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

Transcript: The ReidOut, 10/3/22

Guests: Michael Grunwald, Nikki Fried, Thomas Zimmer


Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene engages in more inflammatory rhetoric. Developers of one Florida community prioritized lifestyle over safety and sustainability. Noted historian and filmmaker Henry Louis Gates discusses his highly anticipated new PBS series, "Making Black America." New reporting emerges on the mysterious person known as Perla who allegedly lured migrants onto planes bound for Martha`s Vineyard with false promises of jobs and support.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Up on kiss cam a moment ago. A presidential smooch.


KATIE PHANG, MSNBC HOST: That does it for me. You can also catch me on "THE KATIE PHANG SHOW" weekend mornings at 7:00 a.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC. And stream new original episodes on the MSNBC hub on Peacock as well.




REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): I`m not going to mince words with you all. Democrats want Republicans dead, and they have already started the killings.


REID: Well, that kind of inflammatory rhetoric is what we have come to expect from the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene. But what`s really disturbing is the deafening silence when her colleagues are asked to denounce that kind of extremist talk.

Plus: an environmental Ponzi scheme. How developers of one Florida community prioritized lifestyle over safety and sustainability. Residents are now paying the price.

And, later, noted historian and filmmaker Henry Louis Gates joins me to talk about his highly anticipated new PBS series, "Making Black America."

Good evening, everyone.

We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with the global resurgence of fascism.

Yesterday, Brazil held the first round of its presidential election and the self-described Trump of the Tropics, Jair Bolsonaro, emerged in second place, just five points behind the front-runner, leftist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Because no candidate received 50 percent of the vote, Brazil`s elections are headed to a run-off at the end of the month.

According to the Associated Press, Lula da Silva had 48 percent of the vote and President Bolsonaro had 43 percent. Bolsonaro outperformed the polls. In the lead-up to Sunday`s first round, Bolsonaro, like the former American president, claimed that the election was rigged. Unsurprisingly, like Trump, Bolsonaro has openly praised dictators, paying homage to the 1964 political coup that resulted in roughly 20,000 people in his country being tortured.

Bolsonaro, a former army captain, has used the military as a prop during his recent attacks against the Supreme Court and other institutions, openly flirting with the idea of a coup of his own. His language, much like Trump`s, has increasingly divided the country. His base openly calls for blood in the streets.

Bolsonaro has also promoted a return to religion, family values and nationalism, a political philosophy parroted by the newly minted neofascist prime minister of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, and by conservatives here in the U.S. In fact, Meloni`s election was celebrated by U.S. Republicans. Texas Senator Ted Cruz called her rhetoric spectacular. And former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: "Italy deserves and need strong conservative leadership."

I mean, who cares, right, if that strong leadership involves demonizing minority communities and immigrants and threatening to revoke the free will of women? All good.

Those same Republicans remained largely silent this weekend when their party leader, the twice-impeached former president, launched into a racist social media rant, attacking Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell`s wife and seemingly summoning his supporters once again to violence.

On Friday, using his much-ridiculed social media app, the 2020 election loser posted that McConnell has a death wish in all caps for having supported legislation to keep the government operating through mid- December. He then went on to smear McConnell`s wife, Elaine Chao, his own former transportation secretary by referring to her as his "China-loving wife, Coco Chow."

Naturally, the majority of the Republican Party didn`t have much to say about any of that. Florida Senator Rick Scott, who is in charge of the Senate Republicans` reelection campaign arm, brushed it off as just another silly nickname.


DANA BASH, CNN: You`re a member of the Senate GOP leadership. Are you OK with this?

SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): Well, look, I can never talk about and respond to why anybody else says what they said.

As you know, the president likes to give people nicknames. So you can ask him how he came up with a nickname. I`m sure he has a nickname for me.

I don`t condone violence. And I hope any -- no one else condones violence.


REID: OK, well, it was left to the Murdoch-owned "Wall Street Journal" then to denounce what sure did sound like a death threat against the Senate minority -- the Senate minority leader, since no Republican would dare to do so.

In fact, Republicans have spent so long being timid or indifferent to Trump`s outright racism and dalliances with violence, even McConnell didn`t have the guts to defend himself or his own wife. Shades of Ted Cruz. But the last time that they laughed off those threats and told us to take him seriously, but not literally, was when he summoned a mob to Washington and told them to fight like hell to overturn the 2020 election.

Their indifference left at least seven people dead and resulted in the first time in modern American history, that supporters of a losing candidate, well, actually, the first time period, that they assaulted our nation`s Capitol.


The Republican Party`s complete refusal to hold Trump accountable allowed Stewart Rhodes, leader of the white nationalist right-wing paramilitary group the Oath Keepers, to answer Trump`s call to violence. And, unlike Trump, Rhodes and four co-defendants are being forced to answer for their actions.

