New report tonight: WH fed up with Senate Transcript 10/16/17 The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: October 16, 2017
Guest: David Jolly, Glenn Thrush, James Fallows, Daniel Dale
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: I`m impressed – interesting interview that
specifically relates to the Russia investigation. I`m a little jealous
because I didn`t get the interview, Ari did.
But I`m going – but I`m impressed and I`m going to be joining Ari,
actually, on his show at 6:00 p.m. to talk with him about that big
You should check it out, if you`re not usually watching at 6:00, you should
watch tomorrow at 6:00 Eastern. That does it for us tonight, we`ll see you
again tomorrow, now it is time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell,
good evening Lawrence.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Oh, Rachel, I would so love to
make you jealous with a big get. It`s so hard to do, though, because, of
MADDOW: No, you make me jealous all the time, big guy –
O`DONNELL: Oh, once a year, once a year, I get somebody –
MADDOW: That is not true –
O`DONNELL: Who you wanted. Once a year maybe, if I`m lucky.
MADDOW: You are very kind, thank you –
O`DONNELL: Rachel –
MADDOW: My friend –
O`DONNELL: A little cold there? –
MADDOW: Yes –
O`DONNELL: Just a little cold I`m hearing in your voice? –
MADDOW: Did you see me have my coffee fit?
O`DONNELL: You – I –
MADDOW: At the end, I was like – I was like 60 percent of the way through
the A block and just you know, sometimes you get like a little tickle and
you`re like, oh no, I`m going to clear my throat, I`m going to take a
little glass of water but this is not going to get better.
And I just had to like throw to commercial and then lay down on the floor
and like cough into the rug for four solid minutes and then I came back and
finished it after the break.
O`DONNELL: As –
MADDOW: It was quite humiliating –
O`DONNELL: As soon as you hang up the phone on me, the chicken soup is
MADDOW: Yes –
O`DONNELL: It`s right there –
As soon as you step out of that room – thank you Rachel –
MADDOW: Thank you, dear, thanks Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Well, we know how much President Trump loves to talk about fake
news, and so today, he decided to make his own very big contribution to
fake news by stepping into the Rose Garden with Mitch McConnell and
pretending to be fake friends.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looked like a hostage video to me today in the Rose
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My relationship with this
gentleman is outstanding, has been outstanding.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER, SENATE: We are together
totally on this agenda to move America forward.
TRUMP: I have a fantastic relationship with the people in the Senate and
with the people in Congress. I mean, I have a – with House of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With the exception of a few of Bob Corker, Jeff Flake,
John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins and you know, Mitch McConnell.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would be helpful is if the president would
actually get out of the way and allow the Senate to do its work.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He served out but he may have heard this false claim
that President Obama did not call families of fallen soldiers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has no soul. Did we elect the worst person on this
TRUMP: It`s like what we read – we`re probably now I think – at least as
far as I`m concerned closer than ever before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The president of the United States had a meeting today followed
by a press conference that no other president in history has ever had to
The majority leader of the Senate had a meeting today followed by a press
conference that no other majority leader of the United States Senate has
ever had to have in the history of the Senate.
The president and the Senate Majority leader are both in the same political
party. But they had to have a meeting today followed by a press conference
to try to prove that they don`t hate each other.
And I mean, hate each other with every fiber of their being. But we know
that Donald Trump has given Mitch McConnell more reason to hate him than
any president has ever given a Senate Majority Leader and we know that
Donald Trump uses Twitter as a tool of his hatred and that no president has
ever launched public attacks on the Senate Majority leader of his own
party, until now.
“Can you believe that Mitch McConnell who has screamed repeal and replace
for seven years couldn`t get it done? Must repeal and replace Obamacare!
And of course, the only problem I have with Mitch McConnell is that after
hearing repeal and replace for seven years he failed.
That should never have happened!” Here is the first lie of many lies that
President Trump told in the Rose Garden today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I just want to say that we just spent quite a bit of time inside
with the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who`s been a friend of
mine for a long time.
