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All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 3/2/2016

Guests: Betsy Woodruff, Jane Sanders, Al Franken, Matt Katz

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: March 2, 2016 Guest: Betsy Woodruff, Jane Sanders, Al Franken, Matt Katz


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN --

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think we`re going to win in November.

HAYES: Republicans in denial.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If a couple people weren`t on the ballot, we would have won Virginia tonight.

HAYES: And bargaining.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We may be in a position we have to rally around Ted Cruz is the only way to stop Donald Trump.

HAYES: And now, a growing acceptance that Donald Trump will be the nominee.

TRUMP: I am a truth teller and I will tell the truth. OK?

HAYES: Tonight, why a late flurry from the "Never Trump" movement is probably too late.

Plus, after Hillary`s big night, Jane Sanders on path forward for Bernie.

The story of this awful video at a Trump event.

What exactly is happening with Chris Christie beyond awesome Twitter memes?

And, as the Supreme Court hears the most important reproductive rights case in 20 year, Senator Al Franken on the Republican blockade when ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.

After last night`s election results, this much is clear -- barring some huge unforeseen event that forces him out of the Republican primary race, Donald Trump will either become the party`s presidential nominee, or despite having the most delegates, he`ll be toppled by GOP leaders this summer in Cleveland and could potentially be the messiest, most chaotic convention in decades.

Until now, for the entire time Trump has led the race, conventional wisdom has held the only way to beat him is to narrow the field and consolidate the anti-Trump vote.

Now, he opposite seems to be true. After Super Tuesday, the only candidate winding down his campaign appears to be Ben Carson and many of his voters are expected to go to Trump. Everyone else is still in it. And while no one of them has much hope of defeating him outright, the party`s best shot at stopping Trump may be for all of them to stay in the race and split the upcoming votes as evenly as possible, because this is the magic number: 1,237. That`s the number of delegate Trump needs to lock up the Republican nomination.

Now, if no one candidate gets that number, then the convention gets to choose the nominee, a contested convention. It won`t be pretty, but it might just be the GOP`s only last hope. At least one of Trump`s rivals is signaling he`s ready to fight all the way to Cleveland.


RUBIO: No matter how long it takes, no matter how many states it takes, no matter how many weeks and months it takes, I will campaign as long as it takes and wherever it takes to ensure that I am the next president of the United States.


HAYES: After last night, Trump`s lead in the delegate count almost 100 delegates ahead of Ted Cruz is looking pretty formidable, if not insurmountable. Less than two weeks from tonight on March 15th, another big batch of states hold their primaries including Florida and Ohio, which both give all their delegates to the winner instead of awarding them proportionately, and a lot of delegates at stake.

John Kasich, Ohio`s current governor, and Marco Rubio, the junior senator from Florida, are both counting on their home-field advantage. But even if they were both to eke out a win, which is very much in doubt, according to polling at this point, it probably won`t be enough to catch up to Trump. As President Obama`s former campaign guru, David Plouffe, who knows a thing or two about this tweeted last night, quote, "a reminder -- unlike in boxing there are no late-round knockouts in the sport of delegate acquisition. Fall behind too much and it`s over."

As of March 15th, 58 percent of all the available Republican delegates will have been allocated. It could be basically a whole ball game, which is why the fractured and feckless GOP establishment is now scrambling to halt Trump`s momentum in the next 13 days, before those big winner-take-all contests. After holding a conference call last night to plot their strategy, the anti-Trump group Our Principles PAC released a new online attack ad today.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Will you unequivocally condemn David Duke and say you don`t want his vote or that of other white supremacists?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think this will put an end to the so-called birther movement?

BOB SCHIEFFER, CBS HOST: I want to go on to what Donald Trump said after he said this is out.

TRUMP: The word is he wasn`t a good student and he ended up getting into Columbia and Harvard. How does he get into Harvard?

SCHIEFFER: That`s just code for saying he got into law school because he`s black.


HAYES: Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker who just saw Trump in his home state just became the latest Republican official to announce he won`t vote for Trump in the general election, even though that state handed Trump his largest margin of victory last night.

And tomorrow, Mitt Romney is delivering a speech on the state of the race in which he`s expected to make the case against Trump.

It`s a sign of how truly desperate things are gotten that Lindsey Graham who said this year that choosing between Trump and Cruz would be like being shot or poisoned, now thinks Cruz may be the party`s best hope.


GRAHAM: We may be in a position we have to rally around Ted Cruz as the only way to stop Donald Trump. I`m not so sure that would work.

CHARLIE ROSE, TV HOST: But you`d recommend that in order to stop Donald Trump, and rally behind Ted Cruz?

GRAHAM: I can`t believe I would say yes, but yes.


