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Transcript: The ReidOut, 5/20/22

Guests: Dana Milbank, Don Calloway, William Barber, Yashica Robinson, Tom Nichols


New reporting says that Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, urged Arizona Republicans to throw out the people`s votes and send Trump electors instead. Trump`s endorsed gubernatorial candidate in Georgia falls in the polls. The San Francisco archbishop says today that he would ban Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi from receiving communion over her support for abortion rights. The Oklahoma legislature approves the most restrictive abortion ban in America.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Thanks to all of you.

That does it for us after a long week.

But keep it locked right here. THE REIDOUT WITH JOY REID starts now.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone. We have a lot to get to in the next hour on a very busy Friday, including new reporting that Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, messaged Arizona Republicans in the days after the election urging them to throw out the people`s votes and send Trump electors instead. We will get to that in a moment.

And the San Francisco archbishop said today that he would ban Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi from receiving communion over her support for abortion rights.

Plus, Trump`s candidate in Georgia is crashing and burning with days to go to the primary, to the point that Trump himself is trying to back away as fast as he can from the dumpster fire.

But we begin with the age of illiberalism, a vision, a movement proclaimed by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Illiberal regimes attack liberal democracy from within, consolidating control over independent institutions. They have elections of a sort, but they so hamper voters` abilities to make informed choices and so heavily control the outcome that the elections are essentially a show.

These are the autocratic dreams of a far right leader obsessed with solidifying a Christian monoculture, and who, in 2014, declared his intention to build an illiberal new state, citing China, Russia and Turkey as role models.

Flash forward to today, where CPAC, the once conservative gathering that is now simply a cesspool of the far right running amok, is holding its conference in Budapest. Speakers include Tucker Carlson and "texting during an insurrection" Mark Meadows and, of course, the aforementioned Hungarian prime minister, who recently won a fourth successive term.

Orban makes it clear that he is an ally to the American right, telling CPAC conservatives that the U.S. must align troops for 2024 votes to fight together to reconquer institutions in Washington and Brussels, from liberals who threaten Western civilization.

CPAC in Hungary, its embrace of Orban, this is a frightening development in U.S. politics. American conservatives are playing homage to a far right strongman aiming to make a party-free country less free and, who -- as Zack Beauchamp writes for Vox, Orban has turned Replacement Theory into state ideology.

The racist theory is used to crack down on anything or Bob and his allies want ,immigration, LGBTQ freedoms, any threat to white Christian nationalism. Orban isn`t even shy about stamping out the free press, saying the path to power is to have your own media and telling Republicans that shows like Tucker Carlson`s show should be broadcast 24/7.

Tucker is partly responsible for turning Replacement Theory into a standard talking point for the Republican Party, something we saw today when Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick spread this lie on FOX News:


LT. GOV. DAN PATRICK (R-TX): Their plan is to bring in millions of people into this country illegally, that they can give them a green card, citizenship, and turn them into voters, so they can control the country.


REID: Just another day for the Republican Party promoting the Replacement Theory just days after the same conspiracy theory was used to incite racist violence in Buffalo and before the victims are even laid to rest.

Joining me now, Jelani Cobb, staff writer for "The New Yorker" and professor and incoming dean of Columbia University Journalism School, and Tom Nichols, contributing writer for "The Atlantic."

I want to congratulate you, Jelani, for your new gig. Very proud of you. All of your friends are, like, all cheering for you. So congratulations on that. I have to start with that.

But I want you to comment first on just what it means for American politics that one of our two political parties has molded itself in the guise of Viktor Orban.

JELANI COBB, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I mean, I think there`s a few things here.

One is that what typically happens with authoritarian states is that you see -- and not simply authoritarian. We have seen this in totalitarian states. We have seen this in kind of communist regimes, that the most autocratic behaviors are described -- are cloaked in the language of democracy.

And so, if you talk about elections, you mean elections in which the entire -- not the entire population is allowed to participate. If you talk about freedom, it is a freedom that is leveraged against the lack of freedom or the lack of liberty for other groups of people.

It`s a kind of implicit fine print comment in the way that authoritarian regimes and authoritarian parties talk about these alleged social virtues. And so, obviously, this is a concerning dynamic.

And the last thing that I want to point out about this is that this is not new. And I`m like a broken record now...


REID: Yes.

COBB: ... because every time I`m on air, I`m talking about the historical roots of this.

But back after the World War II, in the immediate aftermath of World War II, the book "An American Dilemma," the Gunnar Myrdal classic on race relations, raised the question of whether the South was fascist. That was a serious scholarly concern.

