Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: September 11, 2018 Guest: Luis Gutierrez, Dan Kildee, Brian Dickerson, Lauren Gibbons, Yousef Rabhi, Trymaine Lee
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: -- power that Donald Trump has given to relatives who act less like a royal family of a constitutional monarchy and more like the royal families of old like the Romanovs. This is HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: All right, good evening live from Flint, Michigan, I`m Chris Hayes. We are just 56 days from November 6th and we are here tonight at Churchill`s, it`s a crucial swing state of Michigan, a state that went to Trump in 2016. We`re going to talk about what it looks like two years later and what to expect in two months. We`ve got lots of people here in Flint tonight. Your Congressman in Flint Dan Kildee is here.
ALL IN Reporter Trymaine Lee is here with some new reporting. Miss Michigan is here tonight after calling out the Flint water crisis on national television this week. We`ll also hear from the Michiganders here with me in the bar tonight about what they think of the president and what they want to see happen after November 6th. And our special coverage continues tomorrow night when we bring you our town hall with Flint native Michael Moore whose new film documents the Trump presidency through the experiences of the people of this community. You do not want to miss that.
But we begin tonight with a stark illustration of just what`s at stake with the potentially catastrophic hurricane now bearing down on the East Coast prompting mandatory evacuation orders for more than a million people. The President of the United States today sat in the Oval Office and bragged about his performance in dealing with the biggest disaster he has overseen as president, the hurricane that devastated Puerto Rico.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think Puerto Rico was incredibly successful. Puerto Rico was actually our toughest one of all because it`s an island so you don`t -- you can`t truck things on to it. Everything is by boat. We moved the hospital into Puerto Rico, a tremendous military hospital in the form of a ship, you know that. And I actually think and the governor has been very nice in domestic government, he`ll tell you what a great job. I think probably the hardest one we had by far was Puerto Rico because of the island nature and I actually think it was one of the best jobs that`s ever been done with respect to what this is all about.
Puerto Rico got hit not with one hurricane but with two. And the problem with Puerto Rico is their electric grid and their electric generating plant was dead before the storms ever hit. It was in very bad shape, it was in bankruptcy, had no money, it was largely you know, was largely closed. And when the storm hit, they had no electricity essentially before the storm, and when the storm hit, that took it out entirely. The job that FEMA and law enforcement and everybody did working along with the Governor in Puerto Rico I think was tremendous.
I think the Puerto Rico was an incredible unsung success. Texas, we have been given A+ a score. Florida we`ve been given A+ a score. I think in a certain way the best job we did was Puerto Rico but nobody would understand that. I mean, that`s -- it`s harder to understand. It was very hard -- very hard thing to do because of the fact they had no electric before the storms hit. It was dead as you probably know. So we`ve gotten a lot of receptivity, a lot of things for the job we`ve done in Puerto Rico.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The unsung success the president is talking about there. The death toll from Hurricane Maria was formally raised just this month to nearly 3,000 people. It took nearly a year for power to be fully restored in the island, a failure that helped contribute to hundreds of deaths in the aftermath of that storm. And that`s the record that Donald Trump is today celebrating.
A president who today pumped his fist when arriving at a September 11th memorial event, whose White House is actively working against him to safeguard the nation according to Bob Woodward`s new book and in a recent anonymous op-ed in the New York Times, and who looks at what happened in Puerto Rico and sees not an infallible humanitarian tragedy and governing failure but a rousing success. That man is now once again charged with protecting the country from disaster.
Joining me now Representative Luis Gutierrez, Democrat of Illinois whose parents migrated from Puerto Rico, who was announced he is giving up his seat in Congress next year, move to the island next year to help the recovery efforts. Your response to what the President had to say about Puerto Rico today?
REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: It might be although I`m sure that there are others that will compete one of his just biggest fabrications and lies. How do you celebrate and declare a success when officially now the deaths are over 3,000? And you know, Chris, that`s the latest study one accepted by the government of Puerto Rico that never wanted to change the numbers and was complicit with this president in trying to hide the real calamity and deaths and the lack of action of the American government.
But let me say this the Harvard study said it was over 4,000. And Chris, I was there within ten days. I was there within today not because the government allowed me to go or facilitate it because Donald Trump did everything he could to stop any oversight over the conduct of the American government and what it was doing to facilitate. I think the Mayor of San Juan Carmen Yulin was absolutely correct. You let people die. And you know if you think a success is having the deaths of people on your hands, let me -- because I think it`s important to put it into context, Chris, he said two things.
He said well, you know, the people of Puerto Rico would be better off but they want us to do everything for them so he called us lazy. And then he said, wow, you`re busting my budget, he called us worthless or not notorious of sufficient government. This is a President of the United States with a catastrophic situation in Puerto Rico, unprecedented in Puerto Rico with thousands of people dying and saying how expensive and how lazy work. The only one who was lazy was you Mr. President. You were lazy and you weren`t on duty and people died because of it.
