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Transcript: The ReidOut, 5/5/22

Guests: Tim O`Brien


The reasoning for the Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito`s draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade is examined. New reporting emerges on the warnings received by the government that January 6 could turn violent. Yet another Republican politician is reported making private comments about Donald Trump. Symone Sanders discusses her exclusive interview with first lady Dr. Jill Biden and the launch of her new show on MSNBC.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: We might take some of your ideas or questions and work them into future coverage.

That does it for us.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening everyone. Happy Cinco de Mayo.

And, no, it is not Mexico`s Independence Day. It is a celebration of the defeat of Napoleon III`s army by a small, but scrappy Mexican force in the 19th century, a fitting theme, as Ukraine holds out against a larger and brutal Russian army in Europe and as American women do battle against an English jurist from the 17th century.

Take a look at this guy. His name is Sir Matthew Hale. He was, quite simply, a dumpster fire of awful. He was against abortion. He had two women executed for practicing witchcraft, an opinion that established a model for the Salem Witch Trials. He didn`t believe in the concept of rape, warning that rape was an easy accusation to make. In fact, the instruction to jurors to be wary of false accusations of rape is known as the Hale Warning.

And he didn`t have much use for charges of marital rape either. In his book "History of the Pleas of the Crown," he writes -- he wrote -- quote -- "The husband cannot be guilty of a rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife," meaning that a wife was a man`s property, and, therefore, he cannot commit a crime upon her, nor can she refuse her consent.

Interestingly, or rather, horrifically, Justice Samuel Alito in the leaked opinion draft that would overturn Roe v. Wade cites that exact book and his argument to end abortion, while citing Hale as an historical authority, not once, not twice, but nine times in an approximately 98-page ruling -- mathematically, that`s like almost once every 10 pages.

Hale was one of the people Alito relied upon for his -- one of his most extreme assertions that -- quote -- "An unbroken tradition of prohibiting abortion on pain of criminal punishment persisted from the earliest days of the common law until 1973.

An unbroken tradition from 17th century English common law to the late 20th century, well, that could apply to almost anything, contraception, same-sex marriage, interracial marriage, civil rights, integration, women`s rights to vote.

And while we have been talking about this leak and its implications during this terrible week in America, I have just got to say, it`s the contempt, for me, the utter contempt that Alito`s Roe-breaking screed show toward women, the bile-dripping scorn that he showed over the original decision that granted women autonomy and privacy and ownership of their bodies, this hatred of women, and the idea that we are no more than wards of our fathers and then of a husband and then, if not, of the state, simply because we are female.

That is the unbroken tradition in this country. And make no mistake. They`re coming for all of it. This is the conservative, but really the extremist assault that has been in the works for decades, this drive to repeal the 20th century, the century that, in their minds, warped America, by enshrining women`s rights and civil rights and starting the drive toward gay rights and non-white immigration.

They want it all to go away. And now they have a court that can make it happen. Alito might say that his reasoning was not meant to apply to any other rights besides abortion but listen to what he said about Roe v. Wade during his confirmation hearing in 2006 and ask yourself if any thinking person should believe him.


SAMUEL ALITO, U.S. SUPREME COURT ASSOCIATE JUSTICE: Roe vs. Wade is an important precedent of the Supreme Court. It was decided in 1973. So it`s been on the books for a long time. It has been challenged on a number of occasions.

And I discussed those yesterday. And it is my -- and the Supreme Court has reaffirmed the decision, sometimes on the merits, sometimes, in Casey, based on stare decisis. And I think that when a decision is challenged, and it is reaffirmed, that strengthens its value.


REID: Ah, yes, the magic word stare decisis. You heard him, calling Roe v. Wade an important precedent of the Supreme Court, and now drafting an opinion rejecting what he once acknowledge as an established precedent.

This is not a justice nor a movement to be trusted on their word.

Now let`s talk about what this means in the real world. In Louisiana, there is a new so-called fetal personhood bill that could make having an abortion grounds to be charged with homicide. The bill recognizes the human personhood of an unborn fetus starting at the moment of fertilization. This means that having assisting or performing an abortion would be classified as homicide, even if Roe v. Wade is not overturned.

Louisiana lawmakers advanced this bill out of committee on Wednesday.

And joining me now is NYU Law Professor Melissa Murray, who served as a former clerk to then Judge Sonia Sotomayor, and Michelle Goldberg, columnist for "The New York Times."

Melissa, I want to start with you on this, because this -- well, let`s -- before we get to Louisiana law, I want to get back to the contempt thing, because I am not a lawyer, but I read through what I really read as a screed. I have read Supreme Court decisions before. And, usually, they`re very royally, and you have to really sort of understand the law, and they have all these citations and everything.


