JOY REID, MSNBC: That does it for us tonight. I will see you again tomorrow morning on my own show morning, "A.M. Joy," that`s tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. But now it`s time for "The Last Word." Ali Velshi is in for Lawrence tonight. Good evening Ali. The only way I get to talk to you is when I talk to you on T.V.
ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: I know. It`s really weird, right. We should make time outside of this, Joy.
REID: We should. We should.
VELSHI: Always a pleasure to see you. As you said, when you started the show, it is a busy night. We will pick it up now. Thanks.
REID: Yes sir. Take care.
VELSHI: I`m Ali Velshi, in for Lawrence O`Donnell. The president of the United States is living in an alternate universe with this border wall. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said repeatedly and unequivocally that she will not give him the money he wants to build his wall. And so it seems that the president is OK with simply pretending to have a wall.
In the Oval Office today, President Trump actually tried to claim, falsely, that his wall is already being built.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re building a lot of wall right now as we speak. The chant now should be finish the wall as opposed to build the wall because we`re building a lot of wall. We haven`t declared a national emergency, yet we`re building a lot of wall. We`re continuing to build a lot of wall. We`re building a wall and we`re building a lot of wall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: OK. Two points here. First, let`s fact check this. It is not true. None of what the president said is true. No new sections of the border wall have been built or are being built. We stretched our graphic staff tonight to show you this. That`s the number of miles of wall that have been built.
Second, if the wall was being built as the president claims, why did he shut the government down for 35 days? What was the point of the shutdown if the border wall was already under construction? OK. Back to the other universe that the president is living in. He also falsely claimed today that he has the money to build his wall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you found the money to build the wall and if you do that --
TRUMP: Well, we have a lot of money and that`s why we`re building it. We`re already appropriated. We have a lot of appropriation. It`s already been done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: OK. Let`s fact check that point, too. It is also not true. Congress has not authorized any new funds for the border wall. That was the reason for the government shutdown. In fact, Congressional negotiators are working right now to figure out how to avoid a second shutdown.
The president is claiming he has money for a wall that he doesn`t have and claiming that that same wall is being built when it is not. Of course, some of this is thanks to Nancy Pelosi who refuses to cave to Trump`s funding demands for the wall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you no longer ruling out any money for the wall? Are you now open for money for the wall?
NANCY PELOSI, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Have I not been clear on a wall?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have not been clear.
PELOSI: OK. No, I have been very clear on the wall.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you committed to bring that to the floor? For a vote?
PELOSI: Well, if they come up with a bipartisan consensus, of course.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even if it includes border wall money though?
PELOSI: We`re not having a negotiation over this right now. They`re having a negotiation over it in there. Now, there`s not going to be any wall money in the legislation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: OK. It should come as little surprise that the president continued his attack today on the house speaker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARGARET BRENNAN, CBS NEWS HOST: You had quite the showdown with Speaker Pelosi. What did you learn about negotiating with her?
TRUMP: Well, I think that she was very rigid, which I would expect, but I think she is very bad for our country. She knows that you need a barrier. She knows that we need border security. She wanted to win a political point.
BRENNAN: She offered you over a billion dollars for border security.
TRUMP: Excuse me?
BRENNAN: She offered over a billion dollars for border security. She doesn`t want the wall.
TRUMP: She is costing the country hundreds of billions of dollars because what is happening is when you have a porous border and when you have drugs pouring in and when you have people dying all over the country because of people like Nancy Pelosi who don`t want to give proper border security for political reasons, she`s doing a terrible disservice to our country.
BRENNAN: You are still going to have to deal with her though.
TRUMP: No, she can keep playing her games but we will win because we have a much better issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: All right. The alternate universe continues. Here is the problem with the president`s thesis. It is just not right. Polling this week from Quinnipiac University shows that voters trust Democrats in Congress on border security more than they trust the president. And they trust Nancy Pelosi more on the important issues than they trust the president.
You may be asking, what`s a president to do when support isn`t on his side. Well, just make it up. Trump actually tried saying today -- and I hope you are sitting down for this -- that a secret movement of Democrats want him to build the wall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: In all fairness to the Democrats, many of them want the wall and I see it. They`re just dying to say what they want to say, but they can`t say it as well as they would be able to if they were allowed to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: To be clear, no Democrats have come out in support of funding the president`s border wall as he has demanded it. While Nancy Pelosi isn`t a member of the negotiating committee that`s working to fund the government, you can bet that any final deal is going to have to have her seal of approval and that approval certainly won`t include money for a border wall. That`s the reality of the situation.
Joining us now, Neera Tanden, president of The Center for American Progress and Maya Wiley, former civil prosecutor for the Southern District of new York and former council to the mayor of New York City. She is an MSNBC legal analyst. Thank you to both of you, welcome.
