Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: September 27, 2017 Guest: Charlie Dent, Charlie Pierce, Michelle Goldberg, Kyle Whitmire
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: -- version of himself, a fire and brimstone preacher to match his reality T.V. number. Well, that's HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
ROY MOORE, CANDIDATE, ALABAMA SENATE SEAT: Our rights don't come from the government. They come from all mighty God.
HAYES: Insurrection in Alabama as the President deletes tweets and gets behind Roy Moore.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I'm very happy with him.
HAYES: Tonight, the coming Republican civil war and can Democrats prevent a Senator Roy Moore?
MOORE: It's the lack of morality in our country which has led to these things.
HAYES: Then --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I first heard the President's comments, I was so enraged --
HAYES: New concern over the Trump response in Puerto Rico.
TRUMP: A lot of people that work in the shipping industry that don't want the Jones Act lifted.
HAYES: And as new details of Tom Price's private jet travel emerge --
TRUMP: I'm not happy about it.
HAYES: The President's bizarre claim a day after Graham-Cassidy failed.
TRUMP: I feel we have the votes.
TRUMP: We have the votes.
I'm almost certain we have the votes.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I'm Chris Hayes. President Trump tried to erase history last night. The President deleting three tweets he had written in support of appointed Alabama Senator Luther Strange just hours after Strange was resoundingly defeated in a special GOP primary election for Jeff Sessions old Senate Seat. The Election result was a massive embarrassment for the President. He had traveled personally in Alabama to campaign for Strange as had Vice President Pence and the super PAC aligned with Mitch McConnell reportedly spent more than $10 million to prop up Strange. None of it worked.
Instead, despite being outspent on T.V. ads nearly five to one, Roy Moore won the race. Moore who was removed as ALABAMA Chief Justice twice is a virulently anti-gay birther who says Muslims shouldn't allow to serve in Congress and that the September 11th attacks may have been God's punishment for America's of sodomy and abortion. At Moore's victory party last night, Trump's former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon said Moore's win is just the beginning.
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STEVE BANNON, FORMER CHIEF STRATEGIST, WHITE HOUSE: You're going to see in state after state after state, people that follow the model of Judge Moore that do not need to raise money from the elites, from the crony capitalist, from the fat cats in Washington D.C., New York City, Silicon Valley.
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HAYES: It's not just Bannon that sees blood in the water. In the wake of Moore's victory, Trent Lott told the New York Times, "Every Republican Senator had better get prepared for a challenge from the far right. And target number one will be the GOP establishment, particularly Mitch McConnell, a frequent target of Roy Moore. The Times reports that senior GPP strategists concluded, the conservative base now loathes its leaders in Washington the same way it detested President Obama. And as establishment Republicans like Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, who yesterday announced his retirement run for the exits, ambitious far-right politicians like Mississippi Senator Chris McDaniel are plotting primary challenges that will likely turn very, very ugly. As for Roy Moore, current Republican Senators are already being asked if they agree with his views.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have an issue with any of these things he's saying?
SEN. JOHN HOEVEN (R) NORTH DAKOTA: You know, I haven't had a chance to look through all of those things.
Let's give him a chance to come down and help us advance the agenda that will be good for our country.
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HAYES: Indeed despite fighting to stop him, the GOP establishment is now welcoming a man who wants to, for instance, criminalize homosexual conduct with open arms. Senator Cory Gardner who's in charge of getting Republicans elected in the Senate saying, "Roy Moore will be imperative in passing a conservative agenda and support him in keeping this seat in Republican hands." Mike Pence was effusive. "Congratulations Roy Moore. We are thrilled you ran on the MAGA agenda and we are for you." The President having deleted his pro-Luther Strange tweets though of course, everyone knew he's done it was all in as well tweeting, "Spoke to Roy Moore of Alabama last night for the first time. Sounds like a really great guy who ran a fantastic race. He will help to MAGA." He elaborated this afternoon.
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TRUMP: Well, we have a man who's going to be a great Senator and I'm very happy with that. I spoke with him last night. I never met him, I never spoke to him. I'm very happy with him.
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HAYES: Joining me now is someone who surely has some thoughts about his party's embrace for Roy Moore, Moderate Republican Congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania who announced his own retirement early this month, that he will not seek re-election next year. Congressman, should the Senatorial Arm of the Republican Party be working to elect Roy Moore to the U.S. Senate?
