Trump loses in Trump county. TRANSCRIPT: 03/14/2018. The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell
THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
March 14, 2018
Guest: Max Boot
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
And I learned so much about the Japanese interest in Kushner properties
tonight, which is – I mean, Rachel a story you did tonight would be enough
to bring down any other federal government official at any other point in
time and we just don`t even know what happens with this one.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, “TRMS”: This is a real – it`s a – it`s great
reporting by Bloomberg News. It`s absolutely their scoop. They got this
But the timing on this is remarkable. They held that unusual meeting with
Donald Trump while Jared Kushner is there, while Jared Kushner has his
business interest in Kushner Companies.
Kushner Companies needs investment. They get it from the Japanese
government for that building. They pay a big premium for that investment
and then they leave the building sitting there vacant because apparently,
it wasn`t that urgent of an investment for them in terms of moving it for
real estate for a year now.
And you`re right – I mean, this is the kind of scandal that would be two
years worth of congressional hearings and front-page news for any other
president, but in this one, it`s like oh just see that thing in Bloomberg?
Which thing? It`s amazing.
O`DONNELL: Yes, yes, I didn`t even know about the two years of hearings.
I mean, in most presidencies, this would be a quick out the door, you know,
what do you – what are you crazy? What did you do? Japanese government
bought into one of your properties, you`d be out so fast in any other
administration. It`s just astonishing.
And part of the – being part of the reality check on this for us as a
country maybe whether or not this results in a significant political
scandal in Japan if it turns out that it looks to the Japanese public and
to Japanese investigators, like the Japanese government made this
investment as a way to try to curry favor with Jared Kushner and thereby
And it may be that the Japanese government is better at dealing with these
kinds of scandals than the American government is now anyway.
MADDOW: Yes, we`ll see. Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thanks, Rachel.
Well, this morning was the very first morning this week that Donald Trump
woke up and did not tweet about the special congressional election in
Pennsylvania. First thing Monday morning, he tweeted about it. Tuesday
morning, he tweeted about it and this morning, not a word.
Here`s Donald Trump`s last tweet about the congressional race in
Pennsylvania. The economy is raging at an all-time high and is set to get
even better jobs and wages up vote for Rick Saccone and keep it going.
That was yesterday morning, and in the middle of the night last night,
well, at exactly 5:22 a.m., this happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: We have an apparent winner in the
Pennsylvania special election for the House district in the 18th, Conor
Lamb, the Democrat. NBC news is declaring the apparent winner over Rick
Saccone, the Republican.
Finally, oh my god, we waited all night for these numbers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: A heroic night of coverage by Steve Kornacki, and Donald Trump
was crushed last night in Pennsylvania`s 18th congressional district, so
was Donald Trump Jr. who went to the district wearing his vote Republican
hairnet, and that wasn`t good enough.
Ivanka Trump was crushed in Pennsylvania`s 18th congressional district.
She campaigned for the Republican candidate and it did absolutely no good.
And Mike Pence was also personally crushed in Pennsylvania`s 18th last
night. He campaigned there for the Republican candidate. The Republicans
know what happened last night. The Democrats won a congressional district
where they didn`t even bother to put up a Democratic name on the ballot in
the last two elections. That`s how hopeless it was.
Democrats won in a congressional district where the Republican could
previously run unopposed. Democrats won in a congressional district where
Donald Trump won by 20 points, a congressional district where Mitt Romney
won by 17 points. The Democrat won in a congressional district that was
gerrymandered by Republicans as are most of the congressional districts
where Republicans win.
But this was a congressional district so perversely gerrymandered by the
Republicans that the United States Supreme Court ruled it such an illegally
contrived district that Pennsylvania is going to have to just eliminate it,
just erase it off the map in the next election. The Democrat won in a
district that was illegally gerrymandered by Republicans so that a
Democrat, any Democrat could never win, and a Democrat won.
And so, Donald Trump has been humiliated into silence today. He can`t
think of a word to say about what happened.
The White House tried to spin it today that without Trump`s involvement in
the race, the Republican would have lost by an even wider margin and that
is, of course, a wild lie. The district was gerrymandered to the illegal
point where the Republican could never lose, and Donald Trump went to the
never lose district and lost, delivered a loss for the Republicans just by
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I used to how easy it is to
be presidential, but you`d all be out of here right now – you`d be so
bored, because I can stand out, right?
