The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 1/19/2017
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: January 19, 2017
Guest: Cher, Gwen Moore, Kadir Nelson, Joy Reid, Tammy Baldwin; Chris
Murphy; Mo Brooks
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HARDBALL HOST: – good. So, beginning tomorrow at
noon, I intend to keep asking the tough questions, keep burrowing in to get
real answers trying my darnest to get some truth from power. And that`s
HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes
starts right now.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ALL IN HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: All over
the world their talking about it.
HAYES: Hours from now, Trump becomes President, and assumes all the duties
of that office.
TRUMP: We have nuclear capabilities.
HAYES: Tonight, new reporting on Trump`s plans to overhaul the government
with Senators Chris Murphy and Tammy Baldwin. Then, exactly who will be
running the government tomorrow?
TRUMP: We have by far the highest I.Q. of any cabinet ever assembled.
HAYES: New reports that a chaotic transition is way behind on hiring.
Plus, Senator Sherrod Brown is here after grilling Trump`s treasury nominee
SHERROD BROWN, UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM OHIO: I`m pretty surprised, Mr.
Mnuchin – I`m sorry, I`m pretty surprised you don`t know these things.
HAYES: And Rick Perry learns about his government.
RICK PERRY, AMERICAN POLITICIAN: After being briefed on so many of the
vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
Good evening from Washington, D.C., I`m Chris Hayes. In 16 hours, around
noon tomorrow, just a few miles from here, Donald Trump will be sworn in as
the President of the United States of America. Just hours after having
received a briefing that only 11 other Americans have ever gotten, on how
to launch a nuclear weapon and potentially start a nuclear war. This was
the scene tonight, Trump at the inauguration concert at the Lincoln
Memorial where he took in performances from among others Lee Greenwood,
Toby Keith, Three Doors Down and an act known as The Piano Guys who did a
cover of a One Direction song on an open piano then performed a strong for
the Trump faithful called “It`s Going To Be OK.” When all the singing was
over, it was the President-elect`s turn to address his supporters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I`m the messenger. I`m just the messenger. And we were tired.
And I love you. Believe me, I love you. We all got tired of seeing what
was happening. And we wanted change but we wanted real change. And I look
so forward to tomorrow. We`re going to see something that is going to be
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Trump also addressed the concert itself and the performers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I`d like to congratulate our incredible entertainers tonight. Toby
and Lee Greenwood and all of the great talent, it was really very special.
This started out tonight being a small little concert, and then we had the
idea maybe we`ll do it in the front of the Lincoln Memorial. I don`t know
if it`s ever been done before, but if it has, very seldom. We didn`t have
anybody who would even come tonight, this hasn`t been done before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Point of fact, it has been done before, actually, by the last guy.
Eight years ago President Obama held his inauguration concert, quite
famously in that very same place, the Lincoln Memorial. Beyonce was there,
Bruce Springsteen, U2. There is virtually no president for a transition
between two presidents who are more diametrically opposed in personality,
disposition and background, but perhaps the most consequential difference
is on policy. We are about to see massive shift in how the federal
government operates and who it helps and who it hurts.
Los Angeles Times (AUDIO GAP) today that Trump will move quickly to clamp
down (AUDIO GAP) raids and more people singled out for deportation. (AUDIO
GAP) is preparing from (AUDIO GAP) large (AUDIO GAP) including proposing
major reductions from the Department of Commerce and Energy, the
privatization of the corporation for public broadcasting, the elimination
of the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for
Humanities. Overall, the (INAUDIBLE) reports the blueprint being used by
Trump`s team would reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years.
As Kevin Drum notes, the Trump team`s proposed budget hues closely to a
recent heritage foundation report which takes a meat axe to everything
other than defense, including, crucially, Social Security, Medicare and
Medicaid. Cutting Social Security and Medicare has long been a goal for
House Speaker Paul Ryan, and while Trump has vowed not to cut those
programs, he said today, he`s ready to sign what Ryan sends his way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I love Paul, I don`t know if Paul is here. He`s out writing
legislation, because he`s got so much legislation to write. He`s never had
it so good. And he`s actually got somebody that`s going to sign it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s on the spending side. Then there`s taxes. There is perhaps
no issue on which there is more consensus among republicans, including
Trump that cutting taxes for the wealthy, despite of course the massive
increase in income inequality we`ve seen over the past 40 years. And
something Trump made clear when he was caught on camera a week after being
elected shaking hands at an expensive Manhattan steak house.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Have a good meal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How is our President-elect?
