Governor Inslee quits 2020 Presidential race. TRANSCRIPT: 8/21/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.

Jay Inslee, Lee Gelernt

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA):  I think getting them onboard to have

responsible gun ownership and alienate those that are not responsible is

the future there.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST:  All right.  Congresswoman Eric Swalwell, and

Carol Leonnig, thank you both.


That is ALL IN for this evening.


“THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now.  Good evening, Rachel.


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Chris.  Thanks, my friend.


HAYES:  You bet.


MADDOW:  Much appreciated.


Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.


It was so hot to begin with.  And then the increase in hot air in the

immediate vicinity was so rapid, so relentless that at least one reporter`s

cellphone just up and passed out.  It wasn`t that the battery died, the

phone died from heat exhaustion. 


This was reporter Jennifer Jacobs at “Bloomberg”.  That sweaty gaggle

lasted nearly 40 minutes in almost 90-degree D.C. heat.  One reporter`s

cell phone auto shut down due to the hot temperature midway through Trump`s



The ambient heat and humidity was bad enough, but after all that talking,

one reporter`s phone goes into auto shutdown mode.  You know, that happens

to me too, not just my phone, it happens to me, just me as a person. 


They don`t do press briefings at the White House anymore like, you know,

normal ones, with the press secretary and people being allowed to sit down

inside the briefing room.  Those are gone now in the Trump era. 


What they`ve replaced regular press briefings with is this new system where

the president likes to yell things at reporters over the rotor wash from a

nearby helicopter and he does it not on any sort of regular schedule just

without warning whenever he feels like it.  Well, today, the president held

along one of these one of the ones where I think he really tried to push

everybody`s buttons.


The president is now denouncing the prime minister of our ally Denmark. 

He`s calling her nasty.  Yes, that will get some headlines. 


The president attacked American Jews for a second straight day today,

saying they have dual loyalty because they`re Jews.  Americans of other

religions apparently don`t have that kind of dual loyalty or his suspicions

of dual loyalty, but Jewish Americans do because of their religion.


The president today called himself the chosen one, literally he said that

about himself.  I am the chosen one – which was particularly nice after

what he said about the Jews and after he this morning retweeted someone who

called him the king of Israel.


The president today once again said he plans to stay in office longer than

two terms.  He says he plans to stay another ten or thirteen years, who



The president today reversed himself on background checks for guns, after

he reversed himself the other way on that yesterday, and he reversed

himself on it the other, other way on that a few days previous. 


He reversed himself today on a made-up tax cut that he might do, might not

do.  Might do, might not do, ask me again tomorrow. 


And so, I am sorry for the auto shut off of the reporter`s phone in that

heat today while the president talked and talked and talked and talked and

talked.  But you know what?  Maybe that phone is trying to tell us

something if the president`s words are not at all a reliable indication of

whether something that he`s attesting to is, in fact, true.  When his words

even about his own opinions and his own plans and his own actions are

likely to be rendered moot by the very next thing he says on the subject

the very next time he addresses it, because he`s more likely than not to

contradict himself entirely, even when only talking about himself.  If the

purpose of the president even talking to reporters screaming over the

helicopter noise is just to have the attention of those reporters, so his

otherwise sort of meaningless words will get conveyed, but when his words

are conveyed to the American people, that results in the American people

having less information and not more, then why do we do this? 


I mean, then maybe it is time to go into auto shutoff mode, right, from the

heat, from the hot air at least.  The headline at “Politico`s” daily

newsletter today was one of those things where I shouted at my computer

screen, yes, finally.  Yes.  Their lead headline today for their lead story

running down all the ways the president has instantly contradicted himself

over the last few days on every conceivable subject, their headline today

was, quote: The case for tuning out the White House.  Or as we`ve been

putting it here on this show for a few months now, watch what they do, not

what they say.


And I think this is a well-earned mantra for this most unusual presidency. 

At this show, we have tried to follow this as best we can as a general

rule, from the very first indications we had that they were always lying to

us every time they talked, every time they put someone on TV – including

on this show – every time they were asked for comment.  It was always,

always, always untrue.


Even though I believe this is the correct way to treat this administration

with all my heart I have to also say though that honestly just as a

citizen, this is a weird principle, right?  I mean, this is – it is

awkward to not feel like it`s appropriate or responsible to pay attention

anything – to anything that is said by the White House or specifically by

the president.


I mean, I know this president does deserve that treatment, but it`s also

hard because there is only one president of the United States, and so

telling yourself that in order to be responsible about the news and what`s

going on in our country, you have to ignore everything he says, it`s just



Imagine having a president again where when he or she says a thing, that`s

a good reason to believe that thing is true or that thing will come to

pass, or that`s an adequate reflection of the president`s true feelings or

plans or actions, right, because the president said so and therefore you

can take it to the bank. 


I mean, we`ve had that with good and bad presidents in the past.  We might

have that again someday in the future if this particular presidency hasn`t

broken the institution entirely. 


Well, tonight, after a particularly round-the-bend, barking at the moon day

of craziness from the Trump White House, tonight, on this show, we are

going to do two things. 


First, we are going to report on what they are doing, not what they are

saying.  Some of what they are doing today is truly startling.  And we`ve

got one of the lawyers here tonight who I think is likely to stop this new

latest Trump policy from ever going into effect.  It`s a new policy that

involves locking up immigrant kids, so we`re going to be talking about



But, tonight, we`re also going to be talking to one of the Democrats who

has spent these last few months vying with 20 or so other members of his

own party to try to replace this president. 


