Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: August 18, 2016 Guest: Larry Sabato, John Bel Edwards
JOY REID, MSNBC GUEST HOST: I`ll be back tonight at 11:00 p.m. Eastern. Don`t go away, especially, because Rachel Maddow starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel, who is in perfect health. The picture of health.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Exactly, and not at all weak, despite my unfortunate femininity.
REID: It doesn`t help us, does it?
MADDOW: No, it doesn`t. It`s also a joke. Thank you, Joy. Appreciate it.
REID: Take care.
MADDOW: People say, you know, there aren`t have many women in your business. How`d you get to be a woman in the position that you`re in your business. I say, well, you know, some people think I look like a dude, and that helps!
I`m sorry, mom. My mom gets really mad whenever I say that. But there you go.
Thank you for joining us this hour. It`s good to have you here.
At the two nominating conventions for the two major parties this year, there were headline speeches, of course, from the candidates themselves, in both conventions this year. We had a headline speeches from the candidate`s families. We had big speeches from other big name politicos, of course, from celebrities, on both sides, slightly different celebrity rosters on the two sides this year.
But what has turned out to be the most politically resonant moment from either of the conventions this year, was one of the speeches that was by a person who wasn`t at all famous, a person who wasn`t a known public figure at all, before stepping on to that convention stage. When Khizr Khan and his wife stood behind the podium at the Democratic Convention and talked about losing their son in Iraq, when Captain Khan`s father took that well- worn copy of the Constitution out of his pocket and waved it in the air and challenged Donald Trump to read it, it was a challenge, and it was a moment that really rocked -- I think it rocked the country.
It rocked the Trump campaign, specifically. It drove their candidate and their whole campaign to distraction for well over a week. It also, not incidentally, put the pocket-sized version of the Constitution on the best seller list this summer, which was very nice.
At the Republican convention, there was no real equivalent moment to that. There was no speech at the Republican convention that caused the same kind of ongoing political disruption that Khizr Khan`s remarks made. But at the Republican convention, they, too, I think, have the most emotional, the most intense, and in many ways, the most memorable moment of their convention, not when somebody famous was speaking, but when Patricia Smith came to the podium and made an impassioned case against Hillary Clinton, on the basis of her son being killed at Benghazi.
We now know that Patricia Smith got help writing those remarks, and there`s nothing wrong with that. But she got help writing those remarks from a conservative speechwriter, from a lifelong Maryland Republican, who worked as a Republican congressional staffer, worked as an aide to one of Maryland`s Republican governors, and he wrote Patricia Smith`s speech for the Republican National Convention this year, that powerful, powerful speech.
Well, now, that speechwriter has declared in an op-ed in "The Baltimore Sun," that despite the fact that he has never in his life voted for a Democrat for federal office, and despite all of the terrible things he said about Hillary Clinton in that speech that he wrote for Patricia Smith for the convention, he`s probably going to vote for Hillary Clinton. He cannot bring himself to vote for Donald Trump.
Quote, "Weeks after the end of the 2016 GOP convention, I`m confronted by an inconvenient fact. Despite what I wrote in that nationally televised speech about Hillary Clinton, I may yet have to vote for her, because of the epic deficiencies of my own party`s nominee."
His name is Richard Cross. And in this op-ed, he goes on to compare Donald Trump unfavorably, to previous Republican presidents like Ronald Reagan, or even Richard Nixon. He says, quote, "I cannot vote for Donald Trump. I could never vote for Donald Trump."
He says, "President Eisenhower would never have proposed banning Muslims from America. I believe this is a citizenship election, similar to others we`ve had in our history. This is a time to stand up and be counted. The central question in 2016, are Muslim Americans an equal and welcome member of the American constituency? For me, the answer is a clear, yes."
So this is interesting, right? Because -- I mean, it`s interesting on one level, this is another Republican and one in an interesting position this year, who`s saying, actually, he`s siding with Clinton and not Trump.
It`s also interesting, of course, in terms of the basis of his opposition to Donald Trump, because Donald Trump proposed banning Muslims from the United States last year, last December. Republican primary voters across the country knew that a vote for Donald Trump was a vote for his Muslim ban, and every single one of the primaries and caucuses that happened over the course of this whole year, by which they chose him overwhelmingly as their nominee.
When this Maryland Republican speechwriter, God bless him, when Richard Cross was writing that hair-raising, heart-rending speech for the mother of that young man who was killed in Benghazi, for that speech at the Republican National Convention, when he was writing that speech, Donald Trump`s Muslim ban wasn`t a secret, right? Trump had been running on that for months.
