Trump to meet with Senate GOP on tax cuts Transcript 10/23/17 The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel. Isn`t the headline, we`re going to make it sexy? Isn`t that the headline?

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, TRMS: The word "sexy" was used but you know me, I blotted it out as soon as it happened and couldn`t hear anything else.

O`DONNELL: I noticed that. Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Well, this morning the widow spoke in an interview flawlessly conducted by George Stephanopoulos with grace and dignity, Myeshia Johnson spoke for herself in the controversy created by President Trump`s condolence phone call to her about her husband, Sergeant La David Johnson, who was killed in action in Niger.

Last week, when Congresswoman Frederica Wilson who heard the phone call quoted the president as saying, he knew what he was signing up for, but I guess it hurts anyway. President Trump angrily disputed that account. President Trump tweeted: Democrat congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action and I have proof. Sad.

Here`s what Myeshia Johnson said about that this morning.


MYESHIA JOHNSON, WIDOW OF SGT. LA DAVID JOHNSON: Whatever Ms. Wilson said was not fabricated. What she said was 100 percent correct. It was Master Sergeant Neil, me, my aunt, my uncle and the driver and Ms. Wilson in the car. The phone was on speakerphone. Why would we fabricate something like that?


O`DONNELL: Myeshia Johnson was also hurt that the president did not seem to know her husband`s name.


JOHNSON: The president said that he knew what he signed up for but it hurts anyways. And I was -- it made me cry because I was very angry at the tone of his voice and how he said it. He couldn`t remember my husband`s name. The only way remembered my husband`s name because he told me, he had my husband report in front of him. And that`s when he actually said La David.

I heard him stumbling on trying to remember my husband name. And that were hurting me the most because if my husband is out here fighting for our country and he risk his life for our country, why can`t you remember his name? And that what made me upset and cry even more because my husband was an awesome soldier. He did what it take -- people, other soldiers like five years to do in three years.


O`DONNELL: Here`s the president`s tweeted response to that interview: I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sergeant La David Johnson and spoke his name from beginning without hesitation!

And so, once again, the president is disputing a report of that phone call, this one by the person the president was actually speaking to in that phone call. The president said it was a very respectful conversation.

Now, a conversation has at least two parts, at least two speakers. And so, George Stephanopoulos asked about the other half of that conversation.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS HOST: Now, what did you say to the president?

JOHNSON: I didn`t say anything. I just listened.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you were upset when you got off the phone?

JOHNSON: Oh, very, very upset and hurt. Very. It made my cry even worse.


O`DONNELL: Myeshia Johnson still has nothing to say to the president.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Is there anything you`d like to say to the president now?

JOHNSON: No. I don`t -- no. I don`t have nothing to say to him.


O`DONNELL: Well, at least there was no name calling from the White House today as there was last week when Congresswoman Frederica Wilson described the president`s phone call. President Trump then said that Congresswoman Wilson was lying and the White House Chief of Staff John Kelly called her an empty barrel. Kelly attacked the congresswoman at length in the White House press briefing room and refused to ever say her name.

And it is very hard now to make sense of what earns an attack from the Trump White House or earns praise from the Trump White House.

Southern Baptist Pastor Robert Jeffress was praised by the president on Friday. When the president called him a wonderful man in a tweet, the president was using the office to help to try to sell books for the pastor in that tweet. And here`s what Robert Jeffress has said about John Kelly`s religion.


DR. ROBERT JEFFRESS: Today, the Roman Catholic Church is the result of that corruption. Much of what you see in the Catholic Church today doesn`t come from God`s word. It comes from this cult-like pagan religion.


O`DONNELL: So, if you call Catholicism a cult-like pagan religion, Donald Trump will call you a wonderful man and John Kelly will not call you an empty barrel. Everything John Kelly said about the woman he called an empty barrel has turned out to be untrue. Every word of it.


JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: The congresswoman stood up and in the long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise stood up there in all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building. And how she took care of her constituents because she got the money and called up President Obama and on that phone call he gave the money, the $20 million to build the building. 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: Congresswoman Wilson was at the dedication of that new federal office building in Miami that would house the FBI because she pushed the bill that named that building for two FBI agents who were killed in the line of duty and she never claimed to get one dime of the funding for the building because she didn`t help get the funding for the building.

And Congresswoman Wilson mentioned the Republican speaker of the house in giving credit where credit was due for naming of the building but she never mentioned President Barack Obama. But for some reason John Kelly seemed to want the word Obama to be right in the middle of his completely false criticism of that villain in that story, Congresswoman Wilson.

The day after John Kelly told that false story about Frederica Wilson, the full video of her remarks in Miami at the FBI building that day became public and everyone could see that John Kelly got it completely wrong.

Congresswoman Wilson tweeted, General Kelly owes the nation an apology because when he lied about me, he lied to the American public.

As I said on Thursday, when John Kelly went into the White House press briefing room to defend the president, everything John 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 continued service of another son in combat was nothing less than noble. But John Kelly brought a villain with him into that briefing room that day, a villain who was not worthy of being given a real name, a villain who he simply called an empty barrel and in the middle of that story about that villain who happens to be a black woman John Kelly made the name of the black president suddenly appear, for absolutely no conceivable reason.

Now, I know that many people might rush to the conclusion that race had something to do with that. And more people might rush to the conclusion that race had nothing to do with that. But the truth is we don`t know. We don`t know why John Kelly told a completely false story about Congresswoman Frederica Wilson and President Obama. We don`t know.

That`s what apologies are for, to try to remove doubt that something we`ve said that could be interpreted in a truly awful way was not meant that way. This is where I truly wish I could read you John Kelly`s apology and I wish that that apology was as heartfelt and deeply moving as what John Kelly had to say on Thursday about the lives lost in combat, including hi own son.

But Donald Trump believes that apology is a sign of weakness and we don`t know what John Kelly thinks about apology. We don`t know if John Kelly understands that in civilian life, sometimes the most important sign of strength and decency is an honest and convincing apology.

By the end of the day on Friday, the worst thing that we knew about John Kelly is that everything he told the country about Congresswoman Wilson was not true and three days later now the worst thing we now know about John Kelly is that he still hasn`t apologized to the congresswoman or the country.

Joining us now, Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning opinion writer for "The Washington Post" and an MSNBC political analyst, and David Frum, senior editor for "The Atlantic."

Eugene, it`s been an extraordinary run of days on this story. I`m focusing on the failure to apologize for something being obviously false. Any other president would have ordered the White House chief of staff to run out there and apologize and any other White House chief of staff would not have had to be ordered to go out there and apologize.

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I believe that`s right, Lawrence. I -- look, General Kelly went into this administration, who knows? We may fortunate to have him there at the side of an erratic, impulsive, frankly, dangerous president. But he -- inevitably has tarnished himself by association with Donald Trump and that`s what you saw.

And as to what motivated him to go after Congresswoman Wilson in that way, it did occur to me that race could be a factor. It occurred to me gender could be a factor. And again, as you said, we don`t know. It would be nice to remove that cloud. But I frankly don`t expect it. It`s been long enough and he hasn`t apologized.

O`DONNELL: David Frum, is it conceivable that John Kelly might want to apologize and Donald Trump is basically forbidding him from doing that, that he would be fired if he apologized and John Kelly`s afraid of being fired if he apologized?

DAVID FRUM, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: I can`t read that mind but one of the things I take from this episode is that John Kelly`s accomplishments has not built a successful system that can affect things beyond soldiers` deaths, including the risk of war.

Look, there`s no obligation that a president telephone the families of the fallen. The president can do -- other presidents had done other things. They can send beautiful letters, they can honor -- they can receive people at the White House. They can pay honor in other ways.