I`m very presidential. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for being here
tonight. Rick Saccone will be a great, great congressman.
And then you go God bless you and God bless the United States of America.
Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Donald Trump doing what I guess is his impression of
Donald Trump`s problem is that he actually cannot be presidential. He can
never be presidential. Donald Trump`s problem is a majority of the country
is embarrassed to have him as the president of the United States because he
can never be presidential. Donald Trump`s problem is that many Trump
voters now who wanted him to be presidential now realize that it is
impossible and they voted for a clown and those Trump voters want the
circus to be over.
And so in Pennsylvania`s eighteenth last night, Trump voters turned against
Donald Trump and those voters gave the win to the Democrats. Donald Trump
stood on a stage in that congressional district on Saturday night and tried
his hand at very, very bad comedy and very practiced racism and the voters
of that district said, no, they said no to Donald Trump, no, we will not
send another representative to Congress to support Donald Trump.
Republican House members spent the day under Paul Ryan`s order lying about
– to the public about what they think happened in Pennsylvania last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. CHRIS COLLINS (R), NEW YORK: I think this was a case of a very strong
Democratic candidate and on a relative basis a much weaker Republican
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was the big Republican lie of the day. It was the
Republican candidate`s fault.
Gerrymandered districts are candidate-proof. The Republicans gerrymandered
that district to the point of illegality so that it wouldn`t matter who the
Republican candidate was. What the Republicans ran into in Pennsylvania`s
18th was a big blue wave that wiped out the Republican candidate. The
Republicans – the Republicans got wiped out, the president got wiped out,
the Republican president`s family got wiped out.
And professional Republicans know that. Privately, they`re all desperately
worried about what happened in Pennsylvania last nigh. This is what each
party does when something like this happens. They can`t publicly admit
that they`re panicked. It would be like a company publicly admitting that
they`re panicked about their stock price going down and then this stock
price would go down even more.
Many Republicans saw this coming, including most of the Republicans who
decided not to run for re-election. A record number of high-ranking
Republicans in the House have decided not to run for reelection.
Republican Senator Jeff Flake who has decided not to run for reelection is
more willing to publicly face reality.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Do you think that republicans should be more worried after they
lose that House race last night in Pennsylvania, a Republican district that
the president won?
SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: Yes. Well, I mean, it`s a 20-point Trump
district, that`s a wake-up call for sure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining the discussion now: Jennifer Rubin, conservative
opinion writer at “The Washington Post” and an MSNBC contributor, Sam
Stein, the politics editor of “The Daily Beast” and an MSNBC contributor,
and Max Boots, senior fellow for National Security Studies the Council on
Foreign Relations, and the author of the book “The Road Not Taken”.
And, Jennifer, the Republicans gerrymander a district illegally to the
point where it`s impossible for the Republicans to lose and the Republican
loses and they blame the candidate.
JENNIFER RUBIN, CONSERVATIVE OPINION WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, as
Mike Murphy said, you should be able to run a box of hammers in this
district and still win it and they managed not to win it. I think this is
a panic time.
I know two other things. First of all, they had to entirely drop their
pitch for the tax plan, because that was working so badly that they had to
at the last minute go back to their bread-and-butter issues which are
immigration, racism, protectionism and so on. So, it should be a wake-up
call for all those Republicans who are actually listening to Paul Ryan who
says running on the tax plan. Well, they couldn`t run on a tax plan in a
The other thing I would say is you know there`s a little bit of a winner
here? It`s Joe Biden, who went out and campaigned for him and his the
state of his birth and did a pretty good job. And I think Joe Biden`s
going to be in some demand as we get closer to the fall.
O`DONNELL: So, we do have some breaking news at this moment. Donald Trump
has finally spoken about this. He did it at a private fundraiser for a
Missouri Senate candidate and I think the Republicans who want to keep
going to want to keep those things private so that their voters don`t see
And he is now telling he told the crowd at that at that event tonight that
that the Democrat ran, quote, a pretty smart race actually. He says, the
young man last night that ran, he said, oh I`m like Trump, Second
Amendment, everything. I love the tax cuts, everything, he ran on that
And here I can`t even read what the president says without him being
drowned out by laughter of the – he said – and so Trump ends that by
saying, I said, is he a Republican? He sounds like a Republican to me.
