Beto O’Rourke returns to campaign trail. TRANSCRIPT: 8/15/19, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel.
And we actually have two presidential candidates tonight. We also have
Senator Amy Klobuchar.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Excellent.
O`DONNELL: And because I know you are all tucked in and sound asleep by
the end of my show, I want to tell you what happened here last night
because we had Michael Bennet on last night. And the question was, is John
Hickenlooper going to drop out of the race, and Michael Bennet from
Colorado knows Hickenlooper had a private conversation with Hickenlooper
about this that “The New York Times” reporting on.
And so, I`m trying to pull out of Senator Bennet what Hickenlooper is going
to do when we are handed the “A.P.” breaking story saying that John
Hickenlooper is dropping out of the race. And Senator Bennet is
desperately trying to protect that information if he already knew it.
So, wicked weird things have been happening when I have presidential
candidates on especially when it involves the question of pressure on a
presidential candidate to drop out of the race and run for United States
Senate. And that dynamic is present tonight in the show. So, you know
MADDOW: Anything can happen.
O`DONNELL: Tomorrow, I will tell you what happen.
MADDOW: Oh, I stay up – you would be surprised. I know I`m old and I get
sleepily but I can stay up for an hour.
O`DONNELL: All right. Well, this, you know –
MADDOW: Might be a reason to do it.
O`DONNELL: I think you`re going to want to know what Congressman O`Rourke
has to say.
MADDOW: I was going to have a glass of wine tonight but I will not just to
make sure I am –
O`DONNELL: Yes, pay attention, Rachel. OK.
MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
Well, as I said, we have two presidential candidates joining us tonight
after Fox News released the answer to this question asked in a Fox News
poll, do you think Donald Trump is drawing the country together or tearing
the country apart? Those are the words of the Fox News poll, and 59
percent say Donald Trump is tearing the country apart.
And today, Donald Trump did more to tear our country and our government
apart by urging Israel to ban the entry of two members of Congress to
Israel – freshman Democratic Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.
We`ll ask the presidential candidates, Senator Amy Klobuchar and former
Congressman Beto O`Rourke about that.
Our first guest tonight, Beto O`Rourke, restarted his presidential campaign
tonight in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, where he has been for the last
two weeks since El Paso suffered a mass murder attack that left 22 dead, 24
It was a deeply personal speech. Beto O`Rourke reminisced about passing
the spot where he was speaking today back when he was a high school kid on
his way to El Paso high every day. And you could hear the El Paso High
Band practicing in the background during this speech.
The only policy prescription Beto O`Rourke outlined in today`s speech was
how to reduce gun violence in America, how to stop mass murderers from
using the weapons of war to kill as many people as they possibly can. That
was the policy Beto O`Rourke concentrated on today because for him on that
issue, the policy and the personal are now inseparable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BETO O`ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Flying home from Las
Vegas, Nevada, when I got the news, young gentleman named Chris walks up to
me and says, I`m flying back to El Paso as well because I just learned that
my mother Rosemary has been shot of that Walmart, and I have no idea how
she`s doing, what her condition is, nothing, no news.
And I said if it`s any help, I, my wife Amy would love to join you. And he
said, that would be great, I could use the help right now.
We went over to UMC. When you walked into that room, Chris, and your
mother Rosemary who had been shot in the chest, both of her lungs
perforated, tubes coming out of her chest snaking through the hospital
sheet coming down onto the floor, a mask over her face, the biggest smile
I`ve ever seen produced by another human being to see you in that room.
And for your sisters to be there as well, and the strength and grace to
greet me a complete stranger in her life and to make sure I felt welcomed
in her intensive care unit hospital room.
To meet the nurses and the doctors and the front line staff that were going
to make sure that she was going to make it. And I wondered to myself,
where in the world did she get that strength and that courage?
Well, the next day at Del Sol Hospital, I found the answer. It was her
mother who was in her early 80s who was also shot in the stomach, and
though she was shot in the aftermath of that shooting, she tended to other
victims in the parking lot and inside of the store. Before she ever
thought about the wounds that she was walking with that ultimately forced
her to have to sit down and then lay down and be taken into a hospital
where again her life was saved, by extraordinary El Pasoans from this
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Today in that El Paso speech, Beto O`Rourke said that from now,
he would not be running using the standard campaign playbook.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O`ROURKE: Someone asked if I`d be heading back to Iowa to go to the Iowa
state fair, corn dogs and Ferris wheels, and I said, no, I can`t go back
for that. But I also cannot go back to that. The kind of challenges that
we face in this country at this moment of crisis require an urgency, unless
we want to reap the consequences of failing to meet them, consequences that
we lived and I hope learned from El Paso on August 3rd.
