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Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 5/16/22

Guests: Crystal Peoples-Spokes, Ivo Daalder


Ten were killed, 3 wounded in racist shooting in Buffalo, New York. Finland and Sweden are going to apply for NATO membership.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: That is ALL IN on this Monday night.

"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend. Much appreciated.

HAYES: You bet.

MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Happy to have you here.

In World War II, when the United States needed to quickly ramp up production of wartime material -- you know, planes, tanks, guns, ammunition, uniforms, everything, the government opened defense production facilities all over the country, factories. They either retooled the existing ones or they built new ones.

And in some places where there were particularly large defense production facilities, either a large number of retooled plants or a bunch of new ones that were built, one of the things that emerged pretty quickly as a bottleneck for our country mobilizing for that war was this conundrum of where all the workers would live who worked in these newly built and newly retooled production plants.

In an already crowded city like Detroit, for example, the government realized in 1941 that they were going to have to quickly add hundreds of thousands of units of housing in order to bring in hundreds of thousands of new workers to staff these defense production facilities that were being retooled from civilian use in Detroit or in fact newly opened to make war material in that city.

And that math is easy to see, right? You need to build a whole bunch of new stuff. You need a whole bunch of new or retooled or expanded facilities to build that stuff you need a lot of people to work in those facilities and so they need a place to live.

The math is simple, right? On paper, that`s all very rational. It all just follows. It`s very logistical. It makes sense.

In practice, though, it was its own kind of war. White Detroit residents got one of their U.S. senators, a Democratic Senator named Prentiss Brown, to lead an effort in Washington to declare that new housing built in Detroit for defense plant workers would be whites only housing. And that effort in Washington actually seemed like it would work for a while before it didn`t, before they sort of clawed it back.

Ultimately, it was black families in Detroit who moved in into some of the new housing. White residents put up this billboard across from some of that new housing. As you can see here, it says we want white tenants in our white community. See the American flags, they put up there in the corners of the sign isn`t that a nice touch that was February 1942, because in February 1942 -- February 28th to be exact -- two dozen Black families, again these are families of workers at the new defense plants, two dozen African-American families tried to move into that new housing that had been built for defense workers in Detroit.

White residents organized a tight picket around that housing they also blocked the moving trucks from being allowed in to drop off any of the belongings of the new families that had just arrived. The white mobs attacked the Black families and forced them back by throwing rocks at them. It turned into a riot. Dozens of people were injured. That was February 1942.

In April, these two men were arrested for having organized the violence, they were indicted by a federal grand jury. These two men were part of something called the National Workers League. That`s kind of a weird name for a group organizing anti-Black violent riots, right? I mean, these were defense workers whose families these guys were attacking, what is, this National Workers League.

Ah, yes, turns out it was this kind of a National Workers League. This is one of those same two men arrested for organizing the Detroit defense housing race riot. This is him in life magazine in 1944.

He was in life magazine in 1944 because by then, he had been indicted again this time as part of an alleged seditious conspiracy to violently overthrow the entire U.S. government. He was still under indictment for organizing the violent attack on black families in Detroit when he got hit with that second indictment for trying to overthrow the U.S. government by force.

It is not a dotted line. It is a through line between terrorizing and physically attacking minorities in the United States and wanting to get rid of democracy and rule instead by force. These are not unrelated concepts.

This is a man named Theodore Bilbo. He was governor of Mississippi twice, in the 1910s and 1920s. He was a Democrat, a Dixiecrat, before the realignment on the parties on racial issues that happened in the 1960s.

Theodore Bilbo was just profiled in "The Washington Post" this weekend for reasons that will become clear in a moment if they are not already. Governor Bilbo wrote a book in 1947 that was called, "Take Your Choice: Separation or Mongrelization".

In the book, he argued that white people were being replaced, that the white race would in fact disappear if white people allowed non-white people to live freely among them. If they allowed that to happen for much longer, white people would disappear. It was a plot, see, the existence of black people and other non-white people this insistence that white people somehow had to abide by them in life here in America that was a plot, deliberately designed to eliminate the white race and white people had to fight back against that.