Here are just some of the Democrat Conor Lamb`s positions. First of all,
he ran against the Trump tax cut for universal health care, for expanded
background checks on firearm purchases, for stronger unions, against cuts
to Social Security, for a woman`s right to choose and for medical
And, Sam Stein, he didn`t ever say I`m like Trump.
SAM STEIN, POLITICS EDITOR, THE DAILY BEAST: Are you sure about that? Are
O`DONNELL: I`m sure about that.
STEIN: Because you`re on a being Trump, that`s shocking to me.
You know, let`s just step back for a second and recognize that the vast
majority of the advertising used against Conor Lamb was to portray him as a
lackey for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. They spent weeks if not months
accusing him of being a closeted liberal who would just vote for Pelosi and
follow her lead if you were to be elected office.
Now, in the span of about 12 hours or so, Conor Lamb has morphed into a
Donald Trump Republican. The talking points are completely convoluted.
They make no sense as you went through positions.
He wasn`t a liberal. He was a center-left candidate. He notably opposed
an assault weapons ban, but that doesn`t put him totally outside of the
Democratic mainstream. He was, you know, a fairly conventional Democratic
candidate who told a good story, but also if we`re just being honest about
it, truly benefited from a backlash that`s happening across the country to
Trumpism, and that backlash is taking place not just in the suburbs but
it`s taking place in traditionally red districts, certainly taking place
and flip districts.
And, you know, it`s remarkable to see some of these House Republicans just
in denialism about it because if they don`t get going as I talk to a number
of GOP strategists today, if they don`t get going, they`re going to be
O`DONNELL: Let`s take a look at how the Republicans ran against this guy
who they are now claiming was a Republican. Here`s the way Paul Ryan spent
his money in this campaign financing an ad against Conor Lamb. Let`s
listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AD ANNOUNCER: How do we know Conor Lamb will join Pelosi`s liberal flock?
He already has. Lamb joined Pelosi to oppose a middle-class tax cut,
calling your tax cut crumbs. Conor Lamb, a Pelosi following, high taxing,
big spending liberal. We deserve better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: So, Max Boot, there you have it. That`s the guy who they`re
now trying to claim was a Republican.
MAX BOOT, OPINION COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: There was probably a
backlash from people like me who love lamb, so you know what do they have
against lambs? I mean, they`re – you know, they through everything but
the kitchen sink at him, and the fact is it didn`t stick. And remember,
this was right after Trump had imposed steel tariffs and a lot of people
speculated that a lot of the reason he imposed these tariffs which risk a
trade war that could imperil the U.S. economy is to win this congressional
I mean, I`m wondering now, can we repeal those stupid tariffs because he
lost this district? I mean, I think the larger you know meaningful
Republicans is going to be pretty clear the odds of a – you know, of a
Democratic majority and in the fall in the house are going up dramatically
and that`s very bad news for Trump. You know, one of the things that
jumped out at me as soon as I heard about the result was the word
subpoenas, because this week, you had the House Intelligence Committee
closing down their investigation of connections between the Trump campaign
and the Kremlin.
And as the Democrats pointed out, they did this after failing to subpoena
most the relevant documents, after failing to compel testimony from a lot
of the relevant witnesses, and they can get away with this because the
House Republicans are in the majority.
But at the rate they`re going, they`re not going to be in the majority at
this time next year and Donald Trump better watch out because the subpoena
power is going to be used against them and there`s an awful lot of stuff to
uncover as – you know, as we hear on a nightly basis.
O`DONNELL: Jennifer Rubin, I have never seen a speaker of the House like
Paul Ryan and I mean that every day, because the speaker it normally knows
when to distance himself – I can say himself since most of them have been
men, distanced themselves from the president of their own party when they
have to especially for re-election within the House. It is the speaker`s
job to figure out when to do that, to save the membership, save the House
Paul Ryan doesn`t seem to be able to find any moment any space anywhere to
separate himself or any members of the house from Donald Trump.
RUBIN: Well, he`s the positive spine in a pawnshop apparently, and has no
ability to resist Donald Trump. You`re exactly right.
