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Mt. Rushmore spectable TRANSCRIPT: 7/3/20, MTP Daily

Guests: Eli Stokols, Rick Stengel, Basil Smikle

NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: Hi, everyone. I`m Nicolle Wallace. This is a special expanded hour of Deadline/White House. It is 5:00 p.m. in the East, 3:00 p.m. in South Dakota where Donald Trump will be attending a Fourth of July fireworks display with 7,500 of his closest friends tonight at Mount Rushmore. One thing we won`t be seeing at Mount Rushmore, any sort of mandated social distancing.

South Dakota`s governor, Trump ally, says they won`t require that and face masks? Well, they`re optional. Trump and his allies trying desperately to leave behind the pandemic that only keeps growing despite his repeated and incorrect assertion that the virus is just going to go away. The U.S. begins the July Fourth weekend with the death toll passing 130,000 mark and the number of confirmed cases nearing 2.8 million.

Even though the CDC says the actual total could be much higher. Another record high 56,000 new cases, were reported yesterday with half of those new infections coming from just four states, Arizona, California, Florida and Texas. And the nation`s top disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci issued yet another stark warning of what happens if we don`t take immediate steps to reverse our trend.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALERGY AND INFECTOUS DISEASES: We need to realize that if we do not adhere to the guidelines as we are trying to open and I don`t mean officially, I mean the citizenry, the people that are out there, we`re going to be in some serious difficulty. Right now, if you look at the number of cases it is quite disturbing and we are setting records practically every day of new cases in the numbers that are reported. That clearly is not the right direction.


WALLACE: Let`s bring in NBC news correspondent Cal Perry, who is in South Dakota ahead of Trump`s visit. Cal, you`ve got all of the nation`s crises descending upon you there in just a little bit. Talk about the mood there. And you were on the ground in Tulsa. Any parallels to sort of the feeling or the conflict of people outside?

CAL PERRY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: This is a continuation of what we saw in Tulsa. The president`s road tour continues and it`s with no sense of irony that he is going to talk tonight about American history and he keeps doing it in these places that have become touchstones in American society as we start to review our history and as we look back at our own history, he`s going to be giving a speech in a place that is sacred land to Native Americans, a place that was promised to Native Americans by the U.S. Government in 1868 and then betrayed less than 10 years later.

And it is of that backdrop that he`s going to speak about not tearing down our history and not tearing down our monuments when for so many people these are the black hills of South Dakota. You may hear protesters making their way of this road, there`s a three-mile cordon around this memorial. This is what it`s like to be a professional athlete. I`m getting heckled all day out here. It is amazing.

He will give the speech in front of us, as you said 7,500 of his closest friends. And there`s this three-mile cordon. The secret service has shut down most of this national park. They are trying to keep protesters out and only seen a couple dozen protesters partly because this community, the Native American community has been hit so hard by the coronavirus. They are so concerned that this rally is going to bring the virus back into their communities. These are communities that do not have the same resources to deal with the virus as the rest of the country and so people are wondering why he picked this place on this day just like in Tulsa, Nicolle.

WALLACE: Well, let me stay on the topic of COVID because we spoke to Carolyn Lenig at the top of the last hour, about how the vice president`s traveling Petri dish couldn`t even get off the ground because he didn`t have adequate healthy secret service agents. It is now a known known that where the president and the vice president go, they bring COVID infections with them. What is -- is the federal government surging any protective gear, any resource there to protect the local community?

PERRY: Well, no. It is freakily as confusing as to why the governor of South Dakota would basically say we are not going to socially distance and if you have a problem with it you can just not come. You enjoy it on your TV. They are going to hand out masks, they are not going to require that those masks be worn. If you look at the ceding and we were there this morning, everything is so close that I`m not sure it would really matter.

I understand that the event is outdoors, but as I travel around the country, I`m living in an R.V. and I`m telling you from my own perspective in these rural areas, COVID is starting to catch on like fire through dry grass. So, this administration is doing this as an act of defiance. The president of the United States as an act of defiance is carrying out these rallies and he`s pushing this narrative again that if you wear a mask, you`re somehow not a supporter of the president and when you talk to people here, that`s sort of what they tell you, Nicolle.