One of the things that a staff might do is to take the measure of the president they serve and say, this guy, you know, we love him. Not everybody loves him. We love him, but we recognize that empathetic communication is not one of his strong points. So, let`s not ask him to do that.

And the fact they put this president in a position where they thought that it would be successful for him to telephone and then when it so obviously wasn`t successful, they couldn`t recognize that, makes me think, well, what else about this president do they not recognize, things that could have much larger geopolitical importance than the grief that was inflicted on one family.

O`DONNELL: And, Gene, John Kelly was brought in as the White House chief of staff following what I think Washington agreed was the worst chief of staff they`d ever seen, Reince Priebus. We now it seems have possibly a second worst. He went out there last week to fix a problem that was created and he made it much worse. That`s exactly the opposite of what the White House chief of staff is supposed to do.

ROBINSON: It is and he made this, you know, it should have been a one or two-day story, bad for the White House, end it, right? And he stretched it out by going out there.

And President Trump seems to relish in the fact that this has been a week- long story instead of a one or two-day story. He seems to like this fight with Congresswoman Wilson. And maybe he thinks that it delights not only him but delights his base.

O`DONNELL: And on a related matter, in terms of Donald Trump and military matters, we have seen John McCain interestingly sort of move out on the issue of the president`s failure to serve in Vietnam and possibly getting some kind of helpful possibly fake help from a doctor to get out of it.

Let`s listen to what John McCain said on C-Span.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: One aspect of the conflict, by the way, that I will never, ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest income level of America and the highest income level found a doctor that would say that they had a bone spur. That is wrong. That is wrong. If we`re going to ask every American to serve every American should serve.


O`DONNELL: And, David, it`s hard to believe bone spur was randomly chosen since that`s what was in Donald Trump`s note from his doctor he had a bone spur that would prevent him from serving.

FRUM: Right, no, pretty obviously direct. John McCain said other direct things, too.

You know, Eugene a minute ago referred to this being a one or two-day story and with McCain`s comments, no, it`s actually a bigger story because one of the things that`s come to light has been -- there`s been a complete breakdown in the way the White House responds to the president`s duty to grieve with the families of the fallen. And again, that does not mean a phone call in every case. That can well be unfeasible. It would not be wrong for a White House to say, we are doing other things in other ways.

But you have to do something. And one of the things that is not is a last- minute, like, you know, end of term crush to send out documents by FedEx, including a check that was promised three months ago that is sent on the day "The Washington Post" writes the story the check was not sent.

O`DONNELL: Yes. Gene, to David`s point, we knew have all the reporting indicating what the president was saying last week about the way he handles these condolences is completely untrue. Most people had not heard from him and now they went into panic mode to kind of deliver condolence messages to all these families that hadn`t gotten one from the president.

ROBINSON: Right, and this is typical. Donald Trump comes out and, you know, either tweets or says something that`s not true and the White House scrambles to try to make it true.

But David is right. Systems don`t work in this White House the way they should. And perhaps we should look at this as a more worrisome sign that bigger and more consequential systems in terms of world peace and the security of the nation are also not working.

O`DONNELL: I want to take a quick look at what John McCain said on "The View," again, about the bone spur because I think it`s indicative of something Donald Trump and other Republicans might have to worry about which is senators like John McCain increasingly feeling free to speak their minds about this president and possibly not join him on things like the tax bill. Let`s listen to this.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People thought you were talking about --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- Mr. Trump because he had a doctor`s note that said he had bone spurs.

MCCAIN: I think more than once, yes.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chronic. Chronic bone spurs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you consider him a draft dodger?

MCCAIN: I don`t consider him so much a draft dodger as I feel that the system was so wrong that certain Americans could evade their responsibilities to serve the country.


O`DONNELL: And before we leave this segment, I just want to remind us that the reason we have been talking about all of this is the loss of four lives in Niger. And they are Staff Sergeant Bryan Black, Staff Sergeant Jeremiah Johnson, Staff Sergeant Dustin Wright and Sergeant La David Johnson. And we should not leave this subject without mentioning the sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice, that they gave.