Washington Governor Jay Inslee launched his presidential candidacy this

year, saying the purpose of his campaign was climate change.  He has

aggressively put the issue of climate forward as the center of his message,

the center of his campaign, and as what he says ought to be the center of

what the Democratic Party as a whole is offering the country right now. 


Jay Inslee`s pitch was basically, not just him, but all the Democratic

candidates ought to be running on climate. 


But his campaign has not ended up being like a one note John Cage symphony. 

Inslee has been in there throwing pushes on everything.  I mean, climate,

yes, but also everything, including the current president. 




CHUCK TODD, DEBATE MODERATOR:  Greatest geopolitical threat to the United

States right now?  Go ahead, Governor Inslee. 


GOV. JAY INSLEE (D-WA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  The biggest threat to the

security of the United States is Donald Trump. 


I am proud of standing up for unions.  I`ve got a plan to reinvigorate

collective bargaining so we can increase wages finally.


I`m the candidate who has the strongest gender pay equity laws in the

United States.  I`m a person who has pardoned thousands or offered pardons

to thousands of people for marijuana convictions.  I have a streak of

justice and accomplishment that I think is unique in this field, and I

think prepared me to be the next president of the United States. 


For decades, we have kicked the can down the road on climate change.  And

now under Donald Trump, we face a looming catastrophe.  But it is not too

late.  We have one last chance.  And when you have one chance 234 life, you

take it. 


I think we`re missing two central statements we need to make.  Number one,

we can no longer allow a white nationalist to be in the White House, number

one.  And number two – 




Number two, we have to make America what it`s always been, a place of

refuge.  We got to boost the number of people we accept, I`m proud of in

the first governor saying, send us your Syrian refugees.  I`m proud to be

the first one to stand up to Donald Trump`s Muslim ban.  I`m ready to have

sued him 21 times and beat him 21 times in row.  I`m ready for November





MADDOW:  Joining us now for the interview tonight is Governor Jay Inslee of



Sir, it`s great to have you here.  Thank you for coming in.


INSLEE:  Thank you for having (ph) me again.  I appreciate it.  Yes.


MADDOW:  So, that was like a little lily pad tour of what Americans – 


INSLEE:  Thank you.  I appreciate it.


MADDOW:  – are seeing from your campaign thus far. 


INSLEE:  I appreciate being called a thug (ph) in the race. 


MADDOW:  Well, you know, I mean, here`s – it`s a little bit of this is

your life, but in a very condensed way. 


INSLEE:  There you go.  There you go.


MADDOW:  This is your life on the campaign trail. 


But I understand that you are here tonight to make some news. 


INSLEE:  I am.  Listen, this show has been so good to me.  This is sort of

the bookends of my campaign.  We started saying climate change had to be

the number one job in the United States.  I felt very good saying that the

first days of my campaign.  I feel very good saying that now. 


And the reason is, this has become more urgent.  A billion tons of ice

melting in Greenland at the end of the day.  But we`ve also had so many

people I`ve met who are inspiring, who want us to act, who have helped me. 

We had 130,000 people help me in this campaign. 


But it`s become clear that I`m not going to be carrying the ball.  I`m not

going to be president.  So, I`m withdrawing tonight from the race. 


But I have to tell you, look, I`ve been fighting climate change for 25



MADDOW:  Uh-huh.


INSLEE:  And I`ve never been so confident of the ability of Americans now

(ph) on each critical mass to move the ball.  I believe we are going to

have a candidate to fight this battle.  I`m inspired to the people I`ve met

across the country, the young people in the sunrise movement, and the

climate strikers, these people give me confidence we can move ahead. 


So, I`m not going to be carrying the ball, but we`re going to make sure

somebody else.


MADDOW:  Do you feel like the entry that you made into the race saying –

and you – I mean, looking back at your launch video today, and you were

like, let me – basically, let me keep it completely clear – 


INSLEE:  Right.


MADDOW:  – people are going to call me a one-note candidate.  Yes, I`m a

one-note candidate.


INSLEE:  Right, right.


MADDOW:  That`s what it`s about.


INSLEE:  Right.


MADDOW:  By being so aggressive on that one point, even with you getting

out of the race now, do you feel like, to a certain extent, you did put

this more on the agenda, you did cause other candidates who may end up

carrying the ball to be more aggressive on this issue? 


INSLEE:  You bet.  I don`t think there`s any question about, that we`ve had

real success in the effort.  First, we`ve actually proposed a real plan, a

robust plan that will get us off fossil fuel. 


MADDOW:  A multipart plan. 


INSLEE:  You bet, it is. 


MADDOW:  But lots of people did one climate plan.  You did the first part

of your climate plan, then the second part, then the third part, then the

fourth part.  I mean, it`s more than a road map, it`s an atlas. 


INSLEE:  It`s a governing doctrine, not a campaign slogan.  And it`s now

open source.  So, whoever our nominee is can use – can use that.


I think we started kind of an arms race of candidates, to see who can raise

their ambition level, and that`s helped them become more ambitious.  I

think that we`ve now advanced the dialogue to have debates. 


Look, I hope the party is going to have a debate.  They`re going to vote on

that tomorrow.  But your network and others are going to have a forum.  So,

we clearly have raised the profile on this. 


But we`ve done something else I think, we gave people hope.  So, the

grassroots has responded to this message of young people all over the

country moving forward.  I mentioned that we had a big boost of support. 