TRUMP: Thank you. Thank you. We`ll get your taxes down, don`t worry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: As republicans figure out how to reshape the country, democrats are
searching for the best path of resistance. Most recent model is the GOP
approach eight years ago, worked out at a dinner as Frontline reports the
night President Obama was inaugurated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three hours some of the brightest minds in the
Republican Party debated how to be relevant.
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE SPEAKER: The
point I made was that we had to be prepared in the tradition of Wooden at
UCLA to run a full court press, and we had to see how Obama behaved and to
offer an alternative to what he wanted to do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The republicans agreed on a tough new strategy. To
block the President, fight his agenda.
GINGRICH: And he could be defeated partly by his own ideology and by his
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The feeling was that if that group could cooperate and
if that group could lead, that the wilderness might not be a generation
HAYES: Joining me now to discuss the GOP agenda and the democrats` own
(INAUDIBLE), Senator Tammy Baldwin democrat of Wisconsin; Senator Chris
Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut. It`s good to have you both here. Nice to
see you in person. Usually, we`re talking over satellites.
TAMMY BALDWIN, UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM WISCONSIN: Nice to join you.
HAYES: You are both - you are both senators who are what we call in cycle,
which means you will be up in 2018, it will be your first re-election for
both of you, so that`s a - you know, that`s a big deal. I presume you guys
want to stay senators.
CHRIS MURPHY, UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM CONNECTICUT: I`m planning on it.
HAYES: Yes. So, well - and it`s sort of interesting because like, you
know, when you think about the politics of the moment and what it cashes
out to is folks like yourself and how you`re going to think about, how you
represent your constituents in this environment are you - are democrats
going to have a dinner like that dinner that the republicans had where you
all get together and figure out how to block what`s coming down the pike?
BALDWIN: Are we going to have a dinner like that?
MURPHY: I don`t know, we can go out to dinner later tonight. I mean - I
mean, really, we don`t have to have a dinner because he`s making this so
easy. I mean, the country very clearly is going to unite around the idea
that you shouldn`t throw out healthcare for 20 million Americans without a
replacement. There is no public support out there for the privatization of
Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. And so, you know, this doesn`t
have to be a fairly complicated internal strategy, he just seems to be
landing on the wrong side of public opinion on almost everything.
HAYES: Here`s the - yes, please.
BALDWIN: And I think about when I ran for senate in 2012, the people sent
me here to stand up to powerful interests and fight for Wisconsin`s working
class, help them get ahead – they`re struggling. And I think moving
forward, you know, to the extent that Trump came to Wisconsin and promised
working people things like getting rid of unfair trade deals and buy
America policies, et cetera, we need to hold him accountable to those words
and when he`s going to do things that harm the working people of my state,
we resist with every ounce of our energy.
HAYES: What does that mean? I mean, one of the things that happened, I
mean, so right now this Hill - this Hill article today was interesting to
me because I think the ACA fight has taken front and center, because they
moved on that first. And of course, they`re going to move that through a
budget. It`s funny now we`re passing budgets again, we haven`t done that
in a while. It`s been hard to get a normal budget process, but they`re
going to move that through reconciliation. It`s going to mean that they
could - they don`t need that – to clear that filibuster threshold of 60.
What can you do, I mean, practically, like as a senator? Can you slow
things down? Can you - do you think you can win over three of your
BALDWIN: Well, first of all, as we did last weekend, engaging the people,
finding their voice, telling their own stories. I had – there were
several rallies across the State of Wisconsin, but I attended one where
person after person, shared what this would mean to them, the harm that
would cause. It will cause in some cases death, in other cases
bankruptcies, like we used to see with regularity prior to the passage of
these health reforms, and it will impact every American. So, part of it is
engaging the people on this, but while –
HAYES: But those engagements have to turn into votes at some point.
HAYES: I mean, unless Ron Johnson hears those folks, your colleague in
Wisconsin who just was re-elected, unless he hears those votes and thinks,
you know what, I don`t want to vote for this ACA bill.