Earlier today, jurors heard the opening remarks in a seditious conspiracy case against the members of the Oath Keepers, who, according to the Department of Justice, concocted a plan for armed rebellion, and did whatever was necessary, up to and including using force, to stop the transfer of power from Donald Trump to president-elect Joe Biden.

Rhodes` attorney said that he did nothing illegal and called the case against him completely wrong. Trump seem to agree. He has said that he would look very favorably at full pardons for January 6 defendants if he becomes president again.

And I`m joined now by Michael Steele, former Republican National Committee chairman and host of "The Michael Steele Podcast," and Thomas Zimmer, visiting professor at Georgetown University and contributor to "The Guardian U.S."

And I`m going to start with you, Thomas.

Thank you for being here.

I told you before we came on -- I will say it again on TV -- that your Twitter feed is sort of a lifeline for me, so that I know I`m not crazy when I talk about the fact that -- and I have been talking about this for quite a few years -- that fascism is coming back, right, that it`s here in America and that it`s real.

I just laid through and went through a whole series of things, from Trump threatening violence against the sitting minority leader in the Senate, attacking his wife racially, to what`s happening in Italy. Is there a difference, in your view, to the kind of fascism that`s coming here and the kind of fascism we`re seeing in places like Brazil and in Italy?

THOMAS ZIMMER, "THE GUARDIAN": Well, look, fascism is a difficult term, right?

It was even difficult to define back when it arose in Europe in the 1920s and `30s, because, in many ways, fascist movements were all over the place. They were more defined by what they hated than by anything else.

REID: Right.

ZIMMER: They were violently anti-socialist, anti-liberal, anti-democratic, anti-pluralist.

I think, to me, what is very important is that there is a tendency in this country, in America, to look at all of this, the history of fascism, the sort of rise of fascistic movements, parties, all over the -- quote, unquote -- "West" and beyond the West -- you talked about Brazil -- and see that as something that has no sort of equivalent and U.S. history, has no roots in U.S. history.

But there is a domestic tradition, a domestic U.S. tradition of, well, if you want to call them fascist movements or ideas, or if you want to call them far right, violent white supremacists. Maybe the terminology doesn`t even matter all that much.

REID: Right.

ZIMMER: What is important is that, in this country, right...

REID: Yes.

ZIMMER: ... there has always been a significant faction that has just not been on board with the idea of America becoming a multiracial pluralistic democracy and that has always been willing to embrace violence, right, to prevent the country from ever becoming that.

And there`s a strong domestic tradition of this. And I think we need to grapple with that.

REID: Yes.

ZIMMER: Because what we`re seeing right now is not new. It`s not an aberration. It is in tradition and sort of in line with these longstanding tendencies and impulses against democracy.

REID: And, again -- and you -- I think you made a really important point, against multiracial democracy.


REID: That`s the challenge.

And, Michael Steele, you had to deal with that challenge as the head of the Republican Party for a time, which is this sort of tension between, are we a white country with some nonwhite people in it, in which they get to be here, but they shouldn`t be wielding power, right, or are we a true multiracial democracy, where the black president coming up doesn`t cause a complete conflagration, doesn`t upend the old culture, right, where people aren`t pitting themselves into tribes to fight for power?

The ladder seems to be where the Republican Party has decided they are. No one is condemning the former president, who still they talk about like he is still president, for attacking the sitting minority leader of the United States Senate. Even Mitch McConnell isn`t attacking him for that.

And let me put it one more person, Marjorie Taylor Greene, because one of the things -- Thomas Zimmer had a tweet thread today where he talked about Marjorie Taylor Greene and put her in the context that it`s always they define their attacks on the other side by saying, no, no, we`re the victims. We have to do whatever it takes, because the other side is trying to hurt us.

Here`s Marjorie Taylor Greene.


GREENE: We`re all targets now, though, for daring to push back against the regime. And it doesn`t stop at a weaponized legal system. I`m not going to mince words with you all. Democrats want Republicans dead, and they have already started the killings.


REID: "They have already started the killings," Michael Steele.

And so, when you frame it that way, well, everything -- anything goes, anything you have to do to stop these people that are doing the killings.

MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that`s the point. Yes, that`s the point. You grease the skids as much as you can. You create as much -- as little resistance by taking the most extreme posture rhetorically.


And, in the past, when it was the John Birch Society, when it was know what we saw with John McCain during the presidential race, the attacks on Barack Obama, the leadership of the party said no. They stood up against that. They responded to it, right?

They didn`t homina, homina, homina or go silent. They leaned into to reestablish and reaffirm the very selfsame democratic principles that have defined the country and, more specifically, those things that we allegedly believed as Republicans about individual rights and liberties and freedoms, right?

