The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 8/16/17 Trump's Charlottesville Response

Guests: Christina Greer, Rashad Robinson, David Cay Johnston, Ana Marie Cox

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: August 16, 2017 Guest: Christina Greer, Rashad Robinson, David Cay Johnston, Ana Marie Cox

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: That does it for us tonight, we will see you again tomorrow, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening, Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Good evening, Rachel, it`s the night of the mayors tonight.

You just had William Bell of Birmingham talking about the confederate monuments there, we`re going to have the mayor of Baltimore, Catherine Pugh, who managed to get rid of all of the monuments in Baltimore overnight.

MADDOW: Overnight in one stealth move, it was pretty impressive.

O`DONNELL: Very divisive action, the kind of thing that we don`t see in Washington.

MADDOW: Also I`m sick of people complaining that local government can`t get stuff done. I was like you want to see action? Watch that coordinated --

O`DONNELL: Right --

MADDOW: Thing, they moved fast and got it done.

O`DONNELL: Well, the mayor is going to tell us how she did it and how she made the decision, how quickly she moved. She`s going to be --

MADDOW: Right --

O`DONNELL: On the show --

MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence --

O`DONNELL: Thanks, Rachel --

MADDOW: Thanks.

O`DONNELL: Well, Donald Trump has become the divider-in-chief. He has divided this country, he has divided his party.

He has divided the White House itself. And so it was no surprise today when he did not do what his predecessor would have done.

He did not attend Heather Heyer`s memorial service in Charlottesville, but Heather`s parents delivered more eloquence and wisdom in their remarks than this president of the United States ever could.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUSAN BRO, MOTHER OF HEATHER HEYER: If you`re not outraged, you`re not paying attention.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists.

(CHANTING)

BRO: They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, guess what? You just magnified her.

TRUMP: I think there`s blame on both sides.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: The president of the United States needs to condemn these kind of hate groups.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you feel that under Trump administration, more and more people are joining your movement?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No doubt, our movement is winning, our movement is growing.

KASICH: They think that they have some sort of a victory.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believed that the symbolism of being associated with that spirited defense of racism and bigotry was just unacceptable.

BRO: I`d rather have my child, but by golly if I got to give her up, we`re going to make it count.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Donald Trump is the only president who, from the start, has aspired to be the divider-in-chief.

Thanks to the electoral college, Donald Trump won the presidency by coming in second with 46.1 percent of the vote to Hillary Clinton`s 48.2 percent of the vote.

You would think that a president who came in second in the vote would immediately go to work trying to broaden his appeal, to gain more voter support.

That is what every president tries to do no matter what their winning margin is. And that is one reason why their approval ratings tend to go up after election day and after inaugurations.

Not Donald Trump. He held meetings with some people like Al Gore during the transition that indicated perhaps the Trump presidency was going to try to reach beyond that minority of voters who elected him, but that`s not what happened.

Donald Trump has continued the divisive politics of his presidential campaign through every day of his presidency.

He has divided the country in his mind between people who voted for him and people who didn`t. If you didn`t vote for him, he clearly does not care what you think about anything.

He doesn`t care what you want. If you voted for him, you can do no wrong. That is Donald Trump`s golden rule.

If you voted for him, you can do no wrong, and that is what is sinking Donald Trump`s presidency and dividing the country.

If you voted for him, you can do no wrong. White supremacists voted for Donald Trump. American Nazis voted for Donald Trump.

That`s why Donald Trump will never unequivocally condemn them the way any other president of the United States would.

Donald Trump knows what white supremacists and Nazis want to hear, and that`s why, as we reported here last night, David Duke and other white supremacists gave the president rave reviews for what he said yesterday about both sides being to blame for the murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville on Saturday.

White supremacists and Nazis were thrilled that the American president drew a moral equivalence between Nazi racists and people protesting Nazi racists.

We`ve never seen this before, and we say that every night about the Trump presidency. We`ve never seen this before, but the fundamental political principle that makes Donald Trump the divider-in-chief is that he is the only president we have ever seen who has never made the slightest attempt to win more supporters, to win more hearts and minds, to win more votes.

