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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 12/15/2015

Guests: Brian Levin, Karen Weaver

Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: December 15, 2015 Guest: Brian Levin, Karen Weaver CHARLIE PIERCE, ESQUIRE: OK. I think Marco Rubio will go down in history as a great loss opportunity. I really do. CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: Yes. I think that -- PIERCE: I think he could have been a different one. HAYES: A wise prophecy from Charlie Pierce. He`s a wise man. Reverend Tony Suarez and Charlie Pierce, thank you both. That is "ALL IN" this evening. THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now. Good evening, Rachel. RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend. HAYES: Thank you. MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for being with us this hour. This afternoon, former secretary of state and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was scheduled to give a speech about ISIS and terrorism and homeland security in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the site of the speech. The speech was scheduled for 3:45 this afternoon. But uncharacteristically for Hillary Clinton, she was really late. She didn`t get to the stage until more than an hour after her speech was supposed to start. Her operation is a well-oiled machine and that kind of thing does not happen very often. But, apparently, the thing went so late is because she was meeting before her speech with local Muslim leaders from the Minneapolis area. The Twin Cities, St. Paul, Minnesota, are home to a lot of refugees and new immigrants from all over the world, including a big community of refugees from Somalia. There has been a particular problem in the Minneapolis area of young Somali kids getting recruited from abroad to go fight for al Shabaab and other extremist groups. So, secretary of state, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with leaders from the Somali community and other Muslim communities in that region today before her speech and apparently, for whatever reason went really, really long. When she did take the stage just after 5:00 tonight, for whatever reason, she was loaded for bare. She was just a few minutes into the speech when she took a nice clean hard shot at Republican presidential contender Ted Cruz. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Shallow slogans don`t add up to a strategy. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) Promising to carpet-bomb until the desert glows doesn`t make you sound strong. It makes you sound like you are in over your head. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) Bluster and bigotry are not credentials for becoming commander-in- chief and it is hard to take seriously senators who talk tough but then hold up key national security nominations, including the top official at the Treasury Department responsible for disrupting terrorist financing. (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The target of that attack tonight from Hillary Clinton is obviously Senator Ted Cruz, who really did say he wanted to carpet-bomb Iraq and Syria until, quote, "the sand glowed." He`s also been a part of the holdup for the nomination of the Treasury Department`s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. The nominee is a guy named Adam Szubin. We have been talking about his nomination a lot recently. Adam Szubin is supposed to be the top person in the U.S. government in charge of hunting down sources of financing for terrorist groups like ISIS, cutting off their money, which is a critical tool against them. President Obama nominated him for that job in April. There is no substantive objection to his nomination whatsoever. When Adam Szubin had his confirmation hearing in September, the Republican chairman of the committee considering him said that Adam Szubin was eminently qualified for that job. No Republican senator says that isn`t an important job. No Republican senator says that guy isn`t the right guy for the job. But there still has been no vote on Adam Szubin, and Hillary Clinton popped Republican senators like Ted Cruz for that inexplicable delay tonight. A big portion of her speech tonight, though, including a part where she got a standing ovation was about bigotry and attacks and political demonization against Muslims in this country. And on that suggest, she did not allude to one of the Republicans running for president. She went ahead and named him. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLINTON: Donald Trump`s proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States has rightly sparked outrage across our country and around the world. Even some of the other Republican candidates are saying he`s gone too far. But the truth is, many of those same candidates have also said disgraceful things about Muslims and this kind of divisive rhetoric actually plays into the hands of terrorists. It alienates partners and undermines moderates we need around the world in this fight against ISIS. I can tell you insulting possible allies doesn`t make it any easier. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) And demonizing Muslims also feeds a narrative that jihadists use to recruit new followers around the world, that the United States is at war with Islam. As both the Pentagon and the FBI have said in the past week, we cannot in anyway lend credence to that twisted idea. This is not a clash of civilizations. This is a clash between civilization and barbarism and that`s how it must be seen and fought. (APPLAUSE) We must all stand up against offensive, inflammatory, hateful, anti- Muslim rhetoric. (APPLAUSE) You know, not only do these comments cut against everything we stand for as Americans, they are also dangerous. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Hillary Clinton giving a major speech on terrorism and her plan to fight ISIS and homeland security proposals, but also going into detail about attacks against Muslims and the demonization of Muslims by some Republicans running for president. And around the same time that she was given that uncharacteristically delayed speech tonight, a super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton, a group called Correct the Record, they blasted out their own version, kind of, of this same argument. It`s about the same issue but it definitely comes out at a different angle. And I`m going to show it to you now. It`s about 80 seconds long. And the way they start the video is saying viewer discretion is advised. I think they`re partially doing that for dramatic effect. I do that, too, sometimes. I think partly that may be the title of this video that they have created, but I think you should also take it literally, that viewer discretion is advised. You may find this a little bit upsetting. It is very charged and can be upsetting. And this may not appropriate for little kid. If you got your kids watching with you, so I will give you a moment to find the pause button or the mute button or to be distracting -- one, two, three. OK. And now, we`re going to play it. Check it out. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of my country. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m a U.S. citizen, too. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, whatever. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a problem in this country it`s called Muslims. We know our current president is one. You know he`s not even an American. DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need this question -- (INAUDIBLE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump supporters lashing out at one of the hecklers screaming profanity. One man even yelling a Nazi salute. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sieg Heil! UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donald Trump was met by a contentious crowd at a rally late last night. TRUMP: A man that was -- I don`t know, you say he was roughed up. He was so obnoxious and so loud, he was screaming and this guy started screaming by himself. I don`t know rough up? He should have been -- maybe he should have been roughed up. (INAUDIBLE) TRUMP: Isn`t a Trump rally much more exciting than these other guys? (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That video was released from a super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton, basically saying that Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump is creating a political climate with his campaign that is literally violent, that is inspiring violence at lots of events where he is speaking. And that is an unsettling ad, that is an incendiary charge. It is also clearly true that violence has been happening at his rallies and events in a way that is not true of other candidates this year. And that fact exists uncomfortably and in an unsettling way alongside something else that has been happening over the last few weeks in our country, something happening outside of politics, certainly outside of the presidential campaign. But it appears to be in a parallel lane. It is unnerving. And we know the White House is concerned about it because they held two meetings yesterday that they did not announce until the meetings were over and the president, himself, spoke about it today with quite a bit of passion. And that is next. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: On December 6th, last Sunday, police in Buena Park, California, were called to this Sikh house of worship after members of that temple showed up for services to find misspelled graffiti spray-painted about ISIS and about Islam spray-painting on the walls of their temple, in a parking lot. At a truck parked at the temple. But in a few days, police had opened up a hate crimes investigation and they ended up arresting a 20-year-old who admitted to spray painting graffiti there. Sikhs, of course, are not Muslims, totally different faith. But Sikh men traditionally wear turbans and they grow long beards. And so, particularly ignorant Muslim haters have frequently targeted Sikhs in the past out of sheer blundering bigoted stupidity. Well, this weekend, the police declared they would not be pursuing the attack on the Buena Park, California, Sikh temple as a hate crime. And then something remarkable happened on Sunday. The 20-year-old who had been arrested, the guy who got arrested for vandalizing the temple and admitted doing all that spray-painting, he showed up at the temple during services and gave a personal apology to the congregation for what he did. So, confused 20-year-old motivated by anti-Muslim bigotry, vandalizes non-Muslim house of worships, gets caught, gets arrested, goes back with his tail between his legs and issues a personal apology. Sikh community in Buena Park, California, is left understandably bewildered by the whole thing, but also in some ways threatened. And this kind of thing has been a rushing current in the news in the last few weeks. If you look at national news around the country this past couple of weeks, at least feels like we have been experiencing a spike in criminal incidents designed to hurt or at least intimidate Muslims or people who attackers believe are Muslims. Two days before the Sikh temple incident in Buena Park, California, it was the Islamic Center of Palm Beach in Palm Beach, California. They had half their windows broken by an unknown assailant. Two days after the Sikh temple incident, it was a severed pig`s head in Philadelphia. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: Jim, the severed pig`s head was found right here behind me, thrown right in front of this mosque. That`s what the FBI is investigating tonight. They`re looking for the truck that you are about to see in this video. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m scared because you don`t know what`s next. REPORTER: From a different angle, you can clearly see the severed pig`s head land near the Al-Aqsa Islamic Society mosque. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was last week, last Monday in Philadelphia. The following day, it was a mosque in Jersey City, New Jersey. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: Kamil Hadush (ph) opened the letter, and out spewed hate. He has since turned it over to the Jersey City police. The type-written note reads in part, "We do not want you here. We do not like you. You are evil." UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a big concern for us now. REPORTER: The letter comes just a month after a threatening voicemail was left for worshippers at the al Tahid Islamic Center. VOICEMAIL: Every American that has a Second Amendment right is going to take their (EXPLETIVE DELETED) gun out and blow you away. I just want you to be prepared for that. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: That was Jersey City, New Jersey, a week ago today. That was last Tuesday. Then, a couple of days after that, last Thursday, police were evacuating the D.C. offices of CAIR, the Council on Islamic Relations after a suspicious foreign substance was sent to that D.C. office along with a message that read, quote, "die a painful death." On the same day, another CAIR office in California was also evacuated after another envelope was discovered containing a suspicious white substance. The substances in both of those cases did turn out to be harmless. Those two evacuations of the CAIR offices, that was Thursday. That same day, the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, Arizona, reported that its windows had been broken and that same day, in Grand Forks, North Dakota, a man set fire to a Somali restaurant after it was spray-painted with Nazi graffiti and words "go home." That was Thursday. And this past weekend it was three separate mosques in California. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: Extra police patrols and private security at two mosques in Hawthorne tonight. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just had a peaceful march yesterday. Somebody comes up. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see the black right here. REPORTER: This morning, Mohamed Awadala (ph) found this black graffiti that says, "Jesus is the way" on the front wall of the Islamic center of Hawthorne. Overnight, another Hawthorne mosque, a mile from the Islamic center was vandalized as well. Crosses and the word "Jesus" were spray-painted on the gate and windows. And on Friday, a mosque in the Coachella Valley was fire-bombed just before the big afternoon prayer service. This man, Carl James Dial, was arrested for arson and a hate crime. You can see the windows have been cleaned off at this mosque. They obviously were here praying tonight. They will continue to do so. But I have been in touch with Hawthorne police. And I am told they as well as the FBI are still investigating both of these incidents as a hate crime. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Three separate mosques in California this weekend, all reporting from this weekend. This is from Grand Rapids, Michigan, about a shooting there on Saturday night. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: The 34-year-old store clerk that goes by Tony can be seen in this under surveillance video getting ready to close Saturday just before midnight. You see a man walks in, pointing a long gun at him. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said, just give me all the money and like keep your hands up. Don`t look at me. REPORTER: The store manager says the masked man then demanded money. You can see Tony puts cash in a bag and hands it over. But it`s not the end. She says the robber ordered him into a back room where Tony was forced on his knees, had a gun shoved in his mouth and was called a terrorist and a member of ISIS. Tony told her and police the robber then said he used to shoot people like him all the time in Iraq. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re certainly targeted for it, because we have nothing to do with it obviously. We`re trying to live our normal lives. I grew up here. And a lot of my friends said -- REPORTER: The clerk is from India, not the Middle East. And he`s not Muslim. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whether like we`re Indian, or whether we`re -- you know, it doesn`t matter, like you shouldn`t be specifically going for one race. You know? Like it`s not like, we`re not involved in any of it. You know so it`s really sad that people are thinking like that. REPORTER: Police say Tony grabbed a gun and started to fight back, causing a gun to shoot him in the cheek instead of the back of his head. The robber then fired two more shots before leaving. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is very lucky, because, you know, it could have been a lot worse. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Saturday night in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a man shot in the face. And there are other incidents beside those, I could go and on. Those are just a sampling from the last two weeks. It seems like at least part of the way we are responding to the San Bernardino mass shootings two weeks is by these criminal acts toward random Americans who either are Muslims or people think are Muslims. I mean, should I -- maybe you pin this to San Bernardino? Maybe those were all attacks in San Bernardino. Maybe you pin it to the Paris terrorist attacks last month? Maybe you pin it to being December. Maybe you pint it to the anti-Muslim animus in Republican politics right now. I don`t know. But it seems like there are a lot of physical attacks against Muslim targets right now and targets that are perceived to be Muslim right now. How do we know if that impression is true? How do we know if there is a spike in these things right now? And what works to stop it if we really are having a spike in violent bigoted attacks against one American minority. Joining us now is Brian Levin. He`s a criminologist and professor of criminal justice at Cal-State San Bernardino. Professor Levin, I really appreciate you being with us. Thanks for being here. BRIAN LEVIN, CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF HATE & EXTREMISM: Thank you for having me, Rachel. MADDOW: So, anecdotally, it feels like there is a lot of these kinds of attacks right now. But I don`t trust anecdotal evidence as real data in terms of aggregating it. How do we know if attacks on Muslim targets are going up right now? LEVIN: Well, the official gauge is going to lag, because that`s done monthly by most departments. And additionally, the FBI`s national collection of data, which occurs annually, lags a year behind. So, we just had our 2014 figures come out about a month ago. MADDOW: Oh. LEVIN: But I can tell you that we`ve averaged about 13 anti-Islamic hate crimes reported to the FBI each month, which is probably an under count. We had 5,479 hate crimes reported nationwide, yet the Bureau of Justice statistics data seems to suggest there is about 200,000 hate crimes annually. So there is a big gap. So, let`s look at the reported hate crimes. Over the last five years, we`re averaging about 1,300 a month. Our centers preliminary data where what we tried to do was take crimes reported in the media that appeared to be criminal acts and hate motivated in whole or in part against Muslims over the last month. And what we see is about 33. So, we`re talking two-and-a-half times the five-year moving average of anti-Islamic hate crimes in the United States. And again, that`s just reported hate crimes as you have shown, we`ve seen assaults, shooting, arsons and it goes across the United States from New York, and New Jersey, Florida, California, North Dakota as you showed. MADDOW: So, let me recap that, just to make sure I understand it. You are saying, obviously, there are different sources of data and there`s sort of different levels of confidence in that data and also different lag times. But if you are looking at reported publicly available information, as far as you can tell, what`s happening right now is more than double the typical frequency these types of events in the United States? LEVIN: That`s exactly correct, Rachel. I`m former NYPD and I was one of the first people to do multijurisdictional statistical analysis. So, what I tried to do was take out acts that were hateful but not criminal and then tried to take those cases that pass muster with regard to the FBI standards for reporting. And again, we`re not a law enforcement agency, but as a criminologist, the available data seems to indicate on published data shows about two-and-a-half times, more than two-and-a-half times, the moving average over the last five years. We had between 150, or 160 a year. In the last month, it looks like we had about 33 hate crimes give or take. And we are averaging 13 a month. So, that`s a significant increase to what we usually see. MADDOW: Brian Levin, professor of criminal justice at Cal State University, San Bernardino, at the Center for Study of Hate and Extremism, it`s really helpful to get that quantitative data-driven look at it, sir. Thanks for helping us understand that. I appreciate it. LEVIN: Thank you so much for having me. MADDOW: Thank you. I will say that those numbers, again, to get those qualifications for somebody studying like that is important in terms of taking all the caveat. But if it feels like there has been a lot of these types of attacks in the last couple of weeks, I think it`s true there has comparatively speaking, been a lot of these attacks. And the problem of attacks on Muslims and attacks against targets that people think are Muslim, that is a problem that is now big enough to at least have warranted not one but two big White House meetings yesterday. As far as I can tell, I think those were meetings that they did not announce in advanced. They didn`t announce this publicly until after they had happened. But yesterday, a group of Sikh leaders and separately a group of Muslim leaders were both invited to the White House yesterday for high level meetings with White House staff, specifically to talk about this perceived uptick in violence and harassment against religious minorities in this country. High level meetings at the White House yesterday, and then today, President Obama himself gave a fairly emotional speech at a naturalization ceremony for people being sworn in as new U.S. citizens, was held at the National Archives, literally in front of the original copies, of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence. And the president cited America`s historical decisions to do things like reject Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis in World War II, and the persecution of Catholic immigrants and Chinese immigrants, and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. The president today cited those examples and pivoted to how we are flirting with those same dynamics again right now. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We need to resolve never to repeat mistakes like that again. (APPLAUSE) We must resolve to always speak out against hatred and bigotry, and all of its forms, whether taunts against a child of an immigrant farm worker or threats against a Muslim, a shop keeper, we are Americans. Standing up for each other is what the values enshrined in the documents in this room compels us to do, especially when it`s hard, especially when it`s not convenient. That`s when it counts. That`s when it matters. Not when things are easy, but when things are hard. The truth is, being an American is hard. Being a part of a democratic government is hard. Being a citizen is hard. It is a challenge. It`s supposed to be. There is no respite from our ideas. All of us have called to live up to our expectations for ourselves, not when it`s convenient, but when it`s inconvenient, when it`s tough, when we`re afraid. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: President Obama speaking at the National Archives today, talking before a group of people who were being sworn in for the very first time as brands new American citizens. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So, a press conference has just wrapped up in Los Angeles, California. City officials announced the schools will reopen tomorrow, the story that pretty much dominated headlines all day today was the L.A. Unified School District`s decision to shut down the entire school district today, second biggest school district in the country -- 900 public schools, 187 charter schools all shut down today; 640,000 kids across L.A. were told to stay home on very short notice. The shutdown happened after both L.A. and New York City received similar if not identical e-mailed threats, warning of pretty dramatic and detailed attacks on schools, in both cities. New York City officials were quick to dismiss the threat as a hoax. Schools in New York stayed open today, but in southern California, which fair to say is still reeling from the San Bernardino attacks basically in their backyard couple of weeks ago, L.A. decided they weren`t taking chances. They shut down the whole school district. Officials there now say the FBI has determined that the threat was not credible. And tonight, L.A. officials say a total of 1,531 school sites have been walked through an inspected. They`ve all now been deemed safe to reopen tomorrow, back to school tomorrow in L.A. We`ll bring you more as it develops. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Behold, the 1912 Cadillac model 30, 1912. So cool. So elegant, it almost hurts to look at it. The 1912 Cadillac won awards for its technological breakthroughs that year. The 1912 model that year, it came with an electric starter. It came with headlights. General Motors started making cars in central Michigan 100 years ago. And aside from the occasional strike or painful layoffs and thanks to a big federal bailout, General Motors has kept going right along all these years. But just over a year ago, one GM plant in Michigan realized they had a big and strong problem. The water at the factory, the water coming out of the taps, the water that were getting from the city water supply, where the factory was located, just as they also had, all of a sudden, the water basically went bad. And it turns out that`s because the city had changed the source of where it was getting its water supply and the new water, the city water coming out of the spigot all of a sudden was so corrosive that that GM factory could no longer use it for anything at that facility where they were making cars. So, they made other arrangements to get water from other places. It turns out that same tap water that GM decided to keep away from its metal engine parts, that same corrosive bad water was bothering the people in that town who were trying to drink it. This is from June, 2014. Check it out. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Flint is now getting its water from the Flint River. They switched over a little more than a month ago. It`s not sitting well with some residents and businesses who say the water smells and they don`t want to drink or even shower with it. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know how it`s clean, it smells and tastes bad. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Flint resident Senegal Williams can`t remember the city water tasting this bad. Now he`s turning to bottled water and avoiding the tap. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s not proper for people to be drinking, man. I can smell it. This is not a big debate. This is nothing that nobody can figure out. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I`m showering and bathing, my skin feels a little different. The spell from the water in the shower kind of convinced me that the water is not the same. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know what hard water feels like against my skin. I have very sensitive skin and it feel like hard water. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: People in Flint, Michigan, started speaking up about their water last year. They could tell something was wrong right away, right away after the city stop using water pipe up from Detroit like the always had and switched instead to water drawn from the local Flint River. People right away said it tasted bad, smelled bad, it felt bad on their skin. We know the folks at General Motors noticed it. They took that factory off the city water supply to protect the fine new engines that they were building at that plant. But if you were a resident, you have no means to arrange your own substitute water supply like the factory did. And in Flint, Michigan, what you found was that this was the official response to your complaints. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, in a statement, the city of Flint tells NBC 25 that the water meets all DEQ standards, and that they continuously monitor the water for any problems and there are no issues with the water at this time. City officials also say the water is perfectly safe for everybody to drink. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Perfectly safe, people. Your water is perfectly safe to drink. So, it smells, so it stinks, so it corrodes car engines. Drink up, Flint. We`re continuously monitoring your water and it`s perfectly safe for everybody to drink. That was the official line for more than a year. It turns out, that official line was not just wrong. It was dangerously toxically and perhaps irreversibly wrong, because both the GM plant and the neighbors were right. The water was bad. The water coming in from the Flint River really was corrosive. That river water corroded the pipes of the homes, and the schools, and the shops in Flint, and when it corroded those pipes, it released into the tea kettles and water glasses and shower sprays and sippy cups of Flint, poisonous lead. The water corroded the pipes. It released the lead that was holding the pipes together. The people of Flint drank that water now filled with lead and it made them sick. And in September, the local press uncovered state documents showing lead levels rising in Flint. Scientists from Virginia Tech came up to test the water in Flint. They said the state should have known this could have happened when they started using water from the Flint River. And despite these unequivocal public assurances the water was perfectly safe, government officials, it turns out, did know about the lead. The city`s own testing found the lead levels going up after they switched to Flint River water. And then came the blood test results. A local doctor found that nearly twice as many babies and kids in Flint had elevated levels of lead in their blood as kids from other places. In some neighborhoods, it was nearly three times as many kids, all since the city switched the water. And all that lead flowing in the blood streams of the children and the babies of Flint, it puts them at risk for sickness and lasting neurological damage. Lead poisoning is not reversible. Next month in October, state officials finally admitted they had used the wrong standards for safety to get water from the Flint River. By then, the EPA was investigating. FEMA was trucking in bottled water. You can still find today, the official public advice for worried Flint parents from the state of Michigan. It includes advising parents that their kids should be eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and things like tofu and milk and cheese to keep lead from being stored in a child`s body. So maybe, FEMA should be trucking in spinach and tomatoes and tofu along with the water, as long as those spinach and tomatoes and tofu haven`t been washed or prepared in Flint, Michigan tap water. Eat up, drink up, try spinach to keep lead from being stored in your baby`s body. The new mayor of Flint was elected in the middle of this crisis. She campaigned on a promise to fix this. And last night, she took a dramatic step. She issued a remarkable call for national health. Quote, "The city of Flint has experienced a manmade disaster. I, Mayor Karen W. Weaver, hereby declare a state of emergency in the city of Flint effective December 14th, 2015." Mayor Flint declaring a manmade disaster in her town as of last night, which makes this a full day one of the declared disaster. What happens on day two? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know how it`s clean, it smells and tastes bad. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Flint resident Senegal Williams can`t remember the city water tasting this bad. Now he`s turning to bottled water and avoiding the tap. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s not proper for people to be drinking, man. If I can smell it, this is not a big debate. This is nothing that nobody can figure out. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The people in Flint, Michigan, knew there was something wrong with their water, as soon as the city switched to getting it from a new source from Flint River. But even though everybody knew something was wrong. It took more than a year for the city to admit lead levels in the water were rising to dangerous levels and lead levels in Flint`s kids have, therefore, been rising to dangerous levels as well, which, of course, is devastating, because lead poisoning can cause life-long and irreversible serious health problems. Last night, the mayor of Flint declared a state of emergency in her city. Joining us now is Mayor Karen Weaver of Flint, Michigan. Mayor Weaver, I know that you are right in the middle of a million things right now. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us tonight. MAYOR KAREN WEAVER (D), FLINT, MICHIGAN: Well, thank you for having me. I really appreciate it. MADDOW: So this was an unusual step. I`m not sure I knew this was even an option for you, as mayor. Why did you feel it was necessary to call a state of emergency? What are hoping will happen because you did that? WEAVER: Well, you know, we really felt like it was the only step we could take at this point, because we are at a critical point right now in the city of Flint, Michigan. You talked about the lead that impacted the kids and the families in the city of Flint. And we need federal assistance. We need state and federal funds to help us fix this problem. Like you said, it`s been going on for over a year now. We have problems with our infrastructure. We have children that have been damaged by this lead. They have permanent brain damage. So, we know that Flint is not in a position to bear this burden alone. And we are asking and looking for state and federal assistance. And the only way we are going to have this happen was to declare a state of emergency. And, hopefully, that gets it to the county, which will get it to the state, where the governor can make it federal. MADDOW: I understand that you are basically sending up, it sounds to me, you are sending up a red flag, trying to make this a national issue. WEAVER: Yes, I am. And we know we were trying to get federal attention for a while. So I really thank you and others that have stepped forward to help us, you know, with our efforts. MADDOW: Do you as you try I to run this as far up the flag pole as you can, it seems to me like you are already encountering assistance. We heard today I think from the head of the county board saying there is no need to declare an emergency in Flint. Obviously, you`ve got to go from the town level, to the county level, to the state level, to the national level. Do you anticipate that you`re going to get resistance at every level? WEAVER: Well, you know, I hope we don`t get resistance at every level. And the last update I got was that the county was going to address this at their meeting that`s coming up at the first of the year. MADDOW: OK. I know that Flint has now reconnected to the water system for Detroit, which was the old system before this switch was made that went so badly. Is the water safe to drink now in Flint? Especially if damage was done to those pipes by that corrosive water? When do you expect to get that some kind of all clear? WEAVER: Well, that`s the issue. We don`t want people to feel that because we made the switch back to Detroit water, that everything is fine now because it`s not. We needed to go back because we know that Lake Huron water was treated. It didn`t have the corrosion going on that the Flint River water had. But when we made that switch, our pipes were damaged by that corrosive water -- MADDOW: Right, yes. WEAVER: -- that was coming from the Flint River. So that`s what happened. The bio film was torn down. We don`t have that anymore. That`s what was protecting us. So when the water comes through, the lead leaps out. That`s why there is still a problem with lead. So, we made the switch back to Detroit. But one of the things you talked about was that permanent damage that are under the age of 6. We know they have neurological damage. So, we`re going to have to try to provide services for those kids and families because we know they`re going to show some deficits. MADDOW: Karen Weaver, mayor of Flint, Michigan, elected by the people of Flint, Michigan, in large part to fix this problem. We came in knowing that this is what Flint needed to do. This is a herculean task that you have ahead of you, ma`am. Good luck. And please keep us apprised. I promise. WEAVER: And I thank you for that. Thank you so much for having me. MADDOW: Thank you, Mayor. I appreciate it. Mayor Karen Weaver of Flint, Michigan. And when you think of what they have to do, in terms of the damage already done, like diagnosing problems in kids, making sure there is support and treatment for kids that have been poisoned by this stuff. But then the fact that the water has been switched back to the water supply does not end the threat from the water because the bad water hurt the pipe in the way that the mayor just explained there, in such that they may continue to have an ongoing poisoning problem for their population because of this terrible error that was made. This is not right in Flint. And this is going to be a big project to fix it. Honestly, my opinion, I think she`s right to run up a national flag pole. This is something that they`re going to need national help for. Michigan has treated this with the back of its hand all along, so slow on it, and not fixing it fast enough and aggressive enough when they finally acknowledged it. I think this is a national story. I think they do need national help. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Awkward conversation last night on this show with the director of Monmouth University Polling Institute, Patrick Murray. If you saw it, I don`t know, you might have noticed it was a little awkward. That`s because his poll, the latest Monmouth national Republican poll showed Donald Trump with a basically unimaginable lead, which didn`t seem real. Monmouth poll showed Donald Trump at 41 percent. The biggest lead, Mr. Trump, has ever had in any national poll. It`s the first time any Republican candidate has broken the 40 percent mark in the national poll this year. I mean, Donald Trump has been all the polls for month, but he`s generally been hanging out in the upper 20s, occasionally breaking into the 30s. So 41 percent? A 27-point lead over his nearest rival? That seemed very new. And you`ve got to ask in that circumstance: is this an outlier? Could this be wrong? Could Donald Trump`s national poll numbers really be spiking like that, especially after his whole ban the Muslims thing? When I put that awkward question to Patrick Murray, he was very serious and thoughtful about his response. He pointed out that different polls measure different things. That this poll was just one poll among many, that national polls this far out aren`t necessarily predictive. OK. But you know