Hundreds attend El Paso Strong rally today. TRANSCRIPT: 8/7/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
“Blowout”, October 1st, I`ve got it all here. You know, when I was on book
tour just to further embarrass you, there`s embarrassment coming – my
standard opening line which went over really big was, I know why you`re
here, this is the closest you`re ever going to get to Rachel Maddow.
O`DONNELL: And now, it`s not true. Now, they`re actually going to get the
real Rachel Maddow on the book tour.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: But now I can use that line about you, right?
Now I can be like, I know why you`re here.
O`DONNELL: It`s not going to work. Rachel, it`s not going to work.
Sorry. It only works one way. No.
MADDOW: You`d be surprised, Lawrence. You`d be surprised the number of
people who not only come up to me to talk about you but they call you,
O`DONNELL: Yes, I get that. Yes, I get that, too.
MADDOW: People come to me and they want me to give you messages. They
want me to tell you to run for things. They want me to tell you how much
they love you and they call you Larry. It`s weird.
O`DONNELL: No, it`s funny. In various walks of life, we`ve been able to
use it as an indicator they don`t really know me. When someone`s calling -
O`DONNELL: And they ask for that guy. So, yes.
MADDOW: It`s the same thing when people tell me to say hi to Sue, I know
they`ve never met my girlfriend Susan.
O`DONNELL: October 1st.
O`DONNELL: “Blowout,” Rachel Maddow.
MADDOW: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: OK. Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Well, Donald Trump proved once again today he is the weakest
man and the weakest mind that`s ever occupied the presidency when as he was
leaving the White House and speaking to reporters over the usual helicopter
noise in the background, which is the only noise that ever makes any sense
when Donald Trump is speaking, the president was asked what his position is
on banning assault rifles. And the president said, well, I can tell you
that there is no political appetite for that at this moment. And then a
lot of Trump gibberish followed after that.
But the weakest president in history never said what his position is. The
man who ran for office lying to his voters that he was the only one that
could actually get things done in Washington basically said there was
nothing he could do if Republicans don`t want to do anything. He couldn`t
possibly lead them even though that`s in his job description as the leader
of the Republican Party.
And, of course, Donald Trump was lying when he said there`s no political
appetite for banning assault rifles. A new poll out today shows
overwhelming political support for banning assault weapons, 70 percent
Donald Trump then went on his photo-op tour of Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso,
Texas. He did it the way a dictator would do it, exactly the way Vladimir
Putin would do it. He did not allow any members of the news media to
actually see what he was doing in Dayton or in El Paso.
And so, we have nothing to report to you about what president Trump did or
said when he visited hospitals in Dayton and El Paso. We have only White
House propaganda video. Any of the video you`ve seen of that stuff has all
been delivered by the White House.
We will not deliver that propaganda video to you. The White House has
already used video shot at government expense for a campaign commercial
that Donald Trump released on Twitter today showing the propaganda video of
his visit to Dayton, Ohio.
And so, all the evidence delivered by the Trump team suggests that these
were campaign stops today. They were not consoling visits by a sympathetic
president who is grieving with the people, who have suffered such
devastating losses. The president took one question from one reporter in
El Paso. It was an empty exchange as usual, not worth listening to as
What you will hear in this hour is not a word from the president who would
not allow the news media to cover his visits in Dayton and El Paso.
Instead, you will hear from people who spoke about these events today and
who very clearly care about what happened in Dayton and El Paso and have
proved that they care and are very worried about where the next mass
murderer is going to happen.
You will hear from Joe Biden later in this hour delivering a speech in Iowa
today in which he condemned Donald Trump`s hatred and racism in the
strongest terms we have yet heard from Joe Biden. He linked Donald Trump`s
language to the massacre in El Paso.
You will hear from Senator Cory Booker later in this hour in a speech he
delivered today in a church in Charleston, South Carolina, which was itself
the scene of a racist mass murder. You will hear from both Joe Biden and
Cory Booker speak not so much as presidential candidates because they
barely referred to their candidacies at all, but as moralists appealing to
the conscience of most Americans who have always rejected everything about
Donald Trump and Trumpism and the racism that was the founding principle of
Trumpism, the Trump lie about President Obama`s birth certificate. That`s
how Trumpism was born, in the muck of that racism.
