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

Authorities charge Synagogue shooter. TRANSCRIPT: 10/29/2018, The Beat w Ari Melber.

Guests: Jason Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Desiree Akhavan, Maya Wiley; Richard Stengel; Michael Eric Dyson; Jonathan Greenblatt

Show: THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER Date: October 29, 2018 Guest: Jason Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Desiree Akhavan, Maya Wiley; Richard Stengel; Michael Eric Dyson; Jonathan Greenblatt

KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST: But it is there if you look closely.

That`s all for tonight. We`ll be back tomorrow with more MTP DAILY.

"THE BEAT WITH ARI MELBER" starts right now.

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Katy, thank you very much. We begin our broadcast tonight with the latest in these terrifying attacks that are on U.S. soil. The massacre Saturday at a Pittsburgh Synagogue believed to be the deadliest attack ever targeting Jews in the United States.

And another suspicious package was sent to CNN intercepted today. This is similar to those 14 others found last week. And today, we want to give you the latest on the authorities on what they`re doing. The suspects in these cases were in court today, the system grinding on.

Pittsburgh shooter Robert Bowers in a wheelchair. He was wounded in that firefight with police. The prosecutor says he will be held accountable for this shooting that left 11 people dead.


SCOTT BRADY, U.S. ATTORNEY: He is detained, in jail, without bond. We will have the opportunity to present evidence, demonstrating that Robert Bowers murdered 11 people who were exercising their religious beliefs and that he shot or injured six others, including four of whom were police officers responding to the shooting.


MELBER: That is on one track from the horrific events over the weekend. Now, on the other, which you remember from last week in Miami, the suspect in those mail bombings faced a preliminary court hearing. FBI officials saying they are notifying anyone who was the subject of "research" by this bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc because there could be more devices that haven`t been found yet that are moving through the mail. He may have researched over a hundred people.

Now, those incidents come days after a gunman killed two people at a grocery store in Kentucky. This is a separate shooting being investigated as another potential hate crime. Police say before the shooting, the gunman basically tried to go into a predominantly black church.


CHIEF SAM ROGERS, JEFFERSONTOWN, KENTUCKY POLICE DEPARTMENT: We received a tip that the suspect was seen outside of a local church where he appeared to, on video, have been attempting to gain access into the church. It appears to only be approximately 10 or 15 minutes prior to when the shooting incident occurred at the Kroger Store.


MELBER: If you haven`t heard yet much about that double homicide, it`s only because it wasn`t even more deadly. This is part of just what`s going on across the country. The White House saying Donald Trump will go to Pittsburgh tomorrow. A group of progressive Jewish leaders there says, "He`s not welcome until he fully denounce his white nationalism."

And the only people responsible in a legal and ethical sense for these attacks that we know about are the people who commit them. And the president this time has tried to denounce them, even more forcefully than in some past situations that was clear in what he said over the weekend about the Synagogue. But unfortunately, the story does not end there.

And while Donald Trump may have spoken in ways that people found more acceptable this weekend in the short term, we are again seeing a pattern where there is no larger change in how he leads the country for the long- term basis. So judge for yourself, we`ll just report out what is happening right now. Here is how Donald Trump sounded. This was hours after that suspect was arrested.


REPORTER: Would you yourself pledge to tone down the rhetoric for the next few days during this campaign?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think I`ve been toned down. If you want to know the truth, I could really tone it up.


MELBER: Tone it up. Donald Trump then went on to go ahead and attack people in organizations who we all know now were targeted by this apprehended bomber. This morning, he was back at it declaring the free press in the United States "enemy of the people", violent rhetoric.

He also said Democratic donor Tom Seyer was a crazed and stumbling lunatic. He`s one of the mail bombing targets. He also named Maxine Waters on Saturday. Of course, this is after the week we learned she was a target, saying she has a job-killing agenda.

The White House today also said in their view it`s outrageous to blame the president for any of the attacks and they said he won`t let up on his own tactics.


SARAH HUCKABEE-SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: That is outrageous that anybody other than the individual who carried out the crime would hold that responsibility. The president is going to continue to draw contrasts. Let`s not forget that these same Democrats have repeatedly attacked the president.


MELBER: We want to report for you everything we know. Authority did not find the Pittsburgh suspect was a fan of Trump. He denied that. He also posted conspiracy theories about issues that are in our political discourse, the caravan of refugees for example.

Now, hours before the Pittsburgh shooting, he also claimed, this is relevant, that a "Jewish humanitarian group which helped refugees was part of this effort to bring these undocumented immigrants into the U.S." He saw that as an effort to bring violence into the U.S.

We can also tell you a member of the Synagogue who`s the president of the hospital where the suspect was being treated, described talking to the shooter.