WALLACE: I`m sighing because it`s so crazy. If you love Donald Trump wear a mask. If you don`t love Donald Trump wear a mask. Cal Perry, we`ve got 55 more minutes, if anything heats up there jump back on the air with us. Just send up a flare, we would be happy to hear from you.

Joining us now, practicing physician and a former Obama health policy director, who worked on the H1N1 response Dr. Kavita Patel. Los Angeles Times White House reporter, Eli Stokols, plus former top state department official, Rick Stengel.

Dr. Patel, let me start with you. I mentioned there Carol Lenig`s reporting that the vice president`s trip had to be delayed because there weren`t enough healthy secret service agents. It would appear that a microcosm of what`s happening in the country, the spread of coronavirus, is happening within this White House.

KAVITA PATEL, NBC NEWS MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, absolutely, Nicolle. And not just secret service agents but as we know that there are other kind of staff, even though it hasn`t been widely publicized. This is affecting so many people in the executive branch and I think that the part that`s very interesting is that here you have not just the vice president`s detail, but you can almost be certain that there are already people who are on -- had been on the ground in South Dakota.

It is going to be the same story we saw in Tulsa where we had people coming in from out of town into South Dakota which is already seen an increase in cases and we are setting literally a Petri dish to create more cases when we are already struggling as country, record numbers, hospitals that are begging for some reprieve and I think perhaps most concerned that for people like myself is that we have not had the decrease that we were hoping for before the fall when we see the influenza virus also hitting us. So, this is just unnecessary, irresponsible and flagrant to be candid.

WALLACE: Doctor Patel, can you see the seats that we are putting up on the screen? I mean, I just wonder as a physician and as someone with a background in science, if you see germs, when you see chairs that close together makes me nervous. And I`m just, you know, an anxious mask wearing mom.

PATEL: No, your gut instinct is right. Mom`s instinct as I always like to tell my kids is usually always correct. And you are in this case. Let me just give you a practical example. We are trying to get rid of waiting rooms in clinics and hospitals because that is the exact scenario -- those chairs stacked next to each other, that is exactly what we want to avoid.

And so I would say the same thing, Nicolle that I`m saying to anybody who wants to go outside for any purpose. To stay physically distanced and if you`re in a high-risk category which means you are obese, over a certain age, have other chronic conditions, you have no business being in that high-risk environment.

WALLACE: Eli Stokols, you have to explain this sentence to me. This is what the White House is saying the speech will be about. If we tear down our down history, we will not be able to understand ourselves or America`s destiny. So Donald Trump there linking our confederate history because to my knowledge most of what is torn down are confederate statues. How are they linked to America`s destiny? I mean, I`ve lost the thread on his embrace of the confederacy.

ELI STOKOLS, NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER FOR POLITICO: Well, Nicolle, you know white supremacy has been a cornerstone of American history from the beginning. What`s interesting here is now you have a president who is vocally and actively trying to protect and preserve that piece of what he calls our heritage and to defend it in a moment where if there is seems to be a groundswell building to remove some of these statues, to rename military bases that are named for confederate generals.

The president is four months away from re-election. Tomorrow is the nation`s birthday, typically a time when presidents and leaders try to unify the country. And Donald Trump is doing what he always does which is pushing a message that is divisive and that is really tailored to his base, primarily to white Americans, a message of grievance and a message of don`t be shy, don`t be embarrassed about the bad things that are part of our history, be proud of that.

It is remarkable and when you think about how close we are to the election and this is a president who has been asked a few times in the last several days what he wants to do with the second term, what is his vision for another four years. He has struggled to answer that question and if you just step back and you try to glean something from his tweets and from the speech tonight in terms of what he is actually focused on it seems that at a time when the country is being convulsed by protests, by a pandemic, by a recession, when 130,000 Americans have already died.

What the president is focused on right now is keeping monuments to confederate war generals standing and berating anybody really who is opposed to them.