But now, this one life-long Republican in Maryland has decided he can`t swallow it after all. And even though he wrote that speech and he`s never voted for a Democrat before, he will likely be voting for Hillary Clinton. You know, of all the things that Donald Trump has said and done over the course of this campaign, I think the Muslim ban remains the most fundamentally incendiary and radical thing about his candidacy.
I think as we get close -- I may be wrong, but I think as we get closer to the election, you`ll see more and more Republicans who have endorsed him, Republicans in particular who are going to be sharing with a ballot with him. Republicans like John McCain or Kelly Ayotte or Ron Johnson or Pat Toomey. You`ll see these Republicans, I think, get pinned to the wall like butterfly specimens under glass, about how it is they can support someone, they can run alongside someone, they can endorse someone, as the standard- bearer of their party, who is pledging to ban Muslims from the United States.
I mean, the fundamental radicalism of that policy proposal from Donald Trump, I think it will be something that the campaign boils down to, as it gets closer and closer to Election Day. I think it is just an irreducibly radical thing. This fundamental proposal to not just tear up part of the Constitution, but to pear up one of the potential founding concepts of the United States of America as a country. It`s interesting, though.
Although the Muslim ban continues to apparently cost Donald Trump Republican votes, and I think it ultimately will be a liability, not just for him, but for all of the Republicans who support him, there are, still, some parts of the American conservative movement, some parts of the American political right, where the only problem with Donald Trump`s Muslim ban is that it doesn`t go far enough. That it doesn`t round up all the Muslims who are already here. And send them out of the country, because they`re Muslims.
Quoting, "Enough of the hatred, intolerance, violent rhetoric. It`s time to, #DeportAllMuslims from Western nations."
So, this argument here, this is not about banning Muslims from entering the United States, it`s about rounding up Muslims who are already here in the United States. And deporting them based on their religion. And not just here in the United States, but from all Western nations, we should do this.
When the terrorist attack happened in Nice, France, the one with the truck on July 14th, one of the hashtags that emerged online internationally after that attack was, #prayforNice. You probably remember that. It was nice. It was meant to be a sign of support.
But here, going back that same author, it was used to say, #prayfornice. "Pray for Nice that they have the will and the courage to deport all Muslims." Those tweets are from an editor who works at Breitbart.com.
And so, if you`re wondering about the editorial environment that was created and nurtured and supported by the chief of Breitbart.com, who Donald Trump just appointed to run his presidential campaign, this is some of what it`s like. More from the same Breitbart editor, "Funny how Europeans assimilated, unlike third worlders, demanding welfare, while raping and killing Americans." This one, "Immigration is rape culture. Immigration is terrorism, forever, until you`re conquered. Close to borders and expel the invaders."
So, again, this isn`t ban all Muslims, like Donald Trump is saying. This is, don`t just ban all Muslims, find Muslims in the United States, round them up, and deport them on the basis of their religion, and it`s not just build a wall on the southern border and deport millions of people in this country based on their immigration status, it`s stop all immigration to the United States. Close the borders. And, it`s not even like you`re good to stay if you were here before there were ever borders in the first place.
Quote, "British settlers and their descendants built civilizations. Indians never bothered to build more than a few tepees."
There`s another one, quote, "British settlers built the USA. Slaves built the country as much as cows built McDonald`s." Again, this is a currently employed editor at breitbart.com, who has been working all this time, all the time she`s been writing all those things that I just quoted, working all the time for the guy who is now running the Donald Trump campaign as of this week.
All of those tweets were while he was running that publication and while she was working for him. So, this is the kind of editorial environment that he created, that he built. And that`s the environment from which Donald Trump plucked him and picked him to be in charge of his presidential effort.
This is the publication, famously, that called conservative commentator Bill Kristol a renegade Jew for preparing a third-party effort to block Trump`s path to the White House. A "Renegade Jew." Another Breitbart editor was banned from Twitter for life for his sexist and racist abuse.
This is now Donald Trump`s new campaign executive, to get a sense of how they sort of -- what they were talking about when the rest of the country was having sort of more mainstream political debates, this is how Donald Trump`s new campaign chief executive weighed in at his publication, on controversial issues, like the Confederate flag flying on statehouse grounds in South Carolina, after the white supremacist murder of nine black churchgoers in Charleston.