DR. JEFF COHEN, MEMBER, TREE OF LIFE SYNAGOGUE: The gentleman didn`t appear to be a member of the Mensa society. He listens to the noise. He hears the noise. The noise was telling him his people were being slaughtered. He thought it was time to rise p and do something. He`s completely confused. And the words mean things, and the words are leading to people doing things like this, and I find it appalling.


MELBER: The words that people choose do not make them responsible for everything that happens in the United States. But people in positions of leadership are still responsible for their words.


TRUMP: You know what I am? I`m a nationalist, OK? I`m a nationalist.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A nationalist. In other words, a leader who puts his own country first.

TRUMP: Do you ever see when the fake news interviews and then they try and cut it. They`ll go to a person holding a sign who gets paid by Soros or somebody, right.

MARIA BARTIROMO, ANCHOR, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: Do you believe George Soros is behind all of this, paying these people to get you and your colleagues in elevators or wherever they can get in your face?

TRUMP: In that caravan, you have some very bad people. You have some very bad people.

SEAN HANNITY, CONSERVATIVE POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: A very serious, very dangerous situation is about to boil over at our southern border.


MELBER: I`m joined tonight by Maya Wiley, former counsel to Mayor of New York City and former chair to New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board which oversees the conduct of the NYPD, as well as Rick Stengel, a former undersecretary of state, a Diplomat for President Obama, as well as managing editor of "Time Magazine". And we`ll be joined by Michael Eric Dyson in a moment.

It`s a difficult conversation to have, and it`s not one that anyone I think responsible wants to push past what we know and what is basically causal. And yet, Maya, you and I have talked about this before at this table and elsewhere. It is possible to note the obvious reality that the president is not the direct cause of these things and I`m not reporting that he is. And yet there is a violent rhetoric and a climate of hate that is a big problem, not only in our politics which is narrow but in our society.

MAYA WILEY, FORMER COUNSEL TO NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: That`s right. And I think one of the issues here is that we have a president who has led not with caring and compassion, but with confrontation. And one of the things that is unfortunate is that we have seen both a spike in hate crimes following the election. We have actually seen in 2016 and 2017 significantly higher numbers than we saw in 2014 in terms of hate crimes.

So for the president, one thing that is clear is, whether it`s causal or not, there is no question that we have had a dramatic spike of hate in this country. That is not something that the president has taken active and explicit measures to confront, nor has he even addressed it as a leader with a tremendous amount of compassion.

And if -- he has another problem. One is that he has had people in his administration who have been associated with white nationalist groups. Ian Smith to name one. There are allegations that others like Steven Miller have had close ties to white nationalists.

The other problem he has is that, quite frankly, he has not actually suggested that any of this is something he is concerned about. One thing we should remember, there were memes during his campaign that were explicitly anti-Semitic. Whether or not he intentionally understood them to be, I don`t know. But if you put Hillary Clinton`s picture inside a star of David and call her corrupt, many Jews would identify that as anti- Semitic.

And the other thing that he did, remember, he was the first president since World War II who actually didn`t acknowledge in his Holocaust remembrance that 6 million Jews were exterminated. So it`s a complicated picture. There`s no one factor. But I think it`s impossible to avoid the fact that we have a president who is deeply lacking in compassion and leadership at a time when we need unity.

RICHARD STENGEL, FORMER UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, let`s define this. I mean one of the terms that has become popular among people who fight terrorism is something called stochastic terrorism, which means a kind of terrorism that is fueled by mass media, by social media. It`s the weaponization of grievance, the weaponization of mental disorder.

This is something that ISIS practiced when they would preach against the west and they wanted young men, young Muslim men who had mental instability to take terrorist attacks. That`s something similar to what we`re seeing now, which is this kind of empowering of people who have no understanding of reality.

One point I want to make which I think people don`t always realize, which is that the growth of American domestic right-wing terrorism, of, right- wing militias, is much greater than any kind of foreign terrorism or Islamic terrorism that people are worried about. It is exponentially responsible for more deaths.

And that`s something that even the National Counterterrorism Task Force which is under President Trump has seen the rise of, which normally happens during Democratic administrations. It`s now happening among this Republican administration.

MELBER: Well, you say that and it goes to the moral culpability part. The reason why the law cares about hate crimes is the same reason it cares about murder being different than a vehicular homicide, which while tragic and resulting in a loss of life is different than trying to hurt someone, which is different in turn than trying to destroy people as a sort of a private act genocide. Because you`re actually trying to kill people because they`re black, because they`re Jewish, because their views don`t agree with yours.

And so speak, if you would, to that and the diplomacy aspect. I mean your situation as basically being -- you`ve been a diplomat and a spokesperson for the United States. You`ve been someone who basically is out there saying to the world, this is what we stand for. And I wonder what position does it put the United States in.

