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Trump stokes racial division TRANSCRIPT: 7/6/20, MSNBC Live

Guests: Al Franken, Matthew Heinz, Perry Bacon Jr.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Welcome back.

Well, Donald Trump spent much of his 4th of July weekend testing his campaign message to his political base on his red, white, and crazy Independence Day weekend. And if what we saw around the country this weekend is any indication that crazy is spreading, Trump was vilifying an imaginary threat from his opponents toward the American way of life, he downplayed the very real threat posed to Americans millions and millions and millions of Americans from the coronavirus, saying most cases are totally harmless.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Now, we have tested almost 40 million people. By so doing, we show cases, 99 percent of which are totally harmless.


REID: No. No. That`s not true. Today, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended his comments saying that he just meant most people will recover.

But that wasn`t the only unhinged vision Donald Trump spelled out over the weekend during not one but two speeches. First, standing in front of Mt. Rushmore on the eve of Independence Day and again on Washington on the 4th.


TRUMP: Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children.

Their goal is not a better America. Their goal is to end America.

We will never allow an angry mop to tear down our statues, erase our history, indoctrinate our children or trample on our freedoms. Together we will fight for the American dream. And we will defend, protect and preserve American way of life.


REID: Of this weekend`s remarks, of course, come more than three and a half years into his presidency. And all that division was created on his watch. And the targets of Trump`s conspiracy mongering were out in full force this weekend, like the woman in Arizona, dubbed the latest Karen who destroyed a target mask display while sporting a $40,000 Rolex, and the California couple who painted over a Black Lives Matter mural claiming that racism is a leftist lie.

But last but not least, there`s the Florida congressional candidate who claimed Beyonce was on notice in a bizarre rant claiming the singer is actually Italian, not black, as he tries to heal racial divides, along with the QAnon hashtag.

The Washington Post reports, some Republicans fret, mostly privately, to avoid his wrath, that Trump fixation on racial and other culture issues leaves their party running against the currents of change. Trump has all but ignored the outcry and remain convince that following his own instincts on race and channeling the grievances of his core base of white voters will carry him to victory.

Trump allies say the president`s words and actions are not racist, they say, but rather just attentive to his core voters.

For more, I`m joined by former Senator Al Franken, host of the Al Franken Podcast. It is great to talk to you. I have wanted to interview you for a very long time, sir, so thank you so much for taking some time out tonight.

Many, many years ago you wrote a book that had the term, Big Fat Idiot, in it. It really talking about -- and you`ve also wrote a book called Lies, Lying Liars and the Liars Who Tell Them.


REID: Yes. And so I wonder what you make of the idea that Donald Trump, in his own mind, thinks that there is an electoral majority for open racist white grievance politics and that Republicans seeing him do that can only criticize that quietly to avoid his wrath.

FRANKEN: He (INAUDIBLE). I mean, so he clearly, like, doesn`t have them. And this is not -- that`s not a good sign for him. He`s distracting from his monumental failure, which is he has his first crisis, which is the coronavirus, and he fails it spectacularly. And because of that, tens of thousands of Americans have died because he delayed. And we had our economy crash and continues to -- if you look at Europe, if you look at other developed countries, they have dealt with this. But because of his spectacularly bad leadership, we are suffering. And all he can do is go to his old act, which is recycling 2016. And it`s a tired act. Americans really aren`t buying it.

REID: You know, and it seems obvious just from a sort of political science, Steve Kornacki at the board point of view, that this is -- that, numerically, there just aren`t enough people to have in QAnon to elect the president of the United States.

And so I wonder, not so much about Trump, because this is his shtick, this is his act, but about other Republicans who go along with it?

I want to play for you Joni Ernst. Joni Ernst is not in a solid position for her re-elect. Her opponent has raised a lot of money. She may be in trouble in November, and yet this is how she talks about Donald Trump, specifically on the issue of coronavirus. Take a listen.


DANA BASH, CNN HOST: So, if President Obama showed failed leadership then, do you think President Trump is showing failed leadership now?

SEN. JONI ERNST (R-IA): Well, I think we all have responsibility in stopping the spread. We have seen, I think, one additional death in the last 24 hours here in Iowa.

