New Trump tweet attacks Rep. Wilson Transcript 10/19/17 The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell

Daniel Dale, Ana Marie Cox, Charlie Sykes, Ron Klain

Date: October 19, 2017
Guest: Daniel Dale, Ana Marie Cox, Charlie Sykes, Ron Klain


Can I – can I spend the weekend writing questions for Eric Holder?



MADDOW: As long as you get them to me by Monday at noon, because anything
I absorb they`re under would make me pass out.

O`DONNELL: There are so many. Can`t wait.

MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had a job to do today – take the
heat off the president for getting into trouble for something that no
president before him has gotten into trouble for. Donald Trump made a mess
or the condolence phone call to the widow of Sergeant La David Johnson, who
was killed two weeks ago in Niger.

Today, John Kelly made just as much of a mess in his attempt to clean up
Donald Trump`s mess. All indications are, that the president made that
condolence call only after feeling the public pressure of a press
conference where he was asked why he had been silent for almost two weeks
about the death of Sergeant Johnson and three other army sergeants in
Niger. Staff Sergeant Bryan Black, Staff Sergeant Jeremiah Johnson, Staff
Sergeant Dustin Wright.

In the 12 days between the time those soldiers were killed in action and
the president was first asked about them, the president found plenty of
time to tweet his moral outrage at football players and he found time to
tweet his outrage at Republican senators especially Bob Corker, who
publicly defended Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after Tillerson was
publicly quoted as calling his boss the president of the United States a

It was only when the news media publicly challenged the president in the
Rose Garden the other day, for not acknowledging the deaths of those
soldiers in any way that the president made the phone call that got him in
trouble. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, a friend of the family who was
present during the call, quoted the president as saying, he knew what he
was signing up for but I guess it hurts anyway.

It wasn`t just Congresswoman Wilson who thought that was an insensitive
comment. Sergeant Johnson`s mother then told “The Washington Post”,
President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my

And so, former Marine General John Kelly went into the White House press
briefing room today to fix Donald Trump`s problem, the recurring problem of
appearing to have no empathy, the problem of being unable – publicly at
least – to express any real sympathy for anyone except himself. And so,
John Kelly delivered a powerful public demonstration of real human feeling,
including the horror of his own loss of a son in combat in Afghanistan, a
loss the John Kelly bears with dignity, grace and courage, including the
courage it takes to get through another day with the full knowledge that
his other son is still in harm`s way, serving a fifth tour of duty in
combat against ISIS right now.

Few among us have the strength to bear what General Kelly and his family
have to bear every day. General Kelly`s comments today moved people in a
way that nothing Donald Trump has ever said in his life could ever move
anyone. General Kelly did some of what he was supposed to do today, he did
demonstrate empathy, but not for anyone who is not like him.

His empathy was isolated to military families only and in particular to
Gold Star families, to families who have lost the soldier in combat like
the Kelly family. He showed no empathy at all for her. He talked about
her a lot. He talked about her more than he talked about the president or
his sons and he never mentioned her name.

He called her an empty barrel. He dehumanized her. In fact, from start to
finish, John Kelly`s comments in the briefing room today were essentially a
lecture about his moral superiority over her, and Donald Trump`s moral
superiority over her.

If there is anything that John Kelly respects about her, he did not mention
it today. Today, she was nothing but an empty barrel to him.

That`s Congresswoman Frederica Wilson. She wears hats to honor her
grandmother. That`s why she wears them. She wants to keep her grandmother
in her mind all the time.

She was the first to publicize the president`s phone call to Sergeant
Johnson`s widow. John Kelly had absolutely no empathy for Fredericka
Wilson today, but they have more in common than John Kelly realizes. They
were both born in segregated cities. They both went to segregated schools.

Frederica Wilson was born in Miami in 1942. When she was going to school
in Florida, the schools were segregated by law. When John Kelly was going
to school in Oakes Square, in Brighton, in the Boston Irish neighborhood
that he grew up in, the schools were segregated by custom and practice, and
Boston`s segregation in the 1950s when John Kelly was in school was as
flawless as the legal segregation in Florida and the rest of the South.
John Kelly never sat beside a student like Frederica Wilson in his
elementary school.

