New Trump tweet attacks Rep. Wilson Transcript 10/19/17 The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell

Guests: Daniel Dale, Ana Marie Cox, Charlie Sykes, Ron Klain

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: October 19, 2017 Guest: Daniel Dale, Ana Marie Cox, Charlie Sykes, Ron Klain


Can I -- can I spend the weekend writing questions for Eric Holder?



MADDOW: As long as you get them to me by Monday at noon, because anything I absorb they`re under would make me pass out.

O`DONNELL: There are so many. Can`t wait.

MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had a job to do today -- take the heat off the president for getting into trouble for something that no president before him has gotten into trouble for. Donald Trump made a mess or the condolence phone call to the widow of Sergeant La David Johnson, who was killed two weeks ago in Niger.

Today, John Kelly made just as much of a mess in his attempt to clean up Donald Trump`s mess. All indications are, that the president made that condolence call only after feeling the public pressure of a press conference where he was asked why he had been silent for almost two weeks about the death of Sergeant Johnson and three other army sergeants in Niger. Staff Sergeant Bryan Black, Staff Sergeant Jeremiah Johnson, Staff Sergeant Dustin Wright.

In the 12 days between the time those soldiers were killed in action and the president was first asked about them, the president found plenty of time to tweet his moral outrage at football players and he found time to tweet his outrage at Republican senators especially Bob Corker, who publicly defended Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after Tillerson was publicly quoted as calling his boss the president of the United States a moron.

It was only when the news media publicly challenged the president in the Rose Garden the other day, for not acknowledging the deaths of those soldiers in any way that the president made the phone call that got him in trouble. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, a friend of the family who was present during the call, quoted the president as saying, he knew what he was signing up for but I guess it hurts anyway.

It wasn`t just Congresswoman Wilson who thought that was an insensitive comment. Sergeant Johnson`s mother then told "The Washington Post", President Trump did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband.

And so, former Marine General John Kelly went into the White House press briefing room today to fix Donald Trump`s problem, the recurring problem of appearing to have no empathy, the problem of being unable -- publicly at least -- to express any real sympathy for anyone except himself. And so, John Kelly delivered a powerful public demonstration of real human feeling, including the horror of his own loss of a son in combat in Afghanistan, a loss the John Kelly bears with dignity, grace and courage, including the courage it takes to get through another day with the full knowledge that his other son is still in harm`s way, serving a fifth tour of duty in combat against ISIS right now.

Few among us have the strength to bear what General Kelly and his family have to bear every day. General Kelly`s comments today moved people in a way that nothing Donald Trump has ever said in his life could ever move anyone. General Kelly did some of what he was supposed to do today, he did demonstrate empathy, but not for anyone who is not like him.

His empathy was isolated to military families only and in particular to Gold Star families, to families who have lost the soldier in combat like the Kelly family. He showed no empathy at all for her. He talked about her a lot. He talked about her more than he talked about the president or his sons and he never mentioned her name.

He called her an empty barrel. He dehumanized her. In fact, from start to finish, John Kelly`s comments in the briefing room today were essentially a lecture about his moral superiority over her, and Donald Trump`s moral superiority over her.

If there is anything that John Kelly respects about her, he did not mention it today. Today, she was nothing but an empty barrel to him.

That`s Congresswoman Frederica Wilson. She wears hats to honor her grandmother. That`s why she wears them. She wants to keep her grandmother in her mind all the time.

She was the first to publicize the president`s phone call to Sergeant Johnson`s widow. John Kelly had absolutely no empathy for Fredericka Wilson today, but they have more in common than John Kelly realizes. They were both born in segregated cities. They both went to segregated schools.

Frederica Wilson was born in Miami in 1942. When she was going to school in Florida, the schools were segregated by law. When John Kelly was going to school in Oakes Square, in Brighton, in the Boston Irish neighborhood that he grew up in, the schools were segregated by custom and practice, and Boston`s segregation in the 1950s when John Kelly was in school was as flawless as the legal segregation in Florida and the rest of the South. John Kelly never sat beside a student like Frederica Wilson in his elementary school.