HAYES: You know, what I keep thinking about as this -- as we look at Hurricane Florence as it comes towards Carolina coast at a Category Four, very very dire warnings about what it could bring. There has still as far as I can tell been no really thorough or systematic after-action report about how it was the American government allowed 3,000 Americans to die in an American territory and that seems relevant to whatever hurricane preparedness happens in the upper 50 states.
GUTIERREZ: Yes. Well, he bragged today, Chris, about how ready he was and he kept telling us how big the storm was because you know, he likes using monosyllabic words like big and huge and great. And he used them all to describe the oncoming hurricane instead of reassuring the American public about what was there to make sure that they could be kept safe because everything is huge and big.
And of course, you want to know what I fear, is the calamity, because of the lack of coordination of the government with the National Guard and with local government, the lack of responsiveness and preparedness of this government because the president, he wants to find out who was the one that wrote that op-ed piece about the chaos in the White House, because he wants the Justice Department. He is so consumed by the calamity that exists and the chaos that exists that he`s not really prepared and focused because he spends every weekend golfing instead of preparing. You know, 15 of the top managers at FEMA are acting. They`re not even in their permanent positions. They haven`t even taken time to give them their jobs.
But let me just say this too because I think it`s important, Chris, as we look at crisis like this whether it`s the Muslim Ban, whether it`s transgender community being eliminated from the military, any of these terrible hateful things that this president does. Let me say this. On behalf of the people of Puerto Rico, how thankful they are to the American people and to the American public that has put in tens of millions of dollars in real resources and made a difference and it stopped deaths from occurring. I want to congratulate the American people and that resistance that exists on so many levels.
HAYES: Final thought about this. If Democrats were to take the House this fall, do you think it would be on the agenda to actually do some oversight over the response in Puerto Rico?
GUTIERREZ: That is going to be one of our most important actions and yes I will be in Congress. Yes, next March I intend to be in the island of Puerto Rico and I`m going to be there to facilitate. But let me tell you what I`m going to do, Chris. I`ve been to Pennsylvania where Donald Trump won by 40,000 votes. And you know where I went? I went into smaller towns in Pennsylvania where there are large Puerto Rican pockets of voters and I`ve been to Florida and I`m going to go to Florida this coming weekend and let me just say the President, he should understand there are going to be electoral consequences because hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans had to flee the island because of what this government did not do and how it did not intervene. They now live in Florida, they now live in Pennsylvania.
And Mr. President you should know, they are registering to vote. They are mobilizing. They are organizing. And the people and the island of Puerto Rico are going to implore, are going to urge, are going to inspire the Puerto Rican community of Florida and of Pennsylvania to come out and vote in 2020 for a president that loves the people of the island of Puerto Rico and loves the people of the United States of America.
HAYES: All right, Representative Luis Gutierrez, thank you so much for being with me.
GUTIERREZ: Thank you.
HAYES: With me now Democratic Representative Dan Kildee of Michigan who is currently inside his district which includes Flint. So what your colleague said, do you feel -- I mean, everyone`s walking around Washington right now in the wake of this Woodward book, and the anonymous op-ed and it seems like the open secret is now out in the open. Like, is this the way that people in Washington understand the president, that fundamentally he`s unfit and can`t actually dispatch his duties and everyone is just going to work around that.
REP. DAN KILDEE (D), MICHIGAN: Yes, I mean the things that Bob Woodward wrote, the thing that the anonymous author or authors wrote is essentially common knowledge Washington among Democrats and Republicans, among people inside and outside the White House. This is an open secret. They have to deny it when it`s written on a piece of paper because the president operates on the assumption that he can say anything and do anything and the two don`t have to match at all. He`s a man-child and that`s what we`re dealing with.
HAYES: You know, Congressman Gutierrez talked about you know, how he`s not focused but it also seems that in these circumstances the less focus he has the better. I mean, honestly do you want the president to really focus on really crucial life-and-death matters like hurricane preparedness right now, or do you want other people to handle it?
KILDEE: Well, we want the President of the United States to be capable of focusing on these big questions. And that`s the -- that`s the struggle that we face. Now, this particular president, of course, I mean, we don`t know what his values are, we don`t know what he believes because he`s a purely transactional person. He has no core beliefs, he has no core values. But just because of that, doesn`t mean we don`t have big problems in this country. You know, it`s interesting that we`re talking about Puerto Rico.
The night of the State of the Union I ran into the Mayor of San Juan Puerto Rico and she recognized me from this network. And she looked at me and she pointed and said you know what, you and I have something in common. We both represent people that this administration is completely overlooked and completely forgotten. In Puerto Rico, they say that it`s OK and it`s over when it`s not over. In Flint, they say it`s OK and it`s over when it`s not over. They say the water is fine when it isn`t. In Puerto Rico, they say nobody died when people did die. They can deny, he can deny facts in front of his very face and go on with his day, that`s the frightening thing.