In July 1946, as Theodore Bilbo was running for re-election to the United States Senate, he said the federal government was shipping in blacks to vote in Mississippi in his race. He said those black voters shipped in would, of course, swap the votes of white people and so, he said that quote every red-blooded white man must use any means to keep the N-words away from the polls in Mississippi. He said, quote, and if you don`t know what that means, you`re just plain dumb.

It may shock you to learn that Theodore Bilbo was also a crook. A Senate investigation found that in exchange for him helping certain construction firms get government contracts, he took bribes from those companies, bribes including a new Cadillac, also a swimming pool, also I kid you not, the excavation of a lake to create an island for his home.

After calling for race war in America, to save the white race from being replaced, after overtly calling for white people to use terrorist means against Black Americans who might have wanted to vote in his reelection campaign, after being found to be a rank criminal taking repeated huge bribes in exchange for his official actions as the United States senator, Theodore Bilbo won re-election to the United States Senate.

The other party, the Republicans, controlled the U.S. Senate at the time. They said they weren`t sure they were going to see Theodore Bilbo in the Senate, given what the Senate`s own investigation had just turned up about his crimes and all the bribery. Southern senators though united and they said in response that if Bilbo was blocked from taking his seat in the United States Senate, they would block the seating of every United States senator in the United States Senate.

They would, in other words, shut down the Senate. They would shut down the legislative branch of the federal U.S. government indefinitely. They would end the U.S. Senate unless Theodore Bilbo was sworn in, bribes, terrorism and all.

He was their guy. They were willing to get rid of the United States Senate in order to stand up for him.

The whole standoff was only resolved when Theodore Bilbo had the decency at least to go home and die from cancer before the Senate ever came into session that year. So the whole standoff sort of became moot.

And both those examples are from the `40s. But you know, pick a decade, I got a million of them.

This is a man named David Lane. He was part of a paramilitary group that robbed armored cars. They built bombs. They ran military training camps. They counterfeited U.S. currency in large amounts, and ultimately they murdered a Jewish talk radio host in Denver a man named Alan Berg in 1984.

All of these crimes were committed, all of these murders were committed in the service of setting off what David Lane and his friends hoped would be a race war in which white people in America would kill all the non-white people in America.

And like those guys who organized the attacks on Black defense plant workers and their families in Detroit back in the 1940s, David Lane also was later charged with sedition. In addition to all his crimes to try to create race war in America, to try to inspire Americans to rise up and kill non-white people in order to survive -- in order to serve -- for white people to survive as a race, in addition to all the charges that he was convicted of along those lines, he was later charged with sedition with being part of a seditious violent conspiracy to overthrow the United States government by force.

Now, David Lane had the good sense to die in federal prison, but before he did so, he managed to popularize a slogan about how white people in America need to kill everyone who`s not white in order to protect the future of the white race because somehow being a white person is such a fragile state of existence that the mere existence of non-white people -- near white people is enough to make white people melt like they`re made of sugar and it`s raining.

That David Lane slogan about protecting a future for white children, it`s a -- it`s a 14-word long slogan and people on the far right ever since have turned the number 14 into a kind of talisman to promote that slogan.


So the number 14 is the kind of thing you might get tattooed on you next to the swastika. The number was reportedly painted on the Bushmaster assault rifle that was used by the 18-year-old white male who allegedly shot and killed mostly elderly African Americans at the top supermarket in Buffalo, New York, this weekend.

"Buffalo News" reports that this young man had the N-word painted on the barrel of the gun he used and the number 14 up closer to the stock, and presumably that`s for David Lane`s 14-word slogan about how white people need to attack all the non-white people or else about how it`s some sort of existential threat to white people for them peacefully to live alongside non-white people as fellow Americans.

This is what you might call an ongoing problem. I mean, pick your decade, pick your state, pick your degree of notoriety or obscurity. It`s the same thing over and over and over again from the far right in the United States.

And it swings back and forth from terroristic violence and murder to electoral politics to fantasies about racial purity to conspiracies about the Jews, to disgust for democracy and a desire sometimes an effort to take and hold power by force -- by force of arms instead of through our democratic force of government. It keeps coming up. This is a recurring thing -- a justification and a call for violence based on this insane paranoia fantasy that white people are an endangered species as long as there are non-white people around.