This read like a screed. And then, when I then later discovered the who exactly was able to read up a little bit on who Matthew Hale was, I was like, oh, my goodness. This guy is channeling one of the most anti-woman, witch-burning, woman-hating figures in all of human history. Your thoughts?

MELISSA MURRAY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, to be fair to Justice Alito, a number of states have championed Sir Matthew Hale over the years.

It`s been quite recent that many states have repealed their exemption for marital rape. So, he lived for quite a long time in the law books of many states well into the 20th century.

But you`re exactly right. Show me that you hate women without showing me that you hate women. This opinion is not just absolute. It`s absolutist in its objections, its antipathy for abortion, its antipathy for choice, and it`s clear contempt for the idea that the decision to become a parent is so fundamental to the person, so fundamentally changes someone`s life that it cannot be a decision that is formed under the compulsion of the state.

He rejects this entirely and, again, I think, makes it clear that the idea of choosing for yourself is just something this court will not tolerate, certainly not now.

REID: And, Michelle, the thing that`s so wild about this whole originalism thing, which I can recall a lot of Republicans hectoring Ketanji Brown Jackson, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, about, originalism, originalism.

If you go back to the original conception of this country, first of all, Melissa and I weren`t even people. So, forget about us, right? But even women who were white women were considered absolutely the property and ward of their husband, to be transferred to their husband.

Even any property -- women didn`t even inherit property. Whatever they had went right to the husband, and an unmarried woman was most likely to be burned as a witch. Most people who were burned as witches were often unmarried or widows, people who were untethered to a man, which is the only thing that grounded even white women in humanity.

So, if you are an originalist, you essentially want to go back to that original conception of women, who, even 50 years after black men were technically given the right to vote, were still denied it, their own wives and daughters. Your thoughts?

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I think you`re exactly right about what`s so chilling about this decision, or one of the things that`s so chilling, is that it talked -- if you take the schema seriously, the only rights that are seen as constitutionally legitimate are those that have a deep history in the American republic.

And nobody, except for white men, has rights that have a deep history from the founding of the American republic. These were all sort of modern achievements, right? These are all -- women got the right to vote in the beginning of the 20th century. Many of the other rights that were won were towards the -- in the middle or the end of the 20th century.

And so the idea that, because they were not there 200 years ago, 100 years ago -- I mean, I believe that one of the citations in Alito`s opinion goes back to the 13th century. The idea that sort of something gets -- is more legitimate because it has been around for hundreds of years just ensures that only the most right-wing conception of human rights will have the force of constitutional law.

REID: Right, and only -- and not -- and, by the way, not even all white men, only white men who owned property. If you were not a property owner, you also could not vote in the originalist conception.

Let me go back to some of these footnotes, because you have tweeted a lot and talked a lot about -- Melissa, about the footnotes, because Clarence Thomas, who is one of the more ironic figures on the court, because I wonder what`s going to happen when they try to come for interracial marriage, because that`s going to affect him.

But I don`t know what he would think, because he is -- he too claims this originalist belief system. There was a footnote that referenced eugenics. This is one of the most common talking points among anti-choice, among pro- forced birth people.

And it says here: "Other amicus briefs, they present arguments about the motives of proponents of liberal access to abortion. They note that some such supporters have been motivated by a desire to suppress the size of the African-American population."

This has been the guise of caring about black people version of arguing against abortion. They will also sometimes try to talk about the woman who was sort of the progenitor of Planned Parenthood. They try this all the time. He did it in his screed.

Your thoughts?

MURRAY: Yes, so that footnote is actually really interesting. I have written a Harvard Law Review article about the whole eugenics argument, which really has its genesis in a concurring opinion that Justice Thomas filed in a shadow docket case from 2019.

It didn`t get any takers on the court at that point, but it really had a flourishing life in the lower federal courts, when many of Justice Thomas` former clerks who are now judges cited it liberally.

And the idea is that the disproportionate incidence of abortion among black women is part or the vestiges of this larger campaign by the birth control movement of this larger campaign by the birth control movement and the eugenicist movement to cite birth control clinics in black neighborhoods for the purpose of stamping out black reproduction and eliminating black political power.


Now, Justice Thomas, I think it`s a very canny move. It`s essentially reframing the social meaning of abortion from being an issue of women`s equality and gender justice to being a question of racial genocide and racial injustice.

But the thing is, you don`t actually need to cite it in this opinion. I had argued that it could be a way to overrule Roe vs. Wade by saying that this is basically an act of racial injustice. And we have only -- we have overruled many cases in the past in order to remedy those racial injustices.