Listen, he tried this – he actually allowed people to distance themselves
from Trump in 2016, and some of them were able to survive, many of them
were able to survive in fact. But no, he has made his bed. He`s going to
make them all lie in it. They`re going to have to wrap their arms around
Donald Trump and they are so petrified of their own base that they think
this is the only way that they survive. I think that`s wrong but that`s
STEIN: Can I jump in here because some of the reporting that we did today
from the Hill underscores what is a somewhat tricky dilemma that Paul Ryan
Half of his caucus, a good chunk of his caucus firmly believes that the way
to get out of this rut is to actually just continue doing what they`re
doing but more aggressively. You know, make the case that the tax cuts
were positive for us even harder. And then the other half of the caucus is
totally freaked out about what happened and they`re taking precautionary
steps right now to make sure that they`re insulated from it.
And so, Paul Ryan has these two variables that is to contend with. And so
far, he`s just choosing to do nothing.
O`DONNELL: Sam Stein, Jennifer Rubin and Max Boot, thank you for joining
this round of the discussion.
Up next, the most toxic working environment on the plane. Where could that
be? 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. People working inside the Trump White House
are describing it as the most toxic environment they`ve ever been in. It
is, of course, the environment they chose.
And former Ambassador Wendy Sherman will join us tonight to discuss the
president picking the CIA director to replace the nation`s top diplomat.
O`DONNELL: A moron fired the secretary of state. That`s according to the
secretary of state, who called the president to moron 236 days before the
president fired him. It was in a meeting in the Pentagon with other senior
administration officials just after the president left that meeting.
That`s when Rex Tillerson told everyone who remained in the room after the
president left that the president is a moron. There were no reports of
anyone objecting to Rex Tillerson saying that.
In some reports, moron was preceded by the most profane of adjectives, and
the reason Rex Tillerson called the president of moron was if the president
had compared American military operations in Afghanistan to the challenges
of remodeling a famous restaurant in Midtown Manhattan, The 21 Club.
Rex Tillerson refused to deny that he called the president a moron. It
just would have been the easiest thing in the world for the secretary of
state to say, just say that`s not true but he would never do it. Something
somewhere in Rex Tillerson`s definition of his own integrity prevented him
from saying, no, I did not call the president a moron.
NBC News Carol Lee and Kristen Welker report that, quote, two sources
familiar with the matter tell NBC News that President Trump could never get
past Tillerson calling him a moron, which was a constant undercurrent that
exacerbated their other clashes.
Two hundred thirty-six days, think about those days. That may be the most
extraordinary demonstration of patience in Donald Trump`s entire life,
someone who works for him, calls him a moron and takes him 236 days to fire
the guy. Imagine how excruciating those days were for Donald Trump and
imagine now, imagine now how excruciating it must be for Donald Trump that
he, like the rest of us, doesn`t have any idea how many times Mike Pompeo
has called him a moron.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo is President Trump`s new choice for secretary of
state. Maybe Mike Pompeo has never called Donald Trump a moron, but
according to Michael Wolff`s book “Fire and Fury”, everyone in the Trump
administration calls the president something that the president doesn`t
want to hear. Insulting Donald Trump`s intelligence was both the thing you
could not do and the thing that everybody was guilty of.
For Steve Mnuchin and Reince Priebus, he was an idiot. For Gary Cohn, he
was dumb as. And for H.R. McMaster, he was a dope. The list went on. And
the list no doubt includes Mike Pompeo.
So, Donald Trump`s secretary of state has called him a moron, his former
White House chief of staff and his treasury secretary call him an idiot,
his national security advisor calls him a dope, and we can only wonder what
Mike Pompeo calls Donald Trump.
And what was one of his last statements as secretary of state, Rex
Tillerson issued a harsh condemnation of Russia following a nerve agent
attack on a former Russian spy in the United Kingdom when President Trump
was saying absolutely nothing about it. And today, British Prime Minister
Theresa May expelled 23 Russian diplomats in response to the attack.
Tonight, the White House press secretary finally released a statement
condemning the attack, saying the United States shares the United Kingdom`s
assessment that Russia is responsible for the reckless nerve agent attack
on a British citizen and his daughter.
The statement was not by the president of the United States. The statement
was labeled as a statement by the press secretary.