Long before my world at politics, early into his world of politics, I
think. But we`ve been friends for a long time. We are probably now
despite what we read, we`re probably now I think at least as far as I`m
concerned closer than ever before and the relationship is very good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Closer than ever before. This was an emergency meeting at the
White House today. It was an emergency meeting of a political party in
A crisis of chaos. It was an emergency meeting to tell that lie that you
just heard that Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump are friends. Never been
Because this weekend, Steve Bannon who went from running a right-wing hate-
driven website to the Trump campaign, to the Trump White House, and is now
back at that website said that he will oppose any Republican senator`s re-
election if that senator does not attack Republican Senator Bob Corker,
pledge to support the elimination of filibusters in the Senate, and pledge
to vote against Mitch McConnell for Majority leader.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: All of you folks that
are so concerned that you`re going to get primaried and defeated, you know,
there`s time for mea culpa, you can come to a stick and condemn Senator
And you can come to a stick, a microphone and you can say, I am not going
to vote for Mitch McConnell for Majority leader.
And you can come to a stick and you can say I`m going to do away with the
filibuster so the president can implement his program.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: You have never seen that before. This is the worst chaos that
has ever existed in modern political parties. Will Rogers once famously
said “I am not a member of any organized political party, I am a Democrat.”
And it is true that for most of the 20th century, the Republican Party was
more disciplined than the Democratic Party. The first time an incumbent
president was challenged for re-nomination within his own party, it was a
Democrat who did that.
Eugene McCarthy ran against his old friend President Lyndon Johnson for the
1968 Democratic nomination, but Gene McCarthy had one rule when he started
He would not attack the president personally. No one has ever quit working
in a senior advisory role in a Democratic White House and then instantly
begun attacking the Democratic leader of the Senate or the Democratic
leader of the House of Representatives.
We have never seen this kind of open, public chaos in a political party,
and anyone who tries to compare any of the stresses within the Democratic
Party to what`s happening within the Republican Party now is just wrong.
Totally and wildly wrong. There is no comparison. There has never been
chaos like this in a political party because Donald Trump has never been
the highest ranking member of a political party until now.
This is Trumpian chaos that you are watching. Mitch McConnell has served
32 years in the United States Senate. One-third of that time as the
Republican leader in the Senate and this is his first year of chaos in the
United States Senate.
There are some Democrats in the Senate who have vehemently opposed
everything that Mitch McConnell has ever tried to do in the Senate, but all
of those Democrats recognize that Mitch McConnell is a careful and
deliberate and formidable Senate strategist.
And those Democrats know that no Republican leader of the Senate has ever
bent and contorted the rules of the Senate to favor the Republicans more
than Mitch McConnell has, including Mitch McConnell`s decision to refuse to
allow President Obama`s Supreme Court nominee to get even a vote in the
Senate, not even a vote in a committee.
A completely unprecedented partisan move against both Senate tradition and
the constitutional intent of the Senate confirmation process.
There has never been a more sharply partisan Republican leader of the
Senate than Mitch McConnell to believe that Mitch McConnell is the
Republicans biggest problem in the Senate requires that you understand
absolutely nothing about the United States Senate or the politics of
Enter Donald Trump and Steve Bannon who understand nothing about the
Senate, who understand nothing about the politics of governing.
And so, the Democrats cannot believe their luck tonight. Senate Democrats
thought it was their job to fight Mitch McConnell every day and that is
their job legislatively in the United States Senate.
And most of them do that without ever launching personal attacks on Mitch
McConnell. And now the Democrats are watching the most vicious personal
attacks that have ever been launched on a Senate Majority leader an they
are coming from the leader`s own party.
They are coming from a former Trump campaign official, a former Trump White
House official and while Donald Trump is asked about those attacks today,
he does not offer one word of defense of his fake friend Mitch McConnell.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, do you approve of Steve Bannon`s war on
Mitch McConnell and the Republican establishment?
TRUMP: Well, Steve is very committed, he`s a friend of mine and he`s very
committed to getting things passed. I mean, look, I have – you know,
despite what the press writes, I have great relationships with actually
many senators, but in particular, with most Republican senators.
But we`re not getting the job done, and I`m not going to blame myself, I`ll
be honest. They are not getting the job done. We`ve had healthcare
approved, and then you had a surprise vote by John McCain.
We`ve had other things happen and they`re not getting the job done, and I
can understand where Steve Bannon is coming from.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was this morning before the president`s lunch with Mitch
McConnell. I can understand where Steve Bannon is coming from.
That`s what the president had to say about the Steve Bannon war on Mitch
McConnell. The question was about Steve Bannon`s war on Mitch McConnell.
President Trump didn`t say I can understand where Mitch McConnell is coming
from. He said, I can understand where Steve Bannon is coming from.
