Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: August 2, 2016 Guest: George Simon, Mark Singer, E.J. Dionne, David Maraniss, Charlie Sykes, John Harwood, Penn Jillette
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I have jumped fully into the first block of Lawrence O`Donnell`s A block tonight for which I am very sorry.
But that does it for us tonight, we will see you again tomorrow, now, it is way past time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell. Lawrence, I am sorry that I hit the top of your show.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rachel, that means you have to stay for the rest.
MADDOW: OK --
O`DONNELL: You can`t go home.
MADDOW: I owe you --
O`DONNELL: OK --
MADDOW: Forever, I`ll do anything, sorry.
O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thanks, man.
O`DONNELL: Well, if you`re big fans of Donald Trump`s kids, you might not like what`s coming up later in the show or you just might be very disappointed in your heroes, the Trump kids.
But first, I first raised the issue of Donald Trump`s mental health last year when so much of the political media was still just chuckling along with his campaign.
And now, finally the media has stopped laughing about the Trump campaign, and is -- and is more and more coming to recognize the clear and present danger that President Obama identified today.
Donald Trump is unfit for the office of the presidency. It`s now becoming more and more clear that the biggest disqualifying factor for Donald Trump as president is his mental health.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Republican nominee is unfit to serve as president. He keeps on proving it.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC: I fielded calls all day yesterday. Everybody was talking about his mental health.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I`m afraid the election is going to be rigged, I have to be honest.
TONY SCHWARTZ, AUTHOR & JOURNALIST: He`s a black hole. There`s nothing inside him to sustain and make him feel good or worthy.
OBAMA: What does this say about your party, that this is your standard bearer.
TRUMP: Don`t worry about that baby, I love babies. Actually, I was only kidding, you can get that baby out of here.
SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Sometimes you wonder who the baby is -- right?
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: You`re not going to find me being critical of Mr. and Mrs. Khan, it`s just inappropriate for us in this contest to be criticizing them.
OBAMA: Why are you still endorsing?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I`ll support the nominee of the party, and if I change my mind, I`ll let you know.
TRUMP: Even if you can`t stand Donald Trump, you think Donald Trump is the worst, you`re going to vote for me.
SCHWARTZ: He`s a deeply damaged human being. He has no awareness of what it is he is doing and the kind of pain he`s inflicting.
KHIZR KHAN, FATHER OF HUMAYUN KHAN: Without empathy, a leader is no leader.
OBAMA: There has to come a point in which you say enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Today, President Obama said the words that no incumbent president has ever said about a candidate nominated to be his successor, "unfit to serve".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Yes, I think the Republican nominee is unfit to serve as president. I said so last week and he keeps on proving it.
The notion that he would attack a gold star family that had made such extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of our country.
The fact that he doesn`t appear to have basic knowledge around critical issues in Europe and the Middle East and Asia means that he`s woefully unprepared to do this job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The very first thing on the President`s list there is the thing that changed the presidential campaign this weekend.
Donald Trump attacking a gold star family. The parents of Army Captain Humayun Khan who was killed in action in Iraq in 2004 when he saved the lives of his fellow soldiers and many other bystanders.
Captain Khan`s parents made their first television interview appearance on this program Friday night. And shortly after that, Donald Trump began lashing out at them. Most of the country responded to Trump`s attacks with indignation including many Republicans.
You don`t have to have been watching Donald Trump very attentively to not be surprised that he attacked Mr. and Mrs. Khan because he attacks everyone who doesn`t praise him.
But apparently, some people made the mistake of thinking there was a limit to Donald Trump`s cruelty.
In the first Republican debate, Donald Trump claimed that his public cruelty to Rosie O`Donnell should be forgiven because he was talking about Rosie O`Donnell.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: You`ve called women you don`t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals. Your Twitter account --
TRUMP: Only Rosie O`Donnell.
KELLY: No, it wasn`t.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Notice that the Republican audience loved that. They agreed with Donald Trump. There`re just no such thing as cruelty. It`s all laughable as long as it`s aimed at Rosie O`Donnell.
And much of the media seem to have no problem with that. They forgot that Donald Trump called "New York Times" columnist Gail Collins "a dog", and she`s not Rosie O`Donnell.
