The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 11/11/2016
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: November 11, 2016
Guest: Masha Gessen
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: Thank you, my friend. Chris, have a good
HAYES: You bet. OK, you, too.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
Thou shalt not lie while you are applying to get married. I mean, for one
thing it`s just bad juju, right? I mean, it`s not a nice way to start your
marriage, right? You marriage is until death you part.
You should be more worried and superstitious about that kind of thing when
you are starting off the process. Don`t start it off by lying. That`s
just common superstitious sense.
In Indiana, it`s also a very stern part of the law. I don`t know what
happened in Indiana in the late 1990s to make them worry so much about
people lying on their marriage licenses, but they did. And in 1997,
Indiana passed a law against that.
And then it`s interesting, because about 15 years down the road in Indiana,
that law about lying on your application for a marriage license, that law
became kind of a big hairy deal. Because in the era of people fighting for
the right to get married even if they are a same-sex couple, one of the
pressure tactics that some people and some groups developed was this very
simple, often emotional, often a little heart wrenching strategy where a
same-sex couple would go down to their local clerks office and apply for a
marriage license just like anybody else. And the clerk would turn them
down to their face.
The Campaign for Southern Equality did this all over the South. In
particular, they would videotape while they did it, while the clerks had to
look people in the eyes and tell them no. It was very moving.
And couples started doing this strategy all over the country. It`s a very
simple thing. Go to your county clerk`s office to apply to get married and
the clerk could not say yes. The clerk would have to look you in the eyes
and say no because it wasn`t legal.
But in Indiana, they had this law on the books about it being, weirdly, a
felony to give false information on your application for a marriage
license. And that became an interesting wrinkle in that whole civil rights
tactic, in that role civic rights tactic, in that whole strategy try to
pursue civil rights this way.
The application for a marriage license in Indiana only allows you to fill
in one name for man and one name for woman. So, if you were same-sex
filling out that application, there`s no way for you to do that truthfully,
right? If you`re two women or two men, you can`t truthfully apply on this
form which only allows space for a man and a woman. That`s the only way to
apply. You cannot truthfully do it.
And in 2013, Governor Mike Pence signed an update of the enforcement of the
marriage application law in his state so that if you violated that law,
you`d be guilty of a level six felony, which is punishable by a maximum of
18 months in prison and a potential fine up to $10,000. So, right,
ultimately marriage equality becomes the law of the land everywhere thanks
to the Supreme Court. But in Indiana, under Governor Mike Pence, gay
couples faced 18 months in prison and $10,000 fine for applying to get
So, a year and a half in prison, $10,000 crime for the crime of applying
for a marriage license. That, of course, is before that application would
then be turned down, right, just applying to get married would put you in
jail under Mike Pence.
One of the things that happened during the two terms of the Obama
administration is that it became the law of the land in every state in the
country that you can get married if you want to and even if you and your
partner are two men or you`re two women. Marriage equality is the law of
the land. This was the culmination of a massive decades long civil rights
Over the course of his own presidency, even President Obama himself evolved
on this issue. At the time he became president, he said that he supported
mostly equal rights for same-sex couples, but at the time he became
president he did not support marriage equality itself. That said, he
evolved. By the time that fight was fully engaged coast to coast and it
seemed possible that marriage equality might win, President Obama had
changed his mind and become fully supportive on the issue. And when the
United States Supreme Court finally ruled three summers ago in that
landmark case that settled the issue legally once and for all, by then, the
Barack Obama White House was lit up for the night in the colors of the
This has just been a massive civil rights achievement. It was the
resolution of a major battle and an incredibly acrimonious long, ongoing
culture war. And in that context, given that that`s what just happened,
the next time we had a presidential election after these consequently two
terms of Barack Obama, you`d think we`d fight about that, right? I mean,
you`d think in the abstract that that gigantic change we went through
during the Obama administration, that would be a key part of the debate
that we have as a country about who the next president should be.
And when the Republican Party picked as their nominee this year Donald
Trump, a man who has honestly kind of a confusing, incoherent position on a
lot of culture war issues, including gay rights, you would think it would
have been really huge news. You would have thought it would be an acute
point of focus in this campaign when the Republican presidential nominee
who has this strange sort of hard to follow internally contradictory set of
policies on these issues, he picked at his running mate, the most
vociferously and consistently anti-gay statewide elected official in the
There is no statewide elected official anywhere in America who has more to
brag about in terms of his anti-gay credentials. I mean, yes, lots of
Republican politicians were against marriage equality. But only in Mike
Pence`s Indiana could you go to jail for the crime of being a gay couple
that had the temerity to apply for a marriage license.