If you weren`t with him on election day, he hasn`t tried to convert you since. And we have never seen that before in a president or in a politician.

Donald Trump used to say he`s not a politician, and he`s right, he`s not smart enough to be a politician. He`s not sensitive enough to be a politician.

He does not have the humanity to be a politician, and that is a very low bar for humanity. Can`t even fake it, and the result is the divider-in- chief.

His approval rating has been in steady decline since inauguration day, and this week he had an all-time low of 34 percent.

He no longer has the approval of all of the people who voted for him. He is the divider-in-chief in his own White House, which is full of factions, pro-Bannon factions, anti-Bannon factions, pro-Jared, anti-Jared, and there is the new White House Chief of Staff, General John Kelly, who is reported tonight by "The Washington Post" to be, quote, "frustrated and dismayed by the president`s lack of discipline."

And according to the post, the president is frustrated with the discipline that General Kelly has been able to introduce in the White House.

The post reports, one person close to the president described him as a caged animal under Kelly. Do we have to note here that no president in history has ever been described as a caged animal by someone in his White House? Never.

Do you want to think about what that means to have a caged animal as president of the United States?

If you thought you had an irrational, dangerous, impulsive president before he started to feel like a caged animal, what do you think you have in that cage tonight?

The same "Washington Post" article reports this, "Gary Cohn, Trump`s top economic adviser, who is Jewish appeared with Trump at Tuesday`s news conference standing behind the president in the lobby of Trump Tower as he suggested there were good people who protested alongside white supremacists and neo-Nazis who organized the rally."

Those close to Cohn described him as disgusted and frantically unhappy though he did not threaten to resign.

As the frantically unhappy Gary Cohn spent the day in search of his dignity and his conscience, others did resign from Trump world. None of them held actual paying jobs or did anything meaningful.

They were members of the president`s council on manufacturing who, two days later, followed the lead of Ken Frazier, the CEO of Merck, who was the first to quit the utterly meaningless presidential council that has no real function.

The members of the council who quit today before the president then abandoned the council now have to live with the shame of the 48 hours it took them to follow Ken Frazier`s lead.

Today, the divider-in-chief became too much for the members of the president`s strategic and policy forum, which is another group of CEOs that had no function at all.

They all agreed among themselves today to simply quit as a group, and the president got wind of that before they could publicly do it.

And in a tweet, he disbanded the group just before they could publicly resign. And it was just moments ago that this president was lying to the country by saying that these councils of CEOs were hugely important to the massive job creation that Donald Trump was convincing them to do in their own companies in the United States.

And now they`re all gone. Don`t need them -- gone. Today, the president announced he would go to Phoenix next week and have one of those Trump rallies that never have the slightest appeal to anyone who did not vote for Donald Trump.

And the divider-in-chief got a message tonight from the mayor of Phoenix, asking him not to come. An American mayor asking an American president not to come to his city.

The mayor said, I am disappointed that President Trump has chosen to hold a campaign rally as our nation is still healing from the tragic events in Charlottesville.

But the president of the United States is not still healing from the tragic events in Charlottesville, he`s all healed.

He`s all ready to go, to continue to be the divider-in-chief. Joining us now, Christina Greer; she`s a social professor of political science at Fordham University. Also with us, Rashad Robinson; executive director of Color of Change which started a petition in January, calling on CEOs to quit the president`s councils.

Also with us, David Cay Johnston; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who founded D.C.Report.Org; a nonprofit news organization that covers the Trump campaign and David has been covering Donald Trump for decades now.

Christina, this is now what some people are calling the turning point, the new moment. This is -- I don`t know, turning point number 35 --

CHRISTINA GREER, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: Right --

O`DONNELL: In the last -- I don`t know, year and a half. But is there a different feel this time for you about where we are?

GREER: It does feel different. It feels a little November 9th to me honestly, today. But unfortunately, we keep saying that this is the nadir, right?

He has been so disappointing, and he`s been so selfless and -- selfish because he`s not a public servant, right?

But there is no bottom to this president, and that`s the scariest piece. So, yes, it does feel a little different because we`ve never had a modern- day president really support white supremacists and Nazis in front of a Jewish-American and Asian-American and just have a press conference like that.