And so what we have seen with the Southernization of American politics is the resurrection of that question of fascism and how much fascism is present in American politics and American society.

REID: And, of course, we know that, historically, the Nazi regime didn`t - - we didn`t -- they didn`t inspire the South. The South inspired them, right?

They looked at the way that...


COBB: Yes, exactly. Exactly. Right.

REID: Exactly, that black people were treated as a second class and not allowed to participate fully. And they said, this is a model that we could use.

Tom, I want to get into this now, because one of the sort of concepts of Republicanism, as opposed to conservatism, but I will just say Republicanism, has always been small government, at least as long as I have been sentient and paying attention to politics.

But now what you`re seeing is Republicanism go to not just big government, but big, big, big government, government that`s going to micromanage the minutiae of not just your life, but your spiritual life, and try to impose upon the public, whether you yourself consider yourself their kind of Christian or not, impose their values upon you, and make everyone live that way, whether it`s abortion or anything else,

I want to read something from "The Washington Post" about Doug Mastriano. This is the man who would like very much to be governor of Pennsylvania. He wrote in his thesis when he was at a military college.

And he wrote -- he warned of a master -- in his master`s thesis -- that: "The United States was vulnerable to a left-wing Hitlerian putsch that would begin with the dismantling of the U.S. military."

And his thesis, it sort of runs all through it. We`re going to put it up on screen and let people read it. But it was a world view that essentially said that there had to be a hyper-Christianity, an end to homosexuality, an end to the libertine, liberalism and political correctness. Otherwise, you were basically going to have a coup.

Your thoughts on that type of a person putting himself forward to be the ostensibly conservative -- I will put it in scare quotes -- Republican governor of a state.

TOM NICHOLS, "THE ATLANTIC": One thing I think that emanates from all these people is a huge amount of just pure sweaty fear.

And this is something that, again, I think, those of us who became Republicans back in the late `70s or the early `80s, when the Republican Party not only projected confidence, but I would say even overconfidence, that the Republicans kind of said, we have the answers to everything, our solutions work, now this is a party and a group of people that believe in nothing, that there is a nihilistic, fear-driven alliance here with a group of opportunists.

And I want to get back to this issue about Hungary, because the really dangerous thing here is that some of these people believe very deeply in some of this stuff. And yet others -- and I would throw people like Carlson and Matt Schlapp and some of the other people capering about in Budapest -- don`t believe in any of this and don`t believe in anything, other than the extension of their own personal power and wealth.

And when you have this coalition of shallow, empty opportunists, along with a group of paranoids, basically, then you have a really dangerous movement, because each side has to keep upping the ante to kind of justify why they`re doing the things they`re doing.

REID: Yes.

NICHOLS: This is a movement that doesn`t stand for anything, and most of them are just full -- to use the president`s term, full of malarkey.

You don`t see Orban turning away European Union money or pulling out of NATO or doing any of the things that a hard right authoritarian would do. A lot of this is an act. But the problem is that you then paint yourself into a corner with that act. And you have to start actually trying to put forward policies and carry things out that make you look as if you believe the things you`re doing.

And then, after a while, whether it`s an act, or whether it`s an -- or its opportunism is no longer relevant. You have become the thing you have been prancing about and pretending to be.

And I think that is -- that is just immensely dangerous, because it is both -- it`s a combination both of deeply held, very paranoid, fearful beliefs coupled to intensely nihilistic opportunism. And those are two of the most dangerous groups in any liberal society, especially when they decide to join forces and use each other for -- just for the pure ends of power.

REID: Yes.

And I think that I would put into the category of people you said who are just using this for their own political powers people like Mitch McConnell, people like Kevin McCarthy.

But then there are people like the Supreme Court justices who are now in the majority, because I think they are true believers. I think they do believe in a Christian nationalist -- in their minds, they have been sort of put on earth by God to form this country into a certain kind of Christian country, whether the majority wants to or not.


And so I think about Clarence Thomas, who made this comment that people just don`t want to deal with outcomes they don`t like. Really, Clarence? You might want to have a talk with your wife, because Ginni Thomas is not only an insurrectionist.

But now "The Washington Post" reports that she actually engaged Arizona lawmakers herself to try to urge them to set aside the mere democracy of a vote and put in Trump electors anyway. She couldn`t accept the outcome that she didn`t like, and she is a true believer.

