Trump speaks to South Korea’s National Assembly Transcript 11/7/17 The Rachel Maddow Show
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: November 7, 2017
Guest: Mark Warner, Sue Mi Terry
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I am used to seeing you juggle a lot of things
on the air, Chris.
MADDOW: I do feel like – I`m used to watching you juggle with your hands.
You just started using your feet, too.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, ALL IN: South Korean legislative assembly and
Ralph Northam`s headquarters which are always on cable news split screens
anytime you put it on.
MADDOW: Exactly. And David Ignatius bringing it all full circle –
MADDOW: – in terms of talking about the international implications of
these results. Well done, my friend.
HAYES: All right. Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
There is a lot going on. Happy Tuesday, happy election day.
It is clear already that this is a big election night for Democrats.
Before we get into the details of that, let me just say what`s going to
happen over this hour that I`m responsible for.
Right now, it is 9:00 p.m. on the East Coast in the United States. Right
now, it is tomorrow. It is 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday in South Korea.
So, President Trump is in South Korea. He`s about to address the South
Korean parliament. This is the first time a U.S. president has addressed
the South Korean parliament since the earlier `90s when Bill Clinton was
there. It`s certainly the first time any U.S. president has spoken
anywhere in the Korean peninsula since this president threatened that he
would totally destroy North Korea.
It`s the first time any American president has traveled to the Korean
peninsula since President Trump threatened North Korea with fire and fury
like the world has never seen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: North Korea best not make
any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury
like the world has never seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was August. That was President Trump`s red line promising
what he would do if North Korea made any more threats to the United States.
North Korea responded immediately to that red line by threatening to bomb
Guam. Then, they shot missiles over Japan, then they tested a hydrogen
bomb. So, that red line thing didn`t work out awesome.
While the president prepares to address the parliament in South Korea
tonight, we`ve got eyes on that. We`ve also got our first electoral
results from this off-year election night tonight.
So, it is sort of a split screen night but the election results are in,
sort of earlier than we thought they`d be.
The most closely watched race in the country tonight is the Virginia
governor`s race, Republican Ed Gillespie, former chair of the Republican
National Committee, very high profile Republican, who almost unseated
Democratic Senator Mark Warner in 2014. Ed Gillespie facing the Democratic
Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam. Polls closed at 7:00 p.m.
Now, Ralph Northam had been ahead in early polling. Ed Gillespie had
gotten closer in the polls in the last few days. A lot of people thought
this was going to be a squeaker. We`d be up really late tonight waiting
for the results, if they were going to come in tonight at all. That is not
how it turned out.
Just one hour after polls closed right around 8:00 p.m. Eastern, NBC News
did project the winner of the Virginia governor`s race as Democrat Ralph
Northam. That means Democrat Terry McAuliffe will be succeeded in office
by his current lieutenant governor who was also a Democrat. It also means
that the best chance the Republican Party had for a gubernatorial pick-up
this year is now dead, because the other governor`s race tonight is in New
The race to replace Republican Chris Christie who is still a high profile
national political figure, even while his 14 percent approval ratings at
home make him not just the least popular governor in the history of New
Jersey, by some measures, Chris Christie is the least popular American
governor of any state ever in the history of American polling.
No surprise, within three minutes of the polls closing at 8:00 p.m. tonight
in New Jersey, NBC News was able to project that Democrat Phil Murphy will
be the next governor of the great state of New Jersey. He defeated
Republican Kim Guadagno whose political experience serving as the
lieutenant governor for seven years was really the opposite of an asset for
her in this election.
So, those are the two governor`s races tonight, already a big night for
Democrats. Democrats securing both of those governorships.
We`ve been watching those governor`s races. We`ve also been watching a
bunch of other very interesting races tonight, including some that might
be, you know, watch them all night down to the wire races. Don`t worry.
We`ll be live into the wee hours tonight as results continue to come in.
But I want to bring in the conversation now, NBC chief foreign
correspondent Richard Engel. Richard Engel is live tonight for us,
tomorrow for him in South Korea. He`s in Seoul.
