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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 11/14/2016

Guests: Jonathan Alter, James Peterson, Kurt Andersen, Maria Teresa Kumar, Sean Mcelwee, Patrick Thornton, Tavis Smiley

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: November 14, 2016 Guest: Jonathan Alter, James Peterson, Kurt Andersen, Maria Teresa Kumar, Sean Mcelwee, Patrick Thornton, Tavis Smiley

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: So, that does it for us, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rachel, I`m so glad you mentioned Gwen Ifill, we`re going to have a little video about Gwen Ifill --

MADDOW: OK --

O`DONNELL: Coming up, including what she said about her mentor. And it`s a sad day, but there`s some beautiful ways to remember Gwen, and we`re going to be doing that.

MADDOW: Yes, she was an amazing person, that`s an incredible woman. Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Yes.

O`DONNELL: So, the first president in history with zero experience working in government has so far chosen only two people to work in the White House.

Possibly the two most important jobs in that White House, and both of them have zero experience in government. And that`s the nicest thing you can say about one of them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LESTER HOLT, JOURNALIST: The president-elect tapping as his top strategist, Steven Bannon.

DAVID CORN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, MOTHER JONES: This is a stunning, historic decision in a bad way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bannon has a clear tie to white nationalists. Clear tie.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jewish and Muslim groups and a slew of Democrats infuriated.

CORN: He wanted "Breitbart" to be a platform for the alt-right.

REINCE PRIEBUS, CHIEF OF STAFF-ELECT: The guy I know is a guy that isn`t any of those things.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s a nightmare.

JOHN OLIVER, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: Keep reminding yourself, this is not normal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have to prepare for life to knock you off course.

(SINGING)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And even though I know what went wrong, I`ll stand before the Lord of song with nothing on my tongue but hallelujah!

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: We are all on one team. We are Americans first, thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nobody said democracy is supposed to be easy. It`s hard.

GWEN IFILL, LATE: Real change comes from people who make up their minds that if they see something they will do something.

(SINGING)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hallelujah. I`m not giving up and neither should you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The next White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus has never worked in the federal government.

Never had a job in the White House, never had a job anywhere in the federal government.

The record for White House Chiefs of Staff with no federal government experience is not a good one.

You have to go back 24 years to Bill Clinton`s first White House Chief of Staff, his childhood friend Mack McLarty.

Mack McLarty was well liked by everyone in Washington who dealt with him in the first year of the Clinton presidency.

He certainly looked the part of White House Chief of Staff and was a decent and very dignified man,

A man of his word in all of my experience dealing with him when I was working in the Senate then.

But in the second year of the Clinton presidency, the job got rougher and rougher. And in the middle of the Clinton crusade to reform healthcare, Mack McLarty decided there was a better person to be White House Chief of Staff.

In the middle of what was then the toughest legislative battle in a generation. Mack McLarty resigned and replaced himself with Leon Panetta, who was as good a White House Chief of Staff as we have ever had, possibly the best.

Reince Priebus is no Leon Panetta. And there is no public evidence that Reince Priebus could be as good a White House Chief of Staff as Mack McLarty.

Reince Priebus would not have been on the long list for any other Republican president`s White House Chief of Staff.

Reince Priebus` only strength is that he knows all of the Republican power players in the Congress. His weakness -- weaknesses are that he knows none of the Democratic power players in the Congress.

And more importantly, he has zero experience in government. So, a president with zero experience in government will have beside him through most of the day a Chief of Staff with exactly the same amount of experience in government as the president.

The country has reason to worry about that, the world has reason to worry about that, and the next president has reason to worry about that.

The next president is not going to be able to have confidence in Reince Priebus because Reince Priebus is never going to be able to say to him, this is the way we did it when I was working in the Bush administration.

The president is going to know that every time his White House Chief of Staff opens his mouth on legislation, he will be speaking from zero experience, same thing with foreign policy.

Same thing with selecting ambassadors and judges and members of the cabinet and the sub-cabinet, the undersecretaries, the assistant secretaries.

Reince Priebus has never in his life been in the room where a governing decision was made. Imagine what the reaction would be around the world tonight if Donald Trump had selected someone like say, wildly respected Republican Mitch Daniels to be White House Chief of Staff.

He`s currently the president of Purdue University, he was the director of the opposite management in budget in the George W. Bush administration.

He knows more about how the government works than anyone Donald Trump has ever spoken to with the recent exception of course of President Obama.

The world would still have reason to be tense that an amateur will be president. But it would send a reassuring signal that there will always be an adult in the room if someone like Mitch Daniels is there.

