The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 7/5/17 Trump to meet World Leaders
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: July 5, 2017
Guest: Prudence Gourguechon, Steve Schmidt, John McLaughlin, Nicholas
Kristof, Eugene Robinson
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: We have been working for weeks now – to nail it
down, it is finally ready to go. I am almost sure that we are going to
have it for you tomorrow night.
And I encourage you to check it out. It`s a weird story. As I say, I
won`t say more than that, tomorrow night, see you again then, it`s now time
for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening Lawrence.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Good evening Rachel. Now I know
what I`m doing tomorrow night at 9:00.
MADDOW: Well, thank you, my friend.
O`DONNELL: That`s just a lovely cliff-hanger, and I`m sure we just picked
up an awful lot of 9:00 p.m. viewers tomorrow night. So you`ve been
working on – any hints? Any category?
MADDOW: I was just thinking, like, I know I`m being outrageously vague
about this, but I don`t even consider this to be a tease. This is more
like a warning.
We have a strange exclusive story tomorrow that has taken us a long time to
nail down. It is unlike anything else you are seeing in this news cycle,
and I can`t really tell you more than that.
O`DONNELL: Rachel, I`ve got news for you.
O`DONNELL: Everything that happens on this network between 9:00 and 10:00
p.m. is unlike anything else we see in any news cycle.
MADDOW: That`s very kind of you to say.
O`DONNELL: It is the best.
MADDOW: Thank you, my friend, thank you man –
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel –
MADDOW: Take care.
O`DONNELL: So North Korea fired off a missile that demonstrates that North
Korea has the capacity to reach the United States with a missile like that.
And so what did the president of the United States do? Well, of course he
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about North Korea?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are going to do very
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`ve now shown they can put a missile on America`s
NIKKI HALEY, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: The United
States is prepared to use the full range of our capabilities to defend
ourselves and our allies.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it clear to you what the president`s position is
on how to deal with North Korea?
GEORGE WILL, JOURNALIST: It`s not clear to me, and it probably isn`t clear
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A preemptive strike will just unleash unbelievable
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does it mean when he says, OK, well, we now know
this is not going to work with China. Let`s kind of move on. Well, move
on to what?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Trump administration need to devise a strategy, not
a single sound bite or a tweet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gross simplification seems to be the anthem of this
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All eyes are going to be on that all-important
meeting at the end of the week with Russia`s President Vladimir Putin.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he doesn`t mention the election meddling, Putin will
regard it as a victory.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vladimir Putin figured Donald Trump out very early.
TRUMP: If he says great things about me, I`m going to say great things
WILL: He does seem to be playable.
TRUMP: No puppet, no puppet, you`re the puppet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: After North Korea`s most provocative missile test yet on
Monday, wouldn`t it be nice if the United States of America had a
The office of the presidency is now occupied by a person who has all the
constitutional legitimacy of a president, but he seems to have none of the
capacities of a president.
What would a president do after a provocative North Korea missile launch?
Donald Trump apparently has no idea, and so what he did was tweet because
that seems to be the only thing he knows how to do.
No previous president has ever tweeted a reaction to a North Korean missile
test. It is possible for a tweet to contain presidential language, but not
if it`s a Donald Trump tweet.
He tweeted: “North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy
have anything better to do with his life? Hard to believe that South Korea
and Japan will put up with this much longer.
Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense
once and for all!”
Donald Trump can`t think of a thing for the United States to do after that
missile demonstrating the capacity to possibly reach Alaska, and he
actually says the line that the whole world says about him every day.
Does this guy have anything better to do with his life? That is the
question the world asks every day. The golfer and the tweeter who now
occupies the White House goes about his day tweeting and golfing.
This afternoon, Air Force One landed in Poland. It is the start of a trip
that will include a G20 Summit in Germany where the president will have a
formal one-on-one discussion with Vladimir Putin.
Trump aides are reportedly worried about the Putin meeting according to the
“New York Times”. President Trump has been briefed repeatedly.
His advisors have alerted him to the web of potential risks, complex
issues, and diplomatic snags. But even his top aides do not know precisely
what Mr. Trump will decide to say or do when he meets President Vladimir
Russia and China have put out a joint statement urging diplomatic talks on
North Korea. The two countries are proposing that the United States and
South Korea freeze all military drills in exchange for North Korea freezing
its missile tests.