You will hear from people in El Paso who have been devastated by what has
come to their hometown, but you will not be hearing the voice of Donald
Trump because Donald Trump is unable to deliver a single sentence that is
in any way appropriate to what happened in Dayton and El Paso. He did not
say one serious or true thing today that is worth reporting here tonight.
Just before Donald Trump landed in El Paso today, Beto O`Rourke spoke to an
audience in his hometown about the heroes in El Paso who went to work
trying to save the lives of people shot by a mass murderer who believes
every word Donald Trump has told him about Mexican-Americans and about
people who someday hope to become Mexican-Americans, people who hope to
enter our country at a southern border. Beto O`Rourke talked about El Paso
heroes who rushed into action after a mass murderer who thinks exactly like
Donald Trump, drove hundreds of miles to come to El Paso to kill as many
people as he could.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BETO O`ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We had a chance to thank the
doctors and the surgeons and the nurses and the cleaning staff. The nurses
told us as they wheeled these victims into the trauma bay, blood
everywhere, they wheeled one patient out, that cleaning staff would come in
like a NASCAR pit crew and clean that bay down so it was clean for the next
patient to come in so they could save somebody else`s life.
Every single one of them in that hospital, and they did the same thing at
University Medical Center. Doing all that they could for their fellow El
Pasoans, for their fellow Juarezans (ph), for their fellow human beings and
they saved their lives. And one of those surgeons, Dr. Smith, said, this
is one of those moments that either destroys your faith in humanity or
restores your faith in humanity. El Paso chooses to restore our faith in
humanity in one another and in this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The doctors and nurses, of course, will never be thanked enough
but that`s not why they do it. They do it because of a duty that comes
from the heart, a duty that Donald Trump could never understand.
Congresswoman Veronica Escobar who was Beto O`Rourke`s successor in the
House of Representatives, refused to join the president of the United
States on his visit to her city of El Paso today because he has not
apologized for the things he has said about the 22 people who were murdered
and the 26 people who were wounded in El Paso. And no, Donald Trump has
never talked about those people individually before they were murdered, and
he has never talked about them individually since they were murdered.
But they are precisely the people who Donald Trump has been talking about
relentlessly in his rants about the southern border.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. VERONICA ESCOBAR (D-TX): We will have a lot of work to do that is not
just about repairing the body but also about repairing the mind and the
soul. And we have to be strong and united in that journey, that very
difficult journey that lies ahead. And in this moment, someone is visiting
that I felt it was important that we come together and not focus on the
visitor but focus on El Paso.
And let me tell you why this moment is so important not just for this
community but for this country. There have been words that have been used
to dehumanize all of us, our brothers, our sisters, our friends, our
family, our communities. There have been words that have been powerful and
painful and full of hate and full of bigotry and full of racism.
And those words are still out there. And until all of us demand that those
words be taken back, we will not stop. We will not stop resisting the
hate, resisting the bigotry, resisting the racism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight from El Paso, Richard
Parker, the author of “Lone Star Nation: How Texas Will Transform America.”
And Ana Maria Hinojosa, anchor and executive producer of the public radio
show “Latino USA”.
And, Richard and Maria, as you know the concept of shows like this is that
the person sitting here knows what we should be talking about and asks
questions that direct the conversation, but that`s not how I want to begin
Richard Parker, I`d just like you to tell us what you think we should be
thinking about tonight at this hour.
RICHARD PARKER, AUTHOR, “LONE STAR NATION”: Just two things. One, you
know, after every mass shooting, there`s a cycle of grief people go
through, and that`s happened here. There`s been fear. There`s been
anxiety. But what I have seen and listened to in the last few days is an
increasing amount of anger, frankly.
The political objectives of this racially motivated mass murderer, this
massacre which is what it was are crystal clear to everybody. And the
president`s stirring of this toxic stew (ph), he doesn`t fool anybody.
But the second thing, too, I think the president seemed very small today.
He seemed a very small man on the verge of disappearing. The crowds here
were swelling. The people who lined his motorcade route didn`t want him
there based on their signs, his supporters were largely invisible today,
and the president himself as you put it, Lawrence, came in and announced
like the leader of another system of government – I`ll put it that way –
who really didn`t want to be seen.
O`DONNELL: Maria, what is on your mind tonight in El Paso?
