IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 8/26/2016

Guests: Jamil Smith, Caitlin Huey-Burns, Jeanne Zaino, Hector Sanchez, Sean Jackson, Sarah Posner

Show: HARDBALL Date: August 26, 2016 Guest: Jamil Smith, Caitlin Huey-Burns, Jeanne Zaino, Hector Sanchez, Sean Jackson, Sarah Posner

JOY REID, GUEST HOST: I know you are, but what am I?

Let`s play HARDBALL.

Good evening. I`m Joy Reid in New York, sitting in for Chris Matthews, who has the night off.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton continued to trade blows today over charges of racism and bigotry. It comes a day after Clinton accused Trump of stoking and encouraging racist voices. Calling in to "MORNING JOE" today, she said Trump is taking hate groups and making them mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party.


HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: From the start, he has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia. He`s questioned the citizenship of President Obama. He has a disturbing pattern of courting white supremacists. He`s been sued for housing discrimination against communities of color. He`s attacked a judge for his Mexican heritage. He`s promised mass deportation force.

And what I want to make clear is this. A man with a long history of racial discrimination who traffics in dark conspiracy theories drawn from the pages of supermarket tabloids and these kind of white supremacist, white nationalist, anti-Semitic groups should never run our government our command our military.


REID: For his part, Donald Trump doubled down on calling Clinton a bigot. Here he is last night on CNN.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: She is a bigot. Because you look at what`s happening to the inner cities, you look at what`s happening to African-Americans and Hispanics in this country, where she talks all the time -- she`s talking -- look at the vets, where she said the vets are being treated essentially just fine, that it`s overexaggerated what`s happening to the vets not so long ago.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: How is she bigoted? Bigoted is having hatred toward a particular group.

TRUMP: Because she`s selling them down the tubes. Because she`s not doing anything for those communities. She talks a good game.


COOPER: So you`re saying she has hatred or...

TRUMP: Her policies are bigoted...


TRUMP: Her policies are bigoted because she knows they`re not going to work.

COOPER: You`re saying she`s personally bigoted.

TRUMP: Oh, she is. Of course she is. Her policies -- they`re her policies.


REID: All that, and it`s not even Labor Day.

With 74 days to go before the election, where can things possibly go from here? Jonathan Capehart is an opinion writer for "The Washington Post," David Corn is Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones" and Robert Costa is national political reporter for "The Washington Post," and all are MSNBC political analysts.

And Robert, I`ll start with you. You`ve now had the direct tying of the alt-right and right nationalist sort of elements to Donald Trump by Hillary Clinton. And the Trump campaign -- are they surprised, nonplused? What is their reaction to the fact that Republicans have not come forward to refute what Hillary Clinton is saying?

ROBERT COSTA, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: What we`ve seen from the Trump campaign in recent days is an effort to try to improve Trump`s numbers with minority voters, talk about upcoming outreach to black voters in particular, as well as Latino voters. And those overtures have come in the way Trump has been talking about softening, possibly, his immigration stance.

And so what we`re seeing is a Trump campaign with a new leadership team trying to adjust to the barrage that`s coming from Brooklyn and from Secretary Clinton, and it`s going to continue to come. They know that.

REID: And Robert, but do they -- are they reaching out to members of the RNC? I mean, you`ve got Sean Spicer working part-time out of Trump Tower. Are they expecting elected Republicans to come forward and defend him? Because so far, I mean, Chuck Todd has called it the sound of silence.

COSTA: It`s a fair assessment because based on my reporting, Joy, the RNC is intertwined with the Trump campaign, with Sean Spicer and Reince Priebus, financially, politically. They`re all on the same boat. They`re going to ride it until November.

But when it comes to Capitol Hill and the vulnerable House members for the GOP, the vulnerable Senate races, they`re much more reluctant to come out now with just 75 days before the election and to engage in any kind of defensive effort for Donald Trump, especially on an issue like race.

REID: Yes. Absolutely. Donald Trump calling Hillary Clinton a bigot, by the way, didn`t sit well with some of his supporters. Dr. Ben Carson told the DailyBeast today, "I don`t generally get into the name-calling thing. I kind of left that behind in the 3rd grade. I certainly don`t encourage it because the issues that we`re facing are incredibly important for us and for the future generations." And he threw in, "That`s what people do when they don`t have anything to talk about."

Meanwhile, Sean Spicer, the aforementioned chief strategist and communications director for the RNC, who has indeed been working out of Trump Tower part-time as part of the coordinated campaign, had this to say earlier on MSNBC.


STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC: Do you think Hillary Clinton`s a bigot?

SEAN SPICER, RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIR.: No. I mean, I think some of the policies that she`s supported have not helped the African-Americans, but I think anybody who knows me -- I just don`t tend to use certain words. But again, I`m not -- so I don`t -- that`s not something that I might personally say, no.

RUHLE: Why go after her saying she`s a bigot? Many people have said it just doesn`t make sense.

SPICER: Well, I think he looks at what she has said about him and he`s looked at the policies, and he`s concluded that this is how he`s going to label her. That`s up for him. He`s running for president of the United States.


