The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 1/16/2017
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: January 16, 2017
Guest: Cedric Richmond, April Ryan
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks to you at home for joining us this
So, we know that it didn`t end well. What I think we forget sometimes is
that it also did not start well. Richard Nixon was elected in 1968. He
was re-elected in 1972. So, that meant that his inauguration day for a
second term was in January 1973. It was his inauguration date, January
It`s almost spooky to look back at that day now because of the way we know
the way that term ended up. His inauguration day 1973, the start of his
second term, was 42 degrees that day. It was a stiff wind blowing. There
he was getting sworn in along with vice president, Spiro Agnew. We know
within nine months of that inauguration, Vice President Spiro Agnew would
be resigning in disgrace while facing corruption charges.
Not long thereafter, of course, President Nixon would be resigning in
disgrace in the Watergate scandal. That inauguration date, the start of
their second term, that day itself was a perfectly inauspicious start to
that inauspicious presidential term. The president may have been trying to
project a little youthful vigor or something or for whatever reason, he
went out that day to his inauguration, January 20th, 1973, he went out just
in his suit, he went out without a top coat.
Turns out, that was a bad plan. Once he was out there, the temperature
dropped, he got really cold and he didn`t have a warm coat of his own so he
took one off some poor Secret Service agent. That borrowed coat, the coat
he took from the Secret Service officer ended up getting donated to the
Smithsonian because it`s what President Nixon wore to his second
inauguration. It just wasn`t his, some poor cold guy defending him.
At the Smithsonian year that, at the Smithsonian Institution, what is now
the National Museum of American history, but what was then the Smithsonian
Museum of History and Technology, they held one of the inaugural balls
there that year. And that inaugural ball for Nixon`s second term, it went
bad at the Smithsonian in a very specific way.
Again, it`s at the Smithsonian Museum of History and Technology. They
apparently had had a farm life exhibit set up, I don`t know, like the
history of farming techniques in the United States or something. I don`t
But for whatever reason, they didn`t clear out the farm life exhibit from
the museum in order to make room for the inaugural ball and in the middle
of the festivities, a large, angry red rooster, a Dominique red rooster got
loose in the inaugural ball and started wreaking havoc specifically in the
$1,000 a seat VIP section. The head of the Smithsonian, luckily, was an
ornithologist. He was apparently not afraid of that belligerent rooster in
the VIP section. In the middle of the inaugural all, he came to the rescue
and used something, maybe a napkin. He corralled this poor rooster. The
little guy did apparently cause some distraction.
I`m going to quote “The Associated Press” here on their photo caption from
that moment. They say, quote, “A guest objected that she was being
molested.” A guest in the $1,000 a pop VIP box seats objected that she was
being molested by the rooster that got loose in the inaugural ball and the
head of the Smithsonian had to rescue her from the angry bird.
Nixon`s second inaugural was a piece of work. It was kind of like that. I
mean, this was the same inauguration where they also arrested a reporter
during the inaugural parade.
His name was Frank Van Riper. He was a reporter for “The New York Daily
News.” He was reportedly walking along with a couple of other reporters
alongside the parade route, sort of in parallel with the president`s
limousine as it drove Pennsylvania Avenue.
The Secret Service had apparently told these reporters it was OK to follow
along with this part of the parade. Nevertheless, police disagreed with
the Secret Service and ended up tackling Frank Van Riper, wrestling him to
the ground and arresting him right in the middle of the inaugural parade,
“New York Daily News” reporter.
And that was all separate and apart from the thousands of anti-Nixon
protesters that were there. Thousands of people turned up protesting
against the Vietnam at that inauguration.
Also that year, there was a congressional boycott of Nixon`s inauguration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The inauguration festivities begin tomorrow in
Washington. The Pentagon said today that troops are being brought into the
Capitol in case demonstrators get out of hands. Leaders of the
demonstrations said the demonstrators wouldn`t. Reportedly, 165 members of
Congress planned to boycott the inaugural because they don`t want to be
identified with the president. The Library of Congress says it knows of no
similar occurrence in the past.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Richard Nixon`s second term was, of course, a disaster. He did
not make it to the end of his second term, nor did his vice president. The
inauguration that started that disastrous second term, apart from Pat
Nixon`s beautiful coat, you look back on that inauguration and all the
different ways it went wrong, it seems like it`s a harbinger of the doom
that was about to come.
Nixon`s immediate predecessor as president was, of course, Lyndon Johnson.