WALLACE: You know, Rick Stengel, making the confederacy great again is having a terribly detrimental impact on his political standing. And that to me is reassuring. Let me read you some of this New York Times reporting on his political fate at this moment. Quote, as Mr. Trump heads to Mount Rushmore on Friday, to spend the Independence Day holiday and the carved presence of presidential greatness he is suffering through the most trying stretch of his administration, thanks in large part to his self-inflicted wounds. June represented the political nadir of his 3.5 years in the Oval Office when a race in which he had been steadily trailing but fairing respectively, broke open and left him facing the possibility of not just defeat but humiliation this fall. Rick?

RICK STENGEL, FMR. UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY: Well, I make it a practice not to look at any national polls. I`m going to look at that poll on Election Day but I thought Eli said it well about those monuments. I mean, talking about the monuments, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee and Richmond, the old capital of the confederacy. These are monuments to men who killed 10s of thousands of Americans to keep 10s of thousands of other Americans in bondage. Those are not monuments. That`s an abomination.

That`s why it needs to be pulled down. That`s why he is not popular with Americans. And he`s using history, history which is meant to unite us, history which is meant to kind of bring us together, something that we can look back on. He is using history to divide us and he`s looking at a particular form of history that is meant to capture the minds and hearts of people who are racist.

The people who don`t like immigration and the people who don`t like the direction that America is heading in which will be a -- not by 2040, be a nonwhite majority country. That`s what he is using history for. It`s not a history that he even understands but he`s using it to pit one part of America against another part of America and that`s just tragic.

WALLACE: Well -- but to extend the point, the one part of America that is no longer available to him is the 76 percent of Americans, that`s a 26 percent jump from 2015, that now share the goals of the black lives matter movement, that want to see us, not erase our history but reexamine it and maybe get a little truthier about it. I mean, he is painting himself into a corner where there is a smaller and smaller and whiter and wither, and angrier and angrier coalition or pool of voters available to him. It is stupid politics, Rick Stengel.

STENGEL: Yes. And you know that Republican Party understood a while back that demography is destiny and that Republican voters, Party has to be browner, it has to reach out to Latinos. There just aren`t enough of those white voters who like Donald Trump to really get him elected and that`s the very limited part of his vision and I think where people are looking at it, even these older white voters who voted for him last time, like, forget about these monuments business.

This guy is not protecting us. I`m going to category of people that is at risk and he is done an absolutely piss poor job of running the country for using the federal government at the exact time that you would want the federal government to use its power in a global pandemic, in a national pandemic and he says, no. It`s up to you, it`s up to the states.

No, you make that decision about whether to wear a mask or not. I think those voters that -- I think the heck with the monuments. He is not protecting me. I am not voting for him.

WALLACE: Eli, I actually first of all let me just say for the record, I`ve never seen Rick Stengel this fired up and I love it. But Eli, let me just say, every time Trump tweets law and order, I wonder if his supporters don`t think let`s use that law and order to stamp out the coronavirus.

And even if he has blamed the virus on somebody else. It`s been his, the ball is handed to him four months ago when it landed here in our country. I mean, what is -- even in Trump world, what is the story he is telling his voters about the fact that he is traveling to battleground states, bringing his Petri dish of COVID infections that seem to be running rampant tragically the secret service and some of his own staffers.

There`s an uptick in cases in Tulsa. He`s now at Mount Rushmore and Cal Perry reported that there`s some very vulnerable members of that community there that are very concerned. I mean, I don`t even understand what his message is to the people who are prone to or have a history of believing his baloney spin on things.

STOKOLS: Well, I mean, the unifying thread, this is a president and the person who just cannot face reality when that reality is anything other than aggrandizing and politically convenient. And so, when he is sitting there tweeting things like law and order, I mean, he tweets a lot and he sounds like someone who isn`t actually the president of the United States. He sounds like a bystander.


