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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donell, Transcript, 8/8/2016

Guests: Alan Murray, E.J. Dionne, Gordon Humphrey, Michael Barnes

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: August 8, 2016 Guest: Alan Murray, E.J. Dionne, Gordon Humphrey, Michael Barnes


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Steve, I think that`s how all politicians spend their Summer vacations --

KORNACKI: And it comes with the job, right? --

O`DONNELL: Yes, right, thank you, Steve.

KORNACKI: All right.

O`DONNELL: Well, within the last hour, Donald Trump just lost another Republican Senator, Susan Collins of Maine announced that she won`t be voting for Donald Trump.

A former neighboring Republican senator of hers from New Hampshire who has decided not to vote for Donald Trump will join us. But first, what Donald Trump needs to learn about the value of a dollar, actually, the value of a nickel.

To be perfectly precise, I actually mean 4.3 cents. Donald Trump needs to learn what 4.3 cents can mean to the multi-trillion dollar budget of the United States of America.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Today, I will outline my economic vision.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you look at this as a strictly a policy speech.

TRUMP: Poverty, OK? Poverty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a hot mess and you just give up.

TRUMP: I am proposing an across the board income tax reduction.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He wants to repackage, trickle- down economics.

TRUMP: The rich will pay their fair share.

CLINTON: You know, that old saying, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice --

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Fool me, we can`t get fooled again.

CLINTON: Trickle-down economics does not help our economy grow.

TRUMP: These reforms will offer the biggest tax revolution since the Reagan tax reform.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It made me wonder whether or not he also wanted to leave it to beaver to be back on prime time.

TRUMP: I want to jump-start America, and it can be done, and it won`t even be that hard.



O`DONNELL: Four-point three cents. Have you ever heard that number before? Can you imagine that amount of money mattering to anyone or ever even having to be expressed, 4.3 cents?

A nickel is -- it`s too small a tip to give at Starbucks. A nickel is only meaningful to the most poverty-stricken people among us. But it was one Summer the most important number in Washington.

A place where billions are tossed about with ease was once completely steening by a nickel. And that`s why 4.3 cents is the best number to show just how childish and unrealistic and utterly impossible Donald Trump`s economic plan actually is.

And I don`t mean to ignore the trillions that the Trump plan would add to the national debt. We will get to that. But there`s always something abstract about trillions for me anyway. And something abstract about the national debt itself, but a nickel.

A nickel is always a nickel, except in Washington, of course. That number, 4.3 cents once became the most important number in Washington when it appeared in a giant budget build that included hundreds of billions of dollars of tax increases and hundreds of billions of dollars of spending cuts and it was then my job to come up with that number.

To negotiate that 4.3 cents because Washington had decided that a nickel was just too much, and, of course, the only way a nickel can be too much is if it`s a tax.

The road to what became a 4.3 cent increase in the gasoline tax was a dangerous winding road that came within one vote of making Bill Clinton essentially a lame duck president in his first year.

Bill Clinton was very responsibly and bravely pushing a deficit reduction bill that included huge spending cuts in Medicare that Democrats didn`t want.

And what was then the biggest tax increase in history which no Republican wanted and most Democrats didn`t want. But were willing to vote for because the country needed deficit reduction.

And it`s not as if Bill Clinton had run for president earning a mandate to raise taxes, it was quite the opposite.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The economic positions taken by Bill Clinton, the middle class will get a tax cut amounting to about $350 a year.


O`DONNELL: He ran on a middle class tax cut and won. And once in office embraced a giant package of taxation that he hadn`t mentioned in the campaign. And that is what Republicans in Washington hated the most about Bill Clinton at first anyway.

That he said something Republican sounding during the campaign which they believe won him that campaign and then he did the liberal Democrat thing once he was in office.

Never mind that raising taxes was the responsible thing to do under the circumstances, the politically brave thing to do. And actually even braver after running on a middle class tax cut.

Republicans hated that in the campaign Bill Clinton stole their Act, the Tax Cut Act, with just four years earlier in the presidential campaign sounded like this.


GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My opponent won`t rule out raising taxes, but I will and the Congress will push me to raise taxes and I`ll say no.

And they`ll push and I`ll say no, and they`ll push again and I`ll say to them, read my lips --


No more taxes.


O`DONNELL: And just two years after that President Bush in his first -- after he said that in his first presidential campaign, he actually did the responsible thing, too.