Lyndon died two days after the Nixon inauguration in 1973. In 1973, they
had to cancel the festivities they had planned to go on for days after the
swearing in so instead they could make room for LBJ to lie in state at the
Capitol. It was just a miserable, dark maelstrom of an inauguration.
That`s more than 40 years ago now.
But it was also the last time there was a large-scale boycott by members of
Congress of a president`s swearing in. You heard in that NBC report there,
though, they expected 165 members of Congress to boycott Nixon`s second
inauguration. It didn`t end up being that many. It ended up being half of
that, about 80 members of Congress stayed away in 1973.
But that is the last time that a substantial number of congressmen and
congresswomen refused to show up to mark the swearing in of a new
president. I mean, there`s always a few here and there, but that was the
last time that there was any significant number of Congress boycotting.
Well, now, more than 40 years later, it is happening again. Today and into
this evening, we have been watching a similar phenomenon take place, take
shape for this year`s inauguration of the new president.
As of this past Friday night, Georgia Democratic Congressman John Lewis was
only one of a handful of Democrat representatives who said they would not
attend the Trump inauguration this week, and it might have remained a small
number had the incoming president had the discipline to not respond when
Congressman John Lewis said he wasn`t going to go to the inauguration. If
he could have just let it go, it probably would have stayed a small number
of liberal Democrats who were not going to be there.
But instead, the incoming president decided to spend Martin Luther King Jr.
weekend attacking civil rights legend, John Lewis. Great move. And so,
now lots and lots and lots of members of Congress are saying they will stay
home from the inauguration out of respect for John Lewis, if for no other
Congresswoman Judy Chu of California, quote, “After much thought, I have
decided to stand with John Lewis and not attend the inauguration.”
Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, “I will not attend the inauguration of Donald
Trump. When you insult Congressman John Lewis, you insult America.”
Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, “I will not be attending the inauguration. I
will be at home in Cleveland. I stand with John Lewis.”
Those are just a handful of them, but there`s a ton of them. We`re keeping
a running tally here at MSNBC. We`re up to at least 30 members of Congress
who have now pledged overtly by name, not anonymously, that they have said
they will not attend the inauguration on Friday. We`ll see how many
members of Congress or the Senate ultimately stay away. But this appears
to be the first large-scale congressional boycott of an inauguration since
Even before the swearing in on Friday, we are already seeing the first
large-scale protests against the new president. There were protests in
Washington this weekend, the big civil rights protests that took place in
the cold rain on Saturday. There was also an immigrant rights protests of
some considerable size this weekend in Washington, D.C. On Sunday, in more
than three dozen cities around the country, there were some surprisingly
large rallies against Donald Trump, and specifically, in defense of the
Affordable Care Act.
This was the scene yesterday in Boston. You see everybody looks a little
cold here, including Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts who you see
speaking at the podium. They had planned to hold this Boston rally inside
Faneuil Hall, which is the backdrop for these shots.
So many people turned up, they had to move what was supposed to be an
indoor event outside into the cold. So they are standing outside Faneuil
Hall. They had to because about 6,000 people turned out for that event
yesterday in Boston.
In Michigan, a Macomb County, that`s where the one where Senator Bernie
Sanders and Chuck Schumer and other Democratic leaders all made
appearances. “The Washington Post” reports that it was 10,000 people who
turned out again in January and a very cold day for an outdoor rally in
Michigan. You saw Senator Debbie Stabenow there.
Another 2,000 people turned out at San Francisco City Hall yesterday. In
Los Angeles, outside the USC Medical Center, they got very big crowds
yesterday. In Portland, Oregon, they turned out this very large – look at
that. The size of that crowd turning out in Portland, Oregon, yesterday.
There were also, incidentally, a lot of people that turned out in Portland,
Maine, yesterday. There more than a thousand people turned out in
Richmond, Virginia, yesterday.
And, you know, one thing to know about these events, these ones I`ve just
listed, all of these had high-profile Democratic elected officials at them.
So, in Boston, you saw there, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Senator Ed Markey was there as well, Boston Mayor Tom Menino was – excuse
me, Boston mayor was there.