STOKOLS: He`s criticizing, whether his criticizing T.V. hosts, whether he`s criticizing governors, whether his criticizing his own government, he is always a critic sort of chirping from the sidelines and there are all these other realities, the reality of the actual situation that is -- that the country is facing with the coronavirus that is being felt now really deeply across the south and the Sun Belt in red states, where you are starting to see Republican governors there disavow some of the politics that the president has put forward and start to actually follow the science.

The president just can`t do that. He hasn`t been -- he hasn`t shown the attention span to really want to grapple with the hard process of containing this virus and unifying the country and getting everybody to pull together to wear masks and to do these things. And it is just -- you know, this is a president who can`t face his own poll numbers, it is all of a piece, just a president who is in his own world and a lot of his staff are there to sort of, you know, prop him up and perpetuate a lot of his fantasies and that`s part of the reason why we are just in this sort of (INAUDIBLE) pattern here.

WALLACE: Doctor Patel, one of the good things that comes up in poll after poll is that the public trust medical professionals, they trust some of them trust the science. What does the science tell people to do this weekend? What is your advice going into a holiday weekend?

PATEL: Yes. It`s pretty clear. So if you`re going to be outside of your home, if you`re vulnerable, the best thing is to try to stay at home and there is a number of places that you can figure out, you know, how to stay at home safely even if you have other household members.

Second piece of advice, if you are going to leave your house, do so with people you know the risk of, meaning close kind of family members, wear a mask. Ask them to wear masks. Keep a physical distance and also avoid any sort of buffets. Try to do anything where you can kind of have at least the food preparation be individual so that you don`t have as any close contact with other people.

And then I would just say that look at -- look around you and assess the risk you want to take. There is no such thing as zero risk, so we just need to be safe and take as little risk as possible to keep us safe as a country.

WALLACE: Doctor Kavita Patel, Eli Stokols, Rick Stengel, thank you all so much for spending some time with us and starting us off have a safe social distance holiday weekend.

When we come back, Joe Biden playing the long game into November with solid polling advantages not just in battleground states but across conservative ones as well. We`ll talk about how he keeps his momentum going.

Plus, a groundswell of needed change in this country is growing. Protesters since the police killing of George Floyd have spoken and they had been heard in the professional sports world. We`ll bring you that breaking news just ahead.



JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Americans (INAUDIBLE) the president -- be tremendous -- past few months. By this government to get the act together to beat this virus, but Donald Trump`s squandered that sacrifice and all about him. Think about it. He thinks the presidency about him. It (INAUDIBLE) have a damn thing to do with him. It is about you. It`s about the American people.


WALLACE: That was Donald Trump`s 2020 Democratic challenger Joe Biden discussing the state of the pandemic with some of America`s teachers from the National Education Association. Biden comments come as he continues to maintain a steady and growing lead over Donald Trump with poll after poll showing the former vice president with a double-digit lead today. More importantly, Biden is turning the tables on Trump in key battleground states that Trump needs if he has any chance to repeat his 2016 win.

Joining ours conversation, Democratic strategist Basil Smikle and former aide to George W. Bush in the White House and the State Department, Elise Jordan. Elise Jordan, I hope your corgi made the cut and is at your feet. Let me start with you.

First of all, there is something about Joe Biden just doing what he`s got to do in a way that contrasts itself. He is at home not because he`s, you know, hiding or reluctant to get out on the campaign trail. He is at home because the opposite is what Donald Trump is doing which is leaving a trail of new infections in Tulsa. I pray there aren`t more at Mount Rushmore tonight, but (INAUDIBLE) said that she bet in a week or so, there will be new reporting that suggest there just might be. So just -- the way he is campaigning, before you even get to the substance of it, is in of itself a pretty powerful contrast.

ELISE JORDAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Nicolle, the no nonsense approach of Joe Biden is refreshing for voters who are simply tired of the constant drama and racism that Donald Trump presents. You look at his campaign so far and what has really been the big message has been anti-science, it`s been pro-white supremacy, it`s a muddled message of just the cult of Donald Trump and so Joe Biden modeling good behavior and staying out of the way of the chaos and letting Donald Trump burn more bridges with voters has according to recent polls that are really just staggering that such leads so early in the race are to Joe Biden`s benefit right now.