The language about black people in John Kelly`s white neighborhood was exactly the same language about black people that was used at that time in white communities in the segregate South.

I grew up a few years after John Kelly, in an identical neighborhood on the other side of Boston and I went to high school in John Kelly`s neighborhood. I know the neighborhood John Kelly comes from. I know the culture.

It was a neighborhood in which calling someone who looked like Frederica Wilson an empty barrel was the kindest thing that would have been said about her. Desegregation came very painfully to the Boston schools, long after John Kelly finished high school, and the pain of desegregating Boston schools was visited entirely upon the students who looked like Frederica Wilson and the stones that were thrown at their buses and the eggs that were thrown at Ted Kennedy`s car because he supported desegregation, all came from that culture that John Kelly and I grew in, and no one was yelling empty barrel at those buses.

White elementary school students and high school students and their parents were screaming the worst possible racial epithets at those buses filled with black children. And John Kelly knows that.

Now, I didn`t mind hearing John Kelly disagree with Congresswoman Wilson today. I understand some of the nature of his disagreement with her and some of it is deeply personal for him as a Gold Star father.

But I was stunned, stunned when I watched him dehumanize her and very deliberately continue to dehumanize her and refused to give her the dignity of a name and call her an empty barrel. He went out of his way to do it. It came after he had said everything he had to say about the phone call controversy. He was finished with that.

And then he reached back to a long story -- he told the long story that took place in 2015, two years ago in Miami, when he attended the dedication of a new FBI field office in Miami, a field office that Congresswoman Wilson had helped get the money for. John Kelly went into a long story about honoring FBI agents who had been killed in the line of duty there and he praised what he called the absolutely brilliant memorial speech that James Comey delivered at that event that day in Miami.

That`s how far out of the way he had to go to get to this.


JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: And a congresswoman stood up and in the long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there and all of that, and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building. Now, she took care of her constituents because she got the money and she just called up President Obama and on that phone call, he gave the money the $20 million to build a building. And she sat down.

And we were stunned, stunned that she`d done it. Even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned.


O`DONNELL: That empty a barrel.

And I was stunned that John Kelly would so callously echo the worst part of the culture that he and I grew up in stunned.

John Kelly and I have gone our separate ways in the world from our very similar beginnings in Boston Irish neighborhoods, so we are stunned by different things.

Here`s more of what stuns John Kelly.


KELLY: It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation, absolutely stuns me. And I thought, at least that was safer.

You know when I was a kid growing up, a lot of things are sacred in our country. Women were sacred and looked upon with great honor. That`s obviously not the case anymore as we see from recent cases.


O`DONNELL: You saw John Kelly began to slip into a bit of stream of consciousness about what was sacred when he was a kid growing up.

You know what wasn`t sacred when he was a kid growing up where he was growing up? Black women or black people. And oh by the way, women were not sacred either. They were not honored.

In John Kelly`s neighborhood, in the Catholic Parish that he grew up in, in the Catholic Parish that I grew up in, women were getting beaten by their husbands, their drunken husbands as a normal weekly occurrence. And their Parish priest would tell those women you can`t get divorced or you`ll be excommunicated, you`re just going to have to bear it and bear it for the children. There`s nothing you can do about it. Women were not honored.

Most women then were domestic servants and the women who had jobs outside of the home were not allowed to have most of the jobs in America at that time. They weren`t allowed to work in most of the factories. They were not allowed to be police officers. There were huge barriers of entry for women who wanted to be doctors instead of nurses, huge barriers to entry for women who wanted to be professors instead of elementary school teachers, which is how Frederica Wilson began her work life.