REID: Jonathan Capehart, you know, the "I know you are, but what am I" strategy does work in grade school, the "I`m rubber, you`re glue," et cetera. But you saw the plain discomfort of Sean Spicer, who`s now working with Donald Trump, trying to elect him president.

Your opinion that Republicans writ large have said absolutely nothing in defense of Donald Trump as he`s being labeled this way by Hillary Clinton.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, "WASHINGTON POST," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, because it`s difficult to defend the indefensible. This is a man who`s run a campaign for 14 months -- from the moment he got off that down escalator and stepped to the microphones in Trump Tower in the lobby on June 16th, 2015, he said Mexicans are rapists, and it went further downhill from there seemingly every week of his campaign for the next 14 months.

So if you`re a Republican and this person is now the nominee of your party, and the Democratic nominee lays out a brief against your nominee, and -- that are based on facts, there`s no way -- that you can`t even refute, why would you put yourself out in front to defend -- like I said, to defend the indefensible?

REID: And meanwhile, in her speech yesterday, Hillary Clinton did cite other examples, twisting the knife a little more, Republican leaders in the past who stood up to racist elements in their own party. Let`s take a watch -- take a listen.


CLINTON: Twenty years ago, when Bob Dole accepted the Republican nomination, he pointed to the exits in the convention hall and told any racists in the party to get out. The week after 9/11, George W. Bush went to a mosque and declared for everyone to hear that, Muslims love America, just as much as I do.

In 2008, John McCain told his own supporters that they were wrong about the man he was trying to defeat. Senator McCain made sure they knew Barack Obama, he said, is an American citizen and a decent person.

We need that kind of leadership again!



REID: So David Corn, this definitely feels like triangulation jujitsu, right?


REID: You`ve got Hillary Clinton now saying, Come to me, Republicans, because I think that he is not like you, sort of separating them from Donald Trump even as they are silently, I guess, sort of walking away from him. What do you make of it?

DAVID CORN, "MOTHER JONES," MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: We`ve reached a pretty absurd situation when Donald Trump gets out there and says, Hillary Clinton`s a bigot. She`s a bigot. You know she`s a bigot. She`s a bigot.

Like you`re a bigot, Joy, Jonathan`s a bigot, I`m a bigot, maybe even Robert`s a bigot. It`s just a word he uses, and then the media has to sort of cover it -- Today, the candidates traded charges about who`s a bigot -- when actually, it`s his record that`s been sort of on trial.

And we keep -- I keep reminding people that before he got to the nomination, he was known for being the champion of birtherism, which was a racist charge. It`s been race all along from him, whether it`s immigration or attacking and trying to delegitimize the first black president.

And yet we`re still trying to figure out how to deal with a person who is acting like a crazy man -- I mean, I don`t know how else to put it -- because you know, his interview with Anderson Cooper last night, you saw it again and again, Anderson said, Well, you may not like his policies -- her policies, but does that make her a bigot? Yes, she`s a bigot.

You know, there`s no logic here, and there`s no way, as Jonathan said, that Republicans can defend it. And the question to people like Sean Spicer is, OK, you`re not going to defend the use of this word and won`t use it yourself, but why are you still with Trump? How can you countenance a nominee like this?

REID: And Robert, you know, the term "bigot," calling Hillary Clinton that -- that was not an off-the-cuff Donald Trump remark. It was actually written into his prepared remarks. He read it off the teleprompter.

So talk a little bit about this. Hillary Clinton has made an issue of Steve Bannon, who is now the CEO of the Trump campaign, the alt-right, sort of one of the kind of features of it, is turning this idea of racism back on people of color, back on liberals, back on Democrats. It`s something even Andrew Breitbart was into.

Who is now running this message? Is this Donald Trump leading a message where he wants to go in on Hillary Clinton and attempt to tie her to racism, or is this that alt-right faction in his campaign leading him around?

COSTA: There are intense discussions around Donald Trump about how to proceed with his candidacy, with his message. It`s not being dominated by a particular person, but there`s an orbit around him -- Rudy Giuliani, Steve Bannon, New Jersey governor Christie, Kellyanne Conway -- and it`s about who`s with him at Trump Tower, who`s on the phone with him, who`s on the plane with him.

And these people are telling him, on some fronts, to moderate and soften his pitch. And others, like Sessions, are more reflective of that populist nationalist core of the Trump campaign. And this is something Trump`s navigating, sometimes almost like he`s in the political dark, trying to figure out how to win without losing who he is with his campaign.

REID: And Jonathan, that actually is kind of alarming because it sounds like Trump is sort of being blown by the winds whichever direction they`re blowing strongest inside of his inner circle. Is there a coherent core here, or is this a campaign that`s sort of being led by the loudest voice in the moment?

CAPEHART: But that gets to the key thing. You used the right word, "core." You don`t get blown around, you don`t get swayed from one minute to the other if you have a solid core, if you have a foundation that you believe in.