We had 42,000 people help us, since I finally got to talk about it in the

second debate. 


So, I don`t think there`s any question that we have had success moving the

needle.  And so, I think this has been a positive experience and I`m

hearing from people who are happy we`re in it.


MADDOW:  Are there other candidates – is there a particular other

candidate who is still in the race who you feel like has a bang-up climate

plan, someone you feel very confident in?  I mean, do you feel like you

were way out ahead of all your competitors?  Or is there somebody you can

endorse specifically on this issue tonight in terms of knowing what to do

and how to do it? 


INSLEE:  Well, I think, you know, my plan has been called the gold

standard.  And I believe that`s accurate, because it has meaningful ways to

make sure we get off coal by a certain date.  We get off fossil fuels off

our electrical grid by a certain date.  And we need to accomplish those



So, I`m going to help all the other candidates raise their level of

ambition on this, to get to my level, and I`ll be encouraging to do that. 

I`m going to work with them, and I hope others will encourage folks as

well.  Look, this is a dynamic process.  I think people are going to



These forums we`re going to have, they`re going to be required to compel to

come forward and show us the real plan that you have.  All of us can play a

role in this, I believe we will have a candidate to remove the climate-

denier from the White House, and I`m going to be there with them.  We`re

going to be a unified party. 


MADDOW:  Let me ask you, nuts and bolts question on that point.  Is there

somebody who you are planning to endorse early in the process?  Is there

somebody who you want to throw your support to now, conversely? 


INSLEE:  Uh-huh.


MADDOW:  Is there anybody who`s still in the field right now who you think

you might not be able to support if they ultimately get the nomination?  Is

there anybody you`re really not comfortable with in terms of you

potentially working to elect them? 


INSLEE:  No, I`m going to support the Democratic nominee –




MADDOW:  No matter who it is? 


INSLEE:  You bet, it is.  I know these candidates.  Every single one of

them is 100 percent better than the current occupant.  No question about



I`m not endorsing a candidate tonight.  I think a number of them have

intriguing ideas, but we need all of them to raise their game. 


Here`s the reason.  You know, you can argue with politicians but you can`t

argue with science.  And the science is clear.  Look, when you have Siberia

on fire, which it is today, when you have heat waves, when it`s 108 in

Paris.  When the Everglades, the day we landed in Miami for the debate that

you moderated, 40,000 acres of a swamp was on fire. 


So, we can`t argue with science.  We`re going to ask all the candidates to

raise their game, I`m going to help them.  You`re going to help them. 

We`re going to beat Donald Trump and beat the climate crisis, I feel good

about that. 


MADDOW:  Let me ask you a little bit – I feel like because you just

withdrawn from the race, that may free you up a little bit to really speak

your mind about what this has been like. 


INSLEE:  It`s good television.




MADDOW:  Well, tell me.  I mean, you just said pointedly at the second

debate, I was really able to say what I meant to on climate change. 


INSLEE:  Right, right.


MADDOW:  I was there at the first debate.  Do you mean that at the first

debate, you felt like we didn`t give an adequate attention?  Do you feel

like the debate process has been either unfair or inappropriate in terms of

how it`s dealt with the issues?


INSLEE:  Well, listen, I think – I think we truly need a climate-centered





INSLEE:  Look, this is a complex issue.  This involves mobilizing the

entire United States economy.  And you really can`t do that in just 60

seconds for all the candidates to have 60 seconds or 120 seconds. 


MADDOW:  I don`t think the DNC is going to do it, though.  I mean, the DNC

hasn`t said they`re going to do any issue-focused debates. 


INSLEE:  Call your DNC tonight and ask them to vote on a resolution



MADDOW:  Fair enough.


INSLEE:  But your forum is going to be productive. 




INSLEE:  And I think that`s going to be – going to be helpful. 


Yes, this is a complex issue.  And we need to require the candidates to

step up to the plate and show us what they`ve got.  If they do that, good

things are going to happen, and I think that is going to happen across the



MADDOW:  What do you think – what do you think of this gigantic field of

all your colleagues you`re running with?  I mean, I think there`s still I

think roughly 20 people in the running.  I think 10 people so far qualified

for the next debate.  


The question as to whether or not you were going to get there in the next

debate on polls, you were going to get there in terms of your fund-raising. 




MADDOW:  Is the gigantic field hurtful to the process, but in terms of

picking a robust nominee, but also in terms of articulating the kind of

stuff you wanted to get out there? 


INSLEE:  No, I think we`re going to be just fine ultimately, you know?  And

this is difficult from my perspective because once we got a real climate

message in the second debate, we had a huge burst of support, we had 32,000

people just in three weeks – 




INSLEE:  – actually send us support.  But in my case, it broke a little

late to be able to catch up and get the polling where it needed to be. 


I just believe we are going to be fine.  I`m encouraging people to be

active as much as they can to get the right nominee and I think we`re going

to have one.  Look, unity is going to be the central message of the

Democratic Party. 


We have to beat Donald Trump.  We have to be unified.  I`ll make some

decisions perhaps later in the race, but right now, my job is to help

people raise their vision statement.  I hope they`ll do it.


MADDOW:  If anybody asks you to be their running mate, would you say yes? 


INSLEE:  I will have some statements tomorrow about my intentions.  So,

you`re going to have to wait until tomorrow about my intentions.


MADDOW:  You will have statements tomorrow about your intentions? 