He agreed to a deficit reduction package with a Democrat-controlled Congress that included spending cuts that Republicans wanted and tax increases that Republicans hated.

Seventy percent of that bill that President Bush signed was spending cuts. Only 30 percent of the bill was tax increases, any rational look at that compromise would say it was a compromise, the Republicans won, they got 70 percent of what they wanted.

But then in those days, the worst thing that could possibly happen, happened to President Bush and that worst thing was named Pat Buchanan.


PAT BUCHANAN, PALEOCONSERVATIVE POLITICAL COMMENTATOR & POLITICIAN: Why am I running? Because we Republicans can no longer say it is all the liberals fault.

It was not some liberal Democrat who declared "read my lips, no new taxes", and then broke his word to cut a seedy backroom deal with the big spenders on Capitol Hill.


O`DONNELL: President Bush was savaged in Republican presidential primaries by Republican Pat Buchanan who never had a chance of winning but did everything the Democrats could ask for in loosening President Bush`s grip on the Republican base for his re-election campaign.

And then Bill Clinton entered with his middle class tax cut and the rest is history. President-elect Bill Clinton abandoned the middle class tax cut before he even took the oath of office.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: From New Hampshire forward for reasons that absolutely mystified me, the press thought the most important issue in the race was the middle class tax cut.


O`DONNELL: That`s because tax cuts are always the most important thing in a presidential campaign. They just haven`t been the most important thing in the Democrat`s presidential campaign until Bill Clinton.

But tax cuts, big tax cuts have become boiler plate in Republican presidential platforms. When a Trump campaign announced a tax-cut proposal, it was the biggest tax cut that any Republican candidate was talking about.

Taking the top income tax rate all the way down to 25 percent, and then the greatest negotiator in the world publicly negotiated with himself about that 25 percent.


TRUMP: I come up with the biggest tax cut by far of any candidate, anybody, and I put it in. But that doesn`t mean that`s what we`re going to get. We have to negotiate.


O`DONNELL: And by negotiate, of course, Donald Trump means take dictation from Paul Ryan, the most powerful Republican politician in America as the speaker of the house always is for any party that does not hold the presidency.

Today, Donald Trump announced that he would simply adopt Paul Ryan`s proposed top income tax rate of 33 percent and drop -- that will be a drop of 6.5 percent from the current top income tax rate.

And Donald Trump would cut other tax brackets as previously dictated by Paul Ryan. These are not Donald Trump`s ideas. Donald Trump would ask Congress to cut corporate taxes, also, to eliminate the estate tax.

A grab bag of tax cuts and tax eliminations that Republicans have said they`re in favor of for years. And the horrible danger to America in this proposal is that it is the only thing -- the only thing that Donald Trump has said as a candidate that Paul Ryan essentially agrees with and would work with to make law.

It`s the only thing. The Trump-Ryan tax proposal would bankrupt America as no cut before it, tax cut before it ever has.

It would indeed add trillions to the deficit because it violates Ronald Reagan`s principles for tax reform.

Ronald Reagan`s principles for tax reform in 1986 were identical to Bill Clinton`s principles in the tax bill of 1993.

Preserve, progressivity and income taxation, and most importantly pay for all tax cuts within the tax bill.

Do not allow the tax cuts to increase the deficit. That`s how the adults did tax reform in Washington.

Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. There was not one word in Donald Trump`s speech today about how anything in his economic plan would be paid for.

Least of all, this.


TRUMP: We will build the next generation of roads, bridges, railways, tunnels, sea ports and airports, that, believe me folks, is what our country deserves.


O`DONNELL: With what? Build the next generation of roads and bridges, railways, tunnels, with what? With what money? That sentence is hundreds of billions of dollars.

Just that sentence alone, infrastructure spending has come in last in every budget battle in Washington for more than 20 years now.

We have let our roads, bridges and tunnels slip into such disrepair that some estimates say it would take $3.5 trillion over 5 years to bring our infrastructure to a state of good repair.

Just a state of good repair. That estimate doesn`t include any new road building anywhere in America. And $3.5 trillion is just about the entire annual federal budget now.

So, we aren`t going to get anywhere near that, but it shows you that to get us even one third of the way to a state of good repair, getting one third of the way to making America great again on roads and bridges and tunnels would require hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

To get us there, to get us back to being that great country on infrastructure again will take hundreds of billions of dollars that Donald Trump hasn`t even thought about, and most importantly, it`s money that Donald Trump doesn`t even know where to find.