His signature issue has been immigration -- build the wall, deport 11 million people. Today, could someone please explain to me exactly what his immigration plan is because it`s hardened, it`s softened, it`s gone away, it`s come back, all within the space of four days.

So if he can`t stick to his core message, if he plays the room and tries to figure out what the room wants to hear in terms of getting applause or getting laughter, well, then you`re going to go wherever they want to hear it. So one day, we`re not going to build the wall, I`m not going to build -- next day, it`s, You know what? No one`s applauding for me. Let`s build the wall, and you get the cheers.

He -- this is -- to me, it seems like Donald Trump and his campaign is in a very desperate moment, so desperate that his immigration plan is nonsense and this outreach to African-Americans and Latino voters, quite frankly, is a fool`s errand at this point.

REID: And Robert, then answer that question. You`re covering this campaign from the inside. I mean, what is his immigration policy? At one point, I think he asked the audience to applaud for whether they want him to do the deportations or not. Like, he`s actually polling the audience to get his policy.

Do you know at this point what the Donald Trump immigration plan is?

COSTA: What we`re watching in real-time -- and we experience this every day as reporters -- is a candidate who hitched himself to this populist right-wing element of the Republican Party more than a year ago and has ever since really associated with that wing and embraced that wing.

But that wing has never been who Trump really is. It hasn`t been something that he`s cultivated throughout his life or during his political career. It`s something he found, he embraced and he`s held onto.

But now in this final chapter of the campaign, he`s going back and rethinking, does he really need to embrace this populist right-wing part of the party as much as he has.

REID: I`m going to give the last word to David Corn because, you know, Robert is much more polite about calling them populists and right wing. I mean, we -- everyone sort of understands what Breitbart and Steve Bannon are, and they are alt-right. He claims to be alt-right. Are -- is -- would you agree that Donald Trump doesn`t have a natural affinity with them because...


CORN: I think, certainly, from the birther days on, which -- you know, which we now have four or five years here, he has had a natural affinity.

But I think the big issue here is that Donald Trump I think, ultimately, doesn`t care about anything other than Donald Trump. After a year of talking about immigration, he doesn`t know what his policy is. He doesn`t seem to be even interested in figuring out what to do about 11 million people here. He thought he had an answer. Now he doesn`t know.

He`s not talked about policy. He says he`s going to fix the education system, fix the inner cities. He doesn`t really care. It`s just about presentation and about Donald Trump. The one thing he cares about are polls and how well he`s doing, how many people at the rallies. Those are the details you get from a Donald Trump speech, nothing about policy or anything that matters to anybody else.

REID: Yes, I think that Jonathan Capehart is also right, he also does care about applause. If he cares about polls, he can`t be having a good week because they ain`t looking good.

Jonathan Capehart, David Corn and Robert Costa, thank you guys very much.



REID: Coming up, minority report. We`re going to take a look back at Trump`s week in outreach efforts and see whether his apparent attempts to woo minority voters has any chance at all of succeeding.

Plus alt-right. What is this movement exactly? And does it have ties to the Trump campaign? I`ve got two reporters with all the details.

And flip or flop? Well, just where does Donald Trump stand on immigration? The answer gets more confusing every day. We`ll try to unpack the statements made by the candidate who based his campaign on building a wall and making Mexico pay for it.

And finally, this Friday night, the HARDBALL roundtable will tell me and you at home something we don`t know.

And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


REID: Hillary Clinton is planning some on all-star support in the coming weeks. On September 1st, Vice President Joe Biden campaigns with Clinton and Tim Kaine. They`ll be in Ohio, around the Cleveland area. And later in the month, President Obama will hit the trail, campaigning with Clinton in Philadelphia on September 13th.

We`ll be right back.


REID: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Donald Trump continues his ostensible pitch to black and Hispanic voters, or to white suburban voters by way of voters of color, depending on your point of view, with a pitch centering on the one-liner "What have you got to lose?"


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: You see it all the time, the inner cities, parents walking with their beautiful child and they get shot. They`re shot. Their child is shot, often killed. Folks, what do you have to lose?

To those hurting and suffering and left behind, I say what do you have to lose by trying something new? What do you have to lose by voting for Donald Trump for president?

You can go to war zones in countries that we`re fighting, and it`s safer than living in some of our inner cities! They`re run by the Democrats. What the hell do you have to lose? Give me a chance!


TRUMP: I`ll straighten it out. I`ll straighten it out.


REID: But according to a recent NBC on-line tracking poll, only 8 percent of black voters and 22 percent of Hispanic voters support Trump. And of course, he`s making these pitches in front of nearly all-white audiences while avoiding opportunities to speak directly to communities of color.

Today, Hillary Clinton released an ad criticizing Trump`s approach.


TRUMP: I have a great relationship with the blacks. I have always had a great relationship with the blacks.

What the hell do you have to lose?


REID: For more, I`m joined by Sean Jackson (ph), Trump supporter and chairman of the Republican Caucus of Florida, and Hector Sanchez (ph), chairman of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda. Gentlemen, thank you for being here.

And, Sean, I want to start with you. You are from Florida. I lived in Florida for quite a long time. Would you consider the majority of black communities to be essentially urban hellholes, the way Donald Trump has described them?