This is how breitbart.com handled that issue. You have that full screen there. Here it is, "Hoist it high and proud. The Confederate flag proclaims a glorious heritage."
So, if you have been wondering whether racial issues and bigotry and name calling and all the George Wallace kind of stuff we`ve been seeing in the Trump campaign from the beginning, if you`ve been wondering if that kind of stuff is about to get better or worse in this home stretch of the campaign, I don`t think anybody smart is betting that things are about to get better.
They`re already pretty bad. The first Donald Trump campaign event, that reportedly reflected the influence of the new Breitbart guy, running the campaign, was Mr. Trump`s speech on Tuesday night, in a Milwaukee suburb, in Wisconsin. You`ll remember that Milwaukee has been going through a burst of violence after police killed what they said was an armed black man in the city. There were two nights of rioting and violence and businesses being burned.
A night after that ended, Donald Trump went to an all-white Milwaukee suburb, and gave this speech. At the time when he gave that speech, we didn`t know that somebody new was writing his campaign and shaping his remarks and his strategy. But apparently, we now know in retrospect that the Breitbart guy was already in charge by then. And my favorite little indicator, my favorite red flag that might have gone up at that event about what the Trump campaign will be like from here on out under new management was when they put out an official campaign press release, listing what they said was all the praise for Donald Trump`s Wisconsin speech in that Milwaukee suburb that night.
They put out this press release, less than an hour after he stopped talking, under the title here, what they`re saying about Trump`s excellent law and order speech. And then they have quotes from reporters and observers, all, apparently, complimenting Donald Trump on his excellent speech.
You scroll through the list, some familiar names, some not. And you get to well-known "Associated Press" reporter, Jill Colvin. This is what the Trump press release quotes her as saying. Quote, "Trump sounds like he is talking directly to African-Americans." Hmm.
Where did she say this? Well, they very responsibly, now that they`re a big political operation, right, they give us the reference, which you`re supposed to do in campaign preferences, it`s from twitter.com, on the night of Trump`s speech. OK, that means we can go find the original quote from this reporter. Interesting that an "A.P." reporter would say that about this Trump speech and this all white suburb.
It turns out the original quote, what her actual tweet was is, "Trump sounds like he`s talking directly to African-Americans," comma, "but I don`t see a single non-white person in the crowd." So if you just take the first half of that sentence, it is quite a compliment and an unexpected one. It`s unexpected for a reason.
And so, I think this stuff is not likely to get better anytime soon. And meanwhile, the rest of the campaign is starting to feel like it`s kind of through the looking glass, or almost through the beer glass, maybe. It`s almost starting -- the campaign is almost starting to sound like it`s a little drunk.
And I mean, just -- you know. See what you think. Within the last 24 hours, for example, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who supports Donald Trump, she said in an interview that Hillary Clinton is a lying killer! She then explained those remarks later by saying, actually, when she said the phrase "lying killer," she was just mispronouncing the name Hillary Clinton. She was trying to say "Hillary Clinton" and it came out lying killer. That`s amazing.
We`ve also learned, exclusively tonight here on this show that it appears that Donald Trump`s doctor, who gave Donald Trump his clean bill of health, right? Who famously, publicly proclaimed that Donald Trump, he could unequivocally state that Donald Trump will be the healthiest person ever elected to the presidency, turns out that doctor may have misstated his professional credentials. We`ll have more on that later.
Today is also the day that somebody in a Donald Duck costume turned up at Trump Tower and just started riding the escalator up and down and up and down all day at Trump Tower. Not talking, just being Donald Duck! The point apparently is that Donald Trump is Donald ducking public scrutiny by not releasing his taxes.
Although this is Trump Tower, apparently, the atrium where that escalator is, that Donald Trump made famous in his campaign announcement, that is basically public space, even though it`s Trump Tower. So, I think that means they can`t kick Donald Duck out of Trump Tower. So, he may be riding that escalator up and down, in Trump Tower, every day until the election. I don`t know.
In case you still feel too sober at this point, consider also that today, the Democratic Party dispatched their vice presidential candidate, Tim Kaine, to the Democratic bastions of Idaho and Wyoming. Really?
It has been weird to see Donald Trump in a losing overall, so badly. And still deciding to spend time in blue states he`s never going to win, like Maine and Connecticut. At the surface level, it is just as weird to see a Democratic candidate go to Idaho and Wyoming, except for the fact that the Democrats are winning in this election right now so bigly, as Donald Trump would put it, that it is possible that Idaho and Wyoming are maybe on the map for them. They`re talking about the election now, as if all 50 states are getting to be on their target list.