So I`m going to give each of you an opportunity to comment on that, because not only do you have, Jelani, the commentariat, the people like Tucker who make money doing this, but you have people that are sleeping in the same bed with a member of the Supreme Court who could decide actual cases about who decides who is the president of the United States actively engaging in insurrection.

COBB: Yes.

Well, I think, first, I`m going to take a dean`s prerogative and say I don`t want to comment directly on the Thomas reality of it.

But I will say that one thing that`s become clear from this situation and prior situations is that the standards for recusal on the Supreme Court, which had been notoriously lax, are something that, in a functioning society, which we know we, I think, scarcely qualify at this point, that would have been something that would have been reformed a long time ago, because it`s simply inconsistent with any kind of view of democracy that those two things coexist.

REID: It`s difficult, because -- and I respect that, not coming directly as the dean of the Columbia Journalism School.

But, Tom Nichols, since you are not the dean...


REID: ... I`m going to ask you to comment on it directly, because this is what frightens me, is that you do have these true believers.

They are a hyperminority in this country. Let`s just be clear. They are not a majority even of Republicans. But they are such a large plurality, and they are so aggressive and determined to remake the society in their image. And they have so many fellow Republicans who are willing, as you said, to go along with it in exchange for power, the sort of Vichy Republicans who are like, fine, I will let you do the most bananas, crazy things, as long as you let me keep this post.

What do we do with a Supreme Court that`s got a few of those on it?

NICHOLS: Well, the first thing is that when Justice Thomas talks about people not willing to accept outcomes they don`t like, I mean, how many more times can we kill irony, cremate it, and scatter its ashes over the mountaintops? I mean, my God.

I don`t know what you do about a Supreme Court like that, other than to vote in numbers too large to deny. And I think this is -- Joy, you know that I have always been on this hobbyhorse about showing up to vote, especially in things like midterm and state and local elections.

But I think, once again, I want to come back to this issue of fear. The reason Republicans are working so hard to ram this through as a judicial matter, something that, again, in my youth as a Republican, was something we criticized liberals for doing, right, taking the courts and jamming through unpopular things -- it`s because Republicans are afraid.

REID: Yes.

NICHOLS: They know they can`t sell what they believe in to their fellow citizens.

And so they have simply given up on trying to talk to their fellow citizens. They`re going to hijack particular -- I shouldn`t even say hijack. They`re going to make appointments through winning elections, in some cases, through winning elections on the margins, and then say, we will get judges to do this for them, which, 30 or 40 years ago, was one of the cardinal sins of liberals that Republicans swore they would put a stop to.

REID: Yes.

NICHOLS: Now that`s in their favor. They`re all for it.

REID: And not only -- not only get judges to do it, get lawsuits to do it.

Remember when the Republicans used to say, ah, the lawyers are anti- democracy, the lawyers? Now they`re literally like sue everyone into doing what you want. It`s -- what a development.

Jelani Cobb, Tom Nichols, thank you, gentlemen, both very much.

Still ahead on THE REIDOUT: Red states continue to chip away at women`s rights, as the Oklahoma legislature approves the most restrictive abortion ban in America. But courageous people like our next guest are fighting back.

And later:


VERONICA WHITE, AUNT OF ANDRE MACKNIEL: I cannot believe somebody would give some child a gun and let him think that it`s OK and come in somebody`s hometown and just shoot it up, and just shoot people down like dogs.

That doesn`t make any sense to me.


REID: The first funeral is held for a victim of that racist mass shooting in Buffalo, as family members struggle to understand how and why it happened.

Plus: record-shattering early voting turnout in Georgia ahead of Tuesday`s closely watched primary.


THE REIDOUT continues after this.


REID: This week, Oklahoma`s state legislature rolled back the clock again, passing the nation`s most restrictive abortion ban.

And Republican Governor Kevin Stitt is, of course, expected to sign it into law. Vice President Harris called Oklahoma`s bill outrageous.

Meanwhile, as we continue to await a Supreme Court ruling expected to overturn Roe v. Wade, today, the archbishop of San Francisco said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a devout Catholic, will be denied communion over her support for abortion rights.


It comes as Democrats have pushed to codify abortion rights ahead of the expected ruling. This week, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the impact of restricting abortion access, with powerful personal testimony from Democratic lawmakers.


REP. CORI BUSH (D-MO): ... years old, I was raped. Weeks later, I found out I was pregnant.

Without the protections afforded to me by Roe v. Wade, I would not -- I would have been forced to birth a human being that I could not take care of. And the father would have been my rapist.