HAYES: This is -- you know, in this case, in the case of Puerto Rico and in Flint is where you see just how stark all this is and how high the stakes are for competent governance, right? I mean, these are -- Puerto Rico and Flint I think it`s fair to say are the side of the two biggest American governing disasters over the last five years. I think -- I think that`s --
KILDEE: Ongoing disaster.
HAYES: Ongoing disasters. About what has happened here and the drinking water, has this administration been helpful? Do you feel like the federal government has got your back or help this community?
KILDEE: No. And in fact, they did a sort of a moment of celebration when they delivered finally in the first few months of their administration the resources that I and our senators got and that President Obama committed to, but beyond that, they`ve done virtually nothing.
HAYES: You just said the water here is not safe to drink.
KILDEE: No one trusted and for good reason.
HAYES: Right. That to me -- that gets to something real key here. And right now we`re watching -- right now there`s all kinds of ways in which the federal government is going to issue orders and local governments are going to issue orders those folks in the Carolinas to evacuate, right? And there`s a question about whether those folks trust what the government says. What I`ve observed it being around talking people in Flint is the trust is entirely broken, entirely broken. No one can possibly trust the government particularly the state government, federal government, after what happened.
KILDEE: Yes. And to be fair, people in Flint for good reason don`t make distinctions between levels --
KILDEE: They were told the water was safe when the government knew that it was not safe, knew that it was dangerous, knew that would hurt people. How can they be expected to trust anything anyone says? Flint is not some sort of anomaly. Flint is a warning to the rest of the country that if we don`t figure out a way to take back control of our government and have people in those positions that we trust, we cannot ever rebuild this trust. You know, it`s interesting. This president -- you`re talking about this president.
Our Constitution, the framers anticipated the potential of a rogue president and I just have to say this. Donald Trump by himself is not the problem. And then this is where I think the moment that occurs to us right now is so critical. The problem is the people who were supposed to put a check on that president, to ensure that the trust was still there, that people could have some kind of faith in their government, are the people in the Congress of the United States. And the majority in Congress, the Republicans have essentially handed their voting cards to Donald Trump and said look, you`re in charge. You`re completely in charge. They have wrapped their arms so tightly around his ankles they will go anywhere he takes them.
HAYES: You know, I think today on September 11th when people are thinking about the Americans we lost in the attack 17 years ago, around 3,000 Americans who were murdered on that day, and about -- thinking about oversight, right? I mean, there was the 9/11 Commission, so how did this happened? And a huge Commission was put together to get to the bottom. There`s 3,000 Americans have done Puerto Rico and as far as I can tell, nothing. There`s been no Commission, there`s been very few hearings, no sustained inquiry to how it is that 3,000 Americans died on this government`s watch.
KILDEE: You know, one of the people in the White House who`s never been threatened with the loss of his job who`s been there throughout, who whispers in Donald Trump`s ear is a guy who early in the administration spoke a moment of truth that really tells the story of this -- of this administration, Stephen Miller. He stood up and said the president`s authority will not be questioned. The President will not be questioned. That was really -- that was a moment that now has stuck with us for all this time because the position that they take is that we can do anything we want and you can`t touch us.
HAYES: And yet what`s crazily surreal is that at the same time they say that, everyone in that White House apparently is just like get a load of this guy as soon as he leaves the room.
KILDEE: Yes, it`s true. But you know what, they don`t deserve a pat on the back. You know, whoever wrote that op-ed, they don`t deserve a pat on the back. What they need to do is step outside of that White House and say you know what, this government is broken, it is threatened, and Congress needs to do its job and rein this guy in. We have lots of different tools available to us and people talk all about you know, the 25th amendment. We talk all about the potential for impeachment. The truth of the matter is like tomorrow when we go into session, we have tools right in front of us to tamp down the authority of the president and tell him he can`t do these crazy things that he`s doing.
So impeachment, yes, whatever 25th amendment, whatever, do our jobs that we swore an oath to today that we can -- we can rein in the danger that this president is bringing.
HAYES: My favorite detail of the schedule this week where you work in the United States Capitol where 56 days out, there`s a hurricane bearing down on the East Coast, we`re reeling from these revelations at the White House, tomorrow there`s going to be a floor vote on another round of tax cuts.
KILDEE: They`re moving the tax bill, tax cut 2.0.
HAYES: Did they had a hearing or anything?
KILDEE: They`re trying to get it through Ways and Means to get it to the floor as fast as they can.
HAYES: It`s really astounding. Representative Dan Kildee, thanks for your time tonight.
KILDEE: Thank you, Chris. Thank you.
HAYES: Much more to come live in Flint, Michigan in the state that delivered one of the most shocking election results in 2016 is already shaping out to be a key fight in the upcoming Midterms with votes Mike Pence and Joe Biden hitting the campaign trail here. The fight for Michigan next. Don`t go away.