REP. CHARLIE DENT (R), LOUISIANA: Well, I'll leave that up to the Senate Committee. I'll leave it up to them. But clearly, there could be a race now. This is Alabama. It should go Republican but I think Roy Moore's nomination certainly gives the Democrats some hope that they might be able to make a run at this and unlikely as it is. So I'm -- I think -- I'm not sure what they're going to do right now. If I'm Senator McConnell, this certainly complicates his life.
HAYES: Well, but let's be clear. This is your party, you're not going to seek reelection. You're still Republican. You vote with Republican Party most of the time. This is going to be the Republican standard bearer in Alabama, a man who for instance says something like Newtown or 9/11 is a kind of payback for the fact that America has lost its way, that it's God punishing us for being immoral, for embracing sodomy and abortion. Is that -- do you agree with that view?
DENT: I absolutely do not agree with that view. And one's religious views should not interfere with their judgment in Congress. Of course, we're all guided by our faith as we should be but at the same time, we have to be tolerant of people who are different than we are, that might have embraced a different faith or a different sexual orientation wherever case may be. So I would not -- look, I would not be investing in that race if I were the Senate Republicans. One, they don't need to and two, they need to -- they need to put their resources where they can do more good in say, Nevada or Arizona or wherever there's a real challenge.
HAYES: I guess my question is shouldn't the institution -- I mean, let me give you an example. David Duke, remember when David Duke won a primary and he was the Republican Standard bearer in the gubernatorial race from Louisiana. And what you saw happen back then was that the entire institutional Republican Party up and down from the President of the top said, we do not want to associate with this man. That is a possibility if the candidate is judged by the party to be too abhorrent or reprehensible to the Party's values. What I'm asking you is does Roy Moore fit in that category?
DENT: Well, in my view he comes very close to that. I mean, I won't say he's David Duke by any means but he has made a number of statements as you pointed out that are very incendiary that seem to me to be very intolerant in many respects and need to be condemned, those statements. Anyway, I don't know the man, I've never met the man. And -- but -- as I said, I think this is going to set off potentially a new level of -- could set off a new level crazy in terms of the political environment, at least for the Senate Seats. We're going to see more infighting within the Republican Primaries, particularly in the southern states, (INAUDIBLE) in Tennessee, in Mississippi, potentially Arizona, in Nebraska even. I think there's some challenges here.
But look, the Senate has always been the more deliberate body where people tend to make more measured types of statements at least in tone. The House tends to be a bit more rambunctious and you'll hear a bit more inflammatory statements. It's just the way the House is, a much more rambunctious place. So I'm just curious to see if Roy Moore is elected to the Senate. I don't think that's a guarantee at this point but he likely will be. But it will certainly make life in the Republican conference -- over the Republican Conference, I suspect more complicated for Senator McConnell.
HAYES: Would you tell a voter who is trying to make up their mind in Alabama that they should vote for Roy Moore?
DENT: I'm not going to give the people of Alabama any advice as to how they should vote in an election for the Senate. That's up to them, that's up to them. Obviously, they made a choice last night and they selected Roy Moore over Luther Strange and I'm going to leave it up to the people of Alabama to make that decision. I tend not to interfere in their races.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Charlie Dent, thanks for your time tonight.
DENT: Thank you.
HAYES: For more on what the election (INAUDIBLE) it's like Roy Moore and Donald Trump signifies, I'm joined by Writer at Large for Esquire Charlie Pierce who just wrote a story on Moore's victory entitled I'm Out of Empathy, I'm Out of Pitty, I'm Out of Patience, very measured. And Michelle Goldberg, whose debut Op-Ed comes up three times this week was of the Tyranny of the Minority. I want to start on that theme, the one of the things to keep in mind here. There are 4 million people in Alabama. There were --- Roy Moore won 262,000 votes last night. That is a sizable minority of the people that vote in the Republican Primary.
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Right.
HAYES: But the nature of American politics is that if you win that primary, particularly in red state like Alabama, you're on your way to the U.S. Senate.
GOLDBERG: Right. And it goes beyond Alabama, right, because now you're seeing all of these other Senators who are being incredibly responsive. They either dropping out or going to be incredibly responsive to far right challenges. Which when you think about what's happening in this country, right, we just defeated attempts to roll back the Affordable Care Act for the third time. You have the situation where people are going into their Congressional Representatives office, you know, begging, pleading for a hearing. You know, congressmen refusing to meet with their constituents because the only people that they are really accountable to is that margin.
HAYES: Is the Roy Moore voter basically.
GOLDBERG: Right, exactly. And so -- right, and they just -- they have no incentive -- there's no incentive structure for them to take into account the needs or desires even of the majority of their constituents.