BALDWIN: Yes. But - so, there`s a couple of things, and I suspect that
Chris shares my experience of republicans in the senate so quietly to us
saying, you know, this isn`t quite working out the way we thought, and we
are hearing from our constituents and they are nervous. We need to make
sure because they can repeal it with a simple majority through the
reconciliation process. They can`t replace it with just 51 votes.
HAYES: That`s right.
MURPHY: And Trump is - Trump is screwing this thing up for them because he
continues to say that you can`t repeal it without an immediate replacement.
Guess what, they cannot do that. They do not have the votes to pass a
replacement so they are creating –
HAYES: This is a crucial point. They can`t do the replacement through
reconciliation. They can do the repeal through reconciliation, but a
replacement, they`re going to need - they need democrat votes.
MURPHY: They need democratic votes and frankly, even if they only needed
republican votes, they couldn`t find the votes to pass a replacement, so
they are setting up expectations for themselves that they cannot meet. And
then there are things that they can`t do through reconciliation, some of
the privatization of Medicare, Social Security, you can`t do that through
reconciliation. They still need democratic votes, so there still is the
ability to resist. And even when they need 50 they`ve set these
expectations that they simply can`t find a way to get to. So this is going
to be hard.
HAYES: What do you - what do you say to people – and I want to talk
about, you know, people have been – there`s sort of a discussion happened,
people look at the approval ratings and they say these are historically low
and, you know, even if these polls are off 5 or 10 points they`re still
historically low. Right? Even if you give him the benefit of the doubt,
he`s 38, 39, 37, Barack Obama was at 65 somewhere on that. But then there
are people who say, “Well, it didn`t matter in the election, the guy got
elected anyway,” gravity doesn`t matter. How much does public opinion
matter? How much does it matter, do you think?
BALDWIN: You know, certainly, he has rough numbers going into inauguration
day. I think it`s really clear from those that he has got to do a lot to
earn the trust of the American people and it is going to matter, you know,
I hear from people as I travel the State of Wisconsin who voted for
Hillary, voted for Trump, who voted for Gary Johnson. I think he has a
very short time period to make it clear whether he`s going to follow
through on the promises he made to working people who in the end gave him
the edge in my state. I think it`s a very short time period. And when
they get –
MURPHY: To deliver for those voters.
BALDWIN: Absolutely. To - and the early indicators with his nominees for
cabinet posts, he said he was going to drain the swamp.
BALDWIN: Excuse me, these are the powerful, the billionaires, the bankers,
et cetera, that he`s populating his cabinet with. I think people are
MURPHY: Hey listen, he`s made a very clear claim that only he can fix
what`s wrong in your life. Right? Obama`s metric was, is Washington
different? Did I change the culture? Right? So republicans kind of
controlled that because if they didn`t work with him, then Obama was a
failure. Trump says, no, I`m going to palpably and tangibly change your
life. People are going to be able to figure out at the end of two years
whether their life is better and whether what he said is true. So if he
doesn`t deliver on it and nothing he`s proposing is going to actually make
those people`s lives different, than that approval rating which is low
today is much more dangerous for him two years from now.
HAYES: And do you think it`s dangerous for the other people in his party?
I mean, because Donald Trump has a different political calculus, but the
folks that you work with in your - in your body, your colleagues as they`re
thinking about what they`re going to support - not going to support,
they`re thinking about, you know, what their voters and their constituents
MURPHY: And back when this party, the Republican Party was a trickle-down
party, you know, they were losing seats left and right in the house and
senate. I think people think that this is a different Republican Party
now. So, when they figure out that it`s the same old party, then, yes, in
the midterms, I think a lot of their members are going to be in trouble.
BALDWIN: You know, the republican establishment owns Washington now.
HAYES: They do.
BALDWIN: The presidency and both houses of congress –
HAYES: Can`t blame it on you.
MURPHY: They`ll try.
BALDWIN: I was going to say. And republicans in the senate will own this
cabinet and so - yes, there`s no escaping this.
HAYES: Yes, they`re going to - they`re going to blame it – the press is
now the new enemy. I think it`s going to be what`s happening. Senator
Tammy Baldwin, Senator Chris Murphy, great to have you here in person.
Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
MURPHY: Thank you.
BALDWIN: Thank you.
HAYES: I have less than a day until Trump is sworn in. There`s a
staggering number of positions yet to be filled in his administration
including key appointments to the National Security Council, the chaotic
transition after this two-minute break.