BASH: So given the fact that one person died there, that`s only half the number that died during Ebola, which you said was failed leadership. Is the president right now exhibiting failed leadership?

ERNST: Well, no. I think that the president is stepping forward.


REID: You served with these people. Do these senators, in your view, having interacted with these guys, maybe not specifically Joni Ernst, why do they do that?

FRANKEN: (INAUDIBLE) with Senator Ernst.

REID: Why do they do that, do you think?

FRANKEN: There is -- I mean, part of that interview also was she took a little bit of issue with him on our heritage and racism, but just a little. And it`s funny to see these Republican senators who have been with him all throughout, including, you know, attempting to extort the president of Ukraine and then on the coronavirus, and on and on, and defending him on the economy.

And now, they`re trying -- they`re sensing he is going down, and they`re trying to make themselves whole, and which is -- it`s ridiculous, it`s sad. And they bought the package. And I -- you know, they should be looking at this in North Carolina and in Arizona and wherever we have Senate seats up. These guys bought into it.

REID: So -- and, listen, they`re -- people come into politics from all sorts of backgrounds. There is no reason that somebody who comes from a background as an entertainer can`t be a really, really good politician. A lot of people, you know, I mean, I would agree a lot of people think Ronald Reagan was a good politician. You were a very good senator. You were very good at what you did. You know, seeing you on that day as questioning, you know, witnesses on the days, people are like he is a really good senator.

So there`s nothing to say that Donald Trump`s background means he can`t be good at this, right? But he hasn`t tried to be good at this. What were your expectations going into -- when Donald Trump won, what did you think was going to happen and how much has that departed from what he has turned out to be?

FRANKEN: Well, he campaigned as -- you know, he was entertaining when he campaigned. Every cable news stations always turned to his rallies and covered him. And the other Republican candidates had absolutely no oxygen and they were boring too. And then during the campaign, people watched him and said, well, he`s obviously not a normal politician, and I decided I don`t like normal politicians and I`ll give this flyer.

But now, three and a half years later, what the American people have seen is a guy who has nothing other than that. He doesn`t read his presidential daily brief. And the result of that has been disastrous. You know, Biden just said last week that he`s going to -- he pledged to read his presidential daily brief, and today he said he was going to read it daily.

I mean, this is -- this guy clearly had no intention of learning the job of being a leader. He`s just a divider. And this is he`s dug himself a hole and he`s behind now. But -- and Vice President Biden has let him dig that hole. But at a certain point, Vice President Biden is going to come out and say what he`s for.

And the good news is that the American people are for it. They want to build on Obamacare. They don`t want to get rid of Obamacare. They want an economy that works for all Americans. The American people want a president who has some empathy. They want a government that works, that`s run by professionals and not corrupt cronies.

And Joe Biden isn`t FDR but he`s Joe Biden. And that`s a good thing. Joe Biden is a person with tremendous empathy. And he`s going to be, I hope, inheriting a country that unfortunately is badly wounded right now. And we need someone who can heal and not someone who can only, only, only divide. That`s this guy`s one move.

And Joe Biden has to win and win big for a number of reasons. One, if Trump wins, it`s disastrous for democracy, it`s disastrous for our country. Two, they`re going to do everything they can to cheat. I just -- my last podcast was on trying to get mail -- you know, vote by mail. There`s no reason not to vote by mail. We have five states that vote 100 percent by mail. There`s no fraud in those states.

So I had two teenagers and I had Mark Elias, the lead Democratic lawyer on, to talk about those kids want to be able to vote by mail because they`re afraid of going to the polls for the coronavirus. But they`re going to do everything they can to suppress votes. And, finally, if it`s a close election, he may not leave.

So, I think the good news is, you know, you saw Trump the other day, Hannity asked him what his goals were for a second term, he had nothing, absolutely nothing. And Joe Biden can answer that question what he wants to do. He wants to build. He wants a competent government that can build infrastructure. Americans want roads and bridges and airports and trains that just resemble the rest of the developed world.