And any change in the ratio of white people to other people is a sure sign that the global plot to eliminate the white race is approaching its goal and so white people need to buy guns and stand up and take our country back and make it great again, because otherwise, white people are being replaced.

And this weekend, it was 10 people killed in Buffalo, almost all of them elderly African Americans. And the shooter decorated his gun with the N- word and the 14-word slogan, and he posted his online manifesto about how white people are so endangered, how they`re being replaced.

And in August 2019, it was the shooting that killed 23 people, mostly Latinos at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. And in that case, that guy too posted his online manifesto about how white people are so endangered, and how they`re being replaced.

And before that, it was April 2019. It was the killing in the synagogue in Poway, California, where the killer also posted his online manifesto about how white people are so endangered, how they`re being replaced. And before that, it was March 2019. It was the guy in Christchurch, New Zealand, who killed 51 people in two different mosques, and he posted his online manifesto about how white people are so endangered and how they`re being replaced.

And before that, it was October 2018. It was 11 people killed at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the shooter there posting all over right-wing social media sites about how white people are so endangered, about how they`re being replaced.

And before that, it was August 2017, those very fine people the former president talked about, marching with tiki torches at Charlottesville, Virginia, a show of force, a white male phalanx shouting to the cameras as they marched about how white people are so endangered, how white people are being replaced. You will not replace us, Jews will not replace us.

It is not a new concept. It`s not even a new pretext, a new justification for violent racist terrorism. It has long been so. It is right now being newly popularized, newly mainstreamed by the biggest names in conservative media, and even by the leadership of the Republican Party in Congress.

But it is an old idea. It is an old and stupid idea. It is an old and stupid and dangerous idea, old stupid and dangerous in equal measure. But now, what do we do, because there`s a reason these white men keep killing black people and Jews and Latinos and Muslims in the largest numbers they can.

And it is not just because they believe in this ideology and are inspired by it. They are. That`s what`s leading them to kill all these people. But beyond that, they keep doing this, the way they`re doing it because they`re not only adherents of that ideology, they are evangelists for it as well.

They want to spread this ideology to others. They want to make it famous. They want to make it popular. They want more white people to understand this concept and think this way and act like them because of it.

That`s why they all post these stupid manifestos online, these explanations of the supposed reasons for their murders.


So we all have to learn about their asinine, sophomoric, Purell, soft- headed, pitiful little old theories. So we all have to take time to learn it to understand it to talk about it so we can explain and understand why - - why all those poor beautiful little old ladies in Buffalo this weekend had to be murdered with an assault rifle, while they were doing their grocery shopping. I mean, what do you do?

It doesn`t help to pretend we don`t know the motive for these repeated terroristic mass murders. They`re part of a terrorist movement that is both murderous and seditious and has a very long history in this country, one that is surging anew in terms of its mainstream influence right now in our media and politics.

Seeing that movement for what it is, seeing where it`s taking hold and who`s aiding and abetting it, that`s valuable if only for trying to head off the next inevitable one of these murderous attacks. Ignoring why these guys are doing what they`re doing and what they`re citing as the pretextual justification for their actions, I mean, it only excuses for example the conservative politicians and conservative TV shows that continue to spread this intellectual diarrhea, despite the death toll. It has already racked up in all of these attacks.

But it is nauseating, right? I mean, it is, to me -- at least, it is nauseating to be talking about their ideas at all to be talking about the murderous fantasies they all share that they hope will inspire more killing, more attacks more terrorism if only they can just spread the word to enough white people.

This is a problem not just about murder and violence but about information. It is about finding a way to learn what`s going on, learning enough to be sharp and real about what`s happening online, and what`s happening in right-wing politics to activate these kinds of killers, while also in so doing not helping them spread the word, not helping them spread these ideas.

How do you do that? How do we do it right now, today, in the wake of the Buffalo murders? How do we do it every day from here on out?

Joining us now is Ben Collins. He`s an NBC News reporter who covers disinformation, extremism and the Internet.

Ben, I`m really glad you were able to be here tonight. Thanks so much.