Before North Carolina ever stepped on a rake and humiliated itself and
threw way its business reputation and its new South reputation with its
ridiculous anti-trans bathroom bill, before that ever happened in North
Carolina, Mike Pence in Indiana signed a law overtly making it okay to
discriminate against gay people in his state. I mean, Mike Pence is the
one who said we should not only take away money from HIV and AIDS programs,
he said AIDS funding should be taken away from serving people with HIV and
AIDS because instead it should be diverted into government-funded programs
designed to cure people from being gay, to try to fix gay people. That`s
what the government should spend its money on. Not this AIDS stuff.
Mike Pence is really, really out there on his anti-gay politics. He`s at
the very edge of the branch, on the very edge of the twig, on the last leaf
on that twig. More so than any other statewide elected official in the
country. And that`s who Donald Trump picked to be his running mate.
And you`d think, regardless of what you think about gay rights, regardless
of what you think about marriage equality and all the rest of it, that`s
just politically interesting, right? You`d think that would have sparked
some debate and discussion. You`d think it would have gotten at least some
But in fact, no one paid much attention to it at all. And honestly, I
think that`s because no one paid much attention to Mike Pence at all. And
I think part of that is because he`s running with this incredibly
flamboyant guy at the top of the ticket, but there`s another reason for
that because none of us ever get a second chance to make a first
But as a vice presidential nominee and as a national political figure for
the first time in his life, Mike Pence never even got a single chance to
make a first impression because the night that Mike Pence was chosen to be
Donald Trump`s running mate, there was other stuff going on that was
frankly, way more interesting and way more dramatic and it resulted in Mike
Pence never even getting a single day of focused press attention. Even on
the day he was named to the Republican ticket.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Tonight, several breaking stories as we come
on the air. A military coup attempt in a major American ally, Turkey in
chaos, tanks in the streets, fighter jets in the skies.
And second thoughts? Donald Trump makes it official announcing Mike Pence
as his VP pick, but NBC News has learned he was working the phones until
midnight trying to see if he could change course.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Poor Mike Pence. He was announced from the very beginning as a
guy about whom Donald Trump instantly had buyer`s remorse. And he was
announced as VP on a day when something else really important and urgent
happened, when this big important country, this ally of ours in the Middle
East, had what appeared to be a very dramatic, major coup attempt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: It started off small. Troops seen closing off a main bridge in
Istanbul. And it escalated fast as reports came pouring in of army
soldiers taking command of government buildings, a presidential office and
TV stations the prime minister announced that a coup was under way.
He vowed to resist, saying Turkey`s democratically elected government would
fight to the last drop of blood against the, quote, “criminals”.
This is the man the coup was directed against, President Tayyip Erdogan, in
southern Turkey on vacation at the time. His fight with the military has
been a long time coming. He`s had secular army officers arrested for
years, ushered in Islamist politics and is trying to change the
constitution to give himself more power.
Late tonight, Erdogan speaking from his undisclosed location via Facetime
called on his supporters to take to the streets to defend him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: This is a dramatic occurrence for any country, right, anywhere in
For us, though, in the United States, this was a particularly big deal.
This was a particularly big deal, even overshadowing the selection of Mike
Pence as the president vice presidential nominee. It was a big deal for us
in this country enough that it overshadowed that big political deal because
Turkey is really important to us. Turkey`s the largest military in NATO
We have a major base there. It`s reported that we stage our nuclear
weapons at that base. We have intensive and longstanding relationships and
interdependencies between our two militaries. And so, when this coup broke
out in Turkey and the president said that`s the military leading this coup,
we`re really close with that military. So, this was a very fraught thing
And at the time, the general in charge of CentCom, so the general in charge
of the whole Middle East region for the military, he said at the time,
quote, “We certainly have relationships with a lot of Turkish leaders,
military leaders in particular, so I`m concerned about what the impact is
on those relationships as we continue to move forward.”
Right. This is a very careful statement, very diplomatic general statement
from CentCom commander. This is a tense situation, right? So, you put
this kind of anodyne gloss on this very worrying thing.