HAYES: Last night, Donald Trump picked former Georgia Governor Sonny
Purdue to be Secretary of Agriculture, filling the last open spot in his
new cabinet. Among the people he`s chosen for the 15 traditional cabinet
positions, all but two are men, all but two are white, for the first time
since 1988, not a single member of the cabinet is Hispanic. Trump is on
track to have at most just three of his nominees confirmed tomorrow, his
first day in office, James Mattis, as Secretary of Defense; John Kelly,
Secretary of Homeland Security; and possibly Mike Pompeo as CIA Director.
And that`s compared to seven for both President Obama and George W. Bush.
But the cabinet is only the tip of the proverbial federal bureaucracy
iceberg. There are about 4,000 positions for political appointees. Of
those, 690 are identified as crucial senate-confirmed post by the non-
partisan partnership for public service. Trump has announced his picks for
just 30 of them. Meaning 96 percent of those key offices won`t even have a
nominee when he takes over the government according to Stephen Hess, an
expert on transitions, the Brookings Institution quote, “It`s just - there
is no other word for it, weird, for those of us who have been involved in
government for decades.”
Observers are most concerned about the vacancies on National Security
Council which could severely hamper the Trump administration`s response to
a crisis. POLITICO reports that most of the NSC`s key policy jobs are
still open, including Senior Directors handling such regions and issues as
the Middle East, Russia, Afghanistan, economic sanctions and nuclear
Several different factors have contributed to the slowdown including
multiple staff shakeups and before November 8th, the widespread expectation
even among the Trump folks that Trump would not win. But it also appears
at least in part to be political. According to The Washington Post Josh
Rogin, James Mattis requested that almost two dozen Obama appointees be
allowed to stay on because he did not want the Pentagon to be caught flat
footed in the case of an early emergency. The transition team reportedly
pushed back allowing Mattis to retain only a half dozen top officials. I`m
joined by Congressman Mo Brooks, republican from Alabama who serves on the
House Armed Services Committee. Congressman, are you concerned about the
vacancies particularly on the National Security Council, regional directors
there if there`s a North Korea ICBM, if there`s some kind of an emergency
starting at 4:00 p.m. tomorrow, does it concern you that there aren`t the
folks there tasked with monitoring that?
MO BROOKS, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FROM ALABAMA: No, I`m quite
comfortable that the people that we have serving America both in the
Intelligence Agencies and in National Defense, Pentagon oriented, they are
on watch and they are - they are to protect America`s security and they
will be able to do so throughout this transition phase from the Obama
administration to the Trump administration.
HAYES: Right, but I mean, it`s not the transition tomorrow, right?
Because it`s - as of tomorrow, it is the Trump administration. If you`ve
got the National Security Council unstaffed. I mean, I think you and I
would agree that the National Security Council is pretty important, right?
BROOKS: Well, the National Security council is pretty important, but it`s
more important to get the right people in the right positions, and to do so
in a deliberative way, if that`s what is required than it is to rush and
get the wrong people in those positions. So I think Donald Trump and his
administration is being very deliberate in making sure that they get the
right people in the right places even if it takes more time than it might
HAYES: And you think even if in the case of say, General Mattis asking for
folks to stay on – even if it means getting rid of people so there are
empty desks in the Pentagon because those folks may have been appointed by
the previous President?
BROOKS: I`m quite comfortable with our new Secretary of Defense will be
able to handle the circumstances as they are presented. And again, I have
not seen anything that suggests National Security is at risk because of the
way this transition is unfolding.
HAYES: I want to ask you about an interesting quote I thought in POLITICO
about Trent Lott, a former republican senator, of course. A lobbyist close
to several people on the transition said the transition team was relying on
lobbyists and others for lists of potential hires and policy
recommendations. Do you think it`s a good idea to rely on lobbyists to
tell you who to hire?
BROOKS: I think Donald Trump and the transition team ought to be relying
on as many people as they can in order to have the largest pool of
applicants for the positions that need to be filled. That`s the way that
you get the person that you need to do the task that is required.
HAYES: Right. But lobbyist -
BROOKS: So it`s one thing to have an expansive list. It`s another thing
if you start picking people because of special interest influence. That
influence being contrary to the interest of the United States of America,
so let`s wait and see who`s appointed, who`s filling these positions before
we start criticizing who might be in a rather large list that`s going to be
culled down to one for each position.