This afternoon, the United Nations Security Council which includes United
States, Russia and China, held an emergency meeting on North Korea.
The United States condemned North Korea`s actions and threatened possible
military action as well as possible trade war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HALEY: The United States is prepared to use the full range of our
capabilities to defend ourselves and our allies. One of our capabilities
lies with our considerable military forces.
We will use them if we must, but we prefer not to have to go in that
direction. There are countries that are allowing, even encouraging trade
with North Korea in violation of U.N. Security Council Resolutions.
Such countries would also like to continue their trade – such countries
would also like to continue their trade arrangements with the United
States. That`s not going to happen.
Our attitude on trade changes when countries do not take international
security threats seriously.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Today, the president tweeted: “trade between China and North
Korea drew almost 40 percent in the first quarter.
So much for China working with us, but we had to give it a try!” Joining us
now, Nicholas Kristof; Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the “New York
Also with us, John McLaughlin; former acting director of the CIA and an
Msnbc national security analyst. John McLaughlin, your reaction to the
administration`s reaction so far, including this threat of a possible trade
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR OF THE CIA: Well, Lawrence, I
think as a number of people have commented, the evidence of a really
considered policy is not here.
This is one of those times when we have to be careful not to just sound
tough. We actually have to be, I think, very tough-minded and think about
this is a tight spot.
I`ve seen this sort of thing before, and as everyone has pointed out, the
options are not great. I can think of some that involve some indirect
military pressures such as missile defense and a couple of other things.
Deterrence, which can be carried out through a number of ways. We can talk
about that. And also as distasteful as it might seem, maneuvering these
people into some kind of negotiated situation.
That would be maddening, of course, but it`s important, I think to put all
of these things together in an orchestrated approach that is tough-minded,
serious, and strategic in its components.
And I think the material is there to do that, but not going to be easy.
O`DONNELL: Nick, talk about China`s role in this. There was a period
where President Trump seemed to think China had magical powers over North
Korea, and they could handle everything.
You`ve been to North Korea, you`ve been to China. And one of the amusing
anecdotes you`ve written about when you were in North Korea were North
Koreans saying the Chinese don`t like Kristof, and that got a big smile.
It turned out that they were –
NICHOLAS KRISTOF, NEW YORK TIMES: That was in my favor somehow, yes –
O`DONNELL: Yes, it`s in your favor, yes.
KRISTOF: You know, look, there`s no doubt that China has to be part of a
solution, and in particular China can do more to stop trade or a lot of the
parts that go into missiles are coming from China.
But at the end of the day, North Korea listens to China much less than we
think, and China is simply not going to be willing to clamp down completely
on North Korea.
And even if it did, at the end of the day, North Korea had a famine with
more than 500,000 people dying in the 1990s.
Even if China were to exert enormous pressure, then Kim Jong-un would be
prepared to have an awful lot of North Koreans die.
And the missile system is really his priority. So you know, in a larger
sense, we don`t have a strategy toward North Korea, and the Trump
administration has in a sense abdicated that policy by trying to push this
off on to China and it wasn`t going to work early this year and it`s still
not going to work.
It`s not clear that anything else will work, but at least there are some
things, as John mentioned, at least, there are some things that we can try
in the hope that they may help.
O`DONNELL: What would you suggest trying?
KRISTOF: The – we don`t have a military option as well. I think the
thing that a lot of people in the region fear the most is that President
Trump frustrated by the lack of traction with China is going to move in
with some kind of military strike which might work and might trigger a new
Korean war and the obliteration of Seoul and Tokyo.
That would be the real catastrophe. What might work is some kind of a
deal, China backs this, where North Korea would not give up its nuclear
arsenal but would freeze nuclear development and freeze missile
And in exchange, the U.S. would to some degree ease sanctions and to some
degree tone down our military exercises in the region. At least, the large
scale exercises. It`s not clear if this is doable. North Korea in the
past has periodically cheated on some of these deals.
But it`s kind of the only thing that doesn`t end up with a conflagration in
O`DONNELL: John, you mentioned deterrence. What would deterrence look
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the problem – yes. deterrence, of course, in the past
has been carried out successfully by the United States with countries with
whom we had some relationship and some practice at things like arms control
and some communication as with the former Soviet Union.