INSLEE:  We`ll have statements tomorrow.  We want to keep – we want to

keep you on suspense.  I need to go back to the state of Washington and

talk about what I`m going to do in my future political career. 


So, tomorrow, maybe I can talk to you more about that. 


MADDOW:  I`m going to press you anyway.  You could run for governor again

in the great state of Washington. 




MADDOW:  And you are making this – presumably, you are considering whether

or not you`re going to do that. 


INSLEE:  And I`ll make a statement tomorrow about my intentions in that



MADDOW:  You know, it`s very close to tomorrow right now. 


INSLEE:  But I can tell you, being governor of the great state of

Washington is a tremendous job and I love it.  I will tell you that.


MADDOW:  All right.  I`m starting to get a hint. 




MADDOW:  Do you think given what you were just saying about the debate

process, given the size of the field, what you`ve been through – 




MADDOW:  You are a free man.  You can now speak with absolute oneness about

this process.


INSLEE:  Thank you very much. 


MADDOW:  Not like you`re not a free man either.


But do you think that other people should get out now.  Would that be

helpful in terms of the Democratic Party unifying stopping the process of

tearing each other down enough to build each other up more towards the

general?  Are you happy for as many people as possible to stay in as long

as possible?  Do you think it matters?


INSLEE:  I think that`s – it`s an individual decision.  I hope they will

make it based on what`s good for the country.  I`ve made a decision tonight

that I`m not going to be the nominee.  There are other avenues for me to be

very effective in pushing the climate change message.  Tomorrow, I will

talk about an avenue in that regard. 


And so, I hope people will make a decision what they think is good for the

country.  And I think we`ll be fine as a party. 


Look, people have had a belly full of what has gone on.  You`ve talked

about that today at the top of your show.  We just need to get to the

business of unifying the party.  I believe we will do that. 


I`m not full of anxiety about this.  I`m full of hope.  I`m full of

confidence on climate change. 


Look, when you meet people around the country who are designing the new

businesses and hiring the new people for new jobs and the young people who

are kicking the old people in the fanny and saying, get off the dime and do

something, this is a time we should be optimistic and confident.  I think

that`s a winning strategy. 


MADDOW:  One of the things that has I think been this weird background

music in the presidential campaign all along has been that when you ask

Democratic voters right now, what do you most care about, you get all sorts

of interesting answers on policy. 




MADDOW:  Particularly with young people. 




MADDOW:  You got climate change as a big priority issue.




MADDOW:  And, you know, health care is definitely an issue.  Immigration is

definitely an issue.  But the thing – the background – the soundtrack to

this campaign for Democratic voters all over the country is that they want

somebody who can beat Donald Trump. 


INSLEE:  Right. 


MADDOW:  And that`s what you`ll get more than you`ll get any one policy

volunteer.  Even with the kind of passion you`re describing in your issue

and others. 


INSLEE:  Yes. 


MADDOW:  I wonder from this perspective, having just made this decision

about your role in national politics – 


INSLEE:  Uh-huh.


MADDOW:  What`s your take on that is that imperative, I`ve always said to

Democratic voters or Republican voters, listen, your job in the primary is

to not – you know, you`re not making a final decision.


INSLEE:  Right.


MADDOW:  You`re participating in a group decision with other people in your

party about who you like the best.  Vote your heart. 




MADDOW:  And when it comes to a gaming it out decision about the right

thing for other people later, save that for the general election. 


INSLEE:  Right.


MADDOW:  Vote your heart in the primary, your head in the general. 


Democrats are trying to vote their head in the primary right now.  They

just want someone who can win. 


I feel like it`s a little bit frustrating, I don`t know what to do about

it.  What`s your take on that? 


INSLEE:  Well, I`m kind of with you on this.  Here`s what I think – look,

if we knew who was the most electable against Donald Trump, maybe it would

make sense to make I decision just on that basis. 


MADDOW:  Uh-huh.


INSLEE:  But, frankly, there`s no way of knowing.  This is an unpredictable

process.  We don`t know how the general electorate will behave.  Each

candidate has certain strengths that may emerge to become more important. 


So, I`m of a view, at least in my decision, I`m going to decide someone who

I believe can be a credible president who will be the most effective of

things that I think are the most important.  I`ve made it very clear in my

view, we have the most important issue that faces us, is the climate change

crisis, because a lot of the things we can do maybe next year, this is not

one of them.  This is the one we have to make at the top as the first order

of business.


So, I`m going to look for a candidate I think who will be most effective. 

Now, you know there`s a lot of other things I care about.  First one will

be against the Muslim ban.  First, gender pay equity.  Biggest teacher pay. 

A lot of things I care about.


But this is something that cannot wait.  So I`m going to look for a

candidate that I think can be the best president, that can actually lead

the nation in this direction, I hope others will join me. 


And they will beat Donald Trump.  I`ll tell you why.  He demonstrated where

he was weakest last week.  It`s really interesting – he did a tell. 


You know, the poker thing when you have a tell?


MADDOW:  Uh-huh.


INSLEE:  He gave us a tell.  He showed us where he`s weakest, because he

came out and said, I`m an environmentalist.  Why would someone say

something so ridiculous and unbelievable? 


The reason is, because he knows that`s his weakest point.  People distrust

him the most on environmental issues.  So, I think we should attack him at

his weakest point with our strongest candidate.  We need to find that

candidate.  We need to drive him right down the middle and drive him out of

his office.  So, I`m looking forward to that candidate. 