HAYES: I mean Trent Lott said did say relying and I would also just ask if
you think it`s consonant with the general theme of the Trump campaign which
was I think, and bracingly so, and many people cottoned to this, talking
about the power of lobbyists, how bad they were and the power of special
BROOKS: Again, let`s wait and see who`s appointed. Don`t judge now before
we know how all these ingredients are going to be mixed and put together
and baked into a cake. Let`s see what the cake tastes like, looks like
before you start judging at the very beginning just by looking at the
ingredients. So I suggest that we take our time and be deliberative and
see how all this is going to work its way out. And that`s something that
would be helpful is if the senate would more expeditiously approve some of
our cabinet members so those cabinet members at their position to start
reviewing these resumes and hiring people to fill the positions in their
different cabinet positions.
HAYES: Do you think it`s okay to have hearings for someone in the cabinet
if they haven`t cleared their FBI background check or their ethics process?
BROOKS: Well, I would like to see everything done as thoroughly but also
as expeditiously as possible. You have into weigh things. Yes I would
prefer that the FBI background checks be completed. Yes I would prefer
that the ethics issues to the extent they are real and not manufactured -
and we`ve seen a lot manufactured by democrats ethics issues that are
really more smoke than substance - but you have to weigh that versus the
inability to have the work done that needs to be done by timely filling of
the position by qualified individuals. So there`s a balancing act there,
it`s very difficult in this rather strident political environment that
you`re seeing in Washington, D.C., particularly as evidenced by how many
democrats have said they`re just going to shun the system, they`re not
going to be here for the inauguration tomorrow, or the democrats who tried
to strip about a dozen states of their influence over the election of the
President which occurred on the house floor on January 6 where democrats
objected to the approval of the electoral college votes of most of the
southeastern states, but also West Virginia, Michigan and Wisconsin.
That`s the kind of rebellion against the constitution and against normal
transitions that we`ve seen in the past that you`re looking at the Trump
administration have to deal with.
HAYES: You think - you think that was a rebellion against the
constitution? That`s your phrase?
BROOKS: Absolutely. When you`re trying to strip the electoral college
votes of the states of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North
Carolina, South Carolina, Michigan, West Virginia and Wisconsin, when
you`re trying to say none of those votes count, that`s a denial of the
right to vote and fortunately the democrats failed to have the votes on the
house floor on January 6 to disregard the votes of those millions of
Americans who had cast their votes for presidency in good faith.
HAYES: Congressman last thing about sort of rebellions against the
constitution and the toxic partisan atmosphere. What was – what`s the
best precedent for the house senate – for the senate republicans refusing
to even have a hearing for Merrick Garland for those 300 days of the last
BROOKS: Well, the reasoning behind what was done is quite simply we wanted
the American people to voice their opinion on who they wanted on the
HAYES: Right. But what were the precedent?
BROOKS: And they voiced it loud and clear. I`m not concerned about
precedent, I`m concerned about doing what is right and quite frankly I
believe it was a proper strategy that`s going to result and a supreme court
justice who is going to do the right thing as required by the constitution
and American law as passed by congress not as made up by supreme beings on
any judicial body.
HAYES: You are correct, Congressman. That minority of Americans did
ratify that choice. I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you very much.
BROOKS: Have a good evening.
HAYES: Coming up, Senator Sherrod Brown joins me to talk about his
grilling of Trump`s treasury pick former Goldman Sachs` partner Steve
Mnuchin, stick around.
WALTER SHAUB, OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT ETHICS DIRECTOR: It`s important to
understand that the President is now entering a world of public service.
He`s going to be asking his own appointees to make sacrifices. He`s going
to be asking our men and women in uniform to risk their lives in conflicts
around the world so, no, I don`t think divestiture is too high a price to
pay to be the President of the United States of America.
HAYES: Walter Shaub, the Director of the heretofore obscure Office of
Government Ethics has become a kind of unlikely hero in the fight against
the many conflicts of interest created by President-elect Trump`s decision
to maintain a stake in his vast business empire. For that reason, he`s
also become a thorn in the side of congressional republicans who are
determined to look the other way on Trump`s many ethical quandaries.