The president said that in the cabinet room at a meeting of the cabinet
this morning. The only cabinet in history with the member who is reported
to have called the president a moron.
And who for weeks now has steadfastly refused to deny that he called the
president a moron. Rex Tillerson is making sure that the moron story never
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: As I indicated earlier, when I was
asked about that, I`m not going to deal with that kind of petty stuff.
I mean, this is a town that seems to relish gossip, rumor, innuendo and
they feed on it. They feed on one another in a very destructive way.
I don`t work that way, deal that way and I`m just not going to dignify the
question. I`m not playing. These are the games of Washington. I`m not
dignifying the question with an answer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The question which should have been in there was, did you call
the president a moron? Jake Tapper asked that question yesterday on “Cnn”,
every time the Secretary of State refuses to deny that he called the
president a moron, he is publicly calling the president a moron and he
And it will be incumbent now on every interviewer of Rex Tillerson to
continue to ask him if he called the president a moron before, of course,
moving on to the more important issues of what`s going to happen next with
North Korea and Iran.
The moron story just might live in the Trump presidency forever and Rex
Tillerson just might be able to keep the moron story alive forever.
And Rex Tillerson has every personal incentive to do that because one of
the features of the chaos presidency is that the president has publicly
attacked his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
And publicly egged him on to resign. As the president did with his
attorney general who was also at that cabinet meeting today.
Legislating is hard. It is almost indescribably hard, it is the hardest
thing that Donald Trump has ever been involved in in his life.
The complexity of the interaction of the congressional committees, the
sequencing of the votes in the House, in the Senate, the budget factors,
the budget rules, the compromising that adds votes to a bill and usually
that kind of stuff usually takes most of a year, for big legislation.
And is an all-consuming passion for everyone seriously involved in that
legislative endeavor. As say, President Obama was in the passage of
Everything that can go wrong will go wrong in this kind of legislation.
And it is the job of everyone involved to try to make sure that nothing
And if there`s a moron in the mix at the highest level, then everyone knows
who to blame when things do go wrong.
Steve Bannon knows who the moron is. Steve Bannon knows who is to blame
for the zero legislative accomplishments of the Trump administration.
But Steve Bannon has chosen to blame Mitch McConnell. Senator Lindsey
Graham knows what this kind of chaos means for the Republican Party.
Everyone loses. Everyone. Very much including Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Steve Bannon has said that Republicans should go to war
against Mitch McConnell, that all you all should get rid of him and that
should be the Republican rallying.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Mitch McConnell is not our
problem. Our problem is that we promised to repeal and replace Obamacare
and we failed.
We promised to cut taxes and we`re yet to do it. If we`re successful,
Mitch McConnell`s fine, if we`re not, we`re all in trouble. We lose our
majority and I think President Trump will not get re-elected.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Glenn Thrush; White House correspondent for the
“New York Times” and an Msnbc contributor.
And David Jolly; former Republican Congressman of Florida. David, your
party is in a mess unlike anything we`ve ever seen before and the one new
factor in everything that`s messed up is the Trump factor and the Bannon
DAVID JOLLY, FORMER REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN: That`s it, and you nailed it
in the open, Lawrence. Listen, this was a press conference today that
under normal circumstances wouldn`t have been newsworthy.
You had a president and a Majority leader speaking about party unity. The
president reiterated the economy is growing, the stock market is up.
They mentioned their agenda. And Mitch McConnell rightfully pointed out
that Dodd-Frank and Obamacare took two years.
But to believe that requires a suspension of belief because the real
reality and the Trump chaos world is this is not a unified party when he
continues to throw GOP senators under the bus.
The real reality is the economy is not doing well if you`re in the middle
class facing rising health care premiums and a tax cut package that
benefits the rich.
And the real reality is we have a president that cannot articulate a
discernible legislative agenda because he doesn`t understand policy, and
that is the chaos that he`s created and is why the party has no idea where
to go with this president.
He has created this situation himself.
O`DONNELL: And Glenn, the parties – the congressional parties in the re-
election campaigns, sometimes struggle to make this a run against the
leadership of the party, as opposed your local congressman.
They did it in the 1980s with Tip O`Neill, they put a character in some of
the Republican congressional campaign ads that was this big guy with white
hair who kind of looked like Tip O`Neill, trying to say that, you know,
this guy is the problem.
You got to get rid of your local congressman to get rid of this guy`s
power. They do it with Nancy Pelosi in recent campaigns.
