IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 5/20/22

Guests: Sarah Posner, Emma Brown, Ben Jealous


A Tennessee pastor threatens worse insurrection. Today, "The Washington Post`s" Emma Brown got her hands on emails from Ginni Thomas days after the 2020 election, pressuring Arizona lawmakers to help reverse the results of the election, not just strategizing about overturning the election but actively trying to get them to approve a, quote, clean slate of Trump electors in place of the electors representing Biden`s very legitimate win in that state.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, "ALL IN": That is "ALL IN" for this week.

MSNBC PRIME starts now with Mehdi Hasan.

Good evening, Mehdi.

MEHDI HASAN, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you very much and have a great weekend.

HAYES: You, too, man.

HASAN: Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.

On January the 6th, last year on Capitol Hill, the day started with a prayer. An offering praise delivered every day the U.S. Senate is in session by the Senate chaplain, Barry Black. He`s been the Senate chaplain since 2003. And, boy, does this guy have a voice.


BARRY BLACK, SENATE CHAPLAIN: Let us pray. Almighty God have compassion on us with your unfailing love as our lawmakers prepare to formally certify the votes cast by the electoral college be present with them. Guide our legislators with your wisdom and truth as they seek to meet the requirements of the United States Constitution.

Lord, inspire them to seize this opportunity to demonstrate to the nation and world how the democratic process can be done properly and in an orderly manner. Help them to remember that history is a faithful stenographer and so are you.

We pray in your sovereign name, amen.


HASAN: The fact that we even have a Senate chaplain and a House chaplain as well is kind of a weird thing. It`s a bit of a contradiction in a country in which separation of church and state is a constitutional hallmark.

Even James Madison came to believe it wasn`t entirely kosher, but a chaplain opened every day of congressional business starting with the Continental Congress in 1774 and the tradition has continued. The way this contradiction has been resolved over the years is that whatever his or her specific denomination, personally, and they`ve all been Christian, the chaplain prays and leads in a non-sectarian ecumenical way. Also, there are regular guest chaplains, imams, rabbis, Hindu clerics, even the Dalai Lama.

Rather than imposing a particular religion on the Congress, the House and Senate chaplaincies are used to reflect America`s multi-faith democracy.

A couple of miles away from the Capitol on January the 6th, Donald Trump`s save America rally also started with a prayer, but that prayer was a little different.


PAULA WHITE, FORMER FAITH ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Let every adversary against democracy, against freedom, against life, against liberty, against justice, against peace, against righteousness be overturned right now in the name of Jesus.

Let justice be done. Let justice be done. Let justice be done. Let we the people have the assurance of a fair and a just election.

I thank you for President Trump. I put a hedge of protection around him. I secure his purpose. I secure his destiny. I secure his life, God, and I thank you that he will walk in a holy boldness and a wisdom, God, and that you will go before him. You will be his rear guard and you will go in front of him this day and everyday, God.


HASAN: That was Paula White, Donald Trump`s spiritual advisor, and White House advisor, delivering a very Trumpian opening prayer on January the 6th.

Let us be guided by your wisdom oh Lord, protect Donald Trump and smite his enemies. There was a lot of this brand of Christian ideology on display that day. Before marching to the Capitol, members of the far right violent Proud Boys knelt in the street and prayed in the name of Jesus to restore their, quote, value systems and to give them divine protection in what they were about to do.

And the crowd attacking the Capitol wore crosses and signs, saying things like Jesus 2020 and armor of God. Some told reporters they were there to join a fight of good versus evil.

And when insurrectionists broke into the Senate chamber, in addition to rifling through senators` papers and scrolling messages to Vice President Pence, they prayed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jesus Christ, we spoke (ph) again, amen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you heavenly father for being the inspiration needed to these police officers to allow us into the building, to allow us to exercise our rights, to allow us to send a message to all the tyrants, the communists and the globalists, that this is our nation, not theirs, that we will not allow the American way of the United States of America to go down.


Thank you for allowing the United States of America to be reborn. Thank you for allowing us to get rid of the communists, the globalists, and the traitors within our government. We love you and we thank you. In Christ`s holy name, we pray.

CROWD: Amen!


