NYT: Trump debt claim “not true” Transcript 10/12/17 The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell

Guests:
Max Boot, Neera Tanden, Tim O`Brien, Julie Rovner, Maria Teresa Kumar, Melissa Mark Viverito, Austan Goolsbee
Transcript:

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: October 12, 2017
Guest: Max Boot, Neera Tanden, Tim O`Brien, Julie Rovner, Maria Teresa
Kumar, Melissa Mark Viverito, Austan Goolsbee


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Ali Velshi
filling in for Lawrence O`Donnell tonight, good evening Ali.

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: That is the best story I have heard in a very long
time. There are – there`s legs tonight, we have to find ways to have
everybody have sort of flags standing there in the building –

MADDOW: I`m going to mount one on the shoulder pads of my cheap blazers.

(LAUGHTER)

Like I`m here.

VELSHI: That is amazing.

MADDOW: And then at this time of night every night at 10:00, I will just
run it down the flag pole. –

VELSHI: I think it`s amazing. Rachel –

MADDOW: Thanks Ali –

VELSHI: Great to see you –

MADDOW: Appreciate it –

VELSHI: See you later, all right. President Trump is said to hate when
members of his staff get more attention than he does and he reportedly
really hates reports that he`s being manipulated.

So, the big question is, did Chief of Staff John Kelly help his job today
or did he make it a whole lot harder?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KELLY, CHIEF OF STAFF, WHITE HOUSE: Although I read it all the time,
I`m not quitting today.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The great four-star general,
John Kelly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kelly was in full crisis containment mode today.

KELLY: I am not so frustrate in this job that I`m thinking of leaving.

TRUMP: He loves this more than anything he`s ever done.

KELLY: It is not the best job I ever had.

STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: A source close to him says he
doesn`t love this job. No one knows who that source is, but I`m guessing
it`s everyone with eyeballs.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does President Trump believe that the people of
Puerto Rico are American citizens?

KELLY: Yes.

LESTER HOLT, JOURNALIST: Puerto Rico. The president today seemed to be
threatening to pull emergency responders.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What the president tweeted this morning is obscene.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are not asking for better treatment, we are asking
for equal treatment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump signing executive order today.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER, UNITED STATES HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES: It is a sabotage of the Affordable Care Act.

TRUMP: Thank you, everybody.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mr. President, you need
to sign it –

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most important thing.

TRUMP: I`m only signing it because it costs nothing.

SETH MEYERS, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: When someone tells you their
product will costs nothing, that`s a good sign to steer clear. When you
see a bucket that says free clams, you don`t eat those clams.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: Good evening, everyone, I`m Ali Velshi in for Lawrence. The Trump
administration has got a leak problem. Time and again over the last ten
months, leaks from inside the White House have seemingly consumed the
administration, casting a cloud over the West Wing.

Well, today, it apparently reached a breaking point. The White House Chief
of Staff John Kelly made a surprise appearance at today`s press briefing –
now, this is rare.

It is rare for a chief of staff to attend a briefing this way but he was on
an important mission, to deliver a message on behalf of and to an audience
of one, President Trump.

Following weeks of media reports, speculating that he is quitting and that
he`s frustrated in his job, John Kelly tried to change the narrative.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: Although, I read it all the time pretty consistently, I`m not
quitting today.

(LAUGHTER)

I don`t believe and I just talked to the president, I don`t think I am
being fired today, and I am not so frustrated in this job that I`m thinking
of leaving.

I would tell you this is the hardest job I`ve ever had. This is in my view
the most important job I ever had. I would offer, though, it is not the
best job I ever had.

Best job I ever had as I`ve said many times is when I was an enlisted
Marine sergeant infantryman.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: Did you catch that? John Kelly said his work in a war zone was
easier than working in the White House. So it may not be surprising that
Kelly didn`t really issue a strong denial that he could be leaving the
White House soon.

And that was the theme of John Kelly`s appearance. The non-denial denial.
Over the last few days, reports about internal strife and tension in the
White House have run rampant.

The “Washington Post” reported that during discussions about the Iran deal,
President Trump threw a fit when Secretaries Tillerson and Mattis tried to
defend the agreement.

The “LA Times” says the president has engaged in shouting matches with John
Kelly and as Lawrence reported last night, “Vanity Fair” spoke to several
people close to the president who describe him as, quote, “unstable and
unraveling.”

But when John Kelly tried clearing the air today, he actually conceded that
Trump is frustrated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: It is astounding to me how much is misreported. I will give you
the benefit of the doubt that you are operating off of contacts, leaks,
whatever you call them.