It`s never really successfully been done with a Senate Majority leader and
a little bit on Harry Reid, but never really successful.
And here we see the Republicans, the Republicans trying to raise the
Republican Senate Majority leader to be this target of hatred in our
The Democrats couldn`t do this if they tried.
GLENN THRUSH, NEW YORK TIMES WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Lawrence, you
know, you said this is unprecedented. There is a precedent, and the
precedent is John Boehner and the precedent is Eric Cantor.
This is – they are looking for essentially what amount to a repeat of what
happened in the House. Look, Steve Bannon is on the outside of government
because he wasn`t particularly effective on the inside of government.
He`ll tell you that himself. What he does talk about, however, when you
ask him for his creation myth, how it is that he became a powerful player
on the national stage, he talks about Dave Brat`s race in Richmond and
Culpeper; unseating Eric Cantor.
They are essentially trying to do this in the Senate. This is – this is
not a – this is not a new story line from Bannon. What is interesting,
however, is that their attention has shifted from Paul Ryan.
Remember, “Breitbart” and the entire Bannon-ocracy were going after Paul
Ryan. Paul Ryan was the simple of the party in decline. But because Trump
has targeted Ryan and has targeted McConnell – and by the way, the most
important thing that Donald Trump said today, the thing that we need to
remember is, “I don`t blame myself.”
That is manifesting apparent –
O`DONNELL: Yes –
THRUSH: But he ought to blame himself because most of these problems
including the three Obamacare fails on Capitol Hill are directly
attributable to the president`s lack of involvement and knowledge in the
And blame Mitch McConnell, he certainly bears some of the blame here. But
the president`s own failing and his insistence on appointing people on his
staff who weren`t able to execute this or to come up with a compromise that
was going to get the votes necessary, you know, that is laid at his feet.
So what does this president do? What is he good at? Whenever he`s occupying
the stage by himself, Lawrence, he has a problem.
He needs an enemy, he needs an opponent and Mitch McConnell, the man
smiling very uncomfortably next to him in the Rose Garden today is at the
moment that target.
O`DONNELL: Well –
THRUSH: Yes –
O`DONNELL: You know, you mentioned this shift from Paul Ryan, it`s
fascinating one to watch. Let`s watch what Paul Ryan said today when he
was asked about what his biggest obstacle is these days. Let`s listen to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is your biggest obstacle to getting tax reform
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER, UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
Well, you ever heard of the United States Senate before?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: David Jolly, Mitch McConnell can`t be happy with that.
JOLLY: No, and look, there`s always been a divide at least in recent
history between the chambers. But to Glenn`s point and to yours, Lawrence,
listen, the Republican Party has never really recovered and found their
footing from the emergence of the tea party, from the emergence of the
likes of Sarah Palin has now manifested in the likes of Steve Bannon and
What is different now is that we have a president who is known to be
unstable. We have a president who is known to be risky when it comes to
matters of national security.
So what was kind of this emerging rebellion within the Republican Party and
one that – the likes of John Boehner and Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell
could never figure out, they still haven`t figured it out but now it has
real life consequences and potentially very dangerous consequences.
And so I will be honest with you, Lawrence, I personally as a Republican in
the past few weeks have wondered is the republic safe or if Democrats take
over the House in 2018.
I raise that issue with the leading Republican in D.D. last week, and the
remarkable thing is he had been thinking exactly the same thing.
This is a president that needs a greater check on his power than
Republicans in Congress have offered.
O`DONNELL: David, I just have to – we do have to go to a commercial, but
I have double up on your line, what you just said because I haven`t heard
anything like that –
JOLLY: Right –
O`DONNELL: From a Republican before now. You`re saying that for the
safety of the country that we may be better off, you – there are
Republicans like you who are thinking the Democrats should be in control of
JOLLY: Look at this in real-time, there`s no discernible Republican
ideological agenda that is worth fighting for right now. But we do know
that we have a president who very well might put this nation at risk and
this Republican Congress has done nothing to check his power.
Democrats could and we might be better off as a republic if they take the
House in 2018.
O`DONNELL: David Jolly, thank you very much for joining us tonight, really
JOLLY: Good to be with you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, no former White House official has called a
president a deranged animal until today. And in a striking speech tonight,
John McCain really went after Steve Bannon`s half-baked nationalism and
We will show you the video.