In Richmond, it was Virginia Senator Tim Kaine who, of course, ran for vice
president with Hillary Clinton. In San Francisco, it was Nancy Pelosi. In
L.A., it was Senator Kamala Harris. As I said in Michigan, it was Senators
Bernie Sanders and Chuck Schumer and lots of other Democratic elected
officials. Two Democratic senators form Michigan there, Peters and
Elected officials turned out at these things, right, with the idea being
and this is part of the Bernie Sanders organizing effort within the
Democratic Party now, the idea being that the Democratic Party, elected
officials from the Democratic Party and the sort of grassroots, people
powered stuff against Trump, the effort among the Democratic Party now is
to make those two things one in the same, to make the organized Democratic
Party and what looks like it`s going to be a considerable anti-Trump
movement, they are trying to make those one thing, or at least to have them
pulling in the same direction.
We also saw some big events this weekend, specifically around trying to
save the Affordable Care Act – less like rallies and more like organizing
meetings. Standing room only in Kentucky this weekend at this event trying
to save the Affordable Care Act. Also, Raleigh, North Carolina, they have
a huge turnout there for an event to save the Affordable Care Act. Same
thing in Iowa, you know.
And it`s one thing organizing a save Obamacare or a stop Trump event and to
have a bunch of people turn up for that. It`s another thing – it`s
another thing to have a ton of people turn up when you`re a member of
Congress who supports Trump. You`re a member of Congress who wants the
opposite of all of those folks, if you`re a member of Congress who wants to
get rid of the Affordable Care Act, who`s going to vote to get rid of it.
If you`re a member of Congress who supports Trump, those kinds of elected
officials all over the country, they are also now starting to see their
public events be very well-attended. They are starting to see their
constituent events get overrun with people who want to give them a piece of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re at this Congressman Wenstrup`s coffee house and
I asked one of the people working for the congressman, this guy in the
plaid shirt, if congressman was going to talk to everybody here and he said
he`s going to try and I said, will he take questions from the whole group?
And he said, ma`am, that`s not what he`s here for, we`ll try.
And I felt summarily dismissed. I think he should be standing up here
taking questions from every single person here so we can all hear his
responses. This is a cop-out and chicken crap way to go, in my opinion.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re trying to take away the Affordable Care Act,
they want to defund Planned Parenthood. It`s the only place where women
can get affordable health care. I just feel like nobody cares about – I`m
going to get upset.
I feel unrepresented and uncared about and I`m sick of t it. Does he have
a heart? Does he have a heart? I can`t talk about it. I get too upset.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was in southern Ohio this weekend. The Republican
congressman there is Brad Wenstrup. I`m not sure he knew what he was in
for when he sent out this, “you`re invited” coffee with your congressman.
He sent this out this notice last week.
But this is what happened when he turned up. A huge room, very full of
people, lots of people very frustrated with him, that he hadn`t made enough
time to take their questions and when he did take their questions,
particularly on why he was voting to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, he
found that those conversations were very prickly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can`t we fit the broken part instead of starting all
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you vote 60 times to repeal it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First of all, I wasn`t there 60 times to –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many times did you vote to repeal it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A few.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s what it was like for one Ohio Republican congressman this
weekend facing his own constituents.
In Colorado, another Republican Congressman Mike Kaufman actually turned
and ran when he faced something like this. He snuck out the back of his
own event when he faced an overwhelming number of his own constituents who
were really, really not happy about him about him voting to get rid of the
Affordable Care Act.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coloradoans are divided and today more than 150 people
showed up with many wanting to ask Congressman Mike Coffman about it. More
people showed up than they planned for leaving dozens waiting for hours
with no results.
REPORTER: All they wanted to –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And there were hundreds of people here.
REPORTER: – was go into the community room at the Aurora Public Library -
- to meet with Congressman Mike Coffman.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The representative didn`t have a plan. They expected
a small handful of people to show up.
REPORTER: Instead, they came in droves. Mostly people like Bertha Ruff
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of us we were supposed to be able to be in there
REPORTER: To talk about what is going on with the Affordable Care Act.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m going to potentially lose my health insurance. I
have had a pre-existing condition. I`ve had breast cancer. What`s going
to happen to me?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were under the understanding that it was a ton
hall meeting and they only let four people in at a time.
REPORTER: And while they were all singing and waiting, police were putting
crime scene tape so Coffman could leave.
REPORTER: Six minutes before the event was supposed to end.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were told at one point everyone would get their
time and then he sneaks out six minutes early. I think he couldn`t handle
REPORTER: The statement reads, “Unfortunately, we only reserved the room
at the Aurora Central Library for 90 minutes, which is usually plenty of
time to see everyone. For those unable to see the congressman today, we
All they wanted was a voice. Instead, they got a closed door and a
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And my spouse, who had health insurance, passed away.