I wasn`t even slightly surprised that Donald Trump attacked Mr. and Mrs. Khan. No one should have been surprised that he tried to demean Mrs. Khan as a Muslim woman who was not allowed to speak.
Even though she had already spoken to the nation on this program before he publicly attacked her. It was a sick thing to do and there is plenty of reason to believe Donald Trump did it because he is sick, mentally ill.
No matter how many times Donald Trump called women dogs, most in the political media were never going to question his mental health.
But the line he crossed over the weekend with the Khan family has finally directed the question of what`s wrong with Donald Trump at the right target, his mental health.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Everybody was asking me about his mental health. It was all everybody was talking about yesterday. It`s not like there was talking points that was shot out by the DNC or by anybody else.
Everybody was talking about his mental health yesterday. Everybody was calling me, saying, what`s happening to him? What is wrong with him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, somebody has got to do a psychologically profile a guy and figure out why he acts the way he acts and is he really healthy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is unhinged. It`s not the Donald Trump that I`ve known for over a decade.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: In the "Washington Post" this morning, Pulitzer prize-winning columnist Eugene Robinson`s piece carried the headline question, "Is Donald Trump just plain crazy?"
Eugene Robinson wrote, "I thought he was being crazy like a fox, now I am increasingly convinced that he`s just plain crazy."
At this point, it would be irresponsible to ignore the fact that Trump`s grasp on reality appears to be tenuous at best.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I spoke indirectly and directly with President Putin who could not have been nicer. If Putin wants to go in and I got to know him very well because we were both on "60 Minutes", we were stable mates and we did very well that night.
I never met Putin, I don`t know who Putin is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: OK, I`m going to read you a list of behavioral traits and you tell me through the TV if this remind you of anyone. "Having an exaggerated sense of self importance, expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warranted.
Exaggerating your achievements and talents, being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect me. Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people.
Requiring constant admiration, having a sense of entitlement, expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations, taking advantage of others to get what you want.
Having the nobility around willingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others, being envious of others and believing others envy you, behaving in an arrogant or hoity manner."
Those are the diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder listed with any illness. And these lists with any illness are not every patient shows every system -- symptom.
You have to have a real huge narcissistic personality disorder to exhibit every one of those symptoms every day in every public moment of your life as Donald Trump always does.
A German physician was the first to note the condition now known as pathological lying back in 1891. Here is a perfect example of just how sick Donald Trump`s lying is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, JOURNALIST: You accept the recommendations of the debate commission? Three debates, one VP debate.
TRUMP: Well, I`ll tell you what I don`t like, it`s against two NFL games. I got a letter from the NFL saying, this is ridiculous, why the debates against -- because the NFL doesn`t want to go against the debates because the debates are going to be pretty massive from what I understand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That`s what Donald Trump looks like when he`s lying. He looks exactly the same as when he`s telling you he loves his children, which is not a lie.
There`s nothing different about the way he speaks when he is lying. He didn`t get a letter from the NFL. He knew he was lying about that, but that`s not the sick part. Lying in and of itself isn`t sick. Here is your choice about that particular Donald Trump lie.
He is so sick that he told a lie knowing that the lie could be checked and proven to be a lie but he couldn`t stop himself from telling that lie.
Or he is so sick, his mind is incapable of grasping that the lie he was telling could be and would be proven a lie within minutes. As it was when the NFL immediately said, of course, they never sent him a letter.
The pathological liar leaves behind lies the way an elephant`s foot leaves dead ants behind with every step, never looking back.
Never feeling anything other than the exhilaration of telling the lie that makes Donald Trump feel so important. The big guy who gets letters from the NFL.
Joining us now to consider all of this, Dr. George Simon; clinical psychologist and an expert on manipulators. He`s the author of "In Sheep`s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People".
Also with us, E.J. Dionne; opinion writer for the "Washington Post" and an Msnbc political analysts. And Mark Singer, staff writer at "The New Yorker" and author of the book "Trump and Me".
George Simon, start us off here, this talk has been going on now, certainly starting with "MORNING JOE" this morning on this network.