So, Idaho and Wyoming, sure, why not? A new poll came out today that shows that Clinton and Trump tied in the great state of Georgia. Make of that what you will.
So, there`s a lot that`s a little nuts. There`s a lot that seems a little drunk. A little tipsy right now in the campaign. And I think there`s trepidation that it`s going to get uglier and worse, fast, on the Trump side of things with the big shake up that they`ve just had in their campaign, now that they`ve just put the guy responsible for this in charge of the overall Trump effort.
But with all that craziness and all of that worry about what is to come, I do actually have one super solid, super positive, super constructive piece of news for you about not just American politics, but about this crazy campaign specifically. I think it`s a huge deal. I am un-cynically telling you that it is great news and substantive news, and it is apparently locked down solid and it`s going to happen. And I`ve got that story for you, next.
MADDOW: This is a twofer. It is half programming note, but it`s half news, historic news.
On September 7th, which is a couple days after Labor Day, MSNBC and NBC and IAVA, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, we are going to do something that is going to be a very big deal in the presidential campaign, and that is a big, historic deal regardless. The presidential debates this year, as you know, they start on September 26th, and there are going to be two more after that, plus the VP debate all in October. But before the debates start, here`s the news.
Both candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, are going to do a commander in chief forum with us. Again, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are doing this. The candidates will appear at this forum, back to back. One of the frustrations we heard, particularly from the huge and politically active veterans community in this country is how little the primary in either party this year focused substantively on commander in chief issues, on national security or veterans issues or issues of war and peace.
But this forum that we`re going to do with IAVA, it will focus exclusively on those issues. I think this is really exciting. It`s going to be held in New York. The candidates will appear before an audience that`s made up almost entirely of veterans and active service members. The audience will get -- that audience will get to ask the candidates questions.
As far as we can tell, this is the first-ever presidential forum to focus on national security and veterans issues, before the debates kick off. This forum comes at a time when we are 15 years into the Afghanistan war. It`s the longest war we`ve ever fought as a country. It`s 13 years after the Iraq war began and we`ve got thousands of U.S. troops back in that country as well, and in harm`s way.
We`re now at war in Syria, as well. We are a country at war on multiple fronts. This commander in chief forum will at last put that back at the center of the competition to become the next president of the United States, which is where it belonged all this time.
Both candidates have confirmed that they`re going to do this. It`s September 7th, the Wednesday after Labor Day. You`ll be able to watch it here on MSNBC or on NBC prime-time that night. Congratulations to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America for pushing so hard to get this to happen and thank you to both of the candidates for saying yes.
Mark your calendars, September 7th. We are super excited.
MADDOW: We`ve got a lot of show ahead tonight, including, I`m very glad to say, the governor of Louisiana. Democrat John Bel Edwards will be our guest tonight for the interview, as his state goes through an almost unbelievable trial with massive flooding, that the Red Cross says is the worst natural disaster in this country since Superstorm Sandy. This is a natural disaster were it not for the presidential campaign and the Olympics going on simultaneously. It would be the thing that was transfixing us as a country.
As it is, the story has been neglected and the country is not paying enough attention to it. It`s a huge deal. Governor John Bel Edwards is going to join us live from Louisiana tonight in just a few minutes.
We`re also going to have a visit tonight from Larry Sabato. He`s one of the great political forecasters of our time. Both of those interviews are straight ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: So, last night we had here for the interview, live in studio, the campaign manager for the Hillary Clinton campaign, Robby Mook. That`s the second time that we`ve had him here on our air. When you spend this much time covering electoral politics, it`s awesome to be able to talk not just the candidates, but the very top people running their campaigns. It`s a real privilege. It`s great.
I`ve also been able to interview Hillary Clinton on four different occasions since she`s been running for president this past year. She`s great. I would frankly love to talk to her again.
A lot has changed since we last spoke, madam secretary. I would love to have you back.
Here`s the thing, though. I have talked to Hillary Clinton on TV I think four times. I have talked to her opponent, Donald Trump, on TV, precisely zero times. I would love to have Donald Trump here for an interview. Anytime.
Now, I am under no illusions that the Trump campaign is going to make that happen anytime soon. But it`s true. I would love it if they would. Come on, it`ll be fun. You love TV, I`m on TV.