And so, to those places where Donald Trump has been terrorizing and
terrifying and demeaning our fellow Americans, that`s where you will find
me and this campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And tonight, we find Beto O`Rourke in Mississippi, which is not
one of the important early primary states for Democratic candidates.
O`DONNELL: Joining us now is former Texas congressman and Democratic
presidential candidate, Beto O`Rourke.
Thank you very much for joining us tonight, Congressman O`Rourke. Really
O`ROURKE: Thanks for having me on.
O`DONNELL: And what finds you in Mississippi tonight?
O`ROURKE: I`m going to be visiting tomorrow with those families who were
the subject of that heartless raid that we learned about last week.
More than 600 human beings working some of the toughest jobs in America,
come into this country for the privilege of ensuring that we can feed
ourselves or clothe ourselves or take care of ourselves, some who have been
here for decades – rounded up, separated from their kids on the first day
of school in many cases, without any provision for the welfare of those
kids, some of whom ended up sleeping in a gym. Thank God the owner of that
gym opened the doors to them.
Taking care of communities – taking care of bi-communities like Canton
just outside of Jackson where we are right now. I want to be with them.
And at a moment when the president is terrorizing them and terrifying those
kids, I want to lift them up, and make sure that we all hear their stories
and are compelled to do the right thing, to legalize their presence here in
the United States of America, and ensure that they and especially their
kids do not have to live in this country with fear.
O`DONNELL: If you`re on the debate stage with Donald Trump, what policy
prescriptions would you offer in this category in immigration and something
that would prevent these kinds of raids that we`ve seen?
O`ROURKE: I`d offer El Paso, Texas. It is one of if not the safest cities
in the United States of America. And I`d tell Donald Trump and I`d tell
everyone who`s watching that we are safe not despite but because we are a
city of immigrants.
Those who chose us and left behind their family, their language, their
communities, their country to do better for themselves and their kids have
also done better for us. Their presence makes us stronger and more
successful and safer than we would have been otherwise.
We don`t need walls. We don`t need kids in cages. We don`t need these ICE
raids and internal round ups and deportations.
We treat people with the dignity and respect they deserve as human beings.
And we make this country safer and more secure as a result. So, we know
the path. And we have the example in El Paso, and we just need to make
sure that we share that everywhere in this country.
O`DONNELL: Congressman O`Rourke, I actually tweeted a photograph of one of
the little girls who was in school when her father was taken away from the
workplace, had no idea whether she was going to see him again. She was
just hunched up in tears.
And I directed it to Trump voters, and I asked them what do you see, what
do you feel when you look at this photograph? And I will have to leave out
a lot of the answers because they were vile and vicious and horrible and
beyond description and ugly. But the one that survives for television
presentation which was the most frequent one was we blame the parents. We
Trump voters blame the parents who brought that child to this country, put
that child in that situation.
What would you say to those voters?
O`ROURKE: You know what, I was just talking to somebody here in Jackson
and they were telling me about going to church in a conservative community,
yes, most of the congregation are Republicans, and the pastor there pointed
out what you just did, and said, this is not right, this cannot be us, this
is not America. And instead of hating on these people or judging those
parents or leaving these kids to their own devices, defenseless in the
wealthiest, the most powerful country on the face of the planet, what if we
came together and provided for these kids?
And this person told me almost to a person, that congregation erupted in
applause and gave of themselves and of their wealth to make sure that those
kids and those families are OK.
I believe in America. I believe in Republicans and Democrats and
independents alike. Yes, there are some hateful people in this country,
and yes, we`ve seen a rise in white supremacy, in white nationalism and
white nationalist terrorism brought home to El Paso, Texas, on August 3rd.
But I`m confident if we tell that full story of that child and their
parents, we`re going to call on the hearts of our fellow Americans, we`re
going to galvanize the conscience of a country that needs to act.