HAYES: In an interview with Chris Matthews last night, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay argued primary is only part of the equation. When it comes to the convention, all votes are off.


TOM DELAY (R), FORMER HOUSE MAJORITY: The popular vote is important only in allocating delegates. Sixty percent of the delegate in the Republican convention will be picked proportionately. So if Trump never gets more than 40 percent in each state, tonight, he`ll only get 250 delegates.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: So, no one has to beat him for him to lose?

DELAY: That`s right. The delegates get to choose. It is a party function. The party is putting up a nominee.


HAYES: I`m joined now by someone who`s more than a passing familiarity with that party. RNC chair, former RNC chair, Michael Steele, and MSNBC political analyst.

All right, Michael. Let`s talk delegate math. Nothing lights up the boards like delegate math.


HAYES: So, here`s what we got coming out of last night. Now, it`s actually interesting to me that Trump`s lead over Cruz is not massive, right?

STEELE: Right.

HAYES: But the problem there is that Cruz has already gotten the big boost he`s going to get from the home-state win in Texas. So, there is no huge win on the board for him to get. Is -- first of all, is it possible for Cruz to overtake Trump in that -- and make up that deficit?

STEELE: There may be a pathway for him when you consider that last night what people glossed over and didn`t pay too much attention to was the state of Oklahoma. Oklahoma was the first state in this primary season that had a closed primary, which means that only Republicans got to vote, not independents, not Democrats who show up to switch and vote. It was straight party line party activists who went out and voted and he did very well.

So, he can now go make the case in these other states that are coming down the line this weekend and next week that those conservatives have a rallying point, that he has shown both in Iowa and in Oklahoma, specifically, that he can become the focus for a lot of conservatives. If he`s able to do that, he won`t necessarily, you know, may not win, he can then begin to pull some of that conservative vote away from Donald Trump.

HAYES: But here`s the --

STEELE: That gets us, again, to the convention. Everything leads to the convention at this point.

HAYES: That`s my point. If you`re talking about an outright overtake, were it the case that the ideal situation in the field would winnow to Cruz and just Trump, I still don`t think Cruz wins Florida and Ohio barring --

STEELE: I agree, I agree.

HAYES: Those states are, even in a winnowed field, those states are more advantageous for Trump.

Now, those are -- that`s 160 delegates on the board, right?

STEELE: Right.

HAYES: So, I just can`t do the math you end up at a position if Trump stays in this barring some crazy unforeseen twist, right, I mean, the only options, go to the convention, take it away from Trump at the convention or Trump get to 1,237, right?

STEELE: That`s it. That`s basically it.

And the first option, you know, taking as much away from him as you can starts now. That`s what you`re hearing Rubio talk about, certainly Cruz talk about, even Kasich pinning his hopes on Ohio. Their goal is to slow the momentum, to slow down the number by which he wins.

Now, keep in mind that when you go to winner-take-all, Donald Trump even if he holds the proportions that he holds right now is still going to win those states.

HAYES: Right.

STEELE: Because the rest of that 60-some percent or 58 percent of the vote is split up among three other individuals. So Donald Trump right now is still in the best possible seat to just win this outright, even though you have the establishment types trying as hard as they can to take it away from him.

HAYES: So, let`s say everyone stays in, everyone takes their bites. Kasich maybe takes a bunch of people in Rhode Island, in Connecticut, Rubio does relatively well in Florida even if he doesn`t win or he wins, he`s still going to be down.

What -- can you imagine for a moment what that would look like in Cleveland if Donald Trump goes in with the most delegates and somehow the party engineers a way of taking the nomination away from him?

STEELE: All hell would break out. It would be Armageddon on the floor. I mean, it just -- this is what you`re talking about. So, the guy that comes into the convention with the plurality of the votes, probably some 200 votes, delegates away from getting the nomination on the first ballot, that you`re somehow going to convince his delegates, first off, to move off of him to the guy who came in second, let alone third place?

HAYES: Right.

STEELE: It just doesn`t work like that. So, now, they`re trying to roll out the Mitt Romney carpet to see if, you know, by having him come out and make a -- you know, give us a state of the election in 2016, I don`t know what that`s all about because all it`s going to do is solidify Donald Trump`s vote.


STEELE: Because as people tell you, they didn`t listen to Romney in 2012, why are they going to listen to him now?

HAYES: Unsolicited advice: the best thing Mitt Romney could do is endorse Donald Trump tomorrow if he would like to slow up his momentum.

STEELE: Yes, in my view, that`s true. Yes, I agree.

HAYES: Michael Steele, thank you very much.

All right. Joining me now, Betsy Woodruff, politics reporter of "The Daily Beast", and former DNC chair and MSNBC political analyst, Howard Dean, who`s a supporter of Hillary Clinton.