But I would just offer to you the advice I`d say, you know, maybe develop
some better sources. The Congress has been frustrating to him. Obviously,
his great frustration is the process that he now finds himself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: Clear that the negative stories are getting to the president. You
can see Trump`s frustration in his attack on Nbc News after its report that
the president, quote, “wanted what amounted to a nearly ten-fold increase
in the U.S. nuclear arsenal.”

Just this evening, the president tweeted again at Nbc News, “John Kelly had
the chance to say that Nbc News` reporting was wrong.” Here`s what he
said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: In spite of what someone reported the other day about president –
I don`t think he`d mind my sharing this, what he said to me many times and
to the group often times, I hear him most say about nuclear weapons, that
wouldn`t be great if we could get rid of them all as opposed to we need ten
times more.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: OK, that wasn`t really a denial. John Kelly had the chance to
say that Senator Bob Corker`s frank assessments of Donald Trump including
the notion that the Trump White House is an adult day care were wrong.
Here`s what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: When I read about things that are what I would perceive to be
unfair, critical, unnecessarily critical, I will call members of Congress.

Often times members of Congress that I talk to will say, geez, I didn`t
realize it came out that way, I`m sorry or no, I meant it, but it was kind
of a grown-up comment and so I`ll take that to the president and say – but
then there`s others that are – as the president would say grandstanding.

I`m not saying Senator Corker is that way, I`m just saying that some people
grandstand and kind of enjoy the attention.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: Do you notice the pattern there? John Kelly was supposed to set
the record straight for the administration. Hit the reset button.

Instead, he talked around most of those stories without actually denying
any of them. So what happens when one of your chief defenders doesn`t
actually come to your defense?

Joining us now are Tim O`Brien; executive editor of “Bloomberg View” and
author of “Trump Nation: The Art of being the Donald”, he`s also an Msnbc
contributor.

Max Boot; he`s a senior fellow for national security studies at the Council
on Foreign Relations. He`s also a former foreign policy adviser for
McCain, Romney and Rubio.

And Neera Tanden is the president of the Center for American Progress.
Thanks to all of you for being here. Max, let me start with you. What do
you make of this?

I often wonder when we get the surprise briefings from somebody who doesn`t
normally do the briefing, and is supposed to have a particular effect and
it ends up often having the opposite effect.

MAX BOOT, SENIOR FELLOW, NATIONAL SECURITY STUDIES, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN
RELATIONS: Well, exactly. I mean, I think this is a good messenger and
John Jelly certainly knows how to talk to the press much more adroitly than
the average White House Press Secretary or Rex Tillerson last week, but the
message is not credible.

You know, if you`re having to call a press conference to deny that you`re
leaving the administration, and that the president is unstable, that`s kind
of like Richard Nixon calling a press conference to say I am not a crook.

The very fact that you`re denying it seems to confirm it. And we see the
confirmation before our eyes. I mean, remember, let`s not forget,
yesterday, the president of the United States was saying that it`s crazy
that a news outlet can write whatever that it wants to say.

VELSHI: Right.

BOOT: He is attacking the First Amendment. And today he`s attacking the
people of Puerto Rico who are still – 86 percent of them have no
electricity. This is not normal.

That lends a lot of credence to these stories that yes, he`s spinning out
of control, that he is not being handled by his handlers like John Kelly.

And as you point out, nothing that John Kelly said today actually rebuts
that conclusion.

VELSHI: But it was interesting, Neera, in that what it seemed to do was
indicate that the thing that so many people believe, the idea that John
Kelly is there to control him may not be true.

In fact, the “LA Times” quotes a person close to the White House as saying
that, quote, “every time it says on Msnbc or Cnn, which you know he
watches, this is the adult, thank God they stopped him, it all gets to
him.”

NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Absolutely. I
mean, what`s odd about the whole situation we`re in is if you really step
back, is there a big difference in the White House functionality between
John Kelly and Reince Priebus?

At least, the president still has crazy tweets. I think the president – I
think Donald Trump really does react to these stories, saying he`s
unraveling.

But the best way to demonstrate he is not unraveling is to stop insane
tweets attacking varieties of Americans between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. I
mean, the evidence of unraveling is what he does himself.

Who he attacks, how he attacks people all the time, pitting good people
against each other in an incredibly unpresidential way.

And so, I think that the issue for John Kelly is like, he is in this
maelstrom with the president and he obviously didn`t deny really anything
today.

Didn`t even really criticize Corker, Senator Corker and his criticisms.
But the big issue is that no one is controlling the president.

That`s what we should be really worried about. This White House is
spinning out of control, it`s not what John Kelly says, it`s what the
president does every single day to make Americans feel unsure about, you
know, what`s going to happen tomorrow?

VELSHI: Tim, there`s new reporting tonight from Michael Gerson in the
“Washington Post”. Let me just read you a bit of what it says.