HASAN: The problem isn`t that the January 6th insurrection and Trump`s whole demagogic movement are imbued with Christianity, one of the world`s great religions. No. Remember, the United States House and Senate have chaplains who are Christian and deliver prayers every day and the night before January the 6th, Reverend Raphael Warnock, the long-time pastor at Atlanta`s Ebenezer Baptist Church was elected senator from Georgia.

Reverend Warnock and the chaplains are perfectly capable of being very Christian and also existing very happily within the multi-faith and multi- ethnic democracy represented by the United States Congress none of them are storming the Capitol.

Now, this particular brand of Christianity that has linked up with the Trump movement is a different kind of thing. Christian nationalism, the belief that the United States should be ruled by Christians and by a certain narrow interpretation of evangelical Christian values is not a new thing. The journalist Michelle Goldberg wrote a book about the rise of Christian nationalism back in 2006.

But what`s new is the fusion of that ideology with the potent political movement of pro-Trump stop the steal election denialism. Evangelical leaders preaching to their congregations about the stolen election and praising the January 6th attack as a righteous revolution to restore America. It`s also the fusion of religion and race too, a poll released in November by the public religion research institute found that of white evangelical respondents believe the election was stolen, a far higher share than other Christian groups of any race.

The journalist Sarah Posner has written a book on how white Christian nationalists powered Trump`s presidency. She put it in this way in an essay this week for "Talking Points Memo", quote, a movement that elevated Trump to messianic status was able to convince millions that Satanic forces had robbed God`s man in the White House of his anointed perch as the restorer of America`s white Christian heritage. Their duty as patriotic spiritual warriors was to go to battle on his behalf.

Need an example of what that battle looks like even now? Perhaps you`ve seen this viral clip of Tennessee past and January the sixth attendee Greg Locke this week.


GREG LOCKE, GLOBAL VISION BIBLE CHURCH PASTOR: I`m to the place right now if you vote Democrat, I don`t even want you around this church. You can get out. You can get out you demon. You can get out your baby butchering, election thief.

You cannot be a Christian and vote Democrat in this nation. I don`t care how mad that makes you. You get pissed off as you want to. You cannot be a Christian and vote Democrat in this nation. They are god-denying demons that butcher babies and hate this nation.

Bunch of devils. I`m sick of it. They want talk about the insurrection. Let me tell you something you ain`t seen the insurrection yet.

You keep on pushing our buttons you low down sorry compromisers, you god- hating communists. You`ll find out what the insurrection is cause we ain`t playing your garbage. We ain`t playing your mess.

My bible says that the church of the living god is an institution that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, and the bible says that we`ll take it by force. That`s what the bible says.


HASAN: Wow. Let me ask you this. If a Muslim imam in a mosque said that looked into the camera and said, you ain`t seen an insurrection yet and we`ll take it by force, that`s what the Koran says, what do you think would happen to that imam? Seriously, what would happen to him? I think we all know.

Look that clip of Locke speaking at his tax-exempt church is one of the most bonkers, most disturbing, most extreme things I have seen in recent years and I say that as someone who spent the past seven years covering the likes of Donald Trump and Marjorie Taylor Greene.

But here`s the thing thousands of people attend some of Greg Locke`s sermons in person, millions online. He`s one of more than a dozen pastors who`ve participated in this weird stop the steal road show that features General Michael Flynn and Roger Stone and Eric Trump holding events at churches across the country.

And when you`re calling Democrats demons and devils it`s like more and more Republicans calling Democrats pedophiles, evil, devils and demons and pedophiles can`t be allowed to win elections. They are by definition ungodly and illegitimate, and anything you do to stop them is justified.

And to the newly elected Republican nominee for governor of Pennsylvania, Doug Mastriano, he kind of fuses together the religious and political sides of this movement. He was the Trump campaign`s number one ally in the Pennsylvania legislature in their effort to get Joe Biden`s win in Pennsylvania overturned. He marched to the Capitol on January the 6th, running for governor.

He campaigned at events like Pennsylvania for Christ whose organizers claim their goal is to re-establish the kingdom of God in Pennsylvania and at an event called "Patriots arise for God, family and country" where he was gifted a David sword for quote fighting for our religious rights in Christ Jesus.