The only thing reassuring about the choice of Reince Priebus as White House Chief of Staff is that he is not Steve Bannon who was also rumored to be a possible choice for that job.

But Donald Trump managed to stoke the fear of his administration by announcing that Steve Bannon will get a job in the White House, an office in the west wing.

He will be on the White House payroll as chief strategist and senior counselor. Bannon of course has never worked in government.

His only experience with government is attacking it and most sharply attacking Republican leaders in Washington like Paul Ryan.

The website Steve Bannon ran before joining the Trump campaign runs headlines like this about Paul Ryan.

"Paul Ryan says U.S. must admit Muslim migrants sends kids to private schools, it screens them out. Speaker Ryan failing leadership test and Paul Ryan running scared in final days ahead of primary elections."

So, the president with zero experience in government will have a chief strategist whose only previous governing strategies have been attacking the Republican speaker of the house and other Republicans.

And who has spent more of his time attacking people, large groups of people, women, Jews, Muslims, black people.

Steve Bannon has targeted them all. He is a hate merchant. He literally sells hatred. His website makes its money on hatred.

Today, President Obama refused to answer a question that invited him to criticize the selection of Steve Bannon.

But he did say this about how the White House should be staffed. Advice that the next president so far has ignored.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Probably, the most important point that I made was that how you staff, particularly the Chief of Staff, your national security adviser, your White House counsel.

You know, how you set up a process and a system to surface information, generate options for a president, understanding that ultimately the president is going to be the final decision-maker.

How he staffs the first steps he takes, the first impressions he makes, the reset that can happen after an election, all those things are important and should be thought about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Jonathan Alter; Msnbc political analyst and columnist for "The Daily Beast".

Also with us, James Peterson; an Msnbc contributor and director of Africana studies at Lehigh University.

Jonathan, we only know -- we only have two confirmed choices for the White House, and it`s hard to think of how he could have come up with worse choices.

JONATHAN ALTER, COLUMNIST, DAILY BEAST: Yes, you know, people in Washington are comforted by the fact that Priebus is Chief of Staff and Bannon is chief strategist.

O`DONNELL: Yes --

ALTER: As if that`s like a good thing. But I urge them to look back at the Bush administration when Andy Card was the Chief of Staff and Karl Rove had the Bannon job who was more powerful in that White House.

Bannon is going to be number one in this White House. He will eat Priebus for lunch.

He`s way smarter not only than Priebus, but then the other people around Trump, not to mention Trump himself.

He`s described by conservatives who worked for him as an "evil genius". A screamer, a manipulator, a hater, somebody who, by his own words, said that he wanted to make "Breitbart", an "alt-right platform".

In other words, a place for hate to get voice online. And he`s now expanding to Europe. He`s trying to link up with Le Pen and the --

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: Where there`s a market for this.

ALTER: Neo-fascists --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

ALTER: And try to, you know, take this movement, this basically white nationalist movement global.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to the next White House Chief of Staff`s defense of Bannon today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRIEBUS: The guy I know is a guy that isn`t any of those things. I mean, the guy I know is a guy sitting in the office all day yesterday talking about hiring, talking about -- and the last few months is a guy that`s exhibited none of those qualities.

Here`s a guy who was in Harvard Business School, he`s a 10-year Naval officer -- the London School of Economics, I believe.

He is a guy who is pretty -- he`s very smart, very temperate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: James Peterson, so Reince Priebus doesn`t want you to judge Steve Bannon by his public record at "Breitbart".

He wants you to judge him by the way he is alone in the room with Reince Priebus which we`re never going to see.

JAMES PETERSON, DIRECTOR, AFRICANA STUDIES, LEHIGH UNIVERSITY: Yes, I mean, the key words there was in the last few months, right? Let`s go back a little bit and look at the "Breitbart" record to really get a better sense at this.

But Lawrence, just to be clear though, everything that you were talking about in the opening monologue about the absence of experience for Reince Priebus, the absence of any government experience for Steve Bannon.

Those are things that for some folks in this country, we`re outraged by that. It doesn`t make any sense. We want to have smart folks around whoever the next president is going to be.

But for some of the folks who voted for Mr. Trump, that`s actually a plus that they have no government experience.

That they are not from inside Washington. They are not in their view contaminated by the ways in which they think government operates in the United States.

So, we have to be really smart about how we sort of frame some of these things. At the end of the day, it`s our job in the media to resist the normalization of some of these things that are absolute outliers.