REP. LUCY MCBATH (D-GA): After which failed pregnancy should I have been imprisoned? Would it have been after the first miscarriage? Or would you have put me behind bars after my stillbirth?

I ask because the same medicine used to treat my failed pregnancies is the same medicine states like Texas would make illegal.


REID: Republicans on the other hand treated it as a culture war farce.

One of their witnesses, a lawyer, made an absurd claim that aborted fetuses -- get this -- are used to power lights in Washington, D.C., which -- I cannot believe I have to say this -- is not true.

And then there was Dr. Yashica Robinson, the only medical professional testifying. She faced a torrent of hypotheticals and condescension from Republicans on the panel.


REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): That`s a question. Ma`am, ma`am. So it`s a simple question. Have you had human parts, baby parts, arms, legs, as a result of an abortion performed at the time you just acknowledged you performed abortions after 20 weeks?

DR. YASHICA ROBINSON, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, ALABAMA WOMEN`S CENTER: I am a physician and a proud abortion provider.

There`s nothing that you can say that makes it difficult for me to talk about the care that I provide.

ROY: Yes or no, have -- ma`am.


REID: Dr. Yashica Robinson, medical director of the Alabama Women`s Center and board member of Physicians for Reproductive Health, joins me now.

Dr. Robinson, thank you so much for being here, Dr. Robinson, because they were -- the disrespect to you was hard to watch, but also just their total lack of understanding of the care that you provide.

Can you just talk about that, because did you get the sense that the Republicans who were interrogating you understood the care that you provide?

Uh-oh. Do we have Dr. Robinson?

Can you hear me? Uh-oh.

ROBINSON: I can hear you.

REID: Oh, that was -- oh, good. Now we have got you. Excellent.

Yes, I`m going to re-ask that question. And I want to thank you again for being here.

Did you get the sense that some of the people questioning you, some of the Republicans, who were quite rude to you, by the way, understood the care that you actually provide to women?

ROBINSON: No, it was very clear to me that they did not understand the care that I provide to people. It`s very clear that they don`t understand the need for the type of care that I provide.

It was also very clear that they weren`t interested in knowing any more about it...

REID: Yes.

ROBINSON: ... that they are not interested in the real needs of people.

REID: Let me play just one more clip for those who didn`t watch the hearing.

Here`s Senator Mike -- Representative Mike Johnson.


REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): How about if a child is halfway out of the birth canal, isn`t an abortion permissible then?

ROBINSON: Can you repeat your question?

JOHNSON: If a child is halfway delivered out of the birth canal, is it permissible haven`t to have an abortion? Would you support the right for an abortion then?

ROBINSON: I can`t even fathom that ever...

JOHNSON: I`m not asking you if you can fathom it. If it occurred, would you support that abortion or not? That`s unrestricted abortion, right?

ROBINSON: I can`t answer a question that I can`t imagine I -- just like you probably can`t imagine what you would do if your daughter was raped.


REID: As somebody who has given birth to three humans, I start to wonder if some of these people ever passed seventh grade biology. They don`t seem to even understand the human body, let alone this issue.

I wonder, can you just explain to us -- I`m going to put this map up of where -- where states would likely ban abortion completely if Roe vs. Wade was overturned? Forget all those silly hypotheticals you were being asked about. What would be the real-world impact for women, for the women like the ones you treat, if abortion were banned?

ROBINSON: Well, like you said, there`s 26 states that are poised to be in abortion immediately if Roe is overturned.

What that will mean is many people, like the people that I care for, black people, low-income people, people coming from rural areas, people of color in general, people who are already financially struggling, will have no access to very necessary care.

REID: Let me play for you Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, who`s now presiding over the most stringent abortion ban, six-week ban, with no exceptions for rape or incest.

Here he was being questioned about that on FOX.


GOV. KEVIN STITT (R-OK): I have daughters, cannot even imagine what that would be like and that hardship.


But you have to choose -- that is a human being inside the womb. And we`re going to -- we`re going to do everything we can to protect life and love both the mother and the child. And we don`t think that killing one to protect another is the right thing to do either.


REID: I don`t know if you have had to treat young women who are victims of rape or incest, but they make it sound like it`s just as simple as being loving toward that rape victim, and everything will be fine, or make the woman put it up for -- put the child up for adoption, everything will be fine.

For the women you actually treat, does that sound realistic to you?

ROBINSON: That is not realistic at all.

And, yes, I have treated people who have been -- become pregnant as a result of raping and incest. And it is one of the most heartbreaking things that you could have ever had to do.