DOUG MASTRIANO (R), PA GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: We have the power of God with us. We have Jesus Christ that we`re serving here. He`s guiding and directing our steps. In November, we`re going to take our state back. My God will make it so.



HASAN: Doug Mastriano now has the chance to try to fulfill that prophecy after winning the Republican nomination for governor on Tuesday. Listen to how he described the path ahead at his victory celebration that night.


MASTRIANO: First Corinthians 1:27 gives us all hope God uses the fullest you can found the wise and the weak that he found a strong, right? That`s his story and he uses people like you and me to change history. I always like to say when we make his story our story, we can change history. The future for Pennsylvania and Josh Shapiro is an oppressive regime, not unlike East Germany where your freedoms be snatched away. So let`s walk in freedom, let`s choose this day, let`s choose this day and serve the Lord.


HASAN: If Doug Mastriano is elected governor, he`ll appoint the secretary of state who will oversee the 2024 presidential election in swing state Pennsylvania. A Governor Mastriano would have to personally sign off on the 2024 election results in his state. If he thinks he`s just a tool being used for God`s plan and if God`s plan is to save Pennsylvania from the oppressive godless regime of the Democrats, what would he do to make sure no demonic Democrat ever wins Pennsylvania?

Joining us now is journalist Sarah Posner an expert on Christian nationalism and a reporting fellow with Type Investigations. Her most recent piece is entitled "How Christian nationalism and the big lie fuse to fuel Doug Mastriano`s candidacy". She`s also the author of "Unholy: How White Christian Nationalists Powered the Trump Presidency and the Devastating Legacy They Left Behind".

Sarah, thanks so much for coming on the show.

First off, for our viewers, how would you differentiate Christian nationalism from the Christian right more generally in this country than Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson`s we`ve seen for decades? And what are the goals of Christian nationalism in this Trump MAGA era?

SARAH POSNER, "UNHOLY" AUTHOR: Well, the earlier iterations of the religious right were also Christian nationalists. They believed that God intended America to be a Christian nation and that had been subverted by secular and satanic force. They believed that too, and they believed that they through their political action could restore a Christian America.

But that movement has become more radicalized over time in part because of changes that were happening in within evangelicalism where these sub- movements within evangelicalism particularly in the charismatic community became more popular and televised and disseminated to people through televangelism and later through social media, and those new religious sub movements focused a lot more on spiritual warfare and the duty of Christians to engage in spiritual warfare in defense of the Christian nation and they also emphasized prophecy, the fact that or the idea that believers could receive direct revelation from God that could supersede the -- what they observed in the in the world around them.

So it was very much a belief in this kind of spiritual warfare as well as that they were empowered to engage in that spiritual warfare in order to save the Christian nation.

HASAN: So, Sarah, we`re used to the Christian right mobilizing on issues like opposition to gay marriage and abortion. When and how did election denialism come to be so firmly embraced by many on the religious right?

POSNER: That was a product of the Trump era and before -- many years before that they focused on mobilizing their voters to the polls to win elections it was under Trump that they began to believe in and perpetuate the rigged election or the stolen election lie that Trump that Trump was perpetuating.

And this had a lot to do with the radicalization of the religious right under Trump where he embraced a lot of these charismatic figures like Paula White and others and made them much more part of the religious right uh coalition with the Republican Party, and they also -- I`m sorry?

HASAN: Sorry, how much -- how much of this is internet-based as well?


How much of this fusion during the Trump era around election denialism is less about scripture and sermons but more about social media in the same way that QAnon flourished online?

POSNER: Well this predated QAnon and I think televangelism played a much bigger role than social media, but social media ultimately did play a big role. But the major thing to keep in mind here is this movement believed and disseminated to its viewers and its followers on social media that God had anointed Trump to be in the White House and that he was this messianic figure and unlikely figure that God chose to save America at a very important juncture in its history.

And that played an enormous role in mobilizing people to believe in the stop the steal lie because they believed they had been told that Trump was anointed by God, and therefore any election that he lost could not have been free and fair, must have been rigged, must have been stolen.

HASAN: Never ceases to amaze me how millions of conservative Christians who read the Bible believe that God anointed the thrice married former casino owner to be his instrument.

