Pompeo scrutinized TRANSCRIPT: 5/20/20, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell

Guests:
Nancy Pelosi, Ben Rhodes, Dr. Margaret Hamburg, Congressman Max Rose
Transcript:

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST:  Hey, Rachel, day 89. I mean, what`s some

veteran`s benefits? Veteran`s benefits have changed people`s lives. It

couldn`t be more important.

 

Congressman Max Rose actually did deploy with the National Guard during

this pandemic service. He`s going to join us later in this hour because

he`s one of the people putting pressure on this administration and as you

just reported, it looks like the Trump administration is going to have to,

against their will, end up doing the right thing here.

 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Yes. Pressure – I mean, listen, when you can`t

defend what you`re doing and you`re not doing it for shock-and-awe effect,

when you actually can`t answer why you`re doing something that evil to

people that have done that much good, ultimately push back works and they

have to cave on something like this. I knew they would have to do it, but

we`ll see – we`ll see what happens. I`m glad you got Congressman Rose.

 

O`DONNELL:  Thank you, Rachel.

 

MADDOW:  Thanks, Lawrence.

 

O`DONNELL:  Well, if you`re wondering what Donald Trump looks like when he

knows he`s losing his reelection campaign, well, now you know. It`s what he

looked like this week because Donald Trump`s own polling told him what

today`s poll shows which is that Donald Trump is running 11 points behind

Joe Biden, 50-39, and there are more troubling details in the internals of

the poll that show much worse numbers for Donald Trump now than four years

ago. We`ll discuss that poll at the end of the hour with one of the masters

of presidential campaign analysis, Charlie Cook.

 

Tonight, we begin with the pandemic numbers. As of tonight, there are now

1,556,603 confirmed cases of coronavirus and as of tonight, this country

has suffered at least 93,740 deaths from coronavirus.

 

And the president does not have a plan. The president does not have a plan

to protect Americans from the coronavirus pandemic. He does not have a plan

at all but he does have a plan to protect himself from the coronavirus

pandemic. He requires everyone who works for him to be tested every day. He

requires anyone who is coming to see him to be tested before they`re

allowed to be in a room with him.

 

And the president says that he is taking an anti-malaria drug to protect

himself from the coronavirus and there is no reason to believe that the

president is actually taking that drug. He has a political motivation to

say he is taking the drug to defend against the accusations of Health and

Human Services whistleblower Dr. Rick Bright about the Trump

administration`s and the president`s reckless attempts to push supplies of

that drug from factories in Pakistan that have never been certified for

safety by the FDA.

 

And today, the president said he`s going to stop taking that drug in a

couple of days. That anti-malaria drug has no residual potency after you

stop taking it, so that means if the president has been taking an anti-

malaria pill and I stress, we will never know whether the president has

been taking that pill, but if the president has been taking that pill, he

says he`s going to stop taking that pill so the president`s new plan to

protect himself does not include that pill.

 

The president has no plan to protect you or any of your loved ones from the

coronavirus and the president has no plan to get Americans back to work

after the coronavirus is contained.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

PAUL REID, CBS REPORTER:  Mr. President, why haven`t you announced a plan

to get 36 million unemployed Americans back to work? You`re overseeing

historic economic despair. What`s the delay? What`s the plan?

 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I think – I think we`ve

announced a plan. We`re opening up our country. Just a rude person you are.

 

We`re opening up our country. We`re opening it up very fast. The plan is

that each state is opening and it`s opening up very effectively.

 

And when you see the numbers, I think even you will be impressed, which is

pretty hard to impress you. Yeah, go ahead, please.

 

REID:  But a lot of these jobs are not coming back – 

 

REPORTER:  Thank you, Mr. President. Canada confirmed that the border is

going to remain closed until June 21st.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  That was Paula Reid of CBS who was asking the president why he

hasn`t announced a plan to get 36 million unemployed Americans back to work

and as the president was verbally running away from Paula Reid in fear as

he does whenever a reporter and for some reason especially women reporters

press him on an important question, you heard Paula Reid saying, but a lot

of these jobs are not coming back. To which Donald Trump said, that`s

enough of you. And he turned to a man who he correctly bet was not going to

back up Paula Reid.