Even if I don`t get Mr. Trump, though, it seems to me that I ought to be able to get Robby Mook`s counterpart from the Donald Trump campaign, right? It seems to me I ought to be able to get newly announced campaign manager Kellyanne Conway to come on this show. I would love to talk with you, Kellyanne Conway, about the campaign, the way that I have twice now been able to talk with your counterpart, Robby Mook, about the campaign. It only seems fair.
Kellyanne Conway is great on TV. She has done a ton of TV over the course of her career, at this network, at other networks. She`s available unavoidable for comment on cable news, right? I`m cable news! Come on! It will be fun!
Kellyanne Conway, hello! It will be great to have you here. Congratulations on getting your first presidential campaign manager gig. You are most welcome here. I would love to have you.
And here`s a sweetener. I`ll help you cheat. If you do agree to do an interview here on this show, I`ll tell you what I`m going to ask you first. My first question is going to be this.
Where do you start? With a problem as big as the problem you have right now. Larry Sabato is director for the Center of Politics at the University of Virginia. He`s the author of the famed "crystal ball forecast."
Larry Sabato is one of the people who does what I think is the easiest way, clearest way, really the most honest way to see reasonable predictions about the election. It`s not a national poll number. It`s not extrapolating from some specific bellwether county or demographic group. It`s a projection of what the electoral map looks like, based on current polling in states across the country.
We don`t vote nationally. We vote state by state and that`s how we decide who the next president is. And that`s the fairest way to look at it.
And Larry Sabato isn`t the only one who does this. Cook Political Report does, Rothenberg Political Report, NBC News just one of these electoral projections.
But Larry Sabato does one with his crystal ball, as well. And Larry Sabato`s new map is out today. And it is, it is something that if I had just been named campaign manager for the red team this year, and I looked at that map, I would put myself off the grid somewhere and tell somebody to hike out and find me mid-November when it`s over, because there is no work that can be done to fix this.
This, to me, looks like impossibility defined. Larry Sabato currently has Hillary Clinton winning the Electoral College in a blowout, with 348 votes. You only need 270 to win.
You`ll notice, there are no toss-up states on his map. Every state is some shade of red or blue. Every state is either a safe Democrat or likely Democrat or lean Democrat, or it`s safe Republican, likely Republican, or lean Republican. There`s no toss-up states, at all.
There are two points to make here looking at this map. Here`s point number one. The Trump campaign says it`s going to focus from here on out on five crucial states, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
In Larry Sabato`s crystal ball figuring, all five of those states, where Donald Trump is focusing all of his energies, all five of them either are lean Democrat or likely Democrat states, at this point. So, it`s not like he`s shoring up anything that`s likely to go his way. All of those are blue states right now, that he`s trying to focus all his efforts in. That`s point number one.
This is point number two, and I think this is even a bigger deal. The five states, across the country, that are considered to be lean Democrat states. They`re not safe Democrat, not likely Democrat, they`re just leaning Democrat. Clinton campaign is leading in them only slightly. Those five states are Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Iowa, and Nevada.
Here`s the thing. Those are the five lean-Democrat states. Right now as things stand, Donald Trump could win every single one of those states and it still wouldn`t matter. He would still lose, because right now, if the election was held today, Hillary Clinton wouldn`t even need the states that are leaning Democrat. She could get to 270 electoral votes with just the states that are considered to be safe Democrat and likely Democrat.
I mean, for Donald Trump, the way the map looks right now, winning every remotely competitive state in the country would not be enough. Because not enough states in the country are competitive enough. He would also need to dislodge one of the states in this gigantic blue electoral wall.
Kellyanne Conway seems like a very nice person. Kellyanne Conway seems like she has an impossible job.
Joining us now is Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia and the keeper of the famed crystal ball.
Professor, it`s great to have you here. Thanks for your time.
LARRY SABATO, CENTER FOR POLITICS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Is it as dire a picture as I think it is?
SABATO: Well, I think it`s pretty dire. I certainly would not want to be running the Donald Trump campaign for lots of different reasons. But when you look at that map and you realize, as you`ve just noted, that Hillary Clinton actually has 273 electoral votes, three more than needed among likely and safe states, it makes it much more difficult, obviously, for Trump to win.
Although, Rachel, I`ve got to tell you, on a daily basis, I get hundreds of e-mails and tweets from Trump supporters who believe that Donald Trump is going to win somewhere between 44 and 49 states.