Joining us now, Ambassador Wendy Sherman, former U.S. undersecretary of
state for political affairs. She`s also an MSNBC global affairs
And Ambassador Sherman, on this statement tonight issued by the press
secretary supporting the United Kingdom`s finding in this incident with
Russia, is it – is it customary for that statement to be made by the press
secretary in the name of the press secretary and for us to have absolute
silence from the president of the United States?
WENDY SHERMAN, MSNBC GLOBAL AFFAIRS CONTRIBUTOR: It is very unusual in
these circumstances, Lawrence. I`ve just come back from Brussels and
London, and I can`t tell you what a surreal experience it is to be in the
middle of meetings and just as people are going to sleep, you hear that the
president United States has decided on impulse to have a summit with Kim
Jong-un, the dictatorial leader of a country in which none of us would ever
want to live.
And then a couple of days later, as the British are completely overwhelmed
with this assassination outside of London by clearly. a Russian agent of
some sort with a chemical weapon just completely obsessed with and
concerned with it, we have radio silence from the White House from the
president the United States. Great Britain, which is supposed to be our
special relationship, wonders where that relationship is.
You know, this is a president who has made us feel sorry for people who we
actually didn`t think we`re doing a very good job. That was true of Jeff
Sessions. When many Democrats didn`t want him to be attorney general but
have come to feel sorry for him, and now, Rex Tillerson who decimated
diplomacy in the Department of State, at least had the guts to say that
Russia was responsible for this really horrific incident, which could
happen here in the United States of America.
O`DONNELL: I want to talk for a moment about the CIA director becoming
secretary of state that`s something we haven`t seen before, and as
ambassadors around the world know, their embassies are always suspect as
harboring some people who are described as diplomats but are in fact
working for the CIA. And whenever we see these expulsion cases, it`s every
country has a list of who they suspect of this and that`s who they tend to
expel in moments like this.
And so, U.S. ambassadors around the world spend a significant amount of
time trying to convince the countries – their host countries that they are
not just outposts of the CIA. How awkward is this then for the CIA
director to become secretary of state?
SHERMAN: I think it`s a very good point and I think there will be a lot of
suspicion, a lot of concern. And in fact, we`re seeing something that
we`ve seen in authoritarian governments, where the intelligence officer
really has a very close relationship with the authoritarian leader, really
becomes an agent of a police state in many ways. I`m not suggesting at all
that that`s what Director Pompeo will do or that President Trump will even
But each one of these very unusual moves makes us quite concerned and I
must say the rumors that John Bolton might replace General McMaster as the
national security advisor and Mike Pompeo who has long been a hawk on a
whole set of issues does make one wonder if the president is creating a war
cabinet, not a peace cabinet.
O`DONNELL: And we`ll talk about the State Department in the aftermath of
Rex Tillerson this is one of those moments where people are looking at Rex
Tillerson as being some sort of higher ground possibly than then Donald
Trump. But this is someone who just decimated the State Department.
SHERMAN: Utterly. Sixty percent of the senior foreign service are gone,
people who served during the Obama administration, even if they are career
civil servants who served Reagan and Bush and Bush again are seen as
suspect and have not been offered onward assignments. So, they`ve left in
droves – civil servants have left in droves or they`ve been driven out of
the Department of State.
The president asked for a 39 percent budget cut the Congress wouldn`t do it
but Secretary Tillerson said he wouldn`t spend the money, as you have
reported, a hundred and twenty million dollars was earmarked to really push
against Russia`s propaganda and not a cent of it has been spent.
So, at some level, I`m sure the State Department is hoping that Director
Pompeo should he be confirmed being close to the president will now have
more power and I was glad to see in his statement that he said he looked
forward to working for the dedicated foreign service and civil servants at
the State Department. That`s important. But he`s got a lot of rebuilding
And the most important thing here, Lawrence, is we have a lot of crises
right in front of the president United States and these transitions,
although they may ultimately get him the team he wants, it`s going to take
some time. He`s got to get ready for a summit with Kim Jong-un, he has to
make very consequential decision about Iran and it looks like he wants to
jettison the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the deal that keeps Iran
from getting a nuclear weapon and set us on a path to having two nuclear
crises, one with Iran and one with North Korea, and without a team in sight
to handle it all.
O`DONNELL: Former Ambassador Wendy Sherman, thank you very much for
joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.