STENGEL: Well, it`s an awkward position for the United States because we are normally on the side of human rights, on the side of free expression. I mean one of the things that I think that people don`t realize is there aren`t two sides to the debate over free expression or freedom of religion. That`s been decided.

We`re a country that is for free speech. We`re a country that is for freedom of religion. The problem with media and the problem with what Trump is trying to do is that he`s trying to take things that have been debased and proven false and put them into the public debate and try to have journalists say, "Let`s have one hand on the other."

If I say that the sun orbits around the earth, you`re not going to find somebody to kind of back up that point of view. You`re going to say that`s absolutely wrong. That`s what we need to do with those false assertions that he`s making.

MELBER: Yes. Both of you stay with me.

As promised, I`d bring in Professor Michael Eric Dyson from Georgetown University. His most recent book, "What Truth Sounds Like, RFK, James Baldwin, and Our Unfinished Conversations About Race in America".

Your work, including that book, looks at how the discussion of equality and civil rights in America involves political violence. We were just discussing domestic terrorism. There was a lot of domestic terrorism waged by people in the United States against black people, as well as some white people who were down riding with black people. That`s the history.

Educate us on how you see that connecting, not that it`s the same, but connecting to the problem we`re now facing here, which is resurging violent hate in America.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Well, as sister Wiley and brother Stengel have already articulated, it is true that atmospheres make a difference in this. You saw eloquently articulated, it is not that we`re asserting a one-to-one relationship of the causal effect between what Trump says and what people do.

But the atmosphere has changed. The atmosphere is not responsible for a rose growing or not directly, horticulturalists and others encourage it to grow. But the atmosphere permits it to be sunk into soil that will propagate it as a particular plant or kill it. And what Trump is doing is similar here.

Look, when you talk about domestic terror, brother Stengel is absolutely right, except many Progressive African-American and other activists have been trying to say this forever. It is not Muhammad about whom we should be concerned, it`s Bubba.

And in the context of American society, there is a fast and slow terror. Fast terror, bombs dropping, vicious acts being executed, war being committed against vulnerable populations. Slow terror is the everyday form of genocide and assault upon people`s sensibilities.

And here we see a convergence and eruptions of fast terror, the assault upon these vulnerable souls at worship in a Synagogue, the very sanctuary against the criminality that was leveraged against them. And then the slower terror of a president using his bully pulpit to bully people, not to encourage them, not to console them, not to offer words of consolation in the midst of grief, but to re-enflame and reignite the heinous passions that claimed people.

And as Dr. Cohen said, this guy`s not a member of Mensa Society. Yes, it`s the fact that he gets radicalized. We talk about the radicalization of our citizens. He was radicalized by listening to people on the internet, folk who spew half-truths. And let`s be honest, whether it`s Sarah Huckabee or Donald Trump, the half-truthing of our analysis here leads to people getting radicalized like this man.

MELBER: Let me take that to Maya Wiley because as attorneys, we can understand that most speech is not banned for good reason. But debates about who should run the government aren`t just about whether you are allowed to say something or go to jail, which is what other countries do, but also whether you should say something.

And so as we look at a president who, in this hyper-violent climate that we are now in, and if anyone didn`t know we were in it, everyone knows it now, uses words today like enemy to describe other people that are in the, whatever you want to call it, arena of civic life. At what point does everyone else have to stand up and say, he might mean it with a wink if you want to be charitable? But it`s not good enough at this moment to use that kind of language with a wink when people are misinterpreting, at best, and murdering?

WILEY: Look, let`s back up. Donald Trump incited violence during the campaign. In fact, he was sued for inciting violence during the campaign. And a judge actually let that suit go forward saying there was sufficient evidence that, in fact, it was not protected First Amendment speech, but, in fact, may have been inciting violence, because he literally invited people in his crowd to take care of and get people out of the rally.

Remember, this is also the president who said to police officers, "Oh, yes, when you`re putting them in a police car, go ahead, don`t be gentle. Go ahead and knock their" -- now, we`re talking about people who are being arrested, not actually convicted of any crime. Not to mention that even if you are convicted of a crime, it is against our laws to then physically abuse people.

MELBER: And you mentioned that the acting D.A. spoke out against that from within the government saying to his office that that`s not what we do.

WILEY: That`s exactly right. So we actually have a president who has, both as a candidate and as a president, ignored our own laws.

MELBER: Right.

WILEY: He`s actually ignored our own laws. So once you get to your question, Ari, he has demonstrated not only will he be divisive, whether it`s intentional or not, right, by uttering, by saying it`s actually nationalism and the language of nationalism is typically about white people have been harmed in this country.

And by the way, way too many white people are suffering without jobs, without access to higher education, struggling for housing. But to blame it, to blame it on people who are different, to blame it on immigrants, to blame it on black people, that`s actually the implicit message of Donald Trump, which has only supported white nationalism.