The problem with North Korea, of course, is we don`t have that background.
We don`t have that practice. But deterrence in this case would consist of
a couple of things.
First, what we always call a declaratory policy. That is making clear to
them that use of any weapons here would be met with retaliation that would
essentially wipe them out.
In – what they basically they want is these nuclear weapons so that they
aren`t wiped out, that they aren`t – they don`t experience regime change.
That would be part of deterrence. The other part is what we call flexible
deterrent options and the administration is doing a little bit of that.
Showing the fleet, carrying out some exercises although Nick`s point is
correct that we may have to pull those back a little bit.
None of the options are great here. The military options, I think, don`t
quite work the way that they might have. You know, if you went back to
2006, Secretary Perry, former Secretary of Defense Perry had actually
recommended a preemptive strike, and he recently said, I wouldn`t recommend
It`s too dangerous. One of the problems for military planners today is
that they can`t be sure – they can`t be sure that a war on the Korean
peninsula would not reach all the way to Hawaii and Alaska.
So this test, if the data we have on it turns out to be correct is a game-
changer in terms of that dimension of the conflict. But deterrence would
work, can work through a combination of things like I mentioned –
declaratory policy, missile defense, flexible deterrent options, showing
the flag, showing the fleet, all of those things orchestrated.
And Trump has a real opportunity this weekend to orchestrate this if he put
his – if he could put his mind to it with both China, Russia, Japan
available at the G20 meeting.
And of course you`ve got to bring the South Koreans into this. Everyone
has to own a piece of this problem, and it has to be orchestrated with
everyone doing something, some little thing to increase the approach so
that it`s greater than the sum of the parts.
This will be tough, but a smart administration could orchestrate something
O`DONNELL: Nick, one of the necessary facts it seems, in either
negotiation or a deterrence plan, is to know what the other side wants.
What does Kim Jong-un – what does he want? What is his five-year plan,
KRISTOF: So fundamentally, what Kim Jong-un wants is a nuclear capacity.
He wants to deter us. He saw what happened to –
O`DONNELL: Well, we know he wants the nuclear capacity – what does he
then imagine his country to be five or ten years from now if he has that?
KRISTOF: So he wants the world to accept the U.S. as a nuclear power. He
sees the west accepting India and Pakistan, before that Israel as nuclear
That is diplomatically what they are trying to push for right now. And it
is still the U.S. goal that we will denuclearize the Korean peninsula.
Frankly, at this point, I just don`t think that`s a feasible goal. More
broadly, I think he would indeed like to develop that Korean peninsula.
The economy has been growing to some degree, partly through private
markets. I think they`re very aware that they have been able to stay in
power partly because it has been isolated.
But I think that they nervously would like to modestly open up, and
certainly expand the country to become a more important power. But they`re
not going to give up the nukes, I`m afraid.
O`DONNELL: John, with the president`s opportunities with China and Russia,
we always think of the United States as being the driver in those kinds of
But what about China? What about Russia taking the wheel here and saying,
look, this is what we need to do with North Korea?
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, they have put proposals on the table, and of course we
have to look at them with some skepticism because they`re not – their
interests are not precisely as ours.
Although, frankly, I think this is a case where we do share an interest. I
don`t think China wants this individual to have unrestricted nuclear power.
I`m not sure where Russia comes out on that. I think they`re more
reflexive in their attitude. I don`t think they can take the wheel here,
I think this is a time and this is where I think – this is what I worry
about, that we have let our leadership role in the world under this
administration deteriorate to a point and our credibility as a leader
deteriorate to the point where I`m not sure that we have the – you know,
the credibility to pull everyone along.
You need a policy, you need a vision, you need credibility in the person of
the president, and I think we`re falling short on all of those things.
O`DONNELL: Nick, if China could wave a magic wand over North Korea, what
would they want?
KRISTOF: Well, they want North Korea to remain – they want the Korean
Peninsula to remain divided. They do not want unification because they
don`t want the possibility of U.S. troops in the northern half of the
They want a nice little buffer there. They would like essentially to do to
North Korea what the U.S. did to China beginning in the early 1970s in
terms of opening it up, reforming it, developing the economy, having become
a more reasonable power.