I mean -- I mean, literally, he doesn`t know where to look for it in the federal budget or where the federal government gets it.

Virtually, all of the money the federal government spends on roads comes from the gas tax that you pay at the pump every time you fill up your car.

And we haven`t raised the gas tax since the Summer of 1993 when the Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee tried to reach an agreement to raise it by 10 cents.

But now all the Democrats would agree to that. And when I was the staff director of the Senate Finance Committee then, we couldn`t get any Republican help because by that time all Republicans were pledged to vote against all tax increases for the rest of time.

And so the Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee tried to agree on raising the gas tax by a nickel. And the last time the gas tax had been raised, it was by a nickel and it was barely noticed at the time.

It was my job in 1993 as Chief of Staff of the Senate Finance Committee to personally negotiate with the lone Democratic hold out on the nickel increase in the gas tax.

And without that we couldn`t put the whole Clinton deficit reduction bill together. The solution to this giant package of legislation was found, as it often is, at the staff level.

Me sitting along with Senator Max Baucus, the Chief of Staff, it took us a couple of days, but we finally landed on 4.3 cents.

And with Senator Baucus` vote, because of those 4.3 cents, we were able to get that bill out of the finance committee onto the Senate floor where the vote was tied 50-50 and that tie was broken by Vice President Al Gore`s vote.

The Democrats did not have one vote to spare and the final piece of the puzzle that got them that final vote was 4.3 cents.

Nothing in Donald Trump`s economic plan as he announced it today would work the way Donald Trump thinks it would.

When Donald Trump says he will increase infrastructure spending but will not increase the gas tax, that will have to pay for that, that he will not increase it even 4.3 cents, Donald Trump is lying to you.

But in this instance, it is not a lie told because of malice or willful deceit. It`s one of the Trump lies that is told because Donald Trump is the most abjectly ignorant person who has ever run for president in the United States of America and has no idea what it takes to increase infrastructure spending.

And the latest Monmouth poll indicates that most voters now seem to get that. The poll shows Hillary Clinton ahead of Donald Trump 50 percent to 37 percent which is way outside the margin of error.

And here with us tonight is Alan Murray, he is the editor of "Fortune" and he wrote the book literally -- co-wrote the book on Reagan tax reform which is entitled "Showdown at Gucci Gulch".

Alan, as soon as I heard Donald Trump mention Reagan tax reform today, I needed the authority on the subject. And I want to go to -- just very quickly --

ALAN MURRAY, EDITOR, FORTUNE: I just want to point out, Lawrence, that the book is still in printing --

O`DONNELL: It is still in printing --

MURRAY: Can be bought on Amazon --

O`DONNELL: And it is simply this. It is the single best account ever of how tax legislation gets done in Washington, which is to say how anything gets done on Washington.

And I guess we should say how it used to get done. The Reagan principles on tax reform invoked by Donald Trump today, crucial piece of it was, it must be paid for.

You don`t just cut a tax, you have to pay for it.

MURRAY: There were two rules actually, and both of them violated by Trump today. One rule is, it can`t add to the deficit --

O`DONNELL: Right --

MURRAY: It has to be paid for. The other is we`re not going to change the basic distribution of the tax system. The percentage of tax paid by each income group will remain about the same.

If you -- if you look at the details of the Trump plan, actually, it will be a big tax cut for those at the very top. But I`ve got to correct your history on one thing here, Lawrence.

Because while those were the principles in 1986, they only happened because Ronald Reagan had done exactly what Donald Trump did today in 1981 --

O`DONNELL: Right --

MURRAY: Proposing a huge tax cut that actually created the deficit problem in the first place and created a political environment where you just couldn`t do any more to hurt the deficit.

O`DONNELL: We had a president who learned a lesson, and that -- had a principle. We`re going to have to take a quick break here, we`ll be back with Alan and more on the economic plan.

And Republicans against Trump, a former senator will tell us why he won`t vote for Donald Trump after Senator Susan Collins of Maine announced just tonight that she will not be voting for Donald Trump.

And Republican foreign policy and national security experts are lining up against Donald Trump with a few very conspicuous exceptions. Names like Kissinger, Baker, Condoleezza Rice.