MELBER: Before we go, Michael Eric Dyson, you`ve spoken for many churches and many houses of worship. Next up, we`re going to hear from Jonathan Greenblatt who runs the Anti-Defamation League. I wonder what you think about the religious component of this as we come out of a weekend where I know and a lot of Synagogues, and a lot of churches, and a lot of mosques this weekend, a lot of people were thinking about the safe -- what is safe for prayer in America.

DYSON: Well, that`s absolutely right. Let me very quickly say, though, nationalism is different from patriotism. Patriotism is the critical celebration of one`s country in light of its best virtues and values. Nationalism is the uncritical celebration of country, regardless of its moral trajectory or arc. And that`s what we must reject.

When we think about religion, think about the great Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel who said not all are guilty but all are responsible. And this is what we feel as religious members, co-congregants if you will in the sanctuary of American democracy. Those poor souls who lay prostrate there as a result of the invidious assault upon them.

We don`t feel safe in our houses of worship. We don`t feel safe anywhere. And so religion must rise up. Instead of sanctifying and legitimating the evangelicals on the French, what Donald Trump does, let`s call this nation to conscience, to prophetic witness for the values of true democracy, and love, and celebration of our difference, not the besmirchment of people, not the uttering of people as Ms. Wiley said, attorney Wiley said, and not the demonization of people because they are different from us.

Religion brings us together. Yes, this is where (INAUDIBLE) meets the fact that we are a beloved community, regardless of our religious orientation. We worship God. And those who are religious look to our higher power. We have to become vehicles of that higher power. And a Jewish Rabbi also said that the voices of the victims are the voice of God. That`s what we must hear here today.

MELBER: Wow. A fitting note for us all to reflect on.

Michael Eric Dyson, Rick Stengel, and Maya Wiley, thanks to each of you.

Coming up, we report more on something that Maya just mentioned, the rising hate crimes in Trump`s America. I`m going to speak about it as I mentioned with Jonathan Greenblatt who heads the ADL later.

I`ll tell you what`s missing from Trump`s closing out in the midterms. It might surprise you.

And Will Ferrell does hit the campaign trail in Georgia.


WILL FERRELL, ACTOR: Yes. So here I am campaigning for Stacy Abrams.


MELBER: And later tonight, there is a big new film raising important questions about LGBT rights in America. And the actress Chloe Grace Moretz is here to talk about it along with the film`s director on THE BEAT.

Stay with us. We have a big show. We`ll be right back.



TRUMP: This evil anti-Semitic attack is an assault on all of us. It`s an assault on humanity. It will require all of us working together to extract the hateful poison of anti-Semitism from our world.


MELBER: Trump discussing anti-Semitism as poison and he was outspoken against this alleged murder and more forceful than we`ve seen in the face of other hate crimes. Here are the facts about hate crimes that are rising in the Trump era. FBI data revealing they`ve rose beginning the day Trump was elected, basically the day after. We saw white supremacists marching in Charlottesville and this is the reporting around the country.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The NYPD investigating yet another bias crime. This time searching for the person who scrawls Swastikas on phone booths along Manhattan`s West Side.

JANELLE WANG, NEWS ANCHOR, NBC BAY AREA: A Muslim American student said she was targeted because of her faith. A man came out from of the blue, yanked on her job choking her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Parents are raising concerns after what appears to be Nazi propaganda sent to printers around the UC Berkeley Campus.

KRIS GUTIERREZ, CO-ANCHOR, NBC 5 NEWS: The Caroltine (ph) couple woke up yesterday to find their gay pride flag torn down and vandalized.


MELBER: More widely, we`ve seen white supremacists basically go after other houses of worship, murdering, for example, nine African-Americans at that church in Charleston. That was, of course, before Donald Trump was elected. The convicted murderer engaged in the same neo-Nazi white supremacist rhetoric though that has been displayed and mainlined at times in the Trump era. Last year then, there was the Texas church massacre.


KATE SNOW, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: An absolutely horrific crime. The nation`s worst mass shooting at a house of worship. A gunman walked into first Baptist church in the small town of Sutherland Springs, Texas and opened fire.


MELBER: And then we have this, the deadliest attack on Jews in American history on U.S. soil.

Jonathan Greenblatt is the CEO and National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, the premier organization that deals with this day in and day out.

Let me put it bluntly and you can educate us. Anti-Semitism is very old in world history. Why do you see it as resurgent now in the U.S.?

JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO & NATIONAL DIRECTOR, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: Well, I think it`s a good question. And I think the first point is a very meaningful one. It is called the oldest hatred and has been -- Jews have been targeted and victimized in countries around the world for thousands of years. But what`s happening today in this country is different than anything we`ve seen before.