WALLACE: Basil, my friends Elise Jordan and John Heilemann an hour ago have just -- they have moved straight to the blunt assessment. Donald Trump running with language, more closely associated with white supremacy, with this talk of heritage. He`s going to give a speech tonight talking about not tearing down our history. All that`s being torn down is our racist history, not any of the full picture, not anything that a majority of Americans want to see preserved.

What do you make as the reason for that strategy? It is obviously not polling well. It is not putting him ahead in any of the battleground states that as we said in the lead, he would need to win again. Why do you think that`s what he is doing?

BASIL SMIKLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, it worked for him the first time at least in his mind that`s what he thinks. That it worked for him the first time. Why give up on that strategy? And you know, for some reason, you know, if you look at him and see him in his rallies he seems to get more energized when he digs in deeper with more hate and more anger and that`s to Elise`s point earlier, that level of -- I guess that level of hate and the way that he talks about people and a way he treats other Americans not only is getting -- not only is repulsive but it is getting old, it`s getting tired among people that were willing to give him this opportunity to be president and then now sort of rethinking it.

So, again to Elise`s point, you know, when you see a boulder running down the hill, you don`t get in its way. And I think that`s what Joe Biden is doing. He`s saying you know what, I`m not -- I`m going to have this very tight, very methodical and surgically crafted messages and events to raise these other voices, amplify these other voices, something that Donald Trump doesn`t do. It is more about his voice. Not the voice of American people.

WALLACE: Right. Elise, what surprises me is how badly it`s doing for him because as you and Basil both pointed out, it is not new. But look at these numbers. In Arizona, Biden`s 51, Trump 44. In Florida which people, I don`t know, just two years ago we are talking about how Florida might never even be a battleground state, that it was so red. Biden is now ahead by five. In Michigan Biden 48, Trump 43. North Carolina, Biden 51, Trump 44. Pennsylvania, Biden at 50, Trump 44. Wisconsin, Biden 51, Trump 43.

JORDAN: Nicolle, specific to Florida, let`s just break out senior citizens and you look at how senior citizens are turning away from Donald Trump.

SMIKLE: Right.

JORDAN: And if he loses seniors, he loses the entire election. And there isn`t that much of a margin for error here when you have just record numbers of senior citizens who are affected by coronavirus and then Donald Trump is out there saying that it`s not a problem. Don`t worry about wearing a mask and not modeling good behavior himself. So people don`t want to die. This approach to the pandemic has been chaos and insanity and so you see that reflected in Florida, a place that I certainly thought along with most strategists that it had just turned red and would stay that way for the foreseeable future.

WALLACE: Yes. Basil, we`ll give you the last word.

SMIKLE: Well, just a point about what Joe Biden`s strategy is here. One of the things that I like that he is doing is he`s allowing the activists and the leaders on the ground to amplify their voices in this moment of tumult in our country. And in doing so, what he is letting them do is to define the party`s agenda and platform going forward.

And that`s incredibly important because when institutions are being questioned right now, he is not coming forward with an institutional message. Its grassroots, it`s not top down, it is bottom up and I think that`s being reflected in everything that Elise just said and the fact that there are reports that are saying progressives are now, you know, starting to embrace Joe Biden.

Not just because of how bad Donald Trump is, but because he`s leading at a time where a lot of these folks on the ground are setting the path forward for this country and not just the institutions that they`ve been sort of campaigning against for so long.

WALLACE: Basil, I haven`t put you on the spot yet. Who should Biden pick for his running mate?

SMIKLE: Wow! That is on the spot. You know, wow! I like Kamala. I love Val Demings. Love Val Demings. But I`m not sure if he`s going to pick an African American. Emotionally, I want that. But even if he doesn`t, there are a ton of other folks that I think would be great. Elizabeth Warren would be outstanding, for example. But, you know, I love Val Demings, I love Stacey Abrams, and I love Kamala Harris.