That`s been the case with the chairman of the House Government Oversight
Committee Jason Chaffetz who you may remember last week publicly criticized
Schaub for refusing to meet with him since the election, even threatening
to subpoena Schaub in order to get a meeting with him. Well now, thanks to
a freedom of information act filed by the Huffington Post, we have an
update to bring you in that story. It turns out that contrary to
Chaffetz`s claim, Schaub had been completely willing to meet with him after
the election, in fact, e-mail correspondences between Shaub and Chaffetz
show that Shaub accepted an invitation to meet with Chaffetz in December,
this is between their staff., only to get stood up by the congressman. An
e-mail from the member of Chaffetz` staff said to Shaub`s office the day
after the meeting was supposed to take place, that e-mail reads quote “I`m
sorry to have missed this yesterday, the chairman`s schedule was backed up
for a hard stop for a return flight home.” Chaffetz and Shaub have
scheduled a new meeting for January 23 and we`ll let you know if the
congressman makes it to that one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL MOORE, FILMAKER: This is the beginning of our 100 days of
resistance. We`re going to win folks. A little bit of pain, a little
discomfort, but a lot of work on our part will stop this man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thousands of people joined filmmaker
Michael Moore, Cher, Robert De Niro, Alec Baldwin and many other
celebrities and activists at a pre-inauguration focus tonight in New York
City outside of Trump International Hotel. Cher was one of the speakers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHER, SINGER: I understand how the people were so desperate to pick this
man. you know this unbelievable narcissist who could change the face of
our world if we let him and the only thing that will save us is you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And we are joined now by phone by cheer. Cher, thank you very
much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.
CHER: Hi, honey.
O`DONNELL: How are you? What was it like out there with that crowd
CHER: Well, I have a hard time speaking in front of crowds. So it was a
little scary but it was great and energized. And there were all kinds of
people there and it was really exciting. You know what the best thing
about it was? You can be detached or you can get involved and when you are
with a bunch of people who are involved you feel optimistic and good.
O`DONNELL: Tomorrow will you join the women`s march in Washington?
O`DONNELL: So this will be – so two in a row for you or actually it`s
tomorrow, it`s the day after tomorrow, the day after the inauguration. And
what is the feeling among people? I know that a lot of people out there
protesting might not have been able to do that the day after the election
because they were so depressed and hit hard by this election, but there
seems to be a different energy out there now.
CHER: Well, I haven`t been to many of them. But I was at the one – the
first one after the election, I got caught up in that one. And that was a
beautiful demonstration. It reminded me – these demonstrations reminded
me of the energy that when we finally – when people finally got ticked in
Vietnam and people just came out and they didn`t care what happened and
they just needed to have their voices heard and that was it.
O`DONNELL: Cher, I have talked to people going to the march in Washington
who haven`t marched or have been on the street since Vietnam protests that
you just mentioned. And there`s a similar feel to this in terms of scale
CHER: Well, you know, if you feel – you know, this is like one thing,
too, Lawrence, is that I understand. I mean people, you know, they think
we`re completely out of touch. And I said tonight, you know, I introduced
myself. I said, you know, I am an elitists with card whose grandmother
picked cotton, who mother during the depression staying bars when she was
18 years old. And I wore, you know, rubber bands on my shoes sometimes.
So It`s not like I don`t know what these people are feeling. I know what
it is like to have no one care what you feel, no one interested and you
have no voice. And somehow, the most elitist person of all somehow tapped
in to them and made each one of them think that he could solve their
problems. So I only have support for those people.
O`DONNELL: And its so ironic Cher that with your background and the way
you grew up you get accused of being the elitist and Donald Trump who
stands up and tells us the names of the fancy schools he went to and how
rich he is and how smart he is living on Fifth Avenue on Manhattan he
claims he`s not an elitist
CHER: Well I mean look he`s a – you know his network married based on the
crowd. And you got I don`t even know what he got out of that. You know
he`s that kind of Joseph Mccarthy kind of person who can just, you know,
bluster his way through stuff until you get – till he gets something out.
And somehow he`s got out of jail card free. He can do anything. And I
think, you know, well see what he actually does. I don`t have hope for it.
But I would be happy for the people if he did something. But my God, you
know, he`s such a liar. I`m just so shocked that you could lie your way
obviously lie your way in to the Whitehouse.