But that`s not the case here. Justice Alito is focusing on Roe vs. Wade`s untethering of constitutional text and its lack of deep roots in the history of the United States. He doesn`t need to do this. So why is it there?

And I think it is at once gratuitous, but also lending sort of groundwork for what is to come, I mean, this idea that we are changing the social meaning of abortion, that we are casting this as eugenics, and that we are laying stage for the surveillance of women of color, of minority communities in all aspects of their intimate lives.

REID: Well, I mean, they`re often -- the forced birth side often also cites Plessy. And they say, well, overturning Roe would be like the overturning of Plessy.

But what they are doing is establishing the rules that Plessy was fighting, right, a state saying you can`t ride on this bus. I mean, do you -- what do you make of this constant sort of trying to lean on Plessy as their excuse, when what they`re really trying to do is put back the same states` rights that Plessy was fighting against?

GOLDBERG: I mean...

MURRAY: It is absolutely ironic.

GOLDBERG: Oh, no, go ahead.


REID: No, no, Melissa. Sorry.


MURRAY: I think it`s absolutely ironic. It`s exactly as you say.

Plessy is a decision that upholds this idea that states can choose whether to be a system of apartheid or not. And this opinion is essentially returning this choice to the states to be a system of reproductive apartheid or not. And yet it is being cast as though this is the ground that will overrule the constitutional apostasy...


REID: Right.

MURRAY: ... that was Plessy/Roe vs. Wade.

So, yes, everything is upside-down.

REID: I get it. They want to be the good guys.

Let`s play Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton on this opinion. Here`s what she said.


HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: This opinion is dark, it is incredibly dangerous, and it is not just about a woman`s right to choose. It is about much more than that.

And any American who says, look, I`m not a woman, this doesn`t affect me, I`m not black, that doesn`t affect me, I`m not gay, that doesn`t affect me, once you allow this kind of extreme power to take hold, you have no idea who they will come for next.


REID: You know, Michelle, do you know there`s a there`s a trust us that they keep -- that these justices keep saying.

They get on the dais when they`re being confirmed, and they say, oh, no, trust us, stare decisis, stare decisis. Those are the magic words.

And then -- but we knew they were lying, right, and their goal was to come and overturn Roe. So, when Alito says, oh, no, trust me, I only mean this to be about abortion, it`s like when they said that about Bush v. Gore. Then they have cited it.

Is there any reason for anyone who was gay, anyone who was in a gay marriage, anyone who is -- anyone who cares about, I don`t know, keeping segregated schools from getting a tax break, which they`re also mad about - - isn`t everything now on the table, because it all is down to the right to privacy? It`s all based on that same right to privacy that he`s essentially thrown into the trash.

GOLDBERG: Yes. I mean, yes, there`s so -- I mean, he says, in the opinion that abortion is different because it involves the taking of fetal life for -- kind of potential life. He puts it in a couple of different ways.

But that`s just him -- he`s not offering a legal principle about why he`s different. He is, like you`re saying, saying, trust us, we`re not going to apply this precedent to a whole host of other social issues, even though conservatives, I think many conservatives very much intend to relitigate things like Obergefell, to relitigate Brown vs. the Board of Education, not that that`s a privacy law, but to relitigate, as you said, huge parts of the 20th century.

The other thing that you sort of hear trust us about from some conservative commentators is, people will talk about the impact that this is going to have on women who have miscarriages, women who are pregnant and have -- who want to be pregnant and have something go wrong.

And there`s also a sort of, trust us, no, of course prosecutors don`t want to target women for having miscarriages. But we already see that happening. You already see women all over the country who are suspected of doing something that harms their pregnancies being investigated, in some cases imprisoned.


There was a carve-out for women who got abortions. Now that carve-out is gone.

REID: And, by the way, in Louisiana, this law, as it has been written and amended, would make anyone who had an ectopic pregnancy subject to investigation, anyone who had a miscarriage, anyone who tried to get in vitro fertilization. That would be illegal.

It -- they literally can outlaw contraception if they say from the moment of fertilization anything that prevents fertilization. That means birth control, IUDs. And don`t believe -- don`t just believe me. Look at the law that they`re trying to pass in Louisiana, the Republican Congress -- the Republican -- the state Senate and state legislature, they`re going to pass that law, and it`s going to get signed.

Louisiana will be the first to go.

Melissa Murray and Michelle Goldberg, thank you both very much.

Up next on THE REIDOUT: new reporting on the warnings received by the government that January 6 could turn violent. So, why was nothing done to prevent the deadly insurrection from happening?

Also, it`s still Donald Trump`s party, but yet another Republican politician was reported making private comments that were very different from their public MAGA fealty.



