Storm-battered Texans are now facing severe water shortage. Texans
are forced to boil snow for potable water. Many Texans are still without
power, heat, and food. Weather delays 6 million COVID vaccinations.
President Joe Biden visits Pfizer COVID vaccine plan in Michigan. Biden
faced with crisis in Texas amid ongoing pandemic. Ted Cruz is still facing
heavy criticism for trip to Cancun while Texas struggled. Axios says Trump
exile the government to take shape. Israel leads world in COVID
JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC HOST: We`ve got a front row seat of that, RA. RA
Berman, thank you very much for coming to the Last Word. That is Tonight`s
Last Word. I`m Jonathan Capehart. You can catch me Sundays at 10 a.m.
Eastern on the Sunday show right here on MSNBC. The 11th Hour with Brian
Williams starts right now.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: And good evening once again. Day 31 of the
Biden administration. This has been a brutal week for our fellow Americans
in Texas days with no power no heat, freezing temperatures. Now the power
crisis has turned into an escalating water crisis threatening over 14
million people or about half the state. As many have been forced to do in
search of food during a pandemic, Texans are these days lining up at
distribution sites to get whatever water they can.
The storm that swept into Texas triggered all this. Make no mistake
however, manmade failures turned this into a crisis. Frozen pipes that
later burst also meant no running water whatsoever. So many homes and
apartments ruined. A boiling water advisory is in place so those who can`t
get water out of their taps are resorting to boiling snow if they can and
the situation is increasingly desperate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s pretty tough to find bottled water. We are having
to boil, you know, to wash dishes or do anything.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`ve been hunting. We`ve gone different places
looking for it and can`t find it.
REP. SYLVIA GARCIA (D-TX): The worst of it is no water for the flushing, it
sure going to be great when all of us have safe drinking water.
MAYOR STEVE ADLER (D-TX), AUSTIN: We need water more than anything else.
You know, it is one plague after another. It`s looking like at least
several more days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: It was the last time you heard that from a mayor of a major
American city. About 165,000 customers in Texas are still experiencing
power outages down from over 3 million just a few days back. In many
communities, grocery store shelves remain empty. President Biden is fast
tracking a disaster declaration to free up more federal aid for the region.
He also says he`s planning to visit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If in fact, it`s concluded that
I can do without creating a burden for the folks on the ground while
they`re dealing with this crisis, I plan on going. But we`ll know that
we`ll make that decision probably the beginning of next week.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: White House says this week`s dangerous winter storms delayed the
distribution of 6 million doses of vaccines throwing a wrench into efforts
to ramp up distribution.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDY SLAVITT, WHITE HOUSE COVID RESPONSE SENIOR ADVISER: All 50 states have
been impacted. The 6 million doses represent about three days of delayed
shipping. We anticipate that all the backlog doses will be delivered within
the next week, with most being delivered within the next several days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Don`t forget even amid all the problems caused by this winter
weather, Biden has pledged to maintain his focus on the pandemic and his
pledge for 100 million shots given out in the first 100 days. To that end,
he spent time today at the Pfizer vaccine manufacturing plant near
Kalamazoo and Michigan. Visit came as the company announced their vaccine
can be stored at standard freezer temperatures now for up to two weeks.
They are seeking FDA sign off on that temperature change that could
drastically expand the number of facilities across our country that would
be able to store it and give out the vaccine.
President said we`re now on track to have enough vaccine supply for all
Americans by the end of the month of July. He renewed his pitch for the
shots as the key to ending this pandemic we`re in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: If there`s one message to cut through to everyone in this country is
this, the vaccines are safe. Please, for yourself, your family, your
community, this country, take the vaccine when it`s your turn and
available. That`s how to beat this pandemic. I believe we`ll be approaching
normalcy by the end of this year. God willing this Christmas will be
different than last.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: This evening, Dr. Fauci echoed Biden`s message and added that new
strains of this virus are even more of a reason to get vaccinated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER: The variant that`s
referred to us 117 is the one that was dominant in the United Kingdom. And
that`s one that has the capability of spreading more efficiently from
person to person. And it is even more virulent in that it can make you more
sick. The vaccines that we have now that we`re administering work really
well against that variant. The South African variant is a bit more
problematic. It is in our country. It`s not dominant. It`s still at a low
level but the efficacy of the vaccine and the monoclonal antibodies against
that is down about five-fold.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Before heading off to Michigan, Biden made his presidential debut
on the international stage today at least virtually giving his first major
foreign policy address to America`s longtime allies via video link at the
Munich Security Conference.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I`m sending a clear message to the world, America is back. The
transatlantic alliance is back. And we are not looking backward. We are
looking forward together. We must demonstrate that democracy can still
deliver for our people and this changed world. That in my view is our
galvanizing mission. Democracy doesn`t happen by accident. We have to
defend it, fight for it, strengthen, renew it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Of course, the President is still filling out his cabinet. He`s
had seven secretaries approved. Tonight, there is a new sign one key
nomination is running into a roadblock thrown up by a fellow Democrat.