Having someone like Steve Bannon in a role like the role that Valerie Jarrett plays now for President Obama where that someone like David Axelrod played for Obama previously.

You know, means that we`ve got to think really critically about what Bannon`s record is, and the best piece of information that we have is "Breitbart", you looked at some of those headlines.

But if you -- if you look around the country and you see folks crying, folks are in fear.

And if people are concerned about their lives and their livelihoods going forward under a Trump presidency, their fears are based upon the kind of racialized, sexist language.

The kind of hate-filled, sort of imagery and language that`s populated the site, the "Breitbart" site for the last few years.

And they feel as if Bannon`s anointing here is a signal to Trump`s America that is going to be business as usual when it comes to some of this hateful speech and rhetoric.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan Alter, if I`m Mike Pence tonight, I could easily be feeling, this is all very good for Mike Pence.

Because so far Mike Pence is the only guy in the room, in the White House with any experience. Who in any conversation can use his experience on the Hill, working in the Congress. He`s the only one who can play that card.

ALTER: Yes, I think that`s true, and he will be a very powerful vice president. It`s not clear that Donald Trump will listen to a word that he --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

ALTER: Or anybody else says, he has no record of it. You know, just back to Bannon for a second. Newt Gingrich says, well, how can he be an anti- Semite.

He worked at Goldman Sachs, he was in Hollywood, he made money off Seinfeld when -- in this deal for syndication.

Well, Mel Gibson was --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

ALTER: In Hollywood --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

ALTER: And one of the things that Bannon did just in the last couple of weeks is he made this ad for Trump that had Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman, Janet Yellen, the chair of the Fed, George Soros.

Those were the three villain`s(ph) speech in this piece, all Jewish. A record his wife is I think -- viewers know accused him of anti-Semitism.

So, you know, there are real issues here about the way he treats, not just Jews, but all sorts of other people.

It`s very important that he not be normalized and that his bigotry be front and center every time he`s described in the media.

Vigilance is the price of liberty as Wendell Phillips and Thomas Jefferson said. You know, the press has to stay on this, they cannot let this go.

It`s not something that we can allow just to become, you know, a story that was an issue several weeks back --

O`DONNELL: Right --

ALTER: Let it drop.

O`DONNELL: James Peterson, I think --

ALTER: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Your point is crucial when you point out -- when you referred to the way I framed this as two people with no experience working in government and how that can actually sound appealing, will sound appealing to Trump voters.

But the -- so, the right way to frame it to Trump voters to get them to question it is to say, a guy from Goldman Sachs and a guy, you know, from Republican Party headquarters, and if that isn`t the center of the swamp, what -- you know, what else is?

PETERSON: Yes, I mean, that`s the game that Mr. Trump has played very effectively, right? He`s the working-class billionaire, right?

He`s the outsider with all the insider contacts, right? And I think what we have to realize here is that the kind of vigilance that we`re talking about having may not be present for the folks who are supporting Trump, because for them, the victory is already won.

You know, they are not in any way connected to the kind of fear and the kind of tragedy that people are feeling in this particular moment.

And my sense is that at least from these first two picks, Mr. Trump is not at all interested in governing in a way that`s going to try to reunite this nation.

What he`s trying to do is send signals to the folks who helped him get to where he is right now. That this is going to be a Trump presidency that in many ways reflects the kind of campaigning that he did over the last year and a half.

O`DONNELL: James Peterson and Jonathan Alter, thank you both for joining us, really appreciate it.

PETERSON: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up --

ALTER: Thank you, Lawrence --

O`DONNELL: Tavis Smiley will join us, we`ll discuss David Duke`s endorsement of Steve Bannon working in the White House.

Also, coming up, the president today was asked about Donald Trump`s temperament for being the president. He had said on the campaign trail that Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit to be president.

And who lives in a bubble in America? Are there any bubbles or there are a bunch of bubbles? Is the political elite in a bubble?

Is the Midwest in a bubble? Are the coasts in a bubble? We`ll go into the bubble, figure it out, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: This just in. The "Associated Press" has finally called the state of New Hampshire for Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton now picks up four more electoral college votes to make the current electoral college tally, Donald Trump at 290, Hillary Clinton at 232 with only Michigan still to be called by the "Associated Press".

The actual vote total is 61.3 million for Hillary Clinton and 60.5 million for Donald Trump. And I challenge you to explain that to other democracies around the world.

Coming up, who lives in the bigger bubble or are they all bubbles? West Coast, East Coast, Midwest, we`re going to go in the bubble.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit to be commander-in-chief.