Eugene Robinson and David Frum, thank you both for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.

Coming up, John Kelly talked about Khizr Khan and Gold Star families last week and Mr. Khan will join us tonight and respond.

And later, a very special "Rewrite" about what Fox News had to say about me on Friday night.



KELLY: Gold Star families, I think that left in the convention over the summer. But I just thought the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die on the battlefield, I just thought that might be sacred.


O`DONNELL: That was John Kelly last week when he was listing people and things that he thought this country used to hold sacred and he believes no longer does. His list of the sacred when he was a little boy growing up in Boston included women, religion and Gold Star families.

And it was not clear to me whether John Kelly thinks that Captain Humayun Khan`s parents violated the sanctity of Gold Star families by speaking at the Democratic Convention about the son they lost in combat or whether John Kelly meant that Donald Trump violated the sanctity of Gold Star families by attacking the Khan family for appearing at the Democratic Convention.

Joining us now is Khizr Khan, author of the book, "An American Family: A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice." Mr. Khan`s son, Captain Humayun Khan, was killed in Iraq in 2004 protecting the lives of his fellow soldiers.

Thank you very much for joining us again, Mr. Khan. Really appreciate it.


O`DONNELL: And it`s always a sad context in which we are meeting you here on this show. This was the first place you discussed this after the Democratic Convention with your surprise appearance there.

How did you interpret what John Kelly said about Gold Star families at the convention in the summer?

KHAN: I was shocked. I was shocked when I heard citizen Kelly, we honor his service. We honor his family`s sacrifice. But now, he`s a private citizen. I was shocked to hear him do exactly same thing himself what he was complaining about.

O`DONNELL: So you took it as a criticism of you?

KHAN: Of course. But he forgot we stood for the best values of America that Captain Humayun Khan was made of.

John Kelly stood for this country`s history`s worst president supporting him, doing what was taking place for political expediency, maligning honorable congresswoman, using the tragedy where my four sons, brave heroes of this country gave their life, maligning that moment, their sacrifice.

And instead of telling the president that this is the moment of dignity and restraint, he should have wrote it on piece of paper and put it in front of the president that you`re not capable of doing what you plan to do, extending condolences because he has proven time after time to this entire nation, lack of empathy, lack of sympathy towards these families. He`s void of that sentiment. He should have been refrained from commenting on that. A simple dignity and privacy would have been call of the day, and a duty of the president`s adviser to advise him as such.

But he went to support the president for his political expediency in using these tragedies and using this moment of serious -- in a word -- life, the life of this country. I am more worried about we know the nature of Donald Trump. We know his instability. How he responds.

And this nation`s security affairs, this nation`s international affairs, this nation`s safety and security, internal and external, is in the hands of such advisers and this president? God have mercy on our nation.

O`DONNELL: Should John Kelly apologize to you that you have taken it as an attack on you?

KHAN: Things are beyond apology. I don`t need any apology.

O`DONNELL: But if he didn`t mean it. I mean, I offered the possibility that he might not have meant it.

KHAN: Of course.

O`DONNELL: If he did not mean it, what would stop him from coming out and apologizing to you?

KHAN: That requires courage. That requires that step maybe taken by his boss, not following his line of conversation or leadership. I don`t think John Kelly is ready to not support Trump wholeheartedly, to walk away from his line of loyalty, obedience.

So, I don`t expect that. Instead of me, focus should be those four grieving families. Their privacy should be the -- our most concern, the dignity that we should be granting. They are -- they sit at this moment at the highest podium of this nation, respect and dignity towards them. They`re the best of this country, best of this nation. They ought to be treated as such.

Maybe John Kelly has the courage and guts to put an end to this, to do the right thing, to extend an apology. Regardless of what has taken place, extend an apology and move forward.