WALLACE: A lot of choices. Basil Smikle, Elise Jordan. Basil, I`m sorry you got put on the spot today on a holiday Friday.

SMIKLE: That`s all right.

WALLACE: Thank you for spending some time --


WALLACE: -- with us. Up next, the debate over police reform focused today in the state of Colorado. New details just released of the investigation into the killing of Elijah McClain while on police custody last year. We will go live to Aurora, Colorado for reaction.


WALLACE: In just the last hour, Aurora, Colorado police announced the firing of several officers who post for photos and re-enacted a neck hold at the memorial site of Elijah McClain months after his death.

Twenty-three-year-old McClain tragically died after being stopped by officers, put into a chokehold, and then injected with a strong sedative. He has just been walking home from a store wearing a ski mask.

Let`s bring in NBC News correspondent Gabe Gutierrez in Aurora, Colorado. Gabe, what are we learning?

GABE GUTIERREZ, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: As you mentioned, those pictures were just released within the past hour or so, two pictures taken in October. The interim police chief here in Aurora says two of the officers in the pictures have just been fired. A third would have been fired but already resigned earlier this week. And then a fourth officer had gotten those pictures in a text message and responded "ha-ha." She said that is why all four were fired for conduct unbecoming.

Now, right behind me, you can see a news conference is underway by the family of Elijah McClain as well as local activists. Many of the folks here want to see criminal charges against the officers. The interim police chief just wrapped up her own news conference a short time ago. Take a listen.


VANESSA WILSON, AURORA INTERIM CHIEF OF POLICE: We are ashamed, we are sickened, and we are angry. While the allegations of this internal affairs case are not criminal, it is a crime against humanity and decency.


GUTIERREZ: Again, back live here in Aurora, Colorado, a protest -- a larger protest is scheduled for later on this afternoon. And we just received a statement from the police union, calling the internal investigation a rush to judgment and the union is actually saying that the police chief is unfit for the position she currently holds.

So certainly a lot of raw emotions right now and we think we see Elijah McClain`s mother just down there about to speak, as well. Of course, the family is furious after seeing those photos for the first time earlier today. Nicolle?

WALLACE: Gabe Gutierrez, thank you so much for being there, for spending some time with us. After the break, they refused for years. Now, as America collectively reconsiders some of its relics seen as racist, Washington`s NFL team might be on the verge of changing its name. That story, next.


WALLACE: Police officers killed George Floyd on Memorial Day this year. Here we are a day before the fourth of July with a very long way still to go and the path to social justice. But think about what`s happened just in these past few weeks.

Some racist relics swept away. There was a Mississippi state flag, confederate statues across the country. And now this, the NFL team in Washington, D.C. says they`re going to do a "thorough review" of the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University and author of a new book that we`ll get to in a minute that everybody is talking about it, and MSNBC legal analyst Maya Wiley, who work with the SDNY civil division. Lots to talk to you about, too, Madame Mayor.

Let me start though with this D.C. debate that has raged for years, Eddie Glaude. You have spoken to me for three years on this program and for almost a decade before that on "Morning Joe" about these racist reminders, being a reminder of who we still are. What does it say to you that some of these bigger, bigger things are falling, bigger things that has stood and will stood criticism for years and years and years?

EDDIE GLAUDE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I mean, it says to me, Nicolle, that I think we are on the precipice of change at a certain level. The demographic shifts have placed us at a certain position. The grassroots activism over the last few years, it has come to a head in some ways. And you know, what it reminds me of, Nicolle, if we think about how the shift around same sex marriage happened, there was just --

WALLACE: Mm-hmm.

GLAUDE: -- clear opposition. It was part of the culture wars and then boom, it just happened in some ways, right? So, you had activism and then there was a cultural shift. And I think we are seeing that with regards to confederate monuments, to these racial slurs, this kind of ethnic insensitivity. However, we want to describe it.

I think we are seeing that now, but there is no necessary relationship between those kinds of symbolic shifts and substantive policy shifts that is will address fundamental inequality in this country. But it`s a good step, though.