So number one, I think the political environment has something to do with where we are today. Look, people are on edge, the country is very polarized and anxiety is high. And we shouldn`t be surprised when extremist rhetoric and hateful language isn`t stopped in its tracks, that anti-Semitism and hate crimes follow.

And we`ve seen this. We`ve seen people in positions of authority, including the president, retweeting the language of white supremacists, using phrases that are literally borrowed from the playbook of bigots. And the failure to call it out when it happens, or equivocate in the phase of incidence, like Charlottesville, gives these people license to operate. They feel emboldened and energized. So that number one --

MELBER: So what you`re calling number one is, again, this difficult position for people who at least care about being responsible and don`t just want to degrade any random politician or president. You`re calling it a contributing factor, not a cause.

GREENBLATT: Definitely. We need leaders to lead. And you`ve got to know that it is a big contributing factor when the leaders again are giving license to operate to some of the worst elements in society. And let`s just be clear, this is different. Leaders on both sides of the aisle typically shut it down when they hear this kind of language. Again, something has changed.

The second factor, which is different than before is the role of social media. So we know that extremists have been able to exploit platforms that many of us in the public use, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit and many others that we might not use as frequently, 4chan, Achan, et cetera.

MELBER: But that is -- it`s on what`s happening now, that is not as brand new. In other words, we`ve seen for years the internet be a place where people can meet up, and even anonymously spew hate. What is more recent is it`s hard to imagine a different president. For example, I`m going to show you him in the White House with this George Soros conversation at a time where he`s literally the target of this bombing. And this is the language. This is what we see. Take a look.


TRUMP: Globalists, they like the globe.


TRUMP: I like the globe, too.


TRUMP: I like the globe too but we have to take care of our people. We have to.



MELBER: He says, "Lock him up" from the crowd. I don`t know if that crowd member is so ignorant they don`t realize George Soros was once locked up in a concentration camp. What do you say to the overlap, where people might have a grievance against Soros because he gives money to Democrats and have a grievance against the media because they don`t like the media but it overlaps with "Oh, George Soros is a Jewish banker", "Oh, people in the media are believed that there`s a lot of Jews in the media."? That`s a thing you see in this message boards.

Is there a concern that people who are leading this country are exploiting that overlap?

GREENBLATT: This isn`t a concern, right? This is actually a five-alarm fire. The conspiracy mongering, the accusing Jewish financiers of manipulating events, this didn`t start with George Soros, but the continued repetition of this rhetoric, it is appalling. And we should be alarmed when people in positions of authority, whether it`s the president or elected officials in Congress or political candidates or anyone else, should make these wild claims.

Let me be clear, I don`t agree with every donation George Soros makes, but the continuous invocation of him, again is for the level it means manipulating events behind the scenes, Ari, this is not new at all.

MELBER: Final question then to be clear. Do you think the president risks fomenting anti-Semitism when he doesn`t speak up against that, what we just saw?

GREENBLATT: It`s not only what you say, it`s what you don`t say that matters. Look, let`s be -- it was important that the president called out the massacre in Pittsburgh for what it was on Saturday, an awful, heinous act.

MELBER: But it took the murders in the Synagogue. What I just showed you --


MELBER: -- is before those.

GREENBLATT: That shouldn`t have happened. So the question is now what does he do today after -- and the week after and the month after --

MELBER: Long-term.

GREENBLATT: -- and the year after?

MELBER: Jonathan Greenblatt, we wanted to talk to you one on one because you`ve worked so much on this. Thank you for being here tonight.

GREENBLATT: Thank you.

MELBER: We`re going to take a turn. Obviously, a lot of sad stories but there`s also a lot of fireworks in these midterms. In fact, we`re seeing celebrities like Will Ferrell go out for the Democrats. That`s when we`re back in 30 seconds.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Believe it or not we`re eight days out from the midterms and I`m happy to say in front of the show Jason Johnson, Politics Editor for the Route is here. We have a saying in the business where we take a turn. We are turning for some of the saddest stories of the week obviously to what is now just inside a week away a giant Midterm Election. I have a lot to get to, but first, your look at the land right here. What`s going to happen?

JASON JOHNSON, POLITICS EDITOR, THE ROOT: This map is getting bigger and bigger for the Democrats. I think as much as we pay a lot of attention to Florida or Georgia where a lot of celebrities are I think one of the things that`s overlooked a lot is Ohio. Ohio might get a Democratic governor, and Michigan might get a Democratic governor, and Wisconsin. These governor`s races are going to have a huge impact on how congressional districts end up being rewritten on the 2020 election. I think the Midwest blue wave at the Statehouse level is one of the most underlooked and underreported stories of the Midterms.

MELBER: Right. And that sets up who`s in charge going into what is everyone expecting to be a very big 2020. Take a look here at the new Republican Midterm closing message which is missing one thing their president.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I look at the way things are, it reminds me how far we`ve come.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These numbers, they`re depressing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because the future worth fighting for is not guaranteed.