Tonight, it is Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat West Virginia saying he won`t
vote to confirm near attendant to lead the Office of Management and Budget.
Manchin sighted negative comments about Republicans that tend and made
while running the left leaning think tank center for American progress. The
Democrats of course can`t believe a Biden nominee is in trouble for mean
tweets in effect after four years of what we all had to witness from
Trump`s phone. The problem is in an evenly dividing Senate there`s no room
for even one Democratic defection without Republicans coming over to the
other side. The President says he has no plans to withdraw this nomination.
But he may soon be facing more resistance to a different nominee. That
would be Merrick Garland. He was denied a seat on the Supreme Court
famously by Mitch McConnell during the Obama presidency. He`s going to
appear before the Judiciary Committee Monday as Biden`s choice to be our
next Attorney General.
Meanwhile, the current Justice Department has charged nine members of that
group the oath keepers with conspiring to delay the certification of the
presidential election. Fed say the accused members coordinated their
efforts to storm Congress.
Also, tonight six Capitol police officers have been suspended for their
alleged actions during the insurrection. Another 29 officers are under
It`s a lot so let`s bring in our leadoff guests on this Friday night, Susan
Page, Veteran Journalist, Best Selling Author, USA Today Washington Bureau
Chief, Jonathan Lemire, White House Reporter for The Associated Press, and
Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, Infectious Disease Physician, Medical Director of the
Special Pathogens Unit up at Boston University School of Medicine during
Ebola, notably, she worked with the World Health Organization, which we
have, of course, rejoined as a nation under the new administration.
Well, good evening, and welcome to you all. Susan, I`d like to begin with
you. Let`s say America`s newspaper orders up commissions tonight and a one
news analysis sidebar for tomorrow, 200 words calling for your assessment
of this still young month-long presidency and this new president, what
would you say? What would you write?
SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: Well, quite a change from
the previous president. That`s pretty clear. I think Joe Biden has been
really consistent with what he said he was going to do. You know, the
speech he gave today to the Munich Security Conference, very much like the
one he gave to that same conference two years ago, when he was just running
for president. I think he succeeded in lowering the temperature a bit in
Washington. We now can take a weekend off and not worry about the president
tweeting something so provocative. We all have to run back to work. But the
big problems remain. And the biggest one of all, is this COVID pandemic.
The President has made that his top priority. He has very little choice
about that. Achieving almost anything else depends on getting this pandemic
under control. And that`s where his prime focus is.
WILLIAMS: Jonathan Lemire, a leading Democrats sarcastically said to me
this week about the Texas situation, which is not funny, he was being kind
of sardonic, he said, for now, the Republicans have got this, but turning
very serious, Joe Biden has to have this to before long. He mentioned he
has tentative plans to travel there. This would be a good jumping on point
for a national discussion we pointedly did not have for the last four years
that unsexy word infrastructure which if you sell it the way FDR did sounds
a whole lot like jobs for Americans?
JONATHAN LEMIRE, ASSOCIATED PRESS WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Right for any
president, Brian, the first natural disaster on our watch matters. That`s a
big deal. And yes, certainly you mentioned jokes. And even within the White
House, there`s certainly been some levity had at the expense of Senator Ted
Cruz and his exploits of last 24 hours or so, because he does provide some
cover that right now, there`s a lot of scrutiny on Senator Cruz, Governor
Abbott and the Republicans in charge of Texas.