Neera, let`s start with you. Donald Trump seems to have focused his attention or refocused his attention now on Nancy Pelosi. That hasn`t worked for him since this new Congress has come into force. Nancy Pelosi seems to have outmaneuvered Donald Trump once and he keeps going at her for some reason.
NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT, THE CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: In fact, Donald Trump`s attacks on Nancy Pelosi have done nothing except shore up and strengthen Nancy Pelosi. If you would ask Republicans a year ago whether she would be, you know, almost 10 points more popular than Donald Trump, they would have said that`s not possible.
But then now we have Donald Trump and he has done this incredible thing, which is to make Nancy Pelosi far more popular than him. And I think really, her strength comes from the fact that he is a bully who has bullied Republicans into subservience and people want to check on that and she stands up to him.
She`s able to deliver results. She has negotiated the best hand and he has had to cave to her and he hasn`t caved to too many people. So I think he should keep attacking her. She will get to 55, 60, 65 percent if he keeps going.
VELSHI: Maya, it is kind of interesting that the president raised by the way, after everything else. He had said that there are these Democrats who want to say what they want to say. There is a new freshman group of Democrats. There are some progressives who have been elected who do not appear to be shy of saying whatever they want to say.
MAYA WILY, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Even when other Democrats don`t like it.
VELSHI: That is correct. In fact, I would say that they are there in stronger force than we have seen for a while. So, if there are some secret Democrats who want to fund this wall, it doesn`t seem likely. Nancy Pelosi seems to have her caucus in line on this.
WILEY: Absolutely. And I think what all of this, when we go back to the facts that we have 700 miles of wall already, that we have the Rio Grande River and we have deserts that also form natural barriers, and that two- thirds of people who come into the country, who are here now without proper documentation came in on airplanes or --
VELSHI: With visas that they overstayed, yes.
WILEY: With visas if they overstayed. You know, this is why Democrats are saying, although we agree -- first of all, some Democrats actually may not agree on increasing funding for border security. That may be a point of contention between some of the new Democrats versus some of the Democrats that --
VELSHI: But none of them are over on Donald Trump`s side.
WILEY: But that`s on the other side, right. That is pulling in the other direction because the primary policy point the Democrats have been asserting is we`re pro border security. You want to raise, as Kellyanne Conway did today, issues of getting fentanyl when it is coming into the -- being smuggled in the country. That came through an official border crossing.
WILEY: And folks making the point that a wall would not have prevented that. So the question becomes what is border security? What do we mean by border security? How do we even understand what borders are? And who do we need to be able to access the country as we have talked about asylum seekers, you know.
And how are we making sure there`s a rational process for immigration that makes it a real pathway to citizenship for a lot of people. That`s the debate that so many Democrats really want to have. And unfortunately, in this context that`s the discussion they haven`t been able to have.
VELSHI: Neera, February 15th is when the government could shutdown again if there isn`t a deal. The president continues to raise the specter of declaring a national emergency, which a lot of legal experts say he can do because it is very loosely defined as to what a national emergency is.
However, apparently according to "The Washington Post," Mitch McConnell, who is strangely silent these days, has urged the president privately not to do that. Let me just read to you from the article, "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cautioned President Trump privately this week about the consequences of declaring a national emergency to build his border wall, telling him the move could trigger political blowback and divide the GOP, according to two republicans with knowledge of the exchange.
McConnell told Trump that Congress might end up passing a resolution disapproving the emergency declaration, the people said, which would force the president to contemplate issuing his first veto ever in the face of opposition from his own party."
To your earlier point, Neera, the president claimed that he would own shutdown if it happened. Seems the American people are quite willing to let him do that. He was outmaneuvered the first time by Nancy Pelosi. He is now a week out from possibly being outmaneuvered again. He`s got Mitch McConnell telling him don`t declare a national emergency and he may not have the deal that he wants to fund his wall.
TANDEN: See, I think this is exactly why he said what he said today because I literally believe that he is telling his supporters that he has already built the wall and is already building the wall because he thinks he can convince them that it is true, and despite the fact that we had a government shutdown.
I mean, it seems laughable, but I think that`s how insane this world has become because obviously he knows Republicans just were about to bolt last week. So he was forced to reopen the government. There is no appetite by Senate Republicans to shutdown the government again, zero, zilch.
He cannot -- he can do a national emergency, but it is incredibly unpopular and -- so I think he literally is going to now just say to people, we`re building the wall. And if he repeats it -- if he repeats it enough, maybe 30 or 35 percent -- Fox New will --
VELSHI: Yes, I was going to say 30-plus percent of people --
TANDEN: Yes, they will agree with him. They will just magically think that the wall is being built. And frankly, from my perspective, this might be the easiest solution because no wall will ever be built.
