Hundreds attend El Paso Strong rally today. TRANSCRIPT: 8/7/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.

Guests:
Richard Parker, Maria Hinojosa, Antonio Villaraigosa, J.J. Martinez
Transcript:

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. 

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

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,

Larry. 

 

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 -

 

(LAUGHTER)

 

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.

 

MADDOW:  Yes.

 

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

support. 

 

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

usual. 

 

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

tonight. 

 

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

here. 

 

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

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.  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. 

 

(CROSSTALK)

 

PARKER:  I think one difference between El Paso and Dayton as well – I`m

sorry.

 

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

that direction. 

 

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

Mississippi. 

 

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

them.

 

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. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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

Trump. 

 

(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

than human. 

 

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 –

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

(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. 

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

(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. 

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(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

the day.

 

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

talked.

 

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

apparent.

 

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

Paso.

 

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.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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

American history.

 

(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.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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

level.

 

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

name.

 

(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

issues?

 

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

Trump.

 

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

appreciated.

 

And when we come back, we will go back to El Paso for tonight`s last word.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(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

trauma.

 

(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

incident.

 

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

now.

 

 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY

BE UPDATED.

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