O`DONNELL: Khizr Khan, thank you very much again for joining us tonight on this program. Really appreciate it.

And the book is "An American Family", this tells the story that Mr. Khan has been telling us now for over a year.

Coming up, what could possibly go wrong for President Trump`s giant tax cut?


O`DONNELL: The simple rule about tax legislation in Congress. Tax increases are very, very difficult to pass and tax cuts are very, very easy to pass. So, what could possibly go wrong for President Trump`s giant tax cut?


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think we have the votes. I think that Rand Paul actually is going to vote for the tax cuts. I think that other people -- you know, we had tremendous enthusiasm this time. Health care, I was told, was tougher. But it was close. I mean, so far, I would say it`s not even a contest.


O`DONNELL: Well, it really shouldn`t be a contest.

The one thing that I was sure that a Trump presidency was going to be able to get was a giant tax cut that would explode the deficit and dramatically increase the national debt so that the next Democratic president would feel compelled to do the fiscally responsible thing and raise taxes and the Republicans would get to campaign against that Democratic president with the promise of tax cuts because that is the cycle that we have been in since the 1980s. Republican presidents campaigning on tax cuts, and then winning the presidency and passing those tax cuts, dramatically increasing the deficit and debt, so that new Democratic Clinton and then Obama, feel they have to raise taxes and they do and then Republicans blame them for raising taxes and the Republicans win the Presidency back and then they cut taxes.

So this is the Republican Presidency that`s supposed to cut the Obama Tax Rates which are really just a partial restoration of the Clinton Tax Rates after the George W. Bush Tax Cuts and the Clinton Tax Rates would be very easy. It should be very, very easy now for REPUBLICANS to do this tax cut if any other Republican was in the Whitehouse. But with the Republican Health Care Bill, we saw Donald Trump seems determined to say and do whatever it takes to get in the way.


MARIA BARTIROMO, JOURNALIST: If they can`t get this tax bill done this year, should they forego Thanksgiving and Christmas? Should they be here if they don`t have a bill on your desk by thanksgiving?

DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: I think they should and I think they will. I don`t like them leaving but I want it by the end of the year and very disappointed if it took that long. It could be substantially less than that.


O`DONNELL: Oh, no, no, no, no. it cannot be substantially less than that. The republicans are fast tracking the tax cut with the speed we have never seen before in tax legislation. They have had no hearings on any of the tax provisions that the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee will rewrite into the kind of massive tax cuts the president is hoping for. Here`s the legislative stages the Republicans have to go through.

First, pass an identical budget resolution in the House and Senate and so far they have only pass add budget resolution in the Senate. And the House as usual doesn`t like the Senates version of the budget resolution very much. And so they might pass a different one which means that the House and Senate will then have to meet in the conference committee and work out a compromise version that`s identical and can be passed in that identical form in both bodies.

And if they do all that, when they get all of that done, they will have done absolutely nothing because the budget resolution is just a promise to do something in the future. It is not a law. It doesn`t change anything. It`s just a promise and it`s a promise that Congress can break.

And it usually takes at least a month, just to pass an identical budget resolution through the House and the Senate sometimes much longer than that. And only then does the real legislating begin and the real legislating is actually writing the tax bill that will reconcile all those promises that are made in that budget resolution. And that`s why the second bill is called a Budget Reconciliation bill and that Reconciliation bill is procedurally protected as people now know so it only needs 51 votes to pass in the Senate and as we have seen before in the senate the Republicans can only afford to lose two Republican votes.

A third Republican vote lost in the Senate and the tax bill is gone. There will be no tax bill. And we already have one Republican saying he will not vote for a tax bill that increases the deficit. Retiring Senator Bob Corker who has been sharply critical of the President recently and Senator John McCain voted against the Bush Tax Cuts and also being sharply critical of the President these days.