HAYES: Charlie, this seemed to me, you know, there's an argument that Donald Trump is sort of singular figure, right? He was on T.V. for nine years, he's been on the pop culture for decades, and there's this question of like, could a non-Trump Trump happen? And I feel like we got our answer last night.
CHARLIE PIERCE, WRITER AT LARGE, ESQUIRE: Yes, within the Republican Party certainly he can because both Donald Trump and Roy Moore are the products of 40 years of movement conservative Republican politics within the party. They were cruising -- they were cruising for this particular moment in history and it finally arrived. They deliberately married themselves to fear, to bigotry and to unreason. And when you do that you create a power block within your membership that can flip elections. The idea that 200,000 of my fellow citizens think a -- you know, lawless theocratic crackpot should be in the United States Senate, that's still terrifying to me. I don't care what percentage of the voting public it is.
HAYES: Yes, and we should say -- I mean, there's another way in which I think there's an analogy to Trump, which is this, and to Charlie's point. Not only is this person in Charlie's word a lawless theocrat, I mean, he really is a fringe figure and he is --
GOLDBERG: Except he's not a fringe figure anymore.
HAYES: Well, I mean, that's true. In fact, he's going to be a U.S. Senator. Right. But I want to play this tape because I think this is so key. One of the things that distinguished Donald Trump is he didn't know anything about anything, having to do with policy. And that's course of Roy Moore. Roy Moore goes on a conservative talk radio show during the election with a guy who I think basically who I think basically, partly wants to support him, he's really into DACA and rescinding it. And this is the exchange they have on DACA which is, of course, the President Obama's action to protect those people who are brought here as children. Take a listen.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you support an end to the DREAMers program that President Trump has still continued to push?
MOORE: Pardon? The DREAMer program?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes Sir. The DACA, DAPA. You're not aware of what DREAMers are?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: DREAMers, this is a big issue in the immigration debate. DREAMers are --
MOORE: Why don't you tell me what it is, Dale, and quit beating around. Tell me what it is.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: This -- I mean, even bracketing everything, bracketing everything. He doesn't know the first thing about what issues are before the country.
GOLDBERG: Right. Well, I think that to him the issues that are before the country are the ten commandments and whether we're going to recognize the United States as the -- as a Christian nation and everything else is sort of superfluous detail, and so -- right? I mean, and clearly, Alabama voters are OK with that.
HAYES: what do you make of the fact, Charlie, that in some ways you said this is 40 years of movement and service and in some ways, the worldview background of Donald Trump and Roy Moore couldn't be more different in certain ways, right? I mean, Donald Trump is not a believer. He is not a pious man. He is -- he is not someone who you know, he's not going to put the Ten Commandments in the lobby of Trump Tower and yet there's some similarity here. What is it?
PIERCE: Well, some similarity is the deliberate alliance that the Republican Party has made since roughly the late '70s with unreason and with unthinking theocracy. And those people haven't abandoned Donald Trump even though he's far from them. I mean, I suspect I'm closer to most to at least faith wise to most evangelical voters than Donald Trump is. But I once had -- I once had an argument with a guy who said that evangelical voters within the secular sphere would vote for anybody as long as they said the right things about X, Y, and Z social issues. I told them that was wrong. I hereby take it back. They all voted for Donald Trump --
PIERCE: -- who doesn't stand for anything except for -- except for the ability to point out who is doing -- who your imaginary enemies are and who are the imaginary people you should hate.
HAYES: And that is where you see a similarity.
GOLDBERG: I actually think there's a lot of ways Donald Trump is like the secular Roy Moore. I mean, Roy Moore has a famous poem that you can go read called America The Beautiful. Which is the title meant a bitter irony because it's really about how America is a "moral slum." And so, if you look at, you know, this language about how this country is you know, completely depraved and defiled, it sounds a lot like American carnage, right? And so, they both have this ideology that this country has, you know, it's kind of --
GOLDBERG: In the gutter and that only some kind of magical resurrection, you know, either MAGA or the second coming is going to --- is going to save things. And they also have -- you know, they're both conspiracy theorists, they're both birthers, they both believe in kind of creeping sharia and so -- and they both speak to very similar resentments and also they're both kind of the antinomian rule breakers.
HAYES: You should also look up Antinomian which is great word. To the holy (INAUDIBLE) allowed is the short aim for that. If not a mistake that Steve Bannon was backing both of them in other words. Charlie Pierce and Michelle Goldberg, thank you, both.
GOLDBERG: Thank you.
HAYES: Next, so, how do you beat a Senate Candidate who says Newtown and 9/11 happened because America has lost its morals? A reminder of what Roy Moore is running on and how Democrats plan to run against him in just two minutes.