Now we see why he hasn`t had a press conferences. But it feels different, but unfortunately I think that, you know, there`s more of the abyss with this individual.

O`DONNELL: Rashad and Christina, I want to take a look at the front pages of our local papers here today in New York City.

The "New York Post" and the "New York Times". This is something we`ve never seen before, especially in their Trump coverage.

I don`t remember any instance of those two newspapers using the same photograph on the front page possibly since 9/11 for all I know.

This is a big movement for the "Washington Post" that we`ve been -- the "New York Post" that we`ve been tracking all week.

Rupert Murdoch`s newspaper, there`s been a turn there in the way they are covering him. And Rashad, that turn is now closer to what you see in the "New York Times" coverage of Donald Trump.

I don`t know what that means for the future of "Fox News" and other Rupert- owned operations that have been fully supportive of Donald Trump, but there could be some movement here.

RASHAD ROBINSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COLOR OF CHANGE: I think it says something about the potential that we have for enablers to start breaking away and really clear ways.

The business council and the manufacturing council were these things, as you said, that were basically for show.

But in fact, many of these CEOs that spoke out about diversity, that would sometimes send out tweets throughout the campaign that they didn`t agree with things from Donald Trump were ready and willing to sit at a table with him and add their corporate brands.

And now we`re seeing that type of breakaway and we`re also seeing the breakaway of newspapers. We`re seeing coverage sometimes on "Fox News" where we have Republicans speaking out against the president after this weekend.

So I do think there`s potential, and that`s why the heat and the pressure on enablers to force them to have to be accountable not directing our march at Donald Trump, but directing our marches and our advocacy at the people for who showing up, it actually matters.

To the corporations, to sometimes the allies who need a backbone, to the media, and that`s what we have to continue to do.

O`DONNELL: Rashad, I want to go to this point about your campaign to get them to do this. Prior to Charlottesville --

ROBINSON: Yes --

O`DONNELL: There`s a certain case to be made for when -- if a dangerous person is elected to the presidency, we want as many safer-thinking people in the White House as possible, trying to muffle this person.

And those -- some of those executives could have made that case, you know, that that`s why I am here.

But none of them -- or I shouldn`t say none of them. Some of them decided once we got to Charlottesville, that there was nothing left to cling to in this.

And what I`m struck by is when you hold a purely symbolic position in a White House, that`s exactly what you want to resign. It`s something that`s purely symbolic and actually has no controls over the president.

ROBINSON: Absolutely, you know, when we talked to some of the CEOs or some of their representatives back in February and March, what they were saying to us is, don`t you want people like us with our values at the table?

We share some of your values. It`s better to be at the table, clich‚s like if you`re not at the table, you`re on the menu.

And this is what we heard over and over again. And so the question that we really posed to them after Charlottesville was, were you at the table when they made the announcement about affirmative action?

O`DONNELL: Yes --

ROBINSON: Were you at the table --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

ROBINSON: When the transgender ban came in a tweet? Were you at the table when Trump decided to talk about both sides?

And if you were not at the table for that, what good are you? What good are you other than adding your brand and allowing this administration to seem normalized by having people who are part of the mainstream connected?

O`DONNELL: David Cay Johnston, count me among the people who are not even slightly surprised by anything Donald Trump has said since the events started in Charlottesville on Friday night.

He has lived a life of divisiveness and appealing only to the people who he believes already like him. This is someone whose first time he appeared on the front page of the "New York Times" in his life was in a racial discrimination case involving him and his father in New York residential housing here in New York City.

I just have to say I personally have found nothing surprising about a single word he said.

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, AUTHOR & JOURNALIST: No, what he said particularly about the Nazis, which is the most offensive thing we`ve seen him do so far and is beyond the pale, all fits with the life of Donald Trump.

The man has been a racist from the get-go, unless your definition of a racist is you have to go out and hang somebody from a tree, Donald Trump is a racist, he describes people in racial terms.

He once said to the president of his casino, I don`t want black guys touching my money, I want short guys who wear Yarmulke and saying, you know, it`s not the fault of these black people, they just -- they`re lazy and they`re not very good.