Howard, let me start with you. Last night we got this, a little bit of a preview I think of Trump in the general. You can already start to see the pivoting, real economic nationalism, economic populism, hitting the Obama/Clinton economy from the left. Is that what you`re anticipating this general election looks like if he gets the nomination?

HOWARD DEAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: This general -- if he should get the nomination, it could look like anything. The one thing you can predict about Donald Trump is there will be a huge surprise, and nobody will have any what he`s going to do next which, of course, is likely to scare the hell out of most American voters.

HAYES: Betsy, there is a belief that is, I think, a genuine belief among the Republican political operative class that Trump will get his clock cleaned by Hillary Clinton. Is that fair to say that`s a kind of widespread consensus view among Republican political professionals?

BETSY WOODRUFF, POLITICS REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST: I think it`s fair to say that`s a view that has a significant number of adherence. That said, there are some who argue that Trump could be the most competitive Republican in the general election because he`d drive up turnout and because he messes up all the turnout models. We`re already seeing Republican primary turnout spike dramatically compared to 2012, last Republican contested primary.

In Nevada, more people caucused for Trump than the total number of people who caucused for everyone combined in 2012. Virginia, more Republicans voted in the primary than Democrats voted in their primary even though Democrats have done really, really well in Virginia over the last few election cycles.

So, there`s an argument that we don`t actually know how this is going to play out. And that if Trump can galvanize enough people, if all those folks who go to rallies ends up voting for him, that it might not necessarily be a guaranteed win for Hillary.

HAYES: You know, Betsy brings up a point, Howard, that I`m seeing a lot. There`s a "New York Times" article about this today. It`s become a sort of a growing theme. It`s something we covered about, the sort of turnout gap.

I should note, Hillary Clinton got I think about 3.3 million votes last night. Donald Trump got about 2.8 million. So, she still got a half million more votes total, right?

Do you worry, Howard, that we`re seeing flagging enthusiasm, or do you chalk it up to the party being the incumbent party in power and fewer contestants?

DEAN: I don`t think it`s about flagging enthusiasm at all. And I`m not worried -- I also don`t think there`s any predictive value in looking at the two turnouts. I do agree that we should not take Donald Trump for granted should he be the nominee.

I think he`s surprised people all year. We`d be really stupid to think that we`re just going to roll over him because he`s a nut. You got to be careful of that. You got to take him seriously.

And I think -- I think we will and I do think Hillary will be the next president, but we`ve got to -- our battle on our side is not done either, so we`ll see.

HAYES: Yes, no, that is absolutely true.

Betsy, Glenn Beck and Erick Erickson of "RedState", and Glenn Beck, sort of floating this idea. Take a listen to Glenn Beck floating a Rubio/Cruz ticket idea.


GLENN BECK, THE BLAZE: Ted Cruz as the president, Marco Rubio, and I think they should announce this and run as this. I think we should begin to demand this. I think this should go all over the Internet.


HAYES: Erick Erickson saying a Cruz/Rubio ticket makes the most sense right now. Pair up, announce the deal, let Rubio win Florida, get to the convention and make it so."

Is that -- that strikes me as fan fiction rather than actual political advice.

WOODRUFF: Yes, it`s kind of adorable, right, the level of creativity and imagination that`s going into this. It`s actually sort of endearing.

I think it`s fan fiction in the same level that there`s going to be some sort of crazy "Mad Max" style brokered convention idea. I mean, the reality is getting Cruz and Rubio to magically deflate their egos in the space of about like there 24-hour periods so they ca n put together some sort of unity ticket? I mean, good luck, bless your heart, we`ll see what happens.

The fact is, Donald Trump right now is the prohibitive favorite to be the Republican nominee and Republicans are to an extent making peace with it because he does drive turnout, because he has phenomenal name ID, and because perhaps having a wildcard candidate against a fairly predictable Democratic candidate might give them a decent shot as odd as I feel saying that.

HAYES: Howard, if you had to predict, I mean, we`ve seen all these riffs and all these divisions, seen this Never Trump movement. You have Charlie Baker saying he won`t, Ben Sasse, who`s from Nebraska, senator of Nebraska saying he`ll never vote for Trump.

What is your prediction about the degree to which people will coalesce behind Trump as the nominee if, in fact, that happens?

DEAN: I think it will be very problematic. Look, I`ve thought for a long time this is the election which the Republicans need to lose for their own benefit. That`s going to change the orientation of the Republican Party.

The Republican Party is heading off a cliff. They say things that are completely alienating to everybody under 35 in this country.


DEAN: And in eight years they`re going to be 43.

This is a losing game they`re playing and have to go through this catharsis just as we did when we nominated three people in a row who were too liberal for the American electorate. This is the election I think that`s likely to happen.