Richard, thanks very much for joining us tonight. It`s great to have you
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: It`s good to be with
you. It`s now just after 11:00 in the morning on Wednesday, and we`re
waiting for President Trump to address the parliament here. And so far
during this trip, he has been quite diplomatic. He has been not giving
those fire and brimstone kind of speeches.
In fact, yesterday, he was talking about North Korea should come to the
table. We should all sit down and have talks.
But he has arrived with a big show of force, three aircraft carrier strike
groups, an extra submarine. They`re about 32,000 troops here. So, while
he`s saying, yes, we should talk, he is also carrying a very big stick.
So, we will see what kind of rhetoric he brings to the parliament.
There are many people in this country who are not comfortable with the fact
that he is speaking to parliament. Yesterday, there were quite a few
people on the street demonstrators with a single slogan: no Trump, no war.
They think that this president, unlike his predecessors, is pushing this
region to a brink and that if that were to be crossed, there could be an
enormous war and that this country and this city in particular Seoul would
suffer tremendous casualties and tremendous consequences.
MADDOW: Richard, we`ve heard tonight that there was an effort by the White
House, an effort by the American government to send President Trump to the
DMZ. That effort was aborted because of thick fog, because of bad weather.
We had been told explicitly by the White House that the president wasn`t
going to go there, but then they apparently made this attempt.
Do you have any insight into what they were trying to do that DMZ visit as
an unannounced surprised?
ENGEL: Well, I was told that it wasn`t going to happen. When you were
told specifically, it`s not going to happen, the president is not going to
go there, you start to think, well, is he going to do that? Is that
So, by saying and laying out the case that, no, no, he`s never going to go
to the DMZ, he`s not going to go to the North Korean border, it would have
been very much like President Trump to then decide he`s going to order the
helicopters around. He`s going to go there himself and go to the border.
But apparently, the weather was not cooperative and that trip got aborted.
MADDOW: Richard, I sort of hate to ask you this but I feel like I have to.
Is there anything that could really go wrong tonight with the president`s
speech? Is there anything that he could say or do here that would really
be dangerous in terms of the threat of the war with North Korea, in terms
of anything that could threaten our allies in the region?
ENGEL: Yes and yes. There are many things.
We`ve been speaking to a lot of analysts, military experts, retired
military officials. We have an entire hour as you know full well on Friday
about this very subject. When you have so much force in the region and you
have the alignment of the political stars as they are right now where you
have Xi Jinping in China feeling empowered after he was just given a new
mandate, you have President Trump with this enormous appetite for
brinkmanship, you have Kim Jong-un, young leader also with a huge appetite
for provocations, when you have these three leaders right now at this
moment where the North Korean missile program and nuclear program are
advancing to a stage where the U.S. says it is an intolerable risk, then
any miscalculation could send things out of control here.
There is a risk that by sending the wrong message, if he comes out again
and it`s insulting to the North Korean leader, if he starts issuing more
bellicose threats, then the real concern is with so much military power
with these leaders who are in charge right now, that you get a
miscalculation from a fighter pilot, from a sub commander, something
happens a small escalation, it goes into a bigger escalation. And so, yes,
there is a real concern that if he doesn`t watch what he says, that things
could – things could escalate.
MADDOW: Richard Engel live for us tonight in Seoul. Richard, I know we`ll
be checking back in with you after the president`s speech. Thanks for
being with us right now to set things up my friend.
MADDOW: Again, we are waiting the president`s live remarks. We`re waiting
for the president to start speaking. He should`ve started couple of
minutes ago based on the guidance that we have, but we expect that this
will be shortly.
I do want to recap the major domestic news of the night as we`re waiting
for this address by the president, and that is that there have been two
governor races tonight. One in New Jersey, which was won easily by the
Democratic candidate there, Phil Murphy, who was running against Chris
Christie`s lieutenant governor.