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was the day before the election. Today, the president was asked about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Given some of the harsh words you had about Mr. Trump calling him temperamentally unfit to be commander-in-chief.

Does anything surprise you about President-elect Trump winning, now resuming your office?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The president managed to decline to comment on Donald Trump`s temperament now that he`s actually president-elect. But later, in that same news conference, he said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Whatever you bring to this office, this office has a habit of magnifying and pointing out and hopefully then you correct for.

This may seem like a silly example, but I know myself well enough to know I can`t keep track of paper. I am not well organized in that way.

Pretty quickly, after I`m getting stacks of briefing books coming in every night, I said to myself, I`ve got to figure out a system because I have bad filing/sorting and organizing habits.

And I`ve got to find some people who can help me keep track of this stuff. Now that seems trivial, but actually it ends up being a pretty big piece of business.

I think what will happen with the president-elect is, there are going to be certain elements of his temperament that will not serve him well unless he recognizes them and corrects them.

Because when you`re a candidate and you say something that is inaccurate or controversial, it has less impact than it does when you`re president of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Kurt Andersen; the host of public radio program "Studio 360" and Maria Teresa Kumar, the president and CEO of Voto Latino and an Msnbc contributor.

Kurt, that was such a kind of brilliantly-chosen example. I wanted to let it play out because it`s completely neutral.

It doesn`t say anything about Donald Trump. That thing about I am bad at filing and --

KURT ANDERSEN, RADIO HOST: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Sorting, which by the way is my closest identification to the president.

ANDERSEN: Yes --

O`DONNELL: I`m sure I am worse than he is at this. But he came as close as he could to this issue of this guy being -- up to now, anyway --

ANDERSEN: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Completely, temperamentally unfit.

ANDERSEN: He also -- the other time I think and other time he said in that press conference -- oh, I gave the president-elect this piece of advice as well was when he said, when you`re president, you find out that there are norms and rules and laws.

And the people who work for you find out that there are --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

ANDERSEN: Norms and rules and laws. Now, for most people, that will be like a rhetorical statement.

O`DONNELL: Right --

ANDERSEN: For him, it was actually as though -- and I told Donald Trump this, so that he would understand that --

O`DONNELL: Yes, and Maria Teresa, you know that in no other presidential transition meeting has one president told the president-elect, you know, the work here is governed by rules and laws and stuff.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR, PRESIDENT, VOTO LATINO: Right, well -- and I think that the enormity of the job is finally starting to sink into the Trump campaign.

And to the transition team as we saw when Jared, his son-in-law wanted to know how much of the presidential staff was going to stick around. So, I think they definitely have a deep learning here.

But to the president, he was very cautious of saying anything too extreme with Donald Trump because he recognizes that, at the end of the day in American politics, we have to make sure that we are keeping the sacredness of the Oval Office.

The sanctity of it, and the institutions that it runs and represents in part. And that is what he`s trying to do during this transition.

O`DONNELL: I want to listen to something that the president said today about Donald Trump, and about -- and Kurt, because I know this is a point you thought about a year ago. About how he doesn`t think Donald Trump is so ideological. Let`s listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I also think that he is coming to this office with fewer set, hard and fast policy prescriptions than a lot of other presidents might be arriving with.

I don`t think he is ideological. I think ultimately, he`s pragmatic in that way, and that can serve him well.

As long as he`s got good people around him, and he has a clear sense of direction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Kurt, this harkens back to last year when there was a mini debate you could find online about -- among Democrats of who would be worse, Ted Cruz or Donald Trump?

And Trump can`t be as bad as Cruz because Trump doesn`t believe anything.

ANDERSEN: Right, you know, and unfortunately -- and then I still think that`s true. He has instincts, like, you know, the guy at the bar on Queens Boulevard has instincts.

O`DONNELL: Yes --

ANDERSEN: But unfortunately, when he does put a guy like Steve Bannon, whom he met, you know, a few months ago in such an important position in the White House.

A guy who doesn`t have any ideology, where that can be -- oh, good, he`s practical, he can break through into a third way.

But if Steve Bannon is the guy in your ear down the hall, that`s a little worrisome because Steve Bannon does have an ideology of hate and white nationalism and all the rest.

O`DONNELL: And Maria Teresa, what signal do you get from the Bannon appointment?

KUMAR: That if the President-elect Donald Trump wants to be the president for everyone, he -- Bannon is not the correct choice.

