
fledged ground organization staffed up and running like a normal campaign
would, and like the Hillary Clinton campaign has in swing states across the
country. The Trump campaign is also still not running any campaign ads
whatsoever in any states.
Also, the candidate himself continues to make just some very, very basic
errors in public, in a way that implies that maybe nobody`s briefing him or
explaining to him the basic facts about basic current events.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MIKE GALLAGHER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Now this week, the Supreme Court
handed the pro-life movement a disappointing decision over this Texas –
TRUMP: Well, there`s your first example right there. Now, if we had
Scalia was living or Scalia was replaced by me, you wouldn`t have had that,
OK? It would have been the opposite. But, you know, there`s your first
example right there –
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Again, Donald Trump right there on a conservative talk radio show
getting it wrong there. He`s asked about the abortion ruling this week.
It was a 5-3 decision. It was five on the pro-abortion rights side and
three on the anti-abortion rights side.
So let`s do the math. Had Justice Scalia been alive, or had President
Trump appointed a justice like Scalia to fill that open seat, there really
would not have been the opposite. It wouldn`t have flipped the ruling.
The ruling would have been 5-4, instead of 5-3, but the same side would
have won. I know math is hard, but not math that you can count on your
fingers, you know what I mean?
Mr. Trump also failed a basic test of how candidates are supposed to
interact with their constituents when those constituents prove to be
confused or misinformed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why aren`t we putting our retiree, our military
retirees on that board or in TSA? Get rid of all these heebie-jeebies they
wear at TSA. I`ve seen them myself. We need the veterans back in there.
They`ve fought for this country and they`ll still do it. Thank you.
TRUMP: And we are looking at that, we are looking at that. We are looking
at a lot of things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was how Donald Trump tonight in New Hampshire responded to a
voter who complained about the heebie-jeebies she`s seeing on the people
who work for the TSA, she`s seen them herself. The heebie-jeebies, Donald
Trump`s response, we`re looking into that.
I mean, that comment is obviously not something that Donald Trump invited.
It`s not something he said. It`s something somebody else said.
But when somebody says something like that to you in a direct question,
there`s a way to deal with it. This is a thing you`re supposed to do when
you`re running for president. Take it away, John McCain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t trust Obama. I have read about him, and he`s
not – he`s a – he`s an Arab. He is not –
MCCAIN: No, ma`am, no, ma`am.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No?
MCCAIN: No, ma`am, he`s a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen
to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that`s what this
campaign is all about. He`s not. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Now, decent family man and citizen doesn`t actual rebut her
accusation that he`s an Arab, but we know what he meant, right? We knew
what he meant, and he intervened to make that as right as he could in the
John McCain is facing his own Senate re-election bid this year. He`s said
he won`t go to the Republican convention to support Donald Trump`s bid for
election, even though he admits he will vote for him.
Right now, Donald Trump doesn`t appear to have a campaign manager in his
run for president, but if he did, it would not be the worst advice to tell
him to watch some old tape of John McCain`s greatest hits. John McCain
didn`t win when he ran for president, but he didn`t crash and burn like
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: It`s not even half past and I need to make a correction. Sorry.
I said moments ago that Hillary Clinton was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
That`s wrong. Hillary Clinton was born in Chicago. It`s her dad who was
born in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
And it was really nice, a moment ago I was just told by a very nice
producer who works on the show, who is trying to make me feel better about
that terrible mistake, I was just told by a very nice producer, thank you,
Laura, that young Hillary did spend time in Scranton in the summers when
she was growing up, and that is nice, but it doesn`t make me feel any
better. Hillary Rodham Clinton was born in Chicago. I`m very sorry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Clinton has been in office for just 13 days
with more than 1,400 days to go, but already, the public, politicians, and
the press are passing judgment. What honeymoon?
After Clinton`s early stumbles, journalists everywhere are making reference
to the gang that couldn`t shoot straight. And the one liner about the
mess, can`t anybody here play this game?
AL HUNT: You try to get the Republicans overconfident, he succeeded.
LISA MYERS: The Clinton White House thus far has looked like they`re not
ready for primetime players.
SAM DONALDSON: Last week, we talked about is the honeymoon over. This
week, is the presidency over?
MADDOW: Very few presidents have had a worse opening week in office than
Bill Clinton had in 1993. A lot of things went wrong for him.
But the main political catastrophe that befell him in 1993 after being
sworn in was the debacle over gays in the military. Bill Clinton had
campaigned on the issue against George H.W. Bush. He said he would lift
the ban on gay troops.