TRUMP: No family will have to pay the death tax.


American workers have paid taxes their whole lives and they should not be taxed again. It`s just plain wrong and most people agree with that.


We will repeal it.


O`DONNELL: Joining the discussion now, E.J. Dionne; opinion writer for the "Washington Post" and an "Msnbc" political analyst.

And E.J., on the eliminate the death tax, one of the great ambitions of the Republicans in Congress, it should be noted that worker is to use that phrase about the death tax, never pay it.

It`s only paid on very high level estates. And he made the point in there that, you know, these people have already paid income taxes on this -- no, they haven`t, on an awful lot of the wealth insider states. No taxes have yet been paid.

EUGENE JOSEPH DIONNE, COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: Right, because there are accumulated capital gains that they have never paid. Any taxes on any -- the workers he`s talking about are venture capitalist workers --


DIONNE: Or hedge fund --


DIONNE: Workers or owners of corporation workers. One -- two of every one thousand estates pay the estate tax and the -- you know, you can invade the estate tax.

You don`t pay it really if you`re a couple until you have an estate over -- worth over $10 million. That really doesn`t help a lot of people in Flint, Michigan or Scranton, Pennsylvania.

And as Alan pointed out earlier, this tax proposal is really very much a tax proposal for the well off. The best headline I saw on it today was on David Graham`s piece in "The Atlantic", it`s "Trump`s shotgun marriage of populism --


DIONNE: And supply side economics". The workers get the words and the wealthy get most of the money. And I`m very curious how this is going to play going forward.

MURRAY: Well, and it`s not -- and it`s not just words, E.J., it`s this weird combination of trade and immigration policy to appeal to the working class and tax policy that`s clearly geared towards people at the top.

I`m not quite sure how that works, we`ve never seen anything like that before in American politics. But that`s the idea --

DIONNE: That`s McKinley(ph) I guess.

MURRAY: Yes, and you may have, I didn`t cover that one.

DIONNE: Yes, but that one I did. Lawrence and I were both there, but you know, can I say something --

O`DONNELL: Go ahead E.J. --

DIONNE: Lawrence --

MURRAY: Go ahead.

DIONNE: That you know, it`s really striking that Donald Trump at this late date still has to rally the conservatives in the Republican Party. George W. Bush proposed a fairly big tax cut, but he did it mostly in the primaries.

At this point, he was appealing to suburban women talking about education. I think the other interesting proposal here that also actually benefits the wealthy, although it doesn`t sound that way, is the deduction for child care.

Well, guess what? Thirty percent of Americans, that`s all itemized their deductions. Those are people who are on average about 75,000 or more -- not on average, but most of them are over 75,000.

And so that benefit too would go mostly to wealthy people who had big child care expenses if you really wanted to do something about child care.

You create a refundable credit where everybody would get a decent amount.

And so, again, I think Trump shows he`s got a problem and the Republicans are split between those who will be bought off by tax cut proposals and apparently Paul Ryan is one of those.

And Republicans who won`t and Susan Collins is apparently one of those.

MURRAY: But E.J., what`s so interesting about this analysis that we`ve been doing for the last few minutes is that it -- that speech, the core part of that speech, take aside the American first part could have been given by any major GOP candidate the last four decades.

It could have --


MURRAY: Been Mitt Romney, it could have been John McCain, it could have been either one of the Bushs. And so, even if you pick apart the plan, at least we`re in a familiar universe of political debate.

Which is not where we`ve been living for the last few months.

O`DONNELL: But Alan, some of those people you mentioned would have at least paid lip service to paying for the tax cuts.

They would -- they would have -- some of them would have said, you know, this is what we expect to do and of course they would exaggerate --


MURRAY: But election year tax --


MURRAY: Plans never add up.


MURRAY: They never add --

O`DONNELL: Right --


DIONNE: But you need --

MURRAY: I mean, right? You can`t think of any that was put forward in an election year that will add up. You have to -- you have to assume that some responsibility will (INAUDIBLE) after --

O`DONNELL: Right --

MURRAY: The election.

O`DONNELL: Quickly E.J. --

DIONNE: And to Alan`s point, I mean, he`s exactly right, this could have been given by any Republican since Reagan.

And so it`s striking that in his speech he attacks Hillary Clinton for having old ideas or not having new ideas. This is the oldest idea in the Republican play book.

