Republicans excuse Trump behavior. TRANSCRIPT: 7/17/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
And Christianity is much more clear about how to welcome refugees than the
American government certainly is.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Yes. To have the Jewish protesters with Never
Again is now and to have the Catholic protesters tomorrow, I mean, this is
– when it gets to this kind of treatment and the defense of this kind of
treatment, I think you are tapping something that`s primal in people. So,
it will be interesting to see –
O`DONNELL: And the treatment coming from the party that claims, that
always publicly claims the strongest embrace of religion, that wants to
define itself by the strong embrace of religion, and everything they are
doing in this direction violates all of that.
MADDOW: Yes, the president putting out his new reelection positioning
stuff that it`s under God.
MADDOW: The Trump administration is under God. Well, that`s what they`re
doing. It`s amazing stuff.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Remember Rush Limbaugh? He was the Donald Trump of American
politics before Donald Trump became Donald Trump of American politicians.
But the right wing reactionary Republican politics doesn`t need two Donald
Trumps, not enough room for two Donald Trumps. So, no one really cares
what Rush Limbaugh says anymore. Apparently, not even Rush Limbaugh.
And the latest crazy thing that Rush Limbaugh says nowadays never makes it
into the American news media because it`s not as crazy as what the
president of the United States says every day, including what the president
said tonight. Rush Limbaugh had to give up many of his beliefs in order to
become the faithful Trump follower that he is, and now, Rush Limbaugh has
confessed, he`s actually publicly confessed that they were never beliefs at
all. He didn`t believe all that stuff he was saying, stuff that he and
other Republicans were lying about what they believed.
He actually said that on his radio show. And at the end of this hour,
Pulitzer Prize winning columnist George Will will join us about what Donald
Trump has done not just to the Republican Party, but to our politics and
whether the damage can be repaired.
George Will quit the Republican Party when Donald Trump won the
presidential nomination, and this week, he said that the damage the
presidency of Donald Trump has done could be worse than the damage the
presidency of Richard Nixon did before Richard Nixon was forced to resign
the presidency. George Will said, I think this will do more lasting damage
than Richard Nixon`s surreptitious burglaries did. That damage George Will
is talking about is damage that he said this president has done to our
culture, to our civic discourse.
And the president did more of that kind of damage tonight at a campaign
rally in North Carolina. He began the rally by telling the only truth that
he told tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have all night. We are
going to have a lot of fun. I have nothing to do. Nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That is absolutely true. He is our first president with
nothing to do because he has no idea what the president is supposed to do
and he is famously lazy.
Many of us said when Donald Trump was running for president, he didn`t know
anything about government, and now, former Republican House Speaker Paul
Ryan has said it in the new book, “American Carnage”. Paul Ryan said: I`m
telling you, he didn`t know anything about government.
Covering a Trump campaign rally presents challenges to the American news
media because we know that the president is going to lie, that probably
most of what he will say will be a lie. And we don`t want to be the
propaganda delivery system for his lies, but he is the president of the
United States and for all 44 of his predecessors, there has been a general
agreement that what the president says is important. Now, there is no
general societal agreement about how to deal with what this president says.
But we do have some new agreements tonight in new polling about what the
president has been saying recently about four members of Congress who he
has been attacking and who he attacked again tonight at his campaign rally.
A new “USA Today” poll shows that 68 percent of Americans say that the
president`s attacks on those four women members of Congress are offensive.
Fifty-nine percent of Americans say that they are un-American, 65 percent
of Americans say telling four women of color to go back where they came
from is a racist statement.
The president struggled with the names of the congresswomen he was
attacking tonight. He admitted to being unable to say Alexandria Ocasio-
Cortez`s full name because it`s just too long. He lied about all of the
women, lied about them relentlessly tonight, claiming that they said things
they have not.
In other words, it was a standard Donald Trump performance, the kind of
thing you have seen many times, filled with hatred and lies. As with all
such Trump performances, the most disturbing part of what happens at a
Trump rally belongs to the Trump audience. It`s what the Trump audience
does and says.
That Donald Trump is going to disgrace himself and the presidency at his
campaign rallies is to be expected. He has always done that. And sadly is
just as likely that the Trump audience will disgrace themselves, as they
did so fully tonight when they started chanting “send her back”, when
Donald Trump was telling them lies about Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.