“It is no longer possible to safely ignore the leaked cries for help coming
from within the administration. They reveal a president raging against
enemies, obsessed by slights, deeply uninformed and incurious, unable to
focus and subject to destructive whims.

A main task of the chief of staff seems to be to shield him from dinner
guests and telephone calls that might set him off on a foolish or dangerous
tangent.”

You understand Donald Trump and his personality. There`s nothing that`s
happening here that doesn`t fit with what you`ve written about the
president.

TIM O`BRIEN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, BLOOMBERG VIEW: I mean, we had a moment
where someone from within the White House, whether it was Sean Spicer,
Reince Priebus, Rex Tillerson and now John Kelly have come out and it
doesn`t smack of a hostage video where they`re being put up to say
something that I don`t think they would voluntarily go out and say.

It`s essentially burnishing the president`s credibility and his reputation.
And even in the midst of doing that, that you see contradictions.

Kelly contradicted the president on what`s going to be done in Puerto Rico,
essentially Trump did another one of his morning tweets in which he said he
was essentially going to abandon the island after a certain period of time.

It`s difficult and expensive to rescue people. And Kelly during the press
conference, we`re not going to do that, we`re going to stand by the people
of Puerto Rico as long as they need us.

And Trump said this is the best job that John Kelly has ever had and –

VELSHI: And John Kelly sort of said, it`s not really the best job I`ve
ever had –

O`BRIEN: I`m sorry, it`s not. It`s challenging, it`s a little bit crazy,
but he`s not saying it`s the best job I`ve ever had.

And the reality is this isn`t adult day care, it`s just day care. Because
you have a president who is a 7-year-old grown old, and he hasn`t built a
strong team.

And I think there`s this constant revisiting the press of when will he
become presidential? Has he finally become presidential –

VELSHI: Is this a pivot?

O`BRIEN: And who can manage him?

VELSHI: Right.

O`BRIEN: And this is – at this stage, these are unhealthy and
unsophisticated ways to be managing the most powerful office in the world.

VELSHI: You know, Max, Mitch Mulvaney – Mick Mulvaney was on with Chuck
Todd this weekend on “MEET THE PRESS”, and I`m paraphrasing here.

But when asked about the chaos or however you want to describe what some
think is going on in the White House, he said, “I am there every day, I
don`t see any disorganization. I don`t see any chaos.”

At some point, this is a situation of the emperor having no clothes. We
keep hearing people as Tim says coming out as if in a hostage video and
telling you that the stuff that you can see is going on through the
resignations that come with relative frequency and the turmoil that always
ends up being true after its first leak.

At some point, it attacks – it affects the credibility of the White House
simply because they keep denying that there`s actually chaos.

BOOT: Yes, I mean, I think that, you know, President Trump has no
credibility by this point given the frequency with which he lies.

And the people who are defending him are having their own credibility be
shredded simply by association with him.

I mean, this is a very dangerous and depressing situation where, I mean, he
is finally been called out by his own Secretary of State who called him a
moron, by a leading Republican senator who has said that he is running
adult day care and that he is possibly leading us to World War III.

And I really have not seen a lot of push-back from anybody on the
Republican side or even among the White House staff, because people
basically know this is true!

This is the obvious truths that people on the Republican Party are
generally too afraid to acknowledge. And you know, most of the Republicans
in Washington are too (INAUDIBLE) relying on this to say what Tillerson or
Corker are saying, but they know it`s true.

And what really makes a situation dangerous is that everybody is basically
– realizes, you know, what jeopardy we`re in with the president who cannot
be trusted with a nuclear arsenal, who cannot be trusted to discharge the
duties of his office, but they`re not willing to do anything about it –

VELSHI: And yet, Max, to your area –

BOOT: Yes –

VELSHI: Of specialty in foreign policy, the two most serious issues on the
table right now, both involve nuclear. North Korea and now we are
expecting tomorrow a decertification or announcement toward the
decertification of the Iran deal.

We have actually enflamed two areas that are the most serious from a
national security perspective.

BOOT: And President Trump`s aides and handlers understand that what he`s
doing makes no sense. I mean, you heard that in the way that John Kelly
talked today about we have to give diplomacy a chance with North Korea.

He doesn`t call the dictator of North Korea little rocket man, he doesn`t
issue these empty blustery threats that raise the risk of a nuclear war.

And likewise, it`s been widely reported that President Trump`s national
security team thinks that he should certify the Iranian nuclear deal
because the evidence is that the Iranians are in compliance.

But Trump won`t do that, and so they`re trying to come up with some kind of
third way where you decertify but don`t really pull out, so you basically
satisfy the president but don`t unravel the deal which is, you know,
basically too smart by half.