And then Clinton got elected and he took office, and just like he said he
would, he moved quickly to repeal the ban, but he just got completely
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When Bill Clinton was leaving Little Rock for the
White House, he knew he faced big problems, but he could not know that he
would be consumed in his first week in office by the issue of gays in the
military. Tonight, after a week of day-long meetings and late-night
negotiations, finally a compromise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: And ooh, what a compromise. The beltway take on this was that,
hey, Bill Clinton`s maybe not that good at politics after all and he made a
hash out of this issue right out of the gate, he got rolled.
But for gay people in the military, this wasn`t, you know, points on the
board with a politician. This wasn`t a spectator sport at all. Bill
Clinton`s miscalculations and mishandling of that issue ended up making
things measurably worse than they were before for gay people.
Not just in terms of the letdown after people were led to believe things
would get better, but also in real practical terms, there were already lots
of gay people in the military at the time this fight was going on, and that
“don`t ask, don`t tell” compromise policy they ended up with at the end of
that fight that Bill Clinton started and he didn`t know how to win, that
policy was in many ways worse than the flat-out ban that had existed
Under “don`t ask, don`t tell”, the number of people discharged from the
military for being gay, it went up. It was a catastrophe. It was
terrible. That was the very beginning of the Clinton presidency. That was
week one. I remember at the time, I was like, you know, 20 years old. I
remember thinking, we just had 12 years of Republican presidents, now we`ve
got a Democrat. Splat.
And then, “don`t ask, don`t tell” stayed on the books for almost two
decades. The next time we got a Democratic president, Barack Obama had the
same stated objective as Bill Clinton when he came into the office on that
issue. He said he would end the ban on gay people serving in the military.
But this time, the second time around, his plan worked.
And maybe it was because President Obama was better at these kind of
politics than President Clinton was. Maybe, maybe, honestly he benefitted
from Bill Clinton screwing it up so badly, so we all had seen one way not
to do it and everybody knew not that try it that way again. Maybe it was
just that time had passed, maybe it`s a combination of all of those things.
But for whatever reason, President Obama really nailed it on “don`t ask,
don`t tell” and there were a lot of skeptics, among them myself. A lot of
people thought he wasn`t doing it right. A lot of people second and triple
guessing him, right?
There was noise about it too, right? Same as there had been in the 1990s
against President Clinton. There was plenty of resistance. But he got it
done. It was almost five years ago he got it done.
And part of the reason that he got it done right and that it worked is that
you never hear about it anymore. Also, ask service members if it`s
working. Ask gay service members if it`s working. But also just ask
service members generally.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, IAVA, they`re the largest
organization of post-9/11 veterans, they surveyed their members on this the
proportion of IAVA members who say that the repeal of “don`t ask, don`t
tell” has had either a neutral effect or a positive effect on mission
readiness is 80 percent.
It`s the least controversial thing in the world. It has totally worked.
And since then, under President Obama, just within the past year, the
military has also moved to open up all combat positions to women. And now
today, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced yet another big step.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASH CARTER, DEFENSE SECRETARY: I`m announcing today that we`re ending the
ban on transgender Americans in the United States military. Effective
immediately, transgender Americans may serve openly, and they can no longer
be discharged or otherwise separated from the military just for being
The reality is that we have transgender service members serving in uniform
today. Although relatively few in number, we`re talking about talented and
trained Americans who are serving their country with honor and distinction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The end of “don`t ask, don`t tell” and this policy change today
are obviously very different things. But both of them shared this
recognition that I think isn`t always reflected in the politics around
these issues but which is very, very evident in the reality of military
service, which is that these folks are already there. They`re already
there in place.
The end of “don`t ask don`t tell” wasn`t about letting gay people into the
military. Gay people were already in the military. And the end of this
policy today, it won`t be leading trans people into the military, they`re
already there in considerable numbers.
And part of that is how this happened, right? That`s part of how this
happened. In the last year, since the Obama administration started talking
about repealing the trans ban in the military, transgender soldiers have
been coming out all over the place – coming out to their fellow soldiers,
coming out to their commanders, sometimes publicly in online videos.
And that fact, the power of coming out, and this president, and this
administration`s determination to get this thing done, it today got this
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARTER: Although relatively few in number, we`re talking about talented
and trained Americans who are serving their country with honor and
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Defense Secretary Ash Carter saying today that transgender service
members are relatively few in number. And he`s right about that.
Transgender service members number in the low thousands, probably in a
military with well over a million serving personnel. Transgender service
members are a very small proportion of the Department of Defense.
But the U.S. Department of Defense is also the largest employer in the
world. So even when we`re talking about a very, very small proportion of
the Defense Department being transgender, that also likely means that the
United States Department of Defense is the largest single employer of
transgender people in the entire United States and possibly in the entire
Our military is a really big organization. So by the law of huge numbers,
from the perspective of the Defense Department, this may not be that big a
deal, this transgender policy change today. But from the perspective of
transgender people in America, this is going to be a huge deal, because no
organization employs more of them than DOD.