Let me ask you this, Sarah, a lot of people including yourself have applied the Christian nationalist label to the Republican gubernatorial nominee in Pennsylvania Doug Mastriano. In fact in your piece, you say if elected governor, Mastriano could single-handedly threaten American democracy. You say he believes he`s on a mission from God.

What is it about the mission that he believes he`s on? Because there`s nothing wrong with believing in God. I believe in God. There`s a lot of people watching at home we believe in God who don`t want to overturn elections.

What is it about him, his mission in particular that leads to a threat to democracy?

POSNER: Well, you saw in the clip that you played from his victory speech the other night that he believes that God is -- that he is acting on God`s behalf, that God has chosen people like him to take action at this critical time and that he`s taking action against Satanists or globalists or secularists or whoever the bogeyman happens to be and so if he believes that the Democratic party is evil and the Democratic candidate wins in Pennsylvania, he believes he`s empowered to change that.

HASAN: It`s a scary prospect.

Sarah Posner, thank you so much for analysis. Sarah is a reporting fellow with Type Investigations, an expert on Christian nationalism, thank you for your time tonight.

POSNER: Thanks, Mehdi.

HASAN: Up next, the reporter who broke the latest story about very, very questionable emails sent by Ginni Thomas, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wife, joins us live.

But first, some big news from the January 6 Committee. Tonight in the past hour, we have learned that President Trump`s personal lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani testified today before the 1/6 committee. NBC news confirms that Giuliani testified virtually for approximately nine hours. His appearance followed months of back and forth negotiations with that committee.

The former mayor was heavily involved in several efforts by the Trump campaign to try and overturn the results of the 2020 election. Those of efforts included overseeing the fake electors plot in seven states, as well as attempts to seize voting machines. As for why exactly Giuliani decided to testify when many other members of Trump`s inner circle have not, we do not know.

But we should note, Giuliani is also currently under federal investigation for potentially breaking foreign lobbying laws when he orchestrated a campaign to oust the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and tried to dig up foreign dirt on Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 election.

We will be right back.



HASAN: This banner "welcome to Clifton" where Black Lives Matter was put up on main street in the northern Virginia town of Clifton in 2020. It was a simple local sign of support from the predominantly white community there after the summer of unrest that followed George Floyd`s killing.

But one very prominent figure wanted it taken down. She emailed the mayor writing, Black Lives Matter is a bit of a dangerous Trojan horse and they are catching well-meaning people into dangerous posturing that can invite mob rule and property looting. Let`s not be tricked into joining chords with radical extremists seeking to foment a cultural revolution because they hate America.

Those emails obtained by "The Washington Post" were written by none other than Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. "The Post" wrote this all up in July 2020. A few months later, a large case involving the rights of a prominent Black Lives Matter activist came before the Supreme Court. The court ruled in his favor but Clarence Thomas dissented.

Now, should Thomas have recused from that case because of his wife`s behavior? Maybe, but that conflict seems almost cute compared to Ginni Thomas`s subsequent interactions with people at the highest levels of the Trump administration, including then President Trump himself.

Ginni Thomas met routinely with the president, handing him lists of people to hire and fire and lobbying him on various issues, all while Trump had numerous cases before the Supreme Court. Then, of course, there is everything after the 2020 election. Forget letters to local mayors about street signs, "The Washington Post" and CBS News got their hands on text from Ginni Thomas to then White House chief of staff Mark Meadows after the 2020 election where the two discussed strategies to overturn the election results, calling the election a heist.


Those texts indicated that she may have also been lobbying the president`s son-in-law Jared Kushner to support efforts to overturn the election. Ginni Thomas also sent an email to Republicans in Congress pressuring them to protest the 2020 election results. She told them she wouldn`t help a conservative group until they -- that they ran until their members were, quote, out in the streets.

Then, of course, there is the fact that she both promoted and personally attended the stop the steal rally that directly preceded the attack on our Capitol on January the 6th. She also repeatedly pushed the big lie on an email chain that included all of Clarence Thomas`s former Supreme Court clerks over three decades, many of whom are quite powerful now.