I mean, if we`re alarmed by having a – having Kim Jong-un so far away from
us, imagine how the Chinese feel –
O`DONNELL: Yes –
KRISTOF: About having this incredibly unpredictable fellow right next
door. And they`ve been trying to send that message, but they`re not
willing to use every last bit of leverage because they don`t want the
regime to collapse.
O`DONNELL: We`re going to have to take –
MCLAUGHLIN: Lawrence, you know, we haven`t –
O`DONNELL: Go ahead, John –
MCLAUGHLIN: We haven`t talked a lot about South Korea, and I just want to
make the point that in my experience working on the Korean problem, you`re
always making a mistake if you get too far out in front of Seoul, South
Korea, without factoring their views into the situation.
At the end of the day, it`s their peninsula, and they understand the
culture in the north, and they understand – and they have equities that
are much more personal and immediate than ours.
So I think we need to – and what their leader, current leader, Moon Jae-in
is talking about is some combination of pressure and engagement.
The engagement piece is always difficult for us because the North Koreans
in the past have cheated. I`ve been personally involved in discovering
them cheating when you`re in the midst of negotiations with them.
But there is something to be said for listening to Moon Jae-in and trying
to understand exactly how he would go about orchestrating pressure and
engagement. And I hope our administration is doing that.
O`DONNELL: John McLaughlin, thank you very much for joining us tonight,
really appreciate it.
MCLAUGHLIN: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, President Trump has more and more people talking
seriously about the 25th amendment. A psychiatrist will join us with an
evaluation of the president`s fitness to serve.
And Chris Christie`s final moment in the sun this weekend.
O`DONNELL: Ted Cruz is trying to be the new savior of the Republican
health care bill in the Senate, and yesterday in Texas, that earned him
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PROTESTERS: Health care is a human right! Health care is a human right!
Health care is a human right! Health care is a human right! Health care is
a human right!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Tonight, Senator Cruz attended an event hosted by Concerned
Veterans for America where protesters were kept outside according to “The
More Republican senators joined a delegation to Afghanistan this week than
scheduled town halls. On Friday, President Trump tweeted a new legislative
strategy on health care that Republicans should simply repeal the
Affordable Care Act completely and then, later, figure out how to replace
Mitch McConnell rejected that strategy, saying “it`s not easy making
America great again, is it?” Joining us now, Eugene Robinson; Pulitzer
Prize-winning opinion writer for “The Washington Post” and an Msnbc
And back with us, Nick Kristof. So Eugene, new Republican strategy is
instead of taking health care coverage away from 22 million or 23 million
people, just take it away from everyone who got –
EUGENE ROBINSON, OPINION WRITER, WASHINGTON POST: Yes –
O`DONNELL: Anything under the Affordable Care Act.
ROBINSON: Yes, just go for it, why not? You know, that line about making
America great not being easy is, to me, dripping with sarcasm because, of
course, this idea that the president has resurfaced repeal now, replace
later is something he categorically ruled out at the beginning of this
process because remember there were a lot of Republicans who said this is -
- this is the way we`re going to do it.
And he said, no, it`s got to be repeal and replace at the same time. And
so that`s what they worked on for the past month through all this stem and
growing and hurt and pain at all these town halls and now the president
says, well, why don`t you just do it the way I said not to do it.
So I`m sure that made Mitch really happy.
O`DONNELL: And Nick, this is such a clear element of presidential
involvement with legislation, that the president must be consistent.
It`s the only rule. It`s the only rule Congress needs is the president has
to be consistent because after all, the president`s involvement turns on
nothing other than his veto power.
It`s the only reason they talk to the president, right? And so, what they
always need to know is what will you support, what won`t you support, and
that changes by the week with Donald Trump.
KRISTOF: I mean, the only consistency is, of course, that he`s kind of
oblivious to policy of all kinds, including health care policy.
And, you know, I must say though that one other thing that he has
occasionally been consistent on that really does worry me is that, you
know, I don`t – clearly, repeal and replace terrifies the public.
Trumpcare has, what 17 percent approval rating. But he has periodically
voiced this idea that they will essentially step on the oxygen hose of
Obamacare, and then as it suffers, say, oh –
O`DONNELL: Yes –
KRISTOF: It`s dying a natural death.