O`DONNELL: It is that, E.J. Dionne, thank you very much for joining us tonight --

DIONNE: Good to be with you --

O`DONNELL: And special visitor Alan Murray who anybody who knows anything about tax law, writing tax law has read this book because you learn an awful lot about it right in there.

And it`s not as -- maybe I made it just sound too boring writing tax law. That maybe the most boring thing a human thing can do. But this is a good --

MURRAY: It`s -- read the -- read the endorsements on the back. It`s a thriller.

O`DONNELL: Yes, it is a thriller, it absolutely is a Washington thriller, Alan, thank you very much --

MURRAY: Thank you --

O`DONNELL: For joining us, really appreciate it. Coming up, the retired four-star general called Donald Trump today, his words, "an abusive bragger", and said he`s unfit to lead our arms services.

And Ivanka Trump stress the importance of supporting working mothers at the Republican convention, but she apparently did not mean that to apply to any working mother who makes clothes for the Ivanka Trump clothing line.


BARTIROMO: I`m sorry I scared you last week. Many of you commented on Twitter and Facebook last week that you were -- to put it mildly terrified when I asked you to imagine what a President Trump would do in the six minutes that the President of the United States would have to decide what to do in response to an incoming nuclear attack on the United States.

And as I said, that response time could be reduced to three minutes or less if a nuclear weapon was launched from a Russian submarine west of Bermuda where Russian nuclear submarines routinely patrol now.

One of the things that the President would have to consider in those minutes is the possibility that it was a false alarm, because a false alarm is actually more likely than a real alarm.

And very serious false alarms have occurred the worst of which was during the Carter presidency.

The day after I discussed those six minutes and The Football that is always near the President, which is actually a briefcase containing the options for nuclear war and The Biscuit, which is always in the President`s pocket, which is actually a small card with the President`s nuclear codes on it.

The day after I discussed all of that here, former Republican Senator for New Hampshire Gordon Humphrey said this: "To imagine Trump in charge of our armed forces at a moment of crisis is frightening."

Senator Humphrey is not the only frightened Republican. Another house Republican Scott Rigell of Virginia has announced he`ll vote for libertarian candidate Gary Johnson instead of Donald Trump.

Bringing down the total number of Republican representatives not supporting Donald Trump to six.

Six Republican senators have now indicated they will not vote for Donald Trump with the latest being, just tonight, Maine Senator Susan Collins who wrote in a "Washington Post", a piece that was posted tonight.

"I will not be voting for Donald Trump for president. This is not a decision I make lightly, for I am a life-long Republican but Donald Trump does not reflect historical Republican values nor the inclusive approach to governing that is critical to healing the divisions in our country.

Joining us now, former Republican Senator Gordon Humphrey, former senator from New Hampshire, and Michael Barnes, former political appointee in the George W. Bush drug policy office.

He is now supporting Hillary Clinton for president. Senator Humphrey, welcome to the program. You`re not --


O`DONNELL: Going to vote for Donald Trump, does that mean you are going to vote for Hillary Clinton?

HUMPHREY: Good evening, Lawrence, and Michael -- no, I`m not going to vote for Hillary Clinton. I will do so only in the event that the race in New Hampshire for New Hampshire`s electoral votes was very close.

More than likely I will abstain in that contest or I might vote for one of the third candidates, shall we say the independent candidates. But most certainly not voting for Donald Trump.

But I`ve been saying that for months. I think his mental soundness is very much in question. He is not in my opinion, a man of sound mind.

Think of this Peggy Noonan`s latest column in the "Wall Street Journal" just out two days ago is entitled "when they decided that Donald Trump was crazy", and she -- they being the voters.

And she talked about all the weird things that he`s done, including the most recent outrage of attacking the gold star mother still grieving over the death of her hero son. All of that without an apology.

I mean, the man does and says things that no normal human being would ever think of doing. He`s not right. There`s something wrong with his mind and it would be the height of the responsibility to empower this man as president. It would be reckless act in the extreme to empower him as commander in chief.

O`DONNELL: Michael Barnes, what drove you into opposition of Donald Trump?

MICHAEL BARNES, REPUBLICAN FOR HILLARY CLINTON: Generally, I think, that in 2016, we don`t know what a likely voter is because the notions that we previously relied upon don`t work when we have the candidate now who is giving empowerment to people who are racist or xenophobic or otherwise, overtly be prejudice against individuals, those have been socially or economically isolated and the individuals who want a political shakeup.