MARIA HINOJOSA, ANCHOR AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, LATINO USA: So, you know,
Richard and I just met tonight and actually we didn`t have a conversation
before we got here. And literally, he said everything that I was going to
say from my reporting on the streets.
I just ran into Letty Galvan (ph) as we were coming here, and I started to
speak with her. She`s 51 years old. She`s from El Paso. She was with her
21-year-old daughter and her mother.
And she said I was too afraid to leave my house, didn`t let any of the
kids, my grandkids, we didn`t leave the house. But finally she said now I
came out today. She said we`ve been in shock. There was a lot of sadness,
and then she said but now I`m getting angry.
And the thing is that, you know, Richard is from El Paso. I visit here, so
I try to believe that I`m in touch with the sentiments of the people here.
These are – you know, when you`re talking about people from El Paso or
Juarez getting angry, you know, these are the people that are really a very
peaceful people. That`s why nobody, they don`t understand what happened
Juarez and El Paso are like this. There is no anger between them. And so,
what you`re also seeing now is another step. Behind us who are doing
ancestral and indigenous dance inspired by our cultural ancestral roots.
So, it`s the anger but also saying this is what`s going to save us, right?
We have to save each other and we have to realize that we have been tested
before. Our people, the people of El Paso and Juarez have been tested
before, and so we`re going to dig deep.
And in this way, it`s manifesting with beauty and song and dance and
chanting. There was also angry chanting. Very different from what I saw
when I first got here Monday night when it was completely solemn. So, the
stages are there, and people here, Richard, surprisingly also are talking
And that`s, again, something that a lot of people don`t do a lot here. But
people are saying oh, no, no, I`m going to vote. You`re hearing that, and
that is – it`s going to be a lasting impact along with the trauma.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what the Mayor Nan Whaley of Dayton told in the
last hour about the president`s visit to Dayton, Ohio.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR NAN WHALEY (D), DAYTON, OHIO: Our community is on tenterhooks. The
minute that the president announced he was coming to Dayton, people had a
lot of opinions. It`s kind of sad, frankly. Before the president`s
announcement on Tuesday, there was a real sense of togetherness. But I
think because of his rhetoric over the past three years and just hyper-
partisan nature, just him announcing has really put the community on edge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Richard, is that anything similar to what the feeling in El
Paso has been?
PARKER: I think it`s nearly identical, I do. I think the only important
difference is that right now, we`re not positive that the shooter of Dayton
had an ideological motive behind his killing spree.
In El Paso, across the street at this Walmart, where 22 people died,
there`s no question about that. He came here as he put it to the FBI and
police, to kill Mexicans and that`s the raw truth about it.
PARKER: I think one difference between El Paso and Dayton as well – I`m
O`DONNELL: Go ahead.
PARKER: No, it`s simply this, I think El Paso has shattered the debate
that we have had for two years as well as the myth that Donald Trump may
not be a racist white nationalist. I think at this point, that`s been
pretty cleared up.
O`DONNELL: And, Maria, to that point when Donald Trump makes this trip
today to El Paso, if he was ever going to make any kind of effort to make
people think that he was not a white racist and did not actively hate both
the region that he was visiting and the people who lived there, this was
the day to make that clear. He didn`t – didn`t even attempt a word in
HINOJOSA: Lawrence, because the people here, you know – people are not
stupid. We have heard since July 2015 this man saying this about us. I
mean, here, I`m not speaking as a journalist. I`m speaking as a Mexican
woman, as an immigrant.
You know, he`s attacked us over and over again. People here are not dumb.
They – it`s not going to change because he suddenly arrives and says, you
know, I`m sorry. As I said earlier actually the words people are using
here are that – he`s kind of making fun of this situation by coming here
because they know that he doesn`t like the people from here. Otherwise,
why would he have made this a target?
You know, the other thing people are saying, Lawrence, is there was a
massive ICE raid in Mississippi today, and the people here are saying thank
you for throwing more salt on the wound. It is not lost on them that this
was an attack specifically towards Latinos, Mexicans, Mehicano immigrants,
and that today the federal governments went after those same exact people
tearing parents away from their children who won`t have parents tonight in
And the other thing just to end is that people here are making these
connections, so they`re saying, wait, the people who are in Mexico who are
trying to get here who are now forced to sleep on the streets in Mexico
because of the policies of this president who doesn`t want refugees is
connected to babies being put into cages. It`s connected to toddlers dying
in immigrant detention. It`s connected to the border walls being placed
here. It`s connected to what just happened here.