The very worst day in the future of this still unwritten Republican Tax Bill will be the day that we get the CBO score showing just how much this tax cut increases the deficit. That will be the day that makes or breaks this bill. That`s decision day for Bob Corker and maybe for JohnMcCain. and possibly other Republican Senators. And Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell know they`re not ready for that day yet, not even close to being ready for it.

And so while the leadership works with the tax writhing staff of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee to craft the precise package of tax cuts that can get 51 votes in the Senate. Donald Trump is always going to be making mistakes on the sidelines and today he made a very big one involving your 401K Retirement Plans. Austan Goolsbee, adviser to President Obama will join us next and explain it all.



TRUMP: I think that we`re going to have the votes for taxes and I will say the fact that Health Care is so difficult I think makes the taxes easier. The Republicans want to get it done.


O`DONNELL: No. that doesn`t make it easier. But Republicans are going to have trouble getting it done because Donald Trump is President and he apparently is going to negotiate the tax bill on twitter. After some leaks came out indicating that Congressional Republicans were considering dramatically lowering the limits that you can contribute to your 401K Retirement Plans, today the President tweeted this.

There will be no change to your 401K. This has always been a great and popular middle class tax break that works and it stays! And to discuss the problems the Republicans are going to encounter with a President negotiating the tax bill on twitter, Austan Goolsbee, Former Chairman of President Obama`s Council of Economic Advisers, now a Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago joining us.

Austan, when I saw that Tweet I thought, okay, so who got what for this? because as you know when you`re putting together a big tax bill package like this and you`re looking at 401K and there`s pressure to take the provision out what you want is some senators or some house members to commit to you that they will vote for your package as long as you take out that 401K thing and so Donald Trump just gives it away on Twitter. And I didn`t see any people, any Senators or Congressmen, tweeting back saying, OK, you have my vote now.

AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: No. most of the Republicans were looking at each other like, wait, what did he say?


GOOLSBEE: That`s because, look, the root of his problem on this has always been the same thing and it`s going to continue to be which is, A, he doesn`t know the details and, B, all of the things that he called for if you simply add them up, the state tax, corporate tax, all the taxes, they add up to $5 trillion of an increase in the deficit which they can`t pass $5 trillion. Even this budget resolution would forbid that so they have to find some way to raise revenue. But nobody`s prepared to have their taxes go up.

And whenever they talk about any way to raise revenue, someone pushes back and the President gives it away without even giving anything in return. So, they cannot pass a tax bill if they`re going to do this.

O`DONNELL: Well one of the easiest way and politically easiest way it seems to me for them to try to rebalance this bill in a way that is better for the deficit is to not go so deep on the corporate tax cut they want to do.

GOOLSBEE: Of course. Of course you`re right

O`DONNELL: Not one voter to thank them for cutting the corporate tax rate.

GOOLSBEE: Look. What they`re calling for the corporate tax rate, that`s $2 trillion of the $5 trillion. So yes, you`re right. But also you`d say why would you cut the estate tax? How many people does that apply to? $10 million estate before you even qualify to pay a dime. But it doesn`t matter.

They`re charging ahead. Every group has what they want and add them all up and it`s literally $5.5 trillion and going around in a circle. I want this and I want that and you want this. That`s $6 trillion. How will we pay for that? Maybe we`ll tax -- get rid of the state and local deduction and then see the President Tweet out, I`m not getting rid of the state and local deduction.

And then you say well maybe we`ll change 401K`s. I`m not going to change 401Ks, border adjustment. I`m not for that. They don`t add up and the root of this because Donald Trump does not know anything about the details of what he`s talking about.

O`DONNELL: And as you know, in every kind of tax reform attempt and tax cutting attempt since the 1980s, the elimination of state and local deductibility has been on the table. States have -- some of the states that have lower state taxes have been trying to get that. It`s always blocked. Always blocked by New York, California, Massachusetts, all these states with rather high local taxes and so, when you see them -- when I saw them making the move on that Austan, I thought, wow, they`ll use up a significant amount of time and their own Republican New York Congressmen are going to kill it.