That`s been his whole life, and he managed to con people, and I blame heavily the major American news organizations that did not vet him during the campaign and failed to tell people about the evil that resides inside this man.

And this is not the end of this. This will get worse from here. You know, I said a long time ago, Donald will get more and more erratic in office, Lawrence, and he`s really getting erratic.

O`DONNELL: Yes, and David has been saying this all along that it only gets worse. And that is because of his temperament and his personality.

For -- as a defining moment, you know, who sees this as a defining moment? Steve Bannon. We have a report tonight saying from --

JOHNSTON: Yes --

O`DONNELL: "Axios" saying "Bannon saw Trump`s now infamous Tuesday afternoon press conference not as the lowest point in his presidency, but as a defining moment."

And Christina, you can only see it as a defining moment if it is your belief that you don`t want Donald Trump to appeal to any more voters than he already does.

GREER: Well, let`s be clear. He calls anyone who hasn`t voted for him his enemies.

O`DONNELL: Yes --

GREER: So that means well over 50 percent of the nation he considers an active enemy. And so we`ve always talked about how the presidency doesn`t change you, it exposes who you are.

This is a man who talks about his good genes. This is a man who talks about how he has superior genes. He clearly sees people in racialized terms.

We know how he sees women as non-entities. And so he`s dangerous on so many levels because he`s not intelligent.

O`DONNELL: Yes --

GREER: He`s not beholden to anyone. He`s never been beholden to anyone. The only person he`s ever had to work for and had to account for was daddy.

Other than that he`s never had a board of trustees. He`s never had anyone where he can`t be the king. And we know that the constitution is set up so we don`t have a king.

That also means Congress has to do their job, as do the courts. And we are seeing a breakdown in Congress. They are not -- they`re sort of hemming and hawing and sending these tweets saying like this is bad.

They`re not calling Donald Trump out by name, none of them are going after him as a group. And if the bar is so low that someone like Ted Cruz can say, white supremacy is bad and people start saying, well, maybe he should run in 2020, that is absolutely the lowest bar that --

O`DONNELL: Yes --

GREER: We`ve seen in quite some time.

O`DONNELL: Rashad --

JOHNSTON: Lawrence, if I could add --

O`DONNELL: Go ahead, go ahead, David --

JOHNSTON: A point just for a moment to Christina, isn`t it fascinating that much as we should be critical of the CEOs that they were slow to act, that the CEOs who resigned are showing more moral fiber, strength, and Americanism than Paul Ryan and the other moral midgets who will not take the actions they should be taking in defense of our liberty and our country.

O`DONNELL: And Rashad, Ken Frazier, who I`m sure you probably lobbied directly to get him to quit, he was the first one to quit.

He was the black member who Donald Trump always made sure was sitting right beside him in the photographs. And that`s part of what I would assume your case would be to these people is that to whatever extent he can exploit you in any way he can, that is why you`re in the room with him.

ROBINSON: And that`s why it was so important. Even in our pressure on the business council, and Ken Frazier was the first on the manufacturing council.

But the other council we pressured earlier this year, both Uber and Disney to back away from those councils.

We pressured on Pepsi and did a full-court press with the recognition that their CEO has spoken out about diversity as a woman of color.

Has talked about it both here in this country and internationally. And her visibility on that panel was also sort of sending this message.

These enablers, who are lending their sort of credibility and have made this deal that maybe Donald Trump will put forth policies that will help their businesses.

You know, they`ve made the right decision. And to the point around the Republican Congress, they made a deal that they will hold their nose and be hear no evil, speak no evil, and see no evil as long as they can get policies passed and we are all worst off for it.

O`DONNELL: Rashad Robinson and David Cay Johnston, thank you for joining us tonight. Christina, please stick around for later.

Coming up, we`ll hear what Heather Heyer`s parents had to say at her memorial service in Charlottesville today, and we`ll hear from the mayor of Baltimore who took decisive action and removed all confederate monuments in Baltimore last night.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: This is new video from Charlottesville, Virginia, tonight, where there is a candlelight vigil. There are hundreds of people, it is peaceful.