Now, that`s all thrown out. And I think Thomas puts his finger on a very important point, that this thread has always been a part of the American fabric. It has been woven in, in various ways and at various times has been pulled on. What we see now is, instead of one group here or the individual idiot, like Marjorie Taylor Greene pulling on it and being rebuffed, now you find an entire political construct is pulling on that thread and is trying to re-weave this idea of democracy and pluralism.

Yes, a lot of white folks don`t like the idea that you and me, Joy, represent an existential threat to their existence, right, in their view. But the reality of it is, we have been here for 400-some years, and we have managed to work through a lot of that.

Now you see this retrenchment and this regression away from this idea that that Rodney King moment can be a real thing. Can`t we all just get along? And, instead, they want to refute that. So, they put it in political context. Instead of saying white people are being threatened by black people or black people and Asians or minorities want to see white people did, it`s Democrats want to see white people, want to see Republicans dead, Republicanism representing this uber-whiteness that they`re projecting around the globe, and certainly here in the country.

REID: Well, I mean, they kind of pushed back on it, Thomas Zimmer, and they kind of didn`t, right?

The Tea Party movement that existed during the Obama years is now the baseline of the Republican Party, right?

STEELE: But it`s very different, Joy.

REID: From Ron DeSantis on, I mean, they were hanging Obama in effigy and saying, well -- I remember Mitch McConnell saying "I take him at his word" when he says that he`s not a Muslim, as if, first of all, being a Muslim would be a bad thing. I take him at his word. He says he`s a Christian.

I mean, I want to let Thomas Zimmer in here just to get -- do we have two, element two, for my director? Do we have it? We don`t. OK.

Well, that`s OK. I mean, there`s -- I worry that we didn`t react to the Tea Party movement strongly. And so that became like the baseline. And so now MAGAism is kind of piled on top of that. I mean, the Tea Party governor of Florida was out there saying -- even though he has a full complement of police, that if there`s looting, we`re a Second Amendment state, you might get shot.

Like, I don`t think a responsible governor talks like that. But Trump said it. Trump said, if you -- when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Like, the violent rhetoric is now base -- its baseline, right? Tea Party people are like the majority of the House caucus.

ZIMMER: So, I think what we`re seeing is, it`s an assault on the fundamental premises of democracy and democratic political culture, which are, A, you accept the political opponent as legitimate, and, B, you renounce political violence.

What we`re seeing here, specifically from Marjorie Taylor Greene, is the complete opposite of that, right?

REID: Right.

ZIMMER: And what is important to me is, I think, over the past few years, we have seen a significant radicalization of conservatism, of the Republican Party, of the American right more generally.

REID: Yes.

ZIMMER: But radicalization does not mean aberration or departure, right?

It is in line with longstanding anti-democratic traditions and tendencies and impulses on the right, but it has significantly radicalized. So we need to keep both of those things in mind, right?

Now, I think you mentioned one moment when a significant radicalization happened, which was after Barack Obama was elected in 2008.

REID: Yes.

ZIMMER: And then I think, since the summer of 2020, we have seen a significance of next phase of radicalization...

REID: For sure.

ZIMMER: ... which is clearly -- which was a direct response to the anti- racist protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.

REID: Sure.

ZIMMER: Because, to the right -- and I think this goes directly to what Marjorie Taylor Greene is doing here, right?

To the right, they refer to this as, look, this is proof the left, the -- quote, unquote -- "left," which...

REID: Right.

ZIMMER: ... for them is the Democrats...

REID: The Democrats, any Democrat.

ZIMMER: It`s any of that, right?

REID: Yes.

ZIMMER: The supposedly -- these supposedly radical -- quote, unquote -- "anti-American" forces of the left that are supposedly in charge of the Democratic Party, they are already doing this.


REID: Right.

ZIMMER: They are already violently assaulting what they define as real America. They are already assaulting us, real Americans, right?

REID: Right.

ZIMMER: And so what we see here in what Marjorie Taylor Greene said is a permission structure, right?

REID: Right.

ZIMMER: It`s -- the key question for me is, how are they giving themselves permission...

REID: Right.

ZIMMER: ... to embrace the kind of radicalism and extremism that Marjorie Taylor Greene stands for?

REID: And what will they do?

ZIMMER: And that`s exactly how they`re doing it.

REID: Yes.

ZIMMER: The other side is already doing it.

REID: Yes.

ZIMMER: They`re already being violent. They`re already committing these acts of violence. So, what are we supposed to do? We have to fight back.

REID: We have to fight back.

And last -- I`m going to last -- give you the last word on this, Michael Steele, because the group that`s become sort of the easy target now is really trans people. They -- you have to fixate on somebody who you can say is attacking us. It`s Disney. It`s the LGBT community. It`s White Replacement Theory. They`re trying to constantly sort of zero in and train the Eye of Sauron on who this is that`s attacking.