A new poll indicates that Donald Trump`s support among Republicans has
actually increased five points since he started attacking the four freshmen
congresswomen with attacks that 68 percent of Americans say are offensive,
attacks that 59 percent of Americans say are un-American, attacks that 65
percent of Americans say are racist, 65 percent of Americans say Donald
Trump`s attacks on these four congresswomen are racist and those racist
attacks increased support for Donald Trump among Republican voters. And
now they are chanting “send her back.”
Decorated combat hero and former secretary of state, John Kerry, who served
in a war that Donald Trump avoided by getting a note from his doctor wrote
this today about Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley who Donald Trump attacked
again today. Ayanna Pressley served on John Kerry`s Senate staff before he
became secretary of state.
Of course, President Trump`s comments about Representative Ayanna Pressley
are racist, but even more revolting is his defense, pretending that he is
not attacking her race, but rather her lack of patriotism. Pressley`s
entire life has been a story of patriotism, loving her country so much that
she wanted to help America live up to its ideals.
A strong woman raised in public housing by a fearless mother who sacrificed
to keep her safe. An activist who found in Boston a life of public service
and a determination to speak up for people who were underrepresented. That
story identifies as more American than any mantle this president could ever
claim. No wonder Donald Trump is afraid of her.
Leading off our discussion tonight are Leonard Pitts, Jr., Pulitzer Prize-
winning columnist for the “Miami Herald.” His latest piece is entitled
“This Land is Our Land, Donald Trump.” Also joining us, Yamiche Alcindor,
White House correspondent from the “PBS NewsHour” and an MSNBC political
analyst, and Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of California, he is a
member of the Judiciary Committee and the Intelligence Committees.
And, Congressman Swalwell, let me start with you and what we saw on the
House floor yesterday, you gave one of the most powerful statements on the
floor yesterday before that vote to condemn what President Trump has been
saying about your colleagues. I want to get your reaction to what he
continued to say and said tonight.
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Good evening, Lawrence. You know, the trope
send them back actually is one that our own government tells its employers
across the federal agency, that is something you cannot say to an employee
because it is racist. So, that is something that our own government
Second, we`re going to send Donald Trump back. We`re going to send him
back to New York, whether it`s through impeachment or election. He is
going to face swift, I predict, indictment and probably bankruptcy.
The question I have been asked the most across the country particularly
when I was running for president is, when will Republicans step up and do
the right thing? And, Lawrence, as someone who serves with so many of
these individuals, I can tell you, they are not.
Donald Trump started this riot. Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy and
gang are the looters and they are going to take everything. Tax cuts for
the wealthy and a woman`s right to choose. A worker`s right to organize
until there is nothing left to take. And they`re going to stand up to him.
We just have to beat them.
O`DONNELL: Leonard Pitts, I want to get your reaction to the Trump crowd.
We all know the Donald Trump show, the Donald Trump performance. We have
seen that before. There is always another performance that`s going on in
that hall at that event at that rally, and that is the audience`s
performance. That`s the Trump supporter`s performance.
And tonight, their choice was to chant “send her back.” We may be hearing
a lot of that kind of thing from these Trump crowds.
LEONARD PITTS, JR., COLUMNIST, MIAMI HERALD: I don`t know that we have
ever stopped hearing those things from the Trump crowds. And, frankly, I
find it hard to look on what they said with a whole lot of surprise. It`s
consistent with the behavior of Trump`s crowds at his rallies over the
years since he first became, you know, a candidate for president and then
president of the United States.
These seem to be people who value their fear of this coming tide of
progressive black and brown people that is rising change in American
demographic. That`s more important to them that they combat it than health
care, than diplomatic issues, than essentially anything that you can think
of that you can judge a presidency. They are more concerned with
protecting whiteness than they are with protecting America. All you saw
tonight was more of that.
O`DONNELL: Leonard, you made a point in your column where I found so
striking about what Donald Trump doesn`t understand about America and the
populations of the people it includes. He seems to think that Americans
are only the people who look like members of his family.