O`DONNELL: Yes –
ROBINSON: Yes, right.
KRISTOF: And that`s – I think, you know, they`re trying to cripple the
mandate, trying to erode the subsidy.
There are a lot of things they can do to really put Obamacare on the ropes
and then claim it died a natural death even as they have been strangling
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to Susan Collins, who is one of the Republican
senators who is not afraid of talking about this.
She said that when she was at her 4th of July public appearance yesterday,
she said there was only one issue – that`s unusual, it`s usually a wide
range of issues.
Collins said in an interview after the parade, “I heard over and over again
encouragement for my stand against the current version of the Senate and
House health care bills.
People were thanking me over and over again. Thank you, Susan, stay
strong, Susan.” And Gene, that`s one of the elements of legislative
activism that is often forgotten, is the protest, is what we saw at the Ted
Cruz meeting there about, you know, kind of yelling the senator into your
But if the senator is in your position, a thank you is a very good idea.
ROBINSON: Yes, it`s a very good idea. It makes them feel real good. And
I`ll tell you Susan Collins` no vote sounds more and more solid as time
goes on and seems more solid after she said had a chance to consult with
You know, not a lot of Republican members of Congress, as you mentioned,
bothered to expose themselves to their constituents over this holiday.
So not all of them heard this, but their offices have been flooded with
phone calls. And clearly they`re feeling the heat. I mean, they realize -
- the senators realize that this is kind of a bad deal no matter what they
O`DONNELL: And Nick, Mitch McConnell is the one who is supposed to pull
the rabbit out of the hat here, given a completely impossible set of
promises laid out by the president over the course of a year of
It doesn`t seem that the White House is aware or the president is aware
that there is no version of this that doesn`t involve multiple violations
of multiple Trump promises.
KRISTOF: No, I mean, it`s absolutely true. I mean, obviously Medicaid is
the best example of that. And you know, it sure does seem to me that if
the rabbit in the hat, as you say, it was pretty much dead before the
It seems to me even harder with this kind of reaction to revive it during
the – during the – after the break. And of course that will in turn –
and in turn translate into more difficulties with tax policy, with
So this resistance on health, I think, does have broader implications for
tax reform, for example.
O`DONNELL: We`re going to have to leave it there, Nick Kristof, thank you
very much for joining us tonight, appreciate it.
Coming up – and Gene Robinson is going to stay with us. Coming up, a
psychiatrist uses the army field manual on leadership to evaluate Donald
Trump`s fitness to serve as president of the United States.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: I started talking about the 25th
Amendment two weeks into the Trump Presidency when it had become painfully
clear that by any previous behavioral standard applied to the presidency,
Donald Trump was unfit to serve. The 25th Amendment allows for the removal
of a President who is, “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his
office.” The 25th Amendment leaves it to the Vice President to decide when
the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.
It can be for health reasons. it can be for mental health reasons. It could
be for reasons of corruption or any reason the Vice President chooses.
The Vice President cannot do this alone. He needs the written agreement of
a majority of the Cabinet, and with that the Vice President becoming the
acting President as long as the President remains unable to discharge the
powers and duties of his office. In the weeks and months that have passed
since then, no one`s confidence in President Trump`s ability to discharge
the powers and duties of his office has increased. A month into the Trump
Presidency, Senator Al Franken wondered aloud About the President`s sanity,
something that no senator had ever done with a new president.
Psychiatrists and psychologists started going public with their concerns
about the president`s mental stability. Some of them appeared as guests on
this program. And people who knew the President well and had been very
friendly with him for years began to publicly question his mental health.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE SCARBOROUGH, FMR. UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: If he had a condition
or an issue during the campaign, people close to him say it is now getting
very, very troubling and very worrisome. This is a President isolated and
out of control and in decline.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI, JOURNALIST: I think he`s such a narcissist. It is
possible that he`s mentally ill in a way. He`s not well. At the very
least, he`s not well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Last week, when the President attacked Joe Scarborough and Mika
Brzezinski, many more people began to question the President`s mental
health because of the viciousness of the attack. But there was nothing new
stylistically in the Trump attack. He had been at least that vicious with
Rosie O`Donnell years ago and was equally vicious with Megyn Kelly during
the campaign. But the negative reaction was more intense this time because
of all of the accumulated bursts of Trumpian madness that preceded the
attack on Joe and Mika.