The language about black people in John Kelly`s white neighborhood was
exactly the same language about black people that was used at that time in
white communities in the segregate South.

I grew up a few years after John Kelly, in an identical neighborhood on the
other side of Boston and I went to high school in John Kelly`s
neighborhood. I know the neighborhood John Kelly comes from. I know the

It was a neighborhood in which calling someone who looked like Frederica
Wilson an empty barrel was the kindest thing that would have been said
about her. Desegregation came very painfully to the Boston schools, long
after John Kelly finished high school, and the pain of desegregating Boston
schools was visited entirely upon the students who looked like Frederica
Wilson and the stones that were thrown at their buses and the eggs that
were thrown at Ted Kennedy`s car because he supported desegregation, all
came from that culture that John Kelly and I grew in, and no one was
yelling empty barrel at those buses.

White elementary school students and high school students and their parents
were screaming the worst possible racial epithets at those buses filled
with black children. And John Kelly knows that.

Now, I didn`t mind hearing John Kelly disagree with Congresswoman Wilson
today. I understand some of the nature of his disagreement with her and
some of it is deeply personal for him as a Gold Star father.

But I was stunned, stunned when I watched him dehumanize her and very
deliberately continue to dehumanize her and refused to give her the dignity
of a name and call her an empty barrel. He went out of his way to do it.
It came after he had said everything he had to say about the phone call
controversy. He was finished with that.

And then he reached back to a long story – he told the long story that
took place in 2015, two years ago in Miami, when he attended the dedication
of a new FBI field office in Miami, a field office that Congresswoman
Wilson had helped get the money for. John Kelly went into a long story
about honoring FBI agents who had been killed in the line of duty there and
he praised what he called the absolutely brilliant memorial speech that
James Comey delivered at that event that day in Miami.

That`s how far out of the way he had to go to get to this.


JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: And a congresswoman stood up and
in the long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up
there and all of that, and talked about how she was instrumental in getting
the funding for that building. Now, she took care of her constituents
because she got the money and she just called up President Obama and on
that phone call, he gave the money the $20 million to build a building.
And she sat down.

And we were stunned, stunned that she`d done it. Even for someone that is
that empty a barrel, we were stunned.


O`DONNELL: That empty a barrel.

And I was stunned that John Kelly would so callously echo the worst part of
the culture that he and I grew up in stunned.

John Kelly and I have gone our separate ways in the world from our very
similar beginnings in Boston Irish neighborhoods, so we are stunned by
different things.

Here`s more of what stuns John Kelly.


KELLY: It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on
that conversation, absolutely stuns me. And I thought, at least that was

You know when I was a kid growing up, a lot of things are sacred in our
country. Women were sacred and looked upon with great honor. That`s
obviously not the case anymore as we see from recent cases.


O`DONNELL: You saw John Kelly began to slip into a bit of stream of
consciousness about what was sacred when he was a kid growing up.

You know what wasn`t sacred when he was a kid growing up where he was
growing up? Black women or black people. And oh by the way, women were
not sacred either. They were not honored.

In John Kelly`s neighborhood, in the Catholic Parish that he grew up in, in
the Catholic Parish that I grew up in, women were getting beaten by their
husbands, their drunken husbands as a normal weekly occurrence. And their
Parish priest would tell those women you can`t get divorced or you`ll be
excommunicated, you`re just going to have to bear it and bear it for the
children. There`s nothing you can do about it. Women were not honored.

Most women then were domestic servants and the women who had jobs outside
of the home were not allowed to have most of the jobs in America at that
time. They weren`t allowed to work in most of the factories. They were
not allowed to be police officers. There were huge barriers of entry for
women who wanted to be doctors instead of nurses, huge barriers to entry
for women who wanted to be professors instead of elementary school
teachers, which is how Frederica Wilson began her work life.