And you took this picture of America all the way up to Alaska to include
some of the people up there who Donald Trump would never recognize as
PITTS: Well, this whole idea of send them back, this is something we never
discussed. But this whole idea of send them back is something that you can
only say if you – if we presuppose and we agree that you own the place.
I`m in your studio. If I say something that is displeasing and you have
the right to say, Leonard, you know, you`ve got to go, leave. But if we
are in Walmart together, you know, Walmart is a public space. You don`t
have the right to excise me from there.
And what you see and hear in Donald Trump and frankly all the people that
Donald Trump is echoing is this presumption that has a white person, I have
the right to judge your fitness and your right to be here in the United
States of America. So, we can argue with and should argue with and should
decry the sentiment, but we should also note and decry the presumption that
underlies the sentiment. You have no right to tell you where to go, where
I can be. I`m as American as anyone else in this country.
O`DONNELL: And, Yamiche, four years ago, it was “lock her up”. Now it`s
“send her back”.
And Ilhan Omar, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar tweeted tonight, you may shoot me
with your words. You may cut me with your eye eyes. You may kill me with
your hatefulness, but still like air, I rise. She was, of course, quoting
We have a long presidential campaign ahead of us. Who knows what comes
after “send her back”.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think what we saw tonight was
the crystallization of President Trump trying to make the four
congresswomen his foes for the 2020 campaign. The White House has been
trying to make this pivot since Monday when the president said over the
weekend that these four congresswomen need to go back to the countries from
which they came, even though three of the four were born here and all of
them are U.S. citizens. They`ve been trying to say – what he was trying
to say, really, was that they should leave the country.
But this crowd in North Carolina is being clear that they heard Donald
Trump when he said over the weekend and has been continuing to say that
these women should go back to where they came from. So, there is this idea
that I think this crowd is giving us a glimpse into the limits, really the
non-limits that Trump supporters will go to follow this person that they
now see as the person who`s going to carry the porch for this new America
for going back to whatever America was years ago to make it great again.
I think there is an idea that President Trump is very, very comfortable
having arguments about identity, really focusing his entire presidential
campaign on racial politics and on these racist tweets. And I think that
what we see is the president saying today on the White House lawn, he said,
I think I`m winning this political battle. So, he feels as though to get
his supporters which are largely white supporters to get them animate and
get them to turn out for the polls, he needs to have a foil in these women.
Maybe he will face Joe Biden. Maybe he will face Senator Harris. Maybe he
will face Senator Sanders. But what he really wants to do is face the four
women because he found they can animate people better than anything he can
say about policy.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Swalwell, I think Yamiche absolutely has that. I
think we all agree on that, especially when you have the top polling
candidates for president all now polling ahead of Donald Trump, all beating
him on one on one polling. You are recently retired from the presidential
campaign, back to your full time job in the House.
But, look, I said to our staff tonight, I want to pull up any piece of the
Donald Trump rally where he actually talks about a policy position of one
of the Democratic presidential candidates in an intelligible way with
English language sentences that can be followed. There is no such piece in
the Trump rally tonight. Not one policy issue discussed in any way that
you can make sense of by the president. But he spent 15 minutes on four
SWALWELL: Yes. You know, Lawrence, I think this is going to be very much
like the midterms. And when we look back on this point in history, we will
find that the hardest thing we did was win the midterms to save the country
and the way we did that was not go in the mud when Donald Trump right
before the midterm elections was talking about immigration and the
caravans. I call them scare vans. He want that to be the top issue.
And we told our candidates on the front lines – health care, health care,
health care. They don`t have a plan for health care. Their plan is
subtraction. Our plan is addition.
We don`t have to deviate too far from that in 2020. They don`t have a plan
for health care. So, yes, he is racist, and by the way, he wants to take
your health care.
O`DONNELL: Leonard Pitts, this poll coming out saying 65 percent, 65
percent of Americans think what the president said is racist, 65 percent.
Is that an encouraging poll for you?
PITTS: Not really, because – I mean, a lot of times we are willing to say
X, Y, and Z is racist, but the question is what weight does that carry with
you if you`re not an American of color? What are you willing to do about
that, what are you willing to give up about that? What are you willing to
say? What action are you willing to take?