MADDOW: So you cover disinformation and extremism for a living. I just want to ask you bluntly and it`s okay if the answer here is no. Is the tension that I`m feeling here real and warranted -- this tension between understanding the extremism that`s at work here while also desiring not to spread it not to popularize it?

COLLINS: It`s a very real tension and it`s something that I fight with personally while doing this job. So I did all Saturday, I was thinking, how do I make sure people understand what`s in this manifesto and also understand mostly that this man is not alone in thinking this, that he`s part of a community of people who want to murder people without trying to spread that message? And it`s really difficult.

You know, I spent the last day or two just looking through his discord chats that he has posted to, you know, like a diary since December. And it`s incredibly and deeply chilling.

The idea that he had was, you know, he was going to go to the supermarket instead of a church or a school, which he thought about. He thought about going to a school down the street because he deduced that there were more Black children in that school because he thought they didn`t test as well, that`s how racist this man was.

But he decided instead to go to the supermarket because he wanted to make sure every Black person feared for their life everywhere they went. And I don`t really know how to say that to people without quoting him in that way, but it is the tension that we have. And just avoiding it now or, you know, taking those uh ideas that he has and try to moderate them a little bit, which is what, you know, frankly, Tucker Carlson tries to do, that`s irresponsible.

I don`t have solutions for this. I think people have talked today about banning 4chan or something, or, you know, blaming Twitch. And that`s fine. You can do whatever you want.

If you were to ban 4chan, these people would use a VPN and get around it. It`s a website that is based in Japan. There`s not a lot of jurisdiction there for us. People will find a way to get to 4chan. They want to get to 4chan.

There is a civic responsibility though to not take their ideas and take the murder out of it and say it`s legitimate political discourse on the highest rated cable news show, or not to run on that as a political platform. And I don`t know how to make people stop doing that but instead of stopping, they are absconding from responsibility.


MADDOW: Ben, what happens to these manifestos that get published online or even the live streams of the killings which we saw this weekend in Buffalo and we saw previously in Christchurch and in other terrorist attacks like this -- how do those things live online? How do they function? And do they accomplish what the killers want which is to both spread and popularize the ideas that motivate them and also to radicalize and galvanize to action the other people who already believe them?

COLLINS: Absolutely. This man had a very specific plan on what to do. He posted it in his manifesto and then he did it.

He outlined uh what he was going to do once he got his camera on his head to go inside, to make it look like a first person shooter video game. What he was going to do was he was going to post a link to the manifesto, a link to his Twitch stream to people who had previously interacted with on Discord. On discord, you can talk about anything, usually people talk about video games, just a place to chat on the Internet, especially if you`re a teenager.

But anyone who`s interacted with him got this message, some people who you know had nothing to do with extremist politics and it was saying that he was about to go to the supermarket to kill all these people and here was basically just a series of diaries since December of him planning out this attack.

From there, people on 4chan started to watch this in real time on Twitch. They -- some of those people start to archive this and that`s how we even know that these videos exist, is that some of the bad guys or some of the people who you know interact with these people and at least you know knew the ins and outs of 4chan started posting it there.

And that`s why this is a problem. This is decentralized. This is something that happened on an Amazon-owned company`s servers, Twitch, which tried to take this down in real time. Then it was spread to 4chan, then it was spread to other bad websites. There was an 8chan in knockoff. 8chan itself is dead but somebody took the branding and created a different 8chan website.

This is not something that you can stop. This is something -- if somebody wants to do it, they can get it out there, and they realize too that the next person to do this because they don`t think they`re the last will include their name in the next manifesto. You know, it`s that that manifesto is you know a recitation of everyone else`s previous talking points it`s literature to them and they build on it.

In fact, there is you know the spookiest part about this I would say to me is that the format is pretty set now. You go when you write something at the top about white replacement, pretty much the same thing as the last guy, and then you do a Q and A with yourself, to figure out why it`s happening and then you list your ammo, drop a bunch of 4chan memes that inspire you.

It`s no different than the last one, actually a nerd to it at this point, Rachel. But it is unfortunately uh a set thing they have figured out exactly the format for white nationalist terror manifestos.