She was an elementary school teacher. She then worked your way up to elementary school principal, and then got elected to the school board and that`s how she created a mentorship program for students like La David Johnson, who she got to know when he was one of the kids in the mentorship program that she created as a member of the school board.

When Frederica Wilson was a little girl, there were no black women members of Congress for her to look up to and aspire to follow into that office. When John Kelly was a little boy, everywhere he looked in America, there was someone who looked like him at the top, including the president of the United States, who had the same initials as John F. Kelly, who showed 10 years old like John F. Kelly, growing up in Boston, that even a Boston Irish Catholic kid could make it all the way to the presidency.

And so, today when John Kelly nostalgically looked back on a world that never was, where women were sacred, he was standing in the White House occupied by the president who has not only dishonored women, he is the only president in history who has confessed to sexual assault.


DONALD TRUMP: I just start kissing them. It`s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don`t even wait. And when you`re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

BILLY BUSH: Whatever you want.



O`DONNELL: Was John Kelly stunned by that?

Does John Kelly wash his hands after he shakes hands with Donald Trump, the hand that.

John Kelly`s stream of consciousness about the loss of what is sacred in our society continued.


KELLY: Life, the dignity of life was sacred. That`s gone. Religion, that seems to be gone as well. Gold Star families -- I think that left in the convention over the summer.

I just thought the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die in the battlefield, I just thought that that might be sacred.


O`DONNELL: So there John Kelly`s saying that Gold Star families are not sacred anymore. And he says I think that left in the convention over the summer. He seems to be complaining that Khizr Khan and his wife exercised their constitutional rights to speak publicly for one candidate and against another.

John Kelly seems to be blaming the Khan family for dishonoring Gold Star families by making political comments. If that`s not what he meant, we await his clarification or did he mean that he is ashamed that the president he works for attacked that Gold Star family for speaking at a convention? That Donald Trump attacked Mr. and Mrs. Khan because they spoke out in a way that he did not like? Because if that is what John Kelly is outraged about, then his outrage is well-placed.

But John Kelly who went out there today to clarify the president`s communication with a Gold Star family seems to have taken his own personal stance of moral superiority over another Gold Star family. And if that`s not what he was doing then tell us that`s not what he was doing.

What John Kelly had to say today in defense of Donald Trump was barely coherent. Everything General Kelly said about the procedures that the military follows for soldiers killed in action was clear and instructive and deeply moving and everything John Kelly said about his own experience of the loss of a son in combat and the continued service of another son in combat was nothing less than noble.

But when he attacked a Democratic congresswoman and defended a Republican president, he was purely partisan and he was not telling the truth.

There are many words that you can use for Donald Trump. The word brave has absolutely no application in the same sentence with the word Trump, and it dishonors any other use of the word brave that you might like to make if you use that word to describe Donald Trump.

It was especially stunning coming from a military man who knows what brave is, coming from a military man who has lived that bravery himself, has risked his own life whose sons have served and lived that bravery. It was especially stunning for that man to use that word about Donald Trump -- brave.

General Kelly said he just explained to the president only three days ago how to make condolence calls. Meaning, he just explained to the president how to make condolence calls immediately after reporters asked the president why he had not made those four condolence calls.


KELLY: So when I gave that explanation to our president three days ago, he elected to make phone calls in the case of the four young men who we lost in Niger at the earlier part of this month. Then he said, you know what -- how do you make these calls? If you`re not in the family, if you`ve never worn the uniform, if you`ve never been in combat, you can`t even imagine how to make that call.

So, I think he very bravely does make those calls.


O`DONNELL: Very bravely, Donald Trump.

Here is something General Kelly said today about those condolence phone calls that we can all agree with.


KELLY: If you elect to call a family like this, it is about the most difficult thing you could imagine. There`s no perfect way to make that phone call.


O`DONNELL: That was General Kelly today at his best. There`s no perfect way to make that phone call.