MADDOW:  Governor Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington, tonight declaring

he`s withdrawing from the presidential race – I want to tell you, sir,

it`s – I really appreciate the trust that it takes for you to come here

and make that announcement here. 


INSLEE:  There`s no – 


MADDOW:  I`m sure this isn`t (ph) your favorite night of the campaign.


INSLEE:  The worst news at the best place with Rachel Maddow. 




MADDOW:  I`ll make t-shirts on that. 


INSLEE:  There you go, right.


MADDOW:  Thank you.


INSLEE:  Thank you.


MADDOW:  I really appreciate it. 


All right.  Much more to get to tonight.  Please do stay with us. 




MADDOW:  It has been delayed and delayed and delayed and delayed and

delayed.  But today, the sentencing for Trump national security adviser

Mike Flynn just got another delay.  They were finally ready to go ahead

with this, but apparently they still aren`t. 


The judge overseeing Flynn`s case today says that they`ve got a few more

days.  He now wants written responses from both sides in the Flynn case by

the end of this month.  He wants responses from both sides about Flynn`s

cooperation with prosecutors and whether there`s anything else the judge

needs to know before he goes ahead with the sentencing before he finally

moves on to considering whether or not he might set an official sentencing

date at sometime in the future, hopefully, while we are all still alive. 

That happened today.


Meanwhile, of course, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is now serving

a seven and a half year federal sentence while awaiting the start of

proceedings on his state criminal charges in New York.  But you may

remember from Manafort`s federal trial.  Manafort`s deputy on the campaign,

Rick Gates.  He has turned out to be one of the most important and

interesting cooperators in all of these cases.


I mean, technically, Flynn was a cooperator, but that seems to have gone

off the rails.  Technically, Manafort was a cooperator, but that definitely

went off the rails.  That`s part of why he`s in prison right now.


But Rick Gates` cooperation does not appear to have gone off the rails, at

least as far as we know.  Rick Gates, the Trump deputy campaign chairman,

testified against his former boss Paul Manafort.  He was basically the

government`s star witness at Manafort`s federal trial.  Well, now, here`s

an announcement that we got today in federal court that I did not see

coming.  We`re about to see Rick Gates on the witness stand again,



Rick Gates himself is still awaiting sentencing.  His sentencing has

already been delayed I think a half a dozen times while he continues to

cooperate with prosecutors.  Again, the whole basic idea is the more you

cooperate, the more of a break you get on your own sentence. 


Well, tomorrow, we learned that Rick Gates will be back on the witness

stand in another Mueller derived case.  Rick Gates tomorrow will play the

part once again of the prosecution`s star witness, this time though not

against Paul Manafort.  This time against Greg Craig, President Obama`s

first White House counsel who`s on trial for lying to the government about

sort of a Ukraine-related scheme that he was caught up with Paul Manafort

in before the 2016 campaign. 


Rick Gates being on the stand tomorrow I think is likely to be the marquee

moment of the Greg Craig trial.  So far, things seem to have been going

pretty rough for Greg Craig at this trial.  That said, he`s only up on one

felony charge and he is contesting it vigorously.


We don`t know if rick gates is going to take the stand in the morning or in

the afternoon but we will all be watching for what he says whenever he says



Meanwhile, when it comes to not Trump scandal related to Trump campaign

personnel, but when it comes to Trump policies, we`re also expecting a huge

legal fight over something the president just announced today and that

story is next. 


Stay with us.




MADDOW:  We`re going to be talking in just a moment about the new policy

announced by the Trump administration today that is going to have a fight

for its life in court even before it is put into effect a new policy from

the Trump administration concerning how to treat immigrant kids and how

long it wants to lock them up for.


In a moment, in this few minutes though before we get to that story, I do

want to call back to what just happened here at the top of this show, which

is that we just heard from Washington Governor Jay Inslee that he is

withdrawing from the presidential race.  Now, this is not news that leaked

in any way shape or form before he was here on this show tonight.  So, it

is landing as a surprise.


I want to tell you, the reason I`m going back to this now is because some

of Jay Inslee`s fellow candidates, candidates who are still in the race are

reacting in real-time to this news that we just broke here moments ago.  So

I just want to share that with you a little bit.


Senator Kamala Harris, a leading candidate who is a California senator,

just posted this, quote: Few leaders have done more to shine a light on the

climate crisis than Jay Inslee.  His voice will be missed in this primary

but I know he will continue this fight.  That was again just posted from

Senator Kamala Harris at her official campaign Twitter site. 


I think that we`ve also just gotten a tweet from Elizabeth Warren, Senator

Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.  Do we have that?  We could put up on



Senator Warren has also just posted a message of support in response to Jay

Inslee announcing that he is dropping out of the race. 


Again, though, this is information that candidates are responding to in

real time because this is something that he just did live here without any

advance notice that this was going to happen.  We have that Elizabeth

Warren tweet?  Can we put that up there?


Elizabeth Warren: Thank you, Jay Inslee, for fighting every day to make

sure that climate change remains a primary focus of this election.  Climate

change is real and it`s a crisis, and I will keep fighting alongside you to

take bold action before it is too late.


Again, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren both responding to this breaking

news tonight from Jay Inslee. 


I believe right now that we`ve got on the phone my dear friend Joy Ann

Reid, who is not running for president but who was also reacting to this

news in real-time, had no advance notice this was going to happen but just

saw it happened here live.