And if we don`t, we`re going to see more attacks like those in El Paso,
more raids like we saw just outside of Jackson, Mississippi. We will lose
the genius of America, this foundational idea that we are all created equal
and that the people of the planet can find a home here in the United States
of America and make us better and make us great for the fact that they
chose us and are here.
I said today in this speech, if we do not wake up to this challenge, to
this threat, then we as Americans, as this idea of America will die in our
sleep. And we cannot allow that to happen.
O`DONNELL: Congressman, I want to ask you about the policy prescription
you offered today on the weapons of mass murder in America, the assault
rifles that we`ve seen used in these mass murders. You`ve gone beyond now
an assault weapons ban as a matter of sales, which is really the only way
it`s been talked about in the past is banning the sale. You`re now talking
about getting them off the streets entirely.
O`ROURKE: That`s right. These weapons of war which were designed to kill
people as effectively, as efficiently in as great a number as possible,
listening to those surgeons, those trauma surgeons in El Paso who also work
at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, and they told me the wounds that
they were treating in El Paso are much like the wounds they treated in
Afghanistan, in Iraq.
They have no place in our communities and in our country, and only must we
stop selling them in our communities and keep them on the battlefield, I
think it`s important now – and I cannot escape the conclusion and reality
and the logic and the fact that the only way that we`re going to make us
safer, the only way that we`re going to live without terror of these school
shootings or these public marketplace shootings or these concerts or
synagogues or churches where shootings are taking place, are to take these
guns off the street, and to pay people who own those AK-47s and those AR-
15s which you do not need to hunt, which you do not need to protect
yourself and your family in your home, which are only needed to kill an
enemy soldier on the battlefield.
I know that is politically difficult conclusion to come to and it`s why
more people have not, it`s why I have not frankly until this point. But if
I really care about the future of this country, if I really want to learn
what happened in El Paso on August 3rd, then we cannot escape this
conclusion and action that must follow.
O`DONNELL: There`s so much more I want to ask you about. Can you possibly
stay with us over a break? Because I want to ask you about the president
urging Israel to ban two members of Congress today, which Israel then did.
And I also want to ask you about the portion of your speech today where you
talk about people who are suggesting that you stay in Texas and run for
If we can just squeeze in a break, I`d love to do those questions when we
O`ROURKE: Happy to.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O`ROURKE: Monday, Amy and I took Ulysses and Molly and Henry to school.
This morning, we rushed them out the door. Jeanine (ph) gave them a ride
to Mosida (ph) and to Wiggs. And I`ve got to tell you there`s some part of
me and there`s a big part of me that wants to stay here and be with my
family and be with my community.
I love El Paso. There have even been some who suggested that I stay in
Texas and run for Senate. But that would not be good enough for this
community. That would not be good enough for El Paso. That would not be
good enough for this country.
We must take the fight directly to the source of this problem. That person
who has caused this pain and placed this country in this moment of peril,
and that is Donald Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Back with us, Democratic presidential candidate Beto O`Rourke.
I want to ask you about that moment in the speech. Obviously, you`ve
thought about it. You heard all the talk about it. Everyone telling you
the way they think you should run your political life and what your
campaign choices should be.
You know the question is going to keep coming up, this question of what
about dropping out of this presidential race and taking up the race for the
Senate, especially with John Hickenlooper dropping out and leaning toward
it seems a race in Colorado. He would be – people say – sure to win
that. Just need two more Democrats in the Senate if John Hickenlooper can
win a seat.
What`s your – what`s your full explanation to voters in Texas and the
country about that?
O`ROURKE: I`m running for president and I`m taking this fight directly to
Donald Trump in large part because my community has borne the brunt of the
consequences of Donald Trump. His open racism, his invitation to violence,
the white terrorism that he`s inspired that came to my community, drove 600
miles to my community and killed 22 of our fellow El Pasoans and Juarezans
(ph), more murders than we see an entire year in under one hour, inspired
in large part by this president.
So, what he`s doing to America, what he`s doing to my community, the
response of that is to take the fight directly to him and to defeat him and
to be the leader that this country needs and does not have right now –
someone who`s not going to inflame but someone who`s going to heal, someone
who`s not going to drive us apart, someone who`s going to bring us
together, someone who operates not with fear but inspires hope and believes
in our fellow Americans. That`s the kind of leader that El Paso has taught
me to be.