And then came this on Sunday, a wordless Tweet that presumably captured the
President`s frame of mind, his state of mind about CNN. The Tweet seen
around the world. That created a new burst of interest in the 25th
Amendment and the mental stability of the President of the United States.
It was like a straw breaking a camel`s back. The world`s strangest tweeter
given his position in our government and his position in the world tweeted
one of his strangest tweets after a week in which his mental health was
already being questioned. What everyone knew the second they saw that
tweet about him fighting with CNN was that the President – that Presidents
do not do this. That`s everyone`s first reaction.
Presidents do not do this. In a recent piece in the Los Angeles Times,
psychiatrist Prudence Gourguechon considered President Trump`s fitness to
serve using what she calls the one source where the capacities necessary
for strategic leadership are clearly and comprehensively laid out, the U.S.
army`s field manual on leadership. Joining us now, Dr. Prudence
Gourguechon, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst and past President of the
American Psychoanalytic Association. Doctor, thank you very much for
joining us tonight. Run us through why the army field manual and what it
tells us about the President.
PRUDENCE GOURGUECHON, PSYCHIATRIST: Well, thanks for having me tonight. I
was fascinated by the language of the 25th Amendment, and the idea of how
would we determine that a President was unable to carry out the duties of
his office. And I had the idea a couple months ago that continuing to
diagnose him was not going to go very far because, first of all, you can
never get three psychiatrists to agree on a diagnosis. And as Fox News just
pointed out the other day, 49 percent of Presidents have served with a
mental health diagnosis.
So I wanted to develop – I kind of had a imagine Mike Pence in the
Cabinet. How would we decide that this President can`t carry out his
duties? I started building a check list and ended up discovering the army
field manual, which is a fantastic document based on really sound
psychiatric and psychological knowledge going back a century. And it comes
up with a set of criteria, a set of capacities and abilities that a leader
with strategic responsibility has to have. And so I put them into a pocket-
size checklist of five core capacities straight out of the army field
And anybody – you don`t have to be a psychiatrist or a doctor. Any
observant person can take a look at these and say does Donald Trump meet
these – does he have these capabilities?
O`DONNELL: And you lay it out in this op-ed piece, those capabilities are
trust, discipline and self-control, judgment and critical thinking, self-
awareness, empathy, and on the discipline and self-control, it`s really
quite striking because one of the things the army field manual identifies
is, for example, viscerally or angrily when receiving bad news or
conflicting information, reacting viscerally or angrily. And we recognize
Donald Trump in that and pretty much everything else that the army field
manual does not want in leadership.
GOURGUECHON: Exactly. The phrases come out at you, and they`re kind of
stunning when compared to the tweets that you talked about in the
introduction. Also the capacity to anticipate consequences of your actions.
The army field manual talks about not only does a leader have to anticipate
immediate consequences but secondary and third-degree consequences.
And that one struck me in addition to the lack of discipline. And they also
tie together, if you don`t have discipline, you can`t think. You can`t
strategize. You can`t plan. And they just – I looked at the tweet about
Mika Brzezinski, and it seemed to me that every one of the criteria was –
fell short with that one tweet.
O`DONNELL: Every one of the criteria that would get you knocked out of a
leadership position in the army was met by the president in a single tweet.
GOURGUECHON: In a single tweet, all five.
O`DONNELL: And here he is Commander in Chief of that Army. The army field
manual is – has been developed, as you say, over the course of about a
century. And as a psychiatrist, how would you evaluate its usefulness?
Because you make the point that there`s been a lot of studies about various
forms – various kinds of human characteristics, but leadership is not one
of them. Entrepreneurial stuff, business leadership has been written about.
But this kind of leadership has not been written about.
GOURGUECHON: Well, even in business, in the business literature, the basic
capacities of what does it take to be a human being with vast
responsibility for life and fortune of others. Even that in the business
literature is not pulled together in one place. The army field manual is
the only place where I could find where anybody did that. I do want to
correct one thing.