The one good thing he has going for him, is proposing a shakeup. What that means is that there`s a great deal of candidate among people that have not been involved in politics. So, we see that in the fund-raising totals, we see that in social media and we likely do not see it polls.

So, you can`t say I`m going to rely on polls, typically looking at likely voters when this is a year which that means very little, and you have to go out and actually take your affirmative step to make sure that Donald Trump is not president of the United States. So, not voting or voting for a libertarian, this year they`re about 70 percent consistent with typical mainstream Republican viewpoints, but you can`t view that because there`s a likelihood that would -- Hillary Clinton`s enthusiasm gap and strong support of disaffected individuals on the R side for Trump, that there could be a win if we don`t out and ensure it does not occur.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Senator Collins said in her "Washington Post" piece. She wrote, "I am also deeply concerned that Mr. Trump`s lack of self restraint and his barrage of ill-informed comments would make an already perilous world even more so. It is reckless for presidential candidate to publicly raise doubts about honoring commitments with our allies. Mr. Trump`s tendencies to lash out when challenge further escalates the possibility of disputes, spinning dangerously out of control."

Senator Humphrey, it seems like your neighbor in Maine thinks a lot like you do on this subject?

HUMPHREY: So it seems. I was a member of the armed sources committee for all of 12 years. I was in the Senate so I had sop understanding of military doctrine and weapons and how things can escalate. And I don`t want Donald Trump in the middle of it, any of that.

By the way, I have a solution if I may offer it and that is for the Republican National Committee to reconvene in emergency session this week or next week at the latest and replace Donald Trump as nominee. It can do that. It should do that. It could do that. It must do that.

It`s not so much for the party, but in the national interest. And it would help very much -- very much if President Bush both of them and Mitt Romney would put some pressure on Reince Priebus to do exactly that, along with Mitch McConnell, of course, and Paul Ryan. That`s what needs to be done.

O`DONNELL: Michael Barnes, it seems like Donald Trump gives a tax cut speech and that will eliminate the possibility that Senator Humphrey was just talking about. That the Republican leadership will be perfectly happy with that speech and that`s enough to keep going.

BARNES: I really hope it were not that. I mean, admire the senator`s can- do attitude. I think we`re way beyond that. And we have to look at what it boils down to is the security of the nation. The notion we could have a vile but a volatile president who would likely undermine core American values, and the first of which is the role of law. And all the that`s associated that goes along with this man that cannot be predicted you don`t know what he will do in that three-minute period.

We`ve got to go out and make sure that this individual is not elected president of the United States and the way to do is ensure the one that has the enthusiastic voters, Hillary Clinton, gets our votes.

O`DONNELL: Well, polls show public agrees with you, Michael, and you Senator Humphrey, as well as Senator Collins on Donald Trump`s temperament. We have a Monmouth poll out tonight saying that 67 percent believe that Donald Trump does not have the right temperament to be president.

We`re going to have to leave it there for tonight. Senator Humphrey and Michael Barnes, thank you both very much.

BARNES: Thank you, gentlemen.

HUMPHREY: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

HUMPHREY: Good night.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, former Republican national security officials announce today that they will not vote for Donald Trump, but some very big names were missing from that list.


O`DONNELL: General Barry McCaffrey called Donald Trump`s remarks against the Khan family the last straw. In an op-ed for "The Seattle Times", General McCaffrey wrote, "Trump sounds like a 12-year-old, a willful and abusive bragger. Trump is unqualified to be the president of the United States and fulfill the role of commander in chief of the 2.2 million men and women of the armed services."

Today, 50 former national security officials who all served in Republican administration echoed that critique writing in an open letter, quote, "None of us will vote for Donald Trump. Indeed, we`re convinced he would be a dangerous president and would put at risk our country`s national security and wellbeing."

In a response to that letter, Donald Trump`s campaign released this statement, "The names on this letter are the ones the American people should look to for answers on why the world is a mess. And then we thank them for coming forward so everyone in the country knows who deserves the blame for making the world such a dangerous place."

No former Republican secretary of state signed the letter, which means the country and the world still wait to hear what Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, James Baker, and Henry Kissinger think about Donald Trump having the nuclear codes.