WALLACE: Eddie Glaude, there`s -- yes. And there is knowing something is wrong and there is doing something about it. And I think for a large swath of the country, there is knowing that these things are wrong, that the team was named wrongly, that it was cringed to even say the name of the team. And then there is doing something about it. What is sort of that in that broth that is the delta between knowing things are wrong and erasing the things that are wrong or trying to?

GLAUDE: Well, I think it has something to do with changing the framework. If you imagine, if you have a particular kind of seasoning in your broth that makes it bitter, so typically over the last few decades, whenever we talked about these issues, we framed them with at least part of the debate. It was framed within the debate around political correctness. There was a sense in which if you talk about --


GLAUDE: -- the redskins, if you talk about the issue of the confederate monuments and the flag and the like, this wasn`t read as an insistence on the part of these liberals, these progressives who wanted to police language, who wanted to police belief. And we know now that that frame is at least fracturing, although Donald Trump is in some ways appealing to it.

In the last block, Nicolle, you talked about what he was doing. In some ways, what we are seeing are elements of the southern strategy morphing into what it really was all along and that is the white nationalist strategy.

So you have appeal to heritage, calls for law and order, you have seen the presidential ads now about defund the police from the Trump campaign, and, of course, voter suppression, all designed to appeal to what? White fears, white resentment, white grievance, white hatred to mobilize them alongside of appealing to self-interest and greed as a way of building a coalition to win in November.

WALLACE: Well, Maya Wiley, I mean, I think the polls and again, polls are only good the moment that they`re taken. And by the time we are talking about them, they`ve been taken days ago, so we have to keep looking as where public opinion is. But what the polls say now is the strategy is not adequate to reassemble whatever the coalition was that delivered Donald Trump`s last victory. What does that say to you, Maya?

MAYA WILEY, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: It says that America is hurting and Donald Trump has not demonstrated the leadership that demonstrates that he can cure what ails us. And I think increasingly --


WILEY: -- and as Eddie said, you know, what these demonstrations have also pulled forward in a powerful way is that Americans are starting to realize that we do need to be a more perfect union, that we are -- that Donald Trump is not appealing to our better angels. He is not the party of Lincoln and he is taking the party very, very, very long distance of being the party of Lincoln.

And I think that Americans are not lost or confused. And if you just think about just how powerful this moment has been when we look at polling, it is the erosion of support for Donald Trump but it is the recognition, including six out of 10 Republicans that say, you know, racism actually is a significant problem in this country.

And if you think about how Donald Trump, the most -- I don`t think he has a message for re-election and he certainly doesn`t have a platform, but to the extent he`s had any consistent message on asking for our votes, it`s been on white heritage.

That was explicit language essentially at his Tulsa, Oklahoma coronavirus convention. And it really is not something that`s resonating I think in a way that is important for the nation as it comes to grips with who we really are and what we aspire to be.

WALLACE: And it`s been previewed as his message for tonight. All right, Eddie, Maya, don`t go anywhere, so much more to talk about. I also want to pull in, Eddie, your book and the conversations that it is evoking everywhere. We`ll be right back.



JAMES BALDWIN, WRITER AND ACTIVIST: What is liberty? Oh, wow. That`s quite a question. Not -- I suppose almost nobody really asks themselves that question. For a Black American, for a Black inhabitant of this country, it is simply a very bitter joke, meaning nothing to us.


WALLACE: Wow! Writer and activist James Baldwin speaking about the Statue of Liberty to documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and why the promise of liberty has gone unfulfilled for so many.

Our friend Eddie Glaude has written about James Baldwin in a new book out this week called "Begin Again: James Baldwin`s America and its Urgent Lessons for our Own." Baldwin`s political writing was about pushing forward even when faced with adversity and despair.

Eddie tweeted out this passage from the book today. "We need to gather ourselves, for we are in the eye of the storm. We must find the courage to make the bold choices necessary for these after times. And we cannot shrink from our rage; it is the fire that lights the kiln."

Eddie is back, so is Maya. Eddie, just keep talking.