She was an elementary school teacher. She then worked your way up to
elementary school principal, and then got elected to the school board and
that`s how she created a mentorship program for students like La David
Johnson, who she got to know when he was one of the kids in the mentorship
program that she created as a member of the school board.

When Frederica Wilson was a little girl, there were no black women members
of Congress for her to look up to and aspire to follow into that office.
When John Kelly was a little boy, everywhere he looked in America, there
was someone who looked like him at the top, including the president of the
United States, who had the same initials as John F. Kelly, who showed 10
years old like John F. Kelly, growing up in Boston, that even a Boston
Irish Catholic kid could make it all the way to the presidency.

And so, today when John Kelly nostalgically looked back on a world that
never was, where women were sacred, he was standing in the White House
occupied by the president who has not only dishonored women, he is the only
president in history who has confessed to sexual assault.


DONALD TRUMP: I just start kissing them. It`s like a magnet. Just kiss.
I don`t even wait. And when you`re a star, they let you do it. You can do

BILLY BUSH: Whatever you want.



O`DONNELL: Was John Kelly stunned by that?

Does John Kelly wash his hands after he shakes hands with Donald Trump, the
hand that.

John Kelly`s stream of consciousness about the loss of what is sacred in
our society continued.


KELLY: Life, the dignity of life was sacred. That`s gone. Religion, that
seems to be gone as well. Gold Star families – I think that left in the
convention over the summer.

I just thought the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die in
the battlefield, I just thought that that might be sacred.


O`DONNELL: So there John Kelly`s saying that Gold Star families are not
sacred anymore. And he says I think that left in the convention over the
summer. He seems to be complaining that Khizr Khan and his wife exercised
their constitutional rights to speak publicly for one candidate and against

John Kelly seems to be blaming the Khan family for dishonoring Gold Star
families by making political comments. If that`s not what he meant, we
await his clarification or did he mean that he is ashamed that the
president he works for attacked that Gold Star family for speaking at a
convention? That Donald Trump attacked Mr. and Mrs. Khan because they
spoke out in a way that he did not like? Because if that is what John
Kelly is outraged about, then his outrage is well-placed.

But John Kelly who went out there today to clarify the president`s
communication with a Gold Star family seems to have taken his own personal
stance of moral superiority over another Gold Star family. And if that`s
not what he was doing then tell us that`s not what he was doing.

What John Kelly had to say today in defense of Donald Trump was barely
coherent. Everything General Kelly said about the procedures that the
military follows for soldiers killed in action was clear and instructive
and deeply moving and everything John Kelly said about his own experience
of the loss of a son in combat and the continued service of another son in
combat was nothing less than noble.

But when he attacked a Democratic congresswoman and defended a Republican
president, he was purely partisan and he was not telling the truth.

There are many words that you can use for Donald Trump. The word brave has
absolutely no application in the same sentence with the word Trump, and it
dishonors any other use of the word brave that you might like to make if
you use that word to describe Donald Trump.

It was especially stunning coming from a military man who knows what brave
is, coming from a military man who has lived that bravery himself, has
risked his own life whose sons have served and lived that bravery. It was
especially stunning for that man to use that word about Donald Trump –

General Kelly said he just explained to the president only three days ago
how to make condolence calls. Meaning, he just explained to the president
how to make condolence calls immediately after reporters asked the
president why he had not made those four condolence calls.


KELLY: So when I gave that explanation to our president three days ago, he
elected to make phone calls in the case of the four young men who we lost
in Niger at the earlier part of this month. Then he said, you know what –
how do you make these calls? If you`re not in the family, if you`ve never
worn the uniform, if you`ve never been in combat, you can`t even imagine
how to make that call.

So, I think he very bravely does make those calls.


O`DONNELL: Very bravely, Donald Trump.

Here is something General Kelly said today about those condolence phone
calls that we can all agree with.


KELLY: If you elect to call a family like this, it is about the most
difficult thing you could imagine. There`s no perfect way to make that
phone call.


O`DONNELL: That was General Kelly today at his best. There`s no perfect
way to make that phone call.