He is as Kurt just mentioned, he is an anti-Semite. He is anti-LGBT. He is anti-women, misogynist and he`s anti-immigrant all wrapped up in a nice, big bowl.

So, if he -- if he really wants to moderate the office and be pragmatic, he has to think twice of who he is surrounding himself with.

Mike Pence is no different. Mike Pence also has very much an extreme agenda. And let`s not forget, over a million people voted for Hillary Clinton in the popular vote.

So, this is not necessarily a mandate, but that is what they`re going to consider it because of the way the electoral college is divided up.

O`DONNELL: And Kurt, a quick word before we go, because you are a real scholar of Trumpism before it was political --

ANDERSEN: Yes --

O`DONNELL: Going way back decades ago here in New Hampshire --

ANDERSEN: That`s my life --

O`DONNELL: Watching Trump.

KUMAR: I am so sorry --

O`DONNELL: Latest news -- latest news of the evening, "Nbc News" confirming that the Trump campaign has inquired about getting security clearances for Donald Trump`s children. Top secret security clearances for the kids.

ANDERSEN: Which is extraordinary that they would have some national security role. Really, again, it`s -- I have -- I said with some amusement during the campaign -- oh, this is like a crazy television show.

But hey, kids, I am president, you want to work on my national security team? It`s like it`s some terrible, ridiculous sitcom.

O`DONNELL: Yes, it couldn`t get crazier. Kurt Andersen, Maria Teresa Kumar, thank you both for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.

KUMAR: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Democrats new goals, they`re trying to find those people who voted for Donald Trump but previously voted for President Obama.

And later, Tavis Smiley will join us to consider David Duke`s endorsement of Donald Trump and Steve Bannon.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: The red/blue divide shifted this year. According to the Washington Post, nearly 700 counties that twice voted for President Obama flipped this time and voted for Donald Trump. Enough of those voters were located in the Midwest battleground states to shift the presidency from blue to red, even though blue got more votes, Hillary Clinton got more votes than Donald Trump.

Democrats in the United States Senate got more votes than republicans but it`s still left the democrats in the minority in the Senate. Democrats in the House of Representatives got more votes than republicans but it`s still left them in the minority there. Joining us, Sean McElwee, a policy analyst for DEMOS Action and Patrick Thornton, the Senior Director of User Experience Strategy at CQ Roll Call.

Sean, what do you see as the various strata of the Trump vote? One of the things that drives me nuts about this discussion is people will say it`s nothing but the racist vote or it is not the racist vote like there`s one vote. It`s like soil, there are different layers and there`s a racist vote in there and there are other votes. But one of the interesting votes in there is former Obama voters for Trump?

SEAN MCELWEE, POLICY ANALYST FOR DEMOS ACTION: Absolutely. And the way that I argue about this is that what we have seen is the culmination or 50 year effort by the Republican Party to weld together a plutocratic agenda with white racial anxiety. They have told white Americans that the economic dislocation that you are feeling in your community is due to immigrants. And that any government programs to solve these problems will only benefit people of color.

African Americans and Latinos and not white Americans, and what my research showed is if white people believed that they`re losing jobs and they`re losing economic grounds to people of color, they are far more likely to support Trump. Even if they were previously democrats, even if they`re women, even if they`re college educated.

O`DONNELL: You know, polls really never go straight at it and say, are you a racist? Because they know they wouldn`t get --

MCELWEE: Right.

O`DONNELL: -- that you get a 99 percent no. But there`s various ways of - - there are indicators that you find in the data. What are some of the indicators you found?

MCELWEE: Absolutely. So, the first thing that we use is something called racial resentment. We ask other groups have gotten ahead. Do African- Americans just need to work harder and try harder? Has discrimination held African-Americans back? And the other is just stereotyping. Are white people, are African-Americans are lazier and more violent than white people?

And the disturbing number of Americans will say yes.

O`DONNELL: And the ones who say yes, African-Americans are lazier and more violent are disproportionately represented in the republican and the Trump vote.

MCELWEE: Absolutely. And this survey was actually done at a time before the primary decided. And we can see within the Republican Party the most likely to stereotype, the most likely to have racial resentment are far more supportive with Trump.

O`DONNELL: Trump and not John Kasich for example. Even with the part.

MCELWEE: Absolutely.

O`DONNELL: Patrick Thornton what do you see when you look at this tapestry?

PATRICK THORNTON, SENIOR DIRECTOR OF USER EXPERIENCE STRATEGY, CQ ROLL CALL: Well, I think a lot of what Sean is describing is kind of like the what of what is going on, and I`m trying to look at, you know, how did this happen. And a lot of what I`ve seen especially in my native state of Ohio, I come from more a more rural part of Ohio. It is a lot of voters and a lot of people that have not had that much experience with people of different backgrounds.