 

Just a rude person you are projected Donald Trump. Paula Reid is not a rude

person and Donald Trump is the rudest person in the history of federal

government work force and so, what we saw there was another classic Trump

case of what psychologists call projection, which Donald Trump projects his

own behavior and his own faults on to another person.

 

And in the process, Donald Trump revealed and confirmed Paula Reid`s point

that he does not have a plan to get any unemployed Americans back to work.

Donald Trump`s lashing out at Paula Reid might have been partially a

substitute for his desire to lash out at Nancy Pelosi after she referred to

him as morbidly obese this week and after her press conference today, when

Nancy Pelosi said this.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  You are asking me about

the appropriateness of the actions of this president of the United States,

so completely inappropriate in so many ways that it`s almost a given. It`s

like a child that comes in with mud on their pants or something. That`s the

way it is. They`re outside playing. That`s what it is.

 

He comes in with doggie doo on his shoes and everybody who works with him

has that on their shoes too for a very long time to come. So I don`t know,

I hear doctors talk to me about saying, you know, what`s the matter with

him? The things he says are so inappropriate for a president of the United

States. The comments he makes about women. Comments he makes about women,

so inappropriate.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

O`DONNELL:  And joining us now, the representative of California`s 12th

congressional district who is the 52nd speaker of the House of

Representatives and in that constitutionally established office, Nancy

Pelosi is second in the line of succession for the presidency.

 

Thank you very much for joining us, Speaker Pelosi.

 

And the reason I mention tonight the line of succession for the presidency

is that Mike Pence was in Florida today, very proudly, having a hamburger

with the governor of Florida wearing no mask, not taking the recommended

precautions. Donald Trump obviously doesn`t wear a mask. He`s going to go

to a Ford factory tomorrow where he surely will not be wearing a mask, not

be taking all the precautions.

 

And so, there is that an old saying that the vice president is a heart beat

away from the presidency but it seems tonight, you are two sneezes away

from the presidency with the fact that the president and vice president are

not taking the necessary precautions.

 

Are you concerned about that situation with the president and the vice

president, their lack of precautions?

 

PELOSI:  Well, I always pray for our president and vice president and their

families for their safety, for our country. But I also am concerned the

example that is not being set for the rest of the country and I`m concerned

about those lives because while the president and the vice president may

consider it not in their interest to wear a mask, they have doctors around

them all the time who can tend to their needs at any given moment.

 

But most of the American people who might follow their need do not have

that same opportunity. So my concern is about the American people and the

poor example the president and the vice president are setting.

 

O`DONNELL:  Let me ask you about your comments about the president today.

You referred to him, drew the comparison of a child with doggie doo on his

shoes. Yesterday, you were referring to him as morbidly obese.

 

Are you deliberately choosing words that you hope to be provocative to the

president?

 

PELOSI:  No, actually, I said yesterday when they asked me about his taking

whatever he`s taking, I said I wish he would not – he`s our president and

I would hope he would not take something that has not been deemed safe by

the scientists and especially somebody in his condition of age and weight

and I just quoted what I thought they had said about his condition.

 

I don`t worry about that. He`s commented on many other people`s weight many

times. I was just spontaneously, not intentionally giving him a dose of his

own medicine.

 

As far as doggie doo is concerned, I – I don`t think I said a child –

children, I try not to put in the same sentence with anybody else. I revere

them and dogs, too, as a matter of fact. But what I was saying is the mess

that they have is really something that is going to stick to their shoes

for a long time to come.

 

But rather than spending time on the president`s planned distractions by

talking about what he`s taking or isn`t taking, what he`s wearing or isn`t

wearing, I`d rather talk about putting that aside and talking about what we

have to do to go forward to open up our economy by having testing –

testing, tracing and treatment, by honoring our heroes, by supporting

state, local, tribal and territorial governments. That`s in the HEROES Act.

That`s why it`s called the HEROES Act, there are heroes and by injecting

funds into our – the pockets of the American people with what we have with

direct payments, unemployment insurance, et cetera because that`s what is

needed.