We have important relationships that we have hopes for, right, this very
general, very diplomatic statement. Here`s how the president of turkey
respond to that. He said, quote, “It`s not up to you to make that
decision. Who are you? Know your place”, end quote.
Know your place, CentCom commander. Know your place, U.S. military. Know
your place, America.
President Erdogan in Turkey moved on fairly quickly to blaming the United
States for somehow orchestrating this coup against him. He gave a speech
from the police special forces headquarters in the capital of Turkey. He
hinted darkly about the United States. He said, quote, “My people know
who`s behind this scheme.”
He also blamed a Turkish imam who long ago fled that country fearing
persecution. This imam has since become a permanent resident of the United
States. He lives in the Poconos.
But, meanwhile, ever since that night, ever since the night that Mike Pence
got named to the Republican ticket, nobody had a chance to talk about it
even that minute. Ever since that night the Turkish president – this
isn`t a term of art – but he`s gone a little bit nuts this that country.
Two hundred-something people were killed in that supposed coup that first
night but since then the president of Turkey has rounded up more than
35,000 people and put them in jail as being supposedly coup supporters.
Thousands of members of the military have not just been fired from the
military. They have been arrested. He`s orchestrated mass firings and in
some cases, mass arrests of judges and mayors and members of parliament and
professors and journalists, in some cases, he`s taken whole political
parties and ordered arrests of every one of their elected officials. He
has shut down newspapers, he has shut down TV stations.
The one constructive thing he`s done in this time period, he has announced
a new building program. What he`s building is 174 new prisons in order to
hold all the tens of thousands of people he has already rounded up from the
court system and the military and the education system and from the press
and from all aspects of civil society, tens of thousands of people. He
wants the United States to help him finish the job, because he`s got this
loose end in America. He`s got this dissident imam who lives in the
Poconos and is a legal resident of the United States and who Erdogan in
Turkey has decided is the man behind the curtain, the man who is to blame
for this coup that maybe the United States also started.
He`s demanding that the United States hand over this guy, who`s a legal
resident of the United States, hand him over so Erdogan can do what he
wants to him.
You don`t really just get to demand that of the United States, right?
There`s a process when some other country wants us to extradite somebody to
them. It`s a judicial process. Our judiciary is an independent thing that
follows our law. And there is clear law and legal procedures on these
And so, no, the United States government has not just handed this guy over
to the strongman who is demanding that we do. But we know from the way
that they talked to our generals how they feel about us right now, right?
What was the quote from the president again? He said, who are you? Know
So yes, they don`t care. Erdogan just keeps demanding over and over again
that screw our judicial process. We should just screw it, forget it.
Screw our laws around these things. We need to just hand this guy over.
Yes, he`s a legal residence of the United States but we should hand him
over because they say so.
On Election Day this week, Donald Trump`s top military adviser wrote an op-
ed in “The Hill” saying basically we should just hand that guy over. He
called this imam who is living in the Poconos, quote, “a shady Islamic
mullah”. And he also said this, this is nice. Quote, “If he were in
reality a moderate, he would not be in exile nor would he excite the animus
of the Turkish president.”
You know what? Honestly, right now, there`s a hundred thousand
journalists, judges, professors, mayors, freaking librarians who have
excited the animus of the Turkish president. He`s building 174 new prisons
to lock up tens of thousands of people who he has rounded up in a gigantic
purge since this supposed coup, right?
It would be a weird thing for the United States to conclude as a matter of
policy that all those tense of thousands of people, all those journalists
and librarians and professors and stuff, judges, they probably all deserved
it, they must be terrible if anybody`s mad at them, that they fire them on
mass from all their judge, to locked them up, tens of thousands of them in
174 new prisons. Those people must all really deserve it.
The hand them over guy, the guy who says we should just hand this guy over,
he probably deserves it, that`s General Mike Flynn who is Donald Trump`s
top military and intelligence adviser. He was also today named to the
executive committee of Donald Trump`s new transition team.
And transition teams are a normal thing at this point in the political
calendar. That`s what any president-elect does at this time after the
election. I have to say it`s not a normal thing to put throw of your
children and your son-in-law on your transition team as Donald Trump did
today. I looked to see if Uday and Qusay were there – but I don`t, yes.