I remember the youngest person other careful was 11 years old. And just the thought of sentencing that young person to a life where she was trying to care for someone else -- and she was already struggling. And the thing about this particular patient, she wasn`t a citizen herself.

She already -- I`m a citizen here, and, clearly, I don`t have full rights to autonomy and everything that I need in order to have liberty and the freedom that I would want for myself and to be able to determine my own future. But this young lady already doesn`t have access to the care that she needs. She doesn`t have access to health care.

And so for -- to say that she`s going to be forced to bring another person into this world, where she`s already not being given the resources that she needs in order to -- really to live, this is more than just about life. This is about living.

And I don`t think that that`s anything that these representatives are thinking about...

REID: Yes.

ROBINSON: ... about the true impact that this will have on real people.

REID: Yes, I don`t think they even understand what it means to carry a child inside of them for nine months. And doing that when you`re loving and you want a child, even that is treacherous, sometimes health-wise.

Women die in this country more than any developed country from being pregnant, all the complications that can happen, the pain, the nausea, everything. And saying you`re going to make an 11-year-old child who has been raped go through that for almost a year, and that you think that is humane, is shocking to me.

But I want to thank you, Dr. Yashica Robinson, for all the work you do for women.

God bless you, and thank you very much.

And up next: As we close out this difficult week, the first Buffalo shooting victim is laid to rest.

Bishop William Barber joins us after the break.



REID: It`s been six days since the horrific racist shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

And the first funeral for one of the victims, 67-year-old Heyward Patterson, was held today. Patterson was a driver who was shot while helping a client load groceries. The funeral was private.

But, yesterday, the families of the victims held an emotional press conference with attorney Ben Crump and the Reverend Al Sharpton, who gave the eulogy at today`s funeral.

In a gut-wrenching moment, Patterson`s ex-wife, Tirzah, spoke as her 12- year-old son cried silently.



He half-sleeps. He half-eats. And, as a mother, what am I supposed to do to help him get through this? I need a village to help me raise and be here for my son, because he has no father.


REID: Whew.

Other family members of the victims shared their grief and anger over the senseless violence as well. And, again, this is hard to watch.


WHITE: I cannot believe somebody would give some child a gun and let him think that it`s OK and come in somebody`s hometown and just shoot it up, and just shoot people down like dogs.

That doesn`t make any sense to me.

MARK TALLEY, SON OF GERALDINE TALLEY: I constantly think about what could have been done.

And it seems like this -- is it`s like Groundhog Day. Like, we have seen this over and over and over again.

ROBIN HARRIS, DAUGHTER OF RUTH WHITFIELD: That racist young man took my mother away. How dare you!


REID: I`m joined now by Bishop William Barber, co-chairman of the Poor People`s Campaign.

Sorry. I have a policy about crying on TV, but that little boy and that grandma kind of really made it very hard for me to continue.

Bishop Barber, what do you even say? You have done many funerals. It`s one thing if your mom or your ex-husband dies as a result of cancer or an accident. This isn`t that. What do you even say at a funeral? What do you even say?

REV. DR. WILLIAM BARBER, CO-CHAIR, POOR PEOPLE`S CAMPAIGN: Well, Joy, I`m sitting here like you, crying and angry.

I don`t know if you say a lot, but you be with people. And then the other thing is, you got to recognize, America, that`s not just something that comes from one crazed racist shooter or one crazed famous FOX News commentator spewing this stuff.


This is something in the ethos of this nation we have not dealt with. I was thinking about that, as a poor community, a poor black community, and this Great Replacement Theory Joy, it -- this is just the latest version of it. That`s why you see that woman shaking.

This is just -- it brings up all kinds of old terrorism. This is the latest. If you go back to the 19th century, you had Thomas Dixon, who wrote "Birth of a Nation," and then Woodrow Wilson played it in the Oval Office, kind of like Trump and Steve Bannon and all them put racism right in the heart of the Oval Office so blatantly.

And then it became policy, became a basis to justify racism. And then what happened in 1915? They played that movie, and then nearly 100 black men were killed, lynched in 1919. People -- riots broke out all over the country. The Ku Klux Klan was celebrated as somehow protecting the country from some amount of false replacement.

The people that did that, Joy, then also came against women`s rights and labor union movements and voting rights. They even passed during that same period a white supremacist immigration law.

So what do we do? Well, what -- I want to ask, what did people do then when they had that pain? You know what they did? The NAACP built a black-white coalition, not just a black response to this. What happened? Women took those tears and then fought and won the right to vote.