REID: Yes. Let me ask you to give Joe Biden some advice. Let`s just say Joe Biden does win. I`m old enough to remember that your seat was the 60th seat that wound up in court. And until that court case was actually resolved, President Obama did not have the votes to be able to pass the affordable care act. And once that seat was resolved and there were actually 60 votes in the united states senate, there was this rush of activity that included passing the affordable care act, just historic activity all the way through the end in that lame duck session in that fall. But it took a long time to do it and it took having 60 votes.

Joe Biden sort of -- the way that he comes at politics is that it`s all about coalition-building and compromise. And he`s even said that should, you know, Mitch McConnell retain his seat that he could compromise with him. Having lived through what Republicans put President Obama through, do you think that`s the right approach? Or should the approach be that Democrats say, you know, you may have a hundred days to do whatever big things you want to do and to hell with what Republicans want, we`re not going to water down the things we want and that Democrats should just go in there and say we`re going to do this, this, this and this, and if Republicans don`t like it, too bad?

FRANKEN: What you`re talking about is getting rid of the filibuster.

REID: Yes.

FRANKEN: And the Senate is broken. When I first got to the Senate, I had a lot of the senior senators there say to me this is the worst it`s ever been. And it`s just gotten worse. And Mitch McConnell is a big reason for that. You saw the Merit Garland -- that was as cynical as you can.

And when Obama -- President Obama was president, this guy pulled out the filibuster whenever he could. And when we lost the sixth seat, he did that on everything. And you see that right now we can`t -- nothing gets accomplished.

Yes. Unfortunately, that`s what we`re going to have to do. And that`s why I mentioned North Carolina and Iowa and Maine and Colorado and Montana and Alabama and Arizona, these are places we need to win because we need to get rid of this Republican -- these people have been supporting this president and this president has been pernicious.

REID: Yes. Before I let you go, I want to note that you`re doing something really great. And this is teaming up, you`re teaming up with a local distillery. You`re raising money for black and brown-opened businesses in Minneapolis. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

FRANKEN: Yes. Well, as you know, after George Floyd`s murder, there were demonstrations and there were some people who, for one reason or another, did some looting and did some damage to a number of black and brown-owned businesses. Chris Montana owns the first black-owned the micro-distillery in the United States, Du Nord Spirits. And he had insurance. His place sustained fire damage and water damage. He has insurance, but he put together a GoFundMe that I`m helping.

Sarah Silverman and I are having a raffle right now, a raffle to have an online cocktail party with us and also with Chris Montana, a virtual one. And so that raffle`s open until -- you can go to to help these black and owned businesses that were damaged during the civil disorder there. And we want to help them get back on their feet.

REID: Senator Al Franken, thank you so much. It`s been really great talking with you. I hope you will come back. Thank you so much. And it`s great what you`re doing in Minneapolis. Thank you very much for your time tonight.

FRANKEN: Thank you, my pleasure.

REID: Cheers, all right.

And coming up, the A.P.`s Jonathan Lemire calls it the empty space once filled by the empathy and seriousness of presidents leading in a crisis. He`s talking about Trump`s total abdication of his fundamental responsibilities.

Plus, his weird fascination with statues in his base is (INAUDIBLE). But his own political advisers think that, as a campaign issue, it`s a big loser. We`ve got so much more to get to. Stay with us.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities.

The American people are strong and proud, and they will not allow our country and all of its values, history, and culture to be taken from them.



REID: OK. Welcome back.

If you listened to Donald Trump over the Fourth of July weekend, you would think the most pressing issue facing this country was the removal of statues, never mind that the United States continues to face a relentless pandemic that has taken the lives of more than 131,000 Americans, or that millions have taken to the streets in recent weeks calling for real change over racial injustice and police abuse.

Instead, Trump is doubling down on his defense of Confederate statues and racist history.

The Associated Press` Jonathan Lemire writes: "These are times of pain, mass death, and fear and deprivation, and the Trump show may be losing its allure, exposing the empty space once filled by the empathy and seriousness of presidents leading in a crisis. Bluster isn`t beating the virus. Belligerence isn`t a calming -- isn`t calming a restive nation."