SHERMAN: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up we have more on that breaking news tonight of
President Trump`s remarks, breaking his silence about the big defeat for
the Republicans and him in Pennsylvania last night. We`ll talk to the
reporter who heard what the president had to say tonight in that Republican
And we`ll have an important update on Steve Kornacki who did heroic work
last night. And you see the injured last left hand. He had surgery on the
hand today. He`s doing well. Couldn`t have done more for us tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: Go out on Tuesday and just vote
like – you got to get out there. The world is watching. I`m going to be
home watching the returns. The whole world, remember that, they`re all
watching. We want to keep it going. We want to keep the agenda, make
America great going. You got to get them in. This is a very important race.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Saturday night when Donald Trump was campaigning for
the loser of last night`s special Congressional election in Pennsylvania.
President Trump tonight, just tonight has made his first comments on the
loss for the Republicans in Pennsylvania. He is now of course taking
credit for the Democratic candidate`s win. The Atlantic Magazine has
obtained audio of the President speaking tonight at a fund-raiser for a
Republicans candidate in Missouri.
The audio says, the young man last night that ran, he said oh, I`m like
Trump. Second amendment, everything. I love the tax cuts, everything. He
ran on that basis Trump said. He ran on a campaign that said very nice
things about me.
I said is he a Republican? He sounds like a Republican to me. Later on
Donald Trump stressed the Democrats appeal to many blue collar
conservatives saying when but I guess when you`re running in a certain area
that`s probably a good tactic. Joining us now by phone is Elaina Plott.
She`s a staff writer for the Atlantic and she obtained the audio of what
the President had to say tonight. Elaina thank you for joining us tonight.
ELAINA PLOTT, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you for having me Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: So this is audio spirited out of a Republican fund-raiser where
no press was allowed. This is the kind of audio we got during the Romney
Presidential campaigns. And this was Donald Trump saying that the Democrat
won because he said I`m like Trump?
PLOTT: Exactly. It`s just another instance, Lawrence, where you think,
following an unfavorable election for Republicans, Trump trying to have it
both ways. Of course if Rick Saccone had won Trump would have argued that
it was because of his last minute rally for him on Saturday night. But now
that Connor Lamb has edged him out by a razor thin margin, we see Trump
trying to claim credit for that as well.
It`s also, you know, a lot of Hill reporters were waiting to see what the
President would say about this race. Of course with Ed Gillespie, with Roy
Moore, he was quick to the draw to tweet. He hasn`t supported those
candidates. Those candidates had not ran on this message.
But he was unusually silent today about Rick Saccone today. So I think
these remarks were new worthy not only of that Trump was trying to take
credit for Connor Lamb`s victory but also that he was finally breaking his
O`DONNELL: And it your sense that those people in the room, Republican
donors, are so completely ignorant of the campaign that they think the
Democrat said I love the tax cuts and they don`t know that the Democrat ran
against Trump tax cuts?
PLOTT: No, I wouldn`t characterize the response I heard from them as
ignorant at all. From the audio I obtained, when Trump speaks you go along
with it. That`s part of his appeal. When he does speak to the crowds he
feels enlivened by them. He draws from their energy. There was so much
laughter throughout his speech tonight. You know I`m reticence to believe
there was a donor in the room who you know was nodding their head in belief
at what Donald Trump was saying. But it was more kind of, you know, when
Trump plays his part as a donor, you play your part too.
O`DONNELL: Is it going to dawn on any of those donors do you think that
they are helping to finance these Trump trips like we saw Saturday night
that help sink Republican candidates.
PLOTT: You know I think what you`ll hear a lot of donors say and
throughout my reporting in the last couple of days with Rick Saccone, a lot
of them are simply saying Rick Saccone was an anomaly. He was bad
candidate. Despite the fact you know in the last year, Trump and
Republicans haven`t been remarkably successful in their special elections
or again with Ed Gillespie and his bid for Governor of Virginia.
But I think you know you`re going to see a lot of cash flooding in for
someone like Josh Holly and his bid against Claire McCaskill, someone like
Kevin Kramer in North Dakota when he against Heidi Hitkamp. I think a lot
of them are still in a little bit suspension of disbelief that, you know,
something like the special election with Rick Saccone is actually
indicative of what might happen in November.