VELSHI: Just pretend the wall is there. All right.
TANDEN: We`ll just all going to be in a magical world where there`s a wall.
VELSHI: It is an alternate universe. Twenty something percentage of Americans still apparently believe Barack Obama is a Kenyan-born Muslim, so it is not that much of a stretch to get a third of Americans to believe the wall is being built.
However, is there something to this president repeating things like this, more importantly the allegation that Nancy Pelosi is letting drugs into the country, Democrats don`t want border security? There is a lot of money on the table for border security, in fact there is more money on the table for border security than there is for President Trump`s wall?
WILEY: Well, it also ignores that we`ve had, I think it`s roughly a decade of an increase in spending on border security at a fairly rapid pace. So there`s --
VELSHI: And a decrease in the number of people coming across the border.
WILEY: That`s absolutely right, a decrease. And so what the real problem here, like so many issues that we`re facing right now as a country, is how do we understand what the facts are and then have an actual debate about what the best resolutions are of the problems that we agree have to be resolved.
Because as many people have said, what are we doing about comprehensive immigration reform. I mean, the reality is if you are a parent who is a now naturalized citizen and you are trying to bring your child lawfully into the country, you are going to wait an average of six years as a citizen to try to get your child into the country lawfully.
That`s a broken system and that is one of the questions that we have to answer, is how do we create something that actually makes sense, not whether or not we should have a system of immigration, but how do we make it work. But you can`t have that conversation rationally as a country unless you are willing to agree to what some core facts are, which are established, and that`s our problem.
VELSHI: Maya, thank you -- yes.
TANDEN: Ali, can I just -- can I just add one quick thing, which I think one important point here is that we may end up in a world where Democrats have offered smart -- not stupid, smart border security that actually redresses asylum claims, that actually has smart technology on the border.
And then really all of these efforts by Trump to attack Democrats as weak on border security will actually backfire because they will have actually provided more resources to legitimate border security. And I think the fact that Democrats -- you know, you may end up in a world where Democrats numbers on border security, which are already better than President Trump`s increase even more.
VELSHI: Neera Tanden, thank you for joining me. Maya Wiley, stick around because we`re going to talk a little more about what is going on in Virginia. Coming up, Donald Trump reportedly has a question about voters and his wall and Michael Moore has an answer. Michael Moore is going tp be joining us in studio a little later.
I`m going to ask him about Donald Trump versus Chuck and Nancy and about the ever-expanding field of Democratic presidential candidates, and maybe a potential billionaire independent candidate. But first, more Democrats are calling on Virginia Governor Ralph Northam to resign after today`s revelation of his clearly racist and offensive photograph in his medical school yearbook.
VELSHI: Breaking news tonight out of Virginia. Governor Ralph Northam is now responding to the discovery of what can only be described as a racist photo in his medical school yearbook. Let`s show it to you. The photo as you see here on full context appears on Northam`s page in the 1984 yearbook for Eastern Virginia Medical School.
It shows two men. The picture on the right shows two men, one dressed as a member of the Ku Klux Klan, the other in black face. Northam released a written statement apologizing followed by this video statement shortly thereafter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RALPH NORTHAM (D), GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA: My fellow Virginians, earlier today I released a statement apologizing for behavior in my past that falls far short of the standard you set for me when you elected me to be your governor. I believe you deserve to hear directly from me. That photo and the racist and offensive attitudes it represents does not reflect that person I am today or the way that I have conducted myself as a soldier, a doctor and a public servant.
I am deeply sorry. I cannot change the decisions I made nor can I undo the harm my behavior caused then and today, but I accept responsibility for my past actions and I am ready to do the hard work of regaining your trust. I have spent the past year as your governor fighting for a Virginia that works better for all people.
I am committed to continuing that fight through the remainder of my term and living up to the expectations you set for me when you elected me to serve. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: All right. That was Ralph Northam. Joining me now, Derek Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP. Derek, thank you for joining us. I want to just show our viewers what you tweeted tonight. You said, "Black face in any manner is always racist and never okay. No matter the party affiliation, we cannot stand for such behavior, which is why the NAACP is calling for the resignation of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam."
Do you -- does his apology, the video apology which was more comprehensive, in which he does not make any excuses and he acknowledges the harm that he did, does that have any impact on your thinking about this?
DEREK JOHNSON, PRESIDENT AND CEO, NAACP: Well, I think it is important that he actually made the statement. However, our position remains the same. In 1984, although it feels like was a long time ago, it was well- established that African-Americans have been treated wrongly by this nation, by individuals.
And to do -- have black face or a Klan uniform when you are in medical school, that`s problematic. We should not allow that to take place in the society considering the current sense of intolerance has germinated from the White House.