Henry Kissinger and James Baker have both personally met with Donald Trump. There is some speculation among Republican observers that Kissinger and Baker are refusing to criticize Trump publicly so that if he becomes president, they will become valued advisers to President Trump who has never demonstrated any ability to take any advice.

Up next, who said this, President Obama or Paul Ryan? "We are in a global economy whether we like it or not. The question is who is going to write the rules for the global economy." Was that President Obama or Paul Ryan? The answer is coming up.


O`DONNELL: Donald Trump and Paul Ryan might agree on tax policy, but they don`t agree on much else, especially international trade.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We do need trade agreements. I know a lot of people say, "just get rid of trade agreements and don`t do trade agreements and that`s terrible." That`s a problem for us.

We`re in a global economy whether we like it or not. The question is, who is going to write the rules to the global economy, is America going to write the rules to benefit us or will we retreat and not play the game, not get involved and let other countries like China write the rules?


O`DONNELL: That`s Paul Ryan echoing almost word for word President Obama`s position on trade policy, the day before Paul Ryan`s Republican primary election in Wisconsin.

Today, Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence phoned into the most popular in Paul Ryan`s district and said this about Donald Trump`s publicly reluctant endorsement of Paul.


MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I think with regard to Donald Trump`s endorsement Friday night, I think you heard an unqualified expression of support, early in the week, I think just -- it was reflective of the fact they`re still getting to know each other.


O`DONNELL: Radio host Charlie Sykes asked Mike Pence if he was going to have to continue cleaning up Donald Trump`s messes?


CHARLIE SYKES: Can you or anyone else get Mr. Trump to stop saying crazy and offensive things for the next three months?

PENCE: Well, you know, I hear these rumors, I guess it makes for good fodder on internet. I`ll tell you, this campaign is head down, going after it hard.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, the man who got the campaign interview of the day, Charlie Sykes, radio host on WTMJ AM in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He`s the editor in chief of Right Wisconsin.

So, Charlie Sykes, famously Never Trump, gets a phone call from a guy name Mike Pence.


O`DONNELL: How surprised were you?

SYKES: Oh, not at all, actually. He reached at it, I think the rule is to be the right whisperer. He`s the guy that reaches out and tries to build bridges and tries to convince people that Donald Trump is not as quite crazy as he appears on a regular basis.

So, this is what he`s trying to do. He`s trying to build bridges. As you notice, I didn`t get an answer to that question about whether or not he`s going to get him to stop saying crazy things. He sort of laughed and then changed the subject.

O`DONNELL: Yes, and you stayed with it. It`s not like you took one shot at it. I listened to that through the program, and just went OK. So just no answer to that.

And I guess in the non-answer is the answer. Of course, he`s going to have to do that.

SYKES: Right. And, of course, that`s what we saw on the last week, that`s why you`re seeing that letter. I mean, last week was the one where all the illusions were shattered. He`s not going to change or be something different and you might be able to get him to give one speech, what`s the old runner, you know -- 24 hours before he`s back on Twitter.

Obviously, though, from Mike Pence`s point of view, what happened with Paul Ryan last week was a big embarrassment, it was a disappointment. He obviously was on the phone and that`s one of the things we were talking about. That really did a lot of damage to Trump here in Wisconsin. It did not hurt Ryan but it did not do Donald Trump in favors in a state that`s not that popular to begin with.

O`DONNELL: Charlie, there are some Republican observers who when they see Donald Trump get through a teleprompter speech without saying anything, you know, particularly ugly about a Gold Star family, they start to think, OK, back on track.

SYKES: Yes. That would be the triumph of hope over experience, right? It`s going to take a little bit more than that he was already back on Twitter this afternoon.

I mean, look, this is one of the things that Mike Pence -- has to try to normalize Donald Trump. I think that`s going to be his mission. That`s going to be his mission to conservative. He`s going to be on the phone, obviously he wasn`t able to get to some of those foreign policy folks, otherwise, you wouldn`t have seen that incredible letter with the 50 experts who are breaking bad on Donald Trump`s fitness to be president of the United States.

O`DONNELL: And, Charlie, tonight, Maine Senator Susan Collins, it`s one of those things it happen, I feel I guess it was inevitable, just imagine Susan Collins coming out and saying, I`m for Donald Trump. I mean, how much that kind of -- how important that kind of endorsement would be for him. He`s not getting that kind of endorsement from a woman senator like Susan Collins.