But this is how the guardians of our national security are trying to deal
with the number one threat to our security which is the commander-in-chief,
the man in the Oval Office is actually now the greatest threat that we as a
country face.

And thank goodness, people like John Kelly and Mattis and McMaster are
there to rein him in. But there`s a limit to what they can do because at
the end of the day this guy is the boss.

VELSHI: But Neera, we only have a handful of Republicans who have actually
come out like Corker, like Jeff Flake, fundamentally most Republicans,
certainly most influential Republicans elected are not doing anything about
this.

TANDEN: Yes, I mean, I actually – I mean, I agree with Max. I don`t
actually know how these Republicans sleep at night at this point.

I mean, we are at a moment where we have – where Donald Trump is elevating
challenges with North Korea.

You have Bob Corker saying his rhetoric is heading us towards World War
III. He is at a moment where it`s not enough that we have a nuclear North
Korea.

He`s basically trying to do what he can to get a nuclear Iran. I mean, I
don`t know why anyone thinks that Donald Trump is well equipped to deal
with two destabilizing nuclear powers, one in the Middle East and one in
Asia.

Not just one. And the fact that you have to basically choose not to run
again in order to say something about the president and his –

VELSHI: Right –

TANDEN: Dysfunction is a terrible black mark. And I would just say not
for today or for tomorrow but in history. How these people will be judged
will be incredibly harsh.

Everybody knows what`s going on and they`re just not willing to say it
because of politics.

VELSHI: Tim, final point to you. Is there anything that Donald Trump is
going to do? In other words, he does seem to play the same card over and
over again.

Stuff that is good for his base, that they will respect because he`s a
tough guy, that flies in the face of conventional wisdom and as we`ve seen
increasingly in the face of honesty.

O`BRIEN: But I would think at some point, his base will want more than
Donald acting like it`s high noon all the time.

I think there should be results. One of the great losses and expenses of
this kind of behavior is that he hasn`t gotten any significant legislation
passed.

And I think today when he walked away, not having yet signed the executive
order was very metaphorical. He loves the stage, he loves the moment, he
forgets to sign the bill.

And this is the story of this administration. And I think he`s not
delivering yet on some important points that he promised to his base.

And that clock is ticking, and this game I think of Trump playing
everything either through self aggrandizement or self-preservation which
are his two motivating forces is getting increasingly old. It`s beyond
old, it`s stale now.

VELSHI: All right, Tim, thanks very much for that.

O`BRIEN: Thank you.

VELSHI: Tim, Max Boot, thanks to both of you. Neera, stick around.
Today, President Trump used his pen to sign this executive order that will
– almost didn`t sign it, by the way.

That will drastically change health insurance for millions of people and
generally not for the better. And as if things weren`t bad enough for
Puerto Ricans already, the president started insulting Puerto Rico again.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(APPLAUSE)

PENCE: Mr. President – Mr. President, you need to sign it.

TRUMP: Thank you, everybody.

(LAUGHTER)

Most important thing, I`m only signing it because it costs nothing.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: I don`t know if you heard that. He signed it because it costs
nothing. And also this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: They should have had this last one done. They lost by one vote for
a thing like that to happen is a disgrace.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: So with the help of Vice President Pence, President Trump today
signed an executive order on health care that could begin the unraveling of
Obamacare that the Republicans` health care attempts failed to do.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: For a long period of time since I started running, and since I
became president of the United States, I just keep hearing, repeal,
replace, repeal, replace.

Well, we are starting that process and we`re starting it in a very positive
manner.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: Now, the first thing to know about today`s executive order is that
no law was signed. It is now up to several cabinet agencies to review and
allow public comments before any regulation is put in place.

In other words, this could take months and it will not affect the current
open enrollment. But what does the executive order do?

Well, it looks to expand association health plans, short-term insurance and
health reimbursement arrangements.

As “Vox News” puts it, “these changes could represent a serious threat to
Obamacare, Trump wants to open more loopholes for more people to buy
insurance outside the health care law`s markets which experts anticipate
would destabilize the market for customers who are left behind with higher
premiums and fewer insurers.”

In other words, this executive order could end up creating the implosion
that Trump previously hinted at.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Obamacare is in a total death spiral. Let Obamacare fail, it will
be a lot easier. I said from the beginning, let Obamacare implode and then
do it. I turned out to be right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: And we have breaking news on this. “Politico” is now reporting,
quote, “President Trump plans to cut off critical subsidy payments to
insurers selling Obamacare coverage.

This is according to two people familiar with the matter. The decision to
end the payments worth an estimated $7 billion this year mark`s Trump`s
most aggressive move yet to dismantle Obamacare after months of failed GOP
repeal efforts on Capitol Hill.”

Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida has just tweeted
this: “cutting health care subsidies will mean more uninsured in my
district. POTUS promised more access, affordable coverage. This does the
opposite. It absolutely does.