SEAN JACKSON, BLACK REPUBLICAN CAUCUS OF FLORIDA: Well, Joy, with all due respect, I don`t think you can say that Mr. Trump has classified all black communities as -- quote, unquote -- "urban hellholes."

But it is apparent that whenever you go into inner cities across Florida -- and I myself was born and raised in the inner city, specifically in West Palm Beach, Florida -- you can see a lot of blight. And the sad part about it is, you know what, a lot of municipalities like that have areas within cities like that, such as West Palm Beach, are all Democratically ran municipalities.

So, Mr. Trump has a very valid point.

REID: Well, let me ask you this question. Do you think that saying -- he has really only talked about communities of color as being places that are hellscapes, in his description. You get shot, you can`t walk down the street.

He`s made it sound like there`s really no good taking place in urban communities. You yourself have had some challenges with the way the Trump campaign has outreached to black voters in Florida. You were ushered out of a Donald Trump rally, or not allowed to be backstage. You have said on the record that you felt that his campaign manager in Florida doesn`t know anything about black outreach and doesn`t care about it.

Are you saying that the Trump outreach effort makes sense?

JACKSON: So, let`s be clear. I was not ousted out of the Trump rally, number one.

And, number two, there`s nothing uncommon about anyone, whether it be in the Trump campaign or the Clinton campaign, for that matter, having differences of opinions with various staffers.

Yes, I had a difference of opinion at one point with a senior staffer. However, she and I work very well and very closely together to make sure that we do deliver the black vote for Mr. Trump in November.

REID: Essentially, that`s different from what you have been saying about that outreach effort in the past. You recently told "The Miami New Times" -- this is your quote -- "I have been saying repeatedly that you cannot go into a black community in the ninth hour of a campaign and ask them to vote for a GOP candidate. You have to have a vested interest in time and in your financial effort for the whole campaign, not just the last hundred days."

Have you changed your mind about that?

JACKSON: You are absolutely right. You are absolutely right.

And Mr. Trump has a clear and concise vested interest in the black community, hence the reason why you hear him talking so much about how he wants to go into inner-city communities that have all of the blight and the crime.


REID: How come he hasn`t done so? He`s been running for president for a year. He`s only speaking in front of white audiences.

JACKSON: Joy, he`s in the process of doing that now, just like Hillary Clinton is in the process of refudiating everything that Mr. Trump says by trying to make him out to be the bigot.

The truth of the matter is when Mr. Trump made it clear that she was a bigot, you know what?

REID: You think she is a bigot? You think Hillary Clinton is a bigot?


JACKSON: Is that the word that I would use? Probably not.

REID: Uh-huh.

JACKSON: However, her tendencies over the years have aligned up with the phrase bigot.

REID: So, you do think -- you think that Hillary Clinton is a bigot, in your view?

JACKSON: I have said that -- I said that her...

REID: You just said -- you just basically said.

JACKSON: Joy, I said that the things that she has done in her 27 year- career as a politician have aligned up with that term bigot.

REID: That`s very interesting. All right. So you are on board with Donald Trump`s basically description of Hillary Clinton as a bigot.

Hector Sanchez...

JACKSON: What I am -- no, Joy, what I am on board with is the fact that Hillary Clinton has called black men super predators, and Hillary Clinton has worked alongside with her husband, Bill Clinton, to incarcerate more black men in the history of any other law in this nation`s history. That`s what I`m on board with.


REID: Let me get Hector Sanchez in. I`m sorry.

I want you to get in as well, Hector.

HECTOR SANCHEZ, NATIONAL HISPANIC LEADERSHIP AGENDA: Yes. No, thank you for the invitation, Joy.

REID: Sure.

SANCHEZ: And let me start by saying that we have a very serious concern as a community with these constant attacks on Latinos and immigrants in the nation, all this constant bigotry towards our community.

And it`s because it`s having a real impact in our community. Bullying against our children in schools is increasing. Hate crimes against Latinos in the nation is increasing. Racial profiling against Latinos is increasing in the nation.

So, we can see that all this rhetoric and all these attacks on our community are really affecting and increasing the vulnerability of our families in the nation. So, we are asking and we are demanding candidate Trump to stop the attacks on our community and come to the table, meet with us.

He really wants to meet with the most important Latino leaders in the nation, he really wants to discuss real policy priorities at the table, a nonpartisan table, the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda is hoping, we invite him to come here. We invite him to tell us where he stands on all the policy priorities that we have in our public policy agenda here on the NHLA.

And that`s where we want to take this discussion. We are very concerned about his takes on immigration. What are his takes on immigration? Build a wall? Deport all the 11 million undocumented workers?

Well, let me tell you what I know about those 11 million undocumented workers. Entire sectors of the economy depend on the hard work of these families.

I have seen and I have witnessed the conditions of these workers. I have witnessed and seen the conditions in the hotels, in the factories, in the different industries that depend on these hard workers. So, when they say that they are stealing from other people, I say nobody should work under these horrible conditions, where constant violation of labor rights, human rights and civil rights are -- constantly happen.