But it`s been -- it`s been coming to this for a while, there have been various pieces written about Trump`s mental health here and there. How should we think about this?
GEORGE SIMON, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST & MANIPULATION EXPERT: Well, we need to make a distinction between mental illness and personality and character disturbances. There`s a difference.
Sometimes we see people`s way of looking at the world, their way of dealing with other people, the very style they adopt of interacting with the world at large, sometimes we look at that and we see a pattern.
A set of attitudes, a pattern of relating that boggles our minds and we think that it represents some form of mental illness or insanity.
But this is a style that appears to work for a lot of people. And it appears to get them what they want, it gets them the success that they strive for.
In their own minds, they`re winning at the game of life, and so they adopt these strategies thinking that it works for them. And there`s a big difference between personality and character and mental illness.
O`DONNELL: Mark Singer, how would you expect these traits to work in the Oval Office?
MARK SINGER, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER & AUTHOR: Well, I -- you know, I hate to even think about it, of course, but what George Simon just said is absolutely consistent with what I observed.
I spent a lot of time with Donald Trump almost 20 years ago. And actually, his mind was so reflexive, it didn`t bother me. I just said this is the way the guy talks. I mean --
O`DONNELL: Yes --
SINGER: It was so transparent. I remember one time, I went to Trump Tower to meet him on a weekend day, and I went in the lobby and there -- he of course -- says, Mr. Trump says come upstairs.
So, I get out of the elevator and there`s Trump, and he said, I thought I`d show you the apartment, I don`t -- I don`t normally do this. And the apartment had been a lifestyle for the rich and famous. I`ve seen a bit many of them, I can see --
O`DONNELL: You`ve seen the apartment on TV already.
SINGER: Sure, all the time, it had been widely publicized. And so, I just said, OK, well, that`s OK, it didn`t disturb my -- it didn`t undermine my pleasure, it`s in the -- you know, excess of his home.
O`DONNELL: E.J. Dionne, we`re hearing from Mark Singer is what we heard from Tony Schwartz who wrote Donald Trump`s autobiography, he`s credited as a co-writer on the book. And that is that there`s no surprise about who they`re seeing now, he`s always been this way.
EUGENE JOSEPH DIONNE, COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: Well, and I think the question that we have to answer is, what happened to make us have this conversation now. You raised it a long time ago.
There have been articles since he announced his candidacy about whether he had narcissistic personality disorder or other problems.
And I think that for people who aren`t psychiatrist or psychologist, what he did to the Khan family shook them in a way that nothing else could.
Because here was a family that had lost their son, a mom and dad who lost their son in service to the country, and instead of giving a million different answers he could have given to George Stephanopoulos about what Mr. Khan said about that convention.
He treated a family that had lost their son with cruelty and brutality and political calculation that I think just threw everybody into a different place.
And once people saw that, they then began to go back and say, wait a minute, what about all of this lying? And there have been lies by Trump from the very beginning.
And what about his attacks on everybody who crossed him, everybody who crossed him. Does that tell us something?
But I`m still not sure we would be here if he hadn`t done this awful thing that he did to the Khan family.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what he said to Bill O`Reilly tonight when Bill O`Reilly was trying to advise him that he shouldn`t be getting in fights with gold star families and he especially should not be picking on the mother of Captain Khan.
Let`s listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: You can fight me. You can come at me --
TRUMP: But I --
O`REILLY: But if --
There`s some little Muslim woman who loses her son. You can`t, you just can`t, no matter what she does, she can set you on fire --
TRUMP: Well --
O`REILLY: And you can say thank you, I hated those trousers.
TRUMP: I know --
O`REILLY: You know, he`s got a lot of guts. All right, look --
TRUMP: I didn`t fight her. I didn`t fight her --
O`REILLY: You over, we`ll talk a little --
TRUMP: But please --
O`REILLY: Politics --
TRUMP: Remember, I was -- I was viciously attacked, and all I did was respond to --
O`REILLY: All right --
TRUMP: It, and it ends up being a four-day story.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Now, there`s two guys who both need a lot of analysis. Bill O`Reilly`s depiction of some little Muslim woman, that`s the way he wants to describe Mrs. Khan.