This is a serious matter.” Joining us now is Julie Rovner; the chief
Washington correspondent at “Kaiser Health News”. And back with us is
Neera Tanden.

Julie, let me start with you. These cost-sharing reductions, these
subsidies, are really the life-line for these markets, these insurance
markets.

This is the thing that insurance companies in many cases base their
premiums on, and if they are disappearing that could mean premium spikes.

JULIE ROVNER, KAISER HEALTH NEWS CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well,
we`re already seeing premium spikes for next year based on the possibility
that these payments will be made.

It`s about $7 billion worth of payments. These are payments that are
required under the law that insurers are required to give to people who
earn under two and a half times the poverty level, about $30,000.

About half the people, more than half the people in the exchanges get them.
And basically what the president is saying is we owe you this money but
we`re not going to give it to you.

VELSHI: Let me ask you this, Neera, Senator Chuck Schumer has tweeted in
response not to this new announcement which has just come out.

But to the health care executive order that the president signed this
morning. He tweeted out “having failed to repeal the ACA or Obamacare in
Congress, POTUS is using a wrecking ball to single-handedly rip apart and
sabotage our health care system.

And it will add further chaos to the markets if the system deteriorates,
make no mistake about it. The blame will fall squarely on POTUS.”

This is an important point because the president has stated as have many
Republicans that Obamacare has been in a death spiral.

We have countered that with facts many times, but they continue to say it.
And Democrats are now witnessing the fact that it is in a death spiral
despite the failure of two attempts to repeal Obamacare.

So the issue is, Obamacare may implode, who gets the blame?

TANDEN: I think the person who gets the blame is the person who is to
blame, and that is Donald Trump. I mean, the reality of this situation is
just to step back.

What the president has done today and the announced news this evening is
really about doing one thing. Not hurting Democrats, not hurting Barack
Obama.

It is hurting people who get health care from the Affordable Care Act who
are the citizens of this country. Two, it`s basically all designed to
raise their premiums.

All of this effort, the creation of chaos, the not paying the subsidies,
that`s not really not paying subsidies to the insurance companies.

That`s about raising premiums that people have to pay. And they were –
and that`s what`s happening here.

The president has a political objective. His ponds are American citizens
and he`s happy to make them pay for his political objective.

Now, I think that`s a ridiculous gamble because I do think what happened
today is the president is taking ownership of the Affordable Care Act.

It is his – these are his plans, this is his action. What happens now is
because of what he`s doing. And when there is chaos in these markets and
insurers flee and premiums rise, we`ve seen it from polling already, but I
think more and more people will recognize a president who spent all his
time trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act and pass a bunch of executive
actions that he used to hate but now loves is actually going to be the
person responsible for what`s happening to them.

VELSHI: Julie, you know, my producers are going to let me get a little
nerdy on this because I enjoy the topic of health care as you know, and I
rely very much on the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Earlier this week, Larry Levitt; senior vice president there tweeted this
warning about one of the elements of this executive order. He said, “if
loosely-regulated association plans are allowed, insurers will leave the
ACA market places as soon as they can or hike premiums a lot.”

Who wins in this sort of effort to get more people out of the market place?
Is this designed to have the market places collapse because as you create
alternatives to being in the market place for people in the individual
markets, you can do nothing else mathematically except weaken those
markets.

ROVNER: That`s right, basically there`s two things that would happen here.
Healthy people would be able to join all of the association health plans
which they might or may not be able to do by executive order.

But the short-term plans also that which are not part of the Affordable
Care Act, people who are healthy can go into them, they are allowed to turn
away people who are sick.

That leaves only sick people back in the exchanges. It does cost the
government despite what the president says more because the subsidies for
their premiums would go up.

The people who get hurt are the people who are buying individual insurance,
who have pre-existing conditions and who don`t get help from the
government.

I wrote a story about them this week, it`s about 7.5 million people.
They`re primarily Republicans. They will pay –

VELSHI: Yes –

ROVNER: The bulk of these increased premiums.

VELSHI: I recommend people check out some of the writing that you`ve done,
Julie, because you guys are really on top of this.

Julie Rovner is the chief Washington correspondent at “Kaiser Health News”,
Neera Tanden is the president of the Center for American Progress and was
an adviser on the Affordable Care Act. Thank you to both of you.

Coming up, fire is burning in California, people struggling to get water in
Puerto Rico, the criticism coming to the president from east to west.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELSHI: Today the House of Representatives overwhelmingly pass add $36.5
billion disaster relief package for hurricane recovery in Puerto Rico and
wildlife response efforts in California. The Senate is expected to vote on
the bill in the coming weeks. At least 31 people are dead and 400 are
missing as California battles some of the worst wildfires in the state`s
history.