So, it`s time to come to the table. It`s time to have real solid policy discussions. And it`s time to really win the Latino vote. We are inviting all the campaigns to discuss and come to talk to us. Some of the campaigns have been extremely responsive and engaging of the process.

REID: And you haven`t had the -- let me ask you this real quick question, Hector.

George W. Bush did actually quite well. He got 44 percent of the Latino vote. And you only had 22 percent among the Hispanic community, or 27 percent for Mitt Romney. How much damage do you think, very briefly, that Donald Trump is doing with Hispanic voters with the rhetoric that you have described?

SANCHEZ: It`s very clear damage. As I say, his rhetoric has had a serious negative impact in our community.

But it`s the beauty of democracy. We invite the presidential candidates to engage with us. We need for them to understand, what are the policy priorities of the Latino community in the nation? So, we invited the Clinton campaign. They responded. Senator Clinton came and met with us. They responded to the questionnaire.

We are asking Mr. Trump to come and meet with us to discuss and understand our policy priorities.

REID: Sure.

SANCHEZ: We also ask him to respond to a questionnaire that we are going to release to Latino voters in the nation.

REID: Absolutely. And we will try to keep up with you on whether he does that.

Sean, I want to let you back in, because one of the other issues is surrogates. And you talked about some of the past comments that Hillary Clinton has made that she`s actually apologized for. I`m not sure if Donald Trump has apologized for some of his past comments.


REID: But let`s talk about some of his surrogates.


REID: Hold on a second.

Maine Governor Paul LePage has come under fire for some of this questionable remarks. And according to "The Portland Press Herald," the governor was accused of making racially insensitive comments, saying photos that he`s collected of drug dealers in Maine show that more than 90 percent of them are black or Hispanic.

And when a Democratic lawmaker questioned the remarks, the governor left an explicit message on his voice-mail.

Take a quick listen.


GOV. PAUL LEPAGE (R), MAINE: Mr. Gattine, this is Governor Paul Richard LePage.

I would like to talk to you about your comments about my being a racist, you (EXPLETIVE DELETED). And I want to talk to you. You -- I want you to prove that I`m a racist.

I have spent my life helping black people. And you little son of a bitch socialist (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I need you to just friggin` -- I want you to record this and make it public, because I`m after you.

Thank you.


REID: Now, later this afternoon, the governor, we should say, did apologize for the vulgarity in that voice-mail.

But, Sean, do you think that it would help Donald Trump to repudiate and distance himself from people like Governor LePage, like Joe Arpaio, like Rudy Giuliani, who are so toxic to people of color?

JACKSON: Well, first and foremost, let me respond to Hector, because I find it very offensive that he is so misleading.

Mr. Trump has made it very clear and has taken a lot of time in recent weeks to court the Hispanic community.


REID: Hold on a second. Hold on a second. We are going to let him talk too, but I want you to answer my question quickly first.

Do you think that Donald Trump should repudiate people like Governor LePage, who has made disparaging remarks about African-Americans, should repudiate people like Rudy Giuliani, who is his adviser, who the African- American community feels has been -- nothing but hostility toward particularly African-Americans? Should he repudiate people like that if he wants to do this outreach?

JACKSON: What I will say, Joy, is that no one, yourself included, should be holding Mr. Trump accountable or responsible for the words that come out of other persons` mouths.


REID: But you just a moment ago tried to hold Hillary Clinton responsible for her husband`s policies when he was president.

JACKSON: For her words. For her words, Joy. For her words.


REID: No, for her husband`s policy. You said she incarcerated -- you said she incarcerated millions of African-Americans. When did she do that?

JACKSON: Joy, when you go back to Mrs. Clinton`s comments over the years...


REID: Did she incarcerate millions of African-Americans? You wanted to hold her responsible for that policy.

JACKSON: Joy, please. You know what? This is -- Joy, you know what? With all due respect, it`s commentary like this that is part of the ugly discourse of politics, because you know, as well as I do, that Mrs. Clinton over the years has made it quite clear that she supported, protected and defended her husband`s legislation.


REID: As did half of the Congressional Black Caucus.

JACKSON: If she was so apologetic for supporting that legislation...

REID: As did the Congressional Black Caucus.

JACKSON: ... that, when she was the United States senator from New York, what she would have done was made it a point to introduce and create legislation that would have in fact counteracted what her husband`s policies put in place.


REID: Let me work Sean back in.

But I want to very quickly -- you have not yet answered my question whether or not, yes or no, you think that Donald Trump should repudiate people who are associated with him who make bigoted statements, quite frankly, to include the alt-right that`s in his campaign. Should he repudiate that, yes or no?

And then we`re going to let Hector back in.

JACKSON: Like I said, I have already answered the question.

REID: OK. You say no. All right. Let`s go on.


JACKSON: No, I didn`t say no. So, don`t put words in my mouth. Thank you.

REID: OK. All right, well, good. Let`s move on, Sean.


SANCHEZ: Let me just take charge of this.