 

Those are the three pillars of the HEROES Act, and all three of them have

strains in previous bipartisan legislation that has been passed by the

Congress in recent weeks and months. So, it isn`t anything new. It is – it

is built on what we have worked together in a bipartisan way, except

bigger.

 

And now, in addition to that, I have four other things. I have OSHA which

we haven`t convinced them of doing. I have Post Office, which is essential,

over a billion packages of medicine went through the mail delivered to the

America`s families last year. Ninety percent of veterans get their medicine

through the mail.

 

We have voting. Voting at home, very important to the health and wellbeing

of the American people and we have food, at a time SNAP and food stamps and

the rest.

 

So, those are what I call the Seven Hills of Rome, the three original

pillars, the four issues I just mentioned that we are there to make sure

prevail when we go to the table for negotiation.

 

O`DONNELL:  I want to try to get through all of those if we can –

beginning with food security because you emphasized it strongly in your

comments earlier today. How is it that food security has become a

legislative challenge and it appears to be partisan when the modern version

of food stamps was an alliance of Republican Bob Dole and the most liberal

Senator George McGovern at the time? How could it be that the Democrats are

fighting for food security, and Republicans regarded as something that they

might or might not give you in some kind of legislative trade off?

 

PELOSI:  It`s hard to understand because as you know, being on the Senate

side of things, those two great champions both of whom are so wonderful, I

love them both, still love Senator Dole, one of my heroes and his wife, but

they – they are from the heartland of America, and they knew that what was

good for the American people in terms of the health and wellbeing of our

people and their preparedness for education and even fighting our wars

required them to have good food, and that it helped the farmers at the same

time.

 

How our Republican colleagues have decided that this is something they can

grant or with hold when we`re talking about people of faith?

 

When I was hungry, you fed me – the Gospel of Matthew. How can we ignore

such a thing especially when the American people at this time are so well

aware of food insecurity?

 

Our children not in school, not getting school lunches, breakfast. And some

– for some, those are the meals that they get any day. For our seniors,

Meals on Wheels, all of these kinds of things that are not necessarily SNAP

but part of the emergency food initiatives.

 

We have billions of dollars in the HEROES Act, some of it building on other

support in the past, some of it greatly additional in light of coronavirus.

But it`s really very hard to explain to anyone.

 

Moms have testified that their children under 12, by and large, at least

one in five goes to sleep hungry at night. That`s – that`s a figure that

challenges the conscience of America all the time, but the time of the

coronavirus, it`s even worse and even sadder that they just haven`t – they

just won`t support it.

 

But we believe, as Lincoln did, public sentiment is anything, you can

accomplish almost anything without practically nothing, and we think public

opinion will weigh in and that they will support ending food insecurity in

our country, especially at this difficult time.

 

O`DONNELL:  There are two issues that you mentioned that are linked –

support for the Post Office, which desperately needs support but also mail-

in voting. The president is tweeting today – kind of rage tweeting about

the possibility of mail-in voting. And as I`ve said before in this program,

the one thing that I share with the president is that we both vote by mail.

 

You are a representative from a state where all of the voters of California

are going to get ballots in the mail that they can use. What is it – what

is it that you`re legislation does to help allow mail in voting and what

does it also do at the same time to support the Post Office?

 

PELOSI:  Fine. Thank you for that.

 

First of all, we`re now calling it voting at home because that`s really

what it`s all about, enabling people to vote at home. And in the

legislation, we have additional funds, $3.6 billion which is what is

necessary for us to conduct an election, which follows some of our

encouragements that is that every voter would receive an absentee ballot

that there would be same day registration, that for those who need to vote

on election day whether it`s disabilities or concern about their ballot, et

cetera, that there would be safe opportunities for them to do so well in

advance of election day but in adequate locations that are safe.

 

This becomes a health issue. This becomes a health issue. As we saw in

Wisconsin, standing in those lines for that amount of time going to places

that are enclosed is dangerous to your health.

 

And again, vote by mail is more democratic, it gives people more options.