Everybody is keen to see these as anomalous and not actually a dull weather
despite the fact that you know evidence is pointing to the fact that this
election last evening was a referendum on Trump. It wasn`t just you know
fluke in it of itself.
O`DONNELL: The Atlantic`s Elaina Plott. Thank you very much Elaina for
joining us with your breaking news tonight, really appreciate it.
PLOTT: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: And as we said earlier it wasn`t until 5:22 a.m. when Steve
Kornacki could finally announce to the world that NBC News had called Conor
Lamb the apparent winner in the Pennylvania Special Election and that was
not the end for Steve Kornacki who tweeted a few minutes later, I`ll never
forget the ones who stayed awake with me will be on for the start of
Morning Joe. That means at 6:00 a.m. then going to sleep and then have
And that`s what Steve did. He e-mailed me today right before his hand
surgery. There he is resting comfortably, relaxing. That is the most
relaxed I have ever seen Steve Kornacki. You have to hospitalize him to get
him that relaxed.
Coming up, the kids are moving the mountain. They are moving on gun
control. Cameron Kasky, one of the survivors of the Stoneman Douglas
Massacre who has started the march for our Lives Movement, the never again
movement will join us.
O`DONNELL: It was exactly one month ago today the students and faculty at
Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School were running out of their school in
fear of their lives as a mass murderer was gunning down 17 people inside
the school. Today thousands of students across the country walked out of
their schools in spiritual solidarity with the victims and survivors of the
massacre at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. Elementary school
student, Middle School student and high school students, all of whom have
to fear that they might be the victims of an assault rifles in their school
walked out of their schools. Some with the guidance and support of their
teachers and marched for common sense gun laws.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re the next generation. And it`s now or never.
If we don`t do something to put a stop to it now it`s never going to
change. Nothing is going to change.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The constitution before all else decrees the pursuit
of life so why does our nation anger when we lack the power to kill.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We won`t toll rat being care issued to come to
school. We won`t tolerate having to stay out of school because we`re
scared. It has to change. We can`t be hunted. We`re the victims that we
are the ones going to die if this continues.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) are not enough. The White House needs to
step it up!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re asking for fewer prayer, fewer words and more
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We will not ignore the fact that gun violence is a
public health crisis as it is the leading cause of death in the united
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m here to fight for change. And hopefully I don`t
have to wake up and be scared to go to school again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well we`re tired of sitting in class worrying about is
it going to be me, my little sister.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No more silence, end gun violence. No more silence,
end gun violence
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re not permitted to walk out. You would face
suspension if you did. So here we are.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is so much more important to me than any sort
of school discipline. This meant so much to me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is it so important?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because these are lives at stake. This is too
important not to be a part of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They failed us too many times. And it`s time we carry
the conversation and we turn it so we can lead it. I`m voting in November
and I hope everyone else turning 18 is voting in November as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a voter registration form and one of our
teachers is collecting them and going to give them to the government.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And so you`re planning on voting?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I`m planning on voting because it is – I`m
not going to let politicians be scared of the NRA and let them think they
can stay in office if they act this way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining the discussion now from Tallahassee Steve Shale, a
Democratic Strategist, former Florida State Director for the Obama 2008 and
former senior adviser to the Obama 2012 campaigns. Steve you`re in
Florida. You`ve been talking to these kids. Give us – assess for us the
political potential of what we`re seeing here
STEVE SHALE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well I think we saw it this past week. I
mean the legislature passed legislature passed the first major – any kind
of gun control legislation in 20 years. It was because of these kids. You
know a week or so after the massacre, they came to town, sat down, told
their stories one on one with the legislators. And you saw sort of slowly
just them chipping away at the inevitability of the NRA, with everything.
And frankly, we got that bill passed because of them.
O`DONNELL: Steve, a political professional like yourself has seen it all.
You always have the feeling that you`ve seen it all. And of course the
normal reaction politically, governmentally, after one of these shootings
is nothing. Nothing happens. When did you first get the feeling something
was actually going to happen in Florida and that these kids were actually
going to get a bill passed?
SHALE: I think two things. first of all, one of my good friends –
Republican friends of mine Chris Latvala, who comes from a moderate
district in Pinellas County. You know he came out for the (INAUDIBLE)
assault weapons ban after meeting with one of these kids. And Chris is a
guys who`s been a pretty strong second amendment rights guy, you know, most
of his career so this was a big step.