We are very worried with some of the people that are working with the Trump campaign. You mentioned some of the names, Sensenbrenner, Sheriff Arpaio.

I know that I was at the Republican Convention on the first day. And just hearing some of these messages, these divisive messages, these constant attacks against our community, against immigrants, against Latinos, against minorities, it`s not the kind of nation that we want, and it`s not the kind of nation that we are.

We need real solid policy proposals. We need to understand where the campaign stands on immigration reform. There is going to be a speech on immigration reform. We want to understand exactly where they are. Do we have a bill that we can consider, like a bipartisan bill that we had?

REID: Sure.

SANCHEZ: What is going to happen with DAPA and DACA? What is going to happen with all the fantastic workers, undocumented workers that we have in the nation?

REID: Sure.

SANCHEZ: What are the economic policies, education, et cetera?

REID: Yes.

SANCHEZ: Those are the questions that we need to be answering, instead of getting in all this ugly debate. That`s not the kind of nation that we want.

REID: Yes.

SANCHEZ: But I can tell you something very clear.

REID: Very quickly.

SANCHEZ: At a time when the Latino community is under attack, civic participation is the response. We are going to come out in historical numbers.

And we`re educating our families. And I can tell you that we are organizing our communities all over the nation, and this is going to be a historical election for the Latino vote.

REID: Yes. Well, it is going to be a very interesting.

JACKSON: Can I ask a question?

REID: We are out of time. But thank you both. We will have you both back.

Sean Jackson and Hector Sanchez, thank you very much.

JACKSON: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Thank you.

REID: And coming up: The alt-right has made headlines this week in the presidential campaign. And we will look at just who this group is and what they want when we return.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


AYMAN MOHYELDIN, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Ayman Mohyeldin. Here`s what`s happening now.

The Food and Drug Administration said today all blood donations should be tested for Zika. The new guidance comes as Florida is dealing with an increasing threat from the virus.

Secretary of State John Kerry says the U.S. and Russia may be closing in on a deal to end the war in Syria. The cease-fire agreement would also allow for humanitarian aid and a political transition.

Italian officials now say the death toll from an earthquake there has risen to at least 281. A state funeral will be held tomorrow for several of the victims -- now back to HARDBALL.

REID: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Donald Trump`s new campaign CEO doesn`t come from your traditional school of political strategists. Steve Bannon, the chair of Breitbart Media, has bragged that his online news site is the go-to place for the alt-right, a term that before the last couple of weeks most Americans had never even heard of.

Sarah Posner of "Mother Jones interviewed Bannon this summer. She writes: "`We are the platform for the alt-right,` Bannon told me proudly when I interviewed him at the Republican National Convention in July. Though disavowed by every other major conservative outlet, the alt-right has been Bannon`s target audience ever since he took over Breitbart News from its late founder, Andrew Breitbart, four years ago. Under Bannon`s leadership, the site has plunged into the fever swamps of conservatism, cheering white nationalist groups as an eclectic mix of renegades, accusing President Obama of importing more hating Muslims and waging an incessant war against the purveyors of political correctness."

But just what exactly is the alt-right?

Well, Sarah Posner is an Investigative Fund reporter and the author of that "Mother Jones" story. And Benjy Sarlin is a political reporter for MSNBC.

Thank you for being here.

And, Sarah, I`m going to back to you in a moment to talk a little bit about -- more about Steve Bannon.

But, Benjy, I want to start with you just give us like a working definition of alt-right.

BENJY SARLIN, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: So, the trouble is that it`s sort of a loose term. It`s not like it`s one organization with a leader.

So it includes a lot of different groups. The term itself comes under a specific group of white nationalists who have this kind of general war on multiculturalism, on immigration, groups that combat hate. Like, Anti- Defamation League, Southern Poverty Law Center, they pretty much say they are the same as white supremacists. They would slightly disagree with this.

But it also includes people who just generally rail against political correctness or feminism. Or, you know, it includes subsets like for example, Gamergate, which is young white men mostly who are upset that there`s too many minorities and women invading their video games.

So, it can be a very broad term.

REID: Yes.

And I guess the big sort of issue with them is that they target traditional conservatism and Republicanism as sort of weakening white culture, I guess you would say.


Their idea is that there`s all these taboo topics, topics that they want to bring up, but you can`t talk about because Republicans are too squeamish about issues of race and religion and identity.

So, this could include people who are upset, kind of extreme anti-Sharia activists who think there`s a Muslim conspiracy everywhere. It could include people who are worried about demographic changes as a result of immigration and say Republicans won`t talk about this. You could get a wide bunch of people under that rubric.

REID: Yes.

And, Sarah, one of these sort of interesting sort of aspects of it that I think a lot of people have been alarmed by is this perception that there`s a lot of anti-Semitism linked to it...


REID: ... along with the anti-multiculturalism, anti-immigration fervor.

Kind of give us a little bit of the background in that.

POSNER: Well, Ben Shapiro, who was editor at large at Breitbart until earlier this year, after he left Breitbart, he was assaulted on Twitter and other venues with anti-Semitic, really horrible, "send you to the ovens" kind of rhetoric and imagery on Twitter, which is also something that other Jewish journalists, including other Jewish conservative journalists, have experienced from the alt-right online.