It`s also not normal for an incoming American president to just drop our
judicial process around something like extradition, that we just ignore our
independent judiciary and just start handing people over if they seem shady
to us and if the right strongman in some other country demands it from us.
Other countries, not just in history, but other countries now around the
world, countries like Turkey right now, a lot of other countries have
varying experiences with strongman-type leaders, with heads of state who
achieve power through more or less normal means but then once they`ve got
power, they throw the old ways out the window. They maximize their own
hold on power. They minimize the other mores and institutions that give
order to something other than one person`s dictate for how things should
A lot of other countries have experience with that. Might that experience
be a help to us right now in preparing for the worst case scenario that
Donald Trump governs the way he campaigned?
Hold on a second. That`s coming up.
MADDOW: We do not know what kind of president Donald Trump will be. We do
know just from the cut of his jib that he`s not a hard line cultural
warrior like his running mate. We know he`s not a compassionate
conservative type the way George Bush ran for president, at least 16 years
He does not appear to be a straight-up national security hawk like Dick
Cheney. He does not appear to be a live and let live small government-type
like somebody like Bill Weld. Donald Trump appears to be something
different than all of that.
And I don`t think he`s just defining a new category. I think he`s
different. He`s the only person we`ve ever had go this far in American
politics who really did get here by threatening to jail his political
opponent, by threatening that unless he won the election, he would not
recognize the validity of that election.
We`ve never had somebody get this far in American politics by threatening
to build a nationwide deportation force to throw millions of people out of
this country. We`ve never had somebody get this far who has proposed
building a wall along one of our borders, who apparently is still proposing
to ban Muslims from being allowed into this country. You might have heard
that the Muslim ban was gone. We`ll be reporting later on tonight that,
no, it is still there.
We just never had somebody like this at this level of American politics.
And maybe it`s all been a game and maybe he doesn`t mean any of it and
maybe he will be a totally normal politician of a type that we recognize
once he gets sworn in, but if we believe him, if what he says he`s going to
do is what he`s going to do, should we be taking lessons now from countries
that have lived under leaders who have rounded up million of people?
Should we be taking lessons right now from people who have lived in
countries where they do jail their political opponents, where they do
crusade against the press, where they do ban people based on their
I mean, right now, we`ve never had somebody like this at any level of
American politics. Should we shore ourselves up now and get ready by
talking to people who have lived under that kind of strongman stuff before,
from people who have seen it in other places and figured out best
strategies for dealing with it? That`s a thing we can actually do right
Last night at the New York Review of Books, the Russian-American journalist
named Masha Gessen published this. It`s called “Autocracy: Rules for
Survival”. Quote, “I have lived in autocracies most of my life and have
spent much of my career writing about Vladimir Putin`s Russia. I have
learned a few rules for surviving in an autocracy while salvaging your
sanity and self-respect. It might be worth considering them now.”
Joining us is Masha Gessen. She`s a journalist. She`s the author of “The
Man Without A Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin”. She`s also the
author of this remarkable new article on the New York Review of Books.
Ms. Gessen, it`s a real pleasure to have you here. Thanks for being with
MASHA GESSEN, RUSSIAN-AMERICAN JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: Thank you for having
MADDOW: Donald Trump is not president yet. He has not been a public
political figure for all that long. Is there any risk that this is
premature that we`re worrying too much about this sort of an outcome before
we have enough evidence to know if this is the direction he`s going?
GESSEN: Well, it`s possible. But I find this argument rather strange.
All the information that we have for now about Donald Trump is information
that he`s given us himself. He`s given plenty of it. You know, he`s
talked about jailing his opponent. He`s talked about deporting U.S.
citizens. He`s talked about compelling the military to commit war crimes.
These are things he`s said. He has not said, “I will be a normal
politician.” He has not said, “Disregard everything I`ve said, it`s just
campaign hyperbole.” So, why are we sort of insisting that we should keep
an open mind and treat him like a normal politician when so far he`s given
us no reason to suggest that he`s a normal politician and every reason to
think that he ran for autocrat and was elected to be autocrat?
MADDOW: What do you make of the inclination by all sorts of different
people, including journalists, including liberals, including conservatives
who still didn`t like him, I think there`s an inclination to believe that
it is hyperbole, to believe – to decide that he didn`t really mean it, to
hope for – not just hope for but to think the best of what his prospects
are? Why do we do that?