HAYES: All right, we are back coming to you live from Churchill`s in Flint, Michigan. It is, of course, the battleground state a lot at stake in just 56 days when voters go to the polls and so tomorrow Vice President Mike Pence is headed to Western Michigan to stump for the Trump tax cuts also meeting with the DeVos family and as Democrats bring in their own big gun. Vice President Biden will head to Bloomfield Hills tomorrow to raise money for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Gretchen Whitmer who we have in the program last night and who he endorse last month.
For more on what`s happening on the ground in this key battleground state I`m joined by Brian Dickerson, Columnist for the Detroit Free Press, Lauren Gibbons a Reporter with MLive.com and State Representative Yousef Rabhi. You know, Michigan was one of -- I think maybe be more surprising result in 2016 but it`s also a place that when heavily Republican in 2010, the governor was reelected in 2014, and there`s some of this suggests that the kinds of voters that powered those victories have moved away for the president a little bit in states like Michigan and Minnesota and Wisconsin. What do you think about that thesis?
BRIAN DICKERSON, COLUMNIST, DETROIT FREE PRESS: Chris, the most astonishing thing about Michigan in 2016 to me was not that Donald Trump carried the state by 10,000 votes but that almost 80,000 people have participated in that election did not cast a vote in the presidential race. No vote at all. That`s not going to happen this time. There`s nobody planning to vote in this election who doesn`t have a dog in all of the fights.
HAYES: Yes, and that was -- that was really strange feature of the Michigan election in 2016. Gretchen Whitmer who we had on the program, she`s running against the current A.G. of the state of Michigan Bill Schuette. There`s new polling out that has her up 14 points. This was seen as a marquee battleground sort of contested neck-and-neck race. Are you surprised by that number?
LAUREN GIBBONS, REPORTER, MLIVE.COM: I think a little surprised considering how close it was in the 2016 presidential election, but as in other areas of the country Michigan is seeing some momentum from Democrats in terms of coming back to the -- to fight the Trump administration. And so you`re seeing a little bit of that and you know, this interesting race because it`s just you have two people who are very experienced politicians so you`re going to -- you`re not seeing any of that outsider element you saw in the Trump race. So you have two very experienced politicians, so I think it comes down to you know, which one resonates with voters more.
HAYES: Am I crazy or is there a ton of advertising on that race right now in the air?
GIBBONS: A ton, yes.
DICKERSON: They both had a lot of money.
HAYES: Yes, there`s a lot of money coming in, there`s a lot of natural money. You are a State Representative.
YOUSEF RABHI (D), STATE REPRESENTATIVE, MICHIGAN: Yes.
HAYES: And so I imagine that you`re involved in sort of electioneering campaigning right? What do you feel like you`re hearing, how does it differ from what you might have been hearing two years ago in 2016?
RABHI: So I had -- I had the opportunity to knock doors all across the state in 2016 which is, of course, a year that we did not pick up any states in the State House and I`ve been doing the same thing this year knocking in some of those same seats. And whereas in 2016, folks would ask is your candidate a Democrat or a Republican and I would say a Democrat and I would either get the door shut in my face or I`d be told to leave their property.
This year it is the complete opposite reaction. People are opening the door. They`re saying that`s all I needed to hear. I`m voting for them. So I think you know, some of the things that were said earlier I think are true. I don`t think people were excited to vote for Donald Trump. I think a lot of people that I`ve been talking to this year just felt like they didn`t have a choice. But now hopefully they have a choice and they realize that we can move this country in a different direction.
HAYES: I also wonder how much -- I mean, the situation in Flint obviously affects this community but it`s been an enormous story statewide. There`s multiple prosecutions ahead of this. The state health agency is currently facing two charges of manslaughter while being defended by lawyers paid for you, State of Michigan taxpayers. How much you think that is shaping people`s thoughts about this race?
DICKERSON: It`s hard to say outside Flint. It`s tricky because Bill Schuette, the Republican Attorney General running for Governor is leading that prosecution. A lot of people think it`s a sham prosecution. A lot of people think many of those cases will never get to trial but he has positioned himself at least for this race as the antidote to the Republicans --
HAYES: Schuette because he is the sort of watchdog, he`s in the watchdog, he`s the state`s A.G., that gives him an opportunity to go to the voters and say I am not part of the system that brought about this, the water in Flint.
DICKERSON: I think he still has to answer for why it took him so long to become involved in that investigation and where he was earlier in the process but he does have that going for him.
HAYES: You know, Debbie Stabenow is the Senator here and she`s in cycle which means she`s up this year. She`s someone that when you first looked at the map, right, after the 2016 when people would throw up this map and they say look at all these Senate seats Democrats will have to defend in States Donald Trump won, and she was one of them. And there was some others too, Sherrod Brown and Tammy Baldwin, right, in the Midwest. That race does not look super competitive. How do you understand the dynamics of that?
GIBBONS: Yes, you do see a lot of enthusiasm from James` supporters. He`s very charismatic and young and she kind of tried to bank on that and use that momentum.