Nearly two dozen wildfires are burning across California. Now today
mandatory evacuation orders in Sonoma County in Northern California were
expanded as flames continued to turn entire neighborhoods to ash just a few
hours before the house passed its disaster relief bill the President
appeared to threaten to pull Federal support from Puerto Rico with this
Tweet. We cannot keep FEMA, the military and the first responders who have
been amazing under the most difficult circumstances in P.R. forever.
Interestingly that Tweet is the exact opposite of what the President
promised Puerto Rico just last Friday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We will not rest until that job is done. Puerto Rico has a long
road of recovery ahead, very long road. We will be there all the time to
help Puerto Rico recover, restore, rebuild. We`re working together very
closely with your great Governor and your Congresswoman who is terrific,
Jessica.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: Right now about 85 percent of Puerto Rico remains without
electrical power. 40 percent of the people there still don`t have drinkable
water. More than 60 percent of people don`t have cell service.

And in my cases if they had cell service, they don`t have the power to
charge their phones. joining us now is Melissa Mark Viverito the Speaker of
the New York City Council who is born and raised in Puerto Rico and
recently returned from the island and Maria Teresa Kumar, the President &
CEO of Voto Latino, and an a MSNBC contributor.

Thank you to you both for being here. I wanted to ask the control room. I
want to run through three Tweets the President put out about Las Vegas,
Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Yesterday he Tweeted about Las Vegas.
he said, happy to announce we`re awarding $1 million to Las Vegas in order
to help local law enforcement working overtime to respond to last Sunday`s
tragedy.

The second one, he Tweeted after Hurricane Harvey, Texas, we are with you
today. We are with you tomorrow. We will be with you every single day after
to restore, recover and rebuild.

And the third one I want to show you is from September 14th after Hurricane
Irma. Florida, just like Texas, we are with you today. We are with you
tomorrow and we will be with you every single day after to restore, recover
and rebuild. Maria, what`s the problem? Why is the President with everybody
and yet can`t seem to go two days without finding criticism for the people
and the government of Puerto Rico?

MARIA TERESA KUMAR,PRESIDENT & CEO, VOTO LATINO: It`s increasingly
obvious that he doesn`t consider the people of Puerto Rico on the same
status of American citizenship as the folks on the mainland. And that is
something that is unacceptable and unfortunately un-presidential lack and
of political will. And I have to say the fact that many Republicans are
not standing up and saying that this is our duty to help our neighbors, to
help our American citizens, to ensure they`re not dying needless is not
only lack of leadership but increasingly you`re starting to feel like it`s
almost intentional.

VELSHI: Melissa, the mayor of San Juan is critical of the President. The
governor has not been all that critical. But even he said all we want is
the same. These same Tweets, same support. You`re telling Texas and
Florida, we are never, ever going to leave you. There are still people in
Louisiana from Katrina in 2005, in fact -

MELISSA MARK VIVERITO, THE SPEAKER, NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL: After Sandy
here in New York City.

VELSHI: And people back from the Wall Street Journal today a FEMA
spokesman said Thursday that the agency has personal at work in Louisiana
supporting efforts local and state recovery efforts dating back to
Hurricane Katrina in 2005. FEMA Personnel are also supporting New York and
New Jersey`s recovery from Superstorm Sandy of 2012. People who are not
critical of FEMA and the President in Puerto Rico are now getting fed up.

VIVERITO: Right, no. This is off scene and insane and sadistic to be able
to be able to get up in the morning an tweet at a people that are hurting,
that are in crisis. And to say we`re going to turn our back on you.

Let`s be clear because I think some of the Congressional Reps need a
history lesson. 1898, the United States invaded Puerto Rico. And as
Congresswoman said with that invasion comes responsibility. We have been
U.S. citizens since 1917. 100 years. We pay taxes. We have fought in every
major conflict in this country with distinction.

We have died to protect the values of this country. And we pay taxes, as I
indicated. for him, the President, to say, someone who has claimed
bankruptcy how many times and have others hold the bag for his
responsibilities, to say we`re somehow mooching, that were somehow a drain
on the economy, that my mother is drain on the economy who continues to
live on the island is incredible disgrace and it is really something that
is reprehensible.

And so the Congress members also have a responsibility to stand up as Maria
has said on behalf of the Puerto Rican people. Our U.S. citizenship is
valued, has same value as those who live in Texas, as those who live in
Florida. And so, we need to ensure that that is happening.

So it is a disgrace what`s happening and it`s unfortunate very much. We`re
here to continue to remind the President that we`re not going to let him
forget that we owe – they owe and it`s a moral obligation what is owed to
Puerto Rico.