But there is a way to fix what happened in that phone call, but it involves something that Donald Trump has never done in his life -- apologize. Any decent human being would have picked up the telephone again and called Sergeant Johnson`s widow again and apologize for any misunderstanding about his intentions in the first phone call.

Donald Trump could have picked up the phone between tweets about football players and explained to Sergeant Johnson`s widow that he had actually heard those same words from General Kelly himself when General Kelly told the president about the most painful phone call that General Kelly ever received.


KELLY: Let me tell you what my best friend Joe Dunford told me as he was my casualty officer. He said, Kel, he was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into by joining that 1 percent. He knew what the possibilities were because we`re at war, and when he died, in the four cases were talking about in Niger and my son`s case in Afghanistan, when he died, he was surrounded about the best men on this earth, his friends.

That`s what the president tried to say to affect the four families the other day.


O`DONNELL: Then why not make another call and explain that.

The president got it wrong with that family, and he`s not the kind of guy to try again. And so, there was no apology phone call. Donald Trump`s flawless, lifetime record of never apologizing remains perfectly intact.

And in the 12 minutes, the General Kelly spoke today, he did not dispute a single word that Congressman Wilson quoted the president as saying and General Kelly did not dispute Sergeant Johnson`s mother`s statement. The president did disrespect my son and my daughter and also me and my husband. John Kelly did not dispute one word of that and nowhere in his 12 minutes of speaking today did he apologize to Sergeant Johnson`s family for any misunderstanding that might have occurred in that phone call but he took time a lot of extra time to call a black woman who he doesn`t know and he doesn`t like an empty barrel.

And John Kelly said this about the most dishonorable and cowardly president in history.


KELLY: I think he very bravely does make those calls.


O`DONNELL: We`ll be right back.



KELLY: When I took this job and talked to President Trump about how to do it my first recommendation was he not do it because it`s not the phone call that parents, family members are looking forward to. It`s a nice to do in my opinion in any event.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Ned Price, former spokesperson for the National Security Council and a former CIA analyst. Also with us, Ron Klain, former chief of staff to Vice President Biden and a former senior aide to President Obama, and Daniel Dale, the Washington correspondent for "The Toronto Star".

Ned Price, your reaction to what General Kelly had to say today.

NED PRICE, FORMER CIA ANALYST: Lawrence, I think we saw today it was reiterated the fact that General Kelly is cut from a different cloth than his White House counterparts and almost all of his White House counterparts. He entered that office as a man of integrity and character I would say, and I think we have seen his White House counterparts take advantage of that, of him.

Rather than half President Trump go out and apologize, and just as you said rather than have President Trump go out and say I apologize if I -- if I said the wrong thing during a very difficult, gut-wrenching conversation, that`s on me, they put General Kelly on the podium to speak both and very specific and as well as in abstract terms about the most heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching experience I`m sure he has ever endured and anyone has ever endured something like this has gone through.

Rather than have the president go out and make that very simple apology, they put this man front and center stage. And I get the impression, Lawrence, that General Kelly is trying to be a good soldier. But I think what this White House needs is a good patriot and, usually, they are one in the same but not in this White House and I think we`re seeing a stark divergence between the two.

O`DONNELL: The president tweeted after Congresswoman Wilson was quoted about the phone call, he said: Democratic congressman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action and I have proof. Sad.

And, Daniel Dale, if there was any proof, today was the day to deliver that proof. And not only that, General Kelly did not dispute a single word she said. He insulted her in the harshest terms he could possibly come up with, but he did not dispute the truth of what she said.

DANIEL DALE, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, TORONTO STAR: He didn`t. He confirmed Trump`s dishonesty while adding some dishonesty of his own. I think, you know, this chain of events, this new cycle has been so bizarre so crazy that the fact that the president`s chief of staff went out there and effectively confirmed that the president has lied has been lost as far as I`ve seen in today`s coverage.

You know, Trump said this conversation -- his -- what he said in this conversation was totally fabricated. Kelly said the president said all those things that`s just the way he talks. So, that was confirmation.