GOOLSBEE: Exactly. They got more than 50 Republicans who are in the states that would be the hardest hit by that. Who would it hit? Upper middle class people and middle class people in those states. So they are not going to do that.

But as you say, it`s just going to take them time to figure out that they`re not going to do that. They`re waiting for a bus to come pick them up but they`re hitchhiking without knowing it yet because the bus long ago is gone. They`re not going to be able to do that.

O`DONNELL: We got one giant tax bill through the Senate Finance Committee when I was the Chief of the Staff of the committee and takes every single ounce of strength you have.

GOOLSBEE: You know, Lawrence, of all people, you know there were years they literally set up that tax bill for years. They were slaying the ground work, negotiating with people on their own side, the other side. They haven`t done any homework here. And now they`re wondering why they`re flunking the exam.

O`DONNELL: Austan Goolsbee, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

GOOLSBEE: Great to see you again.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, well, fox news called me a Moron on Friday night but at least Rex Tillerson didn`t. I have a few words to say about that next.


O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s rewrite. On Friday night on FOX News show Tucker Carlson called may moron. I know you what you`re thinking. What took him so long? Well I know Tucker Carlson and I know that he is not a moron although he does sometimes try to play one on TV as he did Friday nigh when he lied about what I said the night before about Whitehouse Chief of Staff John Kelly.

I pointed out that John Kelly grew up in a segregated city, the same city I grew up in, Boston. And that John Kelly grew up in a neighborhood in Oak Square and Brighton that was very similar to the neighborhood I grew up in Dorchester which I specified was on the other side of town and went to high school near John Kelly`s Oak Square neighborhood so I know that area very well. And what I very, very specifically did not say is that John Kelly is a racist because he`s from Boston. And that is something that Tucker Carlson and other Fox News hosts lied about on Friday night. And to prove that I didn`t know what I was talking about, Tucker Carlson, of course, turned to Boston`s right Wing Trump supporting radio host Howie Carr.


TUCKER CARLSON, COMMENTATOR: Howie Carr, host of radio show in Boston, writes for the Boston Herald. He`s from Boston, he breathes Boston and when you hear him talk, you know he`s fully Boston. Howie Carr, thanks for joining us tonight. You saw your city impugned last night on another channel when a couple of hosts said, look, Kelly, General Kelly is clearly a bigot because he`s from Boston. How did you take that as a native son?

HOWIE CARR, JOURNALIST: Well it`s outrageous. You know, Lawrence O`Donnell shouldn`t have said that. He also said he and General Kelly come from identical backgrounds. Actually, Lawrence O`Donnell`s father was a lawyer and General Kelly`s father was a Milkman and after high school Lawrence O`Donnell went to Harvard College and General Kelly went in to the U.S. Marine Corps.

And they were talking about Boston, the desegregation problems, the rioting and all that. When that all began, you know, Lawrence O`Donnell was writing snide essays in Cambridge at the Harvard Lampoon and General Kelly was a commuter going to U-Mass Boston. I mean they come from very different backgrounds.


O`DONNELL: OK well now that Howie dragged my old man into it, my father was a Boston cop who did something that no Boston police officer before him had ever done. He went to college in law school nights and became a lawyer. He had some good years and bad years financially as a lawyer. His biggest year was when the city of Boston forced to him about $200,000 in attorney`s fees for a civil rights case that he brought against his old Police Department for shooting and killing James Boden, a young black man with no criminal record who was working as a janitor at Boston City Hospital and living with his wife two young children in Boston`s black neighborhood of Roxbury, which was the same neighborhood that my father grew up in when it was a mostly Irish neighborhood.