This is taking place on the lawn at the center of the University of Virginia campus. If what happened in Charlottesville this weekend had happened one year ago, today at Heather Heyer`s memorial service, something like this would have happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SINGING)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: When Heather Heyer was murdered with a divider-in-chief in the White House, and so no one expected President Trump to be at that memorial service today because President Trump believes that there is blame on both sides for Heather Heyer`s murder.

And so today he would not stand on the side where Heather Heyer`s parents stood.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK HEYER, FATHER OF HEATHER HEYER: Heather`s passion extended to her ideas, her thoughts, she loved people. She wanted equality.

And in this issue of the day of her passing, she wanted to put down hate and for my part, we just need to stop all this stuff and just forgive each other.

BRO: My child`s famous Facebook post was, "if you`re not outraged, you`re not paying attention." She paid attention.

She made a lot of us pay attention. They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, guess what? You just magnified her.

I want this to spread. I don`t want this to die. This is just the beginning of Heather`s legacy. This is not the end of Heather`s legacy.

That`s how you`re going to make my child`s death worthwhile. I`d rather have my child, but by golly, if I got to give her up, we`re going to make it count.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining the discussion now, Ana Marie Cox; contributor to the "New York Times Magazine", and the host of the podcast "With Friends Like These".

Back with us, Christina Greer. And Ana Marie, just a year ago, what happened today would have been a very different thing.

There would have been a presidential presence, and the president would have found the right words to say in those extremely difficult moments where the president is mourner-in-chief.

We certainly do not have that kind of president now.

ANA MARIE COX, CONTRIBUTOR TO THE NEW YORK TIMES: No, and I for one I`m glad that Trump did not try to go to that eulogy, or did not try to deliver eulogy, I don`t think anyone in that room was in the mood to hear about election night or his winery.

I`m pretty sure Trump can`t sing, so I think we were saved a little bit by him not going. And I also want to say, and this might be controversial, but I think it might be good that Obama was not there to give eulogy either because Obama had a way of making people, especially white people, feel like things were going to be OK.

And especially made white people feel like maybe their work was close to being done. And our work is not even close to being done and quite frankly, I`m not sure if everything is going to be OK.

Having a president that we have -- and he is our president -- should be a reminder to people everywhere again, especially white people, that we have a lot of work to do.

And I think everyone who is outraged tonight needs to think about what Heather Heyer`s mother said.

And I think they need to ask themselves how are they going to make Heather Heyer`s death count? What are you individually going to do?

O`DONNELL: Christina --

COX: I think everyone needs to ask themselves that.

O`DONNELL: Christina, to this point of divider-in-chief, these are the moments where the job is unifier-in-chief.

These are these moments, these moments of national tragedy, and that has become not -- and this was not something that I think, you know, political theorists to 100 years ago would have foreseen.

That has become a presidential function, that there is a pulpit that is basically there for the president in these kinds of moments. That pulpit is empty now.

GREER: It`s completely empty, but we shouldn`t be surprised. Any Americans who have looked at this incident and all of a sudden they are just aghast, that means they have not been paying attention to who Donald Trump was during the campaign.

Who he`s been for these past seven months, but also who he`s been for the past 40 years, right? As we know about the DOJ, we know about the Central Park five and the full-page ad calling for their death.

We know that he is the architect of the birther movement. But this is also a man, you know, when we had Obama go to the eulogy and sort of try and bring the country together, even after 9/11, think about George Bush, he did not condemn Muslims.

He said we need to think about this as a problem that we solve as a nation. Donald Trump didn`t say the word "Jews" when he talked about holocaust remembrance.

He canceled Ramadan, right? He did not recognize June as a pride month for our LGBT citizens.

So he has systematically tried to cut people out of this country who he sees as his enemies. So this isn`t surprising.

I am glad he didn`t go. He does not know how to have compassion, and because he`s not a public servant, he doesn`t know how to put himself in service of others.

And this is a time where it`s not about him, and we`ve never seen him be able to put himself in that position.

O`DONNELL: And these moments -- some of these moments in the past have had their political discomforts for presidents.

When Bill Clinton went to Oklahoma City after the Oklahoma City bombing, he was very unpopular there. He was actually at not a good point in his polling, but specifically unpopular in places like Oklahoma.

It was not an easy place to go politically. He went there, he handled it, and he received the respect and the acclaim of that community for doing that.