GLAUDE: Well, you know, since our founding, Nicolle, there`s been a serpent wrapped around the legs of the table upon which the declaration of the independence and the Constitution was signed. And that serpent in every generation threatens to swallow the whole thing completely.

And so it seems to me that what Jimmy represents for me is this honest reckoning with the contradiction that is the heart of the country. And he says without any hint of hyperbole or sentimentality that the problem isn`t us. The problem isn`t black people.

We shouldn`t believe what the world has been telling us, that our neighborhoods are full of pathology, that the way we raise our kids is what the problem is, that we don`t have the capacity to imagine ourselves differently, that we don`t have the intellectual acumen to actually take up these positions.

It`s what`s at the heart of it, right? It is this insidious belief that because you`re white, you are ought to be valued more than others. And that insidious belief has everything to do with this evasion, this evasion of a lie that rests at the heart of the country.

We have to tell ourselves a lie, Nicolle, that in order to justify slavery, we have to say that these people were not human beings. And Jimmy says that lie is the source of our present trouble. It has been the source of every generation, right?

Where we`ve tried to in some ways tinker around the edges but not get at the heart of the matter. So I wanted to write this book because we elected Donald Trump. I never thought we would do that. I literally overestimated.

WALLACE: Me neither.

GLAUDE: I should not have done so. I have said this on your show before, right? I should not have done so. Jimmy said we vote just to buy ourselves time at times, you know. And here, we vomited this guy up, and we are experiencing this backlash, this betrayal.

And I was in such despair and disillusionment that I wanted to find resources. How do I push this damn boulder up the hill again and what are the other resources that are available to us to fight for democracy yet again?

And so I decided to write this book. It comes from the line from -- the title comes, Nicolle, from his last novel, "Just Above My Head." He says responsibility is not lost. It`s abdicated. And if one refuses abdication, then one begins again. That`s what we have to do.

WALLACE: Maya, I`m speechless. Does beginning again mean -- what does it mean? Does it mean we all see the world as -- we`re all parents, we all talk about our kids as we struggle with this moment, does it mean someone like you runs for office? What does it mean? Does it mean we just have more honest conversations? What does it mean?

WILEY: It means that we must be transformational. That we must come together across all our communities, across all our backgrounds and say, it`s not working, it`s broken, because it is working the way it was designed to work on a hierarchy that is causing far too much pain for far too many people.

And that has been laid bare through coronavirus, but it also been laid bare how racialized it is. You know, one of the things that James Baldwin said is that the reason people think it is important to be white is that they think it is important not to be black. And this is a moment in which -- and it`s not the first moment. Black Lives Matter has been organizing for years now.

But really asserting -- it`s not just that there`s nothing wrong with being black. It actually matters. And it should not be threatening to anyone of any other race because it`s about embracing that this is a country we all need to be in. These are communities we all deserve to be in.

And that means we have to be able to say we matter. And the hardest thing for this country to say is that black people matter. And what Donald Trump has done is organize himself in his politics around the notion that it is really actually better to be white. That is a heritage we ought to hold on to. That`s the same thing as saying we won`t be bold. We won`t be transformational.

What we need are leaders who are willing to not just support the reimaging of all our people but to support bold transformation and refuse to do deal making and tinkering and lean directly in to a bottom up approach that says, one nation, indivisible, we all matter, and we`re going to do this differently now.

WALLACE: I hope this is a conversation that we can have every day because I think it is another way to look at the stakes in November. Everything you`re saying seems to be on the line. Everything you`ve written about seems to be very much a question that will be put to the country again in November.

Eddie Glaude, congratulations. Publishing a book is a huge, huge, huge thing. You`ve done so this week. Let`s keep having this conversation. Maya Wiley, thank you for being part of this conversation. Thank you both for being with us today on a holiday Friday.

The book, "Begin Again," required reading. It is available on Amazon. I don`t know if bookstores are open. I`m sure it`s there, too. That did it for our hour. Our coverage continues with Ari Melber. Happy fourth of July weekend. We will be back after a quick break.