GESSEN: I think we always did. I think it`s a problem with imagination
because we`ve never seen this happen before. And so, something happens in
the brain. As humans we evolved to adopt and I think we evolve to be
We think that because we`ve seen peaceful transfer of power before in this
country, we`ve seen how it happens, we kind of insist on thinking that it`s
going to happen the way it`s happened before, even though again, everything
that`s preceded it is something that`s never happened before.
MADDOW: One of the things that you write about in the New York Review of
Books is this idea that institutions, even institutions that seem robust
can be undermined quickly by somebody who wants to undermine them. You
talk about the speed with which somebody like Vladimir Putin was able to
essentially undermine and dissolve the integrity of the press and
ultimately the judiciary, as well as other institutions that people thought
were pretty robust.
Do you feel that way about the United States as well, that our civil
society institutions and our court system and our press and things like
that are underminable in the same way?
GESSEN: Not in the same way. American institutions are obviously much,
much stronger. There are a lot more institutions. The system of checks
and balances is much more profound and coherent.
But the problem with it is that a lot of it is not actually enshrined in
law, a lot is not the Constitution, a lot of it is just culture. You know,
there`s no law that says that the White House has to be transparent.
There`s no law that says there has to be a daily briefing or regular press
I mean, Vladimir Putin has one press conference and year and one call-in
show. All other appearances are sort of irregular.
There`s nothing to stop Donald Trump from doing that. In fact, he`s
already started. The two things that he`s on record in doing in the last
48 hours is not allowing the press to accompany him to meet with President
Obama in the White House and blaming the press for the protests.
So, the signs for his relationship with the media are terrible. And that`s
the beginning of the destruction of democracy. And even institutions that
are actually enshrined in law, you know, they depend on good faith
participation on all sides.
This is true of the election. I mean, we had Donald Trump run for
president in bad faith. He lied in most of his statements this was
documentable and it was documented and still he won.
The system was sort of defenseless against somebody who acts in bad faith.
MADDOW: Masha Gessen, journalist, author of this new article on the New
York Review of Books which is circulating like it`s fed by lightning. It`s
called `Autocracy: Rules for Survival.” Masha, I really appreciate your
time here tonight. Thank your for being here.
GESSEN: Thank you for having me.
MADDOW: One of the things that Masha talks about in her piece, thinking
about undermining the judiciary. She says, one of the ways to undermine
the judiciary is to shock its culture. She said, watch for a Supreme Court
nominee who doesn`t just move the court to the right but that represents
sort of wreaking havoc with the culture of the high court. That`s
something that I feel like I have study in other countries and I`ve seen
happen in other countries. I`ve never even conceived of the possibility of
that happening in our country, but I`m starting to think about that now.
All right. Lots to get to tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Speaking of not going back to normal, this is a map of traffic in
Miami, Florida, earlier tonight. The red, of course, we`re all familiar
with traffic maps like this, red marks the places where traffic was not
moving at all. And in this case, it wasn`t a normal traffic jam. The
reason all these cars were stuck there tonight is because a protest about
the election took over that road.
We are now looking at day three, night three of apparently spontaneous
basically organic demonstrations in cities across America over this
election. People have been marching tonight in a very dramatic fashion in
Miami, Florida, also in Columbus, Ohio, also in Minneapolis and in Atlanta
and in L.A.
What these – tell me, control room, what`s that on that we`re looking at
right there? What city is that? That`s Atlanta.
Because what the demonstrations are trying to demonstrate, I think, is
basically a state of emergency in politics. That, of course, was a matter
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s a difference between peaceful protests and just
standing in the middle of a major highway where you`re blocking traffic
that`s going way – it`s backed up way back there, I don`t know, maybe five
miles. And what happens if there`s a serious emergency? How are the fire
trucks going to get here?
They have a message. I just think it`s just a lot of, you know, B.S.,
REPORTER: Can I ask you who you supported for the record?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Support as in who I voted for?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the record, I like Trump. I actually did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I mean, honestly, probably getting stuck in one of those protests
is not that much fun even if you don`t like Trump. Irregardless of who you
voted for. But I can tell you right now, it`s not B.S. These things are
going to go on for a while.
We`re turning the corner in day four and they are not letting up and not
getting confined to one part of the country. These are happening all over.