And when it comes to the Texas Senate race, there are seven extraordinary
candidates running right now, any one of whom would be far better than John
Cornyn and everyone of whom stands every chance of being able to beat him
in 2020. I`m not worried about Texas and I`m grateful to those who are
running for Senate. But I`m running to be president of this country.
O`DONNELL: Do you have December 9th marked in your calendar? December 9th
I believe is the last day you can file in the Senate Democratic primary in
Texas. And I`m afraid, Congressman, you might be getting this question
right up until December 9th.
O`ROURKE: Yes. No, and let me make your show the place where I tell you
and I tell the country, I will not in any scenario rain for the United
States Senate. I`m running for president, I`m running for this country.
I`m taking this fight directly to Donald Trump and that is what I`m
exclusively focused on doing right now.
O`DONNELL: Well, let`s stay with this because you`ve just created a
breaking news moment here, because I just want to expand on what you said
about the other candidates who are running, because you are now definitely,
absolutely out of the Senate race in Texas, according to what you`re
telling us tonight.
O`ROURKE: That`s correct. Absolutely, and I really mean this, there is an
extraordinary field – a field that looks like Texas in the diversity of
experience and biography and background and expertise and skills that
they`ll bring to bear not just in the campaign but the person who wins the
nomination who then defeats John Cornyn will be able to do for our state
and for this country in the United States Senate. So, I feel very
confident, very optimistic about our prospects as a state and as a party,
and again, grateful to those who have entered the arena and are running to
O`DONNELL: Did your Senate campaign – do you believe your Senate campaign
has, in effect, paved the way for the next Democratic Senate campaign in
Texas and that there`s a lot to learn from the way you campaigned in Texas
for the next Democratic nominee for the Senate seat in Texas?
O`ROURKE: Absolutely. You know, I got to lead an extraordinary effort,
the largest grassroots campaign that we`ve ever seen in Texas. We went to
every one of those 254 counties, no importa how red or how blue.
We went to young people who were told not to spend time with, because we`re
told they didn`t vote. And I said, look, I wouldn`t vote either if no one
ever showed up for me and didn`t listen to what I had to say and did
include me in the story of this country. And at the end of the day, that
we didn`t defeat Cruz, we came awful close, won more votes than any
Democrat has in the history of the state and importantly, Lawrence, won
independence for the first time in decades and won nearly half a million
Republicans who voted for Greg Abbott, Republican for governor, and me on
the same ballot, didn`t have to trim our sails, showed up with the courage
of convictions, but also showed up to listen, to learn, to bring our fellow
In a state that had ranked 50th in voter turnout showed up, stood up and
was counted, and is ready for the 2020 Senate race – and I think this is
really important – is ready with those 38 Electoral College votes. That`s
how you defeat Donald Trump, that`s how you forever change the political
landscape in the United States of America. That`s how you get a very
ambitious agenda for this country accomplished.
O`DONNELL: Well, you just made at least seven Democrats in Texas very
happy tonight, the Democratic candidates who are already running for the
Senate in Texas.
Let me go onto one more thing which is that the president today tweeting
that two Democratic members of the House of Representatives should not be
able to enter Israel, and then Benjamin Netanyahu follows the president`s
tweet and doesn`t allow them to enter Israel. Imagine yourself on the
debate stage with the president on the issue of the president of the United
States trying to ban and successfully in effect banning two members of
Congress from entering Israel.
O`ROURKE: You know, his bizarre and disastrous foreign policy has
diminished our standing and I would argue has made us less safe around the
world. This really important alliance that we have with the state of
Israel which has always been predicated on a bipartisan connection between
the United States and Israel, he is badly undermining and damaging it at
It`s going to be hard to get that back, but I know that we can. But when
you add to that, you know, his falling in love with Kim Jong-un in North
Korea, or his willingness to take Vladimir Putin`s word for what he did
when he invaded this country, and then to say that he would welcome foreign
participation again, for him to turn away the vulnerable and defenseless at
our border, kids who are desperate for the help, and to lose the lives of
seven children in our custody, in our care – this president has diminished
the stature of the United States of America. He`s weakened us around the
We need to respond to that by repairing our relationships, ensuring that
they are bipartisan and strengthening our standing everywhere around the
globe by delivering for the people of America first, but in conjunction
with our partners and our allies and our friends, the very people that
Donald Trump has turned his back on.