I think the dishonesty he added was in suggesting that Congressman Wilson was somehow intruding on this conversation between the president and the Johnson family when as you said, as we know, Congresswoman Wilson knew the late soldier, is close with the family and had been invited to be present in that car where the conversation occurred.

So, I think they put Kelly out there because he`s an effective messenger. He`s powerful. He sounds folksy. He sounds authentic.

But I don`t think we should lose sight of the substance, and I think the substance was dishonest and disingenuous.

O`DONNELL: Frederica Wilson`s office issued this statement today. The congresswoman will not be making any further comment on the issue because the focus should be on helping a grieving widow and family heal, not on her and Donald Trump.

Ron Klain, your reaction to General Kelly today?

RON KLAIN, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Well, you know, Lawrence, I think that it was a tale of two statements. I think it`s discussion about his tragedy, his loss was powerful and effective. But as you say, he took a needless swipe at Congresswoman wilson and used the word brave to describe the first president of the United States not only to attack one Gold Star widow, but a Gold Star mother, but to attack to Gold Star mothers, Mrs. Khan last year and then Mrs. Johnson this year.

And not surprising from a president who said that his biggest sacrifice was building buildings, who said that his personal Vietnam was going to Studio 54 in the 1980s, who said that John McCain wasn`t a hero because he was captured, this is a president who`s consistently disrespected military families, and John Kelly`s great sacrifice can`t cover for Donald Trump`s great outrage.

Now, let`s all keep in mind, General Kelly`s being stunned, absolutely stunned, that a congresswoman would mention how the new FBI office in Miami was funded in her, and possibly trying to seek credit for that publicly as every congressman does in that situation, he considered that a dishonorable thing to do.

Let`s look at something that President Trump did that John Kelly has never said that he is stunned by and that is, of course, the president`s first visit to CIA headquarters.


TRUMP: We had a massive field of people you saw that, packed. I get up this morning, I turned on one of the networks and they show an empty field. I said, wait a minute, I made a speech, I looked out, the field was -- that looked like a million, a million and a half people.


O`DONNELL: Ned Price, John Kelly have been stunned that the president of the United States stood in front of those stars, each one representing a fallen CIA officer and spoke of nothing but his own inauguration glories and electoral glories, and did not even acknowledge any sacrifice ever made by the CIA?

PRICE: Lawrence, you know, you get the impression listening to John Kelly today and John Kelly over the past several weeks and past couple months, you get the impression he doesn`t understand the nature of the man who is his boss, the man who is our commander-in-chief.

You know, there was reporting out today that John Kelly told President Trump in confidence, not expecting President Trump to make it public, the fact that he did not receive a phone call from the president in the aftermath of the -- of the death of his son.

And then, of course, President Trump who does battle from the trenches, who will use every weapon at his disposal to bring down his enemies, both real and perceived, went out and made that a cudgel in this argument. John Kelly`s son became a political argument, John Kelly apparently not expecting President Trump or this White House to do that.

And I think to me, Lawrence, that says that John Kelly doesn`t understand this president. He doesn`t understand this White House and, of course, he should be stunned he should be outraged at the things that Donald Trump has said both before he became president and on his first full day as president of the United States when he gave that disgraceful speech in front of 117 stars, each symbolizing a fallen officer of the Central Intelligence Agency at Langley, Virginia.

O`DONNELL: Daniel Dale, John Kelly took over from Reince Priebus who clearly had won the award for worst White House chief of staff of all time. It seems like John Kelly may be coming in in second place there, so far, because nothing has changed in the White House that John Kelly was supposed to change. It is still leaking -- it seems to be leaking even more than it was under Reince Priebus. The chaos continues. Nothing seems to have changed in the way it operates.