Joining us now is Aaron Belkin. He`s a professor of political science at
the University of California-Hastings. He`s founding director of the Palm
Center. He`s also the author of “How We Won: Progressive Lessons from the
Repeal of `Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell`.”
Aaron, great to have you here. Thanks very much for being with us.
AARON BELKIN, “HOWE WE WON” AUTHOR: Really a pleasure.
MADDOW: Did the internal process to come up with this policy change follow
the path that you described in your book and that the country went through
for “don`t ask, don`t tell” repeal?
BELKIN: It did. There was quite a tailwind, quite a lot of momentum from
the repeal of “don`t ask, don`t tell”, although I have to say, when I
started working on this issue three years ago, I told a colleague that I
thought it would take 10 or 15 years to end the ban, and that was just my
way of saying it`s going to be a really long time and I don`t know how
long, and this has gone with light speed.
MADDOW: What do you think in terms of expected political backlash,
expected foot-dragging or resistance in the military? I notice that none
of the joint chiefs were standing up there with Ash Carter today when he
made his announcement.
BELKIN: Yes, the research is very clear that implementation of inclusive
policy is simple. And it`s not difficult to let people be who they are.
And so it`s true. We`ve heard some talk about what a complicated issue
transgender service is, but it`s not.
The military knows what it`s doing. The troops are already serving with
transgender peers and implementation is going to be a success. It`s not
going to be a problem.
MADDOW: One of the things that secretary carter mentioned today, 18 other
countries, including some of our closest allies, already have transgender
inclusive policies for their militaries. Have those other countries sort
of already defined best practices for how to do this right? Did that make
it easier to come up with the particulars of this 4 for the U.S. military?
BELKIN: It did. And as a community, we used a number of different tactics
to show that transgender service works. And one of those, as you
mentioned, is to point to analogous institutions.
So, yes, there are best practices from the Australian and British and
Israeli militaries, but there are also best practices from federal
agencies, like the CIA and the FBI. So, in this sense, the military is a
bit of a laggard because the rest of the federal government is already
inclusive to transgender people. So, the military had some catch-up to do.
MADDOW: Aaron Belkin, professor and author, founding director of the Palm
Center and somebody who`s done I think almost more than anybody to document
and explain the whole process around these kinds of big policy changes –
thanks for being with us tonight.
BELKIN: My pleasure.
All right. More ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: It`s only Thursday, but you already need it. I can tell. When
you sigh at the television, when you go off in the mental distance, you`re
not focused anymore because you`re feeling like the weight of the world is
on your – I can – I feel you.
I know you need a best new thing in the world. I know you do. I have one
for you. Stay right there.
MADDOW: When President Obama was elected in 2008, “The Onion” ran this
classic headline, “Black man given nation`s worst job.”
The whole country just bowled over that we elected our first African
American president. Incredibly historic thing. As they`re the one to do,
though, “The Onion” just nailed it. And it`s true, right? Not one but two
tenacious and un-ending years` long wars. Lots of other nice stray stuff
left over from a radical, previous administration like, oh, I don`t know,
say, an illegal overseas prison that we now maintain in a communist country
that no one knows how to close, here you go. Also, by the way, how about
an economy in the worst free fall since the Great Depression in the 1930s
and an American financial system in the midst of actual, not metaphorical,
not hyperbolic collapse. Here you go.
Keys to the White House? Congratulations, really happy to have you here.
In Britain right now, they`re not going through the exact same thing. But
they are going through a self-imposed version of something similar. I
mean, who knows if leave the E.U. campaign thought they were going to
succeed. To a lot of people`s surprise, apparently the lead campaign`s own
surprise. They did succeed. Since then, we`ve seen a wave of regret among
British voters, including those who voted to leave.
We`ve seen hundreds of thousands of Londoners, facetiously or not, signed a
petition that London should succeed from the U.K. and become part of
Europe. Scotland absolutely means that, and not facetiously.
There`s been a highly publicized wave of attacks on immigrants and people
who look wrong in Britain. The pound has fall ton the lowest levels since
the battle days of the 1980s. Global markets including our shivered their
It was such a shock, this vote, that the British economy shrink from being
the fifth largest economy in the world to being the sixth largest economy
in the world, literally, overnight.
And as all that was happening, there was this inevitable but still shocking
news that the prime minister of Great Britain was resigning. He was only
elected a year ago. So, it doesn`t have the same rural economic collapse
consequences of the kind of thing Barack Obama took over in 2008. It does
have the additional drama of being, A, self imposed which makes you a
little insecure about your politics in your country, right. B, it also in
the U.K.`s case it poses a threat of breaking apart your country.