VELSHI: Have you had an opportunity to express your views other than in the tweet? Has the NAACP reached out to the governor or have you received any response from him?
JOHNSON: Well, he`s spoken with our state president of Virginia, but our position is clear. We are non-partisan organizations that fight against racism and discrimination. And because we (ph) do this, if it was a Republican governor, if it was Donald Trump in the White House, we do it across the board.
It is important for the NAACP to set the tone of higher morality because we must have a standard where all individuals are treated equally, fairly, with equal protection under the law, and have caricatures of black face and in Klan uniform is not something that should be tolerated.
VELSHI: And when you talk about having sort of a standard across the board, many instances in which people in the last election cycle, for instance, were accused of doing things that were racist. There were excuses given, there were denials about whether or not they believed it was the case.
The difference in this particular case, and I will just read this again from the video statement that the governor issued. He said, "I cannot change the decisions I made nor can I undo the harm my behavior caused then and today, but I accept my responsibility for my past actions." This is the part that I want to ask you about. "And I am ready to do the hard work of regaining your trust." What does that look like to you? What can that be? If he doesn`t resign, does that have meaning to you?
JOHNSON: Well, it has very little meaning. You know, if there was some real honesty in embracing the problem, it would have been addressed on the front end and not uncovered by a third party. You know, it is interesting when individuals get caught they`re remorseful, they want to change, they want to fix things, they want to change the way things happened.
And in many cases, they want to rewrite history. Unfortunately, you can`t take this away and there was no disclosure on the front end. Therefore, our position remains to stay, the same.
VELSHI: So that`s interesting to me. What does that look like, disclosure on the front end? Because I guess that is relevant to a lot of people running for office today. They go through their past and they say, you know, I`ve -- in Ralph Northam`s case, I`m a doctor, I was a soldier, I have served my state.
But there`s going to be this problem because there was this picture in my yearbook and maybe I hung around with people -- we don`t know which one he is in the picture, whether he hung around with people who had Klan outfits or hung around with people who are in black face. How would that look for somebody who is running for office today? Should they sort of disclose that and then say, I know it is going to be a problem but I`m not the man I was in 1984?
JOHNSON: Absolutely. We`ve seen politicians` upfront talk about prior drug use, other issues. You know, I think the African-American community and the American people in general will be forgiving if people come forward and say, you know, I am flawed, and because of my past I am working towards correcting that and say it up front.
Don`t allow it to be a got you moment because it is the got you moments which then people will say, you know, are you really serious or did you just get caught? And I think in this scenario he just got caught.
VELSHI: Derek, always good to talk to you. Thank you for joining us tonight.
JOHNSON: Thank you.
VELSHI: Derek Johnson is the president and CEO of NAACP. We will have more on the story coming up with Mark Thompson. Maya Wiley is joining me again and stay with us because Michael Moore is coming up to answer a pressing question that Donald Trump has been anxiously asking his own staff. It has got to do with his re-election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NORTHAM: We`ve had a tremendous tragedy in Charlottesville two months ago, and it is unfortunate. Our president didn`t stand up and call these white supremacists out for who they are. Ed Gillespie has had over 70 days to stand up and denounce our president for not standing up and calling these supremacists out for who they were -- to tell these supremacists that we don`t condone hatred and bigotry in Virginia and to go back where you came from and don`t ever come back in Virginia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: That was then-candidate Ralph Northam in 2017 talking about the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Joining me now to talk more about this, Mark Thompson, host of "Make It Plain" on SiriusXM Radio. Maya Wiley is back with us. Thank you very much for joining us. Maya, what is your take. There is a -- I`ve got in front of me papers and statements from politicians and tweets calling for Ralph Northam`s resignation. What is your thought?
WILEY: So the behavior is inexcusable. It was flat-out racist. It was explicitly racist. Not what we would call subconsciously biased, you know, where you don`t -- aren`t even aware that what you are doing might be really offensive and racist. There`s no question that it was awful.
You know, it is complicated to me in this one is -- and Governor Northam has not done it yet and I think Derek Johnson, who is also a close personal friend, made a very important point when he said if you are reformed, if you are redeemed, if you have learned, where and how can we look and find the examples of that.
And you didn`t come forward in the beginning and say, I did this bad thing and I recognize it was bad and here is how I have worked through it. He didn`t -- in his statement that he made today, which was saying this is not defensible and I take full responsibility, but we didn`t hear what has he learned about race since he did that in 1984?
Where was he in 1984 that led him to do such a heinous thing as to -- as we have seen in those images? And what has changed? His record, his policy record is significantly different and better than, say, a Senator Hyde Smith, who as we`ve talked about in the past, I think what she has done is worse in the sense that it was current and that she is unrepentant about it, and that it follows along her policy agenda.