But yes, you`re right. Eventually, the federal response is also going to
receive some scrutiny that Biden and his team and how they handle this,
it`s going to matter. The President has said that he will plan likely
travel to Texas in the next week or so depending on when resources can be
allocated for his arrival. Obviously, it takes a lot, Brian, as you all
know, it`s a massive footprint when a president travels anywhere. They
don`t want to divert, you know, necessary law enforcement and emergency
responses from other places where they`re more needed. But this could be
also a pivot point to talk about infrastructure to talk about climate
change, certainly storms like this, but most scientists believe will happen
more frequently in places like Texas, because of the way the climate is
And as much as the president right now wants to focus on reassuring allies
overseas focusing on distributing the vaccine, focusing on getting that
COVID relief bill passed, you know, fate to get plays a role too. There are
things that aren`t going to be on his counter there`s going to have to deal
with this natural disaster is the first of many.
WILLIAMS: Yeah, I was just going to say if memory serves it was not wanting
to gum up the works on the ground. That was the original motivation of 43s
over flight over Katrina and Air Force One that ended so poorly because of
the optics, because the Feds lost a step when it first happened.
OK, Doctor, since you deal with issues of life and death, I don`t think a
tough question for me is going to stagger you. The President said today
back to normal, maybe by Christmas, maybe by the end of this year, in a
good many Americans are rightfully bummed to hear that. But these vaccines
have to get out there and have to work when in your estimation, will this
vaccine be as plentiful as ubiquitous as normal as going for our annual flu
DR. NAHID BHADELIA, INFECTIOUS DISEASES PHYSICIAN: Yeah, Brian, there is
some good news on that front. And so before I give you my estimate, I`ll
give you the reasoning for it. We know that we`ve purchased enough now at
least at the Moderna and Pfizer for about 300 million people to be
vaccinated. And that`s what Dr. Fauci has said we`d be available by the end
of July. But that was coming down the pike, you know, potentially the
Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which is getting evaluated by the FDA
committee next week, which might add again, at least immediately if the
million doses. But then Novavax, which is another one that showed very good
efficacy is going to get evaluated in the month of March.
So I would say, that`s even a conservative estimate, end of July, there
might be more vaccine candidates, if they are successful, we may have more
vaccine available sooner. So the other pieces of good news from this week
is that more and more data is also showing that vaccines may help reduce
transmission that maybe doesn`t completely eliminate the risk. But people
who are vaccinated may have a less risk of transmitting the disease, even
if they get breakthrough infection to others. Because we don`t know how
much of a reduction it is and we don`t know how the variants will affect
the whole equation. That`s where we`re at for now. We`re still asking
everybody to wear a mask. But this is good news. That means transmission
will start falling just like what Israel is seeing that a lot of other
countries are seeing that are seeing higher levels of vaccination rates.
So I am hoping by July, we might see some level of normalcy where we can
start having small gatherings, and potentially even international travel by
next fall. But I know that`s optimistic. That`s where I`m putting my stake
in the ground. That`s where I`m standing.
WILLIAMS: We`re making a recording. And not only that, I`ll take it
considering the conversations you and I have had over these past several
months and how dark and dire they have necessarily been at times noted and
we`ll take it. Thank you for that.
And Susan coming off your first answer, you`re right is a neck snapping
change of pace in terms of both style and substance in this White House.
And as you heard the President announced today, the United States of
America is back. We`re back in the climate, the Paris Climate Accords.
We`re back into talking to Iran and treating them as a player. Not all of
it will go over on the Republican side of the aisle, but talk about what a
sea change this is, what it must feel like to be looking at this from the
presidential palace in France, the chancellor`s office in Germany in the
PAGE: Well, a pretty welcome change on the part of our European partners to
be sure, but you know, we don`t -- we can`t just flip a switch and go back
to the era of Foreign Affairs and Relations that we had before President
Trump took office. And that is, I think, one hard reality that Joe Biden`s
facing. Certainly, Chancellor Merkel and French President Macron are
relieved to have Joe Biden whom they know well, and whose approach to the
world they agree with, to have him in power. But both of them also talked
today about Europe`s need to maintain a certain degree of independence from
the United States, it`s slightly different relationship than we had four or
five years ago.
And so this is not this is going to be a new and different world. And I
think that President Biden actually acknowledged that and say, we`re going
to look forward, not going to look back. Partly, that`s because we do not
have the option of looking back and saying, you know, these past four
years, forget about it. Let`s go back to the way things were before.