JILL BIDEN, FIRST LADY: The president matters. The election of the president matters, because he`s the one who puts the justices on the court.


REID: Symone Sanders joins me on her exclusive interview with first lady Dr. Jill Biden and the launch of her new show on MSNBC.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.



REID: A new report this week confirmed that two social media companies, Facebook and Parler, gave advanced warning to government officials of the potential for violence at the Capitol on January 6.

According to the report by the Government Accountability Office, 10 federal agencies, including the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security`s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, were aware of open source data about planned events on January 6, and seven were aware of potential violence planned for that day.

This GAO report confirms earlier media reports. In October of 2021, "The Washington Post" reported that the FBI received numerous alerts of people vowing to violently confront Congress, but largely regarded social media posts about planning for January 6, even those discussing bringing firearms, arresting lawmakers and shooting police, as protected First Amendment speech.

One source told "The Post" that Director Wray worried that any public statements by the director might be asking for a desperate president to come after him.

This new GAO report and the previous "Washington Post" reporting seemed to contradict public statements Director Wray gave to the House Judiciary Committee last June.


CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: Certainly, we were aware of online chatter about the potential for violence, but I`m not aware that we had any intelligence indicating that hundreds of individuals were going to storm the Capitol itself.


REID: With me now, Joyce Vance, professor at the University of Alabama School of Law and a former U.S. attorney.

Joyce, are you as disturbed as I am by what Chris Wray said and what he seemed to actually know about potential violence? Because it sounds like there was a lot of concern about being fired, less concern about that than about informing the public of potential violence.

JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: It seems like it would be highly appropriate for the January 6 Committee to ask the director to visit with them and testify to clean this up, in essence, because it`s alarming either way.

Did he have information about this and conceal it? Or is it possible that the director of the FBI wouldn`t have information about a proposed attack on the Capitol?

Part of the committee`s job here is going to be to figure out whether we need new laws, new procedures safeguards in place to prevent a reoccurrence. And so Director Wray holds a big piece of the puzzle here in determining what went wrong on January 6.

REID: You know, this seems like the worst kept secret in the world.

I mean, Donald Trump on December 19, said, hey, come to the Capitol. It`s going to be wild. He kept saying, we`re going to have a wild -- come to this wild protest on January 6. He keeps channeling people to January 6.

Even I have law enforcement friends who were saying, hey, stay away from the Capitol on January 6. It`s going to be bad. Around that time, folks who work with me know that I was constantly saying, hey, something bad is brewing here, because everyone seemed to be hearing about it.

People were putting it on Facebook. People were saying they`re going to do this. Is it possible that the FBI director and the Capitol Police were completely either unaware of it, or was it more political, that they didn`t want to seem to be targeting the president`s supporters by taking action in advance?

VANCE: So that`s what the American people deserve accountability for, right?

We can speculate about a range of possibilities, but Chris Wray knows the answers. He`s been quiet about this, perhaps appropriately so, during investigations. But now, as this GAO report comes to light -- and, Joy, it`s important to understand that this is sort of a stripped-down version of the report.

There was information that was withheld because it was deemed sensitive. So this report speaks, perhaps in more general terms than the information that`s actually in possession of the GAO about both the law enforcement and the intelligence agencies that had knowledge in advance of January 6 that there was this potential for violence.

And none of the answers here are good ones. Was it a political move that caused them not to take action? Was it a failure of knowledge-sharing? None of these are good looks.


Whatever the answer is, the committee needs to get to the bottom of it. Steps need to be taken to make sure that there`s no repeat of this in future elections.

REID: Yes, because I kind of feel like it`s pretty clear that, if they had known there was going to be a big Black Lives Matter rally on the Mall on January 6, they would have been super prepared. They would have had the National Guard out there. They would have been ready.

Let`s talk about the Oath Keepers, one of the violent extremist groups that was involved in the January 6 insurrection. There`s a guy named William Todd Wilson. And he is a member of the Oath Keepers. He pleaded guilty on Wednesday to seditious conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding. And he is talking.

And he has said that he joined the Oath Keepers founder, Stewart Rhodes, in a hotel not far off the Capitol shortly after the attack, and he listened as Rhodes made a phone call to an unnamed Trump intermediary. Here`s NBC News` reporting.

"He heard Rhodes repeatedly implored the individual to tell President Trump to call upon groups like the Oath Keepers to forcibly oppose a transfer of power, Wilson prosecutor said. The person the line denied Rhodes` request to speak directly with the president."

What do you think this indicates? Because Stewart Rhodes and this -- these other Oath Keepers, they definitely seemed, in their own minds, to have a plan to use violence to keep Trump in office. What does this say about whether Trump knew?