In other words, she will make decisions that will impact people`s lives directly. That`s not to let Governor Northam off the hook. That is to say, you know, we do want a country that recognizes that people can learn and move past their racism because we know that they can, but he has to demonstrate it and he hasn`t yet.
VELSHI: We have the mayor of Richmond, Mayor Levar Stoney. He has said Governor Northam has a long and distinguished history of service to our Commonwealth and nation but he should do the honorable thing and step down.
We have tweets from Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Julian Castro, all asking for his resignation. But there are some people who aren`t. There are some Virginia politicians who are not. Mark, what is your take?
MARK THOMPSON, HOST, MAKE IT PLAIN, SIRIUSXM RADIO: He should resign. He must. Otherwise he gives Donald Trump something to talk about at the state of the union next week, and Donald Trump can continue to be hypocritical because, ironically, it was Charlottesville that helped elect Ralph Northam, that extreme racist behavior that Donald Trump defended. Donald Trump should resign for that.
There may be Democrats who say, well, it is a double standard. If Donald Trump can get away with it, if Steve King can get away with it, why can`t Ralph Northam? Well, you have to take the moral high ground. And Ralph Northam and the Democratic Party can take the moral high ground by him resigning.
True contrition for blackface -- it also goes to competence. Let me just say this quickly. He knew this was in his yearbook. Why would you put yourself up for office without dealing with that directly on the front end? That goes to competence.
And I would love to know other people involved in helping him, convince him or convince themselves that this never would be found. He was vulnerable. You`re talking about kompromat.
His enemies in Virginia, let`s be honest, the people who found this weren`t virtuous. They are fighting against him because he was, in a Progressive way -- he has been Progressive since he has been governor. He was fighting to defend the reproductive rights for women.
So they said, "OK. So we got you. We`ll show you as a racist." So he lost. You lose the battle but you win the war. He has to resign. And true contrition for blackface is not delaying a second longer in showing good faith in your Black Lieutenant Governor, Justin Fairfax.
If you -- if we`re on a team, I`m on the basketball court and I`m coaching the team, I`ve got a competent sub on the bench. When my player gets hurt, I go to a sub. Justin is that sub. He is competent.
Ralph Northam won with 53.9 percent of the vote. Justin won with about 52.8 percent. That`s a very almost equal competent sub. Put him in and then Justin as a black governor will honestly be probably the first Virginia governor to succeed himself.
VELSHI: So I want to press this issue a little bit, Maya, because, in the things that we`ve covered in the last several months, including with DeSantis in Florida, you and I talked about this.
VELSHI: And we talked about Mississippi. Those were delayed reactions. Those were weird apologies. Those were "if I offended anybody." Again, to me, there`s some value. It is not determinative but there`s some value and he says -- in what he said, "I cannot change the decisions I made."
He`s admitted what he has done. And he said, "I cannot nor can I undo the harm my behavior caused then and today", which I think is interesting because he is acknowledging harm. And those other cases that we both talked about --
WILEY: That`s right.
VELSHI: -- nobody acknowledged harm. Everybody said, you misunderstood me, I didn`t mean that. And then he said, "I am ready to do the hard work of regaining your trust." Mark thinks the hard work of regaining your trust starts with resignation. What else can it be? If it`s not resignation, if he doesn`t resign, how does he do the hard work of regaining trust?
WILEY: So as -- and Mark acknowledged this as well. He already has a policy platform that`s very clearly about racial justice in the sense that he is about, you know, dealing with driver`s license that are being suspended where essentially poverty prevents people from driving and having a livelihood, and that disproportionately impacts people of color.
He wants to reform sentencing laws. He recognizes that voter ID laws have really been a way of disenfranchising voters of color, in particular, black voters. So he`s got that record.
What he doesn`t have -- and this is what I was talking about earlier, he did a half step in this, in exactly what you are saying, Ali. He said the right things about taking raking responsibility and recognizing his harm. What else? What has he learned?
VELSHI: What`s the change?
WILEY: What is he doing differently? How can he convince us?
VELSHI: What is the evolution?
Thank you both for your analysis. I appreciate it. Maya Wiley and Mark Thompson.
Michael Moore is here in the studio. He will be my next guest.
VELSHI: Donald Trump is refusing to budge over his border wall with two weeks to go until the government shuts down again. The president told "The New York Times" that the bipartisan spending talks to find a deal on border security are a "waste of time."
And today, he reiterated that he is not ruling out taking action on his own by declaring a national emergency to get his wall funding, but Trump`s message is not resonating with voters. Polling shows Americans do not want another shutdown, nor do they want Trump taking disaster relief money if he doesn`t get money for his wall.