DALE: Well, he`s changed the personnel. You know, he helped get rid of Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka. But I think it`s kind of like trying to, you know, bring in a consultant to fix Santa`s workshop by getting rid of some troublesome elves. You know, you still got Santa in charge. You still got President Donald Trump and there`s no changing him. There`s been no sign that Kelly has brought discipline to the man at the top no matter what he`s done to streamline, harmonize, make the internal operation more efficient.

I think he said something interesting in the last appearance in the briefing room. He said I was brought in to control nothing but the information flow to the President. Not the President himself. And that message, of course, was directed at the President, reassuring him that, you know, he wasn`t trying to control him.

But it was also sort of a tacit admission that there`s no controlling or changing the behavior of Donald Trump and because of what that behavior is, you know, that`s a significant problem for this white house.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Daniel Dale and Ned Price, thank you for joining us. RON CLAIN, please stay with us. Thank you.

coming up, George W. Bush and Barack Obama on the same day, double team Donald Trump in two separate speeches.


O`DONNELL: President George W. Bush gave a speech in New York City today where he condemned Trumpism without mentioning the President`s name.


GEORGE W. BUSH, 43RD U.S. PRESIDENT: Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication. We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. At times it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. We have seen nationalism distorted into Nativism, forgotten the dynamism that immigration always brought to America.


O`DONNELL: A spokesperson for President Bush denied that the speech was aimed at President Trump. But a source close to the former President told Nicole Wallace that President Bush was aware of how his words would be interpreted and he wrote the speech himself. George w. Bush has never attacked President Obama. He had not attacked President Trump until today when his speech seemed to be about the President who once said there were very fine people at a white supremacist rally.


BUSH: Our identity as a nation unlike many other nations is not determined by geography or ethnicity, by soil or blood. This means that people of every race, religion, ethnicity can be fully and equally American. It means that bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed.


O`DONNELL: What George w. Bush said about Russian interference in the election is next.



BUSH: According to our intelligence services the Russian Government has made a project of turning Americans against each other. Ultimately this assault won`t succeed. But foreign aggressions including cyber attacks, disinformation and financial influence should never be downplayed or tolerated.


O`DONNELL: Joining the discussion now Ana Marie Cox the host of the podcast With Friends like these. Also joining us Charlie Sykes, author of the new book how the right lost its mind and a MSNBC contributor. Ana, so George W. Bush publicly says, puts out the word it is not about Trump. But he`s written it himself. And he knows we`re all going to say it`s about Trump.

ANA MARIE COX, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. You know, I have to say it`s just a tiny bit rich to hear the man who owes his presidency to the Secretary of State of Florida and Supreme Court talk about voter integrity but -- or turning people against each other when he won Ohio campaigning against gay marriage. But, you know, it is 2017 and we take our allies where we can get them.

I`m willing to accept the, you know, grandfatherly painter Bush on my side. I suppose. And if no one else is going to say it, surely it is good to have him say these kinds of things. I hope we`re nearing a point where he`s going to actually use the President`s name `cause I`m not sure that Trump himself does understand when he`s being talked about unless you mention his name. Think about his buildings. You know? Like he -- he needed to label them pretty clearly so, you know, maybe we`ll get to naming names soon.

O`DONNELL: Well, Charlie, the President took a swing at John McCain for giving a speech in which he never mentioned the word Trump.

CHARLIE SYKES, AUTHOR: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. There`s no question this was about trump. Look. This may get lost in the noise but this is an important moment in the civic life of two former Presidents talking about Trump and Trumpism, the comments that John McCain made and look. What -- what you saw there, whether you disagree with George Bush`s policies, a flawed President, this is a deeply patriotic man who cares deeply about our democratic values.

And this was a written branch critique not just of DonaldTrump the man, but also of Trumpism. This, blood and soil, fake nationalism and the degradation of the political culture. And he`s basically saying, look, we are in a crisis of confidence, the crisis of confidence in the democratic institutions. You know, talking about what the casual cruelty of somebody in the Oval Office does to the culture. So again, I don`t expect that this is going to change the trajectory of Republican Politics.