But Donald Trump says I didn`t fight her, I didn`t fight her, and then please remember I was viciously attacked.
And what he never said, what he never could bring himself to say in that conversation with Bill O`Reilly is a single positive word about anyone named Khan.
Not Mr. Khan, not Mrs. Khan and not Captain Khan who`s been dead 12 years now. And George Simon, he`s denying in his response to Bill O`Reilly that he got in a fight with these people over the weekend, but we all saw it.
SIMON: Yes, and that`s a -- that`s a common thing for folks with character disturbances to do. It`s not that they don`t know what they do, it`s simply that they feel entitled to do it.
And Donald Trump, by the way, is not the only person who has this problem. You know, but we live in an age of character disturbance. It`s unfortunately the defining issue of our time.
Is why I`ve spent my career writing and talking about it. In one way, I`m kind of glad that we are having this national discussion these days because our problems are not really rooted in our economic woes or our other social ills.
It all goes down to character, and we`re having a great discussion right now and we`re getting a real lesson in what can happen when these disturbances come to an extreme.
O`DONNELL: Mark Singer, your reaction to George Simon`s point that Donald Trump believes he`s entitled to do it. It seems to me he believes he`s always justified in whatever he says.
SINGER: Oh, he absolutely believes that. I do wonder though, I thought a lot about this question of does he believe his own lies? And I`m not a doctor.
I do wonder though if there`s actually some alternate universe, alternate reality that he inhabits all the time. And of course, all the traits that you ascribe in narcissist fit within that universe.
He`s remarkably consistent, that`s why you`re absolutely correct in saying none of this is a surprise.
O`DONNELL: And --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes --
O`DONNELL: E.J. Dionne, we have this tradition in the country where presidential candidates release medical records, Donald Trump released the most ridiculous phony letter doctors have ever written in America.
Saying essentially that Donald Trump is the healthiest man in America months and months ago.
But we`ve never asked for and never been given any mental health evaluations for these people, which is probably more important than their actual physical health.
DIONNE: Yes, that letter that the doctor released read like it had been written by Donald Trump --
O`DONNELL: Yes --
DIONNE: Maybe there was --
O`DONNELL: Yes --
DIONNE: A little help from Vladimir Putin. I mean --
O`DONNELL: Right --
DIONNE: It was just an amazing thing. And yes, I think that it would be - - we want all of their medical records and that would include records on psychiatric help.
I mean, it`s just --
O`DONNELL: Yes --
DIONNE: Psychiatric thing is tricky because if somebody is a decent reasonably normal person who wants to be better and seek psychiatric help, we shouldn`t sort of hold that against them, and you worry what the media might do with that.
But in a case like this where there were so many things obvious, we really want to know more. But I think this whole story also is a warning to the media.
We tend to look at somebody and judge them by whether they win. So, if little Marco or lying Ted or all that nasty stuff he was doing kind of was out of bounds, but it worked.
We kind of let it go. And it really took a big event, a particular kind of event to force everybody to face up to how often he lies and how often he attacks people.
And the fact that he never gives ground or apologizes even when he obviously should.
And it`s a blessing for the voters that this has happened early enough that we can take a really hard look at who this guy is.
O`DONNELL: George Simon, do you have any advice for voters about how to watch a candidate like this? We`ve never -- we`ve never had a candidate like this for president with this kind of behavior.
Or any advice for the media about how to deal with a candidate like this?
SIMON: Well, I think the country is getting a real lesson on how important character is. And how important it is that we hold people to account.
What we believe really matters. What we believe about each other really matters. The attitudes we hold. How we regard one another, how we -- how we treat one another.
These things really matter. And that`s going to matter to the voters come this November, I think.
O`DONNELL: George Simon, Mark Singer and E.J. Dionne, thank you all for joining us tonight, I really appreciate it.
DIONNE: Good to be with you.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. Coming up, is there anything that Donald Trump can say or do to lose the endorsement of house Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
I`ll give you my answer coming up. And later, a report tonight that the Trump campaign staff is "suicidal". That`s the word in the report.