O`DONNELL: The last 12 days, the president has made several comments about
National Football League, Harvey Weinstein, the stock market, Hillary
Clinton, the electoral college without ever saying a word or tweeting a
word about staff Sergeant Brian Black, staff Sergeant Jeremiah Johnson,
Dustin Wright and Sergeant La David Johnson who were killed in the line of
duty in Niger.
Not one word. And today the president claimed that he has written letters
to the families of those soldiers and then said he wasn`t sure if those
letters would be sent today or tomorrow.
Now, America has every right to believe the president was lying about those
letters because he lied about a lot of things today in the Rose Garden and
there is no reason why those letters wouldn`t be sent immediately after
they were written.
The president might know that while he`s been busy tweeting about football,
he has not actually signed letters to the families of those soldiers.
He might know that and that might be why he said he wasn`t sure when those
letters were being sent. There was the usual stream of lies as the
president spoke today in the Rose Garden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You look at other countries, what they`ve done and we`re competing
with other countries. When China is at 15 percent, when I hear that
Ireland is going to be reducing their corporate rates down to 8 percent
from 12 percent, but you have other countries also reducing, we can`t be at
35 percent and think we`re going to remain competitive in terms of
companies and in terms of jobs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: I hear that Ireland is not reducing its corporate tax rate.
Ireland`s corporate tax rate is at 12.5 percent.
The Irish Finance Minister said last week that that rate will not be
reduced. That`s what we heard Ireland say last week.
China`s corporate tax rate is 25 percent, not the 15 percent that the
president just lied about. And before the Rose Garden today, the president
said this in the cabinet room.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Obamacare is finished. It`s dead, it`s gone. It`s no longer –
you shouldn`t even mention, it`s gone. There is no such thing as Obamacare
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And he wonders why at least one of the cabinet members in that
room today listening to that has reportedly called him a moron.
Joining us now is James Fallows; Europe editor for “The Atlantic” and a
former speechwriter for President Jimmy Carter.
Also joining us is Daniel Dale; Washington correspondent for “The Toronto
Star”. And Jim, having worked in a White House, I can only imagine what it
feels like to you to watch a president in these rooms, in the cabinet room
and the Rose Garden with this just relentless stream of lies about
JAMES FALLOWS, EUROPE EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: As you know, in normal
circumstances, everything that comes out of the president`s mouth is so
hyper-checked because idea that he will make a factual mistake is something
that everybody takes very seriously.
And then there`s this other business about the soldiers in Niger. Again,
as you know, there`s nothing that presidents regardless of party take as
more just a grave obligation as the troops who are fighting and dying under
So Republican or Democrat, every previous president has been in touch with
those soldiers as casualties and their families right away.
O`DONNELL: And when he said today that President Obama never made any
calls about this, he immediately got a tweet from an Obama staffer saying
that that was an absolute lie.
FALLOWS: And it`s a lie of the gravest sort for somebody who bears this
Again, you can agree or disagree with the politics of any president, but
all the ones I`ve seen and known about, they take this really deep in their
hearts, and he`s just kind of – he`s just lying about it –
O`DONNELL: Yes, cavalierly lying about it. And let`s listen to Daniel, I
know you`ve been reporting extensively on Puerto Rico and I want to listen
to something that the president said about Puerto Rico today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Their electrical grid was destroyed before the hurricanes got
there, that was in very bad shape, it was not working.
It was in bankruptcy, now owed $9 billion. And then on top of that, the
hurricane came. Now, you`re going to have to build a whole new electrical
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Daniel, your reaction to that?
DANIEL DALE, TORONTO STAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: This is the third time
in less than two weeks that Trump has claimed that the government was going
to have to rebuild the power plants in Puerto Rico.
In the past two instances, he`s claimed that the plants were wiped out,
destroyed. In fact, the plants were barely touched, they were barely
damaged, the problem is with the rest of the grid.
And so, this is the kind of daily dishonesty that we get from Trump that
only occasionally treated as a story.
You know, we got headlines today about a Trump lie because his lie about
Obama supposedly not calling military families – what`s sufficiently new
and sufficiently ghastly to merit headlines in the eyes of much of the
But what we`re seeing is a daily avalanche of dishonesty. Now, I`ve been
counting since he took office. He`s had 40 inaccurate things. Two weeks
ago, he said 34 inaccurate things last week.