O`DONNELL: Former congressman, Texas congressman and Democratic
presidential candidate, Beto O`Rourke, thank you very much for joining us
tonight. We really appreciate it.
And as I`ve told all the other candidates, the candidates are always
welcome on this program. Whenever you can do it, we will make room for
And thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.
O`ROURKE: Very grateful. Thank you.
O`DONNELL: And our second presidential candidate of the night, Democratic
Senator Amy Klobuchar will be joining us.
On a day when the president of the United States did something once again
that no president has ever done before. He urged a foreign country, in
this case, Israel, to ban two members of Congress from entering their
country. And then Benjamin Netanyahu followed Donald Trump`s order and
banned two members of Congress. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: Today Donald Trump tweeted that two members of Congress hate
Israel and all Jewish people and there is nothing that can be said or done
to change their minds. And that poisonous tweet changed Israeli government
That tweet made Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu officially bar
those two members of Congress Freshman Democratic Congresswomen Ilhan Omar
and Rashida Tlaib. And the least noted piece of this incident is that
Donald Trump said these two Congresswomen hate all Jewish people.
If I said Donald Trump hates all black people there would be outrage to
that statement. I would be unanimously condemned by every Republican member
of the House and Senate, and not one of them - not one of them has objected
to Donald Trump saying that two members of Congress hate all Jewish people.
Some Republicans have said it was a mistake for Benjamin Netanyahu to
follow orders from Donald Trump and to ban the Congresswomen. But none of
the Republicans have objected to what the President said about these two
members of Congress.
Try saying that publicly about Kevin McCarthy the Leader of the Republicans
in the House of Representatives that he hates all Jewish people. Try saying
that. See what happens to you if you say that about any Republican member
of the House or anything like that about any Republican member of the
Anyone saying that would be condemned by Republicans, anyone not named
Donald Trump. This shows you how far we have defined deviancy down for
Donald Trump. Donald Trump is by far the most deviant person in the history
of elected office in the United States.
It is impossible to think of something more deviant than a President
telling the lie that two members of Congress hate all Jewish people and
telling that lie so he could get them banned from entering Israel.
Like everyone else we are going to discuss all of the other issues involved
in this unprecedented poisonous episode, but I want to put a marker on
those words in the Trump tweet because the Republicans and the Republican
news media players who object wildly to any version of the use of the word
racist applied to anything Donald Trump says or does have absolutely no
problem with Donald Trump saying that two Congresswomen hate all Jewish
Those two Congresswomen each have Jewish constituents who voted for them.
They each have Jewish friends. They each have Jewish friends working with
them in the House of Representatives every day. Some members of the House
of Representatives said that what Israel did today was egregious and what
Israel did today was a shame.
And Donald Trump did not say that those members of Congress who said what
Israel did today were egregious, he did not say that those members of
Congress hate all Jewish people. Because the members of Congress who said
that are Jewish, and they have been supporters of Israel much longer than
Donald Trump has even thought about this.
They have been Israel`s strongest allies in Congress. The Chairman of the
House Judiciary Committee, New York City Congressman Jerry Nadler said it
is utterly egregious for the Israeli government to deny entry to two
sitting members of the United States Congress.
The Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee New York City
Congressman Eliot Engel said it`s a mistake for the Israeli government to
bar entry of member of Congress into Israel. If my two colleagues have seen
what they`ve seen over the years I believe they would have come away with
valuable new perspectives.
Now that they won`t have that opportunity it`s a real shame. Joining our
discussion now Jennifer Rubin Opinion Writer at “The Washington Post”,
Jonathan Alter Columnist for “The Daily Beast” both are MSNBC Contributors.
And Jennifer, I want to start with your reaction to what we saw today,
something we have never seen before.
JENNIFER RUBIN, THE WASHINGTON POST OPINION WRITER: It was horrendous. It
was horrendous from many perspectives. It was horrendous that the President
of the United States was telling any foreign government, ally or foe not to
admit members of the United States Congress.
It`s apparent that Benjamin Netanyahu is putting his own re-election hopes
which dependent upon him carrying favor with the far right in Israel above
the U.S.-Israel relationship. And no one who loves Israel, who`s a friend
to Israel, would ever do this.