WILLIAMS: Jonathan Lemire, as you kindly referenced once covered the White
House, but these days, I`m in the cheap seats. So we rely on you for the
inside view, what is it like to go back to a standard, traditionally
operating White House with rigor and expertise and order and schedules and
LEMIRE: Brian, a seat on Air Force One is waiting for you at any time if
you`d like to make your return.
WILLIAMS: No thanks.
LEMIRE: It is to piggyback on -- to piggyback on Susan`s point, it is a
remarkable change here. And the entire process is different. Regular press
briefings where the media is not being called the enemy of the people or
the state anytime soon, we have policy briefings, there are a degree that
professionalism in the staff, the White House is the president surrounding
himself with career officials, many veterans of the Obama administration,
or those who have worked for him for a long time, whether as vice president
or on the Senate, a sea change, certainly from the Trump years where,
though, with some exceptions, and said Defense Secretary Mattis among them,
a lot of people seem perhaps less than qualified for those positions. They
were more about their politics and their ability to get policy done. You
know, to this point, not much in the way of infighting, you know, within
the West Wing. And of course, there will be disagreements, anyone who`s
cover any White House, even ones that run well, no, there will be a court
changes, there will be disagreements on policy or how things are enacted.
But this is a tone set from the top. And it is one where, yes, news is not
made by tweet, very often, we might get our weekends back. But it`s also a
presidency that is that is grappling with a historic confluence of crisis.
And they know this. They know that it`s about distributing the vaccine.
They know that it`s about getting that COVID relief bill through. They`ve
done about all they can, with executive orders to unwind the heart of the
Trump agenda now that need to go through Congress, and these next couple
weeks by that mid March deadline are vital. This stands as the first real
big test of this new term.
WILLIAMS: And, Doctor, you`re going to get the last word. For the purposes
of this question, let`s take J&J designed as a single inoculation out of
the conversation. And let`s talk about the debate over one shot of what is
designed to be a two-shot vaccine regimen. Folks in a lot of the country
where the supplies have run out, have that unique anxiety their day has
come up. But the vaccine isn`t there. Some folks are going to have to go on
one shot. Where do you come down on the one is better than none debate?
BHADELIA: Yeah, Brian, actually, the CDC does allow some room and wiggle
room if there is a delay, and all they say is that you just have to go back
whenever it`s available. And so the reason this debate is coming up, again,
is that there`s a new study from Israel in about 9100 health care workers
where they showed that even with one dose, you know, right before they got
the second dose, there was about an efficacy of 85%. The trouble is, as Dr.
Fauci you mentioned today is that we we`ve seen this decrease, you know,
efficacy of vaccines in the setting of variants. And we also don`t know how
long the durability of protection lasts with just one dose. I see it`s
unlikely for us to go to one dose of at least of the vaccines that we know
were designed and studies is two doses. But there are two other discussions
going on. One is, you know, there`s new studies that show that people had
the virus before if you give them one dose, maybe their antibodies actually
spring up a month a lot faster. And should they potentially have one doses
and France is taking that strategy? I don`t think we`re going to go to that
yet. But that`s going to be data we`re going to be watching to see if
that`s a strategy we might take.
WILLIAMS: I want to let you and our audience know that later in this hour,
we`re going to get a report from Israel on the vaccination effort there. So
our big three on what is mercifully at the end of the long week, we`ve had
again a Friday night, Susan Page, Jonathan Lemire, Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, much
obliged. Thank you to the three of you for starting us off.
Coming up, a Katrina scale crisis, that`s how one Austin official describes
the current situation in Texas. I`ll talk to a county judge there who`s
working around the clock to put his community back together again.
And later, the GOP is no good, very bad week. The troublesome travels of
Ted Cruz are only a small part of it. His neighbors have already spoken as
the 11th Hour is just getting underway on this Friday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADLER: We don`t have any good answers because we can`t give people an exact
time where the water`s going to be able to come back. And the reason for
that is we don`t know until they saw exactly what is the status of the
pipes of the city.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Again mayor of a major American city in this case, Austin, Texas.
Some hospitals in Texas were forced to evacuate patients to safety after
the water ran out this week.
St David`s Hospital, The Washington Post reports, "Patients wash their
hands with jugs of water and staff members empty toilets with bags as a
result. Travis County officials say they expect to be in the water delivery
business for at least the next seven days.
For more, we are so pleased to be joined by Judge Andy Brown. He presides
over Travis County, Texas which includes it`s normally wonderful capital
city of Austin.