What do I do? You know, what am I supposed to do?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was from the NBC affiliate in Denver 9 News that happened
this weekend during a meet with Congressman Mike Coffman constituent event
at his district.
In terms of the remarkable and early protests that we are already seeing
against this incoming president, I think there`s a couple things going on
here. The first is very simple. Donald Trump isn`t sworn in yet but the
Congress already is. The Republican Congress and the Republican Congress
already is voting. They are already acting to start to get rid of the
Affordable Care Act.
Whether or not you like the Affordable Care Act, it`s inarguably true that
tens of millions of Americans have health insurance or are otherwise
benefiting personally from that legislation from what President Obama and
the Democrats did when they put that into place. There are tens and
millions of American who is have health insurance who didn`t have it
before. There are many American who is know that they only have health
insurance because of that legislation. And there are many Americans who
will tell you that they are only alive because they have health insurance
and because they have the protections afforded by that legislation.
It`s a life and death fit. And when you take something like that, that is
a life and death thing for a lot of people, you take that away, do not be
surprised when people are moved to act. So that is one thing that is going
The other thing that`s going on, though, is about this presidency as a
whole and, you know, nobody is under any illusion that all other
presidencies are great, right? We`ve had disastrous presidencies. We`ve
even had bad inaugurations. Just ask the lady who had to get rescued from
the stray rooster at Nixon`s balance at the Smithsonian.
We`ve had even presidential transitions that haven`t gone well. Even good
presidential transitions haven`t gone well. At this point in the Obama
transition, he was yanking Tom Daschle as his health secretary. He`d
already yanked Bill Richardson as his commerce secretary and Judd Gregg was
about to reverse himself and take himself out of contention as Plan B for
commerce secretary. And that was in a good transition.
Even when things are going well, stuff doesn`t always roll out smoothly.
Today in the Trump transition, they had to yank the deputy national
security adviser job from Monica Crowley after her plagiarism scandal.
CNN reports tonight that the Trump nominee for Health and Human Services
bought thousands of dollars worth of stock in a medical device firm, less
than a week before he personally introduced legislation that drove up these
stock price for that particular firm.
Congressman Tom Price still doesn`t have a hearing schedule for his
nomination to be the new health secretary. As more and more stuff comes
out about him and his ethics problems, Tom Price may never get a
confirmation hearing as health secretary. He may yet have his nomination
yanked as well.
There are problems that come up. There are – there`s sort of a normal
level of problems that you expect with any incoming administration, with
any presidential transition, even with any presidential inauguration. But
what is not normal is for 200,000 people to have RSVP`d already that
they`re going to march against the new president the day after he is
inaugurated in D.C., 200,000 people.
That Women`s March you`ve been hearing about has more than 200,000 RSVPs at
this point and that`s separate and apart from the 300 other marches
coordinated with it around the country at the same time.
Alongside that, we`re looking at a congressional boycott of this
inauguration which has apparently taken off like a runaway train in part
because it has become a way for members of Congress not just to protest
against the next president and what he`s promising to do. It`s become a
way for members of Congress to stand with a man who honestly is the single
most revered member of the House or the Senate, the recipient of the
Presidential Medal of Freedom and one of the last living icons of the civil
rights movement in America.
It is Martin Luther King Day today. I know a lot of people had the day
off. We honor the holiday. Of course, this year, it feels like we honor
it a little more than usual, because it has a little more resonance than
usual. But also because of that, oddly today feels like a damn good day to
be at work.
MADDOW: A few minutes ago I mentioned a few names of some of the members
of Congress who have come out over the last couple of days and said they
are not going to inauguration this year. Members of Congress have said
they are not going either to distance themselves from the inauguration of
the new president and there`s also a new phenomenon over the last few days,
which is that members of Congress have now come out saying that they are
not going to inauguration specifically out of respect for Congressman John
Lewis, who the incoming president attacked this weekend.
Can we roll those names we have that scroll? Yes. This scroll of names,
this is the full list of names that we`ve got so far from members of
Congress who say they are staying away. We`ve been collecting and
maintaining this list as members of Congress have tweeted or posted or
released statements about why they will not be attending.
As you can see, it`s getting to be a long list. It has actually grown by a
couple of names that we just added tonight as we`ve gotten closer to show
Here`s an interesting thing, though. We just now have a brand-new head of
the Congressional Black Caucus. He`s the new head of the Congressional
Black Caucus for this new Congress that`s just now been seated. His name
is not on that list as members of Congress who says they are staying away.