And 54 percent of Americans say they will blame Trump and Congressional Republicans if the government shuts down again. Today, "Axios" reports that over the past week, President Trump has asked friends and advisers how they think the shutdown has affected him politically and what he should be doing to recover his standing in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
Trump has also been polling these advisers on who they think will be the most formidable challenger to him in 2020. And that seems like a question Michael Moore might have an answer to. So I`m going to ask him right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We will be looking at a national emergency because I don`t think anything is going to happen. We are getting nowhere with the Democrats. We`re not going to get anywhere with them. It`s going to be a part of their campaign but I don`t think it is good politically. And I think Nancy Pelosi should be ashamed of herself because she is hurting a lot of people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: Donald Trump might be publicly blaming Nancy Pelosi for how the shutdown played out. But as "Axios" reports, privately, Trump is worried the shutdown has hurt him in states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
And somebody who knows those parts of the country very well is Michael Moore. He is an academy-award-winning documentary filmmaker. His latest film "Fahrenheit 11/9" is now streaming on Amazon Prime. It`s available on DVD Blu-ray and iTunes.
Michael, good to see you.
MICHAEL MOORE, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: Always got to get the plugin there, Ali.
VELSHI: Got to get the plugin.
MOORE: We just can`t just get right to saving the country.
VELSHI: No, we got to get the plugin. If I do that for you, you`re going to say something nice about Canada and single parent health care pretty soon. But before we get to any of that stuff, I just want to ask you about the Ralph Northam situation. As you can see here, I`ve got tweets and tweets and statements from people --
VELSHI: -- about Ralph Northam should resign, Ralph Northam should resign. Mark Warner of Virginia and Tim Kaine have both not explicitly called for his resignation. They said he has to listen to the people of Virginia and make a decision about what he has to do. Newspapers are calling for his resignation. What should Ralph Northam do?
MOORE: Well, let`s start with the broader picture. What should the Democrats do? The Democrats have been in part responsible for not doing the things that need to be done to lift African-Americans off the lowest rung of the economic ladder. And that has to change.
Democrats have got to quit just mouthing this, you know, "I support African-Americans" and then not really doing anything about it. And, you know, we have Democrats in charge for eight years, and during that time Flint, Michigan, the water gets poisoned, the Republican governor is responsible for this, and yet nothing happens.
You know, it is an African-American city. It is majority African-American. That`s the broad picture. The little thing that we`ve got to deal with right now is -- you told me during the commercial break Ralph Northam did not resign?
VELSHI: He did not apparently resign.
MOORE: He`s not resigned?
MOORE: He must be watching the cable news right now. Ralph, please, all right, you have to resign by the time this show is over. You know it. I know it. Everybody watching knows it. You need to -- in fact, call in right now into the show if you could. The switchboard here at NBC, 212- 664-4444. Ralph, call us right now. Ali and I will take the call. Would you take the call?
VELSHI: We will definitely take the call.
MOORE: Can he resign while on the air?
VELSHI: I`m surprised you knew the phone number. I didn`t even know the phone number.
MOORE: All of America knows the phone number to the three major networks.
VELSHI: So if Ralph Northam calls in, we will definitely take the call. Is there some -- do you give some credence to the apology that he recorded in which he acknowledges the harm that he did? He didn`t do what others have done who have been accused of these things.
He said, "I did it." He said, "I`ve harmed people and I can`t change that." And now, "Iwant to rebuild trust." I mean, look --
MOORE: Yes, rebuild trust by resigning. That`s 212-664-4444. Ali and I can take your call live on the air right now. No, he has to go.
VELSHI: All right.
MOORE: All the - what he did, what he said, yes, but it doesn`t matter. Our side doesn`t tolerate this for one second. When was this announced? How many hours ago? I can`t believe he is still the governor of Virginia.
VELSHI: Very interesting.
MOORE: This needs to end by the end of THE LAST WORD.
VELSHI: Let`s talk about the shutdown or the emergency declaration. The president today went out of his way to explain that a wall is being built. It is under construction now. He is lying. There are zero miles of wall under construction but this does seem to be a tactic he is using now.
Let`s just say it is being built and maybe his base will support him and the Ann Coulters of the world will say it is OK. This is not going to work. He`s not going to get his money for his wall. He is being warned apparently by Mitch McConnell not to declare a national emergency because that`s going to run into problems even with Republicans.
MOORE: OK. So let`s look at the positive of this. All right. Yes, Donald Trump lies 30 to 40 times a day. But he did give us a sliver of truth today, and that`s when he did say, I have other measures and that he is putting it out there that he is going to declare this national emergency.
I would take him at his word because every now and then he actually blurts out what he`s planning to do. For us to spend the next two weeks not thinking anything is going to happen, I mean we really need to be prepared as citizens of this country for when he -- whatever he does with his national emergency.