And it`s frightening because what scares me, what keeps me up at night, Michael Steele, is how many people would be OK with an outcome that is more fascist government, if the people who make them uncomfortable are put down. And it scares me how many people would actually be OK with that.

Is there a way to turn this back in the Republican Party?


REID: Is there something that can be done? There is not?

STEELE: No, the lead -- just real quick, the leadership is not prepared to do that.

REID: Yes.

STEELE: So they don`t want to do that. They`d be given opportunity to do that.

Two, this idea of how we turn these corners is going to require us. We have got an election coming up in November, people, all right? This is where you can begin to draw that line, that red -- that very bright red line in the sand and say, no, we are not giving power back to this fascist tendency, to the Marjorie Taylor Greenes within, because Kevin McCarthy has already told us she`s going to be a leader in the party, so we know where they`re going.

REID: Yes.

STEELE: So you already know this, folks. Don`t get stupid on us and act like they don`t, because you do.

REID: Yes.

STEELE: You have a chance to control the outcomes here.

REID: Yes.

STEELE: And that`s the thing that no one`s really counting on, is how the American people respond.

REID: Yes, we will see. And I know I don`t -- I don`t sleep because of this stuff.


REID: But, Michael Steele and Thomas Zimmer, thank you both very much. I appreciate you guys coming on.

And up next on THE REIDOUT: new reporting on the mysterious person known as Perla who allegedly lured migrants onto planes bound for Martha`s Vineyard with false promises of jobs and support.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.



REID: Hurricane Ian forced Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to take time off from his inhumane political theater in which he created the kind of parcel post of migrants he shipped around the country.

But his competitor in cruelty, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, has not slowed down. One of his Reverse Freedom Ride buses dropped off roughly 50 brown migrants in front of the vice president`s residence in Washington, D.C., today. Many told NBC News they, like DeSantis` duped exports, are Venezuela.

Abbott was apparently undeterred by criticism of his performative sadism from his Democratic opponent Beto O`Rourke in their first and only debate on Friday, which, by the way, was held with no audience, at Governor Abbott`s request.


BETO O`ROURKE (D), TEXAS GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: This hateful rhetoric, this treating human beings as political pawns, talking about invasions and Texans defending themselves...

QUESTION: OK. We`re going to move on.

O`ROURKE: ... that`s how people get killed at the Walmart in El Paso...

QUESTION: Thank you, sir.

O`ROURKE: ... the gentleman in Hudspeth that we just learned about yesterday. This is incredibly dangerous for Texas and is not reflective of our values.


REID: Meanwhile, in the height of irony, after Ron DeSantis tapped into $12 million from Florida`s budget to fly several dozen Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha`s Vineyard, according to the conservative tabloid "New York Post," Venezuelan migrants in New York said they were being recruited to head to Florida to assist with Hurricane Ian cleanup.

Irony is dead.

And while much still remains unknown about the details DeSantis` state- sponsored human trafficking, "The New York Times" unmasked a critical alleged player. Until now, little has been known about the woman whom migrants said identified herself only as Perla when she solicited them to get on those flights. A person briefed on the San Antonio Sheriff`s Office investigation into the matter told "The New York Times" that the person being looked at in connection with the operation is a woman named Perla Huerta.

The report notes Ms. Huerta, a former combat medic and counterintelligence agent was discharged, last month after two decades in the U.S. Army that included several deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, according to military records.

The civil rights attorneys representing some of the migrants in a class action suit against Ron DeSantis said, once they confirm Perla`s identity, she will be added to the lawsuit.

Joining me now is Nikki Fried, Florida`s commissioner of agriculture and consumer services, who recently ran for governor.

And, Commissioner Fried, thank you for being here.

What do you make of the fact that now we know who Perla is, that she`s a U.S. military veteran, and that she was operating in Texas? Is there some way for the Florida Cabinet, of which you are a member, or the Florida legislature to find out who paid her?

NIKKI FRIED (D), FLORIDA COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE: Yes, we have very strict laws here in the state of Florida that are called sunshine laws, that you`re supposed to be able to petition the governor for records.

Well, that doesn`t happen under a Governor DeSantis administration. I can`t tell you how many times in the last 3.5 years I have sent public records requests asking for additional information. And that`s part of the problem. I have asked for information, not even just on this issue. Let`s go even all the way back to the pandemic, when I was trying to find out information about the unemployment system, and couldn`t find information, which is why I wrote to the Department of Justice, Merrick Garland, asking for assistance and asking for help.


Certainly, there`s judges that can come in here. I know that the legislature, one of our senators, has filed a lawsuit to get some of this information to make sure that doesn`t happen again, because we know there`s so many laws that were violated, whether it`s federal trafficking and smuggling laws to the laws here in the state of Florida. So many things were violated.