He says he has not made his decision as to whether or not he`s going to
attend the inauguration, but he`s our guest tonight, next.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: If you live in Alabama or Mississippi or Arkansas, you might have
spent part of your day today looking online for a restaurant or a business.
You might have Googled a local restaurant or business to see if they were
opened today. In those states, your online query may have been greeted by
this notice warning about store hours. Quote, “Robert E. Lee`s birthday
might affect these hours.”
And it`s not just businesses. If you wanted to visit the state capitol in
Little Rock, again, you see there at the bottom, right, quote, “Robert E.
Lee`s birthday might affect these hours.” For the record, Robert E. Lee,
slave-owning confederate general from the Civil War, dude on the right.
Dude on the left is the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Some people who saw these online notices about Robert E. Lee today got mad,
so much so that this afternoon Google apologized. They also issued a fix
for this message error, because in Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas,
business listings should not have said Robert E. Lee`s birthday might
affect these hours. What it should have said in those three states today
was this, quote, “Martin Luther King Jr. Day/Robert E. Lee`s birthday might
affect these hours.” That`s the right way, that`s the appropriate way to
do it Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas.
And I know people still don`t believe me when I say this every year, but
Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas really cannot take it that there`s a
holiday honoring Martin Luther King and civil rights. They cannot take it
that there would be a holiday to honor just him so they do it this way
instead. These are their state calendars. Third Monday in January is the
national holiday honoring Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., except in
Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas, it`s a holiday that honors him and
simultaneously Confederate slave-owning General Robert E. Lee.
Martin Luther King day has been observed as a federal holiday since 1986.
Even now, we still don`t have a full national consensus on how it should be
But even if you still feel compelled to shout out on Confederacy on Martin
Luther King Day, which they do in these three states, even people who buy
that I think would still concede that one way you do not commemorate MLK
Day is by attacking a living legend and icon of the American civil rights
movement. And if you do feel the need to spend the MLK commemoration
attacking someone who marched alongside Martin Luther King, who was a
friend of Martin Luther King, who was beaten with an inch of his life in
Selma in 1965, even then, I think everyone could probably agree that even
if you are going to do that, you still shouldn`t attack Congressman John
Lewis specifically by telling the world that he is all talk, talk, talk, no
action or results.
If we can agree on one thing that nobody should do, you would think this
would be it. But that`s how our incoming president spent the MLK holiday
Joining us now is Congressman Cedric Richmond. He is the new chairman of
the Congressional Black Caucus.
Congressman Richmond, Mr. Chairman, really appreciate your time tonight.
Thanks for being here.
REP. CEDRIC RICHMOND (D-LA), CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS CHAIRMAN: Thanks
for having me.
MADDOW: I understand this has been a very busy day for you. This feels
like a Martin Luther King commemoration this year that has more resonance
than usual. Do you see it that way this year?
RICHMOND: It does. I think that there`s a lot of concern in the country
and a lot of anxiety in that the president-elect is not adding to that.
John Lewis is probably one of the most honorable man that I`ve ever met in
And people always say that the arc of the moral universe bends towards
justice. It bends towards justice because people make it bend towards
justice. It doesn`t bend on its own.
And John Lewis`s record is one that he, through blood, sweat and tears, has
made this country a more perfect union. And in a tweet, the president-
elect of the United States chose to ignore all of that for petty silliness.
And I think that`s unfortunate and I think that the reaction throughout the
country, Democrat and Republican, black and white, is very fitting where
people are taken up for John Lewis` past, especially when you say it`s all
talk and no action.
MADDOW: Congressman Lewis got into this what ended up being a back and
forth with the incoming president after he said that he will not attend the
inauguration because he thinks that the Russian government tainted our
election, that it wasn`t a free and fair election and that Donald Trump was
not legitimately elected president.
I have to ask what your perspective is on those remarks and if you`ve
decided, whether or not, you`re going to attend the inauguration.
RICHMOND: Well, I think John Lewis certainly doesn`t need me to defend him
but I think his remarks are reasonable, especially considering what John
Lewis has seen.
And if President-elect Trump is very concerned about being viewed as a
illegitimate president, then the first thing he can do when he`s sworn in
is push the intelligence community to declassify all of those reports that
are now classified about Russian interference in the election. And for a
guy like Donald Trump, which is true and classic bullying, is trying to cry
victim now after he spent five years trying to make sure that everyone in
the country thought that Barack Obama was not a legitimate president, that
he was not born in the United States, and now for him to cry foul because
someone questioned the legitimacy of his presidency, to me is just silly
But if I have to choose between John Lewis and Donald Trump, I`m going to
choose John Lewis every day of the week.