We`ll keep you posted.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIA BARTIROMO, DEBATE MODERATOR: Are you planning on putting your assets
in a blind trust should you become president?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: If I become president, I couldn`t care
less about my company. It`s peanuts. I want to make – I want to use that
same up here, whatever it may be, to make America rich again and to make
America great again.
I have Ivanka and Eric and Don sitting there. Run the company, kids, have
a good time. I`m going to do it for America. So I would be willing to do
BARTIROMO: So you`ll put your assets in a blind trust?
TRUMP: I would put it in a blind trust. Well, I don`t know if it`s a
blind trust if Ivanka, Don and Eric run it. But is that a blind trust? I
don`t know. I would probably have my children run it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I don`t know if it`s a blind trust if Ivanka, Don and Eric run it.
If that`s a blind trust, I don`t know.
That`s not a blind trust. If your children run it, that`s not a blind
trust. By definition, a blind trust is supposed to prevent its owner from
knowing what his or her company holds.
Donald Trump knows what his company holds, right? Known assets. Trump
Hotels, Trump golf course, Trump wine, right?
A true blind trust, if you were really going to have a true blind trust, he
would divest himself of all those known assets, he would have somebody
totally independent of him manage his assets in a way that he wouldn`t even
know what they were.
That`s not what he`s doing. In this case what he`s planning of doing is
just let the kids drive it while he`s president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF DONALD TRUMP: We can say, you know what? We`re
going to do less deals. We`re not going to do that deal even though it`s a
fine deal, it`s economically reasonable because it could create a conflict
of interest and we`ll act incredibly responsibly. My father already said
that he would put the company in a blind trust and it would be run by us.
So, he`s been very articulate on that fact and outspoken.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: If it`s a blind trust, then it can`t be run by you. If it`s run
by you, it`s not a blind – but don`t worry. We`ll act incredibly
That is an insane plan. If that`s our country`s plan for how to keep the
president of the United States from using his position to enrich himself
and his family. The plan officially is you should totally trust us. We`ll
act incredibly responsibly.
Nevertheless, the Trump Organization says tonight that they are really
going to try the pull this off. They`re going to try to do it. They
announced today that they`re in the process of transferring the management
of the Trump Organization to Mr. Trump`s children. That`s what they`re
planning on doing, that`s how they`re planning on handling this issue.
Well, at least while they`re doing that, the kids won`t be playing any role
in the Trump administration at least. Oh, wait, no, today, we also learned
that while they are in the process of taking over the Trump business, Mr.
Trump`s children will also have formal roles in managing the transition
team for the new administration, which means they`ll have major input in
terms of who Trump picks for his key administrative posts, while they`re
running his business, which obviously stands to benefit depending on
whether or not the administration does things the right way, the right way
for Trump Inc.
But don`t worry, they`re draining the swamp. And the reason you know
they`re draining the swamp is because everybody promises to act incredibly
MADDOW: Richard Engel is NBC News` chief foreign correspondent and as
foreign correspondent, you think about it, he`s not necessarily responsible
for covering a domestic election in this country.
But Richard has been covering it, and with his experience of having lived
around the world and reported around the world, he has been doing some
incredible reporting on the “oh my God” reaction around the world to this
election and also the reaction of the national security world as well.
Richard Engel`s reporting on the reaction and the context here in terms of
what`s happened here this week has been some of the most compelling
reporting and explanation I`ve heard from anyone for the duration. And,
Richard, I`m happy to say, is here next.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have to go and we have to maybe check, respectfully, the
They have to cooperate with law enforcement and turn in the people who they
know are bad. And they know it.
It`s their culture, they`re around each other, they see each other, they
know what`s going on. You got to turn them in.
I`m watching all these people about the racial profiling. I don`t believe
that for a second. These people knew what was going on.
I don`t want them coming over here. We have enough problems over here.
If you`re Christian, it`s almost impossible to get into this country. But
if you`re Muslim, you can come in.
I think Islam hates us. There`s something – there`s something there that
there`s a tremendous hatred there, there`s a tremendous hatred. We have to
get to the bottom of it.
Assimilation has not been exactly a positive factor.
Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims
entering the United States. Somebody had to bring it up. If I didn`t
bring it up, it would have never been brought up.
NBC NEWS REPORTER: Should there be a database system that track Muslims in
TRUMP: There should be a lot of systems beyond database. We should have a
lot of systems.
NBC NEWS REPORTER: But that`s something your White House would like to
TRUMP: Oh, I would certainly implement that. Absolutely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: A database to track Muslims in this country?