HAYES: Howard Dean, a medical doctor, not a license therapist, but sounding like one right there.

Betsy Woodruff and Howard Dean, thank you both.

Still to come, after Hillary Clinton`s big wins on Super Tuesday, Bernie Sanders says he`s staying in until the convention. Jane Sanders will join me next.

And later, Chris Christie and the press conference that broke the Internet. What exactly was he thinking?

Plus, today, the divided 4-4 Supreme Court hears the most important abortion case in 20 years. And Senator Al Franken on the fight over the next nominee, ahead.


HAYES: Time now to check in on a special ALL IN feature, the department of least surprising headlines. Today`s entry comes courtesy of "Rolling Stones." Bernie Sanders on Phish, quote, "One of the great bands in this country". I like Phish, who knew?

The Vermont jam band is instricably linked to the Green Mountain State as Ben and Jerry got a shoutout from the Democratic presidential hopeful at a campaign rally earlier today in Portland, Maine. The candidate also gave praise to the band`s drummer, Jon Fishman, who was in attendance.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Jon and Phish have made New England proud. They are one of the great bands, have been one of the great bands in this country. So, Jon, we thank you very much.



HAYES: Phish, of course, got its start in Burlington three decades ago and drummer Jon Fishman, longtime Sanders supporter says he`s been following Sanders` career since his days as the mayor of Burlington.

After Super Tuesday, though, what is the path to victory for Bernie Sanders? His campaign vows to stay in this race until the convention. Next, I`ll talk to the top surrogate for Bernie Sanders, his wife, Jane.


HAYES: The Democratic candidates, Super Tuesday did not shake out entirely as expected. Hillary Clinton did win seven out of 11 states, all those southern states you see there among them. She also won Massachusetts, which is practically Sanders` backyard.

Now, Senator Bernie Sanders won his home state of Vermont, plus Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Colorado. Sanders campaign was contesting five states. They won four of them. The loss of Massachusetts was a disappointment.

After a strong showing, Clinton speaking from Miami, Florida, congratulated Sanders on his wins but continued to take aim at her likely general election opponent should she win the nomination.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That work is not to make America great again. America never stopped being great.

We have to make America whole. We have to fill in.

I believe what we need in America today is more love and kindness.



HAYES: Sanders in Vermont spoke just after winning that state, made clear he`s in this primary battle to the convention.


SANDERS: Let me assure you, we`re going to take our fight for economic justice, for social justice, for environmental sanity, for a world of peace.


HAYES: This morning the Sanders campaign held a press event to discuss the path forward for their campaign.


TAD DEVINE, SANDERS CAMPAIGN SENIOR STRATEGIST: Super Tuesday, in my view, was, perhaps, the single best day on the calendar for Hillary Clinton. If Hillary Clinton does not consistently win in the weeks and months ahead in big states and in small, questions will arise around her candidacy and her ability to coalesce a nominating majority of delegates will be, I think, substantially inhibited.


HAYES: The good news and the bad news for the Sanders campaign is that all states in the Democratic primary race are proportional, no winner-take-all. Candidates get delegate if fro portion to their vote share but they must get 15 percent of the vote to win any delegates.

Now, over time, Clinton`s lead which is now nearly 200 allocated delegates more than Sanders will become difficult for Sanders to overcome because of the proportional allocation. That`s a lesson Clinton learned in her 2008 race against Barack Obama.

Joining me now, spouse of 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, Jane Sanders. Ms. Sanders, it`s wonderful to have you. What is your feeling about the math -- JANE SANDERS, WIFE OF BERNIE SANDERS: Nice to be here, Chris. HAYES: -- the mathematical path forward for the Sanders campaign facing now this banked deficit of 200 allocated deficits and the fact that it`s proportional all the way through? J. SANDERS: Well, we knew the early maps would be harder for us for several reasons. First, that the people across the country might not be as familiar with Bernie as they are with the woman that has been in three presidential campaigns with two of her husband`s, and her own already. So she`s quite well-known throughout the world. And we needed to introduce Bernie. However, the early states have turned out to be at least as good as what we had hoped. As you say, it`s proportional. So in Massachusetts, we had 49 percent of the vote. The delegate count is going to be just about equal. In Vermont, where they know him the best, he got a shutout. He will get 100 percent of the delegates because Secretary Clinton didn`t meet the 15 percent threshold to get any delegates from our state. In terms of the states that we just had with Super Tuesday, it seems -- I think there are two important things to point out. Most of the states that Secretary Clinton won had low voter turnouts. Most of the states that Bernie won had high voter turnouts. We know when we have a high voter turnout, Bernie does better because the more people that participate in the process, the more they -- his ideas are carried out. The second is that most of the states, just -- you know, not all of them, but most of the states are historically red states and are not likely to carry the day in the general election. Most of the states that Bernie has won are mostly blue states or battleground states.