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TRUMP: Roy has a very good chance of not winning in the general election. It's all about the general -- don't forget. We don't stop here. You got to beat a Democrat. Luther is going to win easily and Roy is going to have a hard time winning.
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HAYES: Well, that's the hope for Democrats that Roy Moore will have a hard time beating his Democratic opponent. And that man is Doug Jones, a former U.S. Attorney who prosecuted KKK members in the 1963 bombing of a black church which killed four girls. This is Jones' first run for political office but he has raised $100 million to date according to the New York Times. In normal circumstances, now the Democrat would have little chance in Alabama. They haven't won statewide in quite some time. But the man that Jones is running against is, after all, Roy Moore.
In 2003, Moore was unanimously removed as Chief Justice to state Supreme Court by his conservative judicial peers after he defied a federal court order for refusing to remove an enormous 10 commandments monument he had installed outside the state judicial building. 13 years later, in 2016, he was again removed as Chief Justice by his peers for his instruction to probate judges to refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses in contravention of the United States Supreme Court. And then there's Moore's views on homosexuality itself.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think that homosexual, homosexuality or homosexual conduct should be illegal today? That's a yes or no question.
MOORE: Homosexual conduct should be illegal, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should be illegal?
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HAYES: Moore has consistently ruled against gay parents in child custody case calling homosexual behavior "an inherent evil." He has called Islam a "false religion" and said -- listen to this -- said that Muslims like Representative Keith Ellison should not be allowed in Congress. He has suggested that the attacks of 9/11 are God's punishment for abortion and sodomy, a position he still won't deny.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the questions is that people are going to be bringing up immediately up here immediately, though, is you're saying that people -- America's lack of acknowledgment of God has on a lot of these situations, 9/11, the shootings and killings --
MOORE: I'm not God. I don't know what God does, you know. I definitely say, it's the lack of morality in our country which has led to these things and the only basis of morality in this country is God and it's shown in our history, logic and in law.
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HAYES: Kyle Whitmire, State Political Columnist to Alabama Media Group, has written extensively on the (INAUDIBLE) politics and Roy Moore and joins me now. The question that was floating around last night Kyle was, all right, in normal circumstances, statewide office, Democrat doesn't have a chance. Does Doug Jones have a chance?
KYLE WHITMIRE, STATE POLITICAL COLUMNIST, ALABAMA MEDIA GROUP: It's definitely an uphill climb for Doug Jones, but this is not impossible. I mean if you look back at 2012 when Roy Moore last ran for office. Now, a lot has happened since 2012. Roy Moore ran in a race against Democrat named Bob Vance. Bob Vance got 48 percent of the vote in that election. Republican voters either under-voted in that election, they didn't vote for either candidate or they crossed over and voted for the Democrat in that election. So that's giving Doug Jones and Democrats in this state a little bit of hope that this might be within reach whereas if Luther Strange or another candidate had won the nomination last night that that wouldn't be the case.
HAYES: You know, one of the things that we saw happen in the Presidential election with Donald Trump was this idea that I think people -- strategists the Democrats had was he's going to turn off these sort of suburban country club Republican voters who are going to be so offended by him, they're going to vote for Hillary Clinton. And while the margins, there was some improvement for instance over Mitt Romney or decline over Mitt Romney, that didn't bear out. I mean, that seems to be the question here. Like, people are going to come home to the Republican Party is the bet that the Republicans are making.
WHITMIRE: Yes. That's -- look, the Democrats don't have any illusions like that in Alabama. That's not something that they're banking on here. What I do think you're going to see Doug Jones coming out with is he's going to emphasize a very positive campaign. He has a very tough needle to thread here because Roy Moore's magic trick is that Roy Moore depends on his opponents to do a lot of the work for him. So if you attack him for being a religious nut, well his base then gets that much more agitated and that much more likely to turn out. So he has to emphasize a very positive campaign that he's not going to embarrass Alabama and I think you're going to hear Doug Jones using a phrase that Republicans tend to use instead which is emphasizing the rule of law. Here is a judge who has twice been removed from the bench because he violated the law. And emphasizing the hypocrisy of that and using that to appeal to those conservatives.
HAYES: That's interesting because the instinct, and we saw this play out in the Trump election is you play all of the greatest hits of all the things he said that might offend people. And what I'm hearing from you is that's a trap. If you try to do that you will make him stronger.
WHITMIRE: You can but you have to do that in a targeted campaign. You run it through, you know, through social media, through Facebook. You make sure that message is being received by the audience who needs to hear it, not a mass audience. You don't go on television using attack ads against Roy Moore as Luther Strange just learned the hard way.