VANCE: So, I`m not sure that we can actually make a final decision based on what we have heard here about what Trump knew.

But, importantly, prosecutors increasingly have sufficient evidence to nail down the prosecution of Rhodes, who was the leader of the Oath Keepers, a Yale-educated lawyer, who appears to have these contacts. And we don`t know -- presumably, DOJ knows, but we don`t know from this recitation that comes in attach -- in an attachment to a plea agreement precisely through this person that Rhodes reached out to us.

But it`s clear that DOJ should be able to convict him. And with that comes the possibility that they can do what prosecutors like to do in these large conspiracy cases. They can continue to move up the chain, they can flip Rhodes, who wants suspects might not want to spend 10 or 15 years in prison and might prefer to cooperate and share information in an effort to limit his exposure.

And you move closer and closer to the people who can actually tell you what was going on in the former president`s mind. And that`s the key. That`s where prosecutors need to end up, because part of this exercise is about learning the truth.

Yes, people who were most responsible for the insurrection absolutely must be prosecuted. But we also need to know the truth about what happened here.

REID: Yes, indeed.

What does it say to you, before we wrap here, that the president`s son is willing to testify, but members of Congress, Mark Meadows, the former chief of staff, are not? His son is talking.

VANCE: All of these people, with the exception of the president`s son, took an oath to uphold the Constitution.

And the notion that they would be unwilling to come and testify to Congress about an insurrection -- we`re not talking about some form of oversight where there`s a legitimate quibble about the scope of executive prison -- privilege. We`re talking about an actual effort to interfere with the smooth transfer of power.

I think it`s despicable that these people aren`t willing to come in front of the committee, share what they know, so we can protect our democracy from the next assault. Whether it`s short term or long term, the whole goal here is for Congress to build our institutions into stronger versions of themselves and better protect our elections and our democracy.

Anyone who`s ever taken that oath to uphold the Constitution has a role to play here.

REID: Yes, you would think.

Joyce Vance, always great talking with you. I hear -- somebody`s got a cat around. Next time, the cat needs to be on camera. I want that cat to be on camera next time, because we love having pets on.

VANCE: That`s my lovely cat, who, you know...


REID: Well, kitty...


VANCE: The Vance cats have strong views about insurrection.


REID: They clearly do.

Well, they can come on anytime with their momma. They`re definitely welcome. Thank you, Joyce.

And still ahead: The disgraced twice-impeached former president`s cultlike grip on the Republican Party would be hilarious, if it wasn`t so dangerous.



REID: The disgraced twice impeach-former president`s hold on the Republican Party is as tight as ever.

And David Perdue, the former senator and current candidate for Georgia governor, is the latest Republican to be heard saying one thing in private and another in public.

"The Atlanta Journal-Constitution" reports on audio obtained by "New York Times" reporters Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns in which Perdue outlined his strategy for his Senate run-off in a call with donors days after the 2020 election.

Quote: "There are people who voted in an anti-Trump way, voted for Biden and then voted down the list, that we think that may come back to us in this plea for split government."

Running as a bulwark against a Democratic president, however, would have meant telling the truth and acknowledging that Trump lost. The horror. Perdue lost that run-off to Jon Ossoff and is now singing a different tune as he tries to take down governor Brian Kemp.


DAVID PERDUE (R), GEORGIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: First off, folks, let me be very clear tonight. The election in 2020 was rigged and stolen.

All the madness we see from the Biden administration, all that started right here in Georgia, when our governor caved and allow radical Democrats to steal our election.



REID: That kind of opportunistic rhetoric helped Perdue win Trump`s endorsement, and the new revelations put him in the company of many other Trumpsters caught talking out of both sides of their mouths, like the most secretly recorded person in Congress, Kevin McCarthy, who we learned yesterday -- yesterday discussed using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, but worried the process would take too long.

The cult of MAGA was also on display in last night`s Republican Senate debate in Pennsylvania, where, in a particularly odd moment, one candidate raved about the former president`s most ludicrous idea.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, MODERATOR: Ambassador Sands, when you were ambassador to Denmark, President Trump offered to buy Greenland from Denmark. What did you think about that?

CARLA SANDS (R), PENNSYLVANIA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: He was the third U.S. president to make that suggestion. And I thought it was an awesome idea because he`s a deal guy.



REID: As Greenland`s government said at the time of Trump`s comments, Greenland`s not for sale.

Most of the fire last night was aimed at Dr. Mehmet Oz, whose argument was a thinly veiled impression of his fellow former TV star, while repeating one thing.


MEHMET OZ (R), PENNSYLVANIA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: President Trump endorsed me, calling me America first.