MOORE: Whether it is written on John Bolton`s legal pad or not, you know, hey, let`s start a war, let`s send troops.
VELSHI: It was kind of incredible.
MOORE: Well, it was incredible but it shows what they`re thinking in basic wag-the-dog fashion here. They know that by starting a war, doing -- or having a crisis, some emergency is a way to get people`s minds off the real issue --
MOORE: -- that he is a colluder and that there is going to be an impeachment of him. He doesn`t want anybody talking about that, so we spend all of our time talking about the shutdown or this or that. But he already knows the shutdown isn`t going to work again. He`s got to do what got him elected, just take it by the collar and go for it, and that`s what he is going to do.
And why are we sitting around waiting for that to happen? We should be making our plans right now as to how we`re going to resist and stop his fake national emergency.
VELSHI: He`s been asking people about the trouble he is having in the Midwest. The "Detroit News/WDIV" poll asked Michigan voters who they blame for the shutdown. Forty-five percent said Donald Trump, 26 percent said Democrats, 22 percent said both. But the bottom line --
MOORE: Actually, in Michigan, one percent actually blamed me, but --
VELSHI: All right. Fair enough.
MOORE: But I know those people.
MOORE: Don`t believe them.
VELSHI: What do you -- Donald Trump is having problems across the Midwest, he knows that. He`s now apparently, according to some reporting, asking advisers how he recovers his standing in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
MOORE: Again, there -- again, it shows when he does click, that`s the right question he should be asking himself because that`s how he won the White House, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania. And they all tossed out the Republican in the governor chair and they put a Democrat in November.
He can see the writing on the wall, that he`s losing these key states that are now going back to turning blue, and so he knows that that`s -- that he should be thinking about Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. But how is he going to -- you know, in the town where I live up in Northern Michigan, it is a coast guard town, it`s where one of the big coast guard stations are for the Great Lakes.
And there were so many people affected by this in ways I think the people were surprised when you and others would show it on the news here, going to food pantries and not being able to pay the bills and getting eviction notices and things like that. Why would have thought that somebody -- why would anybody serving this country ever have to worry?
VELSHI: A government employee has to do that. They had to call into these shows and tell us how they were going to miss their mortgage payments, how they couldn`t get food, how they -- I mean it`s unbelievable.
I had somebody telling me -- a TSA worker saying, "I can`t go to work because I can`t afford the gas because the gas station doesn`t give you a loan, the gas on credit."
MOORE: No, it`s very powerful, the things that you and Stephanie did during the shutdown, it was -- you couldn`t -- you know, you would tear up watching --
VELSHI: I did every day.
MOORE: -- MSNBC. Yes, it was --
VELSHI: We weren`t watching people after a natural disaster. We weren`t watching people after a tsunami had hit their homes. These were regular people who were either going to work or not, working but for no cause, were not getting paid.
MOORE: Harm being inflicted upon them by essentially our representative in the White House.
VELSHI: Right, yes.
MOORE: So many shameful months in these two years.
VELSHI: When we come back, we`re going to talk about the question that Donald Trump is asking himself, the concern he has about who can beat him in 2020. Michael Moore is with me. We`ll be right back with more of the last word.
VELSHI: All right. Michael Moore is back with us. We got to talk about 2020. Michael, there are a lot of people running for president on the Democratic side, a lot of people who are asking themselves the question about whether they can do a better job than Donald Trump.
And most of them are coming up with an answer that says yes. That group of eight is going to become much bigger probably over the course of the next couple of months. Are they asking themselves the right question?
MOORE: No, because can I do better than Donald Trump? Camera two, I`d vote for him. You know, I mean seriously. Anyone in this room, anybody out there, anybody watching right now obviously could probably do a better job than Donald Trump.
No, the question they need to be asking is, who`s going to crush Donald Trump, who can win, I mean really win? Not just win the popular vote, win Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Who could crush Trump?
And who is that -- ask yourself that right now. If you`re at home, you know, ask yourselves right now, who`s that person that right now, tonight could crush Donald Trump?
VELSHI: And do you think that`s more important than taking positions on things? We knew that health care was one of the biggest issues to most American voters in the last election. Certainly, the Democratic voters. And everybody`s staking out a position on health care. Many of them are coming out on the side of single-parent healthcare. You think the, who can crush Donald Trump, will be the most important question above?
MOORE: I think it already is. I mean they asked that question in an Iowa poll of Democrats last week and that was the number one thing people came back with. Yes, of course, health care, tax the rich, raise the minimum wage, and mass incarceration. All these things that are essentially being pushed by the new Progressive Democrats in the House.
I mean that`s what I -- I mean I wish -- it`s too bad that you have to be 35 to be president. Put that in the constitution, the founding fathers, because people died at 38 or 40 back then. We need to lower that. If that was lowered to 30 --
VELSHI: You -- all right. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is that where you`re going with this?