HAYES: Do you think that backfired against Strange?
WHITMIRE: Strange had a lot of baggage coming into this. And I hope people outside this state understand that. He got this appointment through really auspicious means. We had a governor here who his office when he was Attorney General was investigating and he basically put that investigation on hold, and you know, stonewalled an impeachment investigation into Governor Bentley. At the same time he's going to the governor and soliciting his appointment to Jeff Sessions old Senate Seat and that did not sit well with anybody here. A lot of people saw that as gross and as corrupt and I think for a lot of people here last night, this was not even so much a vote against -- vote against Roy Moore as it was a referendum on Robert Bentley.
HAYES: All right. Kyle Whitmire, thank you.
WHITMIRE: Thank you.
HAYES: Still to come, Republicans now warning the White House to get its act together in Puerto Rico to avoid a "Katrina style event" as the President gives a head-turning answer as to why more shipments are not headed to the island. More on that next.
HAYES: There are new questions today about whether the federal government is doing everything it possibly can to help the more than 3 million Americans in Puerto Rico who remain without power following the devastation from Hurricane Maria. Congressional Democrats and Republicans have joined together to call on the President to waive a nearly 100-year-old set shipping restrictions known as the Jones Act that makes it much harder and more expensive for non-American ships to deliver goods. In this case, emergency supplies like water, medicine or fuel. Congressman Luis Gutierrez made the case to waive the law when I spoke with him last night.
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REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: The Jones Act, it means that you add an inordinate new cost to anything you receive on the island of Puerto Rico. Let's get the ships that are closest to the materials that are needed and that are cost-effective and get them. Let's lift it.
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HAYES: The federal government waived the Jones Act during the recent hurricane recoveries in both Florida and Texas. But yesterday the Department of Homeland Security said there aren't enough ships to move the cargo into Puerto Rico. It's the lack of port capacity that's the issue, the Department said. Today, DHS said they had not in fact yet decided about the waiver. But President Trump today let slip what may be the real reason the government isn't waiving the Jones Act. The truth behind that decision coming up next.
HAYES: Millions of Americans in Puerto Rico are desperate for basic supplies -- food, water and fuel, but a nearly century old shipping law is making it harder for foreign ships to help deliver that aid. So why hasn't the government issued a waiver for the so-called Jones Act as it did to help Florida and Texas recover from hurricanes?
Here's what the president said today.
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TRUMP: We have a lot of shippers and a lot of people and a lot of people that work in the shipping industry that don't want the Jones Act lifted and we have a lot of ships out there right now. and I will tell you the governor was very generous yesterday with some statements and so was the mayor of San Juan, very, very generous with their statements. That place was black. That is a really tough situation. I feel so bad for the people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: May I ask a question...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So the shipping industry doesn't want it loosened.
Senator John McCain of Arizona pushed back almost immediately tweeting, quote, "shipping industry supports Jones Act because its protectionists. Puerto Rico deserves better than policy decisions driven by special interest."
The island is in dire straits and urgently needs help. The power is out for more than 3 million U.S. citizens there with food and clean water scarce or nonexistent. Clean water particularly in many areas.
The New York Times reported on the problems in hospitals, many of which are closed or having to turn patients away because they don't have supplies or electricity. Many parts of the island remain flooded and long lines for generator fuel, food, and water.
And even when do supplies arrive, the struggle is far from over. One CBS reporter tweeting this from San Juan today.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are more than 3,000 shipping containers here at the port which are just sitting here. It's got everything they need. I literally said to somebody what's on there? And they said whatever you need. Emergency supplies, anything that a grocery store would need, but it's just sitting here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon, who represents Puerto Rico in congress, rode out Hurricane Maria sheltered in her closet. She spoke with the president this afternoon, will join him on Tuesday when he travels to the island.
And first let me start with you, congresswoman, what is your understanding of what the bottlenecks are? Why are supplies sitting in that shipping yard?
REP. JENNIFER GONZALEZ-COLON, PUERTO RICO: I mean we still need -- there's a lack of personnel manpower and have the proper logistic to move THAT shipment not only through the ports, but even from the airplanes that are arriving into the island and to maximize those help and send it to the municipalities and different towns. That's the main issue we've got right now.