MADDOW: Ben Collins covers disinformation, extremism and the Internet for NBC News, which is a very, very difficult beat, difficult uh in terms of its toll on on people who have to cover it every day, and what you have to see.

Ben, thank you for what you do. Thanks for joining us tonight.

COLLINS: Thanks for the time, Rachel.

MADDOW: All right. We`ve got much more ahead here tonight. We`re going to be speaking among other folks with the state representative who is the majority leader in the New York state legislature who represents the district where these killings happened.

We`ve got a lot head of us tonight here. Stay with us.



MADDOW: The city of Buffalo, New York, has a beautiful extensive and famous system of parks. The legendary landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, after he designed Central Park in New York City, he had an even bigger vision for Buffalo, a system of multiple city parks connected by tree-lined parkways, thereby integrating the parks into the city.

And one of those early parkways was called Humboldt Parkway. And in the first half of the 20th century, a black middle-class neighborhood called Hamlin Park began to emerge around it. It was lovely.

And so, of course, as in Black neighborhoods and cities across the country, in the 1950s and 1960s, city planners decided to build a giant highway right through the middle of it. First, they cut down all those grand trees on Humboldt Parkway. Then they dug out the whole parkway to construct an expressway to better connect mostly white suburban drivers to downtown Buffalo.

That new expressway cut off that Black community in Buffalo. It also poured more pollution into that Black neighborhood which over the decades has had serious health implications for that community. It also cut off black residents stuck on the east side of that highway from the basic necessities of life like grocery stores.

That`s why in 2003, something as simple as a grocery store finally opening on Buffalo`s east side, that was a big news making event because residents on the east side had been calling for a grocery store, literally something that basic and simple for years and years and years before they finally got one.

When that grocery store, the Tops market, on Jefferson Avenue opened in 2003, it became not just the local grocery store but a community gathering place for the resilient, long-standing, East Side Black community in Buffalo.


And that`s why it was targeted.

In his racist online rantings, the gunman who killed people and injured three more at that Tops market this weekend, he said he zeroed in on the specific zip code of that store because it had one of the highest shares of Black residents in all of New York state. One of the most segregated cities in the country, he picked out the area with the highest concentration of Black residents and then he targeted the place where those residents were most likely to congregate.

As NBC`s Ben Collins just reported here on our air moments ago, the alleged shooter also mused online about possibly targeting a church in that neighborhood or maybe a school he decided on the Top`s grocery store instead because targeting a grocery store was novel, and he wanted to have the maximum terrorizing effect. He wanted to make Black Americans feel unsafe literally anywhere they might go.

In 2003, that same year the Tops Market opened on Buffalo`s East Side, that neighborhood also got a new state assembly woman. Her name is Crystal Peoples-Stokes. Representative Peoples-Stokes represents that district to this day.

She is now the Democratic majority leader of the New York state assembly. She`s the first woman and the first African-American to hold that post. She knows that Tops Market on Jefferson Avenue very well. Like just about everybody else in that neighborhood, she does her shopping there too.

Joining us now from outside the Tops Market in her district is New York State Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes.

Madam Leader, thank you so much for joining us. I know this is an incredibly difficult time.

CRYSTAL PEOPLES-STOKES, NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MAJORITY LEADER: This is a very difficult time. It`s very difficult. But these are challenges that Black people in particular have had to experience our entire existence in America. We`re resilient people and we`ll come through this without becoming the haters that people would like to see us be.

MADDOW: What do you think about the way the country is talking about this and looking at Buffalo and looking at your community since this happened? I imagine there are frustrations. I imagine there are things that people are getting wrong or that they`re reducing beyond the necessary complexity to really get it.

Are there things in terms of the way that we are understanding what happened here that you feel like need correction or need to be steered in a different way?

PEOPLES-STOKES: Well, there are a ton of things that need to be corrected. I don`t know if it`s all going to be about legislation, though I think some of it people just have to reach into their hearts and find a reason why you would hate somebody just because of their religion, their sexual orientation or the color of their skin.