SABATO: They differ about the one he`s going to lose. But, you know, we`re living in two different realities, two different parallel universes, believe me.
MADDOW: Well, in that -- that`s -- A, that`s fascinating. And B, it raises the question of whether or not the Trump campaign believes its supporters, right? Whether they`re making fact-based decisions in terms of where they ought to focus.
I mean, their list of five states they`re going to compete in, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, that seems like a pretty good list. It seems like a pretty reasonable list, but on your map, that`s blue territory right now.
SABATO: Absolutely. You know, take Virginia. I know it very well. I`ve lived here most of my life. And I was born here.
Virginia is completely off the table for Donald Trump. Yet, he`s going to, apparently, spend money on TV ads. They`re starting some tomorrow, not in Virginia, but Virginia`s apparently on the list.
Tim Kaine is from Virginia. The instant Tim Kaine was put on that ticket, Virginia ceased to be even minimally competitive. Look at all the recent polls. There`s a massive Hillary Clinton lead, and yet Donald Trump and Mike Pence have been here four times in recent days and weeks.
They`re spending important energy and money actually appearing in a state that they have almost no chance of winning. It`s just -- it`s a fascinating campaign. I do think it`s because of that rally effect.
Donald Trump really believes what he hears from the people who come to his rallies. They believe that crowd effect, that I`ve heard so often, you know, it was, going way back, Rachel, in 1972. A lot of senior reporters, very well-known reporters, embarrassed themselves before their editors, because they actually told their editors before the 1972 election, Richard Nixon versus George McGovern, that McGovern was going to win because his crowds were so massive and enthusiastic. He lost 49 states.
MADDOW: Larry Sabato, director of the Center of Politics at the University of Virginia and somebody who brings a lot of clarity to these discussions. It`s good to have you here, sir. Thanks for your time tonight.
SABATO: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: I should tell you, there`s a new poll out tonight, Larry`s talking there about states that are going not necessarily the way you would expect them to do. There`s a new poll from FOX 5, a local TV station out of Georgia today, that shows that Trump and Clinton tied in the state of Georgia. Georgia.
All right, our catch of the day is coming up. This is fresh news you will not hear anywhere else. It`s kind of mind blowing. That story is next. Stay with us.
MADDOW: This is really weird. We found something kind of great we did not expect to find.
All right. Last night, in light of the Trump campaign making really sort of outlandish complains about Hillary Clinton supposedly terrible health, we showed you last night the letter from Donald Trump`s doctor, that publicly attested to Mr. Trump`s astonishingly excellent lab results.
The letter said Mr. Trump would unequivocally be, quote, "the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency." Mazel tov. I`m sure Teddy Roosevelt might have something to say about that.
That letter from Mr. Trump`s doctor was written and published in December, but it is now back in the news, because of this conspiracy theory being pushed by the Trump campaign, that Hillary Clinton is in terrible health and she needs to be propped up by pillows.
Somehow, that has become the controversy about candidate health in this election, instead of what really was a truly weird letter from Donald Trump`s doctor, gastroenterologist, at least, about his astonishing unprecedented heath. So, we showed you the letter last night.
In response to doing that, we got a tip from a viewer who pointed out a detail about the letter. The letters after the Trump doctor`s name. There`s his name, it says, M.D. for medical doctor and then it says, FACG, which stands for Fellow of the American College of Gastroenterology, which is a thing. Donald Trump`s doctor is by training and by trade a gastroenterologist.
So, we got this tip that the doctor was not actually a fellow of that group of gastroenterologists. So, we asked them, we called the American College of Gastroenterology, and they said, yeah, that`s right. They said, quote, "Dr. Bornstein joined the ACG in 1981. He was a fellow when his membership lapsed in 1995. He hasn`t been affiliated with the ACG since that year."
OK, given that, we asked if that means he should stop identifying himself the way he does, putting FACG after his name. They told us this, quote, "People who are no longer members of the organization would be expected to stop using FACG or any other reference to membership in the organization as they are no longer members."
So, what this boils down to is the American College of Gastroenterologist would please like Mr. Trump`s doctor to stop saying he`s one of their fellows, since as far as they`re concerned, he`s not one and he hasn`t been affiliated with them at all for over 20 years.
Now, we reached out to Mr. Trump`s doctor tonight and he answered. Boom. He told us, quote, "FACG is a title they sell for a fee. In reality, it has no value."
In response to the inevitable follow-up question, Donald Trump`s doctor told us that he will keep using this valueless title, because it`s part of his resume. And then he sent us a copy of this has framed certificate from back in the day a couple of decades ago when he was still paying his dues. So, there`s that. We`ve now got the picture of the certificate now, from the `80s -- or from the `90s, excuse me.
But this is the presidential election of 2016. And honestly, I`ve never loved you more.
MADDOW: The thing about a flood is that no matter how devastating the flood might be, sometimes you can stand right at the edge of it and look on from dry or nearly dry land, at the utter misery still unfolding and in some cases, still getting worse. Today in Louisiana, the Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson toured the flooded streets of Baton Rouge, met with survivors, visited shelters, he said, Louisiana will not have to start rebuilding alone. He said, the federal government will work with the state for as long as it takes.
But nearly a week into this disaster now, the people of Louisiana, in many cases, say they feel forgotten by the rest of the country. This was the headline in the Baton Rouge paper, when Jeh Johnson touched down in the state. Vacation or not, a hurting Louisiana needs you now, President Obama. It`s a scathing editorial from "The Advocate", directly addressing President Obama.
It says, quote, "Last week, as torrential rains brought death, destruction, and misery to Louisiana, the president continued his vacation at Martha`s Vineyard. If the president can interrupt his vacation for a swanky fund- raiser for Hillary Clinton as he did on Monday, surely he can make time to show up for a catastrophe that has displaced thousands. He should pack his bags now and pay a call on communities who need to know that in a national catastrophe, they are not alone."
Secretary Johnson said today that the president is following the situation closely, but clearly, at least the Baton Rouge press wants the president to show up himself, to show for himself what the Red Cross is calling the worst natural disaster since Superstorm Sandy four years ago. Twenty parishes, 20 counties in the state have declared federal disaster areas, 13 people have died, 40,000 homes -- 40,000 American homes are in ruins. Thousands of Louisianans are still seeking refuge in shelters.
This is a long, slow, big disaster. Louisiana is going to need help and lots of it. Some of the context here is important, too. Even before this storm, Louisiana as a state, had really been on the brink of economic disaster.
Don`t blame me for saying so, but the state coffers, honestly, were really, really, really drained, by the fiscal policies of the previous governor, Bobby Jindal, intense tax-cutting over this time as governor that really, really made the state broke at an emergency level. That situation was made worse by a drop in oil revenue, which plays large in that state`s economic health.
All ready, Louisiana was facing the biggest fiscal shortfall in its history as a state and then the rain started. And now with whole swaths of the state as a disaster area, with the recovery only just beginning, what does Louisiana need for the rest of the country? Are they getting that help fast enough? How do we make sure they do not feel forgotten as this ongoing disaster plows on?
Joining us for the interview tonight is Louisiana`s governor, John Bel Edwards.
Governor Edwards, thank you so much for being with us. I know that you have a million demands on your time tonight.
GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D), LOUISIANA: Thank you, I appreciate the opportunity.
MADDOW: Can you just give me a snapshot, sir, of where you are in the recovery and where do you think you are in the timeline of this disaster?
EDWARDS: Well, before we do that, I want to tell you, we`re still in the response. We still have historic flooding going on in Ascension Parish, and we have floodwaters moving south into St. James Parish on the east side of the Mississippi River. On the west side of the Mississippi River, we have historic flooding going on there in Acadia Parish and down into Jefferson Davis Parish and Cameron Parish, as well.
So I`m happy to talk about the recovery, but I want everyone in the country to know that even though the rain started a week ago, we are still very much in the search and rescue and the response mode, as we speak.
MADDOW: Do you have the resources that you need for the rescue and response mode? We`ve seen a lot of heart-warming is stories about civilians, regular citizens, getting in john boats and getting together what they need to rescue their fellow citizens in need. Do you have the government resources you need in order to rescue people who need help?
EDWARDS: Well, what we do best in Louisiana is take care of one another. And I`m heart warmed and gratified that the people in Louisiana have had with respect to doing that. But I`ve also been gratified by the partnership we`ve had with the federal government, with the folks from FEMA, who have been embedded with us in Baton Rouge since last Thursday.
And since that time, we`ve had every thing that we needed in terms of assets and resources, we`ve actually pushed those down to the parish level, so that the local first responders, they have received every request that they`ve made in a timely fashion, but this flooding is historic. It`s unprecedented. There`s nothing in the record books that told us what to expect.