And, Joy, the irony is this. I spent the entire day today in Fort Myers looking at our first responders from not just Florida, but all across the country, who are putting their lives on the line to save people. It`s such an American thing to do, the patriotism.

And yet we have a governor who does the most unpatriotic and un-American thing humanly possible. The juxtaposition between what is happening in the state of Florida is not getting lost on a lot of us.

REID: And you do have a lawsuit that has been filed and -- against Ron DeSantis. There are external lawsuits by the migrants themselves.

But there`s also internally -- there`s a gentleman named state Senator Jason Pizzo says that he`s suing to block the state from spending any more money on any more of these migrant flights, noting that the $12 million that was allocated in the Florida budget, it violated -- the way that DeSantis did this violated the law, because these migrants were in Texas.

So now that you have migrants coming into Florida from New York, saying they`re being solicited to come into the state, number one, is there any way to stop DeSantis from putting those people on flights during this horrific time when all the money, I would think, in the budget should be going toward remedying the pain and losses of Floridians?


REID: Is there any way to stop him from putting more people on flights and using that money to fly them out of the state?

FRIED: Well, I think, Joy, that there`s two -- there`s two components to this.

The $12 million, there was two aspects to the allocation of that money. One is that they had to be here in America illegally. And we all know that all these individuals were seeking asylum, political asylum, from Venezuela, and were here legally, going through the legal processes. So that`s one violation.

Two, those individuals were supposed to be in Florida getting out of Florida. So we saw that just $12 million -- and that`s why Senator Pizzo had filed that lawsuit to make sure none of that money was going to be utilized. But here`s the thing is, if they come here to Florida, and if they are here illegally, there`s no way to stop Ron DeSantis, because, at that point, then he`s using the money appropriately, even though it should have never been allocated to begin with.

But -- so, if we are recruiting individuals that come to our state -- and, look, we`re going to need all hands on deck. In fact, I was talking to a lot of my agricultural industry that has extra H-2A workers and extra migrant workers, because, unfortunately, agriculture was severely damaged during this hurricane.

REID: Yes, I`m sure.

FRIED: And (AUDIO GAP) work force.

And so we have been asking the Department of Labor to allow us to even utilize these migrant workers here in Florida. So there`s going to be a lot of unraveling of this. But Ron likes to go on these soap boxes and likes to have these political games. And so, if it gets him attention and gets onto national media, until somebody tells him no, he`s going to keep going.

REID: Yes.

I want to know that NBC News reports that this moving company that they use that was getting -- the air charter company that was used to just fly these immigrants out has contributed money to some top folks in the Republican Party, including Matt Gaetz and his former partner, who`s now the public safety czar in charge of immigration policy, Larry Keefe.

Is there an internal investigation that will look into the connections between this private charter company and people like the congressman and your public safety czar?

FRIED: Yes, of course. I mean, there is.

It just glares into corruption every single way. And the other part is, they`re supposed to have gotten two bids. That`s part of any government contract. They`re supposed to have gotten two bids. That didn`t even happen. And so now you`re seeing that this plane, this airline that I think almost a million-and-a-half dollars has now gotten into their pockets, has direct connections to a congressman in the Panhandle, Congressman Gaetz, as well as his -- and let`s also not forget this too.

Larry Keefe, was Matt Gaetz` law partner. So, there -- before Matt went off to Congress. And Larry became the U.S. attorney for the northern district. So the amount of corruption and intertwining between all of these players continues -- needs to be investigated. We are just at the very, very beginning of trying to unravel all of this.

And so thank you to all the reporters out there who are doing their jobs. We have been unable to get records. So, God bless anybody who`s able to get records from Ron DeSantis` administration.

REID: Yes, that`s a lot to have to do when the, obviously, top concern is trying to help the folks in particularly Lee County and all of the areas that were so hard-hit by the hurricane, by Hurricane Ian.

Commissioner Nikki Fried, thank you for taking some time out to talk to us tonight. Much appreciated.

Still ahead: It was marketed as a waterfront wonderland, but the devastation left behind in Florida`s Cape Coral shows why it was always a risky paradise. And it is not the only one.


That`s next.



NARRATOR: Just in the past few years, Cape Coral, with more miles of waterways than Venice, Italy, has become a legendary way of life on Florida`s Gulf Coast, Florida`s unique city.


Cape Coral, a new city built to meet the lifestyle of today and tomorrow, a legendary waterfront city, where people come to play and where the fortunate come to stay.


REID: It was billed in the 1950s as Florida`s waterfront wonderland.