It removes obstacles and barriers to voting which is what we`ve wanted to

do, voting by – at home.

 

Essential to it is a lively, thriving postal system. It`s interesting to

note that what we have in the bill for the postal system is what has been

recommended by the bipartisan board of governors of the postal – U.S.

Postal Service, all of them appointed by President Trump. All of them and

they unanimously agree that we must have a $25 billion infusion of

appropriation for the Postal Service that we must have some loans that are

unrestricted in terms of conditions put on them.

 

They even ask for more we have in the bill and we`re going to save that for

another piece of legislation but right now, what we`re acting upon is the

recommendation of the bipartisan Trump appointed Postal Service and that

is, as I had mentioned, over 1 billion people last year, more like 1.2

billion people pack – not billion people, 1.2 billion packages of medicine

have been – have gone through the mail. Ninety percent of the medicine

needed by our veterans comes to them through the mail.

 

So this is a health issue in addition to a convenience issue for the

American people in terms of shelter in place and ordering whatever they

order through the mail as a convenience to them. So, this is one of our

hills of Rome that we will fight and win and it is about, again, that good

health of the American people, both receiving their medicines but also not

exposing themselves to injury.

 

I think that we should put a warning label on some of the things that our

colleagues are saying and some of the people who are saying them, dangerous

to your health.

 

O`DONNELL:  And, just as a final question, Madam Speaker, I want to go back

to your reference of doggie doo on the shoes – 

 

PELOSI:  Yes.

 

O`DONNELL:  – and you said that`s on the shoes of all the people who are

working with Donald Trump.

 

One of the people who seems to have something on his shoe is Mike Pompeo

having fired – request the firing of the inspector general of the state

department who appears to be investigating Mike Pompeo.

 

What is your reaction to what secretary of state said about this where he`s

refusing to comment on why he requested the firing of the inspector

general?

 

PELOSI:  Well, again, this is a pattern of the Trump administration.

They`re afraid of the truth. And any time an inspector general comes close

to the truth, that person loses his or her job.

 

As you know, this was well before your time and mine, but this was an

initiative following Watergate where there was a need to place in the

agencies of government an inspector general to make sure there was no

waste, fraud and abuse or violation of the law.

 

And so, when they fired these people, when they come close to looking at

behavior that might cause them some unease, they fire them and Secretary

Pompeo said they should have fired him a long time ago because he wasn`t

acting in the manner we wanted him to act. Did that mean turn a blind eye

to wrongdoing? What is it that they are afraid of?

 

We have to insist upon the truth, and not only the truth, but our

democratic principles (AUDIO GAP) and what they are doing is really in my

view scandalous and unfortunate, but not surprising, part of a pattern.

 

And again, the American people have to realize their interests are

protected by these inspectors general.

 

And again, I would say that if it were Democratic president or Republican

president, it doesn`t matter. The truth must prevail.

 

O`DONNELL:  Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, always an honor to have you

join us. Thank you very much.

 

PELOSI:  My pleasure. Thank you. Thank you so much.

 

O`DONNELL:  Coming up, as scandal upon scandal emerges from Mike Pompeo`s

attempt to fire the State Department inspector general, there is more

evidence that Mike Pompeo was already running for the 2024 Republican

presidential nomination. That`s next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL:  Once again today, Mike Pompeo refused to say why he requested

the firing of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick who was

conducting multiple investigations involving Secretary of State Mike

Pompeo. That included Mike Pompeo`s use of a federal employee, at least one

federal employee, for personal errands and Mike Pompeo`s approval of an

armed sale to Saudi Arabia.

 

But today, Mike Pompeo claimed he has no idea what investigations the

inspector general has been working on. Mike Pompeo knew about at least one

of those investigations because Mike Pompeo refused to be interviewed for

one of them and instead, submitted written answers about the arms sales to

Saudi Arabia. NBC News reports that Mike Pompeo held two dozen elite

dinners at the expense of taxpayers attended by influential Republican

leaders and business leaders who would be likely contributors to a Pompeo

presidential campaign in 2024.

 

Joining our discussion now is Ben Rhodes, former deputy national security

adviser to President Obama. He is an MSNBC political analyst.