And the reason is the survival of the U.S.-Israel relationship depends upon
it being bipartisan, and that is why APAC came out and to the exception of
what the President said, if you have crossed the line with APAC I think
it`s time to sit down and rethink what you are doing.
This is damaging to the United States, it`s damaging to Israel, damaging to
United States Congress. But mostly it`s just damaging to Donald Trump
because he doesn`t give a darn about Israel. This is means of him puffing
up his evangelical base who goes wild over this stuff.
He`s not doing it for American Jews. American Jews hate this. American Jews
overwhelmingly dislike Donald Trump will never vote for Donald Trump. This
is about him, his ego, the applause of his right wing base, and in the
process he defiles the American Presidency and he harms the U.S.-Israel
O`DONNELL: Nancy Pelosi put out a statement today showing that this was a
reversal of Israeli policy based entirely on the Donald Trump tweet. Her
statement said last month Israeli Ambassador Dermer stated that out of
respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and
America we would not deny entry to any member of Congress into Israel.
That`s what he said then. This is sad reversal and is deeply disappointing
said speaker Pelosi. Jonathan Alter, your reaction.
JONATHAN ALTER, THE DAILY BEAST COLUMNIST: Well, it`s interesting, Lawrence
that Donald Trump also tweeted that it would, “Show great weakness for
Netanyahu to let them in”. What really shows great weakness is not letting
them in. And this quote from Trump really goes to the heart of why he is
such an authoritarian menace.
Democratic societies tolerate non-violent dissent, freedom of speech.
Everything about Israel`s future depends on it continuing to be a
democracy. When it doesn`t act like a democracy, when it feels like it`s
afraid of dissent, which is the way tyrants act, then it erodes its
standing as a democracy, and that is very, very dangerous for the future of
Once Israel is no longer perceived as the only democracy in the middle-
east, it loses whatever is left of its international support and the actual
future of the state of Israel is in jeopardy. So any American Jew, and
Jennifer and I are both Jewish, any American Jew has to understand if they
love Israel they must to everything they can to urge their friends in
Israel to vote against Netanyahu in September and under no circumstances
support Donald Trump. He might have moved the embassy, but this is a dagger
pointed at the heart of Israel`s future.
O`DONNELL: Jennifer, as Congressman Engel Eliot, Engel`s point about what
has been lost by losing this visit I think is very important. His point was
that the best perspective from which to view Israel and Israeli issues is
from inside Israel to be in the country, to experience it. And every
Israeli government has always understood that.
In fact, pretty much every government in the world has understood that.
Even in our tensest moments with China, they`ve always wanted
representatives, the American government, Members of Congress to come so
that China could make its case in whatever way it wanted to. And they
wanted their opponents to come so that they could try to make their case
and show them their perspective on things. Israel has always actually been
very good about this until today.
RUBIN: That`s right. This is why Israel encourages every member of Congress
to come. It encourages the Chiefs of Staff of Congress to come. It pays for
all sorts of people to come to Israel, specifically for this reason.
So they will see first of all that Israel is a normal country and that
people are raising families, people are going to work. There`s a very
functional economy, and that will appreciate their peril, their security
situation. It is ridiculous to say I`m not going to have them.
And just to make your point even further I was told by a very reliable
source that one of the main objections was they didn`t like the itinerary.
This is Israelis, they said it was too one-sided boss they were making
multiple stops in the west bank. But at the same time the Israeli
government was discouraging Israeli groups from meeting with these people.
What could be more counter-productive and more stupid than that, I don`t
O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Jonathan.
ALTER: I was just going to say on your basic point about how you have
Congressional delegations to China and other countries, what is really
worrisome globally is that a lot of these countries will now no longer let
members of Congress in.
I mean when the Soviet Union was around we had very, very anti-soviet
members of Congress who would go to the Soviet Union, they would talk to
dissidents, they would come back, they would give a report to the American
people about what they found.
Why would be close society anywhere in the world now agree to let members
of Congress in? This is a lot of what they do is go on these Congressional
delegations. So this is terrible precedent.
O`DONNELL: Jonathan Alter, Jennifer Rubin, thank you very much for joining
us on this important story tonight. Appreciate it.