If you look deep for that solution, you will not find it because it`s not there. There is no way people can believe that it`s okay to hate that way, unless somebody is convincing them that there`s something wrong with us as a people. And I assure you that there isn`t.

And so, I would ask, you know, these people who are slowing this racial hatred throughout the media and organizing a way to kill people because they are different from them is that usually, the Bill of Rights or perhaps even recite the Pledge of Allegiance because it doesn`t say all white people. It says all.

And if you are really a patriotic person and you love this country, like we love it, then you ought to honor that. You got to learn how to be a loving person and not a hateful person.

Now, clearly, there are some needs for additional federal laws gun laws. Nobody should have to have access to assault weapons. We`re not at war with each other. I live in the state and I`m honored to that we have the toughest gun laws in the country.

But we cannot protect our borders from Ohio or Georgia or anywhere else where you can freely buy any sort of weapon that you would like. That`s something that will have to happen at the federal level and I implore the federal government to begin working on that.

MADDOW: Can you tell us how your constituents are coping in these couple of days? Obviously, we understand that the market itself is a really central gathering place in the community. It`s -- it was hard it was hard fought to get that grocery store where it is, and because there aren`t other resources like that in the community, it`s a place where a lot of people came together. And in a close-knit community, having so many people killed and wounded, I imagine that it`s just -- that that everybody`s connected to this without too many -- too many leaps, too many too many different connections between people before you know somebody directly involved.

PEOPLES-STOKES: Yeah, everybody knows somebody who lost their life there, even if they only know them from a distant relative or a distant friend or they went to school with them or they went to school with their children. Everybody knows somebody who lost their life there.

And everybody is hurting. Everybody is in pain. I am actually heartbroken. I had to take a couple days just to control my anger because this is just so unnecessary. And, yes, we have seen this replicated in other places across the country to other people.


But it still doesn`t make it hurt any less when you know that this happens all too often.

I heard the governor say yesterday and I hope that she`s correct that this is the last time that anything ever like this happens in America because it doesn`t have to. There are things we can do. Even if we can`t fix the hate that people have, we can keep them from getting access to assault weapons. We can keep them from getting access to these magazines that will allow them to kill ten people in three minutes. That we do not need in our society for any reason.

MADDOW: Crystal Peoples-Stokes is the New York state assembly majority leader. Her district is the home of the site of this weekend shooting.

Madam Leader, our condolences to you and to your constituents and I really appreciate you talking with us tonight. Good luck, ma`am. Thank you.

PEOPLES-STOKES: You are very welcome.

I want to thank you, and I want to thank the entire state of New York and people across this country who have just poured in their love and resources to help folks in my district. We are really grateful for that. People are offering not just resources in terms of food, but they`re offering opportunities for hotels, for families to get here. They`re offering airline tickets. They`re offering resources to help pay for funerals.

These things will never be forgotten. America shows his love when is the right time. This is the right time and we appreciate it. Thank you.

MADDOW: Crystal Peoples-Stokes, thank you, ma`am.

We`ll be right back. Stay with us.



HARLEY BROWN, CANDIDATE: The air superiority, and then roll in with your tanks, on the ground, like that trooper`s lawsuits (ph), blitzkrieg.


BROWN: The question was about taxes.

WALT BAYES, CANDIDATE: Back when they told me that we couldn`t home school, I prayed about it. I stood on my hind legs like a man. I told them what I thought of them and that the television would talk to me for 30 minutes or an hour.

BROWN: And as it says in my motorcycle club, hey, diddle fiddle, right up the middle. That`s my style.

BAYES: Our wolves, they`re here because we let somebody put them here. Governor Otter wants to kill a wolf. I did kill a wolf while it was still on endangered species.


MADDOW: So that was a crazy year in Republican politics in the state of Idaho. That was their Republican gubernatorial debate that year. Those were their candidates for governor. This was 2014, the incumbent governor was Butch Otter, a pretty conservative Republican with a real fun name.

But he was not conservative enough for right-wing activists in Idaho who wanted to primary him out of office. That year, Idaho conservatives threw their support mostly behind a Tea Party challenger, he`s the guy you see on the right side -- far right side of the stage.