 

Ben, the – we have a secretary of state recommending, requesting the

firing of the inspector general in his department who is investigating the

secretary of state and you have a president of the United States who is

trying to effectuate that firing, claiming he has no idea what it`s about.

 

BEN RHODES, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Yes, I mean, it`s truly

extraordinary, Lawrence, and the common thread as Speaker Pelosi alluded to

is they don`t like anybody looking into what they`re doing. They don`t like

Congress investigating and having oversight. They certainly don`t like

independent inspectors general looking what they`re doing.

 

There`s an irony on this, Lawrence, as well. Mike Pompeo was one of the

leaders in the Republican Party in Congress who spent literally years

investigating Hillary Clinton`s use of a private email server when she was

secretary of state. Now we know of multiple potential wrongdoing from Mike

Pompeo, the use of State Department resources for his personal, political

interest as well as perhaps flouting the laws and protocols of how arm

sales go forward and moving forward with significant transfers of weapons

to Saudi Arabia.

 

So, there is a lot the American people deserve to know and Trump and Pompeo

are doing to prevent them from knowing how their tax dollars are being

spent.

 

O`DONNELL:  There are reports indicating that there were senior department

officials advising the secretary of state not to use an emergency waiver

for those armed sales to Saudi Arabia and go through the normal process of

consultation with Congress. That seems to be certainly in policy terms and

in effect the most serious of these investigations that we`re aware of.

 

RHODES:  No, it`s very serious, Lawrence. You already have a situation

where Congress voted multiple times to prevent the United States from

continuing to support a war in Yemen led by Saudi Arabia that`s killed tens

of thousands of people and failed to achieve any of its objectives and in

support of a Saudi crowned prince who brutally murdered a “Washington Post”

journalist. This emergency declaration doesn`t make any sense, Lawrence. It

doesn`t hold up because the situation in Yemen has basically been the same

for several years.

 

Nothing is different this year than was the case last year or the year

before. And what it seems like to me is the way these armed sales move

forward, the State Department has to license them and notify them to

Congress and Mike Pompeo decided he didn`t want to go through the normal

protocols which are in U.S. law here. So this is a separation of powers

issue, a constitutional issue and it also raises questions once again,

Lawrence, why this administration is always so eager to do the bidding of

Saudi Arabia despite the very real concerns we should have about the

conduct of the war in Yemen and the nature of Mohammed bin Salman.

 

O`DONNELL:  And, Ben, I want you to react to the reports we have about

these dinners paid for by the taxpayer which clearly have political intent

in them and possible future campaign intent in them.

 

RHODES:  Well, you know, I think there is a common thread with the Trump

administration they view their positions, including the enormous resources

of the United States Government as extensions of their personal interest.

 

Lawrence, there is no national interest served by Mike Pompeo having a

bunch of fancy dinners in the State Department, with State Department

employees essentially catering to the needs of a potential Republican donor

class or Republican pundits. That`s just not in the mission of the

Secretary of State.

 

And so, once again - in one of the most critical positions in the United

States Government, the Secretary of State, we see personal interest,

political interest put ahead of the national interest. And frankly, this

has been a common corruption of foreign policy in the Trump administration.

 

We saw that most dramatically in the impeachment proceedings, where

essentially they had a shadow of foreign policy to serve Trump`s personal

political interests, run through Rudy Giuliani because the State Department

wouldn`t carry it out. Here we have a Secretary of State who is using his

office for basically personal and political interests.

 

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Ben Rhodes, thank you very much for joining

us tonight, really appreciate it.

 

RHODES: Thanks, Lawrence.

 

O`DONNELL: Thank you. And when we come back, how can you protect yourself

as your state begins to reopen, what is safe, what isn`t, and are some

states moving too quickly? That`s next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL: Today, all 50 states have officially started easing restrictions

to allow some activities and some businesses to reopen. Some states have

been ramping up their testing capabilities, but The Washington Post reports

that, “According to the COVID tracking project, the nation is currently

testing about 330,000 people a day, a rate that if sustained would cover

about 3% of the population a month, still far short of the number most

independent analysts say will be needed to avoid another wave of death and

illness in the months ahead.”