HAYES: This is the nominee --
GIBBONS: John James, yes, of the --
HAYES: He`s a veteran who had fascinating biography, business owner.
GIBBONS: Yes, so he`s kind of trying to use that enthusiasm but I think that Debbie Stabenow`s coalition is very strong. She really appeals to a lot of agricultural voters because of her work on the farm bill in past years. So I think that it`s a little bit of a different dynamic than it is in other states. Those are a bunch of sort of state specific. Nationally, I mean what we have seen across different regions of the country that are very different from each other and not really sort of related, is just huge increases in Democratic enthusiasm, right? I mean, special elections, the turnout, is that -- is that what you`re seeing, is that what you`re seeing in the primary and things like that?
RABHI: So I think a lot of it is going to depend on the work done between now and November. People talk a lot about the blue wave and about you know, people, all these people turning out, that`s only going to happen if Democrats get down you know, on the doors and start knocking doors and talking to people which we aren`t doing. So I think if the blue wave is a drop behind every door and each drop is liberated, when the voter opens the door and you can talk to them altogether those draft would make --
HAYES: I wouldn`t tell voters that when you`re talking to them at the door.
RABHI: I think it`s empowering because everybody is working together to take our country back.
HAYES: You know, there`s -- at the very top in the White House when they talk about the midterms, they clearly want to talk about the economy and it`s understandably, right? I mean, the macroeconomic numbers are good, the ads that I`ve seen of particularly from the Republican Governors Association going after Whitmer are about the economy basically saying look, the Republican Governor was here while things got better, don`t go back. How do you think the economy plays here right now how people are thinking about it in terms of politics.
DICKERSON: I don`t think anybody in Michigan thinks they`re rolling into good times. Their unemployment is lower -- unemployment lower, wages are not higher --
HAYES: You feel that. It`s not like over flush. It`s a boomtown.
DICKERSON: Yes. And in in in Pennsylvania the steelworkers are about to go on strike, the same thing the steel industry is doing great. Steelworkers are not doing very well. I think there`s the same dynamic going on in Michigan.
HAYES: And do you see Republicans sort of making -- Mike Bishop is another case, right? A contested congressional race, one of the swing districts in Michigan 8th with a very promising Democratic challenger, he sees -- what case is he trying to make as sort of a national level?
GIBBONS: I think he`s trying to make that case that he supported the tax reforms. He has supported president Trump`s policies and yes, you`re correct in the sense that Elissa Slotkin has raised a lot more money. She`s gained a lot more national momentum than anyone in the Eighth District has in several years. So this is definitely going to be an interesting race. And I think you`re seeing Mike Bishop has a little bit more of a fight at his hands even despite having a pretty Republican district there.
DICKERSON: Now, my perspective is that Mike Bishop`s strategy is not to come out of bathroom until the election is over. I haven`t -- I haven`t seen him defending the President on the stump. He -- Michigan is a state where independent voters elect statewide candidate and Republican candidates here have the same problem they have in a lot of other states like Michigan. You can`t win a Republican primary without wrapping yourself around the President and you can`t win them -- independent voters if you wrap around the President.
HAYES: I saw a Mike Fisher ad on T.V. and I didn`t know if it`s a Democrat or Republican because it talked about -- it talk about clean water, it talked about fighting opioid epidemic. It was not build the wall MAGA, MAGA, MAGA. And I thought that was interesting in terms of where he at least thinks this sort of political measure of the district. Brian Dickerson, Lauren Gibbons and state Representative Yousef Rabhi, thanks for joining us. I really appreciate it.
GIBBONS: Thank you.
DICKERSON: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Coming up, from Churchill`s in Flint, Miss Michigan is here with us and Trymaine Lee has special report on what is right for the people who live here every day in the city. That is next stick around.
HAYES: We are here tonight in Flint, Michigan where people are still, still struggling, more than four years since the onset of a water crisis, where lead poisoned their children and their families. All In reporter Trymaine Lee spent some time talking to residents about what it`s like living under the shadow of that disaster.
KALEEKA LEWIS-HARRIS (PH), FLINT RESIDENT : I have to sit in the line for hours. I have people that come at nighttime. It used to be 4:00 in the morning, some people come at 12:00 at night so they can be IN the beginning, so that they can be on time for work.
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC: Why is this happening? Two years later people are having to come up and drink bottled water.
LEWIS-HARRIS: Two years later. They say it`s fixed. You see all these people? Do you think it`s fixed? A lot of people`s water is still colored, so that`s the answer right there. The crowd is the answer.
ARTHUR WOODSON, FLINT RESIDENT: People don`t trust it. And I don`t trust it. I don`t think it`s safe. And the same people who told us it was safe when we was in this predicament are the same people telling us now that it`s safe.
LEE: Because that`s what it`s about, right, it`s trust. All the trust has been lost in Flint.
WOODSON: It`s gone.
LEE: Do you trust the water?