O`DONNELL: Well Cher does – he is arriving with the largest approval
rating in history. There`s massive disapproval rating that he has. And so
something has gone wrong certainly since election night. And now everyone
out there watching you have your movie going recommendation, movie watching
recommendations for the weekend from Cher, network and face in the crowd.
Cher, thank you very much for joining u tonight, really appreciate it.
CHER: It`s always nice to talk to you.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Cher.
O`DONNELL: Coming up Congresswoman Gwen Moore will join us to tell us how
she has handled that decision on whether to attend or boycott the
O`DONNELL: 67 members of Congress had decided not to attend Donald Trump`s
inauguration. The Defacto leader of the democrat`s boycott of the
inauguration.. This Congressman John Lewis told Chuck Todd why he`s not
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
John Lewis, United States Congressman: I don`t see the president-elect as
a legitimate President. I think the Russians participated in having this
man get elected and they help destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Representative Gwen Moore of Wisconsin has watched many of her
friends in the House of Representatives make the decision to boycott and
many others make the decision to attend the inauguration. And she joins us
now to explain her decision. Representative Moore, what are you going to
do tomorrow and why?
GWEN MOORE, United States Congresswoman: Well, hello, Lawrence. I can
tell you that I have gone to jail with John Lewis. And so I support him
and I support all of those people that have decided that the way they want
to celebrate the election of the 45th President of the United States is to
boycott it. I have decided that it`s really important for me to be the
face of that resistance, to be the face of the opposition. You know Paul
Ryan and Reince Priebus are both from Wisconsin.
And so I want Donald Trump to see other faces from Wisconsin, mine, the
face of resistance. the person who represents the worst place in America
for black children to live, the worst place in the country where there are
the most incarcerated African-American men, where we have Eastern European
in my district who are terrified of Trump`s – President-elect Trump`s
relationship with Putin and also women who are – want to defy his anti-
woman sentiment. So I am representing the opposition, and I want to be
there to be a witness to his inauguration.
O`DONNELL: I just want to read James Clyburn`s statement about attending.
He will also be attending. Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina.
He said we all have roles to play. I am the assistant democratic leader.
And so there`s someone Representative Moore who believes because of his
leadership position he has a different decision or a more limited range of
decisions on this. Can you tell us about conversations you have had with
other members who have decided to boycott, others who have made the
decision to go, to attend?
MOORE: Well, you know, we all had one thing in common on the Democratic
side. We are all disheartened, disappointed, terrified or fearful of this
presidency. And we all responded and reacted in different ways. But we
were all part of the same team. We are going to demonstrate our opposition
to him by either attending or not attending. Now I`ve decided to attend
because I`m that kind of person. I want to be in his face.
O`DONNELL: If you had a chance to say something to him, what would you say
to him if you had the chance?
MOORE: Well, you know, I don`t have to say anything. I`ll be present. I
will be there in my stern opposition. Of course, as I said, I hailed from
Wisconsin and I know that the President-elect is taking count of who`s
there and who`s not there. And I don`t want it to be an excuse, you know,
not to deal with the conditions of my district because I didn`t attend.
O`DONNELL: Representative Gwen Moore, thank you for joining us tonight
MOORE: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up next, Michelle Obama says good-bye to the Whitehouse,
a final walk through of Michelle Obama. And later, President Obama helped
inspire the arts in America. So what will happen under President-elect
O`DONNELL: First Lady Michelle Obama took to Twitter and Instagram to
share her “last walk through the people`s house.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Sonny, hi.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: First Lady also posted this photo of the President and herself
looking out at the Washington Monument from the Whitehouse last night. She
wrote, being your First Lady has been the honor of a lifetime from the
bottom of my heart. Thank you signed M.O.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dear Mr. President, the feeling that your presidency
gives me, in one word, is perplexed, and that is because I have no idea
what you are going to do in the next four years.