Judge, let`s start local, tell me about your home, your family, your
friends how you`ve been faring?
JUDGE ANDY BROWN, TRAVIS COUNTY, TEXAS: Thanks, Brian. So I had been out of
my -- out of power for about 50 hours. My parents who live next door to me
actually, were also out of power for that same amount of time. My dad has
Parkinson`s, it was a challenging time for our families for my two little
kids. But more importantly, for about 200,000 people in Austin had no power
for a significant amount of time this week. A lot of them are coming back
online now however.
WILLIAMS: If you had a magic wand, what would you produce right there in a
poof would it be water? Would it be plumbers, carpenters, propane? What
would it be?
BROWN: Right now it would definitely be water without a question. Because
there are still -- there`s still people here in Austin and Travis County
that do not have water flowing through their pipes right now. We`re all
under a boil notice. So we`re all supposed to boil water to be safe if we
drink it. But there`s kind of an unknown number of people in Austin,
frankly, that don`t have access to any water and it`s difficult for the
water utility to put a number on that. And so that`s why we`re doing
everything we can to try to get water here in Travis County in Austin.
We`ve shipped some from Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, FEMA has sent some
down from Fort Worth. It was quite an issue today. They sent us C130 with
some water in it today. And it actually almost got here earlier today then
had some mechanical issues turned around, flew back to Fort Worth landed,
fix them I suppose. And then it did finally land about an hour or two ago
to unload some water here finally.
WILLIAMS: For folks in the other 49 states who may not understand the setup
in Texas, I`ll put this broadly, elected judges are the leading local
officials throughout most of the state that kind of leading local
politician and if I have that right, from your perch, from your job
description, how do you then turn this energy, this anger, this
frustration, how big a voice will you have in that state as it does a kind
of after action report and looks at what about its standalone power grid
failed 30 million residents?
BROWN: Yeah, well, I hope I`ll have a really big voice. You are right the
county judges in Texas they`re called county executives other places in a
weird quirk of Texas history in Texas law the county judge is also the
Emergency Management Director for the county. So I have seen firsthand. I`m
actually sitting at the emergency operations center with all of our first
responders who are sitting in a large room to my left where they`re, you
know, watching all the data come in all the news reports come in all the
people calling about the bad conditions and trying to make a plan to get
through this together. It has been so bad I grew up here in Austin. I`ve
lived here most of my life. I`ve never seen anything this bad is we had it
this week. And that power grid, you know, caused us a lot of problems.
Obviously, me personally being without power for over 50 hours, and just so
many people in Austin and across Texas, not having power for such a long
time. There`s a lot that I think we need to do to improve on that power
WILLIAMS: Well, nothing but empathy and concern from all of us watching and
feeling helpless out here. As I said last night, so many Texans, including
folks in Austin, who never dreamed they`d be in line for food have done so
during the pandemic. Now they`re lining up for things like water, food and
propane gas and gasoline. It`s just, it`s unbelievable in the United States
in the year 2021. Judge Andy Brown, Hook `em Horns. Thank you very much for
being with us. Take care of you and yours and your constituents.
Coming up for us, Ted Cruz was just dropping off the kids at the Ritz
Carlton in another country as one does. But where his political party is
concerned, he short chose a bad time for a short trip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER (D-TX), HOUSTON: When things are happening on our --
on the ship, we simply we stay on the ship. And that`s the commitment that
we make when we sign up for these positions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner who it strikes me like Ted Cruz as
a graduate of Harvard Law School, he`s talking about the senators forcibly
shortened Mexican beach vacation. Our friend Ashley Parker of "The
Washington Post" wrote a lead for the ages for her paper this morning
quote, usually it takes at least one full day in Cancun to do something
embarrassing you`ll never live down. But for Ted Cruz, it took just 10
We are so happy to have back with us two of the smartest folks we know
Caroline Randall Williams, she`s an author, poet, academic, and observer of
all things political. She is writer-in-residence at the Department of
Medicine Health and Society at Vanderbilt University in Nashville,
Tennessee, and Bill Kristol, the author and writer and thinker and politico
in his own right, veteran of the Reagan and Bush administration`s and
editor-at-large of the Bulwark.
Bill for this segment, Republicans get to go first, especially the lifelong
kind. Let`s talk about Ted Cruz never popular, often wrong, never in doubt.
I