Before that, Cape Coral simply did not exist. Like many communities in the state, it was uninhabitable swampland. But a pair of brothers who got rich hawking an anti-baldness tonic made from grease secreted by sheep -- true story -- developed it into an extensive series of manmade dredged canals.

Cape Coral was the Rosen brothers` next swindle, billed as a rich man`s paradise, within the financial reach of everyone. While sales bloomed, it was a planning disaster. Beyond being designed without water or sewer pipes or any other infrastructure, much of Cape Coral was built just a few feet above sea level.

In addition, the creation of this legendary city was ecologically destructive, tearing down most of the coastal mangroves that had provided natural storm protection, as well as draining and paving wetlands that once absorbed the area`s floodwaters.

Today, the city`s more than 200,000 residents have paid the price. Hurricane Ian flooded nearly the entire city and destroyed or damaged just about everything in its path. The entire city of Cape Coral was without power after the storm; 56 percent of Lee County as a whole is still without electricity. Its potable water system was temporarily shut down and still remains under a precautionary city wide boil water notice.

And yet, as columnist Michael Grunwald points out, even with all of these dangers, "Not only is it still one of America`s fastest growing cities. It`s projected to remain in the top five for decades to come."

And joining me now is Michael Grunwald, columnist for Canary Media.

And, Michael, your piece -- and you have written a few of them, I think one as early as 2017, actually inspired this segment. It caused me to Google those old 1950s videos, and I kind of binge-watched them. And they`re fascinating, because they sort of sold lifestyle.

And you would never know, if you were coming from New York or Chicago, that you were moving onto manmade land that was basically in the sea.


MICHAEL GRUNWALD, CANARY MEDIA: Yes, I think it`s interesting.

One of the secretaries for those developers you mentioned wrote a memoir called "Lies That Came True." And I think that`s a pretty good way of summing up the story of Cape Coral, because it was obviously preposterous. They were selling swampland. They were selling paradise.

And, at the time, it was nothing but mangrove swamps. But look at it today. It`s 200,000 people and the fastest growing community in the United States. So, obviously, they may not have been telling everybody about the dangers of paradise, but, for many people, it did turn out to be paradise.

REID: And, right now, this Florida -- this city, Cape Coral, it is the number one riskiest flood place. In 2020, it was ranked number one. It made the national top 15 for projected population growth at the same time two years later, 2022.

And one of the challenges is that a lot of people move. I mean, I moved to Florida back in 1997, lived there for 14 years. The things you don`t think about, right? You`re like, I got to get hurricane insurance. As soon as you get down there, you know there are hurricanes. You need to be there for awhile to understand you need flood insurance, because so much of Florida, from the Keys to Cape Coral, is barely above seawater. It`s feet above seawater.

And you can be in Miami, just a good rain, it`ll flood. How dangerous is it for developers to have free rein to build houses and attract people in these places where they`re not doing the mitigation to make sure it`s safe?

GRUNWALD: Well, you can absolutely see the bill has come due in Cape Coral.

REID: Yes.

GRUNWALD: And it`s funny, because I -- in that original piece where I wrote about the boomtown that shouldn`t exist, I also wrote about Babcock Ranch, which is this new supposed to be sort of the ultimate sustainable city just a half-hour away.

And it got -- it took a direct hit from Ian, and it didn`t even lose power, because it was built properly. And it was elevated and the -- and it was built sustainably. So, again, I think it`s understandable that people move down here, because it really is nice. It turns out that winter is optional.

And that`s very alluring to come down here and pay no income taxes and you don`t invest in the future. And you get to feel like there are no consequences for your actions. But, eventually, Mother Nature bats last.

REID: Yes.

Ron DeSantis has been very angrily defensive, I guess is a good way to describe it, when people ask him about this delay in the evacuation order. They waited, even though their plan was, if it`s a 10 percent probability of flooding, call for a mandatory evacuation. It was like a 40 percent chance, and they didn`t.


What do you make of the fact that they didn`t do a mandatory evacuation in a place that people that run the state have got to know is super vulnerable?

GRUNWALD: Yes, I mean, it`s really horrible.

And you don`t -- you don`t want to point too many fingers until you know all the facts. But there`s no doubt that there`s a hesitation to tell people you have got to leave, right?

REID: Yes.

GRUNWALD: Because part of the whole real -- the gestalt of DeSantis and Florida Republicans who have run the state for a couple decades is that this is the free state of Florida. Don`t tread on us. Don`t -- you can`t tell us what to do. And nobody`s going to lecture you about wearing masks or taking vaccines, or, for that matter, where you can build your house or how often you can water your lawn.

And it`s -- people ought to understand who are kind of don`t -- who are so baffled by why this swing state has become a red state, they should understand that this is a very attractive vision to a lot of people. And eight of the nine fastest growing cities in Florida are cities that voted for Donald Trump.