And for more, I am joined now by Robert Costa, national political reporter for "The Washington Post," and Elise Jordan, an NBC News/MSNBC political analyst.

And, Robert, you were one of the bylines on a piece that talked about Republicans fretting over Donald Trump`s -- Donald Trump taking the party to direct, you know, white nationalism, you know, white power, retweeting white power tweeters or marchers, and taking it all the way there, and just fixating on Confederate statues.

They won`t do it openly, though. Do these Republicans think that any American takes seriously their concern about Donald Trump`s racism, when they are only embracing him 24/7, and then whispering to reporters like yourself, this is a bad thing?

ROBERT COSTA, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Joy, I appreciate you reading the story by Phil Rucker and I am from over the weekend.

And you read that line about how so much of the concern about President Trump`s political direction is expressed privately, because these Republicans in our sourcing world, the consultants, the strategists, and even the lawmakers themselves, the candidates, believe they still need President Trump`s base, his support, to survive this election season.

For now, as the economy continues to have problems, they`re becoming more on edge. But I`m not really sure, based on my reporting, if there will ever be a real break.

At this point, look for them on their ads to focus on their own records, to not necessarily raise the fact that they are a Republican or that they are allied in any way with President Trump.

And that may work in some states, but it`s difficult as this election continues to unfold and President Trump puts himself front and center.

REID: You know, what records, Elise, one might ask, right?

What is Mitch McConnell`s record, other than standing back and refusing to do a single thing or lift a finger to stop Russia, because he probably thinks it`ll help him and they have gotten some good Russian-related money in his state as well, Kentucky?

What records do they think they`re going to run on? Their record is that, when Trump does something racist or insane or cruel, they go, yes, sir. What is the record, other than that?

ELISE JORDAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the record too, Joy, of denying face masks could help be part of the solution with the pandemic, to now, slowly, you see some Republicans saying, oh, yes, maybe we should wear a face mask,if it is going to cut down the transmission rate of coronavirus.

I don`t see where this is a winning strategy, Donald Trump`s let`s go back and cloak ourselves in the Confederate Flag.

You look at my home state of Mississippi. Actually, the state legislature just banned the Confederate Flag. We`re getting rid of that as the state flag. So if it`s not politically popular anymore in Mississippi -- and I would point out that that passed with two-thirds of the vote in the House and the state Senate, which really hardly ever happens -- then does Donald Trump really think that that`s going to win the hearts and minds of the average American voter that overwhelmingly supports the Black Lives Matter movement?

REID: Well, I have to ask you this really quickly, Elise.

As a woman of the South, as somebody who`s from the South, who has the actual cultural heritage of Southern heritage, what do you make of this guy from Queens, whose family arrived from Germany and Scotland in the 1890s, who has no connection whatsoever to the South or to the Confederacy, his obsession with the Confederacy?

What do you make of that, as somebody who is from the South?

JORDAN: I tell you what my father, if he were alive, still would say.

He always said that, in the South, the South got all the brunt for being deservedly racist in many ways and the horrible legacy, but that there were plenty of Northeasterners that, at the end of the day, could be perhaps even more racist.

And it is just incredible to me that Donald Trump manages to out-racist every step of the way people that have been assumed to be and have seen -- I have seen some pretty bad racism in my day, but this -- what we`re seeing from Donald Trump on a day-in-and-day-out basis, as it defines his presidency, as it defines his electoral strategy running for president of the United States, the guy tweeted "white power," and never disavowed it.

REID: Yes.

JORDAN: It still is just absolutely mind-blowing in 2020.

REID: Yes, it`s pretty open at this point.

Robert, back to you on where Donald Trump gets his messaging, because it does appear that he just gets it right off of FOX, that he just copies whatever people on FOX are saying.

I want to play you a montage. Axios is reporting Trump`s Mount Rushmore speech appears to mirror FOX News anchor Tucker Carlson`s monologues over the past month.

Here`s a quickie montage. Take a listen.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: For more than a month, mobs of violent crazy people have roamed this country, terrorizing citizens and destroying things.

TRUMP: Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues.

CARLSON: People trying to take over your country, cancel your rights.