And pen your letters here, he knows Donald Trump from appearing on a couple of seasons of "Celebrity Apprentice" and we`ll find out what he is thinking about Donald Trump.
O`DONNELL: We have breaking campaign news. Meg Whitman; Hewlett Packard executive and a Republican fundraiser tells the "New York Times", I will vote for Hillary.
I will talk to my Republican friends about helping her and I will donate to her campaign and try to raise money for her.
That is the latest Republican switch to supporting Hillary Clinton. Here is what President Obama said today about Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and John McCain`s support of Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: And the question I think that they have to ask themselves is, if you are repeatedly having to say in very strong terms that what he has said is unacceptable.
Why you still endorse him?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Well, it certainly isn`t because Donald Trump is enthusiastically supporting them. Donald Trump told the "Washington Post" that he is "not quite there yet" on whether he will endorse Paul Ryan in his primary election a week from today.
He also said he would not endorse John McCain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You know, I`ve never been a big fan of John McCain, and I just hate the way our veterans have been treated by John and other people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Here is why Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and probably John McCain will stick with Donald Trump until the very bitter end.
When a new politician comes out of nowhere, and identifies new passions among large groups of voters, establishment politicians take notice.
They pay attention. This happened in 1992 with Ross Perot, suddenly, a very successful business owner and executive with a Texas accent was on TV using charts and graphs to run for president and explaining the importance of the deficit.
And he soared so high in polls that he was actually in the lead in the Spring of 1992.
He ended the race with 19 percent of the vote, which was huge. Bill Clinton was elected in that three-way race with only 43 percent of the vote.
From that point forward, every Democrat and Republican wanted to know how to appeal to Perot voters.
After that campaign, I saw Ross Perot coming out of private meetings with the then Democratic speaker of the house, and the Democratic Majority leader of the Senate who were eagerly trying to figure out how their party could appeal to Perot voters.
Perot then had meetings with the Republican leader of the Senate for the same reason. Donald Trump is the new candidate from out of nowhere who has excited passions that Republican leadership must pay attention to.
Because it will be impossible, just mathematically impossible for Republicans to control the house or the Senate without Trump voters.
If passionate Trump voters, the ones who love Donald Trump the most turn away from the Republican Party because the Republican Party turns away from Trump, Republicans would be just one election away from losing control of the house and Senate.
And so Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell will continue to do the only thing they know how to do, to hold on to control of Congress.
And that is to never, never abandon Donald Trump.
They will continue to issue statements disagreeing with Trump when they have to, as they did when Donald Trump attacked the Khan family. But those will be weak statements that never mention Donald Trump`s name and never specifically repute him. They both seek know other mathematical choice for retaining control of Congress, control of the most important functions of government and nothing is more important to them.
Joining us now, David Maraniss, an Associate Editor at "The Washington Post" and author of six best selling political books, including the "Clinton Enigma." Also with us, Charlie Sykes, the radio host on WTM-AM in Milwaukee. He`s the editor-in-chief of "Right Wisconsin."
David, this situation is something we`ve never seen before and you take the long historical view of these kinds of things. Do you see any other option, any other political option for Speaker Ryan or Mitch McConnell at this point?
DAVID MARANISS, ASSOCIATE EDITOR AT "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, they always have the option of being profiles encourage. That should always be an option for any politician and, you know, you might be right in your argument, but it could also be true that if they stick with Trump, they go down the tubes with him, eventually, or sooner rather than later. So I think that, from the very beginning, they`ve had a very bad set of choices here.
And just looking at the long view of Donald Trump, you know, every politician that I`ve ever studied is a narcissist to some extent and has a huge ego. But Donald Trump, there are no equivalents in any way, you know. Every equivalency is a false equivalency when it comes to Donald Trump and all of those characteristics.
O`DONNELL: And, David, how do you -- so you`ve written about life in the Oval Office rather closely, how would you imagine Donald Trump operating in the Oval Office?
MARANISS: You know, I don`t even know that she can imagine it. I remember once when I was covering Jesse Jackson and I asked him, "What are your first 100 days going to be like?" And he pulled his hat over his head and started laughing. And I think that`s the way a lot of, you know, the media and the public feels about imagining Donald Trump in the Oval Office. I think -- it`s a dangerous thing to even contemplate.