Ginni Thomas used every avenue available to try to overturn the 2020 election and keep Trump in office. And when the Supreme Court decided in January of this year to deny a request from President Trump to block the January 6 investigation from getting access to Trump`s White House records, not only did Justice Thomas not recuse, he was the only dissent. His own wife was one of the people communicating regularly with the White House about overturning the election and he voted that those records should not see the light of day.

Now, today, "The Washington Post`s" Emma Brown got her hands on emails from Ginni Thomas days after the 2020 election, pressuring Arizona lawmakers to help reverse the results of the election, not just strategizing about overturning the election but actively trying to get them to approve a, quote, clean slate of Trump electors in place of the electors representing Biden`s very legitimate win in that state.

Quote: The email sent by Ginni Thomas to a pair of lawmakers on November the 9th, 2020 argued that legislators needed to intervene because the vote had been marred by fraud the emails were sent to Rusty Bowers, a veteran legislator and speaker of the Arizona house and Shawnna Bolick who was first elected to the chamber in 2018. Bolick`s husband sits on the Supreme Court of Arizona. He also used to work for Clarence Thomas. That lawmaker Shawnna Bolick is now running to be the Arizona secretary of state.

One email from Ginni Thomas read: Article of the United States Constitution gives you an awesome responsibility to choose our state`s electors. Please take action to ensure that a clean state of electors is chosen.

In another, the day before the members of the Electoral College were set to cast their votes for Biden, Thomas, wrote: Before you choose your state`s electors, consider what will happen to the nation. We all love if you don`t stand up and lead.

The next day as Biden electors in Arizona cast their votes, Shawnna Bolick, one of the two lawmakers Thomas pressured was among a dozen Arizona lawmakers who signed a letter to Congress calling for the state`s electoral votes to go to Trump not Biden who remember actually won that state.

Ginni Thomas and her supporters insisted her advocacy stands separate and apart from her husband`s work on the highest court in the land. Yeah, some Senate Democrats have called for Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from election related cases, but why not go further? Okay, fine, you don`t want to try and impeach him, but why not call for him to resign? Why not hold hearings? Make a big deal of this.

What do you think Republicans would be doing if the situation was reversed and this was a liberal justice and their spouse?

Joining us now is "Washington Post" investigative reporter Emma Brown, who broke this latest story.

Emma, thanks for being here.

It`s a great scoop. We knew previously of Ginni Thomas`s efforts to overturn the election, including her regular contact with the Trump White House -- outreach to the White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Tell us about how your reporting fits in and extends what we already knew about Ginni Thomas`s clearly dubious role in the post-2020 world.

EMMA BROWN, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yeah, as you say, we already knew how she felt about the election. We knew she wanted the election results to be overturned and for Trump to stay in office and that she was talking with high-level people including Mark Meadows about that. What we didn`t know until these emails surfaced was that she was personally and directly involved in carrying out this strategy to pressure state lawmakers in key swing states that Biden had won to actually set aside his popular vote victory and you know send a slate of Trump electors to the electoral college to help him win. So her direct and personal involvement in that campaign is what`s new here.

HASAN: Emma, Justice Breyer recuses himself from any case that has been heard by his brother, a federal judge in Californa. Justice Kavanaugh recused himself last year from a case apparently related to a family member.

How does Justice Thomas and his supporters -- how do they justify him never recusing over Ginni Thomas his wife?

BROWN: Well, I can tell you what I have been hearing from folks today from supporters of the Thomas`s today in response to our story which is, look, she`s a -- she`s a citizen. She has free speech rights. You can`t muzzle her just because she`s married to a Supreme Court justice.


So that`s one point of view.

I mean, another point of view is that in sort of becoming personally involved in this campaign to overturn the election, she crossed the line and became part of the an issue that her husband may in fact end up ruling on and that that presents a conflict of interest for him that should force his recusal. So those are the two competing points of view on this matter.

HASAN: So, as you say, Ginni and her supporters like to say that her activism is entirely separate from her husband`s role on the highest court in the land, even though all of her activism involves using his access, his networks, his name. I mean, you have this great story in your piece that she`s communicating with a lawmaker in Arizona who`s the wife of an Arizona judge who considers Clarence Thomas to be his mentor, to the point where the wife says, hope you and Clarence are doing great. Yes.