They`re making this big 360 and they`re saying we`re putting these dots
together in just horror. It`s an absolute horror. But it is not lost on
And may this man, 45, understand that the people here know exactly what`s
going on. They know exactly what`s going on, no matter what anyone says
they know it and they feel it. Right here in their hearts.
O`DONNELL: Richard Parker and Maria Hinojosa, thank you both very much for
joining us on this important night. We really appreciate it. Thank you.
PARKER: Thank you.
HINOJOSA: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: When we come back, Joe Biden and Cory Booker rose to the
occasion today in a way that Donald Trump never could and never will.
O`DONNELL: Joe Biden was in Iowa today where he was scheduled to give a
speech about agriculture policy. He didn`t give that speech. Instead, he
delivered a moral indictment against Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The words of a president matters.
They can move markets. They can send our brave men and women to war.
They can bring peace. They can calm a nation in turmoil. They can console
and confront and comfort those who have faced tragedy.
They can inspire us literally to reach for the moon. They can encourage us
to appeal to our better angels, to our better nature, but they can also
unleash the deepest darkest forces in this nation. And that`s what I
believe Donald Trump has chosen to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: In one paragraph Joe Biden covered years of offenses by Donald
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: When Trump announced he was running for president, he called
Mexicans rapists. Days before the midterm, he fomented fears of a caravan
heading to the United States.
More recently he called an American, a major American city a disgusting,
rat-infected, rodent mess. No human being, he said, would choose to live
as though the vibrant diverse community around Baltimore is somehow less
At a rally in Florida, when asked a crowd, how do we stop these people,
meaning immigrants, someone yelled back, shoot them. And he smiled.
In North Carolina, he basked in the chants of “send her back” echoing
across the stadium.
How far is it from Trump saying this is an invasion to the shooter in El
Paso declaring, quote, this attack is a response to Hispanic invasion of
Texas? How far apart are those comments?
I don`t think it`s that far at all. It`s both clear language and in code.
This president has fanned the flames of white supremacy in this nation.
His low energy, vacant eyed mouthing of the words written for him
condemning white supremacists this week, I don`t believe fooled anyone.
We have a problem with this rising tide of supremacy, white supremacy in
America, and we have a president who encourages and emboldens it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Both Cory Booker and Joe Biden talked about American history
today in a way that politicians usually don`t. They actually acknowledged
the good and the bad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: American history is not a fairy tale, the battle for the soul of
this nation has been a constant push-and-pull for 243 years between the
American ideal that says we`re all created equal and the harsh reality that
racism has long torn us apart. The same document that promised to secure
the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity also allowed for
slavery and the so-called three-fifths compromise that discounted the very
humanity of black people in America at the time.
The honest truth is that both elements are part of the American character.
The American creed that we`re all created equal was written long ago, but
the genius of every generation of Americans has opened it wider and wider
and wider to include those who have been excluded in the previous
generation. That`s why it`s never gathered any dust in our history book.
It`s still alive today more than 200 years after its inception.
But I honest to God don`t believe Donald Trump sees it that way. I believe
and I really do believe this, that history will look back on this
presidency as an aberrant moment in American history, but if Donald Trump
is re-elected I believe he will forever and fundamentally alter the
character of this nation.
If we give Donald Trump four more years, this will not be the country
envisioned by Washington and Adams and Jefferson. If we give Donald Trump
four more years, this will not be the nation bound together by Lincoln. If
we give Donald Trump four more years, this will not be the nation lifted up
by Roosevelt or inspired by Kennedy. It will not be the nation that Barack
Obama proved towards bends toward justice. The danger –
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joe Biden`s speech was originally scheduled as a presidential
campaign speech, but he made just a single passing reference to his
candidacy and his policy proposal to reinstitute a ban on the sale of
assault weapons. The speech was not so much a Biden for president speech.
It was much more of an anyone-but-Trump speech.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: No matter how old or young you are, you`ve never seen anything like
this in your lifetime. We`re being reminded every day that there`s nothing
guaranteed about democracy, not even here in America. We have to
constantly earn it. We have to protect it. We have to fight for it.
Everyone knows who Donald Trump is even the people who support him. We
have to show who we are. We choose hope over fear.