O`DONNELL: Charlie Sykes, take us inside this drama now with Donald Trump and Speaker Ryan. You`re out there at Speaker Ryan`s district. And here you have Donald Trump saying very friendly things about the Tea Party challenger to Paul Ryan in the primary election next week. Donald Trump saying, "I don`t know if I`ll endorse him."
And, you know, there`s always something in these weird scenarios where you want to see the other part of the story and it would be so fascinating to see a president Trump dealing with a Speaker, Paul Ryan, after the way candidate Trump has dealt with Speaker Paul Ryan.
CHARLIE SYKES, HOST, WTM-AM-MILWAUKEE: Oh, yeah. You know, one of David`s books, one of my favorite books that he wrote was called "When Pride Still Mattered" about the Green Bay Packers and I guess that`s the question to Paul Ryan is going to ask himself. Another Republican has to ask himself. Does pride still matter? I mean, how much are you going to swallow? How much are you going to take? You know, how much you`re going to kiss the rod here?
And, you know, I tend to agree politically with your analysis, except for one thing, that you identify the first part of your show is that Donald Trump is not a normal candidate. And I think that the discussion that you had and some of the comments that President Obama made are important, because one of the mistakes we made is trying to think about Donald Trump as a normal candidate. We normalized him when he`s anything but normal. So do those normal calculations actually apply?
Look, Paul Ryan and John McCain are fundamentally decent human beings. Whatever you think about their politics and what they are now yoke to, what they have to put up with Donald Trump may bring them to the breaking point. I just don`t know. But, I think they have to ask themselves. You know, what profits or demand to gain the whole world if he lose his soul, but for Donald Trump, really?
O`DONNELL: David Maraniss, Donald Trump has a woefully under financed campaign, because it turns out he cannot afford the presidential campaign the way he claimed he could last year and here you see Meg Whitman not just saying, I`m going to vote for Hillary Clinton." She`s going to do everything she can, including big fund-raising help for the Clinton campaign. This, again, is one of those moments where she`s showing absolutely no hesitation about jumping across the aisle to Hillary Clinton.
MARANISS: You know, you`ve seen more of that this week than ever before. And I think you`ll see more even next week. But from the very beginning, it`s been a total mismatch in terms of organization and fund-raising and just knowing how to run a campaign. The Trump barely has a campaign. You know, as you pointed out earlier, many people on his staff are now "suicidal."
So there`s no match there. And as you`ve seen this week with first of congressman and then one of W`s assistant and now Meg Whitman, I think there is some momentum building to unrail (ph) -- derail Donald Trump.
O`DONNELL: Charlie Sykes for Paul Ryan, again, in his district what would it cost him, in his district, to turn against Donald Trump now?
SYKES: Actually, very little and he won`t do it between now and Tuesday. He`s got about an 84 percent approval rating among likely Republican voters in his district. Donald Trump lost the first congressional district by 19 points to Ted Cruz. So, he doesn`t need Trump`s endorsement.
But, what I think will happen is, is that after Tuesday, maybe, I`m hoping, maybe this is the -- we`re trying to hope our experience, that he will feel a little bit liberated to take a step back and go, you know, we`ve been rationalizing that this guy is going to change, he`s going to grow, he`s going to be better. The reality is, he`s not getting any better. It`s getting uglier and this is who he is and it is not going to change and they have to decide whether or not they`re going to continue to rationalize forth of this guy.
But, Paul Ryan should win. He should probably win with at least 70 percent of the vote and I think that would be a striking result.
O`DONNELL: All right, I`m just writing that down right here, Charlie.
O`DONNELL: Go ahead, David.
MARANISS: Yeah. One of the lies Donald Trump told today to my newspaper was that Paul Ryan asked for his endorsement, which, of course, he did not.
O`DONNELL: Yes, yeah, yeah. Charlie Sykes and David Maraniss, thank you both for joining us tonight.
SYKES: Thank you.
MARANISS: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Up next, a report tonight that the Trump campaign staff is, and this is the word "suicidal."