The county I come from is 97 percent white. And that`s not the whitest county in Ohio, you know. You got some counties in Appalachia where Trump just cleaned up that are 98, 99 percent white. And a lot of it really isn`t so much that they are deliberately trying to be racist or bigoted. But they ended up voting for a candidate who is deliberately racist or bigoted because they may not know that many people of different backgrounds.

And so when you -- when you see immigrants of different backgrounds being scapegoated, for them, a lot of times, they may not really realize how offensive that is or they might not fully realize that maybe -- that their issues that they`re dealing with have nothing to do with that.

O`DONNELL: And Patrick, is it also a factor that people growing up in these all white communities don`t recognize the sting in a lot of Trump`s language. They don`t realize how hurtful some of his statements and some of his attacks have been, including the attack on president Obama`s birth.

THORNTON: Yes. I think 100 percent, they don`t realize it. And I think a lot of them do not fully grasp that just because you might have disagreements with either Hillary Clinton or Obama`s economic policies that doesn`t necessarily mean you can excuse the other things that Trump has said and done. And so when I hear from a lot of different people from around the country, a lot of different minorities they tell me that that`s exactly that they don`t understand how these people could have supported somebody who has been so openly racist and bigoted towards so many different groups.

And I think a lot of that really is just a lack of empathy towards people they have not really met or interacted with. And it`s -- I don`t think it`s -- for many of them, there are some people who are legitimately rather racist and bigoted. But the vast majority of Trump supporters, a lot of these people in this -- the whiter parts of the Midwest, they`re not intentionally trying to be that, but it`s just a lack of I think experience with other people and empathy that sometimes leads them to not understand how revolting Donald Trump is to so many different Americans.

O`DONNELL: And Sean even with all that, we always have to remember in these discussions, is Hillary Clinton got more votes. She got more votes. And it is simply accident of distribution and what has become the modern madness of the Electoral College that means the person with the most votes can now lose.

MCELWEE: Absolutely. But what I do think that we need to talk about is the fact that labor unions which are a traditional bastion of working class mobilization and often can bring people in the working class across race and gender together have become incredibly weak. And --

O`DONNELL: And labor unions are communicators --

MCELWEE: Yes.

O`DONNELL: -- labor unions historically did a lot of communication among these groups.

MCELWEE: Absolutely. They create the solidarity that it takes and they create a mobilization. Look at Nevada where you had the AFLCIO knock on 300,000 doors and now you have the first Latina in the senate. So, I do not think that it is a question of, we have to win back only the white the working class. We have to win back the working class across race and gender lines.

O`DONNELL: All right. We`re going to take a quick break, we`re going to be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BERNIE SANDERS, UNITED STATES SENATOR: I know it is not a sexy issue, and I know the media doesn`t cover it, but trade policy, whether it`s NAFTA or CAPTA or permanent normal trade relations with China are enormously important issues.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Patrick Thornton, I wanted to show Bernie Sanders talking about NAFTA and I wish we have some video of him where he`s angrily ranting against it. Last year we ran some video, a back to back of Donald Trump talking about NAFTA, Bernie talking about NAFTA. You could not tell the difference. And in these Midwest battleground states, NAFTA was a huge issue.

And it seems like Hillary Clinton got saddled as the NAFTA candidate, even though she did not vote for it, had nothing to do with it. She was first lady when NAFTA went through. But it seems like Bernie Sanders found the way to talk to those voters about that kind of issue.

THORNTON: Yes, he definitely tapped into that a little bit differently, and I think there was also a failure on either side, really, I mean the Republican Party has certainly been more traditionally pro-trade than the democrats, to actually defend, you know, trade. And I think that left, you know, Clinton a little bit vulnerable. But, you know, one of the things I think Clinton didn`t really do apparently a good job either is talking about a lot of these jobs at factories and jobs that have left Ohio and other parts of the Midwest haven`t gone to Mexico or Canada.

They`ve gone to Alabama, they`ve gone to Texas, they`ve gone to this right to work states. And, you know, it gets back to the, you know, the union discussion we had earlier about unionization is dropping in a lot of -- a lot of this country, a lot of industrial Midwest. So there was not a very robust discussion about A, maybe how trade has benefited the United States, but B, how a lot of these jobs are not either being left or lost because of NAFTA or other trade agreements.