VELSHI: But to all of the things, Maria, that Melissa pointed out, the one
thing in the hundred years of citizenship that Puerto Ricans don`t have is
a vote for the presidency.

KUMAR: I was going to say that. If you actually look at the patterns of
the areas supporting they`re states all cynically critical to his re-
election and cynically critical to a lot of the re-election of members of
Congress. But this is not about politics. This is about being decent,
being human.

The fact that you have resources to continue a war in Afghanistan and let`s
slip it. You cannot continue to make sure people have the basic needs.
Sanjay Gupta on Saturday basically made it very clear. He`s like every
death moving forward is preventable in Puerto Rico. We should be - all of
every single American should be completely not only disgusted by coming
forth saying this is how to contribute.

VIVERITO: Right, well I mean, the majority of the people that are leaving
the island, OK, because we are – you know, we are going to Florida.

VELSHI: Where they can vote for president.

VIVERITO: Exactly, right. And there we`ll remember this. And the only
voice of outrage, it is a shame that the Governor of Puerto Rico cannot
stand up on behalf of his people and express indignation at the level of
disrespect and disengagement of this administration. The fact that it is
the only voice of outrage is coming from the Mayor of San Juan.

VELSHI: Yes.

VIVERITO: And that is a reality. And so, this will not be forgotten but we
have a responsibility, those of us in power, those of with us a platform,
to raise our voice and say that you are to be held accountable. Not only on
the President. It is on Congress, as well.

So that there will be mobilizations happening to Washington, D.C. to remind
people you have an obligation. We are literally dying. You know, when there
is this neglect that is happening. There are not enough personnel on the
island of Puerto Rico.

There is a fragile infrastructure and we don`t have power and we don`t have
water. And people are dying because of that and this is on your watch,
Senor Trump. And he has to take responsibility for it.

VELSHI: Thank you so much, Melissa Mark Viverito. we`ll stay on top of
this story.

VIVERITO: Thank you.

VELSHI: Maria Teresa Kumar, also good to have you on the show. Thank you
both.

KUMAR: Thank you.

VELSHI: All right, coming up, the President likes to remind everyone he
went to one of the best business schools but what he said about the stock
market and the economy has a lot of people wondering if he understands
either one. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I call myself the king of debt. I`m great with debt. Nobody knows
debt more than me. I`ve made a fortune by using debt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: Last night Donald Trump made a claim about reducing the National
Debt that the New York Times called, “a statement that`s not true in any
sense.” Here it is

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The last eight years they borrowed more than it did in the whole
history of our country so they borrowed more than $10 trillion, right? And
yet, we`ve picked up 5.2 trillion just in the stock market, possibly picked
up the whole thing in terms of the first nine months in terms of value. So
you could say in one sense we`re really increasing values and maybe in a
sense we`re reducing debt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: I don`t know much but I do know a thing or two about the economy
and that`s not how the national debt works. I assume Trump knows that which
means he was lying. or, he doesn`t know it which means the President
doesn`t have even a rudimentary understanding of the Stock Market or the
National Debt.

Whether a lie or ignorance, you choose which one is worse. Stock Market
gains do not reduce the National Debt. Those gains go to company
shareholders. The market and the debt are unrelated.

Donald Trump made another questionable claim yesterday when he said his
plan to cut corporate taxes would give the typical American household a
$4,000 pay raise. So how did the President come up with a $4,000 pay raise?
Here`s what Whitehouse chief economic adviser Gary Cohn said today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARY COHN, WHITEHOUSE CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER: When you lower the corporate
tax rate and the business tax rate on the pass throughs, businesses have
more earnings. So you take the money that`s not being sent to the
government and you give it to the employees. That ends up being about
$4,000 per worker in the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: That is, how do I say this nicely? Absolute nonsense. There are no
examples anywhere of companies distributing their tax savings to their
workers. When President Reagan signed a corporate tax cut in 1986, worker
wages went down. According to Bloomberg today, the President is angry after
learning that the details of his own tax plan, specifically the parts that
end the state and local tax deductions, would hurt middle class taxpayers.
Trump`s concerns led him to say this week that “we`ll be adjusting the tax
overhaul frame work.”

So what happens when the chief negotiator on tax reform doesn`t like his
own plan? Former Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee joins us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: So you could say in one sense we`re really increasing values and
maybe in a sense we`re reducing debt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: Actually you can`t actually say that. In no sense are you reducing
debt just because the Stock Market is going up. joining me now is Austan
Goolsbee, the former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers for
President Obama, He`s currently professor of economics at the University of
Chicago. I hope you weren`t watching that live when it happened last night,
because I was.

And I mean, if I had hair, it would have all fallen out, Austan. I think I
just want to underscore for our audience, and I think our audience
understands this fully, the National Debt and the Stock Market, one doesn`t
affect the other in any direct relationship.

AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO: Look, I was just
waiting for him to say, and the Abilene Zoo has two turkeys in it. I mean
it has nothing to do – those two things had nothing to do with each other.
It was kind of scary. I mean on the one hand it`s funny but it was kind of
scary that it looked like he thought he was having an insight about the
economy in comparing the debt to the Stock Market leaving aside the fact
that the stock market doubled under Barack Obama. And it was up a lot more
than it has been under Donald Trump.

VELSHI: And I`ve got that on the screen right now. We got the bottom of
the market was March 9th, 2009, I believe. It had been going down and going
down. If you sort of take a ruler, you can draw a line from then until now.

And it seems to have been going up, with a few exceptions, in a relatively
straight line. So if you`re going to take credit for that, as Donald Trump
likes to do pretty much every day, then you have to give credit on the back
end. But I ask you, Austan, because you and I have talked about this over
the years. I think that Presidents get too much credit or blame for the
stock market.

It`s one of those live by the sword, die by the sword kind of thing because
the stock market goes up and down.

GOOLSBEE: Yes, look you have said that many times. And we had this
conversation over and over and I agree with you. Look the thing that I
think historians will say - they will give a lot of credit to President
Obama is that the economy was in free fall when he took office. And partly
that was seen in the stock market but mostly it was seen in the deepest
recession of our lifetimes. And we`ve turned it around and commenced the
second longest boom in American history.

Donald Trump inherited a very nice economy, nothing like the economy that
existed when Barack Obama came into office. And to try to take credit for
the stock market performance and the economic performance and the
unemployment rate that exists now is a lot like the backup quarterback
comes in after the starter has led us through the whole game and with 30
seconds left in the lead, they wanted you to be able to tell your grandkids
you got to play in the Super Bowl.

And there he is doing a dance, look what I did. I won the super bowl. I
mean, it doesn`t make any sense.

VELSHI: Austan, I want to read you something. We just got some news from
the Whitehouse that I`m going to need your help in interpreting. It`s a
statement from the Press Secretary that reads as follows. based on the
guidance from the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human
Services has concluded that there is no appropriation for cost sharing
reduction payments to insurance companies under Obamacare. In light of this
analysis, the government cannot lawfully make the cost sharing reduction
payments. The United States house of Representatives sued the previous
administration in Federal court for making these payments without such an
appropriation.

The court agreed that the payments were not lawful. The bailout of
insurance companies through these unlawful payments is a further example of
how the previous administration abused tax payer dollar and skirted the law
to prop up a broken system. It sounds like a precursor to a full
announcement that the Administration is going to do what it has been
threatening to do for several months now to stop making payments which
assist low-income people who are in the individual market with their out of
pocket medical expenses.

GOOLSBEE: That would be a catastrophic decision that will lead to millions
of people losing their insurance. And there will be thousands of people
that die or get major medical expenses, declare bankruptcy, and others if
they actually make that decision.

If they do, they will pay a price for having done it. But I still don`t
want them to do that. I don`t want them to pay that price because I would
rather have those millions of people not lose their insurance.

This is crazy town. This is a decision that is opposed by every major
medical organization, the doctors, the nurses, the hospitals, the insurance
companies, the consumer groups and every other leading expert group has
opposed this decision.

VELSHI: We`ll continue to get confirmation on what this means, what the
timing of it, when it`s happening, how it takes effect. Austan, thanks for
joining me tonight, Austan Goolsbee joining us from Chicago.

GOOLSBEE: Thank you.

VELSHI: Tonight`s Last Word is next

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELSHI: The President has signed many Executive Orders, many for the same
reason he signed one today, because he couldn`t make a deal with Congress
on legislation. Just about a year before he was sworn into office, the
President had some thoughts about deals and executive orders and lying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Ted Cruz lies, he`s a liar. And that`s why nobody likes him.
That`s why his senate people won`t endorse him. That`s why he stands on
the middle of the Senate floor and can`t make a deal with anybody,

He looks like a jerk. He`s standing all by himself. And you know there`s
something to say about having a little bit of ability to get other people
to do things. You can`t be a lone wolf and stand there. That`s sort of what
we have now as a President. We have a President that can`t get anything
done so he keeps signing Executive Orders all over the place.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: And that`s the Last Word. Join me tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m.
on MSNBC, Velshi and Ruhle” with my colleague Stephanie Ruhle. The 11th
Hour starts right now.

REPORTER: Tonight the general running Donald Trump`s West Wing takes his
first turn at the podium, His objective project calm and clean up all
those press accounts of chaos. Plus 22 days after Hurricane Maria ravaged
Puerto Rico the Mayor of San Juan today accused


END

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