And on that account, I think frankly a lot of us as Americans have been
remiss. The other number that gets polled out and you discussed it earlier
is that his popularity among his party among Republicans has risen since
those statements came out. And to me, that`s a more telling number because
what it says is that contrary to all of the talk two years ago that he was
driven by, they were driven by economic anxiety and populism and all the
rest of this stuff, it codifies the fact that what we are seeing is nothing
more than and nothing less than an appeal to white nationalism that is
being soaked up and finding a home in a frighteningly large number of
people – 63 million Americans in the last election voted for this, knowing
what it was. That`s the number that stops me. That`s the number that I
think should give us all pause.
O`DONNELL: Yamiche, what do you expect from the president`s campaign now
that they see a five-point bump among Republicans in his factorability as a
result of these attacks?
ALCINDOR: Well, we can expect the campaign to continue to use these four
women as examples of what they see as what`s wrong with American politics.
They want to run the campaign and give a face to the Democratic Party. Joe
Biden possibly being a moderate, possibly being someone who can capture
states like Pennsylvania and maybe Michigan, or someone like Senator
Harris, they are not in some ways radical enough to really make the case.
So, I think what we are going to see is President Trump and the campaign
continuing to make the case that they understand that American identity is
tied to what the president sees as his way forward. His way forward is
going to be talking about race in this way, talking about these young
women, these congresswomen, I should say, rather, and attacking them. And
I think that the president has really settled on the idea that race and
immigration animates people more than policy, and that`s how he won in
2016, and how he wants to win in 2020.
O`DONNELL: Yamiche Alcindor, Leonard Pitts, Congressman Eric Swalwell,
thank you all for starting us off.
SWALWELL: My pleasure. Thank you.
O`DONNELL: I appreciate it. Thank you.
And when we come back, are President Trump`s attacks a political strategy
or are they just an impulse? Is it an impulse he`s had for a long time?
People who have been close to Donald Trump for a very long time talk about
his reflexive racism. You will hear more of that when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACK O`DONNELL, FORMER PRESIDENT & CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, TRUMP PLAZA
HOTEL & CASINO: He does have a very long history. He is a racist through
and through. He doesn`t have to use the N word for it to be clear what he
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That is Jack O`Donnell who is not related to me. He worked for
Donald Trump as the president of the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. Here`s
more of what Jack O`Donnell has to say about Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACK O`DONNELL: I do believe he`s a racist. I believe anybody that has
spent substantial amount of time around him in a casual atmosphere, whether
it`s business or dinner or at lunch, I believe it would be difficult that
he wouldn`t express these feelings to them over time. I just find it very
hard to believe that there are not more people who know him that don`t
believe exactly what I believe, but for one reason or another are not
willing to say it publicly, that he is a racist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, someone who has spent a substantial amount of
time around Donald Trump, Tony Schwartz, who is the co-author of Donald
Trump`s first best-selling book, “The Art of the Deal”.
Tony, I know you were basically embedded with Donald Trump for quite a long
time, writing that book for him. You presented it as coauthors, but we
know you wrote it.
What about what Jack O`Donnell says, anybody who has spent a substantial
amount of time around him, he says, knows he is a racist?
TONY SCHWARTZ, CO-AUTHOR, “THE ART OF THE DEAL”: I think the subtler point
is that he is dismissive, disdainful of a wide range of people who are not
white and rich.
So, Donald Trump doesn`t like black people. He doesn`t like brown people.
He doesn`t like women. He doesn`t like poor people.
And each – he doesn`t like Jews, except to have them as his lawyers and
accountant accountants. That`s what he thinks Jews do.
Black people are boxers or football players to him. Those are the only
ones he pays attention to.
So, he has roles he has for each of these groups meant to serve his
O`DONNELL: We just had this book, “American Carnage”, here the other
night, and there is a story about Donald Trump vetting a possible black
nominee for his administration and the way he vetted them was he called up
Don King, the boxing promoter saying what do you think of this guy?
SCHWARTZ: Yes. So, he – you know, we see who his role models are. He`s
a coward so he is impressed by a boxer who has a certain courage or by
Hershel Walker who was on the big signing he did when he was running at
USFL team. Those people stand for something that he can admire.
The idea that they would have brains or hearts or souls, and he doesn`t
know what a soul is, but brains or heart wouldn`t occur to him. It`s
racist, but it`s also sexist.