And that comes despite the fact that it`s an unnamed storm. This is not a hurricane. It was not a tropical storm. But it broke all the records nonetheless.
But I don`t feel forgotten by the federal government. I will tell you, it`s -- the media has not paid proper attention. And the media attention doesn`t help me to respond and help the people of Louisiana. But where we may be lacking is, without awareness around the country, the American Red Cross for example probably isn`t receiving the donations, the contributions that it should. So, did it invest in Louisiana helping our people?
So, I want to encourage you and the folks that are watching to try to promote the story from that angle. But we have what we need from the federal government.
MADDOW: In terms of what is going to happen in the days ahead, one of the things that seem clear to me this is not a disaster that has any clear ending to it. You`re still in response and rescue mode. As that happens, there`s a fatigue issue, there may be a manpower issue, there may yet be a resources issue.
Looking down the road, what do you think that you`re going to need that you don`t already have, looking down the road?
EDWARDS: Well, first of all, it`s going to be many, many months. We`ve had over 40,000 homes damaged, more than 30,000 people rescued. Tonight, we`re still sheltering 5,000 or 6,000 people and about 1,400 pets.
But it`s going to be many months and we`re going to need all the assistance that we can get from FEMA, living assistance, for individuals, so that individual and families can access hotel rooms in the short term, move them out of shelters and into rental units. Get them back in their homes as quick as possible.
And we`re going to be doing that. We`ve been meeting really around the clock here with our federal partners that will be most responsive to the people of Louisiana and I believe that over the next couple of days and, again, we`re one week into this event. But in the next couple of days, we`re going to unveil a program that will be fairly robust and responsive considering what the needs are.
MADDOW: One last question, Governor, "The Baton Rouge Advocate" put out that impassion call that President Obama should get down there, that he should walk away from his vacation and come down to Louisiana, do you want that?
EDWARDS: Well, first of all, the president is welcome any time he wants to come. I do want you to know and your viewers to know, Rachel, that within hours of me making a request for a federal declaration, I got it from the president. He called me.
I want you to know that I`ve been speaking to Valerie Jarrett just about every day. He dispatched FEMA administrator to meet with me for an entire day. Today, I had the Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. We`ve also had the four-star general who runs all of the guard for the country here today, as well.
So, he is welcome to visit. It would, in all honesty, if he`s going to visit I assume it be a week or 14 days from now, because the vice president was here about three weeks ago to go to memorial service for the victims of the police officers who were killed here and I will tell you, it is a major ordeal, they free up the interstate for him.
We have to take hundreds of local first responders, police officers, sheriffs deputies and state troopers to provide security for that type of visit, I would just assume have those people engaged in the response rather than trying to secure the president, so I`d ask him to wait, if he would, another couple weeks. He`s certainly welcome to visit any time he wants to.
MADDOW: Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, absolutely in the thick of it right now with this huge disaster -- sir, thank you for taking the time to be with us tonight and all best luck to you as you continue with this project.
EDWARDS: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thank you.
All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: I love as asparagus. I do in every context.
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REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: When you attack somebody`s integrity that raises a point of personal privilege. But the personal privilege, but the attorney general failed to answer my questions --
GOHMERT: -- cast aspersions on my asparagus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The gentleman cast aspersions on my asparagus. The perfect and utterly inexplicable Congressman Louie Gohmert three years ago during a heated exchange with then attorney Eric Holder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOHMERT: -- cast aspersions on my asparagus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Three years and I still laugh at it. But I might have a new favorite and that story is next.
MADDOW: This is former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. This is the thing that happened.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JAN BREWER (R), FORMER ARIZONA: That`s wishful thinking I think on behalf of the Democrats that they`re going to take Arizona. I don`t think they can win Arizona.
BREWER: I don`t. I really absolutely don`t. Of course, they`re willing to put hundreds of thousands of dollars here. We`ll take it, put it in our economy and our media. That`s good for us. But I don`t think that we will see much in Arizona.
He has raised what $130 million in the last two months.
BREWER: He`s got a strong message out there. And the people want a fighter. They`re tired of the lying killer, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clintons of the world.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: They`re lying killer Hillary Clinton -- care to explain, Governor?
When reached by phone she said she mispronounced Clinton`s name. "It was a stumble of the tongue, I was trying to say Hillary Clinton," sometimes when I say Hillary Clinton it comes out "lying killer", and that is the thing that happened.
That does it for us tonight we`ll 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