I didn`t mean the field manual had been in existence for 100 years. It does
have a long history. But the background, the psychological and
psychoanalytic knowledge that it`s based on goes back 100 years. The
question is how do we define not mental health, mental illness, but
capacity to shoulder enormous responsibility and the fate of nations?
And this document is the only place I found that really puts that down.
And I think that we`re better off looking at positive attributes of
capacity rather than, oh, does he have this diagnosis or that diagnosis
because not only will there be disagreement, but a mental diagnosis does
not necessarily disqualify you to be President as Abraham Lincoln was
famously severely depressed at different times in his life.
O`DONNELL: Dr. Prudence Gourguechon thank you very much for joining us
tonight, really appreciate it.
GOURGUECHON: Thanks so much for having me.
O`DONNELL: coming up, why is Chris Christie the most unpopular governor
in America? One picture tells the story. And bathing suit warning, viewer
discretion advised. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: Looked at in the rearview mirror, political punditry is filled
with mistaken predictions about politicians. I`ve certainly had my share of
those wrong predictions, but none involved Chris Christie, who I always
believed was going to be a sure loser if he ran for President. And when
his season on the national political stage came, he dropped out of the
presidential race after the first primary. No surprise here.
I believed he was going to be a loser on the national stage even before he
got caught lying about his staff`s involvement in using the closing of
lanes on the George Washington Bridge as a political weapon against one of
their in enemies. But when I saw Chris Christie was capable of something so
dangerous and so stupid involving the most important bridge in the world, I
knew there was no room left for any doubt that Chris Christie would fail as
a Presidential Candidate.
I`ve learned nothing about Chris Christie since Bridgegate, meaning nothing
that Bridgegate hadn`t already taught me so when I saw this picture of the
most unpopular governor in America this weekend, nothing about it surprised
me. It was the perfect picture of a political loser sitting on a beach.
That beach was closed to the public as were several other state beaches in
New Jersey because of Chris Christie a own incompetence in governing,
creating gridlock with the legislature.
Before the photos of Christie on the beach were published, Chris Christie
denied he had been on the beach that day. It was a Trump-sized lie. A kind
of thing that Chris Christie got away with early in his Governorship before
New Jersey voters were on to him.
So what does the rise and fall of Chris Christie tells us about the rise
and perhaps the fall of Donald Trump. Steve Schmidt and Eugene Robinson
will join us next.
O`DONNELL: Here is Governor Chris Christie explaining his now infamous
moment in the sun this weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CHRISTIE, GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY: I don`t count going out on the
beach after I`ve been working all morning to sit and talk with my wife and
our guests for 40 minutes before I had to leave to come back to work as
getting sun. That wasn`t what I was out there to get. The way I took the
question was, hey, were you like out laying out getting a tan today.
That wasn`t what I was doing, and that`s not what those pictures show. I
don`t apologize for it. I don`t back away from it. And I think my poll
numbers show that I don`t care about political optics. What I care about is
doing what`s right and wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Back with us, Eugene Robinson, and joining us by phone,
republican strategist Steve Schmidt from a beach chair somewhere far out in
the pacific presumably an undisclosed location. Steve in watching Chris
Christie and watching him handle this. There`s - there`s a kind of echo of
Trump. He`s a clearer speaker than Donald Trump is.
He actually speaks in sentences but there seems to be a similar kind of
defensiveness and bravado in handling a situation like this.
STEVE SCHMIDT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Look, I think what you saw there is
vintage Chris Christie. In two elections in the state of New Jersey, Chris
Christie won. I don`t think anybody who voted for Chris Christie and
there`s a lot of people who voted for him that would deny it today. But I
don`t think anybody who voted for Chris Christie can say they got a
different Chris Christie than the one they voted for.
And when you look at elite level politicians which he certainly falls into
that category in every instance, the strength and the - the weaknesses of
these people. They were the opposite sides of the same coin. And, you know
I think what you saw was a - was a governor in his last months in office,
his last July 4th, at the governor`s beach mansion residence in the state
of New Jersey saying I`m going to use this, I`m going to use this for my
family and you know and - and from his perception, he had the democrats in
the legislature that the budget wasn`t done wasn`t going to ruin his beach
The optics of it be damned. Then - then I think that - that`s the Chris
Christie that we`ve seen on the public stage since hour one of his arrival
to national prominence.