O`DONNELL: Yes. And he is generally condescending to everyone, so who is
not a Trump, basically. So, of course, there`s a part of it.
Let`s listen to what Michael Cohen said in his testimony to Congress about
this very point.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER TRUMP LAWYER: Mr. Trump is a racist. The country
has seen Mr. Trump court white supremacists and bigots. You have heard him
call poor countries shitholes. In private, he is even worse.
He once asked me to name a country run by a black person that wasn`t a
shithole. This was when Barack Obama was president of the United States.
And while we were once striving through a struggling neighborhood in
Chicago, he commented that only black people could live that way. And he
told me that black people would never vote for him because they were too
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Tony, the character he is describing sounds like a guy from
Queens of his era who never exposed himself to any enlightenment.
SCHWARTZ: Well, right. The light and Donald Trump are not words that go
in any form. I think in a way, it`s almost irrelevant, you know, from a
political – I don`t want to say irrelevant, but from a political
perspective, what he`s done is he`s aroused the feelings of the like minded
feelings of racism among, let`s say, as many as 40 percent of Americans.
The reality is that if all the people, voters, who Donald Trump hates and
disdains were to come out and vote, it`s a landslide.
SCHWARTZ: That 40 percent in effect doesn`t matter. It`s a minority.
It`s a horrible minority and he has exacerbated their worst instincts, but
it is a minority.
And what we ought to be focusing on is getting those people who he hates,
particularly brown people because a lot of brown people voted for Trump,
many more than black people or women. I don`t know about women, but black
people voted for Trump.
So, it`s about getting the people who don`t agree with him, not about
waving or hands in upset about the fact that his base is his base. They
are immovable, they always aggrieved as he is, and nothing will change
O`DONNELL: Tony Schwartz, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I
really appreciate it.
And when we come back, President Trump says he`s not a fan of Jeffrey
Epstein, but he sure looks like a fan in new video of them together
revealed today by NBC News. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: Because Donald Trump has the most limited vocabulary of any
President in history, his public assessment of people usually comes down to
fan or not a fan. Last week, the President said this about his old friend,
convicted sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein, who now faces new sex crimes
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I wasn`t a fan. I was
not a fan of his that I can tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: NBC has discovered archived video of Donald Trump appearing to
be a fan of Jeffrey Epstein at a party at Donald Trump`s Florida home in
1992. In the video, Donald Trump is seen greeting Jeffrey Epstein. Surely
looks like a fan there and then hanging with Jeffrey Epstein when he was
trying to grope the women at the party. Looks like a fan there too.
The Federal Judge in the Epstein case in Manhattan will rule tomorrow on
whether he will grant bail to Jeffrey Epstein. The tiny chance that the
judge would grand bail became tinnier today when prosecutors reveal that
the fake passport that they found Jeffrey Epstein`s possession appeared to
have been issued by - had been used by Jeffrey Epstein several times.
Yesterday Epstein`s lawyers said the passport was never used and its
purpose was to try to convince potential terrorists that Jeffrey Epstein is
not Jewish. It is an Austrian passport that contains Jeffrey Epstein`s
picture but a different name and shows Jeffrey Epstein`s residence to be
Today prosecutors said that the passport “Contains numerous ingress and
egress stamps including stamps that reflect use of the passport to enter
France, Spain, The United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia in the 1980s”. And
Gabriel Sherman is reporting in “Vanity Fair,” tonight that the Epstein
case could create problems for more people outside the courtroom than just
Attorney David Boies who represents some of the women who have accused
Jeffrey Epstein of sexually abusing them when they were in their house said
nobody who is around Epstein a lot is going to have an easy time now. It`s
all going to come out.
Another person involved with litigation against Jeffrey Epstein told
Gabriel Sherman “It`s going to be staggering, the amount of names”. After a
break, Joyce Vance will join our discussion with what she expects to see in
O`DONNELL: Today in “Vanity Fair”, Gabriel Sherman is reporting that a
release of court documents in the Jeffrey Epstein case could reveal sexual
abuse by “Numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business
executives and foreign Presidents a well-known Prime Minister and other
Joining our discussion now is Joyce Vance Former U.S. Attorney for the
Northern District of Alabama and MSNBC Legal Analyst Tony Schwartz is still
Joyce that reporting in “Vanity Fair” today is really quite stunning, but I
want to begin with what you expect to see in court tomorrow on Jeffrey
Epstein`s attempt to secure bail after what we saw unfold with the fake
passport this week?