But, again, they`re -- sometimes, the cost of not planning for the future and not investing in the future, you can see it when the -- when the water starts to rise. And then, of course, the government turns to the feds for - - to bail us out.

REID: To bail everyone out.

And the other -- well, and the last thing I will say is that it`s also a state that is in many ways run by developers, right? I mean, they`re allowed to build whatever they want wherever they want. And they are the ones really experiencing the real freedom, which is not always great for the people who wind up with these drowned homes and no coverage, and yet -- then the feds have to come sweep in.

Thank you very much, Michael Grunwald. Really appreciate you being here.

And everybody should read his pieces.

Thank you.

All right, up next...

GRUNWALD: Pleasure.

REID: ... legendary -- cheers -- legendary historian and filmmaker Henry Louis Gates is here with a sneak peek at his insightful new PBS series, "Making Black America."

Stick around.




HENRY LOUIS GATES JR., PROFESSOR, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Throughout our history, black Americans have, with great ingenuity and imagination, created a world with its own values and rules, a world defined by unfettered racial self-expression, a world behind what W.E.B. Du Bois called the veil.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When we talk about networks of black people, we`re talking about different types of associations. There`s a social type, fraternal, and intellectual organizations.

GATES: How were each of you shaped by black social institutions?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I grew up in an African preschool. I didn`t learn "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." I learned Coal Black and the seven Sebbens.



REID: For centuries, black Americans have found ways to create spaces of our own, from local barbershops to HBCUs

It`s what historian Henry Louis Gates calls the ultimate act of resistance and survival. A new PBS documentary series examines and celebrates those institutions built by and for black people throughout American history, everywhere from the Prince Hall in 1775 to Black Twitter today.

Joining me now is Henry Louis Gates Jr., executive producer and host of "Making Black America: Through the Grapevine." He`s also a professor at Alphonse Fletcher University and director of the Hutchins Center For African and African American Research at Harvard University.

It`s always great to see you.


REID: I`m excited about this series. And I just have to let you sort of go off and tell us, like, what will we learn over the course of watching it? Because this intro has to be ready to just sit down and binge the whole thing.

GATES: Well, it`s so good to see you. Thanks for having me on the show. I`m excited about the series, because it`s counterintuitive, really. What did black people do? What did our ancestors do when the color curtain of white supremacy came crashing down? Well, to judge by Hollywood and popular culture, all we did was sit around and talk about why people, be obsessed about white supremacy.

Well, of course, we fought against racism in all of its pernicious forms. But you can`t do that 24 hours a day. You have to live. You have to be a human being. People fall in love, you know? They grow older. They have kids. What do you do? How do you protect your sanity? How do you protect your self-esteem?

You replicate the world, Joy, from which you are excluded. And that`s what Jewish people, our Jewish brothers and sisters did, like going to the Catskills. Well, we didn`t go to the Catskills. We went to Highland Park, went to Sag Harbor and Long Island and the Inkwell on Martha`s Vineyard.

But we did that, as you said, starting a year and a day before the signing of the Declaration of Independence with the (INAUDIBLE) number one, the Prince Hall Masons right here in Boston, Massachusetts. And we have done it all the way up to Black Twitter.

So I wanted to, as Du Bois put it, lift the veil on this world. Remember in "Men in Black," they`re looking for this last world. And the clue is it`s on Orion`s collar? And it turns out that whole world had been miniaturized around this Siamese cat, I think it was, that was there in front of -- that`s what I feel about life behind the veil.

REID: Yes.

GATES: You and I know it, but the larger society doesn`t know it.

I mean, who knew that the African Grove Theatre, founded in now what`s Greenwich Village in 1821, was producing "Richard III" and "Othello," you know?

REID: Right.

GATES: Who knew that -- I`m sorry. Go ahead.


REID: No, no, no, I just have to -- I want to let people know that some of the people who you sat with during this great series, Angela Davis, Charles Blow, my colleague here, Andre Holland, my friend Fab 5 Freddy, Jason King, Killer Mike.

Like, you talk to such a range of people. But one of the people that you do have -- that you -- that you -- that I want to play right now is somebody who is an icon for me, a reason I ever wanted to be a writer and somebody who has somehow become controversial in our culture.

I want to play a bite. And this is Toni Morrison.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Black woman had been writing novels since the 19th century. We have always turned to fictionalized stories to try to tell our truth.

But I think we can all agree that mother Toni Morrison is something decidedly different. And she`s different, in part, because, as she said many times, she didn`t feel diminished by being a black woman writer. She understood her blackness as a thing that expanded the kinds of stories that she told.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What does this black is beautiful thing really mean in the day-to-day is the very question that she asks in "The Bluest Eye."