O`DONNELL: If funding for the arts is to survive under the Trump
Administration, it may be all up to this guy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEE GREENWOOD, MUSICAL ARTIST: And I gladly stand up next to you and
defend her still today because there ain`t no doubt I love this land. Sing
it. God bless the U.S.A
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Seriously, that`s Lee Greenwood performing for Donald Trump
tonight. Lee Greenwood was appointed to the National Council on the Arts
by President George W. Bush and he is still a member. He was not replaced
by President Obama. When Reagan wanted to eliminate funding for the arts
his gun-loving movie star pal Charlton Heston convinced him not to. That`s
how you change a Republican President`s mind about the arts. Newt Gingrich
has always wanted to zero in on funding for the arts and he would be
encouraged after reports today that Donald Trump wants to zero out the
national endowment for the arts, the national endowment for the humanities.
Gregory Peck was one of the founding members of the National Council on the
Art having been appointed by President Johnson. Gregory Peck said then,
when we strive for greatness in artistic expression we open avenues for
expression of greatness in the human spirit. Here`s President Obama`s case
for federal support for the arts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Throughout my time
year, Michelle and I have tried to make it a priority to promote the arts
and humanities, especially for our young people. And it`s because we
believe the arts and humanities are, in many ways, reflective of our
national soul. They are central to who we are as Americans, dreamers and
storytellers and innovators and visionaries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Back with us, Joy Reid and also joining us now, Kadir Nelson,
the artist who created the latest cover of ebony magazine and he has also
created this cover of the New Yorker for it`s Martin Luther King Day
edition and created this portrait of President Obama for this month`s issue
of Smithsonian Magazine. Kadir tell us what it felt like for you, as an
artist, since election day, knowing you are living and working in a
different atmosphere and how has it, if it at you will, affected your work
KADIR NELSON, ARTIST: Well, for me it was a tremendous honor to be asked
to create art work for the cover of Ebony. You know I grew up with Ebony
on my coffee table and my grandmother`s coffee table, aunt`s and uncle`s
coffee tables. And it was very prominent and distinguished place in our
family and African-American community. So when they asked me to create the
art work I was, you know, thrilled and honored, especially when it comes to
the subject matter. They actually came to me with the idea of creating a
new spin on the very iconic painting, American painting called American
Gothic by Grant Wood. And I thought it was a great idea because, you know,
at this time, in our country it`s important to look forward and have
something very bright and positive to look to.
O`DONNELL: It`s really beautiful work that you`ve been doing.
NELSON: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: So Joy Reid and it might all be up to Lee Greenwood. This is
how it works. If Ronald Reagan didn`t know a movie star who had access to
him and to talk him into hanging on we wouldn`t know what would be left of
the Federal Support of the Arts.
JOY REID, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well here`s the problem is that, you know,
Ronald Reagan had friendships with people in Hollywood. I mean his
inauguration there were tons of Hollywood stars. He had friends in the
arts. The problem is we talked about earlier, Donald Trump is a singularly
vengeful figure and one group of people that he feels most vengeful for are
the arts, the artists. The people at Hamilton weren`t nice in his view to
his Vice President. He`s been completely rejected by the arts community.
And so doesn`t surprise me that he`d sign on to a vengeance attack on our
arts. And there`s a history of this with the Republican Party. They hated
Robert Mapplethorpe. They don`t want to pay for Big Bird to be in
children`s – in front of children in their homes. It`s a shame. But the
arts I think will be one of the key trenches resistances against him,
defunding the National Endowment of the Arts and is going to stop that.
O`DONNELL: Yes. And they want to defund PBS in some of the preliminary
plans that have been leaking out. Kadir the art community`s response to
changes in society like this, and this is a giant change in society,
sometimes takes time. Sometimes there`s a digestion period before new work
starts to appear that becomes inspired by the new conditions. What do you
– what are you feeling about that? And what are other artists and you
discussing about that at this point?
NELSON: Well, I think that when it comes to points like this in our
history, it`s time – it`s traditionally – what is traditional is that
artists like myself take it upon themselves to get to work. It`s a call to
artists to fight, and to fight back in a way that we know best. And that
is with our creative disciplines.
O`DONNELL: Kadir Nelson, thank you very much for sharing your work with
us tonight. Joy Reid, thank you for joining us once again.
REID: Thank you Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: MSNBC live coverage continues in to the 11th hour with Brian
Williams. That`s next.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, HOST, 11TH HOUR: Tonight, this closing hours before the
inauguration. After noontime tomorrow, Donald Trump will be addressed as
Mr. President. And with dozens of democrats vowing to boycott the
ceremonies, one the next president`s most local critics will join us here
tonight. With one First Family on the way in and another on the way out