There`s a lot of real and understandable fear in the Muslim community right
now as Muslim Americans try to figure out what their lives are going to
look like under a Trump presidency.
Yesterday in Nashville, Tennessee, some local folks went out and chalked,
“we love you” messages, “we love you” messages and “we want you here”
messages on the sidewalk outside the local Islamic center.
People are worried about how the president-elect has singled out Muslim-
Americans. Americans who are not Muslim are worried about it, worried
about what Trump has in mind for that community just as that community is
worried for itself.
Here`s a thing you might have seen this week – there was a spate of news
reports starting on election day that says that Donald Trump`s written
proposal to ban Muslims from coming into the country, there`s news reports
that that disappeared from the Trump website. There was a little
excitement about that, about maybe now that the campaign was over and he
was the president-elect maybe the ban was done, right? Maybe now that he`s
president-elect he`d disappear that proposal, pretend like he never made
it. It turns out, nope, that`s not what happened.
Mr. Trump`s statement calling for a Muslim ban, it did in fact disappear
for a day, starting on election day, but this should have been a clue, so
did all his other policy statements and everything from potential Supreme
Court picks to defense policies. They all came down on Election Day and
that was apparently a glitch because now back on the website, all of those
policies including the Muslim ban.
Touring Capitol Hill yesterday, Mr. Trump was asked directly if he wanted
Congress to ban Muslims from entering the country. Watch his response to
that question here. This is great.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: A lot of priorities, a lot of really great priorities. People will
be very, very happy.
REPORTER: What are the top three?
TRUMP: Well, we have a lot. We`ll look very strongly on immigration, the
border. Very important. We`ll look strongly at healthcare. And we`re
going to looking at jobs, big league jobs.
KASIE HUNT, NBC NEWS: Are you going to ask Congress to ban Muslims from
entering the country?
TRUMP: Thank you, everybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Are you going to ban Muslim, ask Congress to ban Muslim from
entering the country? Thank you, everybody. That was his answer.
Joining us now is Richard Engel, NBC News chief foreign correspondent.
Richard, it`s great to have you here with us. Thanks for staying late and
being here tonight.
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Great to be with you.
How are you?
MADDOW: I`m all right. I`m wondering what you think –
ENGEL: Concerned it sound likes you are.
MADDOW: Yes, you know, I`m sort of just trying to get perspective. And
one of the reasons I want to talk to you about this is because you have
live in Muslim cultures, you`ve lived in Muslim countries, you have lived
under all sorts of different kinds of rulers and different kinds of
What do you think in terms of the fear that Muslim communities have right
now in the United States? What`s your take on that?
ENGEL: Well, I think frankly they`re trying to figure out like all
Americans, like all of us, is this serious? Is he really going to do all
of these things that he`s promised to do? Is he going to follow the
patterns of other authoritarian rulers in other countries or is America
different? Will he not be allowed to do that in this country? Are our
institutions strong enough?
And frankly, at this stage we don`t really know. There are patterns in
other countries, authoritarian country, they tend to beat up on the
religious minorities, blame everything on immigration. We see this time
and time again. Blame the media for any problems. Blame the media for
And there are patterns you can watch. You were talking about them earlier
in the show. One of them is to try and not just blame the media, but
criticize the media for being un-American. We`ve seen it many times.
What happens is somebody wins. Therefore, he has the majority of the
people by definition or the majority of the electorate with him.
Therefore, anyone who didn`t support him becomes a traitor.
If you start to hear the word “traitor” being used a lot about the
opposition, that`s a red flag. If those criticisms escalate to cancer,
that`s an even worse sign. So I think we should be listening out for
things like that.
After that, the next stage would be mass rallies by his supporters that
look potentially intimidating. And after that, to see if there`s any kind
of calls for a referendum to go right to the people to get around the
constitutional system. So, many people have studied these, the rise of
extra-constitutional powers. We`ll see if any of that happens.
So far, it`s just been a lot of campaign talk and he`s not even in office
yet. So, I think people are scratching their heads in the Muslim community
as many people are this country. Will we see this pattern happen here?
Are we immune to it in this country the way most countries have not been?
MADDOW: Richard, I had a Russian-American journalist on earlier who has
written extensively about Putin who says that what she learned about living
under Putin who she calls an autocrat, she thinks, is the sort of stuff
that Americans should start thinking about now just in advance, in case
things go in that direction.