So, the current governor of New Jersey is a Republican, Chris Christie. He
is a spectacularly unpopular governor at home. His approval ratings in New
Jersey are on the order of 14 or 15 percent, which makes him among the
lowest polling governors ever in the history of American polling in any
state. Kim Guadagno being his lieutenant governor did not help her against
Phil Murphy tonight and Phil Murphy has won that race. NBC News projects
him to be the winner.
A less – a more surprising result tonight, I guess maybe not surprising
but certainly not as much as fait accompli, was the Virginia Democrats
winning the governor`s race there too. Ed Gillespie defeated tonight by
Ralph Northam, the Democratic candidate and the current lieutenant governor
of the great commonwealth of Virginia.
Joining us now live is Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner.
Senator Warner, thanks very much for being with us. I know it`s been short
notice. We`re happy to have you.
SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA: Hey, Rachel, how are you doing?
MADDOW: I`m really good. You ran against Ed Gillespie. He gave you a run
for your money in 2014.
A lot of Democrats watching this race tonight were worried that the polling
in Virginia tended to understate how Republicans did there, but this has
been a big win tonight for Ralph Northam.
Are you relieved? How do you feel?
WARNER: I am, listen, Rachel, I feel great. This is a voice that was
across not only across Virginia, but all across the country. People are
tired of the kind of approach that Donald Trump is brought.
You know, I want to thank you for continuing to try to bring out the truth
that we are pursuing as well and people are saying, enough, enough of
hatred, enough of division and what we`ve done in Virginia, kept our eye on
the ball. We`ve got a great current governor, Terry McAuliffe.
Ralph Northam tonight is leading a sweep not only of all our statewide
elected officials but a whole host of our House of Delegates. It is a
great night not just for Virginia Democrats, but for people who say our
country is better than what we`ve been getting from Donald Trump.
MADDOW: You mentioned that statewide sweep tonight. We have now NBC News
project the winners in the governor`s race, the lieutenant governor`s race,
and the attorney general`s race. Democrats winning all three of those
statewide races tonight.
We`re continuing to watch the results come in from those hundred House of
Delegates races. The Republicans have a tremendous lead heading into
tonight in the House of Delegates, 66 to 34. Democrats would need to pick
up 17 seats tonight in order to take control of that House.
Do you think that`s within reach for Democrats tonight?
WARNER: Rachel, who knows? None of us – we were hopeful but we didn`t
really expect it to be able to take it back. But I think what`s happening
is, this is the first time since Donald Trump was elected that Americans,
in this case, Virginians, have had a chance to have their voices counted.
You know, and we`ve come so far in Virginia. Sixteen years ago, Tim Kaine
and I, I was governor, Tim Kaine was lieutenant governor, 16 years ago,
Virginia was as red a state as any state in the country. Every statewide
elected official was Republican.
We`ve come back now because Virginia Democrats know how to govern. We know
how to get things done. And tonight, this is both a win for Ralph Northam
and his great ticket and a lot of House of Delegates but it is also a very
I hope we`ll be heard across the country and for that matter, across the
world. We reject the kind of division that Donald Trump has put forward
and frankly, and I know I`m not supposed to say nice things about folks in
the media, but people want to know the truth about many of the things that
took place in 2016.
MADDOW: Senator Warner, you`re just talking about this being potentially a
bellwether in terms of how this relates to what`s going on in national
politics, is there a special sauce? Is there a describable approach in
terms of how Virginia Democrats approached this tonight that other
Democrats in other states or other Democrats nationwide might build on in
terms of trying to rebuild Democratic success in the Trump era?
WARNER: Well, you know, there`s often times in Washington and elsewhere, a
lot of kind of internal naval gazing. You know, in Virginia, we thought
about we don`t want to leave anybody behind. We did very well in urban
areas. We did well in suburban areas. We still got more progress to make
in rural communities.
But there`s a young man, I want your audience to look at named Chris Hurst.
He ran, he was a reporter whose girlfriend was shot on air in a horrible
tragedy a few years back in the most rural parts of southwest Virginia.