O`DONNELL: Gene, I love the part where Christie wants to get into a debate
of exactly what level of recline is necessary to be – because he was
sitting. He wasn`t laying down. But I think the fascinating thing is the –
the point Steve just made. Here`s a guy who won twice in New Jersey. So
when you look at the current polls which the Quinnipiac poll in June
showing him with a 15 percent approval rating, an 81 percent disapproval
rating, what that means is two-time Chris Christie voters have completely
changed their minds about him.
And so what you`re looking at there is that the voter change of mind and
how fast, how long does it take to happen and what does that tell us about
the Trump presidency.
EUGENE ROBINSON, ASSOCIATE EDITOR FOR THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes. Clearly
voters have changed their minds and governor Christie no longer cares. If
you care -
ROBINSON: You don`t shut down the beach and then go out and lay, you know,
lay out or sit out, whatever he was doing, and you know, he called it
gotcha journalism, the newspaper that flew a plane over the beach to catch
those – capture those images. And he said it was gotcha journalism. But
the problem with that is you know governor they got you. And where they
get you, that`s not a good thing for you.
You know, it`s interesting tough. I`m not sure, I don`t know how much of a
parallel you can draw with Trump because as Steve said, Chris Christie has
been a substantial politician, like him or not, agree with him or not, he
can read a policy paper. I have heard him speak with sophistication and
compassion on at least one issue on Opioid addiction, for example. You
know, so he`s got more substance than Donald Trump I think has ever had.
O`DONNELL: And Steve, to that point, he has more substance and yet, 81
percent have turned against him in a state where is he won a majority vote
SCHMIDT: Yes, for sure. Look, I don`t think that he necessarily looks
ahead and sees an electoral future in the state of New Jersey. I think he`s
unlikely and I think he would be deeply unhappy as we`ve seen him on the
public stage. I think he`d be very unhappy as a United States Senator. He`s
not going to run for office again. So you see someone at the end of his
term saying look, the governor of New Jersey has two residences, one of
them is an island beach state park.
That`s the one I`m going to be at. And though the beach may be closed, the
governor`s residence is open. I don`t care what anyone says about it. They
can all go jump in the lake. I`m going to go to the beach with my family
for July 4th. And so you know I don`t think you see that very frequently in
politicians where you get someone down to 15 percent approval and they`re
completely totally, absolutely 100 percent comfortable with it.
And I think in fact, he is.
O`DONNELL: We are a long way from my home state, governor, Michael Dukakis
taking the subway to work in a state where there is no governor`s mansion,
never mind two of them. Steve Schmidt, Eugene Robinson, thank you very much
for joining us tonight. Really, appreciate it.
ROBINSON: Glad to be here.
SCHMIDT: Take care.
O`DONNELL: Tonight`s last word is next.
O`DONNELL: At first, I thought they were fire works. That`s what Roma
Martinez said about what she heard last night in her neighborhood in the
Bronx. Maybe another night she would have recognized it was gunfire. But
last night was America`s night for fireworks and it was the last night of
Alexander Bond`s life after he committed his last crime. His first arrests
were for small stuff, possession of marijuana, suspicion of selling a
Then he did eight years in state prison for a robbery in Syracuse. Some of
that time was served at the Attica Correctional Facility which had no
correctional effect on Alexander Bonds. Last night at 12:30 a.m., he walked
by a police van in the Bronx and fired one round from a .38 caliber
revolver into the head of officer Miosotis Familia. Police nearby then
shot and killed Alexander Bonds.
Miosotis Familia was rushed to the hospital, her three kids were notified.
Her 12-year-old twins and her 20-year-old college girl daughter. Her 86-
year-old mother who lives in Miosotis Familia`s apartment in the Bronx also
had to be told the horrible news about her youngest daughter. Word spread
quickly to relative in the Dominican Republic who suddenly had to make
flight reservations to New York City.
Officer Familia clung to life in a surgery for three hours and was
pronounced dead at 3:37 a.m. Her nephew, John Cuello, told “The New York
Times” she was a warrior. To tell you the truth. She was a fighter. She
was tough and that was the job for her. She would say there was nothing
easy about it but she loved what she did. New York City police officer,
Miosotis Familia was 48 years old.
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