We choose science over fiction. We choose unity over division. And yes,
we choose truth over lies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: We will hear what Cory Booker had to say later in this hour.
And after this break, we`ll be joined by former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio
Villaraigosa, and “The Washington Post”, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist
Eugene Robinson to their reaction with the events of the day and what we
just heard from Joe Biden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He says guns are not the problem in
mass shootings, the issue is mental health. It`s a dodge. Hatred isn`t a
mental health issue. I can tell you as the guy along with Senator Dianne
Feinstein who got the assault weapons ban and the high-capacity magazines
banned in this country for 10 years, if elected President, we will do it
again. We will do it again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Turning our discussion now is Eugene Robinson, Associate Editor
and Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for The Washington Post. He`s an MSNBC
Political Analyst; Also with us Antonio Villaraigosa, former Mayor of Los
Angeles and the former Speaker of the California Assembly.
And Mr. Mayor, Mr. Speaker I want to begin with you and give you a wide
open field to react to what you`ve heard from Joe Biden and the events of
ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA, FORMER MAYOR OF LOS ANGELES: I thought what was
important when you mentioned this wasn`t a campaign speech, this was a
speech for the soul of the nation, a clarion call to two Americans that we
need to come together as one.
From my vantage point what`s missing in the current President is that he`s
been the Pied Piper for white nationalism. He`s been a man who has stoked
the embers, if you will, of this notion that if you come from Europe you`re
the right American, if you come from other countries you`re not.
And I think that kind of division, racial hatred that you`ve seen come from
the President is not just unacceptable, it`s brought us to the point where
we are today - a point where we`re turning one American against another.
O`DONNELL: Has anything changed in your view of Donald Trump this week or
is this something that you`ve been seeing for years now?
VILLARAIGOSA: No, I think Maria Hinojosa hit it, we`ve watched this for
some time. I actually go back to “The Central Park Five” when he called for
the death penalty for five young boys who have since been declared innocent
with the birther remarks.
When he came down the steps and announced his candidacy, and talked about
Mexicans as rapists and criminals, when he`s talked about the invasion of
immigrants from Latin America and Central America, this is a man who showed
his colors for a very long time.
O`DONNELL: Gene, the clip we just showed - that short bit about getting the
assault weapons ban through the Senate with Dianne Feinstein in the early
1990s that was the entirety of Joe Biden`s statements today as a candidate
referring to himself, in any way, as he candidates, said that if he`s
President they`ll do it again.
And so that`s my point about it not being a political speech and what we`re
going to hear from Cory Booker is the same thing. And it seems to me that -
the way these voices are being raised now - we`re watching people find
their voices not so much as campaigners, but as fundamental moralists
standing up against Donald Trump.
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. As spokesman for and
leaders of a crusade, a crusade for the soul of the nation. I mean, I was
trying to remember when I`ve heard Joe Biden give a better speech and I and
I actually - nothing really sprang to mind.
I thought it was a pretty good speech, just as a speech. And the split
screen today of a Biden giving a speech that sort of laid out and defended
the best American values that talked about American history in its subtlety
and its contradictions.
And sort of laid out where we are now, and what the President Trump is
doing to the country, in such a, I thought, really eloquent way. And the
contrast between that and the President, it`s somehow making a trip to
Dayton and El Paso to console ostensibly the victims of the massacres,
making it all about him and how he was being covered and how he was being
The contrast couldn`t have been more striking. It really couldn`t been. And
then the stakes of this election could not have been more vivid and more
O`DONNELL: And Gene because the President is so afraid of the way he would
be covered, just the way Vladimir Putin would have done it, he didn`t allow
any news media at all to actually see what he did in either Dayton or El
ROBINSON: Right. Because one can only imagine what that was like. I mean,
we only have the reports of the officials who were there - Mayor Whaley of
Dayton said that at the hospital there he was it was well received and he
and he said the right things to the victims in the snap.
But I`m sure that his handlers, the people who were setting up this trip
really didn`t know how that was going to go and didn`t know how those
interactions were going to work, because this is a man who seems incapable
of a feeling empathy the way normal people do.
I mean - and that`s - I hate for being an amateur psychologist and getting
inside of his head, but that just seems to be the case. He doesn`t - he
just doesn`t get empathy.
O`DONNELL: Gentlemen, please stay with us, we`re going to take a break.