What happened? Preachers started preaching the social gospel movement like never before, white and black, and raising the moral consciousness. What happened in the midst of all those tears? The Harlem Renaissance came forward, and they started writing poems of resistance, like, if we must die, let it not be like hogs, or America has never been America to me, but I swear this oath. America will be, or life for me ain`t been no crystal stairs, but I have not stopped.

What happened in that period? What did they do with their tears? A. Philip Randolph says, we`re going to former a pullman`s porter. And we`re going to start planning for a Moral March on Washington.

So, in this moment, Joy, one of the things I know we have to do is something that Dr. King did when he preached these funerals. He named everybody. He said, it`s not just who pulled the trigger. He said, we got to look at not just who pulled the trigger, but who really murdered those people.

This is what King said and what we have to transfer to today. He said, every white lawman who abuses the law and terrorizes, every white politician who feeds on prejudice and hatred, every white preacher who preaches the Bible and stays silent before their congregations about these matters.

And he even said, and every Negro man and woman and preacher who stands without joining the fight as their brothers and sisters are humiliated, brutalized, killed, and ripped apart.

That woman said, we need a village. Notice she didn`t say just a black village. She said, we need a village. And we have to say, in this moment, all of these tears will make us understand that not only must we cry together. We must stand together. We must come together. We must build moral truth-telling power together, all of us, not some of us, all of us.

This cannot be just looked at as a black issue. It`s a danger to all of us, the entire democracy and our humanity. And one of the things, Joy, we`re saying in the campaign is, on Monday, we`re headed to Memphis, to Tennessee, and say, we need a resurrection of what Dr. King was doing, not just constant commemoration.

On June 5, we`re going to call thousands of clergy that weekend to preach and teach, whether they`re white, black, brown, Asian or whoever, to start loosing these pulpits and then bringing them into the streets.

And then, on June 18, we`re calling for a massive coming together of all of us, regardless of race, creed, color, and sexuality, for the Mass Poor People`s and Low-Wage Workers` Assembly and Moral March on Washington, and to say, look, we have to deal with systemic racism, systemic poverty, ecological devastation, denial of health care, this war economy, and this false moral narrative of religious nationalism and white supremacy and Replacement Theory as a -- as interlocking evils that require all of us, in fact.

And so that`s what we have to do. Somehow, we must hear those tears. In fact, I`m glad, lastly, Joy, that they -- that you cried today, and others are crying, because there is a Scripture in the Bible that says, when this kind of death happens, it says that what -- you must hear the sound of Rachel crying and refusing to be comforted.

We must refuse to go back to normal, refuse to be comforted. But our tears must be the kind of tears that you cry, and then those same tears strengthen you and buoy you up to fight and to stand against what is happening, because you recognize it`s not just a lone shooter, and it`s not a person.

It`s something terribly wrong in our society. And what we have seen today has happened before, but we have also beat it before. And we can beat it again.


REID: Well, see, this is why I have pastor friends, because, sometimes, I just got to get my preaching on the show.


REID: I can`t necessarily be in the church. I just go ahead and I bring it right to the show, so that everybody can get a word.

My good friend, my dear friend, Bishop William Barber, thank you. Thank you very much. Much appreciated.

And up next: Candidates sharpen their attacks ahead of Tuesday`s pivotal primary in Georgia.

I will be heading down there myself for a ringside seat, as voters decide who will face off against Stacey Abrams in November. More on that next.



REID: Today was the last day of early voting in Georgia ahead of next week`s primary.

The Peach State has seen record turnout, with more Republicans coming out to vote. Part of that is, of course, the highly contested Republican primaries that have pitted Trump-endorsed election deniers against incumbents who did not support his attempt to overturn the 2020 election results.

The latest polling on the governor`s race has incumbent Governor Brian Kemp maintaining a commanding lead over Trump-backed former Senator David Perdue. Perdue`s lackluster campaign apparently has led to buyer`s remorse for Trump, who has told multiple Republicans that he has given up on Perdue`s campaign.

Whoever wins the nomination will face off against Stacey Abrams, who is running unopposed in the Democratic primary, meaning we could see a 2018 rematch -- or a rematch between the 2018 contest between Kemp and Abrams.

Meanwhile, another Trump-endorsed candidate, Herschel Walker, is the clear favorite to win the nomination in the Senate race, despite having skipped all the debates and avoiding answering questions about past allegations of domestic violence, physical threats against women and stalking.