MADDOW: Do you feel like you have to make that choice specifically around
your own decision about whether or not you`re going to go to the
inauguration on Friday? Do you feel like that`s a choice between
supporting the congressman or supporting the incoming president?
RICHMOND: Oh, absolutely not. John Lewis is a dear friend and John Lewis`
blood, sweat and tears is what allowed many he to get elected to the United
States Congress and go to the best schools in the country and get to where
I am today. And what I do know about John, not just from my gut but from
talking to him, he appreciates the individual thoughts and contributions of
And I represent a caucus now of 49 members, 47 House members, 42 senators,
48 Democrats and one Republican, and representing that body is a little bit
different. I can tell you one thing, if I were not the head of Black
Congressional Caucus, I would not be in Washington, D.C., going to the
But because I lead such a body, the question becomes a little bit different
and I have not made up that decision yet.
MADDOW: When do you anticipate making that decision and on what basis do
you think you`ll make it? I`m not pressuring you one way or the other
about whether to go or not, but I`m wondering what else you feel like you
need to either hear or learn or decide or ruminate on before you make that
RICHMOND: Well, it`s just the role of the Congressional Black Caucus.
We`ve been the conscience of the Congress since before 1971. The things
that we`re fighting for are still out there. Voting rights, civil rights,
community policing and police reform and criminal justice reform, education
reform, and fighting for those people who are trying to move into a better
income area and fighting poverty. That`s what we do on a daily basis.
And the question as an organization is just, how do we best accomplish
that? So, today, we published and sent out a list of bills that have been
introduced by members of the Congressional Black Caucus in the 114th
Congress that were stymied because of Republican leadership and those bills
would go towards solving a lot of those problems.
So, we`re a caucus that is issue-oriented and we solve our problems with
legislation and other actions. So, it`s just a real thought process about
how to best achieve our goals and to serve our purpose to not only the
African-American community but the community at large and to the world and
that`s the question that I will wrestle with. I`ll probably make the
But again, just me, if I were not the chairman, there`s no way I would be
there. But being in a different role, I think that sometimes you have to
make sacrifices. So, if I`m there sitting through that inauguration,
you`ll know I`m absolutely making a sacrifice to be there.
MADDOW: Congressman Cedric Richmond, the new chair of the Congressional
Black Caucus, this is a fascinating time to be in the job tht you are in
heading that caucus, sir. Thanks for your time tonight. And when you make
your decision, give me a call. Let me know.
RICHMOND: I will do that. Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: Thank you, sir.
All right. Much more ahead tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: I have already taken up beer drinking. I have already taken up
fishing. And because I am two-thirds of the way to becoming my very own
country music song, this weekend, I took up something very different. This
weekend, I took up shopping.
I`m not usually much of a shopper. But I bought something. My girlfriend
will not let me bring this thing that I bought into the house. That means
it`s probably going to have to come here to work, maybe to the set
somewhere. It`s my personal best new thing. That`s coming up.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Nobody likes to get things wrong. For example, I extemporaneously
noted this hour that the mayor of Boston was at the giant 6,000 people save
the Affordable Care Act anti-Donald Trump rally that happened in Boston
yesterday. The Boston mayor was there.
That said, the Boston mayor is not Tom Menino. That`s the late great mayor
of Boston that`s no longer with us. I said it was Tom Menino. That`s not
true. The mayor of Boston is, of course, Marty Walsh.
I`m very sorry about that. Getting things wrong is no fun.
It turns out, though, it`s also not a lonely enterprise. Our incoming
president did an interview yesterday with “The times of London” where he
discussed his very provocative views on how obsolete he finds NATO to be.
He said, quote, “There`s five countries that are paying what they`re
supposed to. Five. It`s not much from 22.”
President-elect implying there are 22 countries in NATO. There are not 22
countries in NATO, Mr. President-elect. There are 28 countries in NATO.
They are all important.
But it happens. You know, sometimes a fact slips through the cracks.
Other times, news just changes and it is no longer is what you said it
would be. For example, on Wednesday, this past Wednesday, which is the
15th anniversary of the opening of the prison at Guantanamo, we reported on
Wednesday that the Obama administration had come to the end of its transfer
of prisoners out of the Guantanamo Bay prison. They were no longer going
to be sending any more prisoners out of Guantanamo.