MELBER: What do you make of that closing message?

JOHNSON: Yes, that`s great. That`s like seeing a commercial that talks everything about McDonald`s but doesn`t mention burgers, right? Like we know it`s about the burgers. We -- you can`t advertise the Republican Party in 2018 and pretend that Donald Trump is not the party. He`s the President of the United State. He`s a leader of the party. I don`t think those messages work.

And even this sort of underlying economic message over, Ari, doesn`t really fit because the economy has been going well for two or three years now. Like it was -- it was good at the end of the Obama administration it has continued under the Trump administration. So the idea of we don`t want to go back to the bad old days doesn`t really apply in this midterm cycle when it`s been good old days for four or five years now.

MELBER: Yes, and you mentioned Obama. I`m going to put up the new Gallup on the -- on the screen. I feel like if Barack Obama or George Bush, normal presidents who had this kind of approval right now, he`s down to 40 percent in Gallup going right into the Midterms. That would itself get a lot more message now -- a lot more messaging. I feel like people are understandably dubious about any polling which I get but 40 is not very good.

JOHNSON: No, no. 40 is -- nobody wants a 40-degree day, right? Like they said in the Wire, like it`s not a good sign for the president to be that far underground. And again, he`s basically an albatross on the shoulders of all the Republicans that are running. But here`s the thing, Ari, and I think this is important for people to understand. Wave elections don`t necessarily mean that everybody is going to punish Trump. Wave elections means that Republican seats that shouldn`t be competitive are competitive. Wave elections mean that the registration numbers aren`t necessarily going to indicate levels of enthusiasm. And that`s why we`re seeing the Democratic map has started to expand. They`ve got more ways to win the house now than they did two months ago and that`s what makes everyone really nervous going into this time of year.

MELBER: You`ve got up the Wire, it makes me think of the old line you want it to be one way --

JOHNSON: But it`s the other way.

MELBER: -- but it`s the other way and that`s what both party is going to be saying to each other until we see who`s right. That`s why we wait to see what the voters actually say. Jason Johnson, thanks for doing the politics with us.

JOHNSON: Thanks, Ari.

MELBER: Coming up, we turn to health care. I have a special report about some serious hypocrisy and confronting the lies this election cycle.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We also want people to know that ObamaCare is dead. It`s a dead health care plan.


MELBER: It turns out ObamaCare is alive and is now more popular than ever. Will that ricochet, my report that`s next.


MELBER: Welcome back. There have been many big stories and to be sure terrible stories in these final days heading into the Midterms and those all merit attention. We`ve obviously been covering them a lot. But I want to turn your attention right now back to the Midterms and growing signs of voters are actually focused on something else for the most part on healthcare and worries about whether Trump and Republicans are out to kill ObamaCare, a perception that comes from the way Donald Trump governs. And it raises a fundamental question. Can you kill something if it`s totally dead?


TRUMP: They also want people to know that ObamaCare is dead. It`s a dead health care plan.

ObamaCare is a disaster, it`s dead, totally dead.

ObamaCare was murder for them to get and now it`s failed, it`s virtually out of business.

ObamaCare is virtually dead. At best you could say it`s in its final legs.


MELBER: That was Donald Trump touting the repeal of ObamaCare`s individual mandate but part of what he said was a lie and we can fact check that for you by citing the Trump Administration`s own lawyers who are currently suing to kill ObamaCare because it is alive, because it is still a law. So the first key point, ObamaCare is not a zombie. It doesn`t rise up from legislative death - I don`t know provide healthcare. It`s not Michael Jackson, one of the most talented zombies out there or Jason or Evil Ash or any other legislative zombies you might come up with.

ObamaCare is mostly alive and the efforts to kill it would demolish some of its popular ingredients like rules that prevent insurers from discriminating against sick people. In fact, the new reality for these Midterms is that ObamaCare you see in favor the green there is more popular now than it`s ever been which has Republican candidates who back Trump trying to pretend they are actually now down with Obama`s signature healthcare achievement.

Take the Republican Senate candidate in Missouri Josh Hawley. He is literally part of that conservative a legal effort to gut ObamaCare in the courts that I just mentioned, but his ads running this cycle go in the opposite direction touting protections for patients, a far cry from how he sounded when Obama was president.


JOSH HAWLEY, ATTORNEY GENERAL, MISSOURI: Earlier this year, we learned our oldest has a rare chronic disease, pre-existing condition. We know what that`s like. I`m Josh Hawley. I support forcing insurance companies to cover all pre-existing conditions.

It`s a little rich when the President stands up and says our number one goal is to cover more Americans with health insurance. Actually not. The number one goal is to force health insurance to enact a particular social agenda.