It sounds like Jeffrey Epstein lied to his lawyers about it, saying the
passport was never used or much worse for the lawyers, the lawyers lied to
the judge about it?
JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA: I think
that`s right Lawrence. Whatever the truth is, between those two options
Epstein`s lawyers are on record telling the court that he never used the
passport when clearly he traveled under it. That`s sort of the nail in the
coffin here. Because what the judge is called upon to do there is a very
specific federal statute about detention and it says that the judge shall
detain the defendant pending trial unless it`s clear that he is not a
flight risk or danger to the community.
Once the government establishes by a preponderance of the evidence or that
it`s more likely than not that he`s a flight risk, then the judge has to
take him into custody. Even leaving aside the high likelihood here that,
Epstein poses an ongoing danger to the community, that he might that
continues to tamper with witnesses. The flight risk alone would justify
O`DONNELL: And Joyce, let me get you on Gabriel Sherman`s reporting in
“Vanity Fair” where David Boies lawyer involved with some of the victims in
the case is saying it`s all going to come out, all the names are going to
come out. And then Gabriel Sherman is reporting those names include leaders
of foreign countries and American politicians. It`s a stunning list of the
kinds of people whose names could be revealed through this process. How
will that take shape? Where do you expect the exposure of other people to
VANCE: So I think it`s always important to not get ahead of yourself in
this sort of a situation, but David Boies has a lot of credibility in this
area. If he is representing what his clients will say, when they`re
interviewed or perhaps publicly sooner, I think it`s likely that we will
begin to see this information come out.
If it comes out in the course of the criminal case in the Southern District
of New York that could possibly be a trial or it might not even become
relevant there if there is a plea or a trial. I do think we will continue
to see reporting though this is so explosive and given the names that we
have already seen connected to Epstein and names that we know were
contained in his rolodex and phone book I think that there are a lot of
people who aren`t sleeping very well right now.
O`DONNELL: Tony before Donald Trump became what he now calls not a fan of
Jeffrey Epstein he said this publicly about him. I have known Jeff for 15
years terrific guy fun to be with. It is even said he likes beautiful women
as much as I do and many of them are on the younger side. It sounds like
that Donald Trump knew pretty much what there was to know about Jeffrey
Epstein at that time?
TONY SCHWARTZ, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: You know, when you think about it Trump
really only involves himself with rogues and grifters and sexual abusers.
What`s ironic about all this when we talk - when David Boies talks about
who is going to be exposed in this is that Trump has now been exposed over
and over as a sexual predator and this reinforces the kind of connection he
had to one of the world`s biggest sexual predators. And yet we know that
somehow he will not go down in the same way that others will.
O`DONNELL: Yeah, because Joyce, other people whose names might be mentioned
might never have been mentioned in connection to anything like this before
and that`s actually likely to mean more damage to their reputation since
the Trump reputation is already so damaged?
VANCE: I think that`s true. Certainly he comes to this situation with a lot
of baggage, but interesting for anyone who is involved in this is that the
statute that Epstein is charged with which is trafficking does not have a
statute of limitations. And I think for anyone who had involved with
Epstein that was criminal in nature that involved being any part of his
operation knowing this statute is still live and can be used for a
conspiracy or for obstruction of justice as well as for committing the apps
that Epstein is charged with that has to be unnerving at this point.
O`DONNELL: And Tony for Donald Trump, a guy like Jeffrey Epstein has two
angles of interest for him. One is the money angle. They are both people
with mysterious relationships to money. No one has quite figured even now
how Jeffrey Epstein made his money. And then there is the access to women
which Donald Trump was always looking for.
SCHWARTZ: Well, when you see in that video from today, is that there are 30
women who he moved, 30 cheerleaders that he has moved - Trump is moving the
train with his hands all over them. Epstein was an expert at that. Again, I
talked earlier about who Trump looks up to. I didn`t mention Putin and Kim
Jong-Un and other autocrats.