Desperate Dave dishonest again, once again. President Trump endorsed me. I will do that for the very reason President Trump endorsed me. The reason President Trump endorsed me and he gave a lot was that he knew I would win in November.


REID: Did President Trump endorse you, Dr. Oz? I couldn`t get that from your statements.

Well, it seems to be -- it remains to be seen, I should say, that -- if that is enough to win over Pennsylvania Republican voters. The former president will appear with Oz at a rally tomorrow. Maybe he will even remember his last name, although, the cult of Trump is so strong, getting it wrong was no problem for Trump -- for Trump-endorsed MAGA hedge funder J.D. Vance and his primary next door in Ohio.

And that`s next after the break.



REID: Tuesday night`s primary election in Ohio with a glaring example of how the Republican Party has been co-opted by MAGA extremists.

There is J.D. Vance, who won the Republican Senate nomination in Ohio after an endorsement from a certain Florida retiree boosted him by about 20 percent in the polls. Now, once upon a time, he was a never-Trumper, reportedly calling Trump America`s Hitler.

But, last year, he told a reporter he was going to have to -- quote -- "suck it up" and go full MAGA, so he could have their votes. And then, as "Vanity Fair" put it, Vance started to become the Trumpiest version of himself that he could be.

He went after the so-called childless left, and the Yale grad said that universities were the enemy of the conservative movement. He wrote a series of bad takes on Twitter, some of which included calling for mass civil disobedience against President Biden`s vaccine mandate, calling Indigenous People`s Day a fake holiday, and calling LeBron James one of the most vile people in our country.

Unfortunately, he wasn`t the only Ohio MAGA bro who won Tuesday. There`s also congressional candidate J.P. (sic) Majewski, who first gained national attention when he wore a QAnon shirt on FOX to talk about the giant "Keep America Great" banner he painted it on his lawn.

Of course, he was also in attendance on January 6, but claims he didn`t participate in any violence, baselessly blaming that violence on the U.S. government, telling a radio host that -- quote -- "We all know a lot of that was driven by the FBI."

Joining me now, Charlie Sykes, editor at large for The Bulwark, and Tim O`Brien, senior columnist for Bloomberg Opinion.

Thank you all for being here.

And, Charlie, it is like -- it is -- in one part, it`s theater, right? I mean, this J.P. (sic) Majewski, he made a "Let`s Go Brandon" rap video, or at least he appeared in it. He appeared to rap video. Like, that`s ridiculous, right? There he is. He`s in a "Let`s go Brandon" rap video.

So, on the one hand, it`s performance art, and it`s dumb and ridiculous. But, on the other hand, they all have to take the walk. They all have to walk the plank, right?, including people like David Perdue. They have to say the words. Hand them the script, and they just say it.

I wonder if you can sort of -- sort of elucidate for us, what is in it for them? Because Trump`s record is -- it`s so-so. He`s won some and he`s lost some. Why are they doing it?


He did it because this is his ticket to the United States Senate. And he was willing to make these compromises. He was willing to engage in self- humiliation. He was willing to repudiate much of his past. He was willing to you no say and do all of the things that you just described.

And the reality is that it worked. And it worked not because Donald Trump made him do it, but -- I mean, that`s certainly part of it, but also because this is apparently what the MAGA base wants now. This is what the Republican base is looking for.

And so he made a calculation that he was going to make himself over, he was going to become the ultimate fake poser shape-shifter. And he has a good chance now of becoming a United States senator. So that`s why they do this.

But it`s an indication, not just of Donald Trump`s control over the Republican Party, because I think we know that, but also how deeply radicalized the base has become.

And you`re going to see this ongoing competition: Who is more fringy? Who is more MAGA? Who is willing to poke the liberals even more?

So, expect more of this radicalization. And you really saw it play out in

REID: Right.

And, I mean, you think about it, Tim, I mean, let`s -- just say on J.D. Vance for a minute. I mean, if he should win that Senate seat -- and, look, there`s going to be a race. Tim Ryan is in that race as well. Who owns him, Trump or Peter Thiel? Or is it like joint custody?


TIMOTHY O`BRIEN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, BLOOMBERG OPINION: Or Tucker Carlson, because in a way, it was a trifecta.

REID: Or Tucker -- oh, three, yes.

O`BRIEN: Right?

So you had Peter Thiel`s putting money into it. You had Trump advising him on performance art. But the premier performance artist of the American political theater on the far right is Donald Trump, without parallel.

And then you had Tucker Carlson amplifying and endorsing Vance`s garbage. He didn`t care about Ukraine at all, Vance said. Joe Biden was flooding Ohio with drugs, a flat-out lie.