He`s winning by huge margin tonight.
So we`re showing that Virginia Democrats can win, not just in urban and
suburban areas but rural areas as well. I think we`ve got a message that I
hope that the rest of the national party will take going forward, because
there`s a lot more elections to take on in 2018.
MADDOW: Virginia`s Democratic Senator Mark Warner. Senator Warner joining
us from a celebration tonight in Virginia – thank you for your time, sir.
Looking forward to having you back on the show again soon.
WARNER: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. Joining us now, joining us in a just a moment is Steve
Kornacki, who`s MSNBC`s national political correspondent. We want to stay
closely focused on what`s going on in Virginia. As we heard Senator Warner
say there, a Democratic sweep of the statewide elections, a very
interesting situation unfolding in terms of the control of the state
legislature there. We`re going to talk to Steve about that.
I should also tell you in the immediate moment, we`re also waiting for the
president to start his remarks tonight in South Korea. You see a live shot
there of the South Korean parliament.
Steve Kornacki, what are you watching right now in terms of that
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, what it has
to do with is the coattail effect here. It`s Northam, you can see now,
look, he`s edged up at eight points. I`ll tell you, we`re in territory
that we haven`t been in Virginia more than 30 years.
The last time a Democrat won a governor`s race in Virginia by a margin of
eight or better, you got to go 1985, it was a ten-point margin then. This
thing is creeping up. This thing could get even higher still when you look
at some of the areas still to come.
Look, I think the overall headline story here, the reason this has
potential implementations for 2018, think back to election night last year.
Donald Trump got elected. And what we were talking about? We were talking
about that class divide, the college/non-college split, that 40-point
margin that Trump got with non-college white voters, carried him in those
Rust Belt states.
We`re seeing the other side of that tonight. You`re seeing the college
degree half of that. The suburbs here in Virginia, northern Virginia
around Richmond, you`re seeing margins. You`re seeing turnout that we did
Zoom in and I can show you what we`re talking about here. This is the D.C.
suburbs and go through.
Ed Gillespie, basically the model for Ed Gillespie, the idea for Ed
Gillespie was this – Donald Trump got blown out in these suburbs last year
by a margin worse than Republicans usually do. The Gillespie model was to
get back to the losses that Republicans usually got here, a respectable
I`ll give you an example of what happened, though. Take a look up here in
Loudoun County tonight, Gillespie lost this by 20 points.
KORNACKI: The margin in this country last year, when Donald Trump was on
the ballot, was 17. This is worst than Trump.
How about this? Ed Gillespie ran for the Senate in 2014, he won this
county. So, Ed Gillespie`s goal was, get back to my 2014 levels here and
then get the Trump levels in rural Virginia, but you don`t see it anywhere.
Take a look here, take a look in Arlington – 80 percent tonight for Ralph
Northam the Democrats. That`s more than Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton
got 76 percent here, last year. This is an improvement.
So, you`re seeing a turnout and you`re seeing a level of support here for
the Democrats that is much more than was expected and extends to look down
in Virginia. Take a look here. This is a place when Ed Gillespie ran
three years ago, the margin was here was about 13 points. It explodes, he
loses by 23 points. This is a Trump gap.
You`re seeing – the whole theory for Gillespie was you play those cultural
hot button issues and you run up the Republican support in southwestern
Virginia, but you do it in a way that doesn`t sacrifice, doesn`t get you
stigmatized like Trump did in the suburbs. He got the stigma. He got the
stigma and maybe even more.
And the implications for 2018 with that is, look, you talk about those
districts, those Hillary Clinton districts that have Republican incumbents
and those places where Hillary Clinton was competitive that have Republican
incumbents, these suburbs look like they haven`t moved at all since
election night 2016. If they have moved at all, it`s even further away
from Donald Trump.
You`re seeing energy. You`re seeing a desire to vote against Trump and
against Republicans because it was Trump issues that Ed Gillespie ran on.