SCHWARTZ: – but also to various rouges. Jeffrey Epstein would be a hero to
him at that time.
O`DONNELL: A hero?
SCHWARTZ: Meaning this guy really can get girls and really young and
beautiful girls. So in my mind this guy has got what it takes.
O`DONNELL: I will have to leave it there for tonight. Joyce Vance and Tony
Schwartz, thank you both very much for joining us. And when we come back
Rush Limbaugh has now confessed that he didn`t mean what he was saying for
all those years before he switched all those positions of his to become a
Trump supporter. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: Remember Rush Limbaugh? He used to be the person who reliably
made the most outrageous and indefensible public comments on the right wing
of American politics until Donald Trump came along. And now it`s impossible
for Rush Limbaugh to stir controversy in a country with a President who
makes Rush Limbaugh seem shy.
Rush Limbaugh was never the leader of his radio audience. He was always
their follower which he proved when he changed so many of his policy
positions and his public positions on morality to become a Trump supporter
and a half step after his audience became Trump supporters.
And yesterday Rush Limbaugh offered yet another public surrender to
Trumpism. It came in the middle of a phone call on his show from Douglas in
San Diego who was urging Republicans to nominate “A young potentially two-
term President, one that believes in fiscal conservatism”.
Douglas pointed out, in 2019 there is going to be a trillion-dollar deficit
Trump doesn`t really care about that, he is not really a fiscal
conservative to which Rush Limbaugh actually said nobody is a fiscal
conservative anymore. All this talk about concern for the deficit and the
budget has been bogus for as long as it has been around.
Rush Limbaugh didn`t offer any hint that he was aware that he was
confessing to his own burgosity in attacking every Democratic President
over the size of the national debt. So it is with Republicans now they
defend things they used to attack they attack things they used to defend.
They impeached President Clinton for behavior that President Trump has
Republicans say nothing about Donald Trump being ineffective now unindicted
coconspirator in the Southern District of New York where federal
prosecutors say that he committed federal crimes with Michael Cohen and
directed Michael Cohen to help him commit those crimes to win the
And the Republicans who impeached Bill Clinton say there is nothing wrong
with that and there is nothing wrong with his conduct as President. The
current Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee who was one of the
prosecutors of Bill Clinton in the Senate Impeachment Trial now says there
is nothing in Donald Trump`s conduct as a Presidential Candidate allegedly
committing crimes to get elected or in his conduct as President that is
worthy of even a single Congressional hearing.
Conservative Columnist George Will who left the Republican Party when
Donald Trump won the Republican nomination is worried about what the Trump
Presidency means for our future. Here`s what he had to say about that in an
interview with “The New York Times” Book Review Podcast.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GEORGE F. WILL, THE WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: I believe that what this
President has done to our culture, to our civic discourse, you cannot
unring these bells and you cannot unsay what he has said. And you cannot
change that he has now in a very short time made it seem normal for
schoolboy taunts and obvious lies to be spun out in a constant stream. I
think this will do more lasting damage than Richard Nixon`s surreptitious
(END AUDIO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist George Will joins us after this
O`DONNELL: Michigan Congressman Justin Amash left the Republican Party two
weeks ago and is now an independent. Yesterday he voted with the Democrats
in the house to condemn what President Trump said about four Democratic
members of the House of Representatives.
And he tweeted this. “If you`re a Republican, please ask yourself if the
party really represents your principles and values. You don`t need to
become a Democrat. Simply stand up for what is right. America`s tradition
of liberty is beautiful and it depends on our love and respect for one
Joining our discussion now is George F. Will, Pulitzer Prize-Winning
Syndicated Columnist for “The Washington Post” and the Author of the new
book “The Conservative Sensibility.” He is also an MSNBC Political Analyst.
George, I want to get your reaction to something that Lindsey Graham just
said tonight on Fox News about President Trump. He said, “From a Republican
view you don`t have a lot to complain about.” So I guess Republicans no
longer have anything to complain about in the national debt or a trillion-
dollar deficit or tariffs, and the list goes on?