But there is a way to fix what happened in that phone call, but it involves
something that Donald Trump has never done in his life – apologize. Any
decent human being would have picked up the telephone again and called
Sergeant Johnson`s widow again and apologize for any misunderstanding about
his intentions in the first phone call.

Donald Trump could have picked up the phone between tweets about football
players and explained to Sergeant Johnson`s widow that he had actually
heard those same words from General Kelly himself when General Kelly told
the president about the most painful phone call that General Kelly ever


KELLY: Let me tell you what my best friend Joe Dunford told me as he was
my casualty officer. He said, Kel, he was doing exactly what he wanted to
do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into by joining that 1
percent. He knew what the possibilities were because we`re at war, and
when he died, in the four cases were talking about in Niger and my son`s
case in Afghanistan, when he died, he was surrounded about the best men on
this earth, his friends.

That`s what the president tried to say to affect the four families the
other day.


O`DONNELL: Then why not make another call and explain that.

The president got it wrong with that family, and he`s not the kind of guy
to try again. And so, there was no apology phone call. Donald Trump`s
flawless, lifetime record of never apologizing remains perfectly intact.

And in the 12 minutes, the General Kelly spoke today, he did not dispute a
single word that Congressman Wilson quoted the president as saying and
General Kelly did not dispute Sergeant Johnson`s mother`s statement. The
president did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband.
John Kelly did not dispute one word of that and nowhere in his 12 minutes
of speaking today did he apologize to Sergeant Johnson`s family for any
misunderstanding that might have occurred in that phone call but he took
time a lot of extra time to call a black woman who he doesn`t know and he
doesn`t like an empty barrel.

And John Kelly said this about the most dishonorable and cowardly president
in history.


KELLY: I think he very bravely does make those calls.


O`DONNELL: We`ll be right back.



KELLY: When I took this job and talked to President Trump about how to do
it my first recommendation was he not do it because it`s not the phone call
that parents, family members are looking forward to. It`s a nice to do in
my opinion in any event.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Ned Price, former spokesperson for the National
Security Council and a former CIA analyst. Also with us, Ron Klain, former
chief of staff to Vice President Biden and a former senior aide to
President Obama, and Daniel Dale, the Washington correspondent for “The
Toronto Star”.

Ned Price, your reaction to what General Kelly had to say today.

NED PRICE, FORMER CIA ANALYST: Lawrence, I think we saw today it was
reiterated the fact that General Kelly is cut from a different cloth than
his White House counterparts and almost all of his White House
counterparts. He entered that office as a man of integrity and character I
would say, and I think we have seen his White House counterparts take
advantage of that, of him.

Rather than half President Trump go out and apologize, and just as you said
rather than have President Trump go out and say I apologize if I – if I
said the wrong thing during a very difficult, gut-wrenching conversation,
that`s on me, they put General Kelly on the podium to speak both and very
specific and as well as in abstract terms about the most heart-wrenching,
gut-wrenching experience I`m sure he has ever endured and anyone has ever
endured something like this has gone through.

Rather than have the president go out and make that very simple apology,
they put this man front and center stage. And I get the impression,
Lawrence, that General Kelly is trying to be a good soldier. But I think
what this White House needs is a good patriot and, usually, they are one in
the same but not in this White House and I think we`re seeing a stark
divergence between the two.

O`DONNELL: The president tweeted after Congresswoman Wilson was quoted
about the phone call, he said: Democratic congressman totally fabricated
what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action and I have proof.

And, Daniel Dale, if there was any proof, today was the day to deliver that
proof. And not only that, General Kelly did not dispute a single word she
said. He insulted her in the harshest terms he could possibly come up
with, but he did not dispute the truth of what she said.

confirmed Trump`s dishonesty while adding some dishonesty of his own. I
think, you know, this chain of events, this new cycle has been so bizarre
so crazy that the fact that the president`s chief of staff went out there
and effectively confirmed that the president has lied has been lost as far
as I`ve seen in today`s coverage.