 

Joining our discussion now is Dr. Margaret Hamburg. She`s the former FDA

Commissioner and the former New York City Commissioner of Health. Dr.

Hamburg, as the states reopen, there is going to be some opportunities for

people that they haven`t had in a few months going to some fast food

locations and others. What should they be specifically wary of just in

terms of their own behavior?

 

DR. MARGARET HAMBURG, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER: I think people all want to

get out and start doing things again but we have to be cautious. The virus

is still with us and we know that it causes serious disease, so people want

to be very mindful about continuing social distancing when they go outside.

 

It is important to wash your hands when you come in. And if you have had

contact with something, you want to not put your hands to your face,

especially your mouth, your nose, your eyes and rub where you could

introduce contamination into the body.

 

And wearing a mask is important, it`s important mainly because it protects

others from you if you may, in fact, be infected and you may not even know

it, because there are asymptomatic spreaders of disease. But it`s also a

good reminder that we need to be taking precautions.

 

And so, I think those are all important and if you go into a setting where

people are clearly not following the rules of social distancing, not

wearing masks, you might just decide to go somewhere else.

 

O`DONNELL: So, we saw Mike Pence today in Florida not wearing a mask, with

the Governor of Florida not wearing a mask, and they go to a hamburger

place and they get hamburgers and they talk and they eat and they talk to

other people within that hamburger place.

 

There they are, it`s a shot right now of them sitting together. That is -

it seems to me that`s exactly what you would recommend people not to do?

 

HAMBURG: Well, I don`t think it`s the best modeling of what is recommended

in terms of good practice under these conditions. I think it would be

valuable for leaders like that to be demonstrating the best possible

behavior in terms of social distancing, wearing masks.

 

Of course, when you`re in a restaurant and you`re eating, it`s hard to keep

a mask on. But within reasonable precautions, one should not enter a

workplace or a store not wearing a mask. You shouldn`t get too close to the

person next to you. And you should be very, very mindful of the fact that

anyone could be infected and we need to still behave in ways that protect

ourselves and protect the people around us.

 

O`DONNELL: And Mike Pence was not six feet away from anyone at anytime in

that hamburger place today. And so, what exactly is the point if you are

trying - if you have to be six feet away from each other, what`s the point

of going to such a place together? It just doesn`t seem like we`re ready

for that to work.

 

HAMBURG: Well, certainly, there are accommodations that have to be made and

different places in the country are in different stages of this ongoing

pandemic. And so, certainly if you`re in New York City, following very

strictly to the recommendations is absolutely essential.

 

There can be, I think, some differing levels of flexibility, but I think as

a general rule, these guidelines are there to protect you and to protect

others and they should be followed to the greatest degree possible.

 

And as we go back into places of social gathering like restaurants, as we

go back into workplaces, as we start to take mass transit, we need to make

sure that there are accommodations so that people can appropriately social

distance and be mindful of what needs to be done.

 

O`DONNELL: Dr. Margaret Hamburg, thank you very much for joining us again

tonight. We really appreciate it.

 

HAMBURG: Thank you.

 

O`DONNELL: And when we come back, it looks like Congressman Max Rose has

forced Donald Trump to change his mind about denying benefits to National

Guard troops who have been deployed to fight the coronavirus. That`s next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL: Donald Trump has been planning to end the current deployment of

nearly 46,000 National Guard members called up to serve in the battle

against the coronavirus, and the date that Donald Trump has been planning

to end that deployment is June 24, which is exactly one day short of the

number of days necessary for those National Guard members to earn benefits

under the G.I. bill.

 

After Politico broke that story yesterday, Donald Trump has come under 24

hours of pressure from our next guest and others to extend the deployment

beyond June 25, not just because of the benefits, but because many states

continue to need National Guard help.

 

Joining us now is Congressman Max Rose of New York. He`s a combat veteran

who received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart, and he is a captain in the

Army National Guard. Congressman Rose, thank you very much for joining us

tonight. I know, you served in - did some National Guard service in New

York during this pandemic. When did you learn about this potential end date

that would be timed in a way that would deny benefits?