WILL: Well, that`s the buck gore such argument that he may be coarsening,
he may lie all the time he may discredit the United States at home and
abroad but gore such. There are very few Republicans who seem to have
really drunk the kool-aid that is to mean what they say. I`d say Mike Pence
and Lindsey Graham are the two. The others I think without any affection or
respect for the President, which makes what they do in a way worse because
what they`re doing is saying it`s all because we`re invertebrate and
completely terrified that we`re doing this.
O`DONNELL: George, your point about how this Presidency could be more
damaging than the Nixon Presidency was, please expand on that?
WILL: Well, Nixon`s burglaries were surreptitious. That is, they were done
in private. They were hidden because they were against the norms that were
not challenged by Nixon. He evaded them but didn`t challenge them. He
didn`t refute them. He didn`t degrade them.
Donald Trump says, and to be fair to Mr. Trump he`s fulfilling a campaign
promise. He promised to overturn the norms and he`s doing so. When a
President goes overseas and quotes – he was actually misquoting but that`s
par for the course. But when he purports to quote the dictator of North
Korea describing a Former Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden,
as a low “IQ idiot” and approves this that takes him into a realm no
President ever before has ventured into.
O`DONNELL: You believe that this is a behavior that will be imitated post-
WILL: Well, you can`t unring the bells. You can`t unsay what he is saying.
And it`s amazing to me how fast. And we saw this in the 20th century in a
number of ways. How fast something could go from unthinkable to thinkable
to action. And it doesn`t seem to me it`s going to be easy to just snap
back as though this didn`t happen. It happened. And he got away with it.
And he became President. And there will be emulators.
O`DONNELL: I want to get to a specific point of the fiscal conservatism and
Rush Limbaugh is saying oh, no one ever believed that which I personally
don`t believe. When I was working in the Senate, I believed that the
Republicans across the aisle and Democrats actually meant what they were
saying about the deficit and the debt.
But politically it`s very difficult to wrestle with, and in your new book
“The Conservative Sensibility” you quote my old boss Daniel Patrick
Moynihan talking about that phrase he used, “civic religion,” about
minimalist government. And you put it that it is avowed but not
constraining, this civic religion. It`s one thing to aspire to a certain
value in politics and then fail to achieve it. It`s something else to say
oh, no, no, we never meant that, we don`t care about that anymore. That`s
what Rush Limbaugh`s saying.
WILL: Yeah, that said that the talk about balanced budgets was like Soviet
grain total quotas, that no one believed them even in the Soviet Union. I
think it`s possible, Lawrence, that the political class is more united by
self-interest than it is divided by ideology and the self-interest is that
it`s in everyone`s self-interest to give the American people a dollar`s
worth of government, charge them 80 cents for it. It pleases the public.
You shift 20 percent, 25 percent or 20 percent of the government off on the
future generations that are un-consenting because they`re unborn and we go
merrily along. We`re about to run a trillion-dollar deficit at more than
full employment, at reasonably steady economic growth. What is going to
happen, Lawrence, when the next recession starts, starts at a trillion-
O`DONNELL: And what is going to happen to Republican politics post-Trump?
If a Democrat is sworn in on the next Inauguration Day, will Republicans in
the Congress immediately return to deficit concerns?
WILL: Well, it`s going to be interesting. What do the evangelicals, who
have worshiped at the golden calf of Donald Trump, going to say? Are they
going to snap back into saying character matters in politics? I don`t think
so. The laugh test will be they will flunk. Republicans having given us our
first trillion-dollar deficit again in good economic conditions, can they
just snap back? I don`t know.
You know, Gene McCarthy, late senator from Massachusetts, ran for president
in 1968, the hero of your fine book on 1968, Gene McCarthy once said the
Washington epistemology is this, anything said three times becomes a fact.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Yes.
WILL: And the Republicans now will say as the Democrats are guilty in
their own way, they`ll say something three times and decide that it`s a
O`DONNELL: George, the video replay will show you that slipped
Massachusetts instead of Minnesota, which I know you meant for Gene
McCarthy. And I just want to correct it here because I know you`d want us
to. And I know –
WILL: I`ll say it three times and make it a fact.
O`DONNELL: There you go. That`s the way to do it. George F. Will gets
tonight`s LAST WORD. Thank you for joining us, George. Really appreciate
it. “THE 11TH HOUR” with Brian Williams starts now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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Copyright 2019 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the