You know, Trump said this conversation – his – what he said in this
conversation was totally fabricated. Kelly said the president said all
those things that`s just the way he talks. So, that was confirmation.

I think the dishonesty he added was in suggesting that Congressman Wilson
was somehow intruding on this conversation between the president and the
Johnson family when as you said, as we know, Congresswoman Wilson knew the
late soldier, is close with the family and had been invited to be present
in that car where the conversation occurred.

So, I think they put Kelly out there because he`s an effective messenger.
He`s powerful. He sounds folksy. He sounds authentic.

But I don`t think we should lose sight of the substance, and I think the
substance was dishonest and disingenuous.

O`DONNELL: Frederica Wilson`s office issued this statement today. The
congresswoman will not be making any further comment on the issue because
the focus should be on helping a grieving widow and family heal, not on her
and Donald Trump.

Ron Klain, your reaction to General Kelly today?

Lawrence, I think that it was a tale of two statements. I think it`s
discussion about his tragedy, his loss was powerful and effective. But as
you say, he took a needless swipe at Congresswoman wilson and used the word
brave to describe the first president of the United States not only to
attack one Gold Star widow, but a Gold Star mother, but to attack to Gold
Star mothers, Mrs. Khan last year and then Mrs. Johnson this year.

And not surprising from a president who said that his biggest sacrifice was
building buildings, who said that his personal Vietnam was going to Studio
54 in the 1980s, who said that John McCain wasn`t a hero because he was
captured, this is a president who`s consistently disrespected military
families, and John Kelly`s great sacrifice can`t cover for Donald Trump`s
great outrage.

Now, let`s all keep in mind, General Kelly`s being stunned, absolutely
stunned, that a congresswoman would mention how the new FBI office in Miami
was funded in her, and possibly trying to seek credit for that publicly as
every congressman does in that situation, he considered that a dishonorable
thing to do.

Let`s look at something that President Trump did that John Kelly has never
said that he is stunned by and that is, of course, the president`s first
visit to CIA headquarters.


TRUMP: We had a massive field of people you saw that, packed. I get up
this morning, I turned on one of the networks and they show an empty field.
I said, wait a minute, I made a speech, I looked out, the field was – that
looked like a million, a million and a half people.


O`DONNELL: Ned Price, John Kelly have been stunned that the president of
the United States stood in front of those stars, each one representing a
fallen CIA officer and spoke of nothing but his own inauguration glories
and electoral glories, and did not even acknowledge any sacrifice ever made
by the CIA?

PRICE: Lawrence, you know, you get the impression listening to John Kelly
today and John Kelly over the past several weeks and past couple months,
you get the impression he doesn`t understand the nature of the man who is
his boss, the man who is our commander-in-chief.

You know, there was reporting out today that John Kelly told President
Trump in confidence, not expecting President Trump to make it public, the
fact that he did not receive a phone call from the president in the
aftermath of the – of the death of his son.

And then, of course, President Trump who does battle from the trenches, who
will use every weapon at his disposal to bring down his enemies, both real
and perceived, went out and made that a cudgel in this argument. John
Kelly`s son became a political argument, John Kelly apparently not
expecting President Trump or this White House to do that.

And I think to me, Lawrence, that says that John Kelly doesn`t understand
this president. He doesn`t understand this White House and, of course, he
should be stunned he should be outraged at the things that Donald Trump has
said both before he became president and on his first full day as president
of the United States when he gave that disgraceful speech in front of 117
stars, each symbolizing a fallen officer of the Central Intelligence Agency
at Langley, Virginia.

O`DONNELL: Daniel Dale, John Kelly took over from Reince Priebus who
clearly had won the award for worst White House chief of staff of all time.
It seems like John Kelly may be coming in in second place there, so far,
because nothing has changed in the White House that John Kelly was supposed
to change. It is still leaking – it seems to be leaking even more than it
was under Reince Priebus. The chaos continues. Nothing seems to have
changed in the way it operates.