And these things are only occasionally talked about. His dishonesty is
treated as kind of a sideshow to his presidency when I think it is a
central story of the presidency that I think a lot of people and a lot of
the press have unfortunately become kind of immune to.
O`DONNELL: Daniel makes such a good point that there`s the one big lie
that came out –
FALLOWS: Yes –
O`DONNELL: Of the Rose Garden today about President Obama. And I do want
to just read this tweet that Alyssa Mastromonaco wrote – she worked in the
– she was deputy chief of staff in the Obama White House after the
President Trump lied about President Obama not calling and reaching out to
the soldiers` families killed in action.
She said “that`s an f-ing lie to say President Obama or past presidents
didn`t call the family members of soldiers killed in action. He`s a
deranged animal. And Jim the reason I wanted to read that is that that is
not the way former Whitehouse officials like yourselves and others talk.
They have to be driven to that by something extreme.
JAMES FALLOWS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Exactly and yes. This connects to
something that David Jolly was saying in the previous segment, that the
Republicans in Congress are the ones who have the power to do something
about this. So we see these two conflicting trends. On the one hand,
former Obama aides, people like the Secretary of State being driven to say
this is abnormal. And the Congress still being unwilling to act. So when
that tension resolves itself, what future depends on.
O`DONNELL: You know Daniel, when I was watching the Rose Garden today, I
thought the only way to cover this is literally with the list of lies. As
well as the important thing going on there, which was this fake friends
meeting with Mitch McConnell. And that means for me leaving out all of the
stuff about the NFL, just a bunch of stuff that was said in the Rose Garden
today because that – that actually starts to camouflage and get in the way
of a clear view of just how many rank lies this man told in the Rose Garden
DANIEL DALE, MSNBC CONTROBUTOR: Yeah. I could not agree more. I think
the way for journalists to approach this President is to come armed with
facts that the good thing if you will about Trump`s lying is that he tells
the same lies over and over. It`s not these are unpredictable. And I
think something interesting happened today.
He was challenged on the claim of Obama. NBC`s own Peter Alexander said
how can you make that claim? And what was fascinating to me was that Trump
immediately backed down. He said, well, I don`t know. He probably did
We also saw that in a Forbes interview recently where Trump claimed, you
know, no one has hit 3 percent GDP growth in a quarter. Obama never hit
that. The Forbes journalist said Obama hit that in several quarters and
Trump again immediately backed off it. So I think what these two instances
sort of back to back show is that this lying doesn`t have to stand.
We in the media can call him on it and that can achieve something. I think
journalists have been too passive and too complacent about this lying that
again I think is a defining feature of this presidency and needs to be
treated as such.
O`DONNELL: Yes, Peter Alexander did a great job. You see Trump goes to
the thing of, well, people tell me. That was the response when Peter
challenged him on the crazy assertion of President Obama.
FALLOWS: And his experience so far is it doesn`t matter. You know during
the campaign, he was just saying lies several times an hour. You know the
NFL told me the debate schedule was wrong. The NFL says, no, we didn`t.
And so, the question is whether it starts to add up. There`s the potential
that this (INAUDIBLE) soldier and Obama comment might be something that
O`DONNELL: And within all this, there`s the outrageous story that the
President simply ignored these soldiers killed in action for these 12 days.
He has just publicly ignored them. And, Daniel, that is getting kind of
lost within this coverage that has emerged from what happened today in the
DALE: Yes. I think one thing that`s interesting about Trump is that by
virtue of the outrageousness and often dishonesty, he brings attention to
things that make him look bad. You know there`s this kind of distraction
theory. Trump is this master puppeteer whose taking our attention away
from things that make it him look bad. And I think in many cases he
actually drives attention to it so people might not have heard anything
about these soldiers or very little. And now Trump created an absurd
controversy with virtue of the dishonesty and people Googling the soldiers`
names. So if there`s a benefit to the dishonesty it is that.
O`DONNELL: Daniel Dale, thank you very much for joining us tonight, really
DALE: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, President Trump met with the group today. The group
that has power to remove him from office. The most important group in his
life. They have the power to remove him much faster than the impeachment
process and he was very, very nice to them. And Senator John McCain
tonight goes after Steve Bannon and Trumpism in an important speech. We
will show you that.