MOORE: Could be running. She just has to be 30 by the time January 21 --
VELSHI: So she`s -- look, everybody can out Progressive each other on their platforms. You`re saying that she`s got fire in the belly.
MOORE: She is the leader. She`s the leader, everybody knows it, everybody feels that she`s the leader of this mass movement. I`m not talking about a movement in terms of an organization. I`m talking about a "Fox News" poll this week, where it said, 70 percent of the American public agree with her on having the top marginal rate for the rich, their taxes, 70 percent rate on the rich. That`s a "Fox News" poll saying that. Over 2/3 of the country support that.
VELSHI: Now, there are a lot of Americans --
MOORE: Support that.
VELSHI: -- who think that`s crazy but they also don`t remember that we had marginal tax rates above 90 percent.
MOORE: Yes. That -- well --
VELSHI: At a time when the economy was actually doing great in America.
MOORE: I grew up in that time. And that`s when all the --
VELSHI: But I`m not advocating for it. I`m just saying.
MOORE: The libraries were open. There weren`t potholes. Schools were great.
VELSHI: "Fox" likes talking about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. I think they talk about her more than anybody else does. The right is enjoying having her as the image of what Democrats are. Is there a danger if someone that Progressive runs that it does turn off Moderates? Or do you think that`s not a danger worth worrying about?
MOORE: No. First of all, if you`re Moderate, stop being Moderate. Take a position. All right. There`s no middle ground anymore. There`s no halfway point to, should someone be paid a living wage? Well, I`m a Moderate so I think they could be paid half of a living wage.
You know, if -- on the issue of choice, there`s no halfway there. You`re either for it or you`re against it. You know, do you believe in equal rights for women? Do you believe we should have an equal rights amendment? Yes or no. There`s no middle ground. This is no time for moderation.
VELSHI: Right. Because where there is middle ground possibly is health care and taxes, right, how much you tax the rich.
MOORE: How much? Seventy percent of the people said tax the rich, 70 percent --
VELSHI: Or what kind of health care, right? There are many ways of ensuring everybody. We both agree. You know I like my system from Canada. It`s one of several systems that most of the developed world use. I guess my point is that --
MOORE: Yes, all of the developed world.
VELSHI: All of the developed world except -- well, there`s a lot of people --
MOORE: Don`t be a Moderate and pull your punch here. All of the developed world has --
VELSHI: Except for America.
MOORE: Except for this country. And it`s shameful and we look weird too. You can`t explain it to a person from another country.
VELSHI: No, it`s not a progressive policy anywhere else in the world, it`s just the policy right.
MOORE: It`s just the policy. Conservatives in Canada would never think of removing their Canadian health care. The Tories in Britain, all behind it. This is the craziest thing --
VELSHI: So you feel strongly that it`s a Progressive and it`s specifically Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?
MOORE: Yes, I don`t think Americans right now actually identify themselves in the old school way of "I`m a Democrat, I`m a Republican." I don`t think that`s what`s going on.
I think that people have had it. I think that they`ve realized that they`re sick and tired of living from paycheck to paycheck and this has to end. And they know that their kids aren`t going to pay off those student loans.
VELSHI: And if we didn`t see it, we saw it in the shutdown where you saw government employees, the ones that a whole bunch of Republicans spent years telling me are overpaid who couldn`t make it to their second paycheck --
MOORE: Another lie.
VELSHI: -- when they weren`t --
MOORE: Lie after lie. There`s lines in Canada outside the doctor`s offices. Lie after lie after lie after lie. Has Ralph Northam called us yet, anybody?
VELSHI: He hasn`t. We have a minute left in the show.
MOORE: We have a minute, Ralph. We`ve got one minute.
VELSHI: I`m not holding out a lot of hope.
MOORE: No. I`m disappointed.
VELSHI: Michael, thank you as always for being here. I appreciate it. We will remember this conversation when 2020 comes around.
MOORE: Thank you very much. And Super Bowl Sunday, let me just say.
VELSHI: You`re going to make a prediction?
MOORE: I`m going to say quit all the whining Saints. I don`t want to hear this anymore. In that same game of that pass interference, there were two face masks that the Saints did to the Rams that the refs didn`t catch. Also roughing up of a player, and the clock had run down, and Brady didn`t snap the ball.
You could look at four different things that could have changed the game where the refs missed it on the Saints. The Saints 2012, remember cash for -- they gave bonuses to their players if they broke the bones on the other side and that coach --
VELSHI: We`re out of time.
MOORE: -- was suspended for a year
VELSHI: That`s THE LAST WORD for tonight. I`m Ali Velshi, he`s Michael Moore. "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts now.