DALE: Well, he`s changed the personnel. You know, he helped get rid of
Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka. But I think it`s kind of like trying to,
you know, bring in a consultant to fix Santa`s workshop by getting rid of
some troublesome elves. You know, you still got Santa in charge. You
still got President Donald Trump and there`s no changing him. There`s been
no sign that Kelly has brought discipline to the man at the top no matter
what he`s done to streamline, harmonize, make the internal operation more

I think he said something interesting in the last appearance in the
briefing room. He said I was brought in to control nothing but the
information flow to the President. Not the President himself. And that
message, of course, was directed at the President, reassuring him that, you
know, he wasn`t trying to control him.

But it was also sort of a tacit admission that there`s no controlling or
changing the behavior of Donald Trump and because of what that behavior is,
you know, that`s a significant problem for this white house.

you for joining us. RON CLAIN, please stay with us. Thank you.

coming up, George W. Bush and Barack Obama on the same day, double team
Donald Trump in two separate speeches.


O`DONNELL: President George W. Bush gave a speech in New York City today
where he condemned Trumpism without mentioning the President`s name.


GEORGE W. BUSH, 43RD U.S. PRESIDENT: Bigotry seems emboldened. Our
politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright
fabrication. We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. At
times it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the
forces binding us together. We have seen nationalism distorted into
Nativism, forgotten the dynamism that immigration always brought to


O`DONNELL: A spokesperson for President Bush denied that the speech was
aimed at President Trump. But a source close to the former President told
Nicole Wallace that President Bush was aware of how his words would be
interpreted and he wrote the speech himself. George w. Bush has never
attacked President Obama. He had not attacked President Trump until today
when his speech seemed to be about the President who once said there were
very fine people at a white supremacist rally.


BUSH: Our identity as a nation unlike many other nations is not
determined by geography or ethnicity, by soil or blood. This means that
people of every race, religion, ethnicity can be fully and equally
American. It means that bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy
against the American creed.


O`DONNELL: What George w. Bush said about Russian interference in the
election is next.



BUSH: According to our intelligence services the Russian Government has
made a project of turning Americans against each other. Ultimately this
assault won`t succeed. But foreign aggressions including cyber attacks,
disinformation and financial influence should never be downplayed or


O`DONNELL: Joining the discussion now Ana Marie Cox the host of the
podcast With Friends like these. Also joining us Charlie Sykes, author of
the new book how the right lost its mind and a MSNBC contributor. Ana, so
George W. Bush publicly says, puts out the word it is not about Trump. But
he`s written it himself. And he knows we`re all going to say it`s about

ANA MARIE COX, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. You know, I have to say it`s just a
tiny bit rich to hear the man who owes his presidency to the Secretary of
State of Florida and Supreme Court talk about voter integrity but – or
turning people against each other when he won Ohio campaigning against gay
marriage. But, you know, it is 2017 and we take our allies where we can
get them.

I`m willing to accept the, you know, grandfatherly painter Bush on my side.
I suppose. And if no one else is going to say it, surely it is good to have
him say these kinds of things. I hope we`re nearing a point where he`s
going to actually use the President`s name `cause I`m not sure that Trump
himself does understand when he`s being talked about unless you mention his
name. Think about his buildings. You know? Like he – he needed to label
them pretty clearly so, you know, maybe we`ll get to naming names soon.

O`DONNELL: Well, Charlie, the President took a swing at John McCain for
giving a speech in which he never mentioned the word Trump.

CHARLIE SYKES, AUTHOR: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. There`s no question this was
about trump. Look. This may get lost in the noise but this is an important
moment in the civic life of two former Presidents talking about Trump and
Trumpism, the comments that John McCain made and look. What – what you saw
there, whether you disagree with George Bush`s policies, a flawed
President, this is a deeply patriotic man who cares deeply about our
democratic values.

And this was a written branch critique not just of DonaldTrump the man, but
also of Trumpism. This, blood and soil, fake nationalism and the
degradation of the political culture. And he`s basically saying, look, we
are in a crisis of confidence, the crisis of confidence in the democratic
institutions. You know, talking about what the casual cruelty of somebody
in the Oval Office does to the culture. So again, I don`t expect that this
is going to change the trajectory of Republican Politics.