And, Joy, I just wanted to find out your take on this and how you think

this is going to affect the race to have Jay Inslee dropping out?


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST, “A.M. JOY” (via telephone):  Hey, Rachel, always good

to talk to you.  I can tell you that I was also surprised as I was watching

your show, which is what I do at this time of night.


MADDOW:  You`re very kind.


REID:  I was surprised by his announcement.


I`ll tell you what, Jay Inslee, because he was one of the few single issued

candidates, right, he had this lane of being the climate guy the only other

candidate who has that lane at all is Tom Steyer, and he hasn`t you know

registered enough in the polls to be in any of the debate, so I think he

becomes one of the key endorsements that people are going to want. 


He comes obviously with a lot of credibility on the climate issue.  He`s

spoken to it really passionately throughout the debates and throughout the

campaign.  And so, I think for a lot of the remaining or whoever however

many are left, he`s definitely somebody that you would want an endorsement



He`s also sort of a moderate, but, you know, progressive moderate governor. 

So, I think he becomes pretty significant endorsement for someone.


MADDOW:  Yes, and I would put him as a sort of a practical progressive more

than a moderate.


REID:  Yes, that`s true.


MADDOW:  But which I think is true almost of anybody who`s in an executive

role.  You end up being a pragmatic whatever it is that you are.  But it`s

interesting.  I mean, Inslee was qualified for this – the next debate, the

September debate, in terms of the number of donors he got, which is very

interesting.  He maybe wasn`t going to get there in the polls.  I mean, he

might`ve, it`s – you know, there`s still another week by which people can

put together poll results.


But it is interesting I think you`re right that the influence that he had

in the race is not going to be seen in terms of the number of voters he was

necessarily going to mobilize and who`s going to get the Inslee voters and

the Inslee donors.  I think his influence on the race is going to be

measured by the credibility that he brought to the issue of climate change. 

It wasn`t just what he was running on. 


He raised the bar in terms of what was expected from all the candidates

when they tried to talk about climate change.  He made it so it couldn`t

just be like a check the box, yes, I`m green.  They all had to get way more



REID:  Right, and I think, you know, people underestimate the power that

the climate change issue has, particularly with younger voters.  As he was

talking, as I`m watching your show and watching him make his announcement,

my youngest son watched it, too.  He was like, wait, he`s dropping out? 

Climate change like he immediately, you know, Inslee is climate change for

a lot of younger voters, and this is an issue that doesn`t get nearly

enough play really in the media because, of course, the Trump tsunami is

every day.


But this is an issue that really resonates with younger people.  My other

son, my middle son, or our middle son came home tonight and was telling me,

you know, about these rain forest fires, that this is what people his age

are talking about.  He`s in his early 20s. 


So, I think we underestimate that climate change is an issue that can

really deliver with younger voters and because no other candidate has

really taken that issue on the way Inslee has, if he decides to endorse

them, it`s not that he was bringing tons and tons of voters, but he brings

that passion and credibility he could actually be pretty significant if he

decides to bless one of these other candidates.


MADDOW:  I think that`s right.  And I do think that he because he kind of -

- he – he`s not only prioritizing climate change because he thinks that`s

a good issue to run on, he has – I mean, he didn`t have a climate change

plan.  He had a multi-part plan that he rolled out new parts of every

couple of weeks.  You know what I mean? 


And he did – 


REID:  Yes.


MADDOW:  – he said tonight, hey, my plan is open source, it`s a governing

plan, it`s there for anybody to run with, because he upped the game in

terms of the amount of detail and thought that people have to put into the

issue, I do think that he sort of set the standard for what that other

candidates will have to rise to it.


Let me ask you one last question about this, Joy, and he would not say on

my show tonight what it is that he`s going to announce tomorrow, but he

talked about, you know, loving being governor of Washington state.  He said

he`s going to make a big announcement tomorrow.  He talked about needing to

go home to Washington.


Political careers, you know, at the federal level and the state level, tend

to interact in unpredictable ways.  My feeling if Jay Inslee is going to go

home and run for another term as Washington governor, my feeling is that

this presidential campaign didn`t hurt him in that regard, that he ran –

he didn`t run a successful campaign, he`s dropping out, he maybe wasn`t

going to make the next debate, but he ran a campaign that didn`t embarrass

himself, that probably – that definitely raised his national profile, and

that might put him in even better stead with Washington voters. 


I don`t know if I`m just feeling that way because I think it was a classy

way for him to leave the race tonight.  And so, I`ve got stars in my eyes. 

But I wonder how you – how you think this race that he just left might

affect his prospects at home if he is going to run for governor there?


REID:  Well, listen, I think, you know, there are a couple of different

reasons to run for president, right?  Like there are some people who are

sort of in a way running for the name ID that they could get them on the

ticket, even if they don`t think they have a realistic shot of getting the

race, not that anybody doesn`t really need to win.  Everybody intends to

win, but if you don`t get there, there is a lot of benefit. 


His name ID is now much, much higher.  He is positively associated with

being probably the smartest public voice on the climate change issue.  He

definitely set the stage for himself to be able to do something next.  Yes,

it would definitely help him run for another term, but I think there`s a

lesson in really and I think you used the right word, the classy way that

Jay Inslee ran this race, and I think it`s a message to people like, you

know, Governor Hickenlooper, that there is a way that you can pivot out of

this race into other opportunities. 