And he has won them handily. I think it was 10 percent in Oklahoma, 19 percent in Minnesota, 20-some-odd percent in Oklahoma. So I think we`re looking good. HAYES: Well, let me stop you right there, though. Let me stop you right there. There are two things. Talking about this sort of red state/blue state. I mean, that does seem to me a little of misdirection insofar as general election electorates are different, right? And also it also seems a little dismissive of, say, the good folks in Alabama. Right? I mean, it`s not Alabaman Democrats` -- J. SANDERS: Oh, no, yes. HAYES: It`s not Alabaman Democrats` fault that they don`t have a majority of voters in Alabama. They can`t do anything about that except, you know, make more Democrats. And that links up I think to a deeper issue here, right, which is there is this stark demographic divide happening in the states that Clinton is winning, the states Sanders is winning. Exit polling showing Bernie Sanders losing black voters by 85-14, losing in those states with very high percentage of black voters across the South. I mean, it just seems impossible to me for someone to win the Democratic nomination in the age of the Obama coalition who is losing by those margins among black voters. J. SANDERS: Well, the age of the Obama coalition was 2008. This is 2016 and we`ll see either the Sanders coalition or the Clinton coalition. I think that it`s -- you`re absolutely right, we need reach the African- American voter better. As I said, they`re not that familiar with them -- with Bernie. What we`ve done is try to reach the working class voter, the middle class voter, and not go -- not divide and reach out to individual sectors of the community, the Latino community, the African-American community, the women, the men, the young. But we have to do a better job on that. And we know that and we are, going forward. I think if you look at the election results of yesterday, you`ll see that we were -- we had increased significantly with the Latino vote. And in terms of the wide discrepancy, the same discrepancy holds true with Bernie against Clinton in terms of anybody under 30, whether no matter what -- HAYES: Yes, there`s a huge generational J. SANDERS: -- race, what ethnicity they are. HAYES: Yes. All right. J. SANDERS: Yes. HAYES: Jane Sanders from Burlington, Vermont, if we`re not mistaken. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

Still to come, the latest in a disturbing string of ugliness, intimidation and physical threats displayed by attendees at Donald Trump`s rallies. The story behind this incident caught on videotape, ahead.


HAYES: Perhaps the most disturbing theme of the 2016 election so far has been the incidents of violence and verbal abuse hurled in the direction of protesters at Donald Trump rallies.

Over and over again, with increasing frequency, over the past several months, often seemingly encouraged at the podium by Trump, himself, these incidents are happening against the backdrop against two other equally disturbing phenomena.

A growing list of avowed white supremacist Neonazis and white nationalists who have thrown their support behind Donald Trump and Trump`s direct flirtation with white supremacists like David Duke, former leader of the Ku Klux Klan.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Will you unequivocally condemn David Duke and say that you don`t want his vote or that of other white supremacists in this election?

DONALD TRUMP, 2016 REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: Well, just so you understand, I don`t know anything about David Duke, OK. I don`t know anything about what you`re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists.


HAYES: Despite his wavering in that interview, Trump is insisting he does disavow David Duke`s support, something Duke, himself, was asked about on Monday.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said today finally that he renounced you and your support. What`s your reaction to that?

DAVID DUKE, FRM. LEADER, KKK: I`ll laugh it off, that`s fine. Look, Donald Trump, do whatever you need to do to get elected to this country, because we need a change.


HAYES: Trump`s claim that he disavows Duke`s support hasn`t kept white supremacists away from his rallies. Yesterday, another disturbing incident that brings this together happened at one of his events. Several videos taken show a student at the University of Louisville over the weekend being pushed and shoved by Donald Trump supporters at a rally in Kentucky.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out. Get out. Get out of here.


HAYES: This is what that student said happened to her in an interview posted on Facebook.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was called a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) and got kicked out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what`s your name?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE; And then what happened?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just got escorted out by the police along with the people at the rally, they were pushing and shoving at me, cursing at me, yelling at me, called me every name in the book. They`re disgusting and dangerous.


HAYES: Now thanks to some excellent reporting from The Daily News we know that one of the men pushing that young woman who is wearing a Make America Great Again hat is Matthew Heimbach (ph) who confirmed his identity to All In in a phone call earlier today.

Heimbach (ph) is an unapologetic white supremacist and Neonazi, a leader of the traditionalist worker party. Last October he tweeted "guess what, Jews, we`re back" with a picture of him standing outside the Holocaust Museum.