And Shapiro even had, after the birth of his second child, and he tweeted out the news of the birth of his child, and somebody tweeted at him, "To the ovens with the four of you," your entire family.

I asked Bannon about that when I met with him in Cleveland in July. And instead of saying something like, "I`m sorry that this happened to my former employee, Ben Shapiro," he kind of dismissed it and said that Shapiro was a whiner.

So -- and I feel like this has not been addressed by the alt-right or by Breitbart or by the Trump campaign. If you recall, the journalist Julia Ioffe wrote a profile of Melania Trump in "GQ" several months ago, and she received a similar treatment on Twitter and on the phone and e-mail.

And when Melania Trump was asked about it, she said that these people had been provoked by Ioffe.

REID: Yes.

And there`s been an international sort of component to it, Benjy, as well.

Let`s play a little bit of Nigel Farage, who was the leader of UKIP in the U.K. that led the Brexit fight, stumping for Donald Trump in, of all places, Mississippi.


NIGEL FARAGE, FORMER U.K. INDEPENDENCE PARTY LEADER: We reached those people who have never voted in their lives but believe by going out and voting for Brexit, they could take back control of their country, take back control of their borders and get back their pride and self-respect.



REID: Are there deliberate connections between groups like you (INAUDIBLE), even the Putin-ite sort of factions around the world and the alt-right?

BENJY SARLIN, NBC NEWS: There`s definitely kind of a global international component to this. Now, here, these have been kind of fringe groups but we had expressions of this in Europe for a long time in far right parties. One figure is very popular in the alt-right Geert Wilders, who is a politician who is called for banning the Koran and deporting Muslims pretty much en masse. There are a lot of expressions of it in Europe that, you know, have been kind of imported, a bit of a global exchange program, if you will, between extremists abroad and extremist at home.

REID: Yes, very interesting, and we could talk for hours about it because the Putin fetishism and all the other stuff. But it is now part of the Republican Party. So, that`s great. Sara Pozner (ph) and Benjy Sarlin, thank you both.

And coming up, flip or flop. Donald Trump`s changing stance on immigration seems to have confused supporters and critics alike. We`ll take a look back in the week of Trump, next.

You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.



DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: They`ll pay back taxes. They have to pay taxes. There`s no amnesty, as such. There`s no amnesty.


TRUMP: But we work with them.

I`ve had very strong people come up to me, really great, great people come up to me and they`ve said, Mr. Trump, I love you, but to take a person that`s been here for 15 or 20 years and throw them and the family out, it`s so tough.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: So, if you haven`t committed a crime and you have been here for 15 years, you have a family here, you have a job here, will you be deported?

TRUMP: We are going to see what happens once we strengthen up our border but there`s a very good chance the answer could be yes. We`re going to see what happens.


REID: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Now, as you can see there, over the course of the week, Donald Trump has sent mixed signals when it comes to his stance on immigration, confusing supporters and opponents alike.

So, what is Trump`s position and does it matter to his supporters if it`s changed? Just this hour, Trump called in to FOX News and here`s his answer when asked whether he believes in amnesty and whether he`s softening his tone.


FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Do you believe in amnesty and are you softening your tone?

TRUMP: My stance is very strong. It`s going to remain very strong. There will be no amnesty. There`s no legalization. We are going to build a wall. It`s going to be a tremendous powerful wall. We are going to have great technology along with the wall and we are going to stop people from coming in.

Day one, we`re going to get all of the gang members and the gang leaders and the drug dealers and all of these people that have illegally crossed and they have been in our country, we are going to get them out very, very, very fast. And we will number one, I have to secure and we have to secure the border. We are going to secure the border like it`s never been secured before.

We are going to stop the drugs from coming in. We are going to stop certain people, criminal elements, from coming in, and then we shall see what we shall see.


REID: And with me now, tonight`s roundtable, Caitlyn Huey-Burns, political reporter for "Real Clear Politics", Jamil Smith, senior national correspondent for MTV News, Jeanne Zaino, aha, professor of campaign management at NYU and a strategy adviser for applied economics.

And, of course, I asked you that right before and mess it up. I jinxed myself. Okay, giggly over here that`s laughing to my right, Jamil Smith.

Donald Trump went from the softening --


REID: -- to saying it`s not a softening, it`s a hardening. He is now strong and he`s got a strong and powerful wall.

Do you now understand the powerful and strong strategy and strategery of the man who is no longer softening?

SMITH: I don`t think anybody does. I mean, there is no strategy here. Frankly, what he`s doing is simply giving signals to his base that he`s strong whenever there`s any kind of perception of weakness, because this whole campaign is built on the toxic masculine ideal of strength. So any time you use any kind of perceived weakness, he has to show some strength. There`s nothing about policy here. It`s just about perception.