MELBER: Or take Dana Rohrabacher who voted to end all of ObamaCare including protections for sick people. He even dubbed the law socialism.


REP. DANA ROHRABACHER (R), CALIFORNIA: Politicians argue a lot about health care but for me it`s personal. We must protect America`s health care system. That`s why I`m taking on both parties and fighting for those with pre-existing conditions.


MELBER: We`re seeing this trend all over the country. Look at a Republican in a swing state, Dean Heller in Nevada. He had said he was against repealing ObamaCare but that changed after a threat from Trump.


SEN. DEAN HELLER (R), NEVADA: Republicans and Democrats can agree that the ACA does need fixes. This bill -- this bill is currently in front of the United States Senate, not the answer I cannot support a piece of legislation that takes insurance away from tens of millions Americans and hundreds of thousands of Nevadans.

TRUMP: This was the one we were worried about. You were there. Look he wants to remain a senator doesn`t he? OK.


MELBER: Ha, ha, ha. And Trump was right. Heller would vote for the repeal bill. Now he`s back to touting parts of ObamaCare in new campaign ads.


HELLER: I`m fighting to protect pre-existing conditions and increased funding for Nevadans who need it most. Jackie, I`ll stack my record up against yours any day.


MELBER: Those are three candidates in the Republican Party trying to change their ObamaCare position. Now, take Arizona Congresswoman Martha McSally running for Senator. Last month she said Congress has to move away from ObamaCare. Now as Election Day gets closer, as she spends time with voters, take a look.


REP. MARTHA MCSALLY (R), ARIZONA: We do have the opportunity to move forward to move away from the disastrous ObamaCare. So whether that fits on the calendar in the short-term or after the elections, I`m not sure but we got to get this done.

Can we please talk about the things that matter to most voters instead of repeating the Arizona Democratic Party? This ridiculous, honestly. Do you have anything to talk about like the caravan?


MELBER: Caravan. Meanwhile, Democrats are in a new political world. Remember, they did lose 63 House seats in 2010 after ObamaCare was enacted. This cycle, half of all Democratic campaign ads though are about the thing that plagued them that cycle about health care.


GOV. RALPH NORTHAM (D), VIRGINIA: We need to expand health care not take it away. As an army doctor and pediatrician, I know we accomplished the most by working together.

PAULETTE JORDAN (D), GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I think of our humanity at large and what it is to say that every single citizen in Idaho has the right to healthcare.

KARA EASTMAN (D), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: It`s wrong that families have to choose between paying for life-saving medicine and paying their bills. That`s why I won`t take a penny from insurance companies and why in Congress I`ll support affordable health care for all.


MELBER: You`re looking at Democratic candidates who won their primaries and are now staking their home stretch message on health care. Now the issue is complicated and that makes it right for spin but voters appear to be finding out there`s a lot they are in favor of for ObamaCare. and that`s in an era where we`re often told everything`s fake news and facts don`t matter. Well, the news going into election day is that if both parties agree on one thing in domestic policy, it`s apparently Obama care is worth running on.

Now up ahead, we get into a different story and an important one. A new film looking at the fight over LGBT rights with Chloe Grace Moretz. She`s here live on THE BEAT next.


MELBER: We want to turn now to a conversation we think is important and begin with a headline that many found shocking. The New York Times saying the Trump Administration considering whether to find transgender out of existence as far as the federal government is concerned. This is part of a wider effort to roll back protections for people who identify that way. Now, Democrats in Congress vowing to stop this if they win the house next week adding sexual orientation to the protections in the 1964 Civil Rights Act as well as gender identity.

Now, this is a fight that many people hoped was behind the United States in 2018. There`s a new film that explores a lot of this including something called conversion therapy. This is a belief by some that you can convert people out of the way they are or identify. The movie The Miseducation of Cameron Post has already won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and tonight I`m joined by the film Star and Director Chloe Grace Moretz and Desiree Akhavan. Let`s take a look.


CHLOE GRACE MORETZ, ACTRESS: I just never thought of homosexuality like this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s no such thing as homosexuality. There`s only the same struggle with sin we all face. Would you let drug addicts throw parades for themselves?

MORETZ: No. No, you wouldn`t. Sis is sin. Your struggle is with the sin of same-sex attraction.


MELBER: Chloe and Desiree live on THE BEAT. Thanks for being here.

MORETZ: Thank you for having us.

DESIREE AKHAVAN, DIRECTOR: Thank you for having us. Let me start with what you saw as important about choosing to do this project and inhabiting this character?

MORETZ: Well, it was really a multitude of things. I would say first and foremost, I was so shocked to learn what conversion therapy was and then getting into the process of the rehearsals that we wanted to do before taking on the project. Learning about the modernity of the issue, I met five survivors of conversion therapy and they were all no older than 25. They`ve been in since they were 15 and that modernity I think was something that really lit a new fire under me to want to really push this story out and it be not just a form of art but a form of almost activism to teach people what conversion therapy is.