And you know one of the biggest sources of anxiety for a lot of Democratic

voters is the number of candidates for president that come from states that

have a Senate seat that could be contended by a Democrat, and it could

maybe be one.  And so, I think as people like Jay Inslee drop out, I think

you`re just going to hear even more from a lot of base Democrats who do

have some anxiety and would love to see some of these candidates use the

opportunity they`ve created for themselves in the name recognition and the

money they`ve raised to roll into other opportunities at the state level,

whether it means running for the United States Senate or running for

governor.  It wouldn`t surprise me if there was a bit more pressure on

other candidates polling in the ones and zeros to at least think about

doing the same thing.


MADDOW: Yes, and to try to do it the way that Inslee is doing it, to try to

do it on his own terms with his head held high with respect from everybody



Joy Ann Reid, thank you for joining me on zero notice, and thank you for

being in our show tonight.  Next time, I`ll call you in advance and plan

this.  I just couldn`t let the story out ahead of time.  You know how I am.


REID:  That`s the way – you know, I was live-tweeting here so anyway.  I

was here with you anyway.


MADDOW:  God bless you, my friend.  Thank you, Joy.  I owe you, my friend. 

Thank you.


REID:  Thank you.


MADDOW:  I will say, to that last point that Joy made, let me just speak to

the remaining Democratic candidates who are still in the race right now. 

Obviously, not all of you are going to make it to the end, you all know

that.  Some of you may know right now that you are going to drop out of the

race.  Think about how you are going to drop out of the race.  Think about

what you want your exit message to be.


Your exit message maybe the most powerful moment that you have in the race,

particularly if you do it well and if you do it in a place and on terms of

your own choosing, where you get to articulate both what why you ran, why

you`re leaving and what you plan to do next.


I will also say I`ve done a lot of long-form interviews of a lot of people

as they were getting into this race, I would be happy to do long-form

interviews with people as they are getting out.  You all have my number.


We`ll be right back.




MADDOW:  Right now, the U.S. government does not have a secretary of

homeland security.  The U.S. government also does not have a chief of

customs and border protection.  The U.S. government also does not have a

chief of immigration and customs enforcement.  The government also does not

have a chief of the U.S. citizenship and immigration services.


And all of those agencies have similar sounding, overlapping names, I know. 

But together, those are all the agencies that do immigration stuff in the

U.S. federal government. 


And there is no one formally in charge of any of those agencies right now,

up to and including the whole Department of Homeland Security.  They`re all

run by acting officials who`ve been slotted in there after the last people

running those agencies left or were fired.  It`s all short-termers. 


No one confirmed by the Senate.  No one who`s been vetted at all in any way

except by the White House, which is great at that, because it`s the White

House that appointed these folks to run all of these agencies on just an

acting basis.


Well, in the time that no one has officially been running any of the

agencies that handle immigration for the U.S. government, the Trump White

House has unveiled their three, most radical anti-immigrant policies since

the Muslim ban.  Just in the past few weeks, with the past few weeks with

nobody running all those immigration agencies, they have announced their

new plan to basically block people from applying for asylum in this



They announced their new plan to make it so that only people with lots of

money and maybe private health insurance are allowed to immigrate to this

country at all, you know like all our ancestors did, all our rich, rich

immigrant ancestors who fled here seeking a safe place to park all their

piles of cash, right?  All their stockholdings and their excellent private

insurance plans.  You know, everybody`s family story goes like that, right?


They`ve just now today announced their third major policy change in recent

weeks which is a plan to indefinitely imprison immigrant families,

immigrant families and specifically kids who crossed the border.  Under a

new rule proposed by the Trump administration, they`ll be held literally,

indefinitely, at the pleasure of the Trump administration, with no rules

anymore about how long they`re allowed to hold even little kids who are

held alone and apart from their families.  It`s kind of like Guantanamo

where 18 years after 9/11, were still today holding people that the

military picked up in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attack.  They`ve

been held there for 18 years with no trial, with no charges.  It`s so weird

– that`s such a weird anomaly in American governance that we have to hold

Guantanamo offshore in another country, that`s our prison in Cuba because

that`s so weird.


Well, now, they want that kind of an indefinite detention capability for

immigrant families and kids who may have committed no crimes whatsoever. 

There`s a legally binding consent decree that requires the federal

government today to not hold kids longer than 20 days.  The Trump

administration has been breaking that order frequently as well, as other

restrictions in that rule on the conditions in which kids are supposed to

be held.


A lot of what we know about the terrible conditions kids have been held in

by the Trump administration is because of lawyers who are charged with

enforcing that court order, that settlement.  Those lawyers have been

allowed in.  They must be allowed into those facilities to see if the

government is in compliance with that consent decree. 


Well, this new rule from the Trump administration would take the government

out of that legal settlement altogether.  It would allow them to hold kids

forever for years if they want to.  And it would have the handy side

benefit of making it so that no more pesky lawyers would have to be allowed

into those facilities to monitor whether the government is doing anything

the courts say they ought to be doing. 


Don`t worry though, the new plan in the Trump administration rule is that

nobody else can set standards for the conditions in which they`re going to

hold these immigrant kids, again now, potentially for years, potentially

forever, if they want to. 


Their new rule, their new proposed rule announced today is that there will

no longer be any need for any third party or state licensing of any of the

facilities where they want to hold these kids, because they`re saying

actually under this new rule announced today, ICE, Immigration and Customs

Enforcement, they`ll license themselves.  They`ll set their own standards. 