TRUMP: One of their political weapons is cancel culture.

CARLSON: Small groups of citizens are beginning to come forward to defend their laws, defend their history and their culture.

TRUMP: They will not allow our country and all of its values, history and culture to be taken from them.

CARLSON: The cultural revolution has come to the West.

TRUMP: This left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution.


REID: You know, Robert, which comes first here, the chicken or the egg?

Is Donald Trump copying what he sees on FOX, or is FOX coordinating somehow this message with the White House? And are they releasing them in tandem?

COSTA: Joy, I have done a lot of reporting on President Trump and how he watches television in his residence in the dining room off of the Oval Office.

And for years, he has always turned to Lou Dobbs on the FOX Business Network as a guide to his own populist nationalist message on immigration and other issues.

But, in recent months, it`s clear, based on my conversations with the president`s associates, that he`s turning to Dobbs, to be sure, but he`s also turning repeatedly to Tucker Carlson. Mr. Carlson has sky-high ratings. And he sees Carlson as one of these voices on the right who can help guide his own message.

People within the White House follow Carlson closely. And you see Carlson even being talked about by some Republican donors as a possible 2024 presidential contender.

REID: And, very quickly, I need to go back to Elise really quickly.

But, very quickly, do the White House -- do the people in the White House consider themselves to be alt-right, which we know means white nationalism? Do they do they embrace that title of being alt-right?

COSTA: I have -- I can`t speak to that, based on my reporting.

What I follow, Joy, as a reporter, are actions. And what I see in the president`s actions is someone going at the Redskins` name today, talking about defending the Confederate Flag, going against -- well, talking about Mr. Wallace at NASCAR, eight days ago retweeting that racist chant from The Villages.

Actions speak in politics. I can`t speak to how people define themselves in their own minds.

REID: Yes.

COSTA: But I do follow the action.

REID: And, Elise, the final question to you.

Rand Paul is one who blocked a lynching -- an anti-lynching bill. We`re seeing actions, to Robert`s point, that actually block progress on matters of race and policing. At this point, should we just consider the Republican Party to be alt-right, knowing what that means?

JORDAN: As long as Donald Trump is the leader of the Republican Party, as long as he`s calling the shots, as long as he is pushing and espousing a white supremacist platform on a daily basis, then why should other Republicans be given the benefit of the doubt, if he`s their leader, he`s their figurehead, he`s their chief fund-raiser, when they aren`t speaking out?

And so I would urge other Republicans to listen to the moment in history, and, if you aren`t racist, if you want be on the right side of history, start standing up, speaking out, and do something to actually reform criminal justice in this country, as it`s been desperately overdue for so many years.

REID: Yes, indeed.

Robert Costa and Elise Jordan, both, thank you both very much. Really appreciate your time tonight.

And still ahead: Health officials are predicting a fresh spike in coronavirus cases after this big holiday weekend.

We will bring you the latest on that next.


REID: Welcome back.

Well, the coronavirus continues to spread across the country, with new cases on the rise in 41 states. But, despite that alarming spike, we still saw large groups packed together this July 4 weekend, like in Michigan, where hundreds gathered at a popular bar at Diamond Lake in Cass County.

Likewise, hundreds appeared to show little regard for social distancing while attending a beach party out on Fire Island in New York.

In just the last hour, the state of Texas, which has been an emerging COVID hot spot, announced that they have now surpassed 200,000 cases. That is double the number of cases just 17 days ago.

This comes amid new evidence suggesting that the virus is more transmissible than previously thought. In an open letter to the World Health Organization, 239 experts are now arguing that the coronavirus is airborne, meaning it can spread through particles smaller than respiratory droplets.

I`m joined now by Dr. Matt Heinz, a hospital physician at Tucson Medical Center in Arizona, and who`s also served in the Obama administration.

Dr. Heinz, let`s talk about that airborne thing, because this is something that a lot of people have feared for a long time, that this thing is airborne. Explain, please. And what does that mean for the level of risk to the average person that is, let`s say, is at a beach party?