MELBER: Tell me about the project. I mean, what do you see as -- answer the same question, what`s the import of putting this in front of so many people now?

AKHAVAN: Well, when I began this project, it was based on a book of the same title and I optioned the book and I didn`t think it was a relevant problem. I option that book and I loved that book because to me it was a story of being a teenager. It was the most honest depiction I`d ever read of teen life and a female sexuality and comedy and being a teen. It reminded me of a John Hughes film and I loved it. And it was over the course of the year that we were researching, my co-writer and I, and adapting the book to a screenplay that we learned that it was actually an incredibly relevant problem. It was during filming that Trump became president and Mike Pence who is a supporter of gay conversion therapy became vice president. And suddenly the meaning of this film took on an entirely new feeling for me.

MELBER: So if somebody`s watching at home and they`re thinking well, this doesn`t sound like something that a lot of kids have to deal with. This isn`t a big deal. You would actually say that`s kind of where you started out and then it was in doing what, the research the way you prepare for a film like this that you look at the facts?

AKHAVAN: Yes, I mean for me it was a metaphor. What I fell in love with the story about was the fact that I think whoever you are gay or straight, whatever ethnicity that you hit your teen years and you feel diseased in some way, like something is wrong with you. Whatever sets you apart from the mainstream is your illness and you want to exercise yourself of it. And then over the course of researching -- I mean but also, of course, I`m gay, an Iranian. I came out to my Iranian family at 25 and it was the worst thing I`ve ever had to endure and we change together and I got there it but it was a story that I cared about and felt in that weight was relevant. But I didn`t think gay conversion therapy was something that touched lives. And then over the course of researching and following, most of the people who run gay conversion therapy centers are ex-gay themselves. So the landmine over --

MELBER: What does that mean?

AKHAVAN: Oh ex-gay is how people who have undergone gay conversion therapy and have seen themselves come out the other side and no longer act on their gay feelings identify as ex-gay.

MELBER: So how do you get inside that kind of situation for someone and how do you make that real or not reduce it to you know a stereotype?

MORETZ: Well, really talking to them and getting the truth and the realities of what it was like to be inside these centers was something that I really wanted to grasp, and how much hypocrisy did you understand when you walked in. You know, did you walk into the center and immediately think this is silly, you know, this is something that I don`t believe in or did you believe in it did you want to cure yourself. And it was unanimous across the board that they treat it -- the way that they try to prose it the people that that run these centers, they try to treat it like alcoholism is what they try and say it`s like.

It`s something that you can overcome with certain tools. You`ll be able to figure it out and it all stems from some issue when you were a child as to why you chose this life. And to be able to get into that mindset you have to first understand that you`re growing up in a world which you`ve told that you were born completely incorrect. And I grew up in in a very small town in Georgia and I have two gay brothers of my family and so I watched their process, when I was very young, I watched their process of struggling with their identity and our community not helping in that sense. And now my mother was -- has always been absolutely amazing with my brothers and in helping them understand that they`re safe within our family no matter what and that we love them no matter what.

MELBER: Let`s -- on that point let`s take a look at the pressures, one more clip from the movie that you`re in. Let`s take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bigger picture here --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you saying you`re being emotionally abused by the staff here?

MORETZ: How is programming people to hate themselves not emotional abuse?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve made note of what you said and that will be in the official file.


MELBER: We talk a lot about culture and society in these issues and you think about Mike Pence or other people in government supporting this. By going into this part of the story, you`re also shining a light on the pressure because you`re taking a minor, someone doesn`t have full authority, and telling them there`s something wrong with them, they need to change within that power structure.

MORETZ: Completely. I mean, you`re being told that you`re feeling, the way that you were born, the way that you feel towards something it`s like not a not a choice of whether your favorite color is you know red or blue, it`s something that is inherent to you. And you`re telling them that they were -- they were born not just imperfect, but they were born full of sin. They were born damned in a way.

MELBER: Right, and that that they have to be fixed by other people. It`s got profound policy allocations and obviously suicidal as well. Desiree and Chloe, thanks for coming on THE BEAT to tell us about it.

AKHAVAN: Thanks for having us.

MELBERT: I appreciate it. It will be available, The Miseducation of Cameron Post across digital platforms and we will be right back with one more thing.


MELBER: Before we go we have a programming note for you. We think it`s pretty good. Tomorrow on THE BEAT I`ll be joined by the one and only Joy Behar, her first time on THE BEAT. We`re going to talk of course politics and maybe some comedy that week exactly before the Midterms. Tomorrow on THE BEAT, Joy Behar.

That does it for us. "HARDBALL" with Chris Matthews starts right now.