But, you know, for people saying when are Republicans standing up for some of the things? This is one of those moments. John McCain and George W. Bush have not always been on the same page but these were two remarkable speeches, two remarkable speeches that should remind people that while Donald Trump may dominate the Republican Party, he does not necessarily define all of its values. And I think George W. Bush needs to get a little bit of credit for this.

O`DONNELL: John McCain immediately came out saying that this was a wonderful speech. Let`s listen to more about what George W. Bush had to say this time it seemed to be aimed at the biggest bully in the history of Twitter. Let`s listen to this.


BUSH: Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone. Provides permission for cruelty and bigotry and compromises the moral education of children. The only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them.


O`DONNELL: Charlie, what is George W. Bush`s residence in today`s Republican Party?

SYKES: Well, obviously, it`s limited. That primary was rejection of not just of Jeb Bush but of Bushism. But those sentiments are important to be - - these are important things to be said that the President is the role model for the country. You know, raising children in the era of Trump is a real challenge. And I do think there`s the fundamental decency ought to separate, whether you`re a Liberal or Conservative or Republican or Democrat, look.

George W. Bush and his father I think fundamentally decent people. And I think they meant it. Again, whatever the flawed politics and politics might be they meant it to be a compassionate country. That we need to, you know, care about one another. And, you know, I`m just glad that the voices are being heard. And again, will it change the republican party?

No. It`s going to called Cockservative, you know, in 3, 2, 1. But to get John McCain and George W. Bush out there reminds people of what real patriotism sounds like. A lot of Trump`s and President Trump talks about patriotism and the importance of the flag. I don`t think they understand real patriotism is. And I think that talking about these Democratic values and in order to make America great again, remember, we have to remember that what we stand for and what our ideals are. This is an important message

O`DONNELL: And, Ana, I want your reaction to something we talked about earlier about in the show, And that is John Kelly`s nostalgic look back at the 1950s when women were sacred and held sacred in America and sadly they no longer are.

COX: They couldn`t get their own credit card and couldn`t work outside the home and couldn`t get a legal abortion. Those sacred days? Yeah. You heard what I heard. I found General Kelly`s talk today to be fairly disturbing. I think everyone`s picked out of it the parts of it that were moving and laudable and eloquent.

But we I think that overwhelming message of that, you know, talk he gave, that scolding that he gave, was ominous from this idea that women should be held sacred which is actually a step backwards to the fact this he only called on members of the press that had -- said they knew a gold star family. I appreciate any time someone points out that we have a big disconnect in our country between most Americans and the military. That most Americans don`t know people that served in the military. That`s something to keep in mind. I think it`s a very ominous message to say that only people who actually know families who have lost someone in the military are worthy of voicing a critique. I worry about the message that that sends.

O`DONNELL: Ana Marie Cox and Charlie Sykes, thank you for joining us tonight.

COX: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Barack Obama attacked Trumpism today, too.



CROWD: All right. Four more years, four more years, four more years, four more years.

BARACK OBAMA, 44TH U.S. PRESIDENT: I will refer you both to the constitution as well as to Michelle Obama to explain why that will not happen.


O`DONNELL: Today President Obama made his first post-Presidential campaign appearance, this time campaigning for the Democrat candidates in New Jersey and Virginia`s gubernatorial races. President Obama never mentioned Donald Trump by name, but he did say this.


OBAMA: You notice I haven`t been commenting a lot on politics lately. But here`s one thing I know. If you have to win a campaign by dividing people, you`re not going to be able to govern them. You won`t be able to unite them later if that`s how you start.


O`DONNELL: And here`s more of what President Obama had to said. -- say.