BROWN: Yes, the one of the lawmakers she was communicating with, Shawnna Bolick, is married to Clint Bolick, who is a justice on the state Supreme Court as you said in Arizona and they are close to the Thomases. Now I have to say Bollck said, you know, Ginni Thomas`s communications did not influence the way that he decided to behave after the election but they are -- they are close.

HASAN: One last quick question, are you surprised as someone who`s written this story broken stories on the Supreme Court -- it`s a huge story in my view, we`re happy to have you here talking about it -- but are you surprised that Democrats haven`t made a bigger issue out of this?

I mean, you`re in the media. You`re breaking this story. But then where`s the action that follows it?

BROWN: I -- you know, not my job to be surprised or not surprised by this, but I think that the Democrats who -- you know, the folks who are running the January 6 committee in Congress have to decide what they`re going to focus on and whether -- you know, how much they`re going to sort of bite off in their effort to persuade the American public, you know, that that about what happened on January 6.

So do they want to take on also this other part of that effort in Ginni Thomas and Clarence Thomas and a possible conflict of interest, that`s a decision I`m sure they`re talking about.

HASAN: I hope they are. I`m surprised that they haven`t done more but I can only speak for myself.

"Washington Post" investigative reporter Emma Brown, you broke this great story about Ginni Thomas. We appreciate you coming on the show tonight to talk to us. Thank you.

BROWN: Appreciate it. Thank you.

HASAN: Still ahead here, tonight, the American far right flocks to Budapest home of one of the chief proponents of the vile replacement theory. They`re flocking there for their own CPAC conference. More details ahead.




TIRZAH PATTERSON, EX-WIFE OF BUFFALO SHOOTING VICTIM: This is my son, Jacob Patterson. He is 12 years old and they took his father. He will grow up fatherless. He has to live even after this and I have to pray that God give me strength to raise him the best of my ability. His heart is broken He has sleeps, he has eats.

And as a mother what am I supposed to do to help him get through this?


HASAN: Tirzah Patterson, the ex-wife of one of the 10 people killed last Saturday in the Buffalo Top Supermarket, spoke yesterday about the grief she and her son feel at the loss of Heyward Patterson, her son`s father. Patterson was a deacon at a church near the supermarket. He was helping someone with their groceries that day when he was shot and killed.

The suspect who is believed to have posted about his white supremacist beliefs online is said to have targeted that particular community because it was primarily black. He apparently searched by zip code for the place with the largest black population near where he lived. That is how he found Tops.

Toda, almost a week later, Deacon Heyward Patterson was laid to rest in a private service, the first of ten funerals to come from this mass shooting.

As the families and the nation remember and honor the lives of those massacred last week, those same families are trying to process what happened to their loved ones, what happened to them and what happened to their community. Children like Jake Patterson who maybe have lost their relatives too or who after watching what happened in Buffalo live with the nightmare that this could one day happen to their families, too. That this could be them they are trying to process what happened.

But in several states across the country, it is getting increasingly harder for kids to process this grief because teachers are being told that there is no space for them to lay out the actual events of that day. That it is against the law.

This week, NBC journalist Mike Hixenbaugh reported, quote: Laws restricting lessons on racism are making it hard for teachers to discuss the massacre in Buffalo. One high school ethnic studies teacher in Austin said that two days after the shooting at the Tops grocery store, she had to remind her students that a new Texas law requires teachers to discuss, quote, widely debated and currently controversial issues with a balanced perspective not showing deference to any side.

That meant that on Monday, before any of the victims of the shooting were even laid to rest, she had to tell her students that while police were investigating the shooting as a racially motivated hate crime committed by a man who believed in white replacement theory, quote, I`m also supposed to tell you that that`s just one perspective. She continued, quote: another perspective is that this young man was out defending the world or his kind from being taken over.

She followed with this, quote: if you guys want to know why I`m thinking about quitting at the end of the year, it`s because of these types of policies. The fact that I have to have this conversation with you.