They`ll inspect their own facilities nobody from the outside will have to

come in at all.  It will be fine.


This new rule announced today by the Trump administration is set to be

published the day after tomorrow.  Theoretically, it will go into effect 60

days thereafter.  But the reason that`s only theoretical is because they`re

going to have the living daylights sued out of them on this in the



Even so though, man – I mean, this is seriously what they`re proposing to

do.  Indefinite imprisonment of immigrant children who have committed no

crimes – months, years however long they want to hold them in facilities

with no outside inspections, no lawyers peeking in, no court oversight. 

And if that sounds nuts, of course, given how they`ve been treating kids

thus far, that`s the point.  That`s the grounds on which they want you to

reelect Donald Trump for president, because can you believe what he dreamt

up to do to these kids to these kids, these immigrant moms and dads and

their kids, right? 


This is a real lecture campaign announcement as much as it is anything

else.  It`s also the next legal fight they`re going to wage and likely



We`ve got more ahead on that.  Stay with us.




MADDOW:  Watch what they do.  Not what they say.  It`s been our unofficial

motto for the Trump administration for a while yet. 


Here is something they are trying to do as of today.  They have now

announced plans that they want to hold immigrant families, including kids,

indefinitely.  There`s a previous court settlement that set the limit for

holding immigrant kids at twenty days. 


Now, the Trump administration says they want to keep them in detention

indefinitely.  And also, they want that to be done with no outside

oversight.  They said they`ll set their own standards and review themselves

and licensed themselves and inspect their own facilities to make sure

everything`s fine.


Joining us now is Lee Gelernt.  He`s the deputy director of the ACLU`s

Immigrants Rights Project.


Lee, thank you for being here tonight.  Appreciate you coming in.




MADDOW:  This struck me when I first read about this new rule as something

that will immediately go to court and it`s hard to imagine that the work

that the Trump administration to just declare they`re no longer bound by

these court orders that bound them on this.


GELERNT:  Yes, I think you`re right.  I think there`s going to be court

action immediately and I think the judge has been overseeing the consent

decree is going to be extremely troubled by this.  And so, I think looking

at though is more litigation, unnecessary litigation. 


But it`s just thought that they want to hold these kids indefinitely and I

actually think we`re looking at the worst of both worlds because they`re

still separating families at the border, and I think they`re going to

continue trying that although we have another court hearing coming up on

that.  And then those families, they don`t separate, they`re now going to

try and put in long term as you said indefinite detention. 


And the conditions are bad enough when there`s some oversight and now,

they`re saying, oh no, no, no, we`ll look at the facilities ourselves and

make sure they`re OK.


But the other thing I want to stress is regardless of this sort of

objective quality of the conditions, raising a child in an institution has

enormous effects on them.  I know the medical community has overwhelmingly

said, you cannot raise a child in a detention center and expect that child

to grow up normally.  They also – it affects the dynamic between the

parent and the child because what we see is the child constantly then

starts to look to the guard for permission for everything.  And so, the

dynamic between the parent and child becomes completely distorted.


MADDOW:  And that had happened in short-term detentions, let alone

something that goes on indefinitely.


GELERNT:  For sure.


MADDOW:  Do you expect that the judge who oversees this consent decree that

currently governs what the administration can do, is she personally able to

block this?  I mean, does she have the first say on this?


GELERNT:  Absolutely.  I mean, those – those proceedings will happen very

quickly.  She`ll have the first say, and I think what she`ll say hopefully,

you know, we expect her to say is, look, there`s a consent decree.  You

can`t just discard the entire consent decree because you want to do it.


The government`s going to say, well, there`s change circumstance if this or

that, but there`s no change circumstances what kids need.  Kids need to be

out of detention facilities.


MADDOW:  Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU`s Immigrants Rights

Project – keep a surprise on this.  I am – 


GELERNT:  Absolutely.


MADDOW:  – sort of fired up about this and alarmed.




MADDOW:  Thank you.


GELERNT:  Thanks, Rachel.


MADDOW:  Good to have you here, Lee.




MADDOW:  All right.  We`ll be right back.  Stay with us.




MADDOW:  Real quick before we go, the reaction continues to roll in from

other candidates as Jay Inslee has declared on this show this hour that he

is dropping his presidential bid. 


Senator Bernie Sanders just saying on Twitter: congratulations to Jay

Inslee on his impactful campaign to bring the climate crisis to the

forefront of the national conversation.  There`s no more important issue

facing humanity.  Together, we will work to pass a Green New Deal and

create millions of jobs. 


Senator Cory Booker saying: Thank you, Jay Inslee, for advancing the

conversation about the urgent threat of climate change.  Our country is

better for it.  I know you will continue to be a powerful voice and move

the needle on this issue.  We`ll be right there with you. 


Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota saying: Governor Jay Inslee made the

climate crisis the centerpiece of his campaign and our nation is better

because of it.  Thank you for the bold ideas you brought to this race,



Julian Castro saying: Thank you, Jay Inslee, for your unwavering effort to

save our planet.  Your candidacy has kept our most pressing issue at the

forefront of this race.  Let me know when you`re up for that road trip. 


I want to know what that`s about.  Anyway, there`s more, other candidates

also, similar responses.  So, we`ll keep you apprised as this continues to



But Jay Inslee, one of the high-profile candidates to have left the race as

of tonight this past hour. 


We`ll see you again tomorrow. 


Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD” with the great Lawrence O`Donnell.


Good evening, Lawrence.







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