ALTER: Thanks Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: And when we come back Presidential Candidate Senator Amy
Klobuchar will join us. We`ll get her reaction to Donald Trump convincing
Israel to ban two members of Congress and other issues in the campaign.
O`DONNELL: Today Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Amy Klobuchar
tweeted this is not what great democracies do. Vociferous disagreement on
issues - yes denying Congressional members entry, no. As for the
President`s message that allowing the Congresswomen to visit Israel would
be a “sign of weakness?”
Joining our discussion now from Little Rock, Arkansas, is Senator Amy
Klobuchar from the great state of Minnesota and a Member of the Senate
Judiciary Committee. She`s a 2020 Presidential candidate.
Senator Klobuchar, I`d like to hear more of your reaction to this thing
we`ve never seen in our history before, the President urging a foreign
country this case Israel to ban two member of Congress from entering and
Israel banned them.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I could not believe this
today. Just when you suspend belief and you think things can`t get worse,
this happened. And that is because I have always seen Israel as our beacon
of democracy in the Mideast. And like your previous guest, I think that is
so important for those of us that support Israel.
And I cannot believe this happened. I don`t agree with everything these two
Congresswomen have said, and I have made that very clear as have others.
But it is a much bigger step to suddenly say you are not going to allow
these elected members of Congress to visit your country.
And the fact that the Prime Minister did it immediately after our President
sent out his hateful tweet and then just reacted, I don`t see this as a
sign of strength on either of their part. And as far as President Trump,
you know, I still remember when John McCain was banned by Vladimir Putin to
go to Russia. That happened. Or Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, that
And so why he would encourage an ally, a friend in Israel to do the same is
just beyond belief. And as I said earlier this afternoon, it is not a sign
of strength. Exporting intolerance that is a sign of weakness and our
country is so much better than that. Democracy thrives on a vigorous
discussion of the issues, and you can have big disagreement but you don`t
ban people from going to another nation.
O`DONNELL: I want to get to a Presidential campaign issue that has been low
volume up to now, but as the global economy starts to stagger including
because reasons beyond just the Trump tariffs but very much including the
I want to listen to something President Trump said today about the Trump
tariffs. I don`t normally show video of Donald Trump on this program
because it`s such a waste of time. I`m doing it now.
KLOBUCHAR: Special treat, because I`m on, thank you.
O`DONNELL: Well, I`m doing it just for you as a Presidential debate
rehearsal because there will come a time when one of you Democrats is on
the stage with this person listening to these things in the Presidential
So let`s start with what President Trump said–
KLOBUCHAR: I look forward too.
O`DONNELL: –and hear your response to that. We`ll begin with what the
President said about tariffs today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The tariffs, we`ve taken
in close to $60 billion in tariff money. And the consumer has not paid for
it. Now, at some point they may have to pay something, but they understand
that. And who really understands that is our great farmer. The farmers of
this country really understand–
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Senator Klobuchar, your 60-second response. Actually, take as
many seconds as you want.
KLOBUCHAR: Thank you. I guess he has not talked to the farmers that I have
spoken with in my own state and in Iowa and here in Arkansas where they
have a lot of soybean farmers. What`s happened is he is basically
destroying their way of life.
Yes, there is some money that comes over from the Department of Agriculture
but as one farmer told me when he closed the door sobbing, he said, look,
I`ll take the hand out but it`s not what I want. This farm has been in my
family for generations and I want to give it to my kids.
And what he has done, instead of going back to the negotiating table, he
has been treating those farmers and a lot of workers in the country like
poker chips at one of his bankrupt casinos. I was thinking about this when
I was at the Clinton library today in Little Rock, and you remember when
James Carville said, said it`s the economy stupid, remember back then?
Well, what this President is doing is doing stupid things to our economy,
an economy that he inherited where workers and businesses had gotten us out
of that rut and put us in a stronger place. And instead of dealing with
issues facing us like work force and immigration reform and doing something
when it comes to the debt, what is he doing? He`s making it harder and
harder and harder.
And so, no, that is not what I`m hearing from the farmers. I know a bunch
of them voted for him, but I know that they`re stepping back and saying has
this been better for me and how is this working for our rural communities?