That teacher`s frustration with this state-mandated restriction on teaching the truth about tragedies like this was palpable and she`s not alone. In the past year, there have been a rip tide of state laws and school board policies restricting classroom discussions about race, sex and gender. According to a high school social studies teacher in Colorado, quote, if a student brings up Buffalo, the teacher will simply say, sorry, I can`t talk about that, or we`re not allowed to talk about that. He notes that teachers have been fired for discussing racism, sexuality and politics with students. So they are afraid to have these discussions as these restrictions spread across the country.

The primary sponsor of a Kentucky law that restricts discussion discussions of race in classrooms said this on the matter, quote: Our educational system I believe should be teaching reading writing and arithmetic and factual history and stay out of politics.

But like it or not, what happened on Saturday is part of American history and what sort of lessons do silence or alternate takes teach, the sorts of lessons you can read on 4chan or Discord? As that Austin, Texas, teacher put it, quote: If we`re not able to have these discussions, how else are students going to envision a better future? An important question.

More to come tonight. Stay with us.




REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): When we as a party or a movement or people like frankly Tucker Carlson, you know, throw out these theories or just fish in the waters of white replacement theory or echo some of those kind of fear- based things, you can`t be surprised when some people take that to the level of going and massacring people, you just can`t.


HASAN: That was Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger calling out his fellow Republicans for feeding into white replacement theory, which the Buffalo mass shooter cited as his motivation for killing 10 people.

White replacement theory is the racist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that a cabal of rich Jewish people are secretly filling the country with black and brown people in order to replace white populations. It is a disgusting and dangerous smear, and Republicans have reacted with outrage at the accusation that they are feeding into such nonsense despite considerable evidence to the contrary.

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik who ran Facebook ads promoting replacement theory just last fall released a statement on Monday blasting the media for associating her with the killings and then moments later double down on white replacement theory in a tweet.

Now, conservatives are taking their support for white replacement theory a step further. Perhaps the world`s most influential proponent of white replacement theory is Hungary`s autocratic leader Viktor Orban. Just days after the Buffalo shooting, Viktor Orban endorsed white replacement theory in a speech on national television. He said in that speech, quote: Part of the picture of the decade of war facing us will be recurring waves of suicidal policy in the Western world. One such suicide attempt that I see is the great European population replacement program which seeks to replace the missing European Christian children with migrants, with adults arriving from other civilizations.

That was not a one-off comment by Viktor Orban. White replacement theory has been at the center of his political project for years. In 2018, he said that he thinks Hungarians are an endangered species and said, quote, I think there are many people who would like to see the end of Christian Europe.

The people who Orban thinks are behind that effort are, of course, wealthy Jews. During the 2017 parliamentary elections, Orban`s party plastered Hungary with these billboards showing Jewish Hungarian-American businessman George Soros. The caption reads: Let`s not let Soros have the last laugh.

When Viktor Orban secretary of state was asked about those billboards by a reporter from "Politico`s" European bureau, he said that the ads were needed to prevent Soros from flooding Europe with Muslim migrants. Viktor Orban is the poster child for white replacement theory in Europe and the American right has been quick to embrace him for it.

Just this week, the organizers of the influential Conservative CPAC conference held their very first CPAC Hungary in Budapest. Donald Trump addressed a conference in a video where he lavished praise on Orban. The keynote speaker was none other than Prime Minister Orban himself.

Mind you, this is just days after Orban said that Europe was engaged in a suicidal European population replacement program. He told the crowd that the conservatives path to power is to own the media and that shows like Tucker Carlson`s should be broadcast 24/7. Tucker Carlson, of course, regularly uses his Fox primetime show to promote replacement theory as well.

Now, in true authoritarian fashion, real journalists were not allowed to enter CPAC Hungary, but CPAC organizer and long-time Donald Trump confidant Matt Schlapp did talk to a reporter from "Vice News" outside of the conference where he offered his own thoughts on white replacement theory, tying it to the issue of abortion here in the U.S.


He said: If you say there is a population problem in a country but you`re killing millions of your own people through legalized abortion every year, if that were to be reduced some of that problem is solved. You have millions of people who can take many of these jobs. How come no one brings that up? If you`re worried about this, quote/unquote, replacement why don`t we start there? Start with allowing our own people to live. Our own people.