And we talk about that coattail effect. These are fluid. These are
subject to change. These are about three minutes ago.
You said 17 is the magic number. If Democrats want to get the House of
Delegates in Virginia, they need a net gain of 17. As of about three
minutes ago when I was handed this, you had 10 that were in the bag for
Democrats, 10 Republican seats that they had won. You have seven
Republican seats that they are leading in, 10 and seven, 17.
Now, those seven not official yet. So, it`s a fluid situation but it is
possible. Democrats will end up tonight. They`ve won the governorship,
they`ve won the attorney general`s race, they`ve won the lieutenant
governor`s race. Nobody thought this was really a gain tonight.
They may win the House of Delegates too. That would be a sweep that was
unimaginable 24 hours ago when people were talking about it. Oh, my
goodness, Ed Gillespie could win this thing.
MADDOW: Steve, I have one update for you and then I have a couple of
clarifying questions. I want to make sure I understand what`s going on in
Virginia. The update is that we just heard from the South Korea parliament
that President Trump is working on his speech. They`ve made some sort of
announcement that he`s working on his speech.
They`ve asked people to hang out and wait for a minute before he gets ready
to go. We had expected the speech to start about 15 minutes or so ago. We
now know that the president is apparently still working on it. So, we`ll
stay watching for that.
Let me ask you, though, in terms of this – the overall tide that we`re
looking at in Virginia here. We get Northam winning. We get him winning
by more than the polls suggested he was going to win by. The state senate
is not up in Virginia right now, is that right?
MADDOW: And the state senate is very close. The state senate is like 21-
19, Republican control.
KORNACKI: Right, right.
MADDOW: With the Democrats winning the other statewide seats, they win the
attorney general`s office, Mark Herring stays on as Democratic attorney
general. We also get a Democratic lieutenant governor, Justin Hendricks?
KORNACKI: Justin Fairfax, yes.
MADDOW: Fairfax, excuse me. Justin Fairfax win as lieutenant governor,
that`s interesting because that`s the only second African-American
statewide elected in Virginia ever, in the history of Virginia. But if
somebody in the Virginia state senate could be persuaded to switch parties,
he would become the deciding vote as lieutenant governor if there was going
to be partisan pressure in the senate.
The only way that kind of pressure could be created is if Democrats also
take the legislature, take the House of Delegates. Now, all 100 seats in
the House of Delegates are up, right?
MADDOW: Democrats need 17.
How unlikely are the ten that the Democrats have picked up already? Are
those the ones that you expected them to get in a win this big? Are those
ten already exceeding?
KORNACKI: Yes, what you`re starting to see the coattail – it`s – you
know, the highlight race that you`re talking about earlier, that`s in
Prince William County. We can show you right here. Let me – I`m always
scared to touch this, and try this, and make sure we get it right.
Perfect example here. Prince William County, I got to look down at my
notes just to make sure I got this right. But here is the story of what
happened tonight. In 2014, here`s the sort of suburbs, excerpts from
Washington, D.C. This was a three point loss for Gillespie in 2014. It
was – it turned into a 17 point loss for Trump, 23. The margin just
exploded against Republicans.
MADDOW: Steve with us tonight, and throughout the evening, as we watch
President Trump is about to begin his remarks in Seoul, South Korea, before
South Korea`s national assembly. This is obviously a time of intense
heightened tension with North Korea. The president was due to visit the
DMZ today, tried to visit was pushed back by heavy fog.
As the president is at the dais and about to begin his remarks, I want to
let you know that we`ve got here as part of our coverage tonight, nuclear
expert, Joe Cirincione. We`ve also got Sue Mi Terry, who`s a senior fellow
for – Korea chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Sue Mi, can I just start with you briefly as we`re waiting for the
president to start his remarks. We were talking about Richard Engel about
worse case scenario, things that really could go wrong in the president`s
Are you bracing for danger tonight in terms of the president`s remarks or
are you expecting a more traditional diplomatic speech?