In December he tweeted, quote, "Donald Trump" said is has not bothered being compared to Hitler, political correctness is losing its grip on America with the picture of people sieg heiling (ph) Trump.

Earlier today he wrote of the incident, quote, "I`ll avoid any additional Trump events to ensure I don`t become a distraction, but white Americans are getting fed up and they`re learning they must either push back or be pushed down."

Like David Duke before him, Heimbach understands the game is played, that Trump will have to distance himself from him and other avowed white supremacists, but the fact of the matter is Trump is their guy and they are sticking with him.


HAYES: Oh, the internet had a very good time last night with Chris Christie`s incredibly historically instantly iconically awkward appearance behind the man he has endorsed for president Donald Trump, during Trump`s triumphant Super Tuesday press conference last night. Christie`s body language and facial expressions spawning a viral #FreeChrisChristie. "His were the eyes of a man who has gazed into the abyss, and the abyss gazed back and then he endorsed the abyss," wrote Alexandra Petri in a piece headlined, Chris Christie`s wordless screaming.

Tim Mack tweeted, "going to need Chris Christie to hold up a copy of today`s newspaper to prove this is not a prerecorded hologram hostage video." There were vines featuring the goofy Curb Your Enthusiasm theme music and screen grabs of Christie standing behind Trump captioned with the classic Arrested Development line, quote, "I`ve made a big mistake."

It`s not the first humiliation Chris Christie has faced since endorsing Trump. The one-time national finance co-chair for Christie`s presidential campaign Meg Whitman called Christie`s endorsement of Trump, quote, "an astonishing display of political opportunism."

And Christine Todd Whitman, the Republican former governor of Christie`s home state of New Jersey said she`s ashamed that Christie would endorse anyone who`s employed the kind of hate mongering and racism that Trump has.

In New Hampshire, the publisher of the state`s largest newspaper repudiated his Christie endorsement, while New Jersey six Gannett-owned newspapers banded together for an editorial calling for Christie to step down as governor opening the editorial with the lines, quote, "what an embarrassment, what an utter disgrace."

New Jersey State Senator Jennifer Beck, a Republican, today called on Christie to leave the campaign trail or resign. And a new poll found that Christie`s already dismal approval rating in New Jersey has fallen from 33 percent before the Trump endorsement to just 27 percent today with 61 percent saying they disapprove his performance as governor.

The pollsters also asked people to describe Christie in a single word and produced this word cloud. You`ll see that words bully and arrogant are particularly prominent.

Christie seems profoundly diminished in Trump`s shadow like a swaggering schoolyard tough who now has to defer to a bigger and stronger boy. Trump has recently heard on a hot mike telling Christie to, quote, get on a plane and go home after which Christie dutifully walked away.

And while Trump calls Christie by his first name, Chris, Christie calls Trump, quote, Mr. Trump, all which leads us to the question a lot of people are asking right now, what is Chris Christie thinking?

Joining me now is the man who literally wrote the book on the subject, WNYC reporter Matt Katz who has been covering Christie since 2011 just written a new book "American Governor: Chris Christie`s Bridge to Redemption."

What is going on, Matt?

MATT KATZ, WYNC: Well, let me start with this. I know this was very strange for America to see and I know it was very bizarre that he just stood there instead of going back and sitting down after he introduced Trump.

However, this is actually what Christie`s face looks like when he`s standing behind somebody at a podium. I went and looked at all these old pictures today of him being governor and often if he makes an appointment, the person speaks for a few moments, he stands to the back and he has this sort of dower expression, his eyes are darting back and forth, his hands sort of hang low to his sides, and this was kind of what he normally looks like.

HAYES: No, this is a classic example in cinema, right, where you set up the shot and then the audience fills in the emotional life of the character, right?

The reason that everybody thought he looked weird isn`t what he was physically manifesting on his face, it was the complete bizarreness of the entire setup of what we were witnessing.

KATZ: Absolutely.

And we were also, like, thinking about the context which is this guy just dropped out of the race two weeks ago. The reason why he lost is mostly due to the person he`s standing behind. Most of -- much of his inner circle and the people that helped to run his presidential campaign have disavowed Christie over his endorsement of Trump so he`s losing all these allies.

So the viewers at home were aware that part of Christie`s political world is sort of fall apart over this, so I think there was a bit of projection on our part here.

HAYES: Well, but OK, so here`s my question, what is the play here? I mean, to me it looks like this is someone who has essentially taken a 1 in 1,000 chance, or one in whatever chance to maybe be in a Donald Trump administration and other than that has basically ripped up his entire political future.

KATZ: Yeah, he`s all in so to speak. I mean, he really -- he`s making the, what he considers the savvy political move which is I know this guy`s going to win the nomination. I`m going to get ahead of everybody else. I`m going to be the first real actual establishment Republican with actual governing experience to endorse this guy. I`m going to give him some legitimacy. And then if, for some wacky reason he happens to win the White House, I`m going to get almost any position I want.