You've got a lot of people, as you've already said, for six or seven hours to get the $10 bucket of gasoline, maybe five hours for a $2 bag of ice. And the main problem we've got, this is not enough policemen. There's not enough manpower and troops there to make that logistics. That's the reason President Trump sent today Brigadier General Richard Kim to help in the overseeing of the response and the logistics, to get out those help -- I mean, those commodities and goods and relief that has been sent not just by the federal government but also by the people with the humanitarian gift that we're receiving from all over the United States and all over the world, it's stay there in containers as you just said.
And that's happening right now, people are having a lot of problems in our hospitals. From the 69 hospitals, we just got 29 that are operational at this time. So this is a dire situation right now.
HAYES: It doesn't seem to me, having tracked this day by day and having been in contact with people on the island, that the trend line of improvement is fast enough.
Would you agree with that?
GONZALEZ-COLON: We have to acknowledge this is a major disaster. We're used to hurricanes but we never got a hurricane like this, at least in this century.
We're talking about the whole power lines, it's down. Communications are down.
The radar from the airport, international airport, it was down. It was three flights until today, that is 18. But we strive for 42 flights per day. So, the challenge here is arriving stuff to the island, of course, it is going to be by sea or by air.
And the main problem we've got, even when we got more than 5,000 personnel from FEMA and the federal agencies in the island before the Irma, during Irma, and after the Irma, and the same thing with Maria, the problem is that we need more stuff.
We need more help. That's the reason that I'm happy that President Trump and the cabinet are sending troops, they're sending personnel during the weekend to the island to help, I mean, with the logistics.
We don't have the capability to manage this kind of dire situation when you got a lot of debris on the roads, when you got more than nine bridges that were washed away with the rivers, municipalities in town in-communicated, people dying because they can't have chemo or even dialysis.
HAYES: Can I stop you right there, Congresswoman? Because this is something -- do we know -- are you confident that there aren't people that right now as we speak who aren't near death for lack of access?
GONZALEZ-COLON: Yes. I can tell you with direct knowledge, you know why? Because my office was coordinating today to have some babies with problems to get out of the -- evacuated from the island.
Because I coordinated with the coast guard the movement of 25 patients of chemo just this evening. Because I coordinated with the coast guard and they did -- and thank you for that, to move patient to receive dialysis. That's happening right now.
We're using our -- our hospitals are with generators. There's no power on the island. This is a real humanitarian crisis. I'm happy that the president put his, you know, his will and he's coming to the island, he's sending the troops. Sending the help.
The Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, just said this week there's going to be another relief package for the hurricanes, especially for Puerto Rico, and I hope this get done soon.
HAYES: All right. Congresswoman Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon, thank you.
GONZALEZ-COLON: Thank you.
HAYES: Still ahead, our HHS Secretary Tom Price's days are numbered in the Trump administration. How the man at the center of an unfolding massive scandal is also trying to sabotage Obamacare.
Plus, presidential math in tonight's Thing One, Thing Two, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HAYES: Thing One tonight, a day after Senate Republicans said they would not vote on a health care bill because they did not have the votes needed to pass it, the president composed an extraordinary tweet. Quote, "With one yes vote in hospital & very positive signs from Alaska and two others (McCain is out), we have the HCare Vote, but not for Friday!"
Now, I cover this stuff for a living. I pay pretty close attention and for the life of me I could not figure out what the president was tweeting about.
After Senator Susan Collins, John McCain and Rand Paul all announced their opposition to the bill, the Republicans specifically said they didn't have the votes for it. Literally, Senator Bill Cassidy said, and I quote him here, "We don't have the votes".
And who on earth was this yes vote senator who was supposedly stuck in the hospital?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have the votes for health care. We have one senator that's in the hospital. He can't vote because he's in the hospital.
He can't vote because he's in the hospital.
We have two other votes that are coming and we will have them.
I feel we have the votes. I'm almost certain we have the votes. But with one man in the hospital we cannot display that we have them.
We have the votes. We can't do it now because we have somebody in the hospital. In other words, he can't come here and vote because he's in the hospital.
He's in the hospital.
One of our guest votes is in the hospital.
I can't take -- wait. I can't take him out of the hospital.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Well, it turns out there was no senator in the hospital, and we know that because the senator who Trump was talking about went on Twitter to say, I'm not hospitalized.
And that's Thing Two in 60 seconds. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He can't vote because he's in the hospital.
We have two other votes that are coming and we will have them. I feel we have the votes. I'm almost certain we have the votes, but with one man in the hospital we cannot display that we have them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: An hour or so after the president repeatedly claimed that a senator was in the hospital, Senator Thad Cochran, who according to his office had recently been tweeted for a urological issue, tweeted, and I quote, "Thanks for the well wishes. I am not hospitalized, but I recuperating at home in Mississsippi and look forward to returning to work soon."