 

REP. MAX ROSE (D-NY): Yes, so it`s actually interesting, and thank you for

having me on tonight. I learned about it both from the news, but actually,

almost simultaneously from my buddies who are still out there.

 

I was - had the privilege of putting the uniform back on and serving with

the famed Fighting Sixty-Ninth Infantry Battalion as we stood up a COVID

facility on Staten Island in my Congressional district.

 

And so many of those soldiers are still serving, putting their necks on the

line there for us, supporting the frontline medical professionals. And for

many of them, this was their - at least for some of them - this was their

first deployment, and they were promised benefits.

 

They were told, you serve 90 days in some type of active duty capacity, and

there is a G.I. bill waiting for you, there is earlier retirement waiting

for you. And then to get this message that it`s getting cut short at 88

days, 87 days, it was killing morale, killing morale, and they deserve so

much better and we`re certainly very proud that this decision has been

reversed. That`s the least these soldiers deserve.

 

O`DONNELL: Well, Congressman, to that point, do we have or do you have

confirmation to your satisfaction that this decision has been reversed?

 

ROSE: No, not certainly, until it is officially reversed, no one is doing a

victory lap, OK? It has been reported that it will be likely. It has been

reported that it is being considered. It`s a sad shame that this was ever

put out there. Because they didn`t pick 89 days, it`s not a coincidence,

they didn`t just pick it out of their hat.

 

They did it to cut costs on the backs of soldiers. And as I said, these

soldiers were promised these benefits and the promise wasn`t when they were

being recruited, hey we will give you something at 90 days, but we`ll cut

you off at 89 anyways so it doesn`t matter.

 

So we`re going to keep on pushing this, we`re going to keep on advocating

for this. Because as you also noted, it`s not like this fight is done, OK?

The National Guard is an incredibly versatile force.

 

In a natural disaster, they are called up. And certainly, when it came to

COVID, they`ve been out there doing everything from mortuary affairs to

standing up testing sites to - as I experienced, actually standing up a

hospital.

 

And it did not matter, it does not matter what task they are given, they do

it with their head held high, showing the solidarity that only soldiers can

show with now the mission here at home to save lives, get this country

revving again, so that we can return to some semblance of normalcy. They`re

not even with their loved ones right now. Believe you me, they want nothing

more than to see this country safe and prosperous so they can reunite with

their families.

 

O`DONNELL: Congressman Rose, with your experience in the military, what is

your assessment of why the military in polling and in voting results has

this way of tending Republican, when this kind of story of denial of

benefits usually comes just from one side of our politics? It usually comes

just from the Republican side of our politics.

 

ROSE: It`s a fascinating question and I certainly remember being deployed.

In the military, you get a lot of time just to hang out, and having these

discussions with folks about why they tilt conservative, why they tilt

Democrat.

 

Ultimately, my belief is that soldiers and veterans alike, they`re not

fully owned subsidiaries of the Republican Party, they`re not fully owned

subsidiaries of the Democratic Party. But what they do want to see is they

want to see this government work again.

 

They`re not anti-government by any sense of the word. Heck, they`re

government employees, when it boils down to it. But they are sick and tired

of the divisiveness, they`re sick and tired of feeling as if we are not

speaking simply and clearly, and they want to see us - there`s a deep

nostalgia that I often find amongst veterans, a deep sense that we got to

go back to that Apollo project, that interstate highway act, that sense

that heck we are Americans and it does not matter how high that hill is,

we`re going to get to the top of it, we`re the country that won the cold

war.

 

And we should be nuanced about that. We should be humble about that. We

should be arrogant about that, but inclusively arrogant. And I think that

when you exude that type of culture, when you exude that sense that that`s

what this country is all about, they have no problem supporting you and

rallying behind you.

 

O`DONNELL: Congressman and Captain Max Rose, thank you very much for

joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.

 

ROSE: Thank you so much.