But, you know, for people saying when are Republicans standing up for some
of the things? This is one of those moments. John McCain and George W. Bush
have not always been on the same page but these were two remarkable
speeches, two remarkable speeches that should remind people that while
Donald Trump may dominate the Republican Party, he does not necessarily
define all of its values. And I think George W. Bush needs to get a little
bit of credit for this.

O`DONNELL: John McCain immediately came out saying that this was a
wonderful speech. Let`s listen to more about what George W. Bush had to say
this time it seemed to be aimed at the biggest bully in the history of
Twitter. Let`s listen to this.


BUSH: Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone.
Provides permission for cruelty and bigotry and compromises the moral
education of children. The only way to pass along civic values is to first
live up to them.


O`DONNELL: Charlie, what is George W. Bush`s residence in today`s
Republican Party?

SYKES: Well, obviously, it`s limited. That primary was rejection of not
just of Jeb Bush but of Bushism. But those sentiments are important to be -
- these are important things to be said that the President is the role
model for the country. You know, raising children in the era of Trump is a
real challenge. And I do think there`s the fundamental decency ought to
separate, whether you`re a Liberal or Conservative or Republican or
Democrat, look.

George W. Bush and his father I think fundamentally decent people. And I
think they meant it. Again, whatever the flawed politics and politics might
be they meant it to be a compassionate country. That we need to, you know,
care about one another. And, you know, I`m just glad that the voices are
being heard. And again, will it change the republican party?

No. It`s going to called Cockservative, you know, in 3, 2, 1. But to get
John McCain and George W. Bush out there reminds people of what real
patriotism sounds like. A lot of Trump`s and President Trump talks about
patriotism and the importance of the flag. I don`t think they understand
real patriotism is. And I think that talking about these Democratic values
and in order to make America great again, remember, we have to remember
that what we stand for and what our ideals are. This is an important

O`DONNELL: And, Ana, I want your reaction to something we talked about
earlier about in the show, And that is John Kelly`s nostalgic look back at
the 1950s when women were sacred and held sacred in America and sadly they
no longer are.

COX: They couldn`t get their own credit card and couldn`t work outside
the home and couldn`t get a legal abortion. Those sacred days? Yeah. You
heard what I heard. I found General Kelly`s talk today to be fairly
disturbing. I think everyone`s picked out of it the parts of it that were
moving and laudable and eloquent.

But we I think that overwhelming message of that, you know, talk he gave,
that scolding that he gave, was ominous from this idea that women should be
held sacred which is actually a step backwards to the fact this he only
called on members of the press that had – said they knew a gold star
family. I appreciate any time someone points out that we have a big
disconnect in our country between most Americans and the military. That
most Americans don`t know people that served in the military. That`s
something to keep in mind. I think it`s a very ominous message to say that
only people who actually know families who have lost someone in the
military are worthy of voicing a critique. I worry about the message that
that sends.

O`DONNELL: Ana Marie Cox and Charlie Sykes, thank you for joining us

COX: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Barack Obama attacked Trumpism today, too.



CROWD: All right. Four more years, four more years, four more years, four
more years.

BARACK OBAMA, 44TH U.S. PRESIDENT: I will refer you both to the
constitution as well as to Michelle Obama to explain why that will not


O`DONNELL: Today President Obama made his first post-Presidential campaign
appearance, this time campaigning for the Democrat candidates in New Jersey
and Virginia`s gubernatorial races. President Obama never mentioned Donald
Trump by name, but he did say this.


OBAMA: You notice I haven`t been commenting a lot on politics lately. But
here`s one thing I know. If you have to win a campaign by dividing people,
you`re not going to be able to govern them. You won`t be able to unite them
later if that`s how you start.


O`DONNELL: And here`s more of what President Obama had to said. – say.