I want to move on to another break that has occurred tonight within Trump world, and that`s "New York Magazine" reporting that Ivanka Trump`s rabbi has condemned the president`s Charlottesville remarks.

The report says "the rabbi that oversaw Ivanka Trump`s conversion to Judaism has released a letter to the congregation of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump`s longtime synagogue condemning President Trump`s widely criticized statements about the violent protests in Charlottesville.

And so Ana Marie Cox, we heard earlier in the program that Gary Cohn standing there with the President yesterday is now -- was outraged by the comments, but silence from him. But there is obviously going to be a continued protest of this kind coming out from what he said.

ANA MARIE COX, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Of course. And I guess -- I mean I gave up on Jivanka a long time ago, you know. I mean -- she said she doesn`t consider herself political. There`s a point at which being -- there`s a point at which you are political because of what you don`t do and what you don`t say. And I think she crossed that line a long time ago.

I just -- we need to stop looking to this Whitehouse for leadership, either from the President himself or from people around him, and we need to look to each other. I think that`s the only thing we can do right now. Nothing about this surprises anyone and shouldn`t surprise them. This is not a test of Trump`s character.

It is a test of this nation`s character. It is a test of each of our individual`s character, and how we choose to carry on from this moment, and whether or not we choose to be complicit with what`s happening or whether or not we choose to take action. I could sit here, and we could talk about what a terrible President Trump is, and he is a terrible President. But we have to just work together to move forward from this. We have to work together to elect people that will hold him accountable, and we have to work together to get more companies and more business leaders to step away from their symbolic posts and not so symbolic posts.

We have to isolate and strand this man. We have to make him the pariah that he already is becoming because this is untenable. We have a moral monster in the white house, and he will eat us alive. He will if we let him.

O`DONNELL: Ana Marie Cox and Christina Greer, thank you both for joining us tonight, really appreciate it. Coming up, how the Mayor of Baltimore responded to what happened in Charlottesville last night. The mayor will join us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: No President has promised more action in his first 100 days than Donald Trump did. He has so far failed at every one of those promises. He has not gotten Mexico to pay for a wall.

He has not been able to ban all Muslims for entering the country. He has not repealed Obamacare. He has not cut taxes. He has not changed one word of NAFTA or any other international trade agreement.

He`s so far had all talk and no action in his presidency. But that`s not how it works in Baltimore. After what happened in Charlottesville this weekend, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh decided it was time to get rid of all the confederate monuments in Baltimore, and she did that last night. In the middle of the night last night, they were all removed.

There were no protests, no violence, no problems. Joining us now, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh. Mayor, thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate it. When did you decide to do this?

CATHERINE PUGH, BALTIMORE MAYOR: Well, let me just say the conversations actually began in June when I met with Mayor Landrieu who in that previous month had removed four confederate statues from New Orleans and had placed them in confederate cemeteries. And so we knew that we needed to do something, and as he has said to me, you need to do something quietly and as quickly as you can. And I say to folks that, you know, if you want to hear great speeches about why these monuments should be removed, then you can listen to his speech.

For me, I just felt it was time for action because after Charlottesville, we did not want to see that same kind of activity occurring in our city when we had four confederate monuments in our city. And so I had conversations with local contractors, White and Turner, one of those who came to my aid quickly. We had conversations. I said to him I thought it`s best we do this in late hours of night so that it would avoid any confrontation, traffic problems, and so forth.

And we even estimated the time that it would take to do it, and we figured if we started around 11:30, and I reminded them last night the contractors that were working with me, that we said we would finish around 5:00 a.m. And we finished 4:57 a.m.

O`DONNELL: And you also avoided causing any traffic problems in Baltimore.

PUGH: no traffic problems, no rallies, no confrontations. We just got it done.

O`DONNELL: And one of the statues was to Chief Justice Taney, one of the few statues in America to Supreme Court Justices, and he is the author of what everyone agrees is the worst Supreme Court opinion in history, the Dred Scott Decision which not only affirmed but strengthened the constitutionality of slavery. That was one that was surprising.

PUGH: That was actually the first one we removed.