OBAMA: As frustrated as you get, the goodness of America, the goodness and decency and hard work and responsibility and sacrifice that`s on display by the American people every single day in their communities, all across this great country, all across this great state, people of every walk of life, it doesn`t matter whether they`re White or Black or Hispanic or Asian or Native American, whether they`re disabled, whether they are gay or straight. There are people all across this country that want to do things better, that want to work together. And I`ve seen the possibilities of our democracy.


O`DONNELL: Coming up, what President Obama had to say about the White Supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville in august where one of the protesters against the white supremacists was killed.



OBAMA: You can`t take this election or any election for granted. I don`t know if you all noticed that. But you can`t take any election for granted.


O`DONNELL: Ron Klain is back with us for this part of the discussion. But, Ron, the first thing I want to do is listen to what the President said about Charlottesville.



OBAMA We saw what happened in Charlottesville. But we also saw what happened after Charlottesville when the biggest gatherings of all rejected fear and rejected hate and the decency and good will of the American people came out. That`s how we rise.

We don`t -- we don`t rise up by repeating the past. We rise up by learning from the past. And by listening to each other and knowing that we`re all flawed.


O`DONNELL: Ron, he plays a singular role for Democrats on the campaign trail.

KLAIN: Oh, my God, I miss that man. You know, I mean, tomorrow is the 9- month anniversary of Donald Trump taking office. It`s hard to sometimes remember that we had a President who appealed to people by talking about the goodness of our country, not by calling people losers and sad. A president who could talk about our history with richness and texture and pulling people together to build a better country, not someone who is devoted to tearing us apart and fanning the flames of division.

And I think that to see President Obama out there tonight with this message, I think it`s obviously a very effective thing for Ralph Northam, the Democratic candidate in Virginia. His Republican opponent has not invited Donald Trump to campaign down there. No surprise. And it`s a reminder of the kind of President we had nine months ago.

O`DONNELL: Ron, we`ve just gotten a Presidential Tweet, apparently he`s been watching this show, and he`s not happy. Donald trump has Tweeted, fake news is going crazy and wacky. Congresswoman -- going crazy with wacky Congresswoman Wilson who was secretly on a very personal call and gave a total lie on content. Now, we are the hour here that has been concentrating on Congresswoman Wilson at the beginning of this show.

She hasn`t been part of much of any other coverage tonight. So, he`s clearly talking about this. He is, of course, on his end of the phone call, he was not alone. There were people listening in on his end of the phone call including, apparently, Whitehouse Chief of staff General Kelly. And he`s now saying that what she said was a lie. But General Kelly did not say that today. General Kelly did not contest a single word that she said.

KLAIN: And what`s more, as you pointed out earlier, Lawrence, Sergeant Johnson`s mother says that Donald Trump did disrespect her son and her daughter. So, this isn`t about Congresswoman Wilson and the President. It`s about the President and a gold star mother. And if John Kelly wants to give a lecture tomorrow, he should walk down the hallway not to the briefing room, but to the Oval Office and tell the President to stop calling gold star mothers liars.

O`DONNELL: Well, tonight you have the president insulting congresswoman Wilson, calling her wacky on the same day that his white -- White House chief of staff did everything he could to insult her and insult her in terrible, terrible language and would not even use her name and calling her an empty barrel so, there John Kelly and Donald Trump see eye to eye. This is the black woman who they should aim all their insulting attitude toward to save Donald Trump from this controversy.

KLAIN: Yeah, and again, I think the real issue here is that obviously. We know the president has a trouble with women of color, women in authority, we know that drives him crazy to have one call him out, always baits the president into a very negative response. But I think it`s especially despicable here that really his core grievance is with a gold star mother who said the President disrespected her, disrespected her son.

And the President as you said at the outset will not apologize for that. That to me, Lawrence, is the most -- John Kelly wants to be shocked about something, be shocked about that.

O`DONNELL: With that Ron Klain gets tonight`s last word. Thank you, Ron

KLAIN: Thank you, lawrence.

O`DONNELL: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams starts now.


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