But his Republican rivals have warned, he can`t wait in a general election against Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock.

Joining me now is Don Calloway, Democratic strategist and founder of the National Voter Protection Action Fund, and Dana Milbank, columnist for "The Washington Post."

Thank you both for being here.

Don, I`m going to start with you.

Thoughts on first -- well, let`s actually start with the Herschel Walker race. He`s going to win because he`s famous, right? It`s pretty simple.

DON CALLOWAY, FOUNDER, NATIONAL VOTER PROTECTION ACTION FUND: He`s going to win because he`s famous. And he is a scion of Donald Trump.

Donald Trump`s influence is much more prevalent in these races, particularly in primaries, in which there is not a strong Republican nominee who`s had a longstanding relationship with that primary electorate.

We have to remember that primaries are pretty much decided by a small and dedicated group of local officials who really galvanize and run the parties on both sides. And that`s why Brian Kemp, who has those longstanding relationships with those folks, despite the Trump endorsement, that`s why he`s going to win in the governor`s race.

But Herschel Walker is unqualified, unfit and, frankly, an embarrassment. But one thing he is, Joy -- I`m too tired to kind of obfuscate around the truth here on a Friday, after a long week -- one thing he is, is the token black that Republicans can hold up to say the worst possible things on the planet and say, well, look, he`s black; therefore, we`re not racist.

Herschel Walker politically is a joke, an excellent running back. But there is nothing in his life history or life story that suggests that he is qualified to be a member of the United States Senate. And, frankly, he`s an embarrassment not only for Trump, but for the real, live breathing adult Republicans who have put him in the position to be on the precipice of a United States Senate seat. It`s a disgrace.

REID: I mean, it is interesting, Dana, that the other Republicans are saying, kind of similar to what Republicans were trying to say about Madison Cawthorn, like, you really -- this is so you want? No.

And you have a few people who are trying to argue -- and they`re either further right than him. But, I mean, Republicans seem committed to basically -- like in "Coming to America," the wife -- the wife that was picked for Eddie Murphy`s character, and it`s whatever -- whatever you like.

What do you -- whatever you want, like, right? Like, that`s what they want, whatever Trump likes.


REID: Except Kemp. Kemp is the only one that Trump doesn`t like that is getting in there.


I mean, I love the -- how Trump is sort of the fair-weather endorser. He loves a winner, so much that, if it looks like he might not win, it`s like he never endorsed you in the first place.

REID: He dumps...

MILBANK: And then he immediately jumps on board with whoever won.

So, I think there`s a lot of sort of overstating Trump`s influence here...

REID: Yes.

MILBANK: ... because -- for that reason, and also, basically, everybody who`s running for all of these races has become so thoroughly Trumpified, it hard -- so he`s won, in the sense...

REID: Yes.

MILBANK: ... that everybody is with Donald Trump now.

He`s lost, in the sense that he doesn`t have that great a track record, because all he -- all that happens is he rescinds the endorsement or just more likely pretends it never happened in the first place.

REID: To stay with you for just a second, Dana, what does it mean that Pence is pretending to have a spine and going against Trump and directly endorsing Pence -- I mean, endorsing Kemp?

MILBANK: Well, first of all, he`s able to read polls as well as the next guy, so I`m not sure we`re going to grant the former vice president a profile in courage just yet.

But he has in other areas been stepping out. And you have seen -- in this vast array of people planning to run in the Republican presidential primary, you see various ones sticking out their ground...

REID: Yes.

MILBANK: ... very tepidly and tentatively, in case Donald Trump doesn`t win or in case public opinion in -- among Republicans turns against him, which it seemingly never will.

REID: Yes, never going to happen.

Let`s play a piece of video that was very interesting that came over the Twitters over the weekend.


Here`s George W. Bush, one of the most rehabilitated figures in American politics post-Iraq War.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In contrast, Russian elections are rigged, political opponents are imprisoned or otherwise eliminated from participating in the electoral process.

The result is an absence of checks and balances in Russia and the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq.

I mean, of Ukraine. Iraq.




REID: Don, I`m too taken by schadenfreude to probably comment in a way that would be dignified right now, as somebody who quit the news business initially out of my opposition to the Iraq War.

What do you make of, first of all, the giggle after and the, I don`t know, paging Dr. Freud quality of those comments?

CALLOWAY: Yes, look, I`m going to give some grace as a guy whose parents are around that age.

He`s 75 years old. And everybody sees the world from their own lens. The Iraq situation was certainly George Bush and his father`s lens on the world of international diplomacy. So, you have to give some modicum of grace here for a 75-year-old man addressing a crowd.