O`DONNELL: I was surprised that existed. I only learned of the existence of it when you removed it.

PUGH: You know, I don`t even know if people knew what that statue was about. To know it was right there in Mount Vernon, just a beautiful part of our city. I want you to know it took us about 45 minutes to remove that one. That one was one of the fastest ones to remove. The most difficult one was the Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson monument, which took us about two and half hours to remove.

O`DONNELL: We saw the mayor of Phoenix tonight deliver a message to the President. The President announced he wants to go to Phoenix next week to have a big rally. The Mayor of Phoenix delivered a message to the President saying please don`t come. If President Trump wanted to come to Baltimore next week for a rally, what would you say to him?

PUGH: Well, you know, I think that America is in need of peace, love, respect of each other. I`m not concerned about whether the President comes to Baltimore. I`m more concerned about what we need to do for our city.

We`re right in the middle of just about ending the preparation to enter into a consent decree. So we need federal assistance. I would certainly remind him of that. We have infrastructure needs like most urban cities do.

And I`m working with my Congressional Delegation around those kinds of things. And as someone asked me earlier today, had I listened to the President`s speech, and my answer was no. I was clearly focused on what I need to do for my city.

You know as a mayor, you have a job to make sure that you`re protecting the people of your city. So I thought that the action that we took was around what need to be done to make sure that our city was safe, that we continued to move forward, that we attract people into our city that focus on how we realize that inclusiveness and diversity is part of the fabric of our. And loving each other and respecting each other is what we should be doing as a nation.

O`DONNELL: Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, thank you very much for joining us after that very late night you had last night. PUGH: Thank you for the invitation.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the divider in chief divided the Republican Party during the campaign and has probably earned at least one Republican challenger in the next Presidential campaign. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: There has been no reaction from the divider in chief today to Republican Senator Lindsey Graham`s statement about him this morning. Mr. President, your words are dividing Americans, not healing them. Last night on this program, former Republican Congressman David Jolly predicted that Donald Trump has now divided the Republican Party to the point that he will have a Republican challenger or challengers in the next presidential campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID JOLLY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: There`s a lot of Republicans thinking tonight, if I can`t find somebody to run against Donald Trump, I`ll run against him myself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Ohio Governor John Kasich was the last man standing against Donald Trump in the last Republican Presidential Primaries, and on the Today Show this morning, as soon as the Governor was introduced, before he was asked a single question, John Kasich said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KASICH, GOVERNOR OF OHIO: Pathetic, isn`t it? Just pathetic, to not condemn these people who went there to carry out violence and to somehow draw some kind of equivalency to somebody else reduces the ability to totally condemn these hate groups. A president has to totally condemn this. There is no moral equivalency between the KKK, Neo-Nazis, and anybody else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Today, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement saying, we can have no tolerance for an ideology of racial hatred. There are no good Neo-Nazis, and those who espouse their views are not supporters of American ideals and freedoms. Mitch McConnell`s wife, Secretary of Transportaion Elaine Chao, was standing beside Donald Trump yesterday during the press conference that John Kasich and Mitch McConnell have been criticizing. Today, Senator Ted Cruz had no problem saying the kind of thing that Donald Trump should have said if he had the decency to actually think these things.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: The president said that both sides were to blame and seemed to equate the white nationalists with the counter protesters. Do you agree with him?

TED CRUZ, UNITED STATES SENATOR: You know, the President speaks for himself. The Klan is evil. They are racist bigots.

Nazis are the very face of evil. their hatred, their anti-Semitism is completely unacceptable. And I think we should speak unequivocally, condemning their hatred, condemning their racism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Our next guest is a former republican who quit the Republican Party when Donald Trump secured the Republican Presidential Nomination. Pulitzer Prize Winning Columnist George F. Will joins us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KASICH: You know, this is terrible. The President of the United States needs to condemn these kind of hate groups. Think about what you have seen. You know, as one of the reporters said, reminiscent of what we saw in Germany in the 1930s. The President has to totally condemn this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now, George F. Will, Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist for the Washington Post and MSNBC Political Analyst. George, we have Willie Geist, our own Willie Geist via tweet tonight saying sources close to John Kasich tell me after Charlottesville, there is growing sense of moral imperative to primary Trump in 2020. Is John Kasich likely to be the man to take on an incumbent President within his own party?