And so it was more than Trump that elevated Vance. And other candidates that Trump is anointed, Oz in Pennsylvania, David Perdue in Georgia, don`t enjoy healthy leads right now. In fact, Perdue is well behind Kemp, and it`s neck and neck in Pennsylvania.

So I`m not sure that Trump alone anointing someone is going to be a surefire thing. But when you get these other forces at work around them, like Vance did, when you get far right money, plus far right media propaganda, it`s deadly effective.

And I think that`s one of the reasons that Trumpism is going to outlast Donald Trump. And I think we all have to get used to the idea that, even if Trump leaves the national stage, wedding white nationalism to propaganda and disinformation has become a very effective brew for the Republican base.

And they`re going to continue to do it. And you`re going to get candidates across the country who are going -- who are adopting that because it works. An emotional relationship with voters is often deeper and more effective than a policy relationship with them. Trump proves that.

And so you will have DeSantis and Hawley and Cruz and Abbott and all these other clowns mimicking Trump because it gets them into office.

SYKES: That`s exactly...


REID: And what it says -- Ron Brownstein has written a lot about the demographic realities of this.

I mean, he`s even written that, look, don`t count on white Republican women to run to the Democrats because of abortion, because they`re just going to keep voting for Republicans, right, that maybe independents might shift over, but it ain`t going to change things.

And if you think about the way that a state like Ohio is gerrymandered, let`s -- Marcy Kaptur, let`s go to her district. She`s represented her district since `83. She won up by 26 points in 2020. It`s in Northwest Ohio. Now it`s gone from D-plus 16 to R-plus six. They have gerrymander the hell out of these districts.

So it does seem, Charlie, like they are locking in...


REID: ... what is going to be a very white nationalist-tinged core.

And that doesn`t seem like it`s going to change anytime soon, whether Trump`s there or not.

SYKES: No. And I agree completely with what Tim just said.

And people do need to understand that this -- whether you want to call it Trumpism, or whether you want to -- whatever you want to call it, will outlast Donald Trump.

And Donald Trump does not necessarily -- it as well. I mean, Donald Trump is very, very careful not to have any daylight between himself and the base. And, as the base becomes more wedded to these very extreme positions, he will go along. He will be reluctant to break with them.

But, I mean, I was saying the J.D. Vance did this because it will work and that he might be in the United States Senate. One of the big unanswered questions of 2022 is whether pandering to these really extreme narratives, how it will play in the general election, how it will play in a state like Ohio, which has trended Republican.

But is J.D. Vance and the kinds of things he`s saying about Ukraine, the kinds of things that he has been saying about authoritarianism...

REID: Right.

SYKES: ... will that play in the general election? And we don`t know at this point.

I mean, there is a chance that by chasing their tail to as far right as possible that, in fact, they will put these states in play, like Pennsylvania, like Wisconsin, and Michigan.

REID: See, that`s what I think, Tim, is that there is a core sort of white nationalist kind of horde that is driving the Republican base right now.

But that`s not all the people who vote Republican. There are still people who just like the tax cuts. And I wonder if, at the end, if you`re a QAnon person or you`re openly saying White Replacement Theory, like J.D. Vance is now doing with Tucker, if that just goes too far and a sort of down-the- middle, sort of moderate Tim Ryan type then can beat them in a state that also elects Sherrod Brown and reelects him and reelects him and reelects him.

O`BRIEN: Well, Joy, you know I love you. And, Charlie, I love you too.


O`BRIEN: But -- and it might just be because I`m Irish that I`m less optimistic than both of you about where all this might go.


SYKES: Oh, I`m not an optimist.

O`BRIEN: We`re sort of always hoping for the best and expecting the worst.

REID: I`m not either.


REID: Yes.


O`BRIEN: But I think -- I think we have ugly, ugly battles ahead of us, because Trumpism is a very difficult thing to respond to, because, in order to get down into the mud and the kind of trench -- political trench warfare this requires to vanquish these MAGA freaks from the national scene involves -- involves tactics that you don`t want to engage with.

REID: Yes.

O`BRIEN: You don`t want to kind of lie. You don`t want to smear people.

And so the Democrats have to figure out how they come back at this in a very sharp-minded, tough-minded way that doesn`t...


REID: Yes.

Well, yes. And the Democrats aren`t really known for a hard fight. Like, they`re generally like, oh, we`re just going to do Marquis of Queensbury. Everything is going to be fine.

O`BRIEN: Kumbaya.

REID: And that`s not going to work. That`s not -- kumbaya is not going to work.

Charlie Sykes, Tim O`Brien, I think we`re all pessimistic together on that -- on that beat. Thank you all very much. Have a great rest of the night.