Are you seeing that people in other countries who have lived under these
kinds of – who have lived under autocrats, who have lived under strongman
leaders, that they are recognizing in Trump in the election of Trump the
sort of warning signs or is that recognition just going to other direction
while we`re looking around the world for advice?
ENGEL: No, I think you are seeing that. And perhaps it`s hyperbole in
their cases, but in Europe where they`re watching this, they`re seeing
right now particularly in central and eastern Europe, the rise of populist
parties, sort of a disintegration of the traditional E.U. values. Right
now, they`re all saying that Trump is very much leaders like Victor Orban
in Turkey, who is an anti-immigrant, who is trying to get around his
country`s constitution by calling for referendum.
MADDOW: In Hungary, yes.
ENGEL: In Hungary, did I, sorry.
That in Europe right now, they`re pointing to Trump as part of the same
league of angry populist and they are just saying you just got one in
America. Be very, very careful. Americans haven`t experienced this,
haven`t had this kind of, haven`t had it directly, and they worry overseas
that perhaps Americans don`t recognize the signs, don`t see that this is
coming in this country.
Maybe they`re wrong. Maybe it won`t come to this country. But the
countries that have lived with it or are living with it in close proximity
right now, are raising that flag.
MADDOW: Yes. And for us, I feel like it`s a challenge in the media, but
also as citizens, it`s time for like – it`s time for us to get smart.
It`s time for us to start reading the stuff.
Richard Engel, NBC News chief foreign correspondent, it`s always great to
see my friend. Thank you.
ENGEL: Absolutely. Great to be with you.
MADDOW: Thanks. Appreciate it.
All right. We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: This was posted today. Planned Parenthood posted a list of seven
things that people can do in preparation for a Trump administration. You
can make a donation or volunteer at a Planned Parenthood facility, or
volunteer to be a political organizer with them.
Quote, `The opportunities to get involved and fight back won`t end here.
There will be more ways to take meaningful political action in the days
ahead.” In other words, buckle up. They direct their supporters to lots
of other groups that people can support for things they`re worried about
under a President Trump.
Something similar happened over at the ACLU. They`re the messages, if
Trump implements his proposed policies, we will see him in court.
Over at United We Dream, which is the immigration advocacy group, they`re
calling all young people who are living under Obama`s deferred action
program, in the 70 days before he lives office, they`re advising first-time
DACA appliers to hold off. Seventy days is not enough to process an
application and who knows what will happen under President Trump.
For organizations like that, everything they have worked for is possibly
about to get set on fire, right? This is do or die time for them. And so,
they`re sounding the alarms, they`re giving concrete advice to people on
what to do next, both defensively and offensively.
If you`re looking for a thing to do now, you can ask groups like that if
you align with their interests. I do not however suggest that you consult
with the Democratic Party right now. Don`t go to the Democratic Party`s
website right now. There`s no to-do lists there. There`s a thank you.
And then you can give them money, quote, “for the fights ahead.”
The Senate Democrats meanwhile still want you to help them elect a
Democratic Senate, which is something they failed to do several days ago.
At the House Democratic website, they still want you to tell them that
you`re quote, “in for 2016”! Really you guys? Anybody home over there?
The current chair of the Democratic Party is in that job temporarily.
She`s an interim chair. She`s supposed to leave in March. The race is on
now for who wants to be the new head of the Democratic Party. Whoever gets
that job faces the brutal loss for president, plus continued Republican
control of the House and the Senate, plus, a nearly historic level of
Republican control in the states, big, big job, right?
Senator Bernie Sanders and Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer
are lobbying for Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota, former Vermont
governor and former DNC chair, Howard Dean, has also expressed an interest.
There`s one of other candidate that we know about, though, intriguing
candidate, not exactly a long shot, but more of like a midrange shot, but I
think a lot of people will be interested in this other potential bid for
Democratic Party chair.
And on this show on Monday night, that person will be here. And we will
get that person`s announcement here live and a first chance to do vetting
of any sort in terms of how this person would change the Democratic Party,
try to get it back into fighting shape. That announcement, that interview
will be happening here Monday night at 9:00.
Ooh, aren`t you curious as to who it is? Watch this space.
That does it for us tonight. We will see you again on Monday.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
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