SUE MI TERRY, SENIOR FELLOW, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL
STUDIES: Well, we`re always bracing because you never know with Mr. Trump
and I`m sure South Koreans are bracing themselves for anything to go wrong.
I mean, they`re used to Mr. Trump`s rhetoric about totally disregarding
North Korea and even calling Moon Jae-in, President Moon, appeaser. I
mean, we`re always bracing.
But I do think that Mr. Trump and I`m hoping that he will stick with the
script because he really needs to show South Koreans that they can trust
Mr. Trump with their security, that Trump is trying to get South Korean on
board on getting tough on North Korea policy. We need to get South Korea
and Washington on the same page, so I hope Mr. Trump does that tonight and
stick with the script for once.
MADDOW: In terms of the idea of him having a script, we just had this shot
moments ago showing Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, H.R. McMaster,
the national security adviser, and Jared Kushner, presidential son-in-law,
who are all in person there at the national assembly waiting for this
speech to begin.
Joe Cirincione, MSNBC nuclear security analyst.
The Pentagon said this week, heading into these remarks by the president
tonight, that there is no way to independently secure North Korea`s nuclear
arsenal in the event of some kind of conflict. Absent a massive American
ground invasion of North Korea, what are you expecting tonight from the
president in terms of just the military and the nuclear part of his
JOE CIRINCIONE, MSNBC NUCLEAR SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, what the Pentagon is
telling the president and what his adviser is telling him is that there is
no good military option. There`s no military solution here. If you start
a war, even if a powerful U.S. push, you have no guarantee that you can
find the nuclear weapons and that the North Koreans will not use the
nuclear weapons short of a complete ground invasion.
Well, that is not the kind of scenario the president wants. It may be why
his tone in South Korea has been more muted than previously. Why he`s
making a nod towards diplomacy, emphasizing diplomacy first in South Korea
whereas he just left Japan where the president of Japan, Abe, said this is
not the time to talk.
What`s unclear is which position Donald Trump really holds. The
bellicosity that we`ve been hearing up until name, or the statements he`s
making. It`s an erratic, somewhat incoherent policy.
Experts are divided. Some people think this is a strategy. Some people
think it`s a psychosis.
Whatever, it`s been a policy that has failed. It is driven the North
Koreans into a mutually reinforcing cycle of escalation that brings us to
the brink of war. The fear that I have –
CIRINCIONE: – is that we could stumble into a war.
MADDOW: The president`s remarks beginning right now in the South Korean
(TRUMP SPEECH HERE)
MADDOW: President Trump wrapping up his remarks to the national assembly
in South Korea, in Seoul. It is just coming up on 10:00 p.m. on the East
Coast in the United States. That means it is coming up on noon tomorrow,
Wednesday in Seoul, South Korea.
The president making lengthy remarks tonight, started a little bit late,
but coming almost right to top of the hour tonight.
You see First Lady Melania Trump there. He is also joined in the chamber
by his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, by Secretary of State Rex
Tillerson and by his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who appears to have
overlapping and wide responsibilities, particularly in diplomatic and
international matters, although they are somewhat poorly defined when it
comes to Mr. Kushner. But he is there.
In terms of the content of the president`s speech tonight, certainly
bellicose, as is the president`s wont.
As far I am willing to be corrected on this matter, but as far as I hear
this, I do not think there was anything actually new announced by the
president or called for by the president tonight. It is remarkable to hear
an American president basically denigrate the possibility of negotiation or
diplomatic solutions to conflicts like the ones that we – like the one
that we have with North Korea.
But from this president, that is – that is not a surprise. Lengthy
complimentary remarks for his South Korean hosts in the first half of his
speech and confrontational bellicose rhetoric towards the north for the
second half of his speech. And the president now preceding his way out of
That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow, what has been
– this has been a remarkable night of news. And I have to tell you,
MSNBC`s live coverage continues late into this evening as we continue to
follow the response to the president`s remarks. But also what`s turned out
to be a very, very, very big election night for Democrats.
Now it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
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