O`DONNELL: Breaking campaign news tonight, Meg Whitman the former CEO of Hewlett Packard who back Chris Christie tells the "New York Times" she will back Hillary Clinton and work to get her friends to vote for Hillary Clinton.
There`s also breaking news about what appears to be chaos in the Trump war room now. CNBC`s John Harwood reported this tonight. Long time ally of Paul Manafort, Trump`s campaign manager, "Manafort not challenging Trump any more mailing it in staff suicidal."
Joining us now is John Harwood, Chief Washington Correspondent for CNBC and the reporter for the "New York Times."
John, suicidal was used figuratively, right. I just want to calm everyone down. It`s not (inaudible), and so we`re getting additional reporting tonight from Ali Vitali, Trump campaign ended with us said tonight, "Trump campaign source, in reacts to this meeting in reaction to your report, tells me it`s all true and way worse than people realize." What do we need to know about this, John?
JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you know, Lawrence, whatever a campaign is going badly and things are going very badly for Donald Trump right now, you have strings within the staff and between the staff and the candidate depending on who is messing up in what way. But this is unusual campaign because Donald Trump has such singular control over the daily message of the campaign and resists being managed.
And so, you know, there was a thought that after the primaries when he won and headed into the entirely different ball game, which is the general election, he was going to become a more normal candidate. He (inaudible) Corey Lewandowski, his first campaign manager brought in Paul Manafort who`s done this before, veteran manager on a national basis of Republican campaigns. And it simply has not looked like a traditional Republican campaign with a candidate, you know, picking needless fights with people that it`s only a loser for him to pick fights with him.
So it`s not surprising to me that people are frustrated and, you know, along with the frustration, there`s a bit of butt covering by people in the campaign saying, "Well, it`s not what I did, it`s what the candidate did or what another staffer did."
O`DONNELL: It`s usually this stuff doesn`t happen until the other campaign opens up a very big lead in the polls. And right now Hillary Clinton`s got a lead going in the polls, but it`s not the kind of lead that makes people panic and want to abandon ship.
HARWOOD: True, but remember, she went into the conventions with a solid lead, not a wide lead. His convention was not terribly effective. Her campaign was -- her convention was extremely effective and then what you`ve seen since then out of the chute, the first polling, and we take these with a grain of salt, because polling right after a big event, you can`t always rely on that.
Nevertheless, it`s all been in one direction and pretty substantially and then when you follow that up with this, having a fight with the Gold Star family, with going after John McCain and Paul Ryan today, things that serve no purpose to benefit the campaign. It is not surprising that people are jumping ship from Meg Whitman to the congressman, to a couple of staffers, Sally Bradshaw, Maria Camila who are prominent in Republican campaign circles. They bolted and people are starting to feel like, well, is this just about Trump or is this going to hurt the party as a whole and what do I do to protect myself.
O`DONNELL: John Harwood, thank you very much for joining us with -- on this one tonight. I really appreciated. Thank you.
Coming up, those great Trump kids remember how great everyone covering the convention said that they were. Not so sure about that. They might not be quite as great as some people seem to think.
O`DONNELL: One of the great collective delusions of the political media this season is that Donald Trump deserves the credit for his great kids. Maybe they were just trying to say something positive about Donald Trump, but let`s remember, all of Donald Trump`s kids, by the three different mothers, have been raised primarily and in two cases almost entirely by their mothers. And if those kids are great, there`s absolutely no public evidence of that.
None of them have achieved anything that wasn`t by supported by their father`s money and none of them seem to show any interest in anything other than accumulating more money, just like their dad and when they travel to parts of the world where Bill Gates, the richest man in the world has now devoted himself to giving back by trying help improve living conditions for people who have experienced generations of depravation.
The Trump sons spend their time killing the local wildlife. One of those animal killers went on television this morning to defend his father`s comment that if his daughter, Ivanka Trump encountered sexual harassment in the workplace, she would find another job or another company to work in.
Not a word from Daddy about standing her ground and fighting for justice in unjust workplace just quit and walk away and find another job, because, you know, finding another job is always that easy.
