Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: August 31, 2016
CHRIS HAYES, ALL IN" HOST: As Benjamin (INAUDIBLE) writer said today, it`s a heck of a joke for a guy to fly in private jet between two neighboring countries twice in one day, in order to promote a wall between those two countries.
Javier Palomarez, Mayor Greg Stanton of Phoenix, thank you.
That is "ALL IN" for the evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Chris, how old is David now?
HAYES: David is two and almost a half-ish.
MADDOW: Two and a half and not only knows what a rhino is, but has enough animal video preferences that he knows he wants to see rhino videos.
HAYES: He`s already into the deep cuts.
MADDOW: Wow. That is -- you are raising very impressive children.
Hi, Ryan. Hi, David. Hi, you guys.
HAYES: Say hi to Rachel.
All right. Have a good show.
MADDOW: Thanks, cheers.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
It looks like the third time is the charm. First swing and miss happened in December. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in December, he was due to meet in Washington with a Jewish Republican group, and a day before that meeting was due to happen, he surprised everyone at a campaign rally by saying that, as a presidential candidate, as a known calming presence, as a uniter of divided people, as a person who pours oil on troubled waters, Donald Trump would take his first trip abroad as a politician. He would be visiting Israel, just what they need.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Well, I love Israel, and Israel is our -- our real strong supporter if you look at what`s going on. And I`ll tell you what -- and I will say it here, and my people say, don`t say it, but very soon I`m going to Israel and I`ll be meeting with Bibi Netanyahu, who is a great man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was a surprise. That was Donald Trump speaking December 2nd, announcing, he said my people don`t want me to say this, but he`s going to be traveling as a presidential candidate to Israel, specifically to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. That was December 2nd.
Then, within a week, things started to get a little woolly. A week later, he said he was still going to go to Israel, but now, he wouldn`t say who he was going to be meeting with.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
INTERVIEWER: You said you are going to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu when you visit --
TRUMP: I didn`t say that. No. I`m going to Israel, I`m not saying who I`m meeting with.
INTERVIEWER: Would you meet with him?
TRUMP: I would. But I`m not saying -- I`m not -- I`m just going to Israel, sometime prior to the end of the year, I`ll be going to Israel. But I`m not saying who I`m meeting with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So, first week in December, he`s going to Israel. He`s going to be meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Second week of December, well, he`s definitely going to Israel, but he never said he was going to be meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In fact, he`s uncomfortable saying who he`ll be meeting with at all.
The next day, it turns out actually maybe this Israel thing is not a great idea at all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP (via telephone): I`m in the midst of a very powerful campaign that`s going very well. And it was not that easy to do. So, I would say lots of different reasons, I could have done it. It was semi- scheduled. All I`m doing is postponing it, and I think that was the better alternative.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Yes, so that didn`t happen. That was strike one.
First thing he tried to do like this was go to Israel. That did not work out and it didn`t work out in a very messy way. His second try was Ireland. Do you remember when he was going to go to Ireland?
In June, the Trump campaign put out this statement saying that they were going to be going to Ireland. And, of course, that was an interesting choice because there had been lots of robust and untidy Irish protests over the years against previous American visitors who were not nearly as controversial as Donald Trump. So, it raised eyebrows that he was going to brave what would certainly be an unwarm welcome from the people of Ireland. To underscore those stakes, the Irish prime minister announced publicly if Donald Trump did really decide to go to Ireland, the prime minister would hope to meet him in person on that visit, but only so he could tell Donald Trump to his face how racist and dangerous he thinks he is.
So, after initially announcing that Donald Trump would be going to Ireland, Donald Trump decided not to go to Ireland. They never announced that he wouldn`t be going. They just removed that trip from his itinerary.
He did, however, take that same trip, just minus Ireland. He did go to Scotland. I would hesitate, though, to call that a presidential candidate trip to Scotland. Technically he went for the -- I guess it was the ribbon-cutting on new renovations at one of his golf courses. And overall, it`s just not like that trip had a real political flavor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Inside the lighthouse right now is incredible suites, and it`s called the halfway house, because this is the ninth tee, and it`s called the halfway house. And on the bottom, you have dining and golfers will stop and they`ll go and get something to eat, and then they go on to the tenth hole, tenth tee right next door.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It`s kind of all like that. He did make it to Scotland, since he`s been a presidential candidate, but it was not exactly a political blockbuster of a trip. I mean, he did touch foreign soil as a presidential candidate. After he tried to go to Israel and that got canceled, he tried to go to Ireland and that got canceled, he did make it to Scotland, but went to his own Trump property here.
He basically conducted a press conference to attract visitors to his golf course. He met no foreign leaders. He held no political meetings as far as we know. So that one, despite touching foreign soil, I`m not sure that counts as a presidential candidate trip.
That was his record heading into today, sort of two strikes and a baby foul ball. But today, he did finally do it. With only a few hours` notice, surprise! Donald Trump today popped up in Mexico City.
Now, if you have any idea of how Donald Trump is perceived in the nation of Mexico, it`s maybe not a surprise that this trip was planned as such a surprise. You don`t necessarily want to give the people of Mexico a lot of lead time to know where you`re going to be and when.
Donald Trump famously announced the launch of his presidential campaign by declaring Mexican immigrants to the United States to be criminals and rapists. He`s since described Mexico as the enemy. Over the course of his campaign, the Trump pinata has become very popular, not just in Mexican American neighborhoods in the United States, it`s also become very, very popular in Mexico. There`s a lot of different iterations of it.
The other thing that`s become quite popular in Mexico is this unflattering buck-toothed Donald Trump mask, which, if you pay for the deluxe version, you get, yes, a rubber mask, but it does come with real stringy hair. They`re apparently selling those by the tens of thousands in Mexico.
Also, if you have an Android-equipped phone, you might enjoy this game, which gives players a choice of projectiles that you can throw at Donald Trump to earn points and bonus lives and hopefully, eventually, run him off the stage. When you`re looking for things to throw at him, you can choose from a cactus leaf, or bowling ball, or soccer ball, or tequila bottle, or the international favorite projectile for hated public figures everywhere, the shoe.
That said, this is a game, and there`s a competitive to it. So, there has to be a strategy, can`t just do one uncomplicated, thing or it`s not really a game. The strategy here is that this game also gives you the option of throwing flowers or money at Donald Trump.
But that`s the strategic trick. If you accidentally throw flowers or money at him, instead of a bowling ball or a shoe, if you accidentally pick up the flowers or money and you throw that at him, you don`t get any points, even if you hit him, nor do you get the benefit of chasing him off the stage, which is what all the other projectiles do.
In terms of the psychology of the game, it almost seems harsh that the option of throwing money or flowers at Donald Trump would literally be scored as a mistake in this game, something you would do by accident, because it screws up your chances of winning.
Psychologically, that might seem harsh and I think from an American perspective, that would be harsh, but this is a Mexican game, and from a Mexican perspective, that`s not harsh at all. That`s the obvious reality, because -- I mean, the Mexican president, Enrique Pena Nieto, who hosted Donald Trump today, he apparently extended invitations to both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to come visit him in Mexico, but Donald Trump accepted.
And the Mexican president is not just an unpopular president for Mexico. He`s the most radically unpopular president in Mexico in 30 years. I mean, he`s not quite down to Cheney levels in terms of his approval ratings, but his approval ratings are terrible. He`s at 23 percent approval right now. Twenty-three percent is terrible.
But for perspective on Donald Trump, Donald Trump`s approval rating in Mexico right now is two, 2 percent. I tried to find something in U.S. approval rating polling that`s anywhere comparable to that, but there`s nothing. There`s no analogy in American politics or even just among American public figures for how hated Donald Trump is in Mexico, 2 percent approval rating?
I mean, just for comparison sake, if you poll Americans on their opinions of the totalitarian dictatorship in North Korea, a country that is starving portion of its population to death in labor camps and threatening to turn the world into a nuclear sea of fire, if you ask the American people what they think of North Korea, the approval rating you get back is 9 percent. That is more than quadruple the Mexican people`s approval rating for Donald Trump.
Nothing in America has a 2 percent approval rating like Donald Trump does in Mexico. Honestly, if you polled Americans on sticking yourself in the eye with a red hot poker, it would probably poll better than how Donald Trump polls in Mexico, which is not a surprise given the way that Donald Trump talks about Mexico.
So given that, why did Mexico`s president invite Donald Trump? Not just to Mexico, but for this meeting and this big public joint appearance, why did he do that? Who knows? That`s like President Obama being like, you know what, I think I might do a press conference with toe nail fungus. Can we get toe nail fungus up here?
I mean, in terms of what you`re trying to do to your own image, the views of -- the world`s a weird place. I don`t know what explains this invitation from the perspective of the Mexican president. I mean, honestly, to be fair, as a presidential candidate, Donald Trump recently said he would invite the dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, to visit the United States. So maybe that`s the right political analogy. Maybe that`s as close as we can get.
But, politically speaking, in terms of political strategy here, nobody knows why this happened. Nobody knew it was going to happen until hours before it did. And this joint appearance in Mexico today ended up being a bizarre episode in stage setting for Donald Trump`s promised policy speech tonight on illegal immigration.
He gives policy speeches here and there. He gives very few policy speeches in primetime. We`ll take that speech tonight.
There are a few things, though, at play, as we wait for the speech to begin. One is obviously the strangeness of this visit to Mexico today, which was capped with Donald Trump sort of fairly humiliating admission at his press conference with the Mexican president that even though Mr. Trump has been doing a call-in response with his braying rally audiences for a year now, where he yells, "who`s going to pay for the wall", and the audience yells back, "Mexico", and then he says, yes, Mexico is going to pay for the wall.
Even though he`s been saying that every day on the campaign trail for a year, when he came face to face with the Mexican government, Donald Trump admitted that he did not talk to him about paying for that wall. So, that`s an important part of what`s going on tonight with this political dynamic heading into the speech. There`s also the issue of the setting for the speech, Arizona is a tough locale for the speech tonight. We`ll be talking about that later on this hour and later into the evening.
Policy-wise, Donald Trump could not have been more hard-line anti-immigrant during the Republican primary and in a lot of his campaigning since, which is why his audiences know what their role is in that call and response about building the wall and making Mexico pay for it.
But in the last couple of weeks, Trump has tried to benefit politically, from being much less clear -- by honestly, being a little incoherent on what he specifically wants to do on immigration policy. These last few weeks, if you have been trying to follow him literally, in terms of understanding his policy position on immigration, it`s been very confusing to figure out what it is and whether he`s changing his position, what he`s sticking to, what he`s evolving on, what he`s abandoning, what he`s keeping, it`s been very hard to follow in a literal sense, but I think that may be on purpose. And politically, it`s smart.
I mean, if you say enough different, even contradictory things on a subject like immigration, that`s one way to avoid getting pinned down on the subject as either too hard-lined to appeal to anybody but the nation`s bigots, or conversely, to squishy, to continue to appeal to the Republican voters who got him this far. On an issue like immigration, for a Republican politician, ambiguity can be smart politics, incoherence can be smart politics.
Spelling out any one coherent, definitive policy is definitely going to cost you with some significant portion of the electorate. So don`t get pinned down. Don`t be specific, don`t make sense.
As we wait for this speech to start tonight, which should be within the next few minutes, politically, there is that risk that Donald Trump is facing here with a big -- with what they`re billing as a big policy speech on illegal immigration. Does he actually try to be clear about where he stands on immigration policy, if he really does care about this as policy, he will try to be clear. But if he`s politically smart about this issue, my guess is, he will continue to make absolutely no sense at all.
Joining us now from Mexico City is my friend, Jose Diaz-Balart, "NBC Nightly News" Saturday anchor and the host of "Noticiero" and "Enfoque" on Telemundo. Jose was at the press conference today in Mexico City.
Jose, it`s great to see you. Thank you for being here.
JOSE DIAZ-BALART, NBC NEWS NIGHTLY NEWS SATURDAY ANCHOR: Great to see you, Rachel.
You know, Rachel, sitting in that press conference, maybe 50 feet away from the President Enrique Pena Nieto and Donald Trump, and then being here in Mexico in the hours that have passed since that conference was held, I think I`m kind of like looking at (INAUDIBLE) Salvador Dali movie when the arm opens and all of a sudden, the arm opens and like ants come out, and the surrealism is expressed in so many different ways.
Because here you have the president of Mexico, as you said, facing a 23 percent support among the population, inviting Donald Trump, who has 2 percent support here in Mexico. And then, they agree on a joint press conference which we were told was not going to be a press conference where questions could be asked, it was going to be a joint statement. So, clearly, the two sides worked on the wording of these two statements, right?
And then, afterwards, Donald Trump just takes questions. And I`ve got to tell you, sitting there 50 feet away from the president of Mexico, who is not exactly used to these things happening, like they stick to schedules and structures, all of a sudden, he starts talking about the wall and Mexico, "we didn`t talk about who was going to pay for it, thank you very much," and they walk off, like arm in arm almost.
And I looked at that and I was like, president of Mexico is not reacting at all. You know (SPEAKING SPANISH) in Spanish. He who is silent authorizes, right?
And so, since then, all of the tweets from the foreign minister, saying that the president was strong and emphatic with Donald Trump in that meeting, that, you know, the wall was non-negotiable and even the president saying that he very clearly told Donald Trump in no uncertain terms that the wall would never be paid for by Mexico.
But it`s just two totally contradictory statements and also just the visuals of what happened in that room. I think the president of Mexico was completely caught flat-footed, didn`t expect questions to be asked by the media, and then -- I just think that afterwards, they`re like, how do we deal with this unexpected phenomena?
MADDOW: How do we clean this up?
DIAZ-BALART: Yes, yes.
MADDOW: Let me just like work with you to try to unpack this a little bit, just slow this part of it down. So, we get Donald Trump campaigning all year long, saying, we`re going to build the wall, yay, we`re going to build the wall, who`s going to pay for the wall? Mexico, yes, Mexico`s going to pay for the wall.
Then it`s this, I think -- I mean, I laughed out loud at this moment in the press conference when he was asked about the wall, and he said, the payment for the wall, it didn`t come up. We did not discuss that.
As you pointed out, the Mexican president had no response to that whatsoever. But then later put out further statement saying, we did discuss it, I made it clear that Mexico will not pay for the wall.
We now -- I mean, to me, that clearly seems like the Mexican president is trying to clean up for something that was embarrassing to him, or trying to look tough in a way that this looked bad for him. Or Donald Trump was lying when he said it didn`t come up, but it did come up but the conversation didn`t go the way it was meant to.
I mean, do we have any clarity on whether they discussed this thing Trump has been campaigning on for a year?
DIAZ-BALART: No. Other than Trump said one thing in front of at the president of Mexico and he didn`t refute it. And then, since that meeting, you have the president, the foreign minister, a lot of movement coming out of the executive offices here in Mexico, of reaction, and people saying the president was totally dogmatic about the wall issue.
I`ll tell you -- this is going to have repercussions here in Mexico, Rachel, because already people were like, wondering why he had invited Donald Trump, and then after today, I wouldn`t be surprised, Rachel, if in the next couple days, maybe a week or two, mysteriously leaked video of that meeting showed up on national network television here, which has a close relationship here with the president of Mexico and the Revolutionary Party of -- that he represents. Because if the president of Mexico was that dogmatic with Donald Trump and then he is being in front of his nation, because this was shown to the country here today, told he`s a liar, I wouldn`t be surprised if that video shows up.
DIAZ-BALART: I just wouldn`t.
Coincidentally, you know, like a freak of nature.
MADDOW: Jose, do you have any sense, what is your guess about or your guess about why the Mexican president did invite Trump?
I mean, one theory is that he never thought that he would come and then he just had to deal with the consequences once he decided to show up. I mean, when I look at what I understand about his political motivation, inviting somebody who is probably the least popular human being on earth among the Mexican people, bringing that guy in for anything other than a dressing down, just makes no political sense to me at all.
Why do you think he did it?
DIAZ-BALART: I think that -- and I have to go and again, I don`t want speculating on things I have no evidence on, but I have to think that the president, Pena Nieto, felt that by bringing Donald Trump in here and actually saying, I`m looking forward to the future, and dressing him down, would be very beneficial when he`s got such low approval ratings.
But I think he just wasn`t expecting what Donald Trump did and said and how he did it. I think he`s -- now there`s, you know, backtrack.
MADDOW: Jose Diaz-Balart, on a very busy night -- Jose, thank you for being with us. I really appreciate it.
DIAZ-BALART: Thank you, Rachel. Always a pleasure to see you. Thanks.
MADDOW: You too.
Jose is the Saturday host of "NBC Nightly News" and also, of course, the host of lots and lots and lots of programming on Telemundo.
In October of this year, this past October, the U.S. men`s soccer team played a really important match against the Mexican national soccer team. And the TV network in Mexico that had the rights for that match, you might remember, they aired a memorable ad in order to promote their coverage of the USA versus Mexico match. And it showed a lot of the usual stuff, like Mexican players scoring goals against the United States team, and American players looking very sad about that.
But the thing that was unusual about this, when this Mexican TV network put out this ad in October is that it wasn`t just about soccer. It was also about this guy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When Mexico sends its people, they`re not sending their best. They`re not sending you.
TRUMP: Our country is in serious trouble.
TRUMP: We don`t have victories anymore.
TRUMP: The American Dream is dead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: They`re really good at broadcasting soccer in Mexico. By the way, the U.S. lost that game by one goal, but it did go to extra time.
But, you know, that shows you, that`s cheeky in a little way, but gives you a little insight, right? If there`s one thing that can really bring the Mexican people together, yes, you know, it`s patriotism and it`s their version of mom and apple pie and all that stuff -- yes, sure. But if there`s one con temporary thing in the news that unifies the Mexican people, it`s Donald Trump himself and his 2 percent approval rating in the nation of Mexico.
I mean, part of the story is that that feeling has been mutual.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.
OK, are you ready? Who`s going to pay for the wall?
TRUMP: A hundred percent. A hundred percent.
Who`s going to pay for the wall? Who`s going to pay? I didn`t hear you. Who`s going to pay?
TRUMP: Better believe it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Grr, I will make Mexico pay for the -- it`s like the big macho exclamation point in the middle of all of his rallies.
And this comes after, you know, Mexico is sending criminals and rapists and Mexican immigrants aren`t the best. All of the stuff that he`s been saying about Mexican people, about Mexican immigrants specifically, the way he has trash talked Mexico and its government.
I mean, you would think the way he`s been doing that for a full year on the campaign trail, you would think when he goes to see the Mexican president there would be a showdown on this issue. That is basically what he`s been promising these audiences that he`s been shouting to about this issue for a year now. But when he finally went there and talked to the Mexican president, that`s not at all how it went.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We didn`t discuss who pays for the wall, we didn`t discuss. We did discuss the wall. We didn`t discuss payment of the wall. That will be for a later date. This was a very preliminary meeting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It`s an awkward climb-down for a guy who has staked his political machismo in the United States on making Mexico pay for the wall!
What happened to his machismo because of this, and does he do something creepy to try to reclaim it?
Joining us now, Joy Reid, host of "A.M. JOY" here on MSNBC.
Joy, it`s great to see you tonight. Thank you for being here.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST, "A.M. JOY": Always great to be here.
MADDOW: So, we`re awaiting this speech, which should start momentarily in Phoenix. But what do you make of this decision to go to Mexico today by Donald Trump?
REID: OK, this is the weirdest news story. And there have been a lot of weird news stories during this Trump campaign. This made absolutely no sense.
I was sort of just listening to your sort of rundown. It`s like two men softening, right? Both of them had a lot to lose here. Donald Trump has built his entire political persona on his machismo, on being an alpha dog, on, you know, making fun of Mexico, and ridiculing Mexico, on ridiculing people of Mexican descent, including Judge Curiel.
So, as you said, he probably gets his chance to be macho, and to show his supporters he`s not afraid of the president of Mexico, he can go to his face, tell them we`re going to build the wall and that Mexico`s going to pay.
And he says, you know, and it didn`t come up.
MADDOW: And let`s slow down on that for a second. If you think about it, the whole idea of that as a call and response moment, that as an emotional catharsis for his audience, he`s saying Mexico doesn`t want the wall. Not only do I not care Mexico doesn`t want the wall, we`re going to get the wall and they don`t want it, oh, yeah, they`re going to pay for it.
REID: And every time they complain, it gets higher.
MADDOW: Yes, exactly, and that`s the other part of it. And if they`re going to complain about it, then it`s another ten feet. It`s another ten feet.
MADDOW: It`s another ten feet.
This idea of forcing them, no matter how much they hate it.
MADDOW: And then he goes there and he`s standing next to the president of Mexico, who is not reacting at all, not giving him a hard time or whatever.
So, can he ever again say to a rally, who`s going to pay for the wall? Or is that now dead?
REID: I think that`s dead. It will be interesting to see if he just pretends it doesn`t happen and does the rally call and response, which is why a lot of people go. They want to participate in the vaudeville of being at a Trump rally.
REID: But one of the things I think this does say, because I`m trying to unpack what this means. The only unified Trump theory this fits into, is the fact that he is very subject to flattery, that he`s very susceptible to it. If you flatter Donald Trump, you can get him to do a lot of things. He likes Putin because Putin says he`s brilliant. So, he can`t resist the siren call because Putin flatters him.
Because he was invited by this head of state, I think he felt so flattered. So why wouldn`t he go stand at a podium and reading things? That`s presidential, right?
REID: He knows he gets a reward from us, from the media whenever he reads from things. He reads from a paper or he reads from a prompter, he`s reading, he`s on message! He gets that reward.
And that`s the thing Donald Trump thrives on, the reward, the praise, being seen to be a great man. Yet he, as you just heard Jose Diaz-Balart, he stiffed Pena Nieto, by taking questions and saying, oh, we didn`t bring up the wall.
REID: Pena Nieto is tanking in Mexico right now, he`s being humiliated because he brought this man he`s called akin to Hitler down.
REID: And then stood there, while he said, we`re going to build this wall anyway.
REID: They both have so much to lose, it makes no sense.
MADDOW: Well, and the invitation. I mean, I think that`s astute point to say that the flattery implied by the invitation is a big deal. I mean, the former president of Mexico, Vicente Fox, zeroing in on that today, going after the current president of Mexico and saying, how dare you afford somebody the honor of meeting with you as the president of our nation, when he is, A, just a candidate for office, and, B, somebody we`ve all criticized. Like that`s part of the Mexican president`s problem I think that he`s going to have politically with this.
Do you have any insight or any -- can you ascertain any political dynamic in which it makes sense for this invitation to have been extended?
REID: No. Pena Nieto is not up for re-election. It`s one six-year term. So, he couldn`t be doing it as some sort of ruse to get reelected by showing he could work with whoever the next American president. That doesn`t make sense.
Vicente Fox, the former president, laid it on the table yesterday, that the only way for Pena Nieto to make this make sense is to defend the honor of his country.
REID: To stand up there and defend their honor, right in front of the man who has defiled it for 18 months. And the fact that he didn`t do that, means that he failed at the basic sort of modicum of statesmanship. He is the representative of his country which feels so maligned.
Donald Trump did not drive through the streets of Mexico. He couldn`t do a photo op the way President Obama did when he went to the Brandenburg Gate. He couldn`t be seen in the streets of Mexico, because people there hate him.
It would have been easy for Pena Nieto to use this moment, to buck himself up, to get a little bit of his own credibility back, and defend his country`s honor, instead he stood there silently while Donald Trump said we`re building the wall anyway, said nothing and now, they`re back-filling with all these statements, saying, no, no, he was incredibly strong. That`s like Donald Trump.
MADDOW: Yes, the two of them, I feel like, lost so much face with the people who they most need to like them and support them and believe in them. That it was such a loss-loss event for them both as politicians. But now, we`re heading into this new political event tonight, which is this policy speech from Donald Trump.
It`s interesting they`re doing a policy speech in primetime, usually they`re daytime. And this is going to be in the evening, on a weeknight, in primetime, in the heat of the campaign.
What do you make of how the timing of this weird loss-loss event, how that feeds into what we`re about to see?
REID: Well, first of all, Donald Trump made the day side event part of his evening event by saying he had this five-point plan. These five points that were non-negotiable and important.
None of them had to do with the things he`s built his campaign on. He talked about expanding jobs in the hemisphere. That`s NAFTA talk.
MADDOW: Right. What happened to America first?
REID: What about America first? It sounds like he`s saying, Mexican jobs, this is important as American jobs, we`re going to do sort of a NAFTA-esque -- he talked about the illegal immigration issue as being a humanitarian issue.
So, it`s not about protecting Americans from what they believe are --
MADDOW: Terrible immigrants who are coming here to kill Americans.
REID: That`s right. And killing us and taking a whole of our welfare and stealing from us. No, no, no, it`s about them. He went and he sort of sounded like he wants to be ambassador to Mexico.
So, now, he`s got to do a completely different speech which none of those five points been into. This hemisphere talk can`t be in the speech tonight. Now, he`s talking to his American base that wants to hear build the wall, makes Mexico pay. If they complain, it gets higher. You can`t do both.
MADDOW: Well, we`re about to see how he tries to thread that needle tonight. Mike Pence was the last speaker in a big run-up of speakers tonight at this Phoenix event. Donald Trump now taking the stage.
We are covering this event not as a Donald Trump political rally, but as a policy speech, the same way we cover his policy speeches during the day, the same way we covered Hillary Clinton`s policy speech at the American Legion today.
So, for those of you who have been screaming at me today via social media and my email account that we shouldn`t cover the speech, I`ve got no problems with us covering this speech. This is policy and this is a presidential campaign and that`s what we do.
But Donald Trump is giving this policy speech in an incredibly acute and awkward political moment, mostly of his own political making with this strange surprise trip today to Mexico City, capped mostly with a humiliating comment from Trump himself on his lack of courage and bringing up the paying for the wall issue with the Mexican president.
Let`s hear if he tries to clean that up tonight. Let`s hear what he has to say.
TRUMP: Thank you. Wow. That`s a lot of people, Phoenix, that`s a lot of people. Thank you very much. Thank you.
(CROWD CHANTING "USA")
Thank you, Phoenix. I am so glad to be back in Arizona, a state that has a very, very special place in my heart.
I love the people of Arizona and together we are going to win the White House in November.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
Now, you know, this is where it all began for me. Remember that massive crowd also.
So, I said, let`s go and have some fun tonight, we`re going to Arizona, OK? Thank you.
This will be a little bit different. This won`t be a rally speech, per se. Instead, I`m going to deliver a detailed policy address on one of the greatest challenges facing our country today -- illegal immigration. I`ve just landed.
Having returned from a very important and special meeting with the president of Mexico, a man I like and respect very much, and a man who truly loves his country, Mexico. And by the way, just like I am a man who loves my country, the United States.
We agreed on the importance of ending the illegal flow of drugs, cash, guns, and people across our border, and to put the cartels out of business.
We also discussed the great contributions of Mexican-American citizens of our two countries, my love for the people of Mexico, and the leadership and friendship that we have between Mexico and the United States.
It was a thoughtful and substantive conversation and it will go on for a while, and in the end, we`re all going to win, both countries. We`re all going to win.
This is the first of what I expect will be many, many conversations and in a Trump administration, we`re going to go about creating a new relationship between our two countries. But it`s going to be a fair relationship. We want fairness.
But to fix our immigration system, we must change our leadership in Washington and we must change it quickly. Sadly, sadly, there is no other way. The truth is, our immigration system is worse than anybody ever realized.
But the facts aren`t known because the media won`t report on them, the politicians won`t talk about them, and the special interests spend a lot of money trying to cover them up because they are making an absolute fortune. That`s the way it is.
Today on a very complicated and very difficult subject, you will get the truth.
The fundamental problem with the immigration system in our country is that it serves the needs of wealthy donors, political activists, and powerful, powerful politicians It`s all you can do.
Thank you. Thank you.
Let me tell you who it does not serve. It does not serve you, the American people, doesn`t serve you. When politicians talk about immigration reform, they usually mean the following -- amnesty, open borders, lower wage. Immigration reform should mean something else entirely. It should mean improvements to our laws and policies to make life better for American citizens.