Or are not being lost for, you know, or being lost for other, other reasons, you know, a lot of factories now have a lot more automation and robotics going on, which means there`s just a lot less jobs to be had for the same economic output. And you look at American manufacturing is actually has quite a bit of a robust output right now, and it has nothing to do with NAFTA. That`s everything to do with much more modern manufacturing processes that rely much heavily on robotics.

And that was just never discussed, and I`m not really sure why that was never articulated from either side.

O`DONNELL: And Sean you never heard Donald Trump railing against or Bernie Sanders, railing against the Toyota plants that have located here and the BMW plants that have located in this country. Patrick is right. International trade is both the most complex subject that government deals with and yet the most important subject to voters who aren`t fully equipped to see that whole picture. So, there has to be a way to talk to them.

MCELWEE: Absolutely. Let`s take Arizona. In Arizona there was a paid sick leave and higher minimum wage on the ballot. And that won 58 percent of the vote. Clinton won 45 percent of the vote. So, there were a lot of voters who went out and said I want minimum wage and I want paid sick leave but didn`t translate that in to the Democratic Party. I was looking at ads from queue and when he -- he was the first Latino to represent Nevada.

And he ran ads talking about expanding social security. He talked about the minimum wage, he talked about working families. I think you definitely need to see more of this and you do see more mobilization.

O`DONNELL: First thing President Obama said today about how to talk to these voters is minimum wage. And yet those very same voters voted for minimum wage and then for the republican candidate. We have to leave it there. Sean McElwee and Patrick Thornton, thank you both for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.

MCELWEE: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Still ahead, Tavis Smiley will get tonight`s last word. His reaction to Steve Bannon joing the Trump White House, but first, a fond look at Gwen Ifill who we will truly miss.

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O`DONNELL: We`re all saddened to learn this morning of the passing of Gwen Ifill. Gwen was an anchor and managing editor of the PBS News Hour and Washington Week. She had a highly distinguished career in journalism including years of work at New York Times and NBC News. Here is a sample of the reaction today.

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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Finally on a personal note Michelle and I want to offer our deepest condolences to Gwen Ifill`s family and all of you, her colleagues on her passing. Gwen was a friend of ours. She was extraordinary journalist. She always kept faith with the fundamental responsibilities of her professional asking tough questions, holding people in power accountable and defending a strong and free press that makes our democracy work.

PETE WILLIAMS, AMERICAN JOURNALIST: Gwen was a dear friend, a former NBC colleague. Pardon me. She was -- Gwen would want me to get this together. She had so many rewards and awards in her office you could barely see out the window.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was a mentor to me and she also spoke at my college graduation. And really what I got from her was someone who was really never too busy to give me -- take the time and talk to me about my stories, about how I had done on meet the press.

OBAMA: I always appreciated Gwen`s reporting even when I was on the receiving end of a tough and thorough interviews.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For me to loose Gwen on my 48th birthday I`ll say this to anybody whose listening. God only knows how long we have on this earth. But you should as heck better maximize the time that you are here. She were for 61 years. We would have loved that she would be here 62. But the kids is here. You do as much as you can for as long as you can while you have the opportunity.

OBAMA: She was and employees a powerful role model for young women and girls who admired her integrity, her tenacity and her intellect. And for whom she blazed a trail as one half of the first all-female anchor team on network news. So Gwen did her country a great service. Michelle and I join her family and colleagues and everybody else who loved her in remembering her fondly today.

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O`DONNELL: I wanted you to hear a few words from Gwen Ifill tonight. And I found this. Gwen Ifill delivered the commencement address at Wake Forest in 2013. This was her wish for the students graduating that day.

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GWEN IFILL, TELEVISION NEWSCASTER: I wish several things for you today. Not least of which that you, too, one day will have a mentor like I had in my career. His name was Tim Russert. He was the Washington NBC News Bureau Chief. He passed away in 2008, just before he delivered the commencement speech here at Wake the next year. He was someone who everyone should have as a mentor. Someone who will talk you into something you ought to do that you are too scared to do. In my case it was leaving print for television. Someone who will watch out for you once you do it and make sure that you succeed, someone who will then turn you loose when it`s time in my case, leaving NBC News to work for PBS and talk you into doing something else if you need to. Tim taught me all those things, and though I don`t think I ever told him how much I appreciate it. I think he would love it that I`m telling you instead.