And Symone Sanders on her exclusive interview today with the first lady`s - - the first lady, Jill Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, is next.

Stay with us.



REID: First lady Jill Biden is traveling to Eastern Europe this weekend, where, on Mother`s Day, she will head to a refugee checkpoint on Slovakia`s eastern border with Ukraine.

Before leaving on her trip, she gave an exclusive interview to my new colleague Symone Sanders. The full interview will air on Saturday. But here`s what she said about the leaked draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade.


SYMONE SANDERS, MSNBC HOST: As a mother and as a grandmother, what would you say to young women right now, particularly young women who are upset about the possible erosion of their ability to make decisions about their own bodies?

BIDEN: Well, I guess the first thing I would say is that how shocking it was, actually, when we heard the news, and Joe and I got the call that it had been leaked.

The president matters. The election of the president matters, because he`s the one who puts the justices on the court. And then -- but if this goes to a state level, our state legislators are going to matter too. So people have to get involved.


REID: Symone Sanders, host of the brand-new show "SYMONE," joins me now.

And, Symone, congratulations on the new show.

And this is a very empowered first lady, much like Michelle Obama. I mean, she is still teaching. She has a doctorate. She`s a very empowered person.

What did she say? And how did she -- how does she reflect on the retrograde direction that the country is going in, particularly around Roe v. Wade?

SANDERS: Dr. Biden remembers a world before Roe v. Wade.

And she goes on to talk about in that clip that you showed about the need to stand up and vote. She essentially says, elections have consequences, and they matter. She talks about that the -- who the president is matters and kind of gives -- gives a call to action, I feel like.

She also, though -- later in the interview, Joy, she talks about her independence, and how her independence was very important to her. And I think that`s something that, particularly in this day and time -- I asked the question, how do you -- what do you say to young women who are upset about their rights essentially being rolled back, essentially?

And she -- juxtaposing that moment that we`re in with her comments about her independence, I think is absolutely fascinating. I can`t wait for people to see the rest of the interview.

REID: What will we learn that we didn`t know about Dr. Biden in this interview?

SANDERS: I think you will learn her do`s or don`ts for reality television.

But I also think that you will learn about -- she became a wife and a mother at the same time. So she talks about in the interview the first time that Beau and Hunter called her mom. She talks about the importance of teaching to her. And she actually gives some advice to teachers across the country for this moment that they`re in right now.

And, also, she talks a lot about her trip. So we get into that. She talks about her -- the conversations that she`s had in advance of the trip with some of the people that she will be meeting with. So I encourage people to watch.

REID: Well, I have to ask you.

Speaking of empowered women, you recently came from the White House, as everyone knows. And another very empowered and very special person that we both know, Karine Jean-Pierre, is -- announced today that she will ascend to the podium on May 13.

I got to ask you to reflect on that, as somebody who has worked for our first vice president, our first black woman vice president. To see a black woman hit that podium, give us your reflections on that.

SANDERS: I think it`s so inspiring. I have had the opportunity to work with Karine at the White House, but also on the president`s campaign.

And, before that, I knew her socially, right, and her work with MoveOn and whatnot. And I think that this is a really important moment, Joy. I remember when you first got your show on 7:00 p.m. and how everyone across the country -- I know every black woman I know, they were excited, honey, because we were, like, yes, black women in prime time. We love Joy.


SANDERS: And we were -- we are -- it is inspiring to see you every single day -- well, Monday through Friday, honey -- at 7:00 p.m.


SANDERS: That is inspiring for us.

And it is the same for Karine. And I tweeted today that there are so many young people in this country that are going to dream bigger because of her today. So I`m excited for her. I know she`s going to do well. And I just -- I can`t wait for May 13.

REID: Well, give us what we`re going to be -- because we`re also excited for you, my dear. What can we expect from your show, which is adequately -- which is appropriately titled "SYMONE"?

What can we expect?


SANDERS: "SYMONE," one word Joy, one word.

Look, folks can expect on "SYMONE" that you are going to get the news you need to know, from politics to pop culture. So we`re going to dig into topics with our culture critics, our panel of culture critics. We`re going to have political panels, and we`re going to go beyond the Beltway.

So I`m going to talk to local people, local journalists all across this country. And we`re going to talk to the people that know, Joy. So I`m excited for Saturday`s show. I`m excited for this weekend. And I just hope people tune in at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday.

REID: Well, congratulations again.

Symone Sanders, thank you very much. We will all be tuning in.

And be sure to watch the premiere of "SYMONE" and her exclusive interview with first lady Dr. Jill Biden Saturday at 4:00 p.m. Eastern right here on MSNBC.

And that is tonight`s REIDOUT.