what? Twenty-four hours later, we now have new evidence to suggest that yes, no reason to be shy. That Monmouth poll is not an outlier. Forty-one percent in that poll was the highest number Donald Trump has ever had in any national poll, but in today`s brand-new "Washington Post"/ABC News poll, Donald Trump is almost there. He`s got his second highest number ever, 38 percent. That`s about as much as his nearest three rivals put together. So, apparently, that Monmouth poll is not a fluke. Since announcing his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States, Donald Trump has seen his support among Republican voters nationally reach record highs. That does not mean that Donald Trump is necessarily going to win the presidential nomination, but it does mean that Republican voters rite now are absolutely buying what he is selling, in record numbers. Sleep well tonight. Sorry. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Would you like to hear Bernie Sanders swear? Of course, you would like to hear Bernie Sanders swear. We`re all human, aren`t we? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We were in the north. We were in Chicago. We got students at the University of Chicago. What we saw, if I could use some (EXPLETIVE DELETED) is we saw our friends getting (EXPLETIVE DELETED), getting beaten the hell. (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: If you would like to know what`s going on with the Bernie Sanders and the beeping and the swearing, I can explain. I swear, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: It was 2003, fedoras were having one of their first back come moments. Fedoras were very in. Those fuzzy sweat pants that said "juicy" on the butt, also in. That soundtrack to it all, that anthem of late 2003 that you could not escape, even if you wanted to, was this. (MUSIC) MADDOW: "Hey Ya" by Outkast. God, I just tried to sing it. Outkast, they owned 2003 with that song. But they were not a one-hit wonder. The year before that song came out, Outkast won the Grammy for the best rap performance for a song called "The Whole World." They won that Grammy for that song, along with the guy who rapped on that track with them who was a hip-hop artist named Killer Mike. Killer Mike`s real name is Michael Render. He`s had a storied decade-long career in hip hop. His current gig is called Run the Jewels. Their last album was named "Rolling Stones" best rap album of the year in 2014 and because they`re funny they restarted a mixed parody version of their own album called "Meow the Jewels." That was also super successful. And the money raised by that album was donated to the families of Eric Garner and Michael Brown and other people killed by police. So, Killer Mike, he`s an award-winning rapper. He`s a busy activist. He`s also a businessman. He owns his own barbershop in Atlanta. And it turns out he`s also best buds with Bernie Sanders, as you do. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KILLER MIKE, RAPPER: I have said in many a rap, I don`t trust a church or the government, a Democrat, a government, a pope or a bishop or those other men. But after spending five hours tonight, after spending five hours with someone who has spent the last 50 years radically fighting for your rights and mine, I can tell you that I am very proud tonight to announce the next president of the United States, Senator Bernie Sanders. Everyone, give him a round of applause. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was November 23rd. And today, we learned that beyond that endorsement, Killer Mike, aka Michael Render, also did a big well- produced lodge, and it turns out, fascinating interview with Bernie Sanders. They did it at Killer Mike`s barbershop in Atlanta. They just released the tip of it today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KILLER MIKE: What pulled me was your voters right act interview. You talked about the restoration of the voters right act. And I remember thinking myself who the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) is this crazy white guy? It didn`t even make sense to me. Because I have lived in Atlanta all my life and I virtually heard no black politicians angry about it. I virtually heard no -- (CROSSTALK) SANDERS: Let me tell you something about that. KILLER MIKE: You were the only voice of outrage. SANDERS: Let me tell you something. This is true. I am a fierce believer in democracy. I love democracy. I love the fact that someone disagrees with me, they say Bernie you`re full of (EXPLETIVE DELETED), I`m going to vote against it, that`s fine. I love it. I love people thinking about what kind of future they want. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Meaning of the minds. They just posted this interview. It`s really long. It`s like over an hour. You can see the whole interview at We`re posting the whole thing. It`s great. Killer Mike has already endorsed Bernie Sanders in the rice for the White House. He seems to be the head of a surge of rap artist coming out in support of the senators. There`s now even a Hip Hop for Bernie Sanders podcast. Senator Sander`s doing great in New Hampshire. He`s filling big room across the country. But for a man who as one of the oldest guys to ever run for president, for a candidates who was basically tanking with black voters so far, which is a hugely important part of the diplomatic primary electorate, the emergence of hip hop celebrity Bernie Sanders booster caucus has got to be a very welcomed surprise. That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow. Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL". Good evening, Lawrence. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END