REID: I wonder how you feel, as an historian, as somebody who has documented the life of black folks in this country, how it hits you that suddenly that is who people have decided to ban, that they have decided to demonize, that Toni Morrison basically was used to -- for the Virginia governor, Republican governor, to win an election by demonizing her?

GATES: Yes, well, scapegoating in any form, in any color is equally disgusting.

And why anybody would ban -- Toni Morrison is one of the greatest novelists in the history of the novel form. When you think of the great novelists in the world, there`s William Faulkner. There`s Gabriel Marquez there`s Toni Morrison, Virginia Woolf.

Toni Morrison was a genius. And the fact that they have -- anybody who banned her doesn`t understand the nature of literature itself, because she delved into the black experience in the -- in order to come out the other side, in the same way that any artist does.

James Joyce wrote about the 24 hours in the life of a Jewish man in Dublin, but it`s Ulysses. It`s about the human condition. Shakespeare, a prince in Denmark? Give me a break. Is that what "Hamlet" is about? No. It`s about the human condition. And that`s what Toni Morrison did.

So I will stand defiant against anybody tries to ban her, because she`s the queen.

REID: That, she is.

GATES: I even went to Stockholm. When she got the Nobel Prize, I was Wole Soyinka`s guest. And that is one of the greatest events of my whole life, to see that sister praised.

So I`m a huge Toni Morrison -- I teach her every year.

REID: Yes. I`m thoroughly jealous about that story. I mean, she was just such an icon.

And the last thing I have to ask. You include even Black Twitter, because the creation of individual forms, it`s the flapper style, black formality, which I`m obsessed with, the way we dress, we go to church, and it`s just - - you might as well be going to the royal ball. We know that we`re always dressed, we`re always put together.

But this idea of Black Twitter is a unique, unique thing. You deal with that.

GATES: Yes, because it makes the series go full circle.

Excuse me.

Our first social network was defined by John Adams right after the battle of -- battles of Lexington and Concord. And this is what he said. I got this quote specially for you.

It`s from his diary in 1775 a few months after the battles of Lexington and Concord. He said: "These Negroes," he said, "have a wonderful art of communicating intelligence among themselves. It will run several hundreds of miles in a week or a fortnight."

And, by 1901, Booker T. Washington, and up from slavery, has called -- he`s talking about his mother and the other enslaved people on the plantation, knew about slavery. And he goes, these discussions showed that they understood the situation, and that they kept themselves informed of events...

REID: Yes.

GATES: ... by what was termed the Grapevine Telegraph.

REID: Yes.

GATES: And all Black Twitter is, is the Grapevine on steroids.

It is. And it just shows we have been the same people since before the American Revolution...

REID: Yes.

GATES: ... and that we have been in communication with the -- and we had to communicate with each other.

REID: Yes.

GATES: We don`t have to like each other all the time.

REID: Yes.

GATES: But we had to communicate with each other in order to protect ourselves from the oppressor.

REID: Amen. Amen.

GATES: And that gave us our dignity and self-esteem.

REID: Yes.

GATES: When you were being trashed in the white world...

REID: Yes.

GATES: ... you would be called Ms. Reid, Mrs. Gates, Mrs. Coleman, my grandmother...

REID: That`s right.

GATES: ... in the church and in the Order of the Eastern Star or whatever.

REID: Amen. Yes, absolutely.

GATES: That`s where we kept our sanity.

REID: Absolutely.

GATES: And that`s what we`re celebrating in this series.

REID: I can`t wait to watch it.

Henry -- the reverend doctor -- I`m just going to call you Reverend Dr. Henry Louis Gates, because you were preaching for just a second there.


REID: Thank you very much.

We look forward to watching this series. We will post about it on our social media. Thank you.

We will be right back.

GATES: Thank you.

And let me say how proud I am of...



REID: President Biden is on his way back to Washington after a trip to Puerto Rico today after almost two weeks since Hurricane Fiona ravaged the island.

The president and first lady spent the day meeting with families and community leaders and packing bags of food and other essential items. No paper towels were thrown along the way. It comes as thousands of Puerto Ricans are still without power. At least 25 have died.

The president also announced more than $60 million in funding for the island`s recovery. That money comes directly from the infrastructure law he signed last year. It will be used to shore up levees, strengthen floodwalls and create a new flood warning system to prepare for future storms.

Biden also acknowledged previous shortcomings in providing aid to Puerto Rico, specifically after Hurricane Maria in 2017.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: After Maria, Congress approved billions of dollars for Puerto Rico, much of it not having gotten here initially.

We`re going to make sure you get every single dollar promised. And I`m determined to help Puerto Rico bill faster than in the past and stronger and better prepared for the future.


REID: The president also is set to visit the Fort Myers area in Florida on Wednesday to survey the damage from Hurricane Ian.

And that is tonight`s REIDOUT.