It turns out, wrong. Last week, they did transfer four men from Guantanamo
to Saudi Arabia. We thought that was it. We thought that was the last
No. Today, we learned that another ten Guantanamo prisoners are heading to
the nation of Oman. That leaves 45 prisoners still at Guantanamo.
And within the next few days, we think there are another five who are
likely to be transferred out over the next few days. That would leave a
total of 40 men in Guantanamo when President Obama leaves office – 40 out
of the 242 that were there when he came into office.
So, 40 men at Guantanamo when Donald Trump takes over. That will be your
benchmark. What do you think that number will be a year from today?
Watch this space.
MADDOW: President George W. Bush had a dog named Barney.
Behold Barney having a bad day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look over here, Barney.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is Ms. Beasley sleeping?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Nap time for her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How you doing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ooh!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he get you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He totally got me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Bad dog, Barney.
That was two days after the 2008 election, two days after Barack Obama beat
John McCain. You can tell Barney is not happy about some new family with
some new dog moving in on his turf.
Turns out that reaction, not just Republican dogs. Sunny Obama reportedly
bit a White House visitor on the face last week when she went in to pet
him. Thankfully, she was not hurt too badly. But she did get a nasty nip.
Take it from presidential dogs, change is hard. But Sunny and Bo and the
rest of the executive branch are making plans to get out of D.C. after the
inauguration and the president is not biting anyone on his way out. Some
of the important details about what`s going to happen with the first family
and where President Obama is going after the inauguration, some of those
details are still a little wooly in an intriguing way. We`ve got more on
that in just a second.
MADDOW: On Friday, after the inauguration, President Joe Biden will ride
the Amtrak train home to Delaware one last time. Mr. Biden commuted on the
train to Delaware pretty much every day in his 36 years that he was Senator
Biden. He will do it one last time as Vice President Biden this week so we
know what his escape route would be on inauguration day.
For President Obama, though, we don`t know what he`s going to do. This is
what it usually looks like when an outgoing president leaves D.C., when the
new one is sworn in. You`ve got the iconic shot of the helicopter whisking
the old president off the White House lawn one last time.
The chopper takes the outgoing president to Andrew Air Force Base, so he
can hitch one last ride on his old plane, which is no longer called Air
Force One anymore, since he`s not the president anymore.
And then that`s it, the president gets flown on t hat plane to his new
home, wherever that maybe. Which brings me to my next question, where will
President Obama be flown to at noon on Friday? Because this is the White
House, and this is President Obama`s new house, which is two miles from the
White House, seriously. It`s like a 15-minute bike ride.
President Obama and the first lady could put bike helmets on, grab leashes
for Sunny and Bo and just pedal off to their new civilian lives down the
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest says President Obama he will take
a final spin on the former the Air Force One after the inauguration. He
says he will leave for a destination yet to be announced. The White House
is being so tight lipped on this, we have to rely on unexpected sources
like TMZ, who reports tonight that the first family will be heading to Palm
Springs on Friday. OK. Maybe.
We really don`t know what President Obama`s exit from public life is going
to look like, unless he`s going to take the helicopter two miles down the
road and have them drop him in his new front yard which would be awesome,
we really don`t know. I don`t think they let you do that anymore if you
are not the president in any case.
That said, we do know that on Wednesday, President Obama will give his last
press conference ever as president of the United States. He has given 64
press conferences as president. On Wednesday, this will make the final
And we`ll have lots and lots of questions, not just what he thinks of the
last eight years but what his next few years are going to look like.
Joining us is April Ryan. She`s White House correspondent and bureau chief
for American Urban Radio Network. She was also bringing us full circle,
the reporter who took that video of Barney, the dog taking a chunk out of
the reporter`s finger back in 2008.
April, it`s great to see you. Thanks for being here.
APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORK: Hi, Rachel. It`s great to be
MADDOW: Well, I`ve got to ask, if have anymore insight than the rest of us
do into what you think President Obama and the first lady and their family,
what they`re planning either right after the inauguration or for this next
year or so?
RYAN: Well, I have gotten more insight into the full scope of the next
couple of months. Where they are going right after they leave the White
House, that`s still a number, we are hearing it`s a warm place. So, TMZ
maybe right, but we hear it`s a warm place.
But, Rachel, from what I`m understanding, for the next three to four
months, the president is going to rest and be very quiet. And then after
that, he`s going to get very involved in the next generation of leaders.