SYKES: No. And now, we`re at six members of the U.S. senator, Republicans who are Never Trump this is starting to build. The analogy I was using last week, will it be like a little bit of a landslide, the pebbles start rolling downhill and the rocks get bigger.

And even with the endorsement of Ryan last week, I mean, it`s obvious that this relationship is very stressed. For a lot of Republicans their whole rationalization, the rationalization was don`t worry about Donald Trump, he`ll get along with people like Mitch McConnell. He`ll get along with Paul Ryan. I think you`ve seen that`s not going to happen whatever they say.

O`DONNELL: Charlie Sykes, thanks for trying to get that answer from Mike Pence today and thank you very much for joining us tonight.

SYKES: I`ll keep trying.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Charlie.

SYKES: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, how much does Ivanka Trump really care about helping working mothers get child care? Maybe not quite as much as she says she does.


O`DONNELL: So, how much paid maternity leave do you get if your job is making dresses for Ivanka Trump`s clothing line? Go ahead, wild guess. Take your time, the answer is going to come up after this commercial break.

But, first, here is how it looked today on the campaign trail.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Don`t be fooled, there is no other Donald Trump, what you see is what you get.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Our party has chosen to make new history by selecting a nominee from the outside.

CLINTON: Today in Detroit, he`s got, I don`t know, dozen or so economic advisers he just named, hedge fund guys, billionaire guys, six guys named Steve, apparently.

TRUMP: The city of Detroit is the living, breathing example of my opponent`s failed economic agenda.

CLINTON: Haters done build, haters tear down.

TRUMP: Detroit is still waiting for Hillary Clinton`s apology. I expect Detroit will get that apology right around the same time Hillary Clinton turns over the 33,000 e-mails she deleted.

CLINTON: Just imagine Donald Trump in the oval office faces a real crisis. What happens when someone gets under his skin?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What he says does matter. Words do matter when you are running for president of the United States. People are looking for you for leadership.

CLINTON: I don`t know that the United States can afford that kind of risk.

PENCE: You go talk to somebody who knows you and says, you know what, here is really why we need Donald Trump as our next president.

CLINTON: They want you to tell your friend, don`t let a friend vote Trump.

PENCE: Hope you leave here today with that burden.




TRUMP: My plan will also help reduce the course of child care by allowing parents to fully deduct the average cost of child care spending from their taxes.


O`DONNELL: That deduction would be useless and would not be used by most Americans who do not itemize deductions on their tax returns. That deduction, of course, would benefit rich Americans who do itemize deductions and also spend some very large amounts of money on child care. Donald Trump didn`t say anything about changing labor laws as his daughter had promised.


IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF DONALD TRUMP: At my father`s company there are more female than male executives. Women are paid equally for the work that we do and when a woman becomes a mother, she is supported, not shut out.

As president, my father will change the labor laws that were put in place at a time when women were not a significant portion of the work force, and he will focus on making quality child care affordable and accessible for all. Policies that allow women with children to thrive should not be novelties, they should be the norm.


O`DONNELL: Well, too bad that those policies are not the norm at the company that makes Ivanka Trump`s clothing line. In fact those policies do not exist there. The company called G-III doesn`t allow a single day, not one day of paid maternity leave and instead gives just 12 weeks of unpaid leave and that is the legal minimum.

According to "The Washington Post", Ivanka Trump`s clothing generated about $100 million in revenue last year in reports that she was very active in the hiring of the -- of the people at the company. The British newspaper, "The Independent", reports that most of the Trump brand is, of course, made in Vietnam and China, where else? She`s a Trump.

We`ll be right back.



TRUMP: I gently tell a woman that I love her baby and let the baby cry, it`s about. After three or four minutes and I`m trying to speak and it was in Jacksonville, we had this massive, massive crowd that filled up the stadium and the baby is screaming. So, I said, ma`am I would like to reverse my order, perhaps you can nicely take the baby out. Your baby is great. I did it so nicely. She was happy. Even the baby was happy, he stopped crying.

In the next day in the newspaper, it said, "Trump throws baby out of arena."


Terrible. Now, they`re very dishonest.


O`DONNELL: The big baby just can`t get over the little baby. That`s tonight`s LAST WORD.

A special live edition of "HARDBALL WITH CHRIS MATTHEWS" is next.