But when it came time for the candidates to debate, nobody paid much attention to the Tea Party guy because, oh my God, who`s the biker guy and what`s with the hey diddle doodle from him and why did that 120-year-old man just say he killed a wolf and his TV talks just to him.

Butch Otter would go on to win that gubernatorial primary and the election that year he served as governor in Idaho for another four years.

But at the end of that four years when Butch Otter left office, he endorses his lieutenant governor. A man named Brad Little to be his replacement.

It`s like a fairy tale Butch Otter handing off to Brad Little. Now, which of the one that eats is the one that eats no fat and which one eats no lean. It`s just part of the joy of covering Idaho Republican politics.

Butch Otter endorses his lieutenant governor, Brad Little. Brad Little becomes governor. The person who replaces him to becomes -- become the new lieutenant governor was this person.


JANICE MCGEACHIN, IDAHO LT. GOVERNOR: All of us are by nature free and equal and have certain inalienable rights among which are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property and pursuing happiness and securing safety.


MADDOW: Wait for it, here comes the gun, here comes the gun. That`s Idaho`s current lieutenant governor, Janice McGeachin. She was brandishing a gun in that video in order to keep her Bible warm and in order to pressure the governor her boss that he should undo COVID rules back in 2020.

One time when Governor Little left the state, McGeachin actually took it upon herself to announce that she had seized the powers of the governorship and proclaimed the state`s mask and vaccine rules to be hereby null and void, because the governor was out of town.

Earlier this year, Ms. McGeachin participated in a white supremacist conference at which attendees cheered on Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine. She`s also as you`ve probably guessed by now an enthusiastic election denier.

The reason I`m telling you all of this is because tomorrow, that Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin is going to face off against her boss, the incumbent Governor Brad Little in the Idaho Republican primary for governor. Naturally, because she`s an election denier, Janice McGeachin earned the endorsement of former President Donald Trump.

She`s not the only right-wing election denier running for statewide office in Idaho. There`s no incumbent in the secretary of state in Idaho. Two of the three Republican candidates who are running to be secretary of state are also election deniers who say that President Trump won the election and President Biden is a usurper.

The Republican attorney general in Idaho is also being primary tomorrow by another election denier.

I know there`s a lot of attention on the Pennsylvania Republican primary tomorrow, where there is deep, deep insanity in the Republican primary races for governor and Senate and even for lieutenant governor.


But I`m telling you, don`t sleep on Idaho. Idaho`s tomorrow too and there is plenty of crazy to go around.

Watch this space.


MADDOW: It is official. Finland and Sweden, two Nordic countries that have long held stances of neutrality basically, have formally announced they`re seeking to join NATO.


In Sweden`s case, this ends more than years of that country being happily, militarily unaligned.

You know, Vladimir Putin desperately wants to be seen as a historic figure he has certainly achieved something historic here. The last time Sweden was part of any a military alliance like this was during the Napoleonic wars. Mazel tov, Mr. Putin. You really turned things around here. You really made history.

That said, from the moment Finland and Sweden made it known that they were interested in joining NATO, Putin`s been making threats, including threats to put Russian nuclear weapons in the Baltic Sea. Just a few days ago, after Finland`s leader said they supported applying for NATO, Russia cut off its electricity supply to Finland.

The message from Russia has been threatening, but it also seems not to be working. Sweden and Finland are moving forward with their plans to join NATO. It`s official as of today.

Putin invaded Ukraine supposedly to push NATO back. Well, now, NATO`s getting considerably bigger and much closer to him.

Are there things we should be worried about in terms of what Putin might do in response? Are there other potential pitfalls ahead?

Joining us now is Ivo Daalder. He`s a former U.S. ambassador to NATO. He`s now president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Mr. Ambassador, thank you very much for being here tonight. We`re really glad you were able to be to join us.

IVO DAALDER, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NATO: My pleasure. Look forward to it.

MADDOW: What do you -- what do you make of Vladimir Putin`s threats, sort of saber rattling over Finland and Sweden joining NATO. How seriously do you take those threats and what are you watching for?