And that`s why I think it`s important that you have a leader of a ticket
that is willing to go like I have today to places not just where it`s
comfortable but where it`s uncomfortable to make sure that we know that we
can win in red states. We can win in red states like we won the
Governorship of Kansas. Like, we turned over Wisconsin which was a purple
state. We can do this but only if we meet people where they are.
O`DONNELL: Senator Klobuchar, in order to allow you full sentences and a
little bit of time to breathe I`d like to squeeze in a break here so that
when we come back we`ll actually have more time to talk. And we`re going to
get to why you`re in Arkansas today which is not one of the early
Democratic primary states.
So we`ll be right back with more from Senator Klobuchar from Arkansas.
O`DONNELL: We`re back with more of our discussion with Senator Amy
Klobuchar, but first let`s listen to what the Mayor of Philadelphia had to
say today after Philadelphia police survived a gun battle in which six
police officers were wounded by a shooter who eventually surrendered.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM KENNY (D) MAYOR OF PHILADELPHIA: If the State and Federal Government
don`t want to stand up to the NRA and some other folks, let us police
ourselves. But they preempt us on all kinds of gun control legislation. Our
officers deserve to be protected and they don`t deserve to be shot at by a
guy for hours with an unlimited supply of weapons and unlimited supply of
bullets. So it`s disgusting and we`ve got to do something about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: We`re back with Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democratic Candidate for
President. And Senator, your reaction to what you just heard the Mayor say
about the Federal Government is getting in their way on gun control
measures and putting their police officers in Philadelphia and elsewhere in
KLOBUCHAR: He`s right. You heard Congressman O`Rourke just talk about the
extraordinary courage of the people in El Paso and you think about those
police officers in Dayton that got there in one minute, Lawrence. And yet
in 30 seconds nine people already killed. And you think of those police
officers in Philadelphia.
They`re putting themselves on the front line as well as ordinary civilians
and yet Washington doesn`t match that with its own courage. And I have seen
and one of the reasons I`m here today, I came because the Democratic Party
which is strong here and kicking in Arkansas and ready to take back some
seats, they invited me to come and speak, but I spent my day today with a
number of people who have come out on this issue including one legislator
in a red district and she won her seat against a Republican and ran in part
on Gun Safety.
There`s been a seat change going on in this country. The Democratic Party
Chairman, maybe you remember this in 2008, was gunned down in hid his
office. And one of this young women who was there said she`s still
suffering from just being there, she was there when he was gunned down
right there in that office. This is happening all over America.
And that`s why those bills and we talk about this last week - those bills
are on Mitch McConnell`s doorstep, background check bill, waiting period
bill to close that Charleston loophole, my bill to close the boyfriend
loophole to protect women from domestic abusers, and they just sit there.
So very shortly we are going to be back in Washington, and the Republicans
in the Senate have to show the same courage that we`ve seen across the
country from police officers, from ordinary citizens and from people in red
districts who are willing to stand up, to hunters who want to see the
And that`s why I`m taking this not just to the blue areas, but I think it`s
really important as I`ve done in all my campaigns and I`ll do as President,
to unite our country. We are one America and we can do good things but we
shouldn`t be dividing people, we should be bringing them together.
O`DONNELL: A new Fox News poll shows that 67 percent favor banning assault
rifles. 67 percent, why can`t 67 percent work their will in the United
KLOBUCHAR: Exactly. And you`ve seen the Republican Congressmen in Dayton
come out for a ban on military-style assault weapons as well as those high
capacity magazines. That`s where the American people are right now, and my
view is the reason because Donald Trump could have just made a call to
Mitch McConnell and we could have been back there the next day.
But I think trying to see if the American people their opinion will add, if
they`ll change their minds. Not this time. You know why? They know how
quickly those people were murdered. 30 seconds despite the best efforts of
That is going to be scorched in people`s minds. They`re not going to forget
that. So if they won`t let us vote on an assault weapon ban or magazine
limitations in addition to the bills that have already passed the House of
Representatives, then they`re going have to deal with the American people
in the election.
O`DONNELL: Senator Amy Klobuchar gets tonight`s LAST WORD. And Senator as
you know, we are here for the Presidential Candidates. Whatever you can
make it we will make this space for you. Thank you for joining us tonight.
KLOBUCHAR: Well, thank you Lawrence. It was just great to be on.
O`DONNELL: I appreciate it. That is tonight`s LAST WORD. “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