OBAMA: As frustrated as you get, the goodness of America, the goodness and
decency and hard work and responsibility and sacrifice that`s on display by
the American people every single day in their communities, all across this
great country, all across this great state, people of every walk of life,
it doesn`t matter whether they`re White or Black or Hispanic or Asian or
Native American, whether they`re disabled, whether they are gay or
straight. There are people all across this country that want to do things
better, that want to work together. And I`ve seen the possibilities of our


O`DONNELL: Coming up, what President Obama had to say about the White
Supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville in august where one of the
protesters against the white supremacists was killed.



OBAMA: You can`t take this election or any election for granted. I don`t
know if you all noticed that. But you can`t take any election for granted.


O`DONNELL: Ron Klain is back with us for this part of the discussion.
But, Ron, the first thing I want to do is listen to what the President said
about Charlottesville.



OBAMA We saw what happened in Charlottesville. But we also saw what
happened after Charlottesville when the biggest gatherings of all rejected
fear and rejected hate and the decency and good will of the American people
came out. That`s how we rise.

We don`t – we don`t rise up by repeating the past. We rise up by learning
from the past. And by listening to each other and knowing that we`re all


O`DONNELL: Ron, he plays a singular role for Democrats on the campaign

KLAIN: Oh, my God, I miss that man. You know, I mean, tomorrow is the 9-
month anniversary of Donald Trump taking office. It`s hard to sometimes
remember that we had a President who appealed to people by talking about
the goodness of our country, not by calling people losers and sad. A
president who could talk about our history with richness and texture and
pulling people together to build a better country, not someone who is
devoted to tearing us apart and fanning the flames of division.

And I think that to see President Obama out there tonight with this
message, I think it`s obviously a very effective thing for Ralph Northam,
the Democratic candidate in Virginia. His Republican opponent has not
invited Donald Trump to campaign down there. No surprise. And it`s a
reminder of the kind of President we had nine months ago.

O`DONNELL: Ron, we`ve just gotten a Presidential Tweet, apparently he`s
been watching this show, and he`s not happy. Donald trump has Tweeted, fake
news is going crazy and wacky. Congresswoman – going crazy with wacky
Congresswoman Wilson who was secretly on a very personal call and gave a
total lie on content. Now, we are the hour here that has been concentrating
on Congresswoman Wilson at the beginning of this show.

She hasn`t been part of much of any other coverage tonight. So, he`s
clearly talking about this. He is, of course, on his end of the phone call,
he was not alone. There were people listening in on his end of the phone
call including, apparently, Whitehouse Chief of staff General Kelly. And
he`s now saying that what she said was a lie. But General Kelly did not
say that today. General Kelly did not contest a single word that she said.

KLAIN: And what`s more, as you pointed out earlier, Lawrence, Sergeant
Johnson`s mother says that Donald Trump did disrespect her son and her
daughter. So, this isn`t about Congresswoman Wilson and the President. It`s
about the President and a gold star mother. And if John Kelly wants to give
a lecture tomorrow, he should walk down the hallway not to the briefing
room, but to the Oval Office and tell the President to stop calling gold
star mothers liars.

O`DONNELL: Well, tonight you have the president insulting congresswoman
Wilson, calling her wacky on the same day that his white – White House
chief of staff did everything he could to insult her and insult her in
terrible, terrible language and would not even use her name and calling her
an empty barrel so, there John Kelly and Donald Trump see eye to eye. This
is the black woman who they should aim all their insulting attitude toward
to save Donald Trump from this controversy.

KLAIN: Yeah, and again, I think the real issue here is that obviously. We
know the president has a trouble with women of color, women in authority,
we know that drives him crazy to have one call him out, always baits the
president into a very negative response. But I think it`s especially
despicable here that really his core grievance is with a gold star mother
who said the President disrespected her, disrespected her son.

And the President as you said at the outset will not apologize for that.
That to me, Lawrence, is the most – John Kelly wants to be shocked about
something, be shocked about that.

O`DONNELL: With that Ron Klain gets tonight`s last word. Thank you, Ron

KLAIN: Thank you, lawrence.

O`DONNELL: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams starts now.


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