So, who wants to take over that now? “Not I”, says Boris Johnson.
Boris Johnson until this past May was mayor of London. He`s currently one
of the highest profiled politicians in the U.K. He was the highest profile
campaigner in the leave the E.U. campaign.
Everybody expected to throw in his hat by the deadline today. But just
minutes before that period closed, literally seven minutes before the
window closed, he said he wasn`t doing it. And there are a lot of
questions as whether that is some sort of incredible intrigue, ala, you
know, take your British reference, Shakespeare or “House of Cards” or “Game
of Thrones”, is this sort of back stabbing, intrigue or personal drama. Or
is this a smart politician who doesn`t want this version of a headline
written for himself?
Joining us now is Dan Roberts. He`s “The Guardian`s” Washington`s bureau
Mr. Roberts, thanks for taking time to be with us tonight. It`s nice to
see you again.
DAN ROBERTS, THE GUARDIAN: Thanks for having me on.
MADDOW: Intrigue, or intelligence?
ROBERTS: Well, I think, you know, that really, the British papers tonight
are full of the back stabbing stories in this “Game of Thrones” back story.
But actually, I think this was a guy who has got us into this mess and now
doesn`t want to clean it up.
MADDOW: In terms of Boris Johnson`s past and what we know about him as a
politician, is this something that people should have seen coming. It was
seen as a bit of strategizing, you know, sort of conning strategy by him to
jump in the leave campaign in the first place. Should we have expected
that when things sort of got very shaky on that vote, that he`d bail out
and not want responsibility for it?
ROBERTS: Well, he`s well-known for being, you know, capable of three
different thoughts before lunch time, and I think that was one of the
reasons worry about him from the Brexit side. The people who wanted to
leave Europe because you can see him beginning to kind of have this or
beginning to try to see ways to wiggle out of the result last week, that`s
probably one reason why he was partly pushed. But another reason why he
jumped, his heart is not in this. He was – really this was about naked
personal ambition and it came back and bit him in the behind.
MADDOW: I know that the Conservative Party internally is going to make the
decision about who the next prime ministers that won`t go to the voters.
Do you expect that general election will be called in and that British
voters will be the next prime minister is, sometimes any time soon or will
it be years?
ROBERTS: I think it will be years.
Now, we have parliaments into now, so to call it snap election, you have to
have two-thirds of the MPs willing to bring the election date forward,
that`s like Turkey waiting for Christmas in the current scenario. This
country is going to be angry mood and not going to want to elect anybody, I
think, who`s got the fingerprint on this.
I think so we`re going to have probably definitely out now and probably no
election for some time, would be my guest.
MADDOW: Dan Roberts, “Guardian`s” Washington bureau chief – thanks for
being with us, Dan. It`s nice to see us.
ROBERTS: Thank you.
All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Best thing new thing in the world. We`re in the midst of a great
one today, it is one I hope we can learn from, be inspired by, something.
All right. Here we go. On April 30th, last year, April 30th, 2015,
Senator Bernie Sanders announced he was entering the Democratic
presidential primary. He was the first Democrat to get in. That was 427
days ago, 427.
On the Republican side, the first person to dive in was Ted Cruz. He
announced on March 23rd, 2015, 465 days ago, which means if you add the two
parties together, we have endured, 892 nominating days so far. And it`s
not over yet, because you might have noticed, Bernie Sanders has not
officially bowed out and some Republicans are still trying to figure out if
they can nominate somebody other than Donald Trump. Mitt Romney was out in
Aspen today going, pick me, pick me.
Listen, as your friendly cable news host, I`m not complaining how long our
nominating our process takes. I`m not here whining about how long our
presidential elections are. I love this stuff. I think it`s fun.
But just for a moment, consider our greatest overseas ally. Their head of
state, Prime Minister David Cameron, just announced he was quitting as
prime minister. So, now, the U.K. needs a new leader.
The amount of time during which they ran their nominating process for prime
minister, was precisely 24 hours, one day. They opened the window for
people to get into the race for prime minister at noon local time yesterday
and they closed it today. Everybody wanted to throw a hat in the ring did.
They closed the nominating ring at noon today 24 hours after it opened.
And that`s it. That`s the whole process. We now know who are the five
candidates for prime minister. Boom, done, took it one day.
Part of me longs for a system in which we can be even remotely that
efficient with our politics in this country. Another part of me worries
about my job security if we ever get that past.
But given who we sometimes chose as our presidential candidates even when
we have all the time in the world, can we really say, that doing it all in
one day might not be a better system than what we`ve got?
That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
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