And so that, as you were saying, respiratory droplets are a little bit larger. Those are things that come out when we`re coughing, talking, singing, shouting. And those things, they actually settle out and kind of settle down to the ground pretty quickly, in a matter of seconds, within about a six-foot radius of the person.

The smaller aerosol particles are like -- like micro -- micro-droplets is another way to refer to them. They can actually stay aloft sort of floating and hovering in the air around a person who has coronavirus for hours. Three-plus hours have been demonstrated in at least one study that I have reviewed.

So, the concern is, you could have some of those micro-droplets or aerosol- sized particles floating around in the air around, say, a patient who is in the hospital, in a hallway, or someone who sneezes in the aisle of a supermarket, even with a mask, and someone else could come by and breathe those in and potentially get infected.

REID: OK, that`s terrifying.

Most of us are now -- we`re -- I`m here in a studio. There are only two other people in the room. We`re all social distancing. We`re not anywhere near each other. I came in, in a mask. I`m going to leave -- put my mask on when I leave.

HEINZ: Right.

REID: That`s the things that we`re doing that we think are keeping us safe.

What you just said makes me worry that these measures are not working. We just saw the mayor of Atlanta, who`s been taking every precaution, announce -- and she`s mentioned -- talked about it on this show -- that she has coronavirus, that her husband does too.

Is what we`re doing just not enough?

HEINZ: It may not be.

And I want to be clear, we don`t know for sure. It seems likely that some of these micro-droplets or aerosol particles are probably infectious. They have done studies where the viral RNA has been detected. But they haven`t really proven infectivity.

But I myself have seen in the hospital multiple cases that can`t be explained by respiratory droplet exposure, where like an old married couple in their home that have been isolating for two-and-a-half months both get it. They haven`t been out. What -- what -- so, there`s definitely some unexplained cases that we see anecdotally that would be better explained by the potential, at least some kind of limited airborne spread.


HEINZ: In terms of what to do...

REID: Yes.

HEINZ: N95 masks.

So, a lot of -- in hospitals, of course, we have to wear this simple surgical mask, like this. Now, maybe it needs to be the N95 for everyone in the hospital. So, that remains to be seen.

REID: You know, Donald Trump has decided that his new message is, we just have to live with it.

If President Obama had said, we just have to live with Ebola and live with the fact that it may spread across the country and kill hundreds of thousands of people, Republicans would have gone crazy.

But we have now seen that, in addition to that, they have pulled back on letting Dr. Fauci talk to the country. We can`t hear from the one expert nationally that people know, they know the name of.

If this administration were behaving in a rational way, at this point, with all the failures at the state level, the failures at the federal level, if they were going to be rational, and try to save lives at this stage, what could they do, given all this new information?

HEINZ: Well, they could certainly set a good example and direct the governors to do the same, meaning President Trump should pretty much never appear without a mask, Vice President Pence, the same thing, our political leadership reinforce it.

People don`t love wearing masks. I don`t love wearing a mask, but I know it keeps me safe in the hospital. And I do it for 10, 12 hours at a time.

But showing an example, leading by example, and reinforcing the expert advice and opinions of people like Dr. Fauci constantly, just like President Obama did during Ebola, during the H1N1 2009 pandemic. All of those things -- we didn`t see President Obama out there talking or tweeting strange things.

He just said: Dr. Fauci has got this. Listen to that man and do what he says. I agree.

REID: Yes.

HEINZ: That`s what we need.

Frankly, in Arizona and in a lot of other states, we don`t have enough testing. We don`t know where this thing is. We don`t know where the virus is. So we can`t really do this. We can`t win this war if we don`t know where the enemy is.

REID: Well, we know that Mike Pence has now postponed a trip to go there. We have seen Secret Service agents becoming infected with it. It really is quite terrifying, honestly.

I don`t even know where to end there. But do you -- my last question, I guess, to you then, are people wrong to think that they are safer if they are at a beach -- on a beach, in a park, and they are outside? Are people any safer outdoors, in your view?

HEINZ: They are.

It is much better to be outside. I am not endorsing that -- like, for a while, we saw in New York people were kind of starting to congregate three or four weekends ago at outdoor outside of bars without masks way too close together. That behavior is not acceptable.