Well that's pretty definitive. So, Trump was wrong to declare nine times today that a Republican yes vote was hospitalized.
He was also entirely wrong to claim that Republicans had enough votes on health care.
At an event in Indianapolis this afternoon, the president stopped repeating one of those blatant false hoods.
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TRUMP: We have the votes on Graham-Cassidy, but with the rules of reconciliation, we're up against a deadline of Friday. Two days. That's just two days. And yes vote senator, we have a wonderful senator, great great senator, who is a yes vote, but he's home recovering from a pretty tough situation. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HAYES: Now that the latest attempt to repeal Obamacare has failed, Republican Senator Lamar Alexander and Democrat Patty Murray are restarting those bipartisan health care talks, which GOP leaders had blocked to make way for Graham-Cassidy.
But even as the Senate gets back to work working out fixes for some of the problems with Obamacare, the Trump administration seems to be doing just about everything it can to sabotage the law, intentionally making health care more expensive and less accessible for the people who depend on it.
Today Vax and Buzzfeed reported that the Department of Health Services is pulling out of enrollment events around the country which help states prepare to get people signed up on the exchanges.
A director of one advocacy group in Mississippi said, "HHS's destructive actions will ultimately reduce enrollment. increase costs and drive up the uninsured rate in the state."
Now this comes after HHS announced last week that it's cutting the overall budget for Obamacare Outreach by 72%, including a 90% cut to the advertising budget, and as much as a 92% cut to the health care navigators, which help consumers through the complex enrollment process.
Those obstacles could trigger an Obamacare death spiral if they prevent enough young and healthy people from signing up. Premiums are already rising. Thanks to the Trump administration's wavering on what are known as cost sharing reductions, those are CSRs which subsidize out of pocket costs for low income Americans.
Mississippi just announced an average premium increase of 47% specifically pointing to the administration's refusal to guarantee those future payments.
With just over three months until open enrollment, the man driving all of the sabotage campaign may not last that long. Why HHS Secretary Tom Price's days could be numbered, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HAYES: It has not been a good week for Tom Price. The Secretary of Health and Human Services following a string of exposes from Politico on his use of expensive private jets, charging over $400,000 to the taxpayers since just May on travel that sometimes combined personal and government business.
The Inspector General at HHS has started review on Price's flights. Now the Republican-led House Oversight Committee is getting on the case, launching an investigation into agency travel.
Most ominously for Price, the man who appointed him is taking notice. The president himself telling reporters today that he is not happy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I was looking into it and I will look into it, and I will tell you personally, I'm not happy about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to fire him?
What are you going to do about it, Mr. President?
TRUMP: I will look at it.
I am not happy about it and I let him know it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: But it turns out Price isn't the only cabinet secretary with taste for luxury air travel. According to CBS News, EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt has spent more than $58,000 taxpayers dollars on noncommercial flights, almost a quarter of that total going to a single day of travel within his home state of Oklahoma.
Rachana Pradhan is a health care reporter for Politico who helped break the story of Tom Price's use of pricate jets.
Rachana, you've been doing amazing reporting. Thank you for coming on.
How big a deal do you think a deal the president's comments are?
RACHANA PRADHAN, POLITICO: Well, I do think they're notable, Chris, because as we saw today, the president is not rushing to defend Secretary Price's use of private planes.
And, on the other hand though, we've seen this in the past where Trump will say we'll see when he wants to dodge something. I think it's fair to say that Price is on thin ice but is he going to lose his job? We just don't know that yet.
HAYES: In the beginning it seemed there was sort of a drip, drip, drip. You guys had this story of one weekend in which there was about $50,000 of cost and then you got another bill, you got $300,000, and then up to $400,000. You figured out all of these things.
What is the story that HHS is telling now about why Tom Price needs to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on charter aircraft?
PRADHAN: Most of the time the rationality that they've given for us is essentially that Tom Price is very busy man with a lot of commitments and he needs to get to places and commercial aircraft is not best to do that or most efficient way to do that.
And to that we've responded by finding commercial options available to many of the cities, often time at a much -- almost always at much less cost to the tax payer.
Really they haven't given us a solid justification as to why Secretary Price has been taking private planes.
As we reported yesterday, two of the trips that we dug into, there was mixing of official business according to HHS and definitely some personal ties that Secretary Price has to the locations where he went.
HAYES: He had lunch with son in Nashville. He went a day and a half early to St. Simons Island in Georgia where he owns some property. Those are two examples.