And it`s not necessarily about politics, according to sources close to the
He`s going to deal with My Brother`s Keeper. He`s going to stay involved
in that. It`s also about youth leadership and then he`s also going to look
at his center. The center is going to look at ways to move the ball
forward versus looking back at the past.
And, you know, many of the White House sources that I`ve talked to,
particularly this evening, they say it`s basically about all of us, not
necessarily just one person. We, the people, yes, we can. So he`s trying
to, in the next couple of months after he takes this long needed break,
he`s going to talk about pulling us together and looking at the next
generation of leaders.
And again, it`s not necessarily all about politics. So, that it`s about
the center. It`s about his efforts to be a private citizen and civic
MADDOW: April, with have heard some reporting with this former Attorney
General Eric Holder, that the president might have some interest in working
on some of the structural aspects of politics, redistricting,
gerrymandering some of the things that affected the tilt of the playing
field when it comes to elections.
Do you have any sense whether that`s still on the horizon for him?
RYAN: Yes, he will be working with his party. He is a successful
president of modern times. He will soon be a former president of modern
times, a successful former president of modern times. He will be active
with the party to bring up new leaders.
But, again, my sources close is saying it`s not going to be all about
politics. It`s about the next generation and looking forward and trying to
build up civic engagement more so. So, it`s not just about politics. It`s
going to be a much broader field for him.
MADDOW: April Ryan, White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief
for American Urban Radio Networks – April, I`ll be looking forward to
talking to you this week. It`s been too long since you have been here.
Hope to have you back soon.
RYAN: I will be back. Call me.
MADDOW: Thanks. It`s good to see you.
All right. We`ve got the best new thing, next, which is great. The one
I`m very excited. My girlfriend, less so.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Best new thing in the world.
All right. This is a life-size wax replica of Lyndon Baines Johnson.
Pretty good likeness. This is Jimmy Carter, which is not bad. Looks like
he is maybe getting over the flu, but still.
Bill Clinton, yes, I don`t know what happened there. This was a tough one,
Mamie Eisenhower. She will haunt your dreams.
These were all from something called the Hall of Presidents in Gettysburg,
Pennsylvania. They maintain a complete and regularly updated set of our
nation`s presidents in wax since 1957. They also have wax figures of all
the president`s wives, but the wives are one third size for some reason.
Alas, though, after 60 years, the Hall of Presidents in Gettysburg just
closed down. Maybe they didn`t want to make a Trump. At the end of
November, they shut their doors. This weekend, they auctioned off all 44
of their life-size wax presidents, as well as all of their tiny, one third
Look, here`s one lucky bidder hauling away Zachary Taylor. Whoever Harry
Truman got his head separately in a box, which is creepy. Also – death in
Also, Truman`s wife Bess strapped in to a car next to Chester A. Arthur`s
sister who performed the duties of first lady during his administration.
They`re in their seat belts there.
Here`s what so exciting, why I`m tell you this, here`s the best new thing
in my world today – we got one. We got our own life-size wax president.
Would you like to see it? Are you ready? Can I have a fake drum roll?
Ding. Yes. We are now the proud owners of this life-size wax sculpture of
president – can you tell? I know it looks like your uncle after a rough
night, but according to the auction catalogue, that number 225 is not
because he`s in a marathon, that is President Eisenhower. Life-size wax
figure in casual clothing and sitting position, reclining, super casual
Dwight David Eisenhower went for more money than I am comfortable to tell
you about, because Susan is not psyche about it. But it went for a fifth
of what Abraham Lincoln went for. It was a steal.
Here`s the catch. Our senior producer Trisha McKinney (ph) did the bidding
but did it by phone. Our life-size Eisenhower is still in Gettysburg,
Pennsylvania. They told us we need to get it out of the auction house by
As you might imagine, it is difficult to ship a wax former president
especially when in a seated position. That can mean only one thing, road
trip. Ha, ha!
One of our esteemed producers is going to have to drive to Gettysburg in
the next 72 hours or so to pick up Dwight Eisenhower. Kelsey (ph), I`m
warning you, wax Ike does not count as a passenger for the car pool lane
even though you will be tempted.
We`re going to keep you updated on our progress in securing our life size
seated, casually dressed Dwight David Eisenhower. His addition to our
family here is without a doubt the best new thing in the world.
Susan told me if I bring him near our home, it`s over. So, he will be
coming to the office. We got Ike.
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.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY