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Trump speaks to South Korea's National Assembly Transcript 11/7/17 The Rachel Maddow Show

Guests: Mark Warner, Sue Mi Terry

Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: November 7, 2017 Guest: Mark Warner, Sue Mi Terry

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I am used to seeing you juggle a lot of things on the air, Chris.


MADDOW: I do feel like -- I`m used to watching you juggle with your hands. You just started using your feet, too.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, ALL IN: South Korean legislative assembly and Ralph Northam`s headquarters which are always on cable news split screens anytime you put it on.

MADDOW: Exactly. And David Ignatius bringing it all full circle --


MADDOW: -- in terms of talking about the international implications of these results. Well done, my friend.

HAYES: All right. Thank you.

MADDOW: All right. And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.

There is a lot going on. Happy Tuesday, happy election day.

It is clear already that this is a big election night for Democrats. Before we get into the details of that, let me just say what`s going to happen over this hour that I`m responsible for.

Right now, it is 9:00 p.m. on the East Coast in the United States. Right now, it is tomorrow. It is 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday in South Korea.

So, President Trump is in South Korea. He`s about to address the South Korean parliament. This is the first time a U.S. president has addressed the South Korean parliament since the earlier `90s when Bill Clinton was there. It`s certainly the first time any U.S. president has spoken anywhere in the Korean peninsula since this president threatened that he would totally destroy North Korea.

It`s the first time any American president has traveled to the Korean peninsula since President Trump threatened North Korea with fire and fury like the world has never seen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.


MADDOW: That was August. That was President Trump`s red line promising what he would do if North Korea made any more threats to the United States. North Korea responded immediately to that red line by threatening to bomb Guam. Then, they shot missiles over Japan, then they tested a hydrogen bomb. So, that red line thing didn`t work out awesome.

While the president prepares to address the parliament in South Korea tonight, we`ve got eyes on that. We`ve also got our first electoral results from this off-year election night tonight.

So, it is sort of a split screen night but the election results are in, sort of earlier than we thought they`d be.

The most closely watched race in the country tonight is the Virginia governor`s race, Republican Ed Gillespie, former chair of the Republican National Committee, very high profile Republican, who almost unseated Democratic Senator Mark Warner in 2014. Ed Gillespie facing the Democratic Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam. Polls closed at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

Now, Ralph Northam had been ahead in early polling. Ed Gillespie had gotten closer in the polls in the last few days. A lot of people thought this was going to be a squeaker. We`d be up really late tonight waiting for the results, if they were going to come in tonight at all. That is not how it turned out.

Just one hour after polls closed right around 8:00 p.m. Eastern, NBC News did project the winner of the Virginia governor`s race as Democrat Ralph Northam. That means Democrat Terry McAuliffe will be succeeded in office by his current lieutenant governor who was also a Democrat. It also means that the best chance the Republican Party had for a gubernatorial pick-up this year is now dead, because the other governor`s race tonight is in New Jersey.

The race to replace Republican Chris Christie who is still a high profile national political figure, even while his 14 percent approval ratings at home make him not just the least popular governor in the history of New Jersey, by some measures, Chris Christie is the least popular American governor of any state ever in the history of American polling.

No surprise, within three minutes of the polls closing at 8:00 p.m. tonight in New Jersey, NBC News was able to project that Democrat Phil Murphy will be the next governor of the great state of New Jersey. He defeated Republican Kim Guadagno whose political experience serving as the lieutenant governor for seven years was really the opposite of an asset for her in this election.

So, those are the two governor`s races tonight, already a big night for Democrats. Democrats securing both of those governorships.

We`ve been watching those governor`s races. We`ve also been watching a bunch of other very interesting races tonight, including some that might be, you know, watch them all night down to the wire races. Don`t worry. We`ll be live into the wee hours tonight as results continue to come in.

But I want to bring in the conversation now, NBC chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel. Richard Engel is live tonight for us, tomorrow for him in South Korea. He`s in Seoul.

Richard, thanks very much for joining us tonight. It`s great to have you here.

RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: It`s good to be with you. It`s now just after 11:00 in the morning on Wednesday, and we`re waiting for President Trump to address the parliament here. And so far during this trip, he has been quite diplomatic. He has been not giving those fire and brimstone kind of speeches.

In fact, yesterday, he was talking about North Korea should come to the table. We should all sit down and have talks.

But he has arrived with a big show of force, three aircraft carrier strike groups, an extra submarine. They`re about 32,000 troops here. So, while he`s saying, yes, we should talk, he is also carrying a very big stick. So, we will see what kind of rhetoric he brings to the parliament.

There are many people in this country who are not comfortable with the fact that he is speaking to parliament. Yesterday, there were quite a few people on the street demonstrators with a single slogan: no Trump, no war. They think that this president, unlike his predecessors, is pushing this region to a brink and that if that were to be crossed, there could be an enormous war and that this country and this city in particular Seoul would suffer tremendous casualties and tremendous consequences.

MADDOW: Richard, we`ve heard tonight that there was an effort by the White House, an effort by the American government to send President Trump to the DMZ. That effort was aborted because of thick fog, because of bad weather.

We had been told explicitly by the White House that the president wasn`t going to go there, but then they apparently made this attempt.

Do you have any insight into what they were trying to do that DMZ visit as an unannounced surprised?

ENGEL: Well, I was told that it wasn`t going to happen. When you were told specifically, it`s not going to happen, the president is not going to go there, you start to think, well, is he going to do that? Is that orchestrated spontaneity?

So, by saying and laying out the case that, no, no, he`s never going to go to the DMZ, he`s not going to go to the North Korean border, it would have been very much like President Trump to then decide he`s going to order the helicopters around. He`s going to go there himself and go to the border.

But apparently, the weather was not cooperative and that trip got aborted.

MADDOW: Richard, I sort of hate to ask you this but I feel like I have to. Is there anything that could really go wrong tonight with the president`s speech? Is there anything that he could say or do here that would really be dangerous in terms of the threat of the war with North Korea, in terms of anything that could threaten our allies in the region?

ENGEL: Yes and yes. There are many things.

We`ve been speaking to a lot of analysts, military experts, retired military officials. We have an entire hour as you know full well on Friday about this very subject. When you have so much force in the region and you have the alignment of the political stars as they are right now where you have Xi Jinping in China feeling empowered after he was just given a new mandate, you have President Trump with this enormous appetite for brinkmanship, you have Kim Jong-un, young leader also with a huge appetite for provocations, when you have these three leaders right now at this moment where the North Korean missile program and nuclear program are advancing to a stage where the U.S. says it is an intolerable risk, then any miscalculation could send things out of control here.

There is a risk that by sending the wrong message, if he comes out again and it`s insulting to the North Korean leader, if he starts issuing more bellicose threats, then the real concern is with so much military power with these leaders who are in charge right now, that you get a miscalculation from a fighter pilot, from a sub commander, something happens a small escalation, it goes into a bigger escalation. And so, yes, there is a real concern that if he doesn`t watch what he says, that things could -- things could escalate.

MADDOW: Richard Engel live for us tonight in Seoul. Richard, I know we`ll be checking back in with you after the president`s speech. Thanks for being with us right now to set things up my friend.

ENGEL: Absolutely.

MADDOW: Again, we are waiting the president`s live remarks. We`re waiting for the president to start speaking. He should`ve started couple of minutes ago based on the guidance that we have, but we expect that this will be shortly.

I do want to recap the major domestic news of the night as we`re waiting for this address by the president, and that is that there have been two governor races tonight. One in New Jersey, which was won easily by the Democratic candidate there, Phil Murphy, who was running against Chris Christie`s lieutenant governor.

So, the current governor of New Jersey is a Republican, Chris Christie. He is a spectacularly unpopular governor at home. His approval ratings in New Jersey are on the order of 14 or 15 percent, which makes him among the lowest polling governors ever in the history of American polling in any state. Kim Guadagno being his lieutenant governor did not help her against Phil Murphy tonight and Phil Murphy has won that race. NBC News projects him to be the winner.

A less -- a more surprising result tonight, I guess maybe not surprising but certainly not as much as fait accompli, was the Virginia Democrats winning the governor`s race there too. Ed Gillespie defeated tonight by Ralph Northam, the Democratic candidate and the current lieutenant governor of the great commonwealth of Virginia.

Joining us now live is Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner.

Senator Warner, thanks very much for being with us. I know it`s been short notice. We`re happy to have you.

SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA: Hey, Rachel, how are you doing?

MADDOW: I`m really good. You ran against Ed Gillespie. He gave you a run for your money in 2014.

A lot of Democrats watching this race tonight were worried that the polling in Virginia tended to understate how Republicans did there, but this has been a big win tonight for Ralph Northam.

Are you relieved? How do you feel?

WARNER: I am, listen, Rachel, I feel great. This is a voice that was across not only across Virginia, but all across the country. People are tired of the kind of approach that Donald Trump is brought.

You know, I want to thank you for continuing to try to bring out the truth that we are pursuing as well and people are saying, enough, enough of hatred, enough of division and what we`ve done in Virginia, kept our eye on the ball. We`ve got a great current governor, Terry McAuliffe.

Ralph Northam tonight is leading a sweep not only of all our statewide elected officials but a whole host of our House of Delegates. It is a great night not just for Virginia Democrats, but for people who say our country is better than what we`ve been getting from Donald Trump.

MADDOW: You mentioned that statewide sweep tonight. We have now NBC News project the winners in the governor`s race, the lieutenant governor`s race, and the attorney general`s race. Democrats winning all three of those statewide races tonight.

We`re continuing to watch the results come in from those hundred House of Delegates races. The Republicans have a tremendous lead heading into tonight in the House of Delegates, 66 to 34. Democrats would need to pick up 17 seats tonight in order to take control of that House.

Do you think that`s within reach for Democrats tonight?

WARNER: Rachel, who knows? None of us -- we were hopeful but we didn`t really expect it to be able to take it back. But I think what`s happening is, this is the first time since Donald Trump was elected that Americans, in this case, Virginians, have had a chance to have their voices counted.

You know, and we`ve come so far in Virginia. Sixteen years ago, Tim Kaine and I, I was governor, Tim Kaine was lieutenant governor, 16 years ago, Virginia was as red a state as any state in the country. Every statewide elected official was Republican.

We`ve come back now because Virginia Democrats know how to govern. We know how to get things done. And tonight, this is both a win for Ralph Northam and his great ticket and a lot of House of Delegates but it is also a very strong message.

I hope we`ll be heard across the country and for that matter, across the world. We reject the kind of division that Donald Trump has put forward and frankly, and I know I`m not supposed to say nice things about folks in the media, but people want to know the truth about many of the things that took place in 2016.

MADDOW: Senator Warner, you`re just talking about this being potentially a bellwether in terms of how this relates to what`s going on in national politics, is there a special sauce? Is there a describable approach in terms of how Virginia Democrats approached this tonight that other Democrats in other states or other Democrats nationwide might build on in terms of trying to rebuild Democratic success in the Trump era?

WARNER: Well, you know, there`s often times in Washington and elsewhere, a lot of kind of internal naval gazing. You know, in Virginia, we thought about we don`t want to leave anybody behind. We did very well in urban areas. We did well in suburban areas. We still got more progress to make in rural communities.

But there`s a young man, I want your audience to look at named Chris Hurst. He ran, he was a reporter whose girlfriend was shot on air in a horrible tragedy a few years back in the most rural parts of southwest Virginia. He`s winning by huge margin tonight.

So we`re showing that Virginia Democrats can win, not just in urban and suburban areas but rural areas as well. I think we`ve got a message that I hope that the rest of the national party will take going forward, because there`s a lot more elections to take on in 2018.

MADDOW: Virginia`s Democratic Senator Mark Warner. Senator Warner joining us from a celebration tonight in Virginia -- thank you for your time, sir. Looking forward to having you back on the show again soon.

WARNER: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: All right. Joining us now, joining us in a just a moment is Steve Kornacki, who`s MSNBC`s national political correspondent. We want to stay closely focused on what`s going on in Virginia. As we heard Senator Warner say there, a Democratic sweep of the statewide elections, a very interesting situation unfolding in terms of the control of the state legislature there. We`re going to talk to Steve about that.

I should also tell you in the immediate moment, we`re also waiting for the president to start his remarks tonight in South Korea. You see a live shot there of the South Korean parliament.

Steve Kornacki, what are you watching right now in terms of that legislature?

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, what it has to do with is the coattail effect here. It`s Northam, you can see now, look, he`s edged up at eight points. I`ll tell you, we`re in territory that we haven`t been in Virginia more than 30 years.

The last time a Democrat won a governor`s race in Virginia by a margin of eight or better, you got to go 1985, it was a ten-point margin then. This thing is creeping up. This thing could get even higher still when you look at some of the areas still to come.

Look, I think the overall headline story here, the reason this has potential implementations for 2018, think back to election night last year. Donald Trump got elected. And what we were talking about? We were talking about that class divide, the college/non-college split, that 40-point margin that Trump got with non-college white voters, carried him in those Rust Belt states.

We`re seeing the other side of that tonight. You`re seeing the college degree half of that. The suburbs here in Virginia, northern Virginia around Richmond, you`re seeing margins. You`re seeing turnout that we did not expect.

Zoom in and I can show you what we`re talking about here. This is the D.C. suburbs and go through.

Ed Gillespie, basically the model for Ed Gillespie, the idea for Ed Gillespie was this -- Donald Trump got blown out in these suburbs last year by a margin worse than Republicans usually do. The Gillespie model was to get back to the losses that Republicans usually got here, a respectable loss.

I`ll give you an example of what happened, though. Take a look up here in Loudoun County tonight, Gillespie lost this by 20 points.


KORNACKI: The margin in this country last year, when Donald Trump was on the ballot, was 17. This is worst than Trump.

How about this? Ed Gillespie ran for the Senate in 2014, he won this county. So, Ed Gillespie`s goal was, get back to my 2014 levels here and then get the Trump levels in rural Virginia, but you don`t see it anywhere.

Take a look here, take a look in Arlington -- 80 percent tonight for Ralph Northam the Democrats. That`s more than Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton got 76 percent here, last year. This is an improvement.

So, you`re seeing a turnout and you`re seeing a level of support here for the Democrats that is much more than was expected and extends to look down in Virginia. Take a look here. This is a place when Ed Gillespie ran three years ago, the margin was here was about 13 points. It explodes, he loses by 23 points. This is a Trump gap.

You`re seeing -- the whole theory for Gillespie was you play those cultural hot button issues and you run up the Republican support in southwestern Virginia, but you do it in a way that doesn`t sacrifice, doesn`t get you stigmatized like Trump did in the suburbs. He got the stigma. He got the stigma and maybe even more.

And the implications for 2018 with that is, look, you talk about those districts, those Hillary Clinton districts that have Republican incumbents and those places where Hillary Clinton was competitive that have Republican incumbents, these suburbs look like they haven`t moved at all since election night 2016. If they have moved at all, it`s even further away from Donald Trump.

You`re seeing energy. You`re seeing a desire to vote against Trump and against Republicans because it was Trump issues that Ed Gillespie ran on.

And we talk about that coattail effect. These are fluid. These are subject to change. These are about three minutes ago.

You said 17 is the magic number. If Democrats want to get the House of Delegates in Virginia, they need a net gain of 17. As of about three minutes ago when I was handed this, you had 10 that were in the bag for Democrats, 10 Republican seats that they had won. You have seven Republican seats that they are leading in, 10 and seven, 17.

Now, those seven not official yet. So, it`s a fluid situation but it is possible. Democrats will end up tonight. They`ve won the governorship, they`ve won the attorney general`s race, they`ve won the lieutenant governor`s race. Nobody thought this was really a gain tonight.

They may win the House of Delegates too. That would be a sweep that was unimaginable 24 hours ago when people were talking about it. Oh, my goodness, Ed Gillespie could win this thing.

MADDOW: Steve, I have one update for you and then I have a couple of clarifying questions. I want to make sure I understand what`s going on in Virginia. The update is that we just heard from the South Korea parliament that President Trump is working on his speech. They`ve made some sort of announcement that he`s working on his speech.

They`ve asked people to hang out and wait for a minute before he gets ready to go. We had expected the speech to start about 15 minutes or so ago. We now know that the president is apparently still working on it. So, we`ll stay watching for that.

Let me ask you, though, in terms of this -- the overall tide that we`re looking at in Virginia here. We get Northam winning. We get him winning by more than the polls suggested he was going to win by. The state senate is not up in Virginia right now, is that right?


MADDOW: And the state senate is very close. The state senate is like 21- 19, Republican control.

KORNACKI: Right, right.

MADDOW: With the Democrats winning the other statewide seats, they win the attorney general`s office, Mark Herring stays on as Democratic attorney general. We also get a Democratic lieutenant governor, Justin Hendricks?

KORNACKI: Justin Fairfax, yes.

MADDOW: Fairfax, excuse me. Justin Fairfax win as lieutenant governor, that`s interesting because that`s the only second African-American statewide elected in Virginia ever, in the history of Virginia. But if somebody in the Virginia state senate could be persuaded to switch parties, he would become the deciding vote as lieutenant governor if there was going to be partisan pressure in the senate.

The only way that kind of pressure could be created is if Democrats also take the legislature, take the House of Delegates. Now, all 100 seats in the House of Delegates are up, right?


MADDOW: Democrats need 17.

How unlikely are the ten that the Democrats have picked up already? Are those the ones that you expected them to get in a win this big? Are those ten already exceeding?

KORNACKI: Yes, what you`re starting to see the coattail -- it`s -- you know, the highlight race that you`re talking about earlier, that`s in Prince William County. We can show you right here. Let me -- I`m always scared to touch this, and try this, and make sure we get it right.

Perfect example here. Prince William County, I got to look down at my notes just to make sure I got this right. But here is the story of what happened tonight. In 2014, here`s the sort of suburbs, excerpts from Washington, D.C. This was a three point loss for Gillespie in 2014. It was -- it turned into a 17 point loss for Trump, 23. The margin just exploded against Republicans.

MADDOW: Steve with us tonight, and throughout the evening, as we watch these results.

President Trump is about to begin his remarks in Seoul, South Korea, before South Korea`s national assembly. This is obviously a time of intense heightened tension with North Korea. The president was due to visit the DMZ today, tried to visit was pushed back by heavy fog.

As the president is at the dais and about to begin his remarks, I want to let you know that we`ve got here as part of our coverage tonight, nuclear expert, Joe Cirincione. We`ve also got Sue Mi Terry, who`s a senior fellow for -- Korea chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Sue Mi, can I just start with you briefly as we`re waiting for the president to start his remarks. We were talking about Richard Engel about worse case scenario, things that really could go wrong in the president`s remarks tonight.

Are you bracing for danger tonight in terms of the president`s remarks or are you expecting a more traditional diplomatic speech?

SUE MI TERRY, SENIOR FELLOW, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Well, we`re always bracing because you never know with Mr. Trump and I`m sure South Koreans are bracing themselves for anything to go wrong. I mean, they`re used to Mr. Trump`s rhetoric about totally disregarding North Korea and even calling Moon Jae-in, President Moon, appeaser. I mean, we`re always bracing.

But I do think that Mr. Trump and I`m hoping that he will stick with the script because he really needs to show South Koreans that they can trust Mr. Trump with their security, that Trump is trying to get South Korean on board on getting tough on North Korea policy. We need to get South Korea and Washington on the same page, so I hope Mr. Trump does that tonight and stick with the script for once.

MADDOW: In terms of the idea of him having a script, we just had this shot moments ago showing Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, and Jared Kushner, presidential son-in-law, who are all in person there at the national assembly waiting for this speech to begin.

Joe Cirincione, MSNBC nuclear security analyst.

The Pentagon said this week, heading into these remarks by the president tonight, that there is no way to independently secure North Korea`s nuclear arsenal in the event of some kind of conflict. Absent a massive American ground invasion of North Korea, what are you expecting tonight from the president in terms of just the military and the nuclear part of his message?

JOE CIRINCIONE, MSNBC NUCLEAR SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, what the Pentagon is telling the president and what his adviser is telling him is that there is no good military option. There`s no military solution here. If you start a war, even if a powerful U.S. push, you have no guarantee that you can find the nuclear weapons and that the North Koreans will not use the nuclear weapons short of a complete ground invasion.

Well, that is not the kind of scenario the president wants. It may be why his tone in South Korea has been more muted than previously. Why he`s making a nod towards diplomacy, emphasizing diplomacy first in South Korea whereas he just left Japan where the president of Japan, Abe, said this is not the time to talk.

What`s unclear is which position Donald Trump really holds. The bellicosity that we`ve been hearing up until name, or the statements he`s making. It`s an erratic, somewhat incoherent policy.

Experts are divided. Some people think this is a strategy. Some people think it`s a psychosis.

Whatever, it`s been a policy that has failed. It is driven the North Koreans into a mutually reinforcing cycle of escalation that brings us to the brink of war. The fear that I have --


CIRINCIONE: -- is that we could stumble into a war.

MADDOW: The president`s remarks beginning right now in the South Korean National Assembly.


MADDOW: President Trump wrapping up his remarks to the national assembly in South Korea, in Seoul. It is just coming up on 10:00 p.m. on the East Coast in the United States. That means it is coming up on noon tomorrow, Wednesday in Seoul, South Korea.

The president making lengthy remarks tonight, started a little bit late, but coming almost right to top of the hour tonight.

You see First Lady Melania Trump there. He is also joined in the chamber by his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and by his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who appears to have overlapping and wide responsibilities, particularly in diplomatic and international matters, although they are somewhat poorly defined when it comes to Mr. Kushner. But he is there.

In terms of the content of the president`s speech tonight, certainly bellicose, as is the president`s wont.

As far I am willing to be corrected on this matter, but as far as I hear this, I do not think there was anything actually new announced by the president or called for by the president tonight. It is remarkable to hear an American president basically denigrate the possibility of negotiation or diplomatic solutions to conflicts like the ones that we -- like the one that we have with North Korea.

But from this president, that is -- that is not a surprise. Lengthy complimentary remarks for his South Korean hosts in the first half of his speech and confrontational bellicose rhetoric towards the north for the second half of his speech. And the president now preceding his way out of the chamber.

That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow, what has been -- this has been a remarkable night of news. And I have to tell you, MSNBC`s live coverage continues late into this evening as we continue to follow the response to the president`s remarks. But also what`s turned out to be a very, very, very big election night for Democrats.


Good evening, Lawrence.



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