 

O`DONNELL: Up next, very, very bad polling news for Donald Trump in the

latest Presidential Poll. That`s next.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

O`DONNELL: In a new Quinnipiac national poll released today, Joe Biden is

leading Donald Trump by 11 points. 50% of registered voters say they would

vote for Joe Biden. 39% say they would vote for Donald Trump.

 

In this same poll four years ago, Hillary Clinton had only a four-point

lead on Donald Trump at 45% to 41%. That`s within the margin of error. In

today`s poll, Joe Biden`s favorable rating is 45%. His unfavorable rating

is 41%.

 

And four years ago, Hillary Clinton`s unfavorable rating in that same poll

was 20 points higher than her favorable rating.

 

Joining us now is Charlie Cook. He`s the Editor and Publisher of the Cook

Political Report. He is an NBC News Political Analyst. Charlie, this one

looks like a rough result for Donald Trump, but his campaign must have its

own polling information telling him the same thing.

 

CHARLIE COOK, EDITOR AND PUBLISHER, COOK REPORT AND COLUMNIST, NATIONAL

JOURNAL: Everything I hear is that their private data, the Trump campaign

data looks pretty much like the public campaign data. What I find very

interesting is, when you go back and you look at the exit polls in 2016,

60% of voters had an unfavorable view of Donald Trump, 60%. 54% had an

unfavorable view of Hillary Clinton.

 

But - and that you had 19% had an unfavorable view of both of them. And

then they voted, though, for Trump by a 20-point margin. I asked the

Quinnipiac people - they`re terrific by the way - I asked them today if

they could run something where they - to see, OK, all of the people that

had an unfavorable view of both Donald Trump and Joe Biden, how do they

break on the trail heat?

 

And Biden is ahead 49-18 among the people that dislike both of them, while

they cut by a 20-point margin against Hillary Clinton. So this is something

I think is very, very - to me it`s really interesting that it`s not just

that President Trump`s unfavorable sort of sky high, but that they look

like they`re going to bite him and that Biden is just not in the same place

that Hillary Clinton was at this point, and we`ll see about November.

 

O`DONNELL: Yes, so that lesser of two evils voter, which is that final

decider, they`re the people who are making up their minds two or three days

ahead of time day of. At the moment, they are leaning heavily to Joe Biden,

even though they don`t like him, they don`t like Donald Trump more.

 

COOK: That`s right. You had a group of people that were just really

conflicted going into Election Day, and that`s why the election sort of

popped so much. Now, to me when I look at some of these undecided voters

this year or go back six months, you had a group of people that had - they

thought the economy was doing really well and they gave President Trump

complete credit for it, but they had real doubts, reservations about his

character, about him as a person, about his leadership style, all of that.

 

But they kept in balance, the strong economy balanced off his negatives.

But the thing is, if you take out the strong economy, even if it`s not a

headwind, if you just take that off the scale, I think a lot of the doubts,

the reservations that people have about him as a person will start rising

up. So maybe he doesn`t have a headwind because of the economy, but he`s

going to lose the tailwind that I think was the one thing that was kind of

keeping him going last year.

 

O`DONNELL: So Charlie, the health care polling questions never been more

important. Who do you trust on health care, Biden or Trump? Biden`s ahead

20 points, 57-37, and then specifically on coronavirus. Do you want Biden

or Trump handling coronavirus? Biden is ahead 55-38, 55% to 38% on the

handling of the coronavirus. I mean that seems like ultimately the decisive

campaign issue at this stage, doesn`t it?

 

COOK: Well, and the funny thing is Vice President Biden hasn`t talked much

about it. I mean, he`s been at home in Wilmington. And so, a lot of - it`s

not that Biden is really strong. It`s just that the President is so weak

that they`re giving Biden - they`re just assuming that he would be better

even though it`s not something that - it`s not an issue that he`s been

terribly pushing out and he`s not been terribly visible lately because of

the lockdown.

 

O`DONNELL: Charlie Cook, thank you very much for joining us. I`m sure we`ll

be doing this a lot between now and November. Really appreciate it,

Charlie.

 

COOK: Thank you, Lawrence. Have a good day.

 

 

 

 

 

END   

 

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