O`DONNELL: Breaking news, harsh criticism tonight from Arizona Republican
Senator John McCain for President Trump`s Foreign Policy and for Steve
Bannon`s nationalism. Here`s what the Senator said just a few hours ago
when he accepted the Liberty Medal in Philadelphia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN MCCAIN, UNITED STATES SENATOR: To fear the world we have organized
and led the three quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have
advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international
leadership and our duty to remain the last best hope of earth, for the sake
of some half-baked spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would
rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an
attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to
the ash heap of history. We live in a land made of ideals. Not blood and
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Glenn Thrush and James Fallows is back with us. And Glenn
this is a direct response to Steve Bannon talking about senators like
McCain not being on board with Trumpism and with Bannonism. And there`s
John McCain calling the Bannon approach unpatriotic.
GLENN THRUSH, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first of all, let`s just talk about
the visuals of that particular moment. This is a man who gave his health
and very nearly his life for his country and he is in – I don`t think I`m
breaking any news here, in the final moments of his life. And this is what
he`s choosing to speak up on so I think whatever you think of John McCain,
what he has said in the past and what he`s saying right now, he has no
He doesn`t have a political future. He`s speaking directly to what he
believes to be the posterity of this country. So I have to say, Lawrence,
apart from the content of what he said, I am profoundly moved by his
courage in using the twilight of his days to participate in the political
arena and an inspiration to all of us. That said, I think he is clearly
speaking to an element of this populism that his wing of the party and John
McCain`s a very conservative Republican. He is not someone who has
traditionally been on the left fringe of his party.
I think the challenge that he has articulated precisely what you`ve been
speaking in all of your prior segments. This cleavage in the middle of the
Republican Party from a traditional Republican stance to this new
nationalist stance, how these two halves reconcile themselves, I don`t
know. You don`t know. And it seems like John McCain doesn`t know either.
O`DONNELL: Yes. It was a bipartisan note there tonight, Jim. Joe Biden
on the stage with him and his last line there when he said, we live in a
land made of ideals, not blood and soil. That is a direct reference to
what the people in Charlottesville with those torches talking about blood
and soil as they were marching along there, people who Donald Trump said
were nice people.
FALLOWSL Certainly. It`s a. phrase from 1930s Germany as you know. And I
thought it was significant what John McCain spoke for and what he spoke
against. He was speaking for the international architecture of alliances,
of guarantees of trying to increase security and increase prosperity, the
very things that Trump has sort of dismissed as being for suckers and he
was against this nationalism of blood and soil. So I thought very much I
agree with Glenn Thrush. It was moving in the sort of human nature of it
and intellectual content.
O`DONNELL: And Glenn it`s an interesting challenge that Steve Bannon has
in his hatred for John McCain and the President`s antagonism towards John
McCain because as you say, here`s a man diagnosed with brain cancer,
Here`s a man who has has a pretty good idea of how much time he has left,
and to go after him, the way they have continued the go after him, is one
of the ugliest things that I think we have seen in Washington history.
THRUSH: And it`s definitional. I mean, if you are mocking people for
their physical deformities as certain members of this movement have, and I
will say this about Steve Bannon. I have not – I have not personally seen
or heard anything about Steve Bannon mocking people for their deformities
or experiences. But I think what Mr. Fallows said is absolutely right. He
is rejecting this notion that we have seen endorsed by the Whitehouse of
this equivalence between the blood and soil nationalists who are chanting
anti-Semitic and racist comments and the mainstream of his party.
Remember, John McCain comes from Goldwater, Arizona. He came from an
iteration of conservatism that`s revolutionary in his time. And what he is
saying to his party is that that strain of conservatism, which, by the way,
raised alarm bells back in the 1960s is a truer and more patriotic train
than the brand he is seeing now. I think Republicans whether or not they
agree with him would do very well to heeding his message.
O`DONNELL: And Jim, John McCain who has tried to work on immigration
reform in the past, talked about that this need for some people to try to
find scapegoats rather than solve problems.
FALLOWS: Which is a continuity hit in the career when he came back from
Vietnam as a P.O.W. he was an early leader trying to reconcile divisions in
the United States and Vietnam and the United States. And so I think again
is significant. Senator Corker not running again has taken a stand. John
McCain facing mortality has taken the stand. The question is what it will
take for other Republicans to be able to speak the two men have.
O`DONNELL: And what does it mean coming down to votes in the senate?
That`s something we still don`t know. James Fallows and Glenn Thrush,
thank you both for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.
FALLOWS: Thank you.