But, just to give an example, NBC used to run this series called, Fleecing of America, right? The whole idea was they'd find someone with hand in the till, you'd spent too much money of the taxpayers money.
When he flew from D.C. to Nashville, that was an $18,000 flight for 90 minutes of work in Nashville for a $200 on commercial air correct?
PRADHAN: Right, and he was on the ground in Nashville for just under six hours is what we found based on the contracts and flight records we were able to locate.
How HHS is justifying this is that he went to a medication dispensary where he spoke and then he later went to a summit in the afternoon where he made another speech, but really, as you said, the amount of time he was doing official work in his capacity as secretary was for 90 minutes roughly, which really is very little compared to how much he spent on the flight itself.
HAYES: Alright. Rachana Pradhana, again, excellent work.
Thank you very much.
PRADHAN: Thank you.
HAYES: Let's bring in Josh Earnest, former White House Press Secretary under President Obama and now an MSNBC political analyst.
How out of the ordinary is this?
JOSH EARNEST, MSNBC: Totally extraordinary. The thing that's troubling about it is it's not just Tom Price but there's been stories about Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin inquiring about whether or not he can take a government military aircraft on his honeymoon given his national security demands and Scott Pruitt.
The thing that Trump team fails to understand I think is the idea of what public service actually is. They think that they deserve to be rewarded for this kind of public service. Tom Price thinks deserves to fly on these private planes because he's so important.
I'll just tell you something, Chris. I worked in the White House. I loved working in the White House.
HAYES: I never thought of you as that important.
EARNEST: I wasn't. But here's the thing. It's not glamorous.
You wake up early in the morning. You're subject to criticism. You're subject to being mocked. You're subject to being protested. You go to bed late at night. You miss family events, you have to cut vacations short.
But you know what you do get to do though, Chris? Is you get to go to bed at night with a self-satisfaction knowing you contributed to something that is bigger than yourself.
HAYES: Okay. Now you're living up to your last name.
EARNEST: But it's the thing. That's the heart of this whole thing, that they fail to understand what they're supposed to be doing.
HAYES: Okay. But, there's also just a question of controls. That's true, the spirit that's animating people. But you have controls in place.
I got to imagine, and I should say my wife worked in the Obama White House the first several years. And just talking to her, if anyone at one of the agencies had started running up $100,000 bill for private jets someone would have caught that and said what are you doing, right?
EARNEST: Definitely. Occasionally there were times where the first person to catch it was a Republican in Congress who was rightfully upset about it.
That's the role that they are supposed to do, Congress is supposed to provide oversight over the executive branch to make sure that money is well-spent, but usually these things were prevented from becoming problems by people in the administration stepping up saying you can't take a private plane. It's not a responsible use of taxpayers dollars.
HAYES: I'm imagining Rahm Emanuel on the phone with someone over at HHS and the phone call that would happen if it got back to him that the secretary chartered a private jet for a D.C. to Nashville flight.
That would not have flown.
EARNEST: There were other people in the Obama White House that had enforcer reputations like Jim Messina who you did not want to get crossways with, and who felt an obligation to the President of the United States to make sure that we all lived up to to the high standard that he set for himself.
And in this case we are seeing Trump cabinet secretaries live down to the standard that is established by President Trump.
HAYES: Right. I guess that is my point. Like, there is one reason not to do it, your spirit of public service. The other is it looks bad. You might get in trouble. It's amazing to me that they blew through both of those.
Right? Because the second one, even if you're not animated by spirit of public service, the second one usually keeps a lot of people in check too.
I don't want name in the papers but again I have to remind people Tom Price was accused of a series of extremely sketchy stock transactions, selling things he had knowledge and oversight of in congressional perch and he was confirmed anyway, and I wonder what message it sent to him.
EARNEST: Clearly the wrong one because he did not learn his lesson. This is why it's important that Rachana are doing this kind of reporting. There has to be some accountability somewhere and if there are not officials inside the Trump administration that are not prepared to hold them accountable, if there are not Republicans in Congress who are prepared to hold them accountable, there has to be some public accountability.
HAYES: Can he keep his job doing this?
EARNEST: Apparently they did follow the letter of the law in doing this, so I don't know if there's criminal penalties, but you do have inspector general looking into this and I did see that there has been some oversight requests that have been made which is how the Pruitt thing came out.
So, we'll see what broader impact is, but the only reason we are having this conversation right now is not because someone in the Trump administration stepped forward and said they shouldn't be doing this. It's because these reporters were doing excellent work and they deserve credit. So I'm glad you had her on your show.
HAYES: Josh Earnest, great to you have you here in the studio. Come by anytime.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.
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