This morning, Eric Trump explained his father`s response this way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP`S SON: Quickly (ph), what you`re saying is, you know, Ivanka is a strong, you know, powerful woman. She wouldn`t allow herself to be, you know, objected, you know, to it. And by the way, you should certainly take it up with human resources and I think, you know, she got when he would as a strong person. At the same time, I don`t think she would allow herself to be subjected to that and I think that`s the point he was making and I think he did so well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And there you hear what sounds like the thinking of a thoroughly spoiled brat who works in daddy`s workplace and believes that women are subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace because they are not strong like his sister.
The Trump family belief seems to be that strong, powerful women do not allow themselves to be subjected to sexual harassment that it is the woman`s choice to allow sexual harassment to be heaped upon them in the workplace and that strong and powerful women that Eric Trump was talking about, the one he was talking about there, his sister Ivanka, has not found the strength or the power to come forward and say, "That`s not true." She has not found the strength and the power to stand up to the ugly sexism of her brother and her father. That would be strong. That would be powerful. That just might be great.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: You can get the baby out of here. That`s all right. Don`t worry. I think she would beloved me that I loved having a baby crying while I`m speaking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now the biggest baby I know who can write a book. His latest is entitled "Presto: How I made Over 100 pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales," Penn Jillette. So you`re not -- you don`t dress like a baby.
PENN JILLETTE, AMERICAN MAGICIAN: You have -- you hear the whole mental health thing, the whole mental health thing and it was all is solved by the fact that I`m not wearing a tie. One year ago I came on this show wearing a Trump tie.
O`DONNELL: Yes you did.
JILLETTE: And I made the first statement I made about Trump as president. I made it right on this show. I said, "I like working with him on the show." The show did a lot for me. We worked together. I don`t think he should be president. I disagree with the one, two (ph) things. And then he did stuff that should be classified as bug nutty. He attacked Carny Trash, a Las Vegas magician. That`s the first person he attacked. Remember that?
O`DONNELL: They use to call that punching down, now it`s just -- it`s like Trump doesn`t make that.
JILLETTE: It`s just insane.
O`DONNELL: I`m going to do a magic trick while you`re talking. Watch, this is an anchorman magic trick. I`m going to make one book stand on top of the other and see if that -- well, it`s, you know, anchorman not very good at it. So Trump`s mental health, which was the first subject under discussion here today. Can you contribute anything having spent endless hours with him in the board room?
JILLETTE: Bug nutty.
O`DONNELL: OK, that`s the official diagnosis from the board room?
JILLETTE: Well, you know, he`s fine in the board room. I mean, this is the thing that no one is saying that the skills are just not transferable. He was a celebrity apprentice, a guy who is volatile, capricious, random, that`s terrific for reality television. He just should have never gone into politics that`s true for a lot of people who are very good at their jobs. I mean, you want or not on reality T.V. You don`t want to move him into -- which I think is a very serious job, president of the United States.
O`DONNELL: Very serious.
JILLETTE: I just think -- so I`ll be able to (inaudible) on the limb here.
JILLETTE: He`s crazy.
O`DONNELL: And by the way, it was a fake board room?
JILLETTE: Yes. And he didn`t have a job to offer me. Well, he did -- years ago he had a showroom, but then he went bankrupt. But he had no job to offer me and I have a successful career that my father did not give me and has not gone bankrupt.
O`DONNELL: All right, can you just stick around. We`re going to do Facebook live after this T.V. show. I`ll do more magic tricks like this.
JILLETTE: That was awful.
O`DONNELL: We`re going to be right back.
JILLETTE: You`re in this book, by the way.
O`DONNELL: I am?
O`DONNELL: You know, these two kids watching the show over there, but we`re not kicking them out. This is not a Donald Trump.
JILLETTE: No, no, no.
O`DONNELL: We don`t kick them up. And you`re going to stick around. We`re going to do a Facebook live thing because we can`t shut you up.
JILLETTE: All right, sure.
O`DONNELL: And we`re going to find out on Facebook live if you can juggle books. That`s what`s coming up here.
You can go to our Facebook thing to watch the Facebook live thing. I don`t know. There`s some stuff on the prompter like this. And the last -- and Chris Hayes ...
O`DONNELL: As always, Chris Hayes is up next.