THRUSH: Thank you Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, President Trump met with the group today who have
the power to remove him from office and can do it very, very quickly with
the 25th amendment. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: Today the President met with the people who can remove him
from office faster than the impeachment process.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: We have a cabinet that there are
those that are saying it`s one of the finest group of people ever assembled
as a cabinet and I happen to agree with that. Of course, I should agree
with that. But I think we have an extraordinary group of people around
this table. This is a tremendous amount of talent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: It was reported last week that Steve Bannon explain to the
President the 25th amendment was the most likely way for the President to
be removed from office whereupon the President said, what`s that?
President had no idea what the
25th amendment is.
The 25th amendment can be invoked by the Vice President with the agreement
of a majority of the cabinet to remove a President. I first described the
workings of the 25th amendment on this program at the end of the first
month of the Trump Presidency when it became apparent that the President`s
fitness for office was to put it mildly in doubt and since then, the
discussion has only grown and has now been joined by a group of
psychiatrist and mental health professionals who have created a group
called Duty to Warn.
They insist that the President is unfit to serve and that their
professional duty to warn outweighs the profession`s traditional ban on
diagnosing mental mental health conditions of any person publicly. Up
next, we`ll be joined by John Gartner who is one of the contributors to the
new best selling book the Dangerous case of Donald Trump. 27 psychiatrists
and mental health experts assess a President.
O`DONNELL: Psychologist John Gartner told the New Yorker that he wants his
group, duty to warn, to be the – to be to the 25th amendment what the NRA
is to the 2nd amendment. Joining us now is John Gartner. I wanted to hold
up or just read this opening, the sort of the chapter title right here of
your entry in this new book, the dangerous case of Donald Trump. And it
begins – you begin your section of the book by saying, Donald Trump is “a,
bad, b, mad, and c, all of the above. And it turns out a close reading of
your work indicates it`s c, all of the above.
JOHN GARTNER, PSYCHOLOGIST: Correct.
O`DONNELL: expand on that.
GARTNER: Well, people have made it sound as if it`s a forced choice, but
actually, the nature of the disorder he has, malignant narcissism, Eric
Frum called it the quintessence of evil. It`s narcissim combined with
paranoia and anti social features, sadism and paranoia.
And so these are people who actually get pleasure from harming other people
who are detached from reality because they see themselves as being victims
when they, in fact, are being aggressive. They see conspiracy theories
everywhere. And they really have no conscience. So they are dangerous.
And right now I think we are facing the greatest psychiatric emergency in
the history of America.
O`DONNELL: There`s a report as you speak coming out on Politico tonight,
It`s just coming out in the last few minutes saying, the lead of it says
Friends say President Donald Trump has grown frustrated that his greatness
is not widely understood. What does that tell you?
GARTNER: Well, this is someone who really has grandiose delusions and
persecutory delusions so thinking that he knows more about everything than
everyone. That he doesn`t have to listen to anyone.
And as a result, he`s really dangerous because this idea that, you know,
Mattis, Tillerson are somehow going to restrain him is completely a
fantasy. He will not be constrained by anyone. And in fact, in the
reason the paper, he`s an adult daycare he says I`m going to show you. I`m
going to do what I want.
And that`s why he says his attitude is the only one that matters when it
comes to nuclear weapons and why it`s so important we pass a bill that says
Congress must approve the use of nuclear weapons, because frankly, I think
the odds of his not push the button are extremely low.
O`DONNELL: The 25th amendment requires that a majority of the cabinet
find that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his
office and they – the amendment sets absolutely no standards for what that
is. So it could be mental health, it could be anything else.
GARTNER: Well, this is why, actually, we are supporting Jamie Raskin`s
house resolution 1957 which would establish a nonpartisan commission of
doctors and psychiatrists who could objectively evaluate the President in
the case of an emergency.
O`DONNELL: Psychologist John Gartner, thank you very much for joining us
tonight. really appreciate it.
GARTNER: Thank you for having me.
O`DONNELL: Tonight`s Last Word is next.
O`DONNELL: Joe Biden presented the liberty medal to John McCain tonight
in Philadelphia and John McCain said this about Joe Biden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: we served in the senate together for over 20 years during some
eventful times.as we passed from young men to the fossils who appear before
you this evening. We didn`t always agree on the issues. We often argued,
sometimes passionately. But we believed in each other`s patriotism and the
sincerity of each other`s convictions. We believed in the institution we
were privileged to serve in. We believed in our mutual responsibility to
help make the place work.
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