That said, it`s extraordinarily bad. And I don`t know that it rises to the level of some of my Twitter brethren and sistren who have decided this is a war criminal admitting to his crimes. But it`s extraordinarily bad.

And maybe, in his heart of heart, maybe even in his private deliberations at night, he does realize that there potentially are some sincere parallels between Putin`s actions and his own.

REID: Yes.

Yes, the people who dragged George W. Bush, who was not an ideologue on that level, when he got in there, he was captured by Dick Cheney and company, and put into what was one of the greatest errors in American history...


REID: ... which Putin is using as an excuse and trying to use that as an excuse to do what he`s doing. I`m just going to leave it there.

Let`s talk about Madison Cawthorn, Dana. This -- it falls to you to talk about this.

So, the same group -- because Republicans can take down their own when they want to. They got Madison Cawthorn outie. Now they`re coming after Lauren Boebert, the same group. Thoughts?

MILBANK: Well, I don`t want to give these guys too much credit, because you know who got Madison Cawthorn out was Madison Cawthorn.

I mean, think of all the things that he managed -- every possible scandal on earth.


REID: But none of that impacted him. He went to Hitler`s bungalow and everybody was like, he`s a Republican.

MILBANK: It was like he was trying to touch every possible button just to see what would happen.

But when he hit the gun violation at the airport, the driving without a license, and the insider trading all came out in one day, I was like, wow, it just doesn`t get any better than that.

So -- Boebert has a way of doing this sort of thing. She has sort of these gun porn photos that she will put out of herself and her family.

REID: Yes.

MILBANK: She`s not quite Madison Cawthorn, yet, at least.

REID: All I have to say...

MILBANK: But I don`t think anybody brings them down. They bring themselves down.

REID: All I have to say, is if Lauren knows about any cocaine orgies, she better not say nothing, because that`s how you get bumped out of the party.

Don`t talk about them cocaine orgies, girl.

Dan -- Don and Dana, Dana -- Dana and Don, Don and Dana are sticking around, because, up next, it`s time to play "Who Won the Week?"

Don`t miss it.



REID: It is Friday, which means it`s once again time to play my favorite game, "Who Won the Week?"

Back me now, Don Calloway and Dana Milbank.

Dana Milbank, who won the week?

MILBANK: Well, I would say it was Josh Shapiro, who`s now the Democratic nominee to be governor of Pennsylvania.

But it`s not because of that. It`s because of his great, good fortune in his opponent who won the Republican nomination, Doug Mastriano. He`s not -- he`s so far out there. He`s not just an election denier. He`s an actual insurrectionist. There`s photos of him there at the Capitol on January 6.

So I think Josh Shapiro won the week just for winning that man as his opponent.

REID: Well, let`s hope. Careful what you wish for sometimes.

Don Calloway, who won the week?

CALLOWAY: Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.

I have advised a ton of mayors in my political career. In fact, it`s probably my specialty. And this is a job that no civic leader wants...

REID: Yes.

CALLOWAY: ... to have to be a comforter in chief for his municipality during this worst possible time.

REID: Yes.

CALLOWAY: But he has marshaled resources and brought people together to serve those folks in a way that has been extraordinarily skillful.

REID: Yes.

CALLOWAY: So, he won the week, but it`s a Pyrrhic victory, at best.

REID: Yes. Indeed, God bless him.

Well, my who won the week is guy you guys will remember. His name is Christian Cooper. Let`s put up the video. You all will remember that this is the man -- oh, we may have -- maybe it`s -- oh, right -- who was harassed by a lady in Central Park, a white lady, who threatened to call the police on him because he asked her to curb her dog.

He now has been given a bird-watching TV show on National Geographic Channel. He won the week.

Congratulations to our bird-watcher friend. We will be watching Chris Cooper`s show.

Before we go, though, I want to leave you all with a Moment of Joy.

Retired Sergeant Victor W. Butler, he`s believed to be the last surviving Tuskegee Airman. He`s in Rhode Island. He has asked for birthday cards for his 100th birthday. He turns 100 on Saturday.

It is too late, sir, for me to send you a birthday card. But this is my birthday card. Happy birthday to our Tuskegee Airman hero, retired Sergeant Victor W. Butler. Happy birthday from THE REIDOUT.

Thank you very much for watching, everyone. Have a wonderful weekend.

Don Calloway, Dana Milbank, thank you all.

And that is tonight`s REIDOUT.