DAALDER: Well, I mean, he clearly is doing the normal saber rattling, although today, in a speech he did to the heads of state of the counter- NATO alliance that he created, the CSTO, he said really, Finland and Sweden joining would be no problem for Russia. The only problem would be if NATO would actually put military infrastructure and capabilities into either of those countries.

That`s a kind of a new thing for him to say. I mean back 15, 16 years ago, he would say the NATO alliance enlargement was fine. But, of course, in the last few decade or more, he has actually attacked Georgia and attacked Ukraine ostensibly because they were becoming members of NATO.

So, my sense is he`s not going to like this, but he also knows it`s inevitable. They`re going to move. NATO is going to take them in. They will be protected by NATO and there`s not much given his military weakness in Ukraine, that he`s going to be able to do to counter this.

MADDOW: Yeah, maybe the lesson there in terms of watching what he says rather than what he -- watching what he does rather than what he says is that if you seem inclined to join NATO or you seem to want to join NATO, you`re going to get attacked. But if you do join NATO, you`re going to be as safe as every other NATO country.

That said, this line that he`s rolling out today about how it`s okay as long as there isn`t any NATO military infrastructure in either those countries, there will be, won`t they? If they -- if they join NATO, doesn`t there have to be sort of military integration in order to make it real that they`re actually members of the alliance?

DAALDER: For sure, there has to be military integration. In some ways, that has already happened. Both Finland and Sweden have long been partners of NATO. They have very compatible weapon systems, communication systems. They have participated in a whole series of NATO-led military operations, including in Afghanistan, including in Kosovo. Sweden also participated in the campaign against Libya.

So they have those capabilities, but in order to defend Finland in particular, a country with a border that has 830 miles of a border with Russia, it`s important that NATO understand where the airfields are, how they might be able to reinforce Finland in order to bring forces in through ports, through airfields, be able to defend different parts. So you do want to know the infrastructure that exists there and where it`s not good enough to say take American C17- planes which need a very long runway to start building up that infrastructure.

For now, I think Finland and Sweden are saying we`re happy with NATO membership. We don`t really want permanent deployment of NATO troops on our territory but, of course, we`ll do a whole bunch of exercises. All of which is to say that the reality is they`re now in NATO and Vladimir Putin will have to think not twice but three times before he does anything to threaten their security.

MADDOW: Briefly, I don`t want to make too much of this. But are you concerned? Do you think it`s realistic or prudent to worry about the prospect that NATO countries won`t unanimously agree to this? That a country like Turkey or that even the Republican Party within the United States Senate might balk and say no to Sweden and or Finland joining up?

DAALDER: Well, clearly, all members have to agree to NATO membership, both first to invite them and then to ratify the treaty changes. So that means in the U.S. Senate, for example, 67 votes are necessary for a treaty change.


I think all the indications are that the Republicans are going to support NATO enlargement. I think we will see that this week with the vote on the Ukraine assistance package, which demonstrates that the Republican Party is prepared to do what is necessary, at least large numbers of the party, in order to protect European security.

You always have to worry about other countries, Turkey, Hungary and others. But I think in the end, they understand that their security depends on a strong and capable NATO and that at the moment means having NATO -- having Finland and Sweden join that alliance, and I don`t think there is a big prospect of that being turned down. It may take a little longer, but in the end, we`re going to have both those countries as members of NATO.

MADDOW: Ivo Daalder is a former U.S. ambassador to NATO, now president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs -- Mr. Ambassador, thank you. Invaluable to have you with us tonight.

DAALDER: My pleasure.

MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.


MADDOW: Since you`ve been on the air this past hour, we`ve discovered more details about President Biden`s plan trip to Buffalo tomorrow. He and the first lady are expected to meet tomorrow with the families of the victims who were killed in the mass shooting this weekend. They also meet with law enforcement and first responders and community leaders. We`ve also learned tonight that the Bidens are expected to visit that memorial that has popped up outside the Tops Market, where the massacre occurred.

A White House official telling NBC News tonight that during tomorrow`s visit, President Biden will call on Congress, to enact gun reforms. He will call on them to take, quote, weapons of more of our streets. That is all planned for tomorrow, in Buffalo, New York.

That`s going to do it for us for tonight.


Good evening, Lawrence.