But if we`re going to make our immigration system work, then we have to be prepared to talk honestly and without fear about these important and very sensitive issues. For instance, we have to listen to the concerns that working people, our forgotten working people have over the record pace of immigration and its impact on their jobs, wages, housing, schools, tax bills, and general living conditions. These are valid concerns, expressed by decent and patriotic citizens from all backgrounds, all over. We also have to be honest about the fact that not everyone who seeks to join our country will be able to successfully assimilate.
Sometimes it`s just not going to work out. It`s our right as a sovereign nation, to choose immigrants that we think are the likeliest to thrive and flourish and love us.
Then there is the issue of security. Countless innocent American lives have been stolen because our politicians have failed in their duty to secure our borders and enforce our laws like they have to be enforced. I have met with many of the great parents who lost their children to sanctuary cities and open borders. So many people, so many, many people, so sad.
They will be joining me on the stage in a little while, and I look forward to introducing -- these are amazing, amazing people. Countless Americans, who have died in recent years, would be alive today if not for the open- border policies of this administration, and the administration that causes this horrible, horrible thought process. It`s called Hillary Clinton.
This includes incredibly Americans like 21-year-old Sarah Root. The man who killed her arrived at the border, entered federal custody and then was released into the U.S. -- think of it -- into the U.S. community under the policies of the White House, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton.
Weak. Weak. Weak policies. Weak and foolish policies.
He was released again after the crime, and now he`s out there at large. Sarah had graduated from college with a 4.0, top student in her class one day before her death.
Also among the victims of the Obama-Clinton open-border policy was Grant Rowanbeck, a 21-year-old convenience store clerk and a really good guy from Mesa, Arizona. A lot of you have known about Grant. He was murdered by an illegal immigrant gang member previously convicted of burglary, who had also been released from federal custody, and they knew it was gonna happen again.
Another victim is Kate Steinle, gunned down in the sanctuary city of San Francisco, by an illegal immigrant, deported five previous times. And they knew he was no good.
Then, there is the case of there is the case of 90-year-old Earl Olander, who was brutally beaten and left to bleed to death in his home -- 90 years old and defenseless. The perpetrators were illegal immigrants with criminal records a mile long, who did not meet Obama administration standards for removal. And they knew it was going to happen.
In California, 64-year-old Air Force veteran, a great woman, according to everybody that knew her, Marilyn Farris, was sexually assaulted and beaten to death with a hammer. Her killer had been arrested on multiple occasions but was never, ever deported, despite the fact that everybody wanted him out.
A 2011 report from the Government Accountability Office found that illegal immigrants and other non-citizens, in our prisons and jails together, had around 25,000 homicide arrests to their names -- 25,000. On top of that, illegal immigration costs our country more than $113 billion a year. And this is what we get.
For the money we are going to spend on illegal immigration over the next ten years, we could provide one million at-risk students with a school voucher, which so many people are wanting. While there are many illegal immigrants in our country, who are good people, many, many, this doesn`t change the fact that most illegal immigrants are lower skilled workers with less education, who compete directly against vulnerable American workers, and that these illegal workers draw much more out from the system than they can ever possibly pay back, and they`re hurting a lot of our people that cannot get jobs under any circumstances.
But these facts are never reported. Instead, the media and my opponent discuss one thing and only one thing -- the needs of people living here illegally. In many cases, by the way, they`re treated better than our vets.
Not going to happen anymore, folks. November 8. Not going to happen anymore.
The truth is, the central issue is not the needs of the 11 million illegal immigrants or however many there may be and honestly we`ve been hearing that number for years. It`s always 11 million.
Our government has no idea. It could be three million. It could be 30 million. They have no idea what the number is. Frankly, our government has no idea what they`re doing on many, many fronts, folks.
But whatever the number, that`s never really been the central issue. It will never be a central issue. It doesn`t matter from that standpoint. Anyone who tells you that the core issue is the needs of those living here illegally, has simply spent too much time in Washington.
Only the out-of-touch media elites think the biggest problem facing American society -- and you know this, you know this, this is what they talk about -- facing American society today, is that there are 11 million illegal immigrants who don`t have legal status.
And they also think the biggest thing, and you know this, is not nuclear, it`s not ISIS, it`s not Russia, it`s not China, it`s global warming.
To all the politicians, donors, and special interests, hear these words from me and all of you today. There is only one core issue in the immigration debate, and that issue is the well-being of the American people.
Nothing even comes a close second.
Hillary Clinton, for instance, talks constantly about her fears that families will be separated. But she`s not talking about the American families who have been permanently separated from their loved ones because of a preventable homicide, because of a preventable death, because of murder.
No, she`s only talking about families who come here in violation of the law. We will treat everyone living or residing in our country with great dignity, so important. We will be fair, just, and compassionate to all. But our greatest compassion must be for our American citizens.
President Obama and Hillary Clinton have engaged in gross dereliction of duty, by surrendering the safety of the American people to open borders, and you know it better than anybody right here in Arizona. You know it.
President Obama and Hillary Clinton support sanctuary cities. They support catch and release on the border. They support visa overstays. They support the release of dangerous, dangerous, dangerous criminals from detention. And they support unconstitutional, executive amnesty.
Hillary Clinton has pledged amnesty in her first 100 days, and her plan will provide Obamacare, Social Security, and Medicare for illegal immigrants breaking the federal budget.
On top of that, she promises uncontrolled, low-skilled immigration that continues to reduce jobs and wages for American workers, and especially for African-American and Hispanic workers within our country, our citizens. Most incredibly, because to this is unbelievable, we have no idea who these people are, where they come from. I always say, Trojan horse.
Watch what`s going to happen, folks. It`s not going to be pretty. This includes her plan to bring in 620,000 new refugees from Syria and that region, over a short period of time.
And even yesterday when you were watching the news, you saw thousands and thousands of people coming in from Syria. What is wrong with our politicians, our leaders if we can call them that? What the hell are we doing?
Hard to believe. Hard to believe.
Now that you`ve heard about Hillary Clinton`s plan, about which she has not answered a single question, let me tell you about my plan. And you notice -- and you notice all the time, for weeks and weeks, they`re debating my plan, debating about it, talking about it, what about this, what about that.
They never even mention her plan on immigration because she doesn`t want to get into the quagmire. It`s a tough one. She doesn`t know what she`s doing except open borders and let everybody come in and destroy our country, by the way.
While Hillary Clinton meets only with donors and lobbyists, my plan was crafted with the input from federal immigration officers. Very great people.
Among the top immigration experts anywhere in this country who represent workers, not corporations. Very important to us. I also worked with lawmakers who`ve led on this issue on behalf of American citizens for many years. And most importantly, I`ve met with the people directly impacted by these policies. So important.
Number one. Are you ready? Are you ready?
We will build a great wall along the southern border.
And Mexico will pay for the wall, 100 percent. They don`t know it yet, but they`re going to pay for the wall. And they`re great people and great leaders. But they`re going to pay for the wall.
On day one, we will begin working on an impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful southern border wall.
We will use the best technology including above and below ground sensors. That`s the tunnels. Remember that, above and below. Above and below- ground sensors.
Towers, aerial surveillance, and manpower to supplement the wall, find and dislocate tunnels and keep out criminal cartels.
And Mexico you know that will work with us. I really believe it. Mexico will work with us. I absolutely believe it and especially after meeting with their wonderful, wonderful president today. I really believe they want to solve this problem along with us. And I`m sure they will.
Number two. We are going to end catch and release. We catch them -- oh, go ahead. We catch them, oh, go ahead. Under my administration, anyone who illegally crosses the border will be detained until they are removed out of our country and back to the country from which they came. And they`ll be brought great distances. We`re not dropping them right across.
They learned that. President Eisenhower. They drop them across, right across, and they`d come back and across. Then when they flew them to a long distance, all of a sudden that was the end. We will take them great distances. But we will take them to the country where they came from. OK?
Number three. Number three, this is the one, I think it`s so great. It`s hard to believe, people don`t even talk about it. Zero tolerance for criminal aliens. Zero. Zero.
They don`t come in here. They don`t come in here.
According to federal data, there are at least 2 million, 2 million -- think of it -- criminal aliens now inside of our country, 2 million people, criminal aliens. We will begin moving them out day one. As soon as I take office, day one.
In joint operation with local, state, and federal law enforcement. Now, just so you understand, the police, who we all respect -- say hello to the police. Boy, they don`t get the credit they deserve. I can tell you. They`re great people.
But the police and law enforcement, they know who these people are. They live with these people. They get mocked by these people. They can`t do anything about these people, and they want to. They know who these people are. Day one, my first hour in office, those people are gone.
And you can call it deported if you want. The press doesn`t like that term. You can call it whatever the hell you want. They`re gone.
Beyond the 2 million, and there are vast numbers of additional criminal illegal immigrants who have fled, but their days have run out in this country. The crime will stop. They`re going to be gone. It will be over.
They`re going out. They`re going out fast.
Moving forward. We will issue detainers for illegal immigrants who are arrested for any crime whatsoever, and they will be placed into immediate removal proceedings if we even have to do that.
We will terminate the Obama administration`s deadly -- and it is deadly -- non-enforcement policies that allow thousands of criminal aliens to freely roam our streets, walk around, do whatever they want to do, crime all over the place. That`s over. That`s over, folks. That`s over.
Since 2013 alone, the Obama administration has allowed 300,000 criminal aliens to return back into United States communities. These are individuals encountered or identified by ICE but who were not detained or proceed for deportation because it wouldn`t have been politically correct.
My plan also includes cooperating closely with local jurisdictions to remove criminal aliens immediately. We will restore the highly successful secure communities program. Good program.
We will expand and revitalize the popular 287G partnerships, which will help to identify hundreds of thousands of deportable aliens in local jails. That we don`t even know about.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END