REID: And, Jeanne, I have to turn to you on this, but you are our strategist at the table. When you are advising a candidate and they are building a brand essentially which is what politics is, you did have this sort of tug-of-war that`s apparent inside of Trump world, where you`ve got the Kellyanne Conway faction saying he needs to be softer, he needs to appeal to women. So, he did the softening. He said the words it`s a softening.

Now, he seems to have recoiled from all of the I guess the rest of us sort of giggling and saying the softening over and over and over again, and he now hears what sounds like weakness and sort of the alt-right part of his world is pulling him back toward trying to be strong and macho, saying it`s a powerful wall. Is there a way to do both of those two things in one strategy?

JEANNE ZAINO, POLLSTER: Kellyanne Conway has to be hitting her head against the wall at this point that she`s got him out there saying that he is going to take -- be a softer gentler Donald Trump one day and several hours later, he has changed his mind because there`s nothing Donald Trump likes less than being criticized.

So, the minute he was criticized, you saw him as you mentioned recoil. But I would just say we should all take a step back and look at what he`s done. This is somebody who claimed not to be a politician, to be an outsider. He spent the last year threatening 12 million people that he was going to rip them from their families and send them away, put them in jail. They were going to be gone.

Now all of a sudden, for political reasons only, because there`s no other reason he would do this, he has now changed his mind twice in the last 48 hours. That is politics through and through. It is a disaster for a strategist and for Kellyanne Conway and this campaign.

REID: And it is difficult, right, because, Caitlyn, when we were waiting for a speech it was supposed to take place on Thursday where he would lay out his strategy ostensibly. Now that`s been delayed. They say it`s coming in the next few weeks. Do you detect within the campaign, is there an internal debate over whether he should do the softening or not do the softening or is Donald Trump just not clear on what he wants to do?

CAITLIN HUEY-BURNS, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: I think Donald Trump is not clear on what he wants to do. I actually wouldn`t be surprised if they kept this kind of ambiguous, so you have kind of the two pillars of his plan. You have the wall pertaining to border security. He`s been adamant about that, keeping up that chant.

But on the issue of deportation, he has been I think intentionally ambiguous or at least that`s the advice coming from his campaign, because you have, of course, Republican primary voters who supported him in the primary. Pew Research found only 60 percent of those adamant Trump supporters associate immigrants with criminality. And so, that`s kind of where he`s going with the crime issue.

And then, of course, you have a majority of Republicans who didn`t support Trump in the primary, so people who supported Cruz and Kasich was the last time this was measured. They did not support the deportation efforts.

REID: He`s trying to walk that back.

HUEY-BURNS: Those are such hard things to reconcile for this candidate in particular.

REID: Yes, indeed.

All right. The roundtable is sticking with us. And up next, these three will tell me something I don`t know.

This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.


REID: OK, Donald Trump`s personal doctor, who wrote, "If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state, unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency," told NBC News today that he wrote a letter about Trump`s health in just five minutes. Watch.


DR. HAROLD BORNSTEIN, DONALD TRUMP`S DOCTOR: I thought about it all day, and at the end, I get rushed and I get anxious when I get rushed, so I try to get four or five lines best as possible, that they would be happy with. It was while the driver waited for me.


REID: You see how good we are to you.

HARDBALL is back after this. It`s amazing.


REID: And we`re back.

Jamil, tell me something I don`t know.

SMITH: The Central Park Five ad is now a campaign issue. Jeff Sessions a couple of weeks back was on a Birmingham radio station, defending Trump`s stance on law and order and he used the famous full page ad that Trump placed in 1989 to condemn five black and Hispanic teenagers for committing a crime which they did not commit and calling for the death penalty. So, to me, that puts it on the table and I`m actually surprised that Hillary didn`t use it yesterday.

REID: Yes, Jeff Sessions has his own very interesting colorful history about, Google that, on race.

Let`s go, Caitlin.

HUEY-BURNS: Donald Trump came out with an ad this week and it has all his schedules and lots of different prices you can win and trivia and all those sorts of things. It`s interesting because apps are used by campaigns to collect data on people and this is smart for the campaign to do.

REID: Sure.

HUEY-BURNS: But apparently, when you sign in, you give access, or you can give access to all of your contacts and there have been reports today about privacy concerns. So, keep an eye on that. That`s interesting.

REID: So, you have to watch your data, because Trump might get it. OK, scary.

Jeanne, tell me something I don`t know.

ZAINO: Well, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump talk about bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States and the truth is, they aren`t coming back and the reason is not because corporations won`t return, it`s because jobs are being automated and a recent study by Applied Economics, 52 percent of manufacturing jobs can be automated. So, it`s something that has to be talked about, artificial intelligence is coming down the pike. Nobody on the campaign trail or in the public sector is talking about how we do this and help this people out there who don`t have the skills and these companies are going to automate.

REID: And retail too.


REID: Thank you so much to my roundtable: Jamil Smith, Caitlin Huey-Burns and Jeanne Zaino.

HARDBALL is back after this.


REID: That is HARDBALL for now. Thanks for joining us. I`ll see you tomorrow and Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time for "A.M. JOY". Tomorrow, we have the man who had the interesting phone call from Paula page, plus more on the alt-right.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.