GEORGE F. WILL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Not the man, he`ll be among the men I assume. Ben Sasse has been in Iowa, Tom Cotton has been in Iowa. Now Tom Cotton is much more sympathetic to Mr. Trump than either Kasich or Sasse. But the idea he would be close to re-election assuming he`s there and hasn`t quit in a huff over the rigged system is implausible.

O`DONNELL: I was struck by David Jolly on this program last night basically saying if I have to run against him myself, I will. Those are almost the exact words that Gene McCarthy said during after a - during actually privately during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in 1967 when the Undersecretary of State was testifying about Vietnam and outraging Gene McCarthy and Bill Fulbright on that committee. Gene McCarthy came away from that hearing saying privately to his Chief of Staff if I have to run for President myself to stop this I will. And he did. And the incumbent President he ran against as of course you remember, dropped out of the race when he was challenged that way.

WILL: Well see, the Republicans are in this awful position they put themselves in when they made the Faustian bargain that they would have protracted routine interactions with Mr. Trump knowing these would be diminishing and soiling to them. But they would get things done. Well, let`s go to Washington`s premiere power couple.

You mentioned a moment ago that Elaine Chao, the Secretary of Transportation, vastly experienced, hugely respected in Washington, stood there mute next to Mr. Trump during his rant yesterday. She did so because she was there because we were supposed to at long last talk about the trillion dollar infrastructure program. Tax reform`s not going anywhere.

Replace and repeal hasn`t happened. But infrastructure was going to happen. The problem is, Winston Churchill once said of Secretary of State Dulles that he was a bull who carries his China shop around with him. That`s what Mr. Trump does.

So there`s no such thing as being on message. There is no message but chaos. So on the one hand, Elaine Chao is there as a mere ornament watching another opportunity slip away as the end of the seventh month of this baron presidency. She of course is married to the Senate Majority Leader.

This week, he has been deeply involved in the Alabama Senate Primary to fill the seat vacated by Mr. Sessions who is now Attorney General. his supporting the appointed Senator, Luther Strange, against a man who has been remove twice from the Supreme Court of Alabama for defying the U.S. Supreme Court. In the Alabama race, I was down there looking at it in Birmingham. Trump is hugely popular and McConnell is detested by all three candidates, the three who entered this in the first round of the voting saying we`re loyal to Trump and we can`t stand McConnell.

And if you`d look at the polls among the Republican Party, the Republican base is still loyal to Mr. Trump and by about four to one, they prefer Trump over Mr. McConnell. So he`s also in a position, of having made this awful bargain on the assumption they would get something done and it`s a completely sterile presidency seven months in.

O`DONNELL: There is a report tonight in USA Today saying there was a delay in McConnell issuing his statement about those comments because he was livid and his being livid if he was no doubt is related to his wife being in effect forced to stand there beside the President making those remarks.

WILL: It`s an old saying in politics that you know well. When you`re explaining, you`re losing. What`s worse is when you`re saying there are no good Neo-Nazis, you`re really losing. When that is your message of the day, just think of that. Mr. McConnell was a Senate Staffer before he became an institutional lifer in the Senate. And the agony he`s going through to be tethered to this man.

O`DONNELL: George F. Will, thank you very much for joining us tonight, really appreciate it.

WILL: Glad to be with you

O`DONNELL: Tonight`s last word is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: At Heather Heyer`s memorial service today, her grandfather Elwood Schrader said this -

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELWOOD SCHRADER, GRANDFATHER OF HEATHER HEYER: As I think about this, I think of Trevi`s Song and Fiddler on the Roof. The little girl, is this the little girl I carried? Yes, I think so.

That same passion was beyond childhood. That same passion, that same girl you`ve met her. You who knew her as an adult, you know her, too. She was a lady of happiness and great joy and realized that all lives matter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Heather Heyer`s grandfather Elwood Schrader gets tonight`s Last Word. The 11th hour with Brian Williams starts now.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, 11TH HOUR ANCHOR: Tonight Donald Trump isolated a day after that

END

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2017 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2017 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.