When we come back we`re going to hear Senator Cory Booker speaking at
Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Today without ever
mentioning Donald Trump`s name, but everyone knew who he was talking about.
Cory Booker`s speech, that`s next.
O`DONNELL: Today Senator Cory Booker went to Charleston, South Carolina and
spoke at Mother Emanuel Church where a white supremacist mass murderer
killed nine members of that church in 2015.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When evil showed itself in
this church basement four years ago, this church again showed that the
faith, you showed what faith in actions look like.
And when nine souls were taken; Reverend Clementa Pinckney, Reverend
Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, the
Reverend. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Reverend Daniel
Simmons Sr. and Myra Thompson - this community, this church showed us how
not to allow hate when it comes into our lives to take root in our souls.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Like Joe Biden today, Cory Booker told the hard truths of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOOKER: We need to acknowledge that the very founding of our country was an
act of profound contradiction. Those who sought the most profound and
glorious freedom in so many ways for so many people, also perpetuated the
very opposite. Bigotry was written into our founding documents.
Native Americans in our Declaration of Independence referred to as savages.
In our constitution black people are fractions of human beings. White
supremacy has always been a problem in our American story. We have seen it
from the Civil War to the civil rights movement.
From the Red Summer of a hundred years ago to Charlottesville, from the
lynching of people of Mexican descent in Porvenir Texas a 101 years ago to
the massacre targeting Latinx people in El Paso Texas this past Saturday.
To say this is to speak the truth plainly, because without the truth there
can be no reconciliation. James Baldwin wrote in “The Fire Next Time” that
“It is the innocence which constitutes the crime.” Silence in the face of
these and justices is a choice, to be passive is to be complicit, to ignore
hate is to empower it–
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: After this break we`ll be joined once again by Eugene Robinson
and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
O`DONNELL: We`re back with Eugene Robinson and former Los Angeles Mayor
Antonio Villaraigosa. Gene, I`m struck by the way Cory Booker talked about
American history and the way Joe Biden talked about American history. The
phrase we didn`t hear in either one of these speeches today is, “We are
better than this”.
We`ve been hearing that from a lot of people in politics for a long time.
It seems like there`s an awareness - no, no, no we are not all better than
this. There`s a very substantial number of us who are not better than this.
ROBINSON: Right. They were both saying we are complicated and we have
always been complicated. We have - from the nation`s founding there was
this push and pull between the ideals of our founding documents and the
reality of the way those ideals were implemented and/or distorted and/or
ignored and that has happened from the founding to the present day.
Our history has been a constant struggle to bring the nation more in line
with its with - with the stirring words that the founders gave us, and
we`ve made a lot of progress. But we were never perfect and we certainly
aren`t perfect now.
O`DONNELL: What was striking was each one of them had about a sentence and
a half about their own political position. Cory Booker talked about his
idea very sketchily, about the, not only registering guns, but forcing
insurance of the policies very much like automobiles - the way do
automobiles, but it flew by for both him.
They went to much larger points of view. They were not talking about this
at the legislative level. They were talking about this at the societal
VILLARAIGOSA: They spoke to America`s heart, not her head. They used
historical allegory to chronicle the fact that this country, although, we
talked about all men being created equal, they didn`t mean women, they
didn`t mean blacks or Native Americans and they certainly didn`t mean
people that weren`t owners of property.
And over the time what we`ve seen is progress, and I think Gene just spoke
to that. What`s scary about this current administration, this President, he
seems to be taking us back to another century.
We have never heard the President of the United States - we`ve heard them
with their dog whistles. But I - as I said earlier, he is the Pied Piper of
white nationalism. He is clear and very - he`s been very frank and clear
about invasions, about Muslims, about Mexicans, immigrants, dividing us on
the head of a pin, instead of uniting us, which is what you want the
Commander in Chief to be the Uniter in Chief.
O`DONNELL: This is what Cory Booker said today about the question of, is
someone or is Donald Trump a racist, without ever mentioning Donald Trump`s
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOOKER: We can`t let these conversations devolve into the impotent
simplicity of who is or isn`t a racist, because of the answer to the
question, do racism and white supremacy exist, is yes. Then the real
question isn`t who is or isn`t a racist, but who is and isn`t doing
something about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Gene Robinson your reaction to that.