But if you are outside hiking, outside at a beach, you are with your family unit only, not with other neighbors and friends, then that is something they could be safer outside. Golfing alone or with one golf partner, staying at a safe distance, that`s OK.

REID: This is sobering, but as we like to say, scaring is caring.

Dr. Matt Heinz, thank you very much. Please stay safe. Really appreciate your wisdom tonight. Thank you.

HEINZ: Thank you.

REID: All right. And still ahead, the latest polls show Biden is the favorite to win in November. So how is Donald Trump responding to those polls? Oh, it`s not pretty.

That`s next. Stay with us.


REID: Donald Trump spent his holiday weekend on the attack, seeming to want to play new civil war instead of being the president. But there`s also trouble in TV paradise. Trump went after his one-time favorite channel, Fox News for airing, quote, phony suppression polls, meaning polls he doesn`t like.

As Vox reporter Aaron Rupar pointed out, Trump`s attack came as Fox News was airing a segment about Trump`s bad polling, showing this CBS Change research poll that has Trump significantly behind Biden in every single swing state. This comes after a week of bad national polls for Trump showing him trailing by Biden by double digits in some cases.

"Politico`s" Steven Shepard called Trump the underdog to win a second term, noting that first time, our forecast classifies Biden as the clear favorite in the race.

And it`s not just Trump who`s in trouble. Shepard writes that the national atmosphere is toxic enough that Senate Republicans who currently hold a wee little majority no longer have a significant edge in their quest for control of the chamber next year.

Democrats have both built leads in states that were previously considered up for grabs and put new states firmly on the map, expanding a potential unified control of government in 2021.

And now, some Republicans aren`t so sure that Trump`s culture war strategy is working. Really, you think?

That`s next.


REID: Welcome back.

Over the past few weeks, Trump has tripled down on his focus on Confederate statues and his weird obsession with antebellum heritage. But "The Daily Beast" reports that there are some are not convinced that this tactic will move voters as much as the president seems to think it will. They see the pivot as Trump simply continues to rile up conservative base that will not, by itself, deliver him a second term.

I`m joined now by Perry Bacon, senior political writer for "FiveThirtyEight", and David Corn, Washington bureau chief for "Mother Days".

PBJ, I`m going to start with you, because I find this actually quite hilarious. "The Daily Beast" writes, Trump advisers wonder is the statue, bleep, going to work?

Trump has insisted to those close to him that he sees the issue as the winner and for weeks, he has stressed that his defense of heritage and our history needs to be front and center. He says this is what the American people want.

I giggle because the idea that anybody sentient around him thinks he`s just now figuring out that this is a bad idea. Your thoughts?

PERRY BACON, SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT: You know, we`ve had a month of polling since the George Floyd protest, and Biden was ahead by about six points in our polling average before the average before the George Floyd protests and now, Biden is ahead by about 10 points.

So whatever Trump did in June, he should stop doing. It has like really hurt him. And the party people are telling him you see people who are pretty loyal to Trump at almost all times are saying, please stop doing this.

REID: Yeah, please stop doing this, sir. But I`m going to say it really quietly because if he hears me, he`ll get mad.

David Corn, he`s not listening. Donald Trump this morning went after Bubba Wallace and the whole NASCAR thing. There`s the tweet. I`m not going to read it. You guys can get it from there.

But the thing about that is he`s going after, not the person who actually discovered the news, which was the NASCAR officials who discovered it.


REID: They just went after the one black guy who had the noose in his garage. And it was a noose. Can we just show a picture of it? OK, maybe this thing was a pulley.

CORN: Yes.

REID: But it was a pulley that was fashioned to be a noose. We`re going to show that in just a moment as you show Donald Trump being mad at Bubba Wallace for walking into a garage and seeing a -- not him, but his team, or NASCAR saw this noose, and everyone reacted as one naturally would react and he`s mad at Bubba Wallace.

Your thoughts?

CORN: Well, as he`s been defending the Confederate flag, Confederate statues, like he did with the alt-right back in Charlottesville, he`s now attacking Bubba Wallace.