KIRK FISHER, FLINT RESIDENT: I trust the bottled water.
LEE: Not the stuff coming out your pipes?
FISHER: No. No, I don`t trust the stuff coming out of my pipe.
LEE: Do you feel you`ve been let down by politicians and the governor and like how high does it go?
FISHER: Most definitely, most definitely.
DEBBIE DAVIDSON, FLINT RESIDENT: Oh, it`s every aspect of my life. My kids are like, mom, we need water. Mom, we need water. We need water for the dog. Mom, we need drinking water. I mean, it`s not just for us, it`s for the animals as well. So, yeah, it impacts every aspect of our lives.
HENRY THOMPSON, FLINT RESIDENT: I`ve been here for 60 years. Flint has never been like this before, never. We`ve always had clean water.
Look, this is -- Flint is supposed to be the state with all of the nice lakes and stuff like that, and everything is contaminated. I mean, what happened?
MONICA VILLARREAL: We`re here today to deliver some water to Flint residents, to residents who are medically critical or people with disabilities, households that can no longer get service because the state ended the funding. And today we met a gentleman who is legally blind.
We got your water.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okedoke.
VILLARREAL: And so he needs assistance with bottled water as well as the filter, the faucet that Flint residents are using.
So, our program currently is servicing about 170 households each and every month. These folks who cannot get out of their homes are really the forgotten people of Flint.
HAYES: All In reporter Trymaine Lee joins me now.
Trymaine, it`s shocking of see a line of cars lined up in an American city in 2018 to get clean water.
LEE: Because we haven`t seen Flint in the news, there`s a sense that maybe things are back to normal. But there`s nothing normal about what I saw that day, nothing normal about cars streaming out of the parking lot down the highway, nothing normal about parents saying I won`t give any to my children. I can`t cook with it. We can`t brush our teeth with it.
You think about the disabled, the most vulnerable among us who before the city and state had given thousands of families free water, now they have to rely on the charity of churches. Nothing normal about this.
HAYES: So, they cut off the funding, right, to give it to folks with disabilities and that is because the -- what the state says is, and I`m reading from a Detroit News editorial which sort of sums it up, it says for months now the Flint water is safe but trust lacking. For months now the water has registered normal lead levels and families can drink their water without fear. That is the line from various state and local officials.
It`s just really hard for anyone to believe that after what they went through.
LEE: The same people who lied for months, and we saw that in emails, the email trail that leads back up through the State Department of health and even higher, those are the same people that said you can trust us and people were poisoned and children were poisoned.
One of the biggest costs in all of this is the trust. Obviously there was death, obviously there was great pain, People with rashes, hair falling out, it was terrible the way the city was poisoned. But the lack of trust, even if the water is fine, no one`s going to trust them.
HAYES: That strikes me as a problem. I mean, they could fix your pipes here, right, and they could actually -- if they did fix the water, how would anyone know?
LEE: That`s right.
HAYES: I mean, how would anyone know? Who would believe them if it was the most perfect, drinkable water in the entire country?
LEE: But also we focused on lead, because understand there`s no coming back from any exposure to lead, but there are other pathogens, so there are so many other concerns beyond the lead. And the people know that.
You talk to anyone in Flint, everyone is a little mini scientist, you know, how many part per million and billion. They understand what`s in the water. And they still haven`t gotten any recourse and no accountability.
HAYES: We`ve also seen studies about fertility, about miscarriages. We`ve seen Legionnaires Disease. The official death toll -- official death toll I think from the state is, what, 15 people, but are a lot of people who think it`s much higher.
LEE: Oh, that`s right. But even when you think about what`s happening to the school children, where school children in schools still aren`t able to drink the water, the principals won`t allow it. When you think about the extent of the pipe repairs, they`re still exchanging pipes here. So it`s much broader than we could ever have imagined.
HAYES: Now, they are -- they have done a bunch of pipe repair on the sort of main lines, right? The problem, as I understand it, is you`ve still got people`s houses and all these pipes are basically mostly been untouched.
LEE: That`s right. There`s still a number that need to be exchanged. And some of the testing, one concern that many people told me -- they said, you know what they keep testing the same houses over and over again, they`re not testing ones that haven`t had exchanged the pipes yet.
And so it`s still ongoing and for many people feel they feel that they`ve been abandoned and left out, not just by local politicians, by the state and certainly the federal government.
HAYES: Yeah, so we talk about this, if people are sort of paying attention to this now, there`s -- it`s outrageous and there`s a real question about accountability and you did some reporting on this prosecution, which we`re going to bring folks tomorrow night as part of the town hall.
LEE: Nick Lion, who leads the health state department, is charged with two counts of manslaughter. He`s one of 15 officials and other people charged in this. And so many people believe it`s just a sham, that until we get a conviction there`s no justice, right. And also that the state is paying for his defense.
And so we have the special prosecutor, which some people trust, some people don`t, but he`s there trying to bring some semblance of justice. He told me -- he said, listen, we`re going to get 12 people to decide. And I believe that there are people who have committed crimes here.