ROBINSON: I thought that was an interesting formulation. You contrast that
with the way Beto O`Rourke has been speaking, for example, when asked is
Donald Trump a racist, and he`s been saying, “Obviously, he is”.
It`s - you take O`Rourke and Biden and Booker, just these three, these are
Presidential candidates. We`ve heard the speeches today and we`ve O`Rourke
over the past few days.
And when have you heard Presidential candidates take that much time, that
much airtime, that much focus on them, not to say vote for me and not for
him or her. Not to make their case, but to talk about those - these bigger
it`s - I think that is a fascinating moment and I wonder if this is going
to affect the tone of the campaign going forward if we`re going to hear
more Democrats sort of focused on the stakes of this election, rather than
the details of their health care plans.
O`DONNELL: Mr. Mayor you were nodding along with Cory Booker when he was
saying, the real question isn`t who - or who is or isn`t a racist, but who
is and isn`t doing something about it.
O`DONNELL: Hit it right on the head. I mean, what is he doing about it? He
certainly spoke about it just - and very stiffed, by the way, and not with
the same kind of vigor that did at his rallies - right - talking about
What are they doing about the FBI task force? There`s been a lot of talk
about the fact that we know that most of the violence that`s occurred, the
mass violence has occurred over the last couple of years has been right-
wing, white nationalist. What are our law enforcement doing to focus on
domestic terrorism? Are they putting the resources in it?
They tend to say - describe these issues as hate crimes, instead of
domestic terrorism, which is what it is. And that means dedicating the
resources to it.
O`DONNELL: Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, thank you for
joining us. Eugene Robinson, thank you for joining us once again, really
And when we come back, we will go back to El Paso for tonight`s last word.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIA HINOJOSA, ANCHOR AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, LATINO USA: People here,
Richard, surprisingly also are talking about politics, and that`s again,
something that a lot of people don`t do a lot here. But people are saying,
“Oh, no, no, I`m going to vote. I`m going to - you know, you`re hearing
that, and that is - it`s going to be a lasting impact along with the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining our discussion now, J.J. Martinez, he`s a member of the
El Paso Young Democrats who signed an open letter to Donald Trump insisting
that the President should not visit El Paso.
J.J. you joined us last night talking about that letter. What was your
reaction to the President`s visit today?
J.J. MARTINEZ, EL PASO DEMOCRATIC PARTY COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Thank You,
Lawrence. I`m going to be honest with you. I wasn`t so much concerned about
the President`s visit, as I was spending time in the community that has
been so resilient in the face of this trauma, in the face of this tragic
I went to the “El Paso Strong” community gathering that happened in
Washington Park. And you saw people from all walks of life who were there
to celebrate El Paso, to remember these victims. And you saw that from our
Congresswoman and from the elected officials who were there. They weren`t
so much there to talk about the President. They were there to talk about
the community that we love. And that`s what I was focused on today.
O`DONNELL: J.J. in El Paso - you live in El Paso, how is the - how does the
feeling change from day to day there? What are you feeling tonight?
MARTINEZ: Well, Lawrence, I`m thinking right now about the victims and the
families who have not yet had a chance to bury their loved ones, but I`m
thinking about the resilience of El Paso, the strength El Paso has shown.
That within minutes, within hours, we were lined up around the block to
donate blood, not asking if they were democrats or republicans who would
get the blood, but giving it out; people handing out food and water to the
people in line to the First Responders who responded immediately.
And that kind of love, Lawrence, that El Paso was showing to one another
across walls, across fences, across borders, that`s the type of love that
El Paso is going to continue to show. But I`ll be honest with you,
Lawrence, El Pasoans are angry and we want a change.
And I`m hoping that every single person who is not yet registered to vote,
decides to register to vote, so that in 2020, we bring that much needed
change, regardless of party that you show your voice, that you use your
voice - excuse me, at the ballot box, so that you can bring that change.
Especially here in El Paso, we`re seeing Hispanics making sure they are
registering to vote.
O`DONNELL: J.J. Martinez, thank you very much for joining us again tonight.
I`m very sorry for what`s been happening and what has happened in El Paso.
I wish we could be meeting you in some other circumstance. But thank you
very much for your guidance this week about El Paso, really appreciate it.
MARTINEZ: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. “THE 11TH HOUR” with Brian Williams starts right
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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