And he`s not, you know, saying that he was wrong. He`s demanding that Bubba Wallace apologize, that basically he take a knee and apologize to NASCAR fans who are largely, last time I checked, white, while Bubba is the only full-time black NASCAR driver.

And, so, what is this all about? And what`s the pattern here? What`s been his attitude to LeBron James, to Colin Kaepernick? He again and again has targeted high profile black athletes.

And he`s -- you know, and why does he do this? He`s signaling to his white base, because that`s the only base he has left, that for some reason he`s on their side. And what`s really important here and fascinating, joy, what he`s trying to show is that when people make racist accusations, it`s always a hoax.

So he`s picking up on this one and he`s signaling to the white base that when you are called a racist, when I`m called a racist, it`s really a hoax. And we see with this noose, and it`s Bubba who needs to apologize to you, white people, about all this. And Bubba did nothing wrong, and he, you know, came out and said, the FBI investigated it and I`m persuaded that this was not a hate crime directed at me. It had been there prior to my use of that garage.

REID: Yeah. And I apologize to the audience. We do not have the picture of the noose. But Google it, it`s a noose hanging from the thing.

But anyway, let me play, Perry, Kayleigh McEnany trying to explain the Bubba Wallace tweet. Here she is.


KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: In aggregates, what he was pointing out was this rush to judgment to immediately say that there is a hate crime. Those actions made it seem like NASCAR men and women were racist individuals. The president`s intent was to say, no, most American people are good, hard working people. I mean, we should not have this rush to judgment, knee jerk reaction before the facts come out.

I think it`s important that we point out the fact that there was no hate crime. The FBI concluded that. President Trump was merely saying that Mr. Wallace should agree with that consensus.


REID: Bless her heart. I can`t close my eyes in, so I can`t make the face I would usually make. But you go ahead, Perry, because the thing is that part of what Donald Trump seems to be channeling is this idea that political correctness has made it so that if you, you know, make a racist joke or something that you`re in trouble and he wants that not to be the case. He wants to open the space for more racism and for that to be politically acceptable, I guess. That`s his base.

But as Al Franken -- Senator Al Franken pointed out earlier on the show, he`s already got the racist people. He needs some of the other people to win an election.

BACON: I actually think -- sorry to interrupt, Joy. I think there are fewer people this appeals to. I think they win one way. They assume this is the way that I won before. It is a great strategy. I should repeat it.

He won a weird fluky election in 2016 that he barely won. He`s not a political genius. That strategy wasn`t that great.

And what we`re seeing in all these polls is the American voters and the people feel differently. Black Lives Matter was controversial in 2014, controversial in 2016. Now, most Americans support the phrase, the idea.

Look, it looks like Trump has changed Americans and made them more racially tolerant (ph) than they were before. So, it`s not just that he has a bad message. He`s running into an electorate that has changed and I think is different now and we`re going to be even less appealing than it was in `16. I think the race baiting is just not a great strategy for now and it`s in part because the voters have --

REID: Yeah. And, you know, David, you know, I`m old enough to remember that it used to be that racism was used as a dog whistle, not as a bullhorn because if you were too obvious about it, that would hurt you. Donald Trump has tried to flip that on its head.

CORN: And, of course, he has been a racist for many years prior to the last month, right? The Central Park Five, the racist birther conspiracy theory. It`s part of his DNA. It`s what he did.

But think about it this way, Perry. What else does he have to talk about?

REID: Yes.

CORN: He can`t talk about the coronavirus pandemic.

REID: Yes.

CORN: You know, 10,000 (ph) Americans are still dying every week. He can`t talk about the economy because even if we had good numbers last week, we`re in the hole because of his inept response. He has nothing to talk about.

REID: Yep.

CORN: And so it`s going with his gut instinct, his DNA, which is be a racist, be divisive, be cultural, be demagogic, demonize the media, the liberal and black people.

REID: Yes.

CORN: And that`s what he`s got.

REID: Yep. It`s fairly clear.

Perry Bacon Jr. and David Corn, thank you guys. Always love talking to you guys. We`ll be right back.


REID: -- me tonight. I`m be back tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m.

Thanks so much for being with us. Don`t go anywhere.