And I said to him point-blank, are there people who you believe committed crimes and have yet to be charged. And he in so many words says, yes, the investigation is ongoing.
HAYES: All right, Trymaine Lee, thanks, man, thanks you for all your work as always.
We are live at Churchill`s in Flint, Michigan. My next guest recently brought the city`s water crisis back to the national forefront. And she did it on the Miss America stage. Stick around, we`ll be right back.
HAYES: Welcome back to our special All In America coverage of midterm elections live from Churchill`s of Flint, Michigan.
You may have seen this viral moment from the Miss America pageant the other night when the contestant from Michigan introduced herself and her state to the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMILY SIOMA, MISS MICHIGAN: And the state with 84 percent of the U.S. fresh water, but non for its residents to drink, I am Miss Michigan, Emily Sioma.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That got a lot of attention.
Emily Sioma describes herself as an activist, wore a Black Lives Matter t- shirt to rehearsals, and says she wanted to use her 10 seconds on camera for something more than herself. And while she didn`t come in first, Sioma was a fitting candidate as Miss America tries to overhaul its image this year, dropping swimsuits in favor of business suits, and judging the contestants, they say, on their words and actions, including a social impact initiative of their choice.
Sioma, a survivor of sexual assault, adopted a platform called I believe you supporting other survivors of sexual violence. And Miss Michigan, Emily Sioma, joins me here now. Really nice to have you.
EMILY SIOMA, MISS MICHIGAN: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
HAYES: That moment got a lot of attention, because I think the context, people were not expecting something that sort of intense and acute to cut through.
SIOMA: Yeah, I think people have a stereotype that, you know, women in the Miss America organization are the ones sitting in the cars in the parade and just waving, but truly this is an opportunity for me to bring what we do the other 364 days that we`re not on television competing for the title of Miss America, that we`re servant leaders in our communities, raising the voices of others and, you know, just using the opportunity that we have to represent not just the great things, but also the hardships that the communities we represent are facing.
HAYES: You know, this was an interesting year, Gretchen Carlson, who was a former pageant winner and then went on to work at Fox News and then very famously blew the whistle on Roger Ailes, sued him, sort of began the process that brought him down. She was kind of back into the pageant to consult and sort of think about how to do this thing in the era of #metoo, in the sort of era of sort of calling the patriarchy for what it is. Like, do you think it worked?
SIOMA: Well, I think the women in this organization are the same now as they`ve been for years -- they`re brilliant leaders, they`re determined, they`re some of the most well educated women that you`ll meet. And regardless of if we`re in a swimsuit or a business suit, we`re deserving of respect and we`re doing the hard work that we see needing to be done in our community talking about and championing our social impact initiatives, which we used to call them platforms, we`ve been doing that as long as this organization has allowed us to, as they`ve added the new portions.
And so, of course, I would have loved to compete in swimsuit. But I think now that people are just willing to have a conversation, since we`re in the media so much, they`re seeing that these women they`re are not the leaders of the future, they`re the leaders of today.
HAYES: You talked about a social impact initiative around surviving sexual violence or sexual assault. I believe you. Which seems really, really sort of crucially important in this particular moment. Why did you want to do that?
SIOMA: Well, it`s very timely. But this has been something I`ve been passionate about. I am a survivor, myself, of sexual violence. And I realized, you know, being a student at the University of Michigan`s campus, there weren`t enough resources for survivors. And our communities weren`t doing enough. And being able to rename and create a platform called I Believe You just that statement alone, knowing that you have someone that believes you, it makes those lonely moments feel a little bit easier.
And as we know, you know, in the state of Michigan, the Larry Nassar scandal, we have so many women who have been affected by sexual violence and if someone would have believed them when they first came forward, this could have been prevented.
HAYES: Yeah, and in Michigan state is sort of at the epicenter of this right now where you have hundreds of hundreds of people coming and saying this happened to me and it kept going.
SIOMA: And it`s much bigger than that. This one just happened to break news, because it was all one perpetrator, but this happened to one in five women, and one in 10 men, especially on college campuses. And so we need to be having these conversations all the time about -- you know, we don`t have the immediate ability to change laws and policies, but we do have the obligation and the immediate ability to change the way that we talk to survivors, the way we believe them and the way that we guide them on their either journey to recovery or their journey to prosecution, because it`s truly up to the survivor how they want to integrate the survivorship into their identity, because once you`re a survivor, you`re never not, and we have to be thinking about that.
HAYES: That`s a really interesting point, because I think there is so much focus on accountability rightly and the criminal justice system is how people think about. To hear you talk about taking it from the perspective of survivor about whether that`s a choice that you want to continue to pursue.
SIOMA: Yeah, I mean, I was faced with a situation where I have a great support system, but I knew that I wasn`t going to have that much support from the legal side if I decided to come forward. So I never reported my abusers. And I don`t regret that, but I do know that now going forward I want to make sure that any woman or any man who finds themselves in the situation has the support and knows that they will have a community of people that even they don`t know supporting them on whatever path they take.