And I believe that`s what Chris Christie is thinking.

People close to him tell me that this is an absolute rational, pragmatic decision on his part.

HAYES: You know...

KATZ: But in the...

HAYES: Christie -- it reminds me, he`s been around the state so much, people sometimes you meet who are like workaholics right and their family life starts to fall apart because they`re working so much and then you realize that the causality runs the other way, that they`re working so much because they don`t actually like being home with their family. It`s like Christie, it just seems to me like he actually hates being in New Jersey, like he wants to do anything he can to get back out on the campaign trail and not be stuck in Trenton being the governor of his home state.

KATZ: You know, there`s three pieces of that. First, I did hear that he was a little bit antsy in Trenton since he got back.

The second thing is, New Jersey in a lot of ways is a mess, and he doesn`t necessarily know how to deal with it.

And the third thing is, you know, it`s kind of easy for him. He`s kind of bored with it. He did it for six years.


KATZ: You know, maybe he`s jsut not interested in continuing it.

HAYES: That`s the way it looks. Matt Katz, thanks for being with us tonight. Appreciate it. Coming up, Senator Al Franken on the latest in the Supreme Court nomination battle, how it could impact a massively influential case involving women`s health, ahead.


HAYES: The first major case since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. The U.S. Supreme Court today heard the most important abortion rights case in a generation. But with an eight-member court, there`s a possibility of a 4-4 split. What that would mean for the future of women`s health, next.


HAYES: Today, the U.S. Supreme Court took up the most important abortion case in over two decades. A large raucous crowd gathered outside the court this morning before oral arguments were heard in the case of Whole Momen`s Health versus Hellerston. The issue -- at issue, an extremely restrictive Texas abortion law, which imposes strict requirements on abortion providers, a law that other states are looking to replicate. The court will be examining whether those requirements constitute a, quote, "undue burden on the constitutional right to an abortion." Its decision could have enormous consequences for women across the country.

This is the first high-profile case to be heard since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last month and a 4-4 tie decision would essentailly uphold the lower court`s upholding of the current restrictions.

MSNBC national reporter Irin Carmon was inside the Supreme Court today. She`s the author of Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsberg who is sitting up on the dais today.

OK, what has this law done? And why is it being challenged?

IRIN CARMON, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDNET: I think the most important thing to think about with regards to this law being at the Supreme Court is that for more than 20 years the anti-abortion side has been trying to bait Justice Anthony Kennedy into slowly chipping away the right to abortion, but not really a frontal assault, not really saying let`s ban abortion, but chipping it away so effectively that`s it`s very inaccessible to most women.

They know Justice Kennedy is uncomfortable with abortion. Enter this Texas law and many other laws like it. It requires that abortions take place in very facilities known as ambulatory surgical centers. It also requires that all abortion providers have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

Now, in places like Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, even Wisconsin, this can be really hard to comply with. It`s expensive, hospitals say no. The end result in Texas, is that you have 5.4 million women of reproductive age who may be left with only ten abortion clinics.

By contrast, California which is the most populous state has about 160.

HAYES: We should note that doctors who perform these say they don`t need - - these are essentially, these regulation aren`t done actually -- they`re done in bad faith essentially, right. They`re not being done for the health of the women, the doctors say we don`t actually need these things, this is being done to cut off access.

CARMON: Well, this is the central question that they were talking about today in the court room, because the American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, they actually say that these laws make women less safe, because they make it harder to access safe and legal clinics. And they say, and this is something that the liberal justices made a lot of today, they say, in fact, Texas already had a very, very high safety record, nationwide abortion is fourteen times safer than carrying a pregnancy to term.

Texas, itself, has an even lower than the national average complication rate. Many women die of pregnancy-related complications.

So, essentially what was happening in the court today was the liberal justices kind of hammering the solicitor general of Texas and saying, well, if abortion is safer than a colonoscopy, why aren`t you regulating a colonoscopy this way?

HAYES: Right.

CARMON: You know, if you say a woman can go out of state, but they don`t have those laws, then are you really trying to protect women here? That was something that Justice Ginsburg, in particular, really seized on.

HAYES: Now, everyone always focuses on Anthony Kennedy in these cases because he`s a sort of swing justice, although it`s a whole new math right now with four justices appointed by Republicans, four justices appointed by Democrats.

What happens if the court splits?

CARMON: Well, for low-income women who would be primarily affected by restrictions in Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana, it doesn`t really matter that Justice Scalia is no longer on the court. If Justice Kennedy thinks that these laws pass constitutional muster, despite what he said in the past, then the law is going to go into effect, there will be no clinic left in Mississippi, three out of four in Louisiana will close, and all but ten in Texas will close.