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O`DONNELL: I`m going to read you a headline. Think about where did this headline appear? Steve Bannon, eight things to know about Donald Trump`s chief strategist, including that he reportedly didn`t want his daughters to go to a school due to the number of Jews that attended. That was in Teen Vogue. Teen Vogue -- teenagers who care about where they go to school, who care about who they go to school with are reading about this. So far, Teen Vogue, at least, is refusing to normalize the presidency of Donald Trump. Tavis Smiley joins us next.

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DAVID DUKE, AMERICAN WHITE NATIONALIST: Bannon is being chosen to be the top strategist. I think that`s a good sign, because I think Mr. Bannon has really been right on about a lot of issues facing European Americans. He`s really talked about and supported in some ways the alt-right.

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O`DONNELL: That is David Duke`s endorsement of Steve Bannon. He couldn`t be happier. Joining us now Tavis Smiley, the host of Tavis Smiley on PBS. Tavis, first of all, my condolences to you for the death of Gwen Ifill, your PBS Colleague. It`s a sad day for all of us. And let me just invite you to say a word about Gwen before we get into this.

TAVIS SMILEY, HOST OF TAVIS SMILEY ON PBS: Yes. I don`t mean to put this in racial terms, but because the media in this country does not look like America, it does not reflect the breadth and depth of what America is, the media -- the news media does not reflect this beautiful mosaic that is America. And so I say this in that spirit. Every race of people ought to be judged, Lawrence, by the best they`ve been able to produce, and put very simply, Gwen Ifill is among the best that our people have ever given in this country and indeed the world. And she is going to be sorely missed at PBS.

O`DONNELL: Thank You for that, Tavis. Now on to the business of the day. We have David Duke has finally found an administration that`s so far he`s just crazy about.

SMILEY: Yes. I don`t believe in nor do I practice the politics of personal destruction in part because it`s not my style and numbers two because I believe that every one of us, even Mr. Bannon is redeemable so I don`t play that game. Having said that Lawrence I do believe that when people show you who they are, you should believe them. What I found interesting about this campaign is that every time another vile rant would come out of Mr. Trump`s mouth, another vulgarity would escape his lips. Every time that happened there was always someone on the right, and indeed, let`s be honest, some folk on the left who would defend Donald Trump by saying that`s not the Donald Trump that I know to which Lawrence O`donnell and Tavis Smiley and others kept saying will the real Donald Trump please stand up.

They say that Donald is just saying these outrageous things just to get elected. That`s not really who he is, and when he gets in, he`s going to moderate. I caution you, they said the same thing about Clarence Thomas once he got on the court -- the high court. And I`m still waiting for him to moderate. I digress on that point. My point there was simply this at this point we are getting to see who the real Donald Trump is. And to my mind Lawrence there are only two ways to judge the real Donald Trump.

You judge him by his posse and you judge him by his policies. You judge him by the people he`s placing around him and you judge him by his priorities. In a couple months, we will see what his budget has to say about his priorities. Dr. King put it this way, budgets are moral documents. Budgets are moral documents. You can say what you say, but you are who you are when you put your budget on the table. But in the interim, what we can do is to look at the people he`s placing around him. And when the people you`re placing around you and those who we are told are on your short list for high positions make up some of the most destructive and divisive and devilish characters in all of contemporary politics well God help us all.

O`DONNELL: And Tavis as you say, it`s policy and the personnel. Between now and February, we probably won`t have much other than the personnel to judge. And so this is the way we`re going to get our picture of what to anticipate down the road. Now we can`t sit here tonight and know for certain what Steve Bannon`s going to be advocating in terms of policy in the Whitehouse. But certainly if there`s any discussion about how strong and forbidding and threatening a Muslim ban should be, if there`s a round table in the Whitehouse about that the bets are that Steve Bannon is indeed the ban them all category.

SMILEY: Well that`s what I said I don`t believe in personal destruction politics because every one is redeemable. And I want to prejudge him but his track record is abundantly clear. And I think the other part. The part that scares me about this arrangement between he and the now I guess the former RNC Chair, they will co-chair, co-broker power in the Whitehouse is that the campaigning never stops. I mean it just sickens me. And this is not just a critique of the Republicans Party. This is true across the board saddening that when we get past Election Day, the campaigning never stops. And the true governing on behalf of fellow citizens never begins. There`s no line between campaigning and governing, and when you see one of his ilk receive a position of this kind of authority in the Whitehouse it makes you wonder will the campaign ever stop and the governing ever really begin?

O`DONNELL: Well we`ll see what happens when the governing begins. Tavis Smiley, thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.

SMILEY: Thank you Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: MSNBC`s live coverage continues now into "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams. That`s next.

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