HAYES: Emily Sioma of Michigan, thank you very much.
HAYES: More to come here in Flint, Michigan, including a sneak preview of a special episode of All In we recorded with Michael Moore. Stay with us.
HAYES: Earlier today, we did an All In America special here in Flint with Michael Moore who has a new movie coming out next week called Fahrenheit 11/9. And that movie takes a look at what has happened to the country since Donald Trump`s election with a special focus on what happened here in his home state of Michigan and his home city of Flint. It also looks at how Trump ever got elected in the first place.
And what Moore found was a significant number of nonvoters, undervoters, people who did not cast a vote for president even though showed up on election day and voted down ballot. And people who voted in the primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and then did not vote at all in the presidential election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOORE: Look at the primary in April of 2016, one of our largest turnouts ever in Flint, the primary between Hillary and Bernie. And Hillary wins in Flint, but she loses the state. Look at how many people here voted in November. Usually, it`s the other way around, right? More people vote in the general, less in the primary. More people in Flint voted in the primary than in the general.
I would want to know, if I were running the Democratic Party, why did people stay home knowing that the result was going to be possibly Donald J. Trump? That`s some serious anger at what the system has done to fail this city. And the Democrats not taking down this governor and getting him imprisoned for what he has done to the people here in Flint.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That All In America special with Michael Moore airs tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. right here on MSNBC.
And up next, we`ll talk to the people of Flint here at Churchill`s about what they think about this year`s big election. Stay with us.
HAYES: All right, we are here in Churchill`s in Flint, Michigan. And there is Churchill quotes up around, one of which somewhere around here is that the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter, which I think is a gross sentiment, but we`re going to disprove it right now, all right. Tell me your name.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Regina Bush (ph).
HAYES: And what`s yours?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Geronimo (ph).
HAYES: All right, and Regina, are you invested in paying attention to the midterms this year?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely. This is one of the most important races of all times. We need to get out and vote this year in November 2018.
HAYES: Have you felt particularly politically active or engaged since 2016?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE; Yes. And I have three young men, 25, 18, and 22. And this is their first time voting, and I am dragging them to the polls.
HAYES: All right, Geronimo (ph), so you`re 25?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.
HAYES: Are you registered now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I am.
HAYES: Were you registered before?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was not.
HAYES: You were not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was not.
HAYES: I`m not shaming you. I`m not shaming you. I`m just asking questions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before you know you felt that you would just register and you would know there would be no change, but I felt like our president made us, us Millennials bring more attention to the power we actually bring to the vote. And I feel like these next two years are going to be detrimental to what actually happens in the future to our society.
HAYES: So you`re going to be voting this November?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir. Most definitely.
HAYES: Good work, mom.
Here, I want to talk to you a little bit. What`s your name?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, I`m Shelly Gates (ph).
HAYES: How did you feel after the election in November?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely devastated. I actually still can`t wrap my brain around what happened.
HAYES: You`re not alone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, right? I know. I know.
HAYES: But have you -- are you someone that had feel like you have become more invested? You pay more attention to politics and do things locally or you...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. All of those things.
We just can`t let this happen again. We have to do what ever it takes. And it`s on each and every one of us to do whatever we can -- knocking on doors, talking to people, speaking up.
HAYES: What`s your name?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name is Megan Wilson (ph).
HAYES: And are you from Flint, Megan?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I am from Flint.
HAYES: You know, talking to people here just over the last day, like, the national politics can seem sometimes a little remote just because of how acute the crisis is here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
HAYES: And I`m curious how you think about what`s happening here impacts the way that you think about politics?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got involved in politics, especially this year I`m going to be knocking on doors for the first time for the Michigan Democratic Party. And I`m doing that because my family was impacted by the Flint water crisis, and then we ended up with the disastrous administration that we have -- I shouldn`t say the whole thing, but, you know. Yeah.
HAYES: Well, let me ask you this. Were politics something that you paid attention to at this level or felt this invested in before the water crisis here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. That thrust me into watching my city council people, all of them, and making sure that they are holding their own, and so state, senators, everyone. My eyes are on you.
HAYES: I mean, I can imagine when your water gets poisoned, it`s a real political education for everybody very quick.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly. And my daughters who are 18 and 20 this year, and they`re both going to be out voting. And they`ve both been with me in this fight along these last four years, 1600 days. And they`ve thrust themselves into the political arena. And now they`re asking questions and want to know who is being accountable to what. And they`re going to rise up as well.
HAYES: All right. Thank you, all. Thank you, Flint. Thank you, Churchill`s.
Don`t forget that we have our town hall tomorrow night in our normal time in this hour at 8:00 p.m. on MSNBC where we talk to residents of Flint and Michael Moore.
That does it for us tonight here on All In. And The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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