HAYES: Now, that will just be for that region of the country.

CARMON: But it only only be in the region of the country that is covered by the fifth circuit court of appeals which has already said these laws are basically fine. Every other part of the country would have a different kind of regime, in fact, in Wisconsin, they were already deemed unconstitutional.

So, we could get a patchwork or they could kick the can down the road.

HAYES: All right, MSNBC national reporter Irin Carmon, great, great, thanks. That was very clarifying.

Up next, can senate Republicans continue obstructing the replacement of Scalia with the increasing likelihood of a Trump nomination? Senator Al Franken is here. Don`t go away.


HAYES: Today`s Supreme Court arguments about the most significant abortion case in years is a stark reminder of just what`s at stake in this year`s election. Republicans continue to argue they will ignore any nominee President Obama picks to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the court.

Not only has Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to have a confirmation voted, he says he won`t have a hearing.

But the more Republicans insist that a SCOTUS vacancy will not be filled this year, the more it raises the possibility that Donald Trump could pick the next Supreme Court justice if he would happen to win the elections, which is something Democrats are eager to play up.


SEN. HARRY REID, (D) NEVADA: All we want them to do is fulfill their constitutional duty and do their job. And at this stage, they`ve decided not to do that. They think that they`re going to wait and see what President Trump will do, I guess, as far as the nomination.


HAYES: Joining me now, Senator Al Franken, Democrat from Minnesota, member of the judiciary committee who says Mitch McConnell would set a dangerous precedent for refusing confirmation hearings for Obama`s Supreme Court nominee.

Senator, I do wonder how much the sort of dawning awareness in the political world that the person that the Republican Party is likely to nominate is Donald Trump, that that`s the person for whom they are holding this vacancy in an unprecedented fashion, how that affects how able they are to win the argument with the American people?

SEN. AL FRANKEN, (D) MINNESOTA: Well, you know, the prospect of President Trump is very disturbing to a lot of people, including myself. So much of what he`s been saying throughout his campaign is offensive. Maybe that will have some effect on this.

The fact of the matter is this is unprecedented. Since 2000 -- since 1916, rather, 100 years ago, when the judiciary committee on which I sit started having confirmation hearings for Supreme Court justices, everyone who`s been nominated has had a hearing except for the ones who, either one withdrew, Harriet Miers, and the other night were all confirmed within 11 days.

So this is unprecedented. This is making something partisan out of something that is just in the constitution.

We have a vacancy that`s caused by a death of Justice Scalia. The president shall appoint and the -- with the advice and consent of the senate. There -- scientists tell us there are ten-and-a-half months left in this president`s term. He was elected by the people. The people have had their say. They know what happens when you elect a president. He gets to nominate justices and the senate is supposed to do its job.

HAYES: Well, the argument that Mitch McConnell made in that letter and that the judicial committee made is that, look, the constitution is clear, advise and consent and they use that word, we are withholding our consent preemptively to anyone you nominate. Their argument is that this is squarely constitutional.

FRANKEN: Well, I understand that, but what`s unprecedented about this is, you know, I guess we don`t have to do anything. It`s probably constitutional for me to stay in Minnesota and not show up here. But that`s certainly not the point of bothering to become a senator.

HAYES: Well, so then the question -- well, that is -- I agree, I mean, that seems persuasive to me...

FRANKEN: And not only that, but they have said things like, you know, we haven`t in the last 80 years confirmed a justice in an election year. That`s just not true. So in addition to everything else, to just say stuff that ain`t true.

Kennedy, Justice Kennedy, who sits on the court, was confirmed in 1988 during an election year.

HAYES: Scientists tell us it`s an election year.

What is your leverage here? I mean, obviously there`s a certain amount of shaming, moralsuasion, but I think they view this as just sheer -- this is just a sheer question of political power, right. I mean, they are going to be maximalists.

FRANKEN: Well, we`re kind of counting -- you know, they`ve done this kind of thing before where they take a stand and then they -- public sentiment is against them and they back off it. And that`s what we`re hoping for when the president nominates someone who`s obviously qualified, there will be public pressure. I put on my website,, a petition for people to sign, a letter to the leader, the Republican leader, McConnell, saying we want to have hearings.

And so you can go, your viewers can go to and register their opinion for that and their desire for a confirmation hearing.

So I believe that once the president nominates, the pressure will build, and once they start seeing who -- I`m sorry. I`m hearing something in my ear. Is it that we`re...


Senator, I`m afraid we`re closing on the end of time, but I think once the nominee happens, we`re going to see some more pressure mount is the point. Senator Al Franken, thank you.

That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.