That case was the first successful wrongful death civil rights case of its kind. My father was a great lawyer, but he never paid enough attention to money and like his father before him, he died penniless and I inherited nothing and will never inherit anything. Now, Tucker Carlson is not from Boston and so he thinks that when he hears Howie Carr, he`s hearing a Boston accent. Tucker Carlson called Howie Carr a native son of Boston. Howie Carr is a native son of Maine.

Howie Carr was born in Maine, 100 miles north of Boston. Howie Carr did not grow up in Boston. He never set foot in Boston for elementary school. He`s never been in a Boston elementary school, the kind that John Kelly and I went to. And when Howie went to high school, he went to one of the richest boarding schools in America.

In fact, it is the fourth richest boarding school in America with a half billion dollar endowment, Deerfield Academy. And when I was in college, room and board at Deerfield cost the same as room and board at Harvard and it still does.

Now, when Howie Carr was going to Deerfield Academy, it was as high a concentration of rich kids as you could find in any institution anywhere. Deerfield Academy is at least in Massachusetts, but it is 100 miles west of Boston and when it came time for college, Howie went even farther away from Boston, which has more colleges than any city of its size, including Harvard College, which is partially in Boston, partially in Cambridge. Howie went to the University of North Carolina and he paid the tuition that North Carolina residents paid, not the tuition that a Boston resident would have to pay because

Howie Carr never lived in Boston and he doesn`t live in Boston now. He lives in what has historically always been Boston`s richest suburb, Wellesley, and Howie has a swimming pool, something no O`Donnell home has ever had.

Now, I have no idea what life is like in that rich suburb of Wellesley. I`ve never spent a night there, never swam in a swimming pool there. So, on Fox News, the guy from Maine who grew up in a few other states, including Florida, and claimed North Carolina residence to go to college and has never lived in Boston, is introduced this way.


TUCKER: He`s from Boston. He breathes Boston. When you hear him talk, you know he`s fully Boston.


O`DONNELL: Now, this is the same network that recently had to admit that a guest that they were repeatedly introducing as a Vietnam Veteran and navy seal was not a Navy Seal and never served in Vietnam. So be careful of those introductions on Fox News.

Now, to give Howie Carr credit, he has never before Friday night claimed to be from Boston. He`s always been very honest about not being from Boston. on his radio show about not growing up in Boston, never going to school in Boston, and not even living in Boston. but when you`re introduced the way Howie was on Friday night with a steady stream of lies about your background, before you move on to telling the world what a terrible person I am, you`ve really got to straighten that up.


TUCKER: How did you take that as a native son?

CARR: Well, it`s outrageous.


O`DONNELL: I don`t know, Howie. a lot of people in Boston thought it was kind of outrageous that you didn`t rewrite that false introduction. You know, set Tucker straight about that whole native son thing.

And, Tucker, the next time you want someone to tell you all about Boston, get someone from Boston. It`s not that hard.


O`DONNELL: It is only a tiny percentage, less than 1 percent of the 1 percent of American families who are actively engaged in the military, ever experience death in combat in the family in the 21st century. These four deaths that we have been discussing for the better part of the last week have brought our focus on this in a way that it hasn`t been in a very long time, Staff sergeant Brian Black, staff sergeant Jeremiah Johnson, Staff Sergeant Dustin Wright and Sergeant La David Johnson. Tonight`s last word goes to Myeshia Johnson.


MYESHIA JOHNSON, SOLDIER`S WIDOW: I don`t know how he got killed, where he got killed or anything. I don`t know that part. They never told me and that`s what I`ve been trying to find out since day one, since October 4th.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, FMR. WHITEHOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: are you confident you`re going to get the answers you need?

JOHNSON If I keep pushing for them, I will. They`re telling me that he`s in a severe, a severe wrap, like I won`t be able to see him. I need to see him so I will know that that is my husband.

I don`t know nothing. They won`t show me a finger, a hand. I know my husband`s body from head to toe, and they won`t let me see anything. I don`t know what`s in that box. It could be empty, for all I know. But I need -- I need to see my husband. I haven`t seen him since he came home.



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