And you saw these kids going in one by one. And were a lot more shrewd
than people give them credit for. I think a lot of people assume they`d
come up and just kind of yell and scream and not know what they`re talking
about. But they understood how hard it would be to passed legislation and
that they weren`t going to get everything they wanted but they plowed away.
The other thing Lawrence that was really important is the parents, the 17
parents came together behind a single piece of legislation and 17 parents
from all walks of life, all political backgrounds and really made it very
hard for legislators to walk away.
O`DONNELL: Steve Shale, thank you very much for joining us from Florida
tonight, really appreciate it.
SHALE: OK. Thanks Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: And we will go back to Florida. Cameron Casky will join us
next. HE will get tonight last word from Florida on this historic day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I walked out because it is time for a change.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Love your children more than your guns. That`s why I
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I walked out because I have a right to a safe school.
And the only way we can guarantee all children in the United States have
that right is to pass commonsense gun legislation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining the discussion, Cameron Kasky, Junior at Marjory
Stoneman Douglas High School. Cameron thanks for joining us tonight. How
did it feel for you today watching this walkout across from students and
school across the country exactly one month after you had to run of your
school in fear of your life?
CAMERON KASKY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: It was inspiring. The fact that students
all over the nation were taking leadership positions that we were thrust
into and there were – they hadn`t been hit the way we were and they still
realized the change – that they need to demand it. They took those
leadership positions, stepped into them and they led their communities in
the right direction.
And All over the country, people were coming together and saying, we`re
together on this. This isn`t red or blue, this is the American people. And
this isn`t just the kids. We`re getting killed everywhere.
O`DONNELL: And Cameron, we saw a variety of reactions from schools
themselves. I saw some schools where the teachers were helping and
supporting the students in this choice. And others where they were doing it
under the threat of being suspended. What do you say to kids around the
country who took a chance today, took a chance with suspension?
KASKY: that was amazing to watch. And these schools that are locking
their kids in the schools during the walkout, there`s a first amendment
too. The second amendment isn`t the only one that exists.
And these children have a right. My peers have a right to come out and
demand change. And I`m embarrassed to be in a country where those schools
were allowed to do that. And to the students, who took a risk, I thank you
for your courage and you inspire me and we will give you the justice that
you deserve. Not only on this level, but overall. We`re defending everybody
O`DONNELL: Cameron, you`ve got the big march coming up in Washington in a
couple of weeks. Is that the next point to look forward to here?
KASKY: Well, it`s a big week for everybody. But Saturday, march 24th, is
going to be amazing. what we`ve seen today, that`s just the beginning. And
especially in Washington, D.C. we are going to be joined by so many
influential people. Just to name a few, we`ve heard from Jennifer Hudson,
Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, Mylie Cyrus, people who have voices that are
used for good and are strong. And everybody`s coming together.
And everybody is saying, politicians who are corrupt, politicians who are
accepting money from these organizations, you can`t run from us. We are the
people. We are the people who voted you in. we are the people who will vote
O`DONNELL: And Cameron, when you get to Washington, is there a strategy
that will be different for that event than the other public events so far?
KASKY: Well, the strategy here is to come out and say, here`s our
petition, here`s what we want to see. We need to see an assault weapons
ban. We need to see the age limit raised. We need to see a lot of things.
And he fact that they`re passing this stop school violence act, which is a
strong ode to just how weak our government is, the fact that the only bill
people can get behind this is bill, it doesn`t say the word gun” once. We
are not having that. That is a baby step.
If anything, that`s just another excuse for politicians who are accepting
money from the NRA to get out of this one free. We are not letting you get
out of this. That bill that`s weak – it doesn`t say the word background
It`s not going to happen. We are saying, this is what we specifically want.
We are the people. We demand it. You work for us. You need to do this now
or you will feel it in the polls.
O`DONNELL: Cameron Kasky gets tonight`s last word. Thanks Cameron.
Thanks for joining us.
KASKY: Thanks for having me.
O`DONNELL: Coming up New York Times Reporter Matt Apuzo on the
possibility Attorney General Jeff Sessions might fire former acting FBI
Director Andrew McCabe before McCabe`s official retirement on Sunday. That
important story is next on the 11th hour with Brian Williams which starts
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