Matt Schlapp isn`t a far right true believer. In some ways, he`s worse. He`s the kind of cynical political figure who will say whatever he thinks the Republican base wants to hear and what he thinks the Republican base wants to hear right now is that replacement is a problem and that the GOP`s project of forcing American women to give birth is part of the solution to that problem.

Like Stefanik and sadly many others, he`s saying the quiet racist part out loud. So isn`t it time for all of us members of the media, members of the Democratic Party, ordinary Americans to call out the elected members of the Republican Party much more forcefully for their ongoing promotion of this deadly white supremacist replacement lie?

Joining us now is Ben Jealous, president of the progressive group People for the American Way, and former president of the NAACP. He wrote an op-ed for "USA Today" this week titled, "The Buffalo shooting should make the GOP change its great replacement theory rhetoric".

Ben, thanks for joining us. I mean they are not changing their rhetoric. They`re doubling down on it and now they`re turning up in Budapest with the guy who is the global leader of this conspiracy theory.

BEN JEALOUS, PEOPLE FOR THE AMERICAN WAY: No, it`s true and they`re making all the same mistakes the Democratic Party made after the civil war, when it became a party that was at that time defined frankly by its quiet to vocal support for white supremacist terror. We`re seeing that happen with the Republican Party. The power of Buffalo for the Republican Party is that this is the place kind of most associated with Jack Kemp as a football player who went on to be the party`s nominee for vice president and who said quite plainly he had no problem being an active member of the NAACP and an active member of the GOP.

It`s also the city where Frederick Douglass, the great Republican leader of the 19th century gave many of his most important speeches. He lived right down the road in Rochester. The white supremacists often attack his statue.

And so it seems like a perfect place given that Kemp`s recent importance to the party and Frederick Douglass` historical importance for them to go and reflect and frankly to reflect on the power of their silence. If you think about it right, first, there was Charlottesville in 2017, and then there was this massacre at Tree of Life synagogue in 2018, and then Christchurch in 2019, in El Paso in 2019, and here we are with Tops, and the news is starting to look like litany from the Holocaust.

These white supremacists coming from one group after the next after the next step. It`s time for all of us to speak up, and the Republican Party has a special employee --

HASAN: So let`s talk about --

JEALOUS: -- because quite frankly they`re the ones that have been encouraging this.

HASAN: Ben, let`s talk about speaking up. You look at the way the Republicans have so successfully demonized AOC, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, often over complete nonsensical, fake controversies, why can`t the Democrats make Elise Stefanik and Matt and Scott Perry and Pete Sessions and Matt Gaetz, who`ve all actually endorsed replacement theory even after the Buffalo shooting in the case of Gaetz and Stefanik? Why can`t they call them out by name? I haven`t heard a single top Democratic leader called about by name this week.

JEALOUS: You know, it -- it`s time. It`s absolutely time for the people -- really for the constituents. You know, there has been a kind of sense in our politics that we will let politicians whose party we support do whatever it takes to win. But when they start when their rhetoric starts to encourage massacres of our neighbors, it`s time for all of us to look deep in our hearts and say, can I really afford to be silent? Is this what I want my grandchildren to remember that when my party when the Republican Party, when a major television network Fox that depends on the public airwaves was pushing this great replacement theory, inspiring and encouraging such violence and massacres that I stood silent?

This is a time for all of us quite frankly and especially the constituents politicians that you mentioned, viewers of Fox, to let their voices be heard that they`re not having it. Tucker Carlson has pushed this theory 400 times in recent years, 400 times. Mr. Murdoch has been very clear that Tucker can lose as much money as you want for the network because he`s bringing in viewers. You know, the advertisers that backed off his show because of his racism and yet it`s their loss leader. And this theory seems to be his formula for --


HASAN: We very much -- we very much need to name names in a week like this, otherwise, it`s just going to keep happening again and again tragically.

Ben Jealous, president of the People for the American Way, thank you for your time tonight. Appreciate it.

We will be right back. Don`t go anywhere.


HASAN: That does it for us tonight. Rachel will be back here on Monday. You can catch me on Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. right here on MSNBC and streaming on Peacock during the week.

But right now, stay tuned for "Diamond Hands: The Legend of Wall Street Bets", a very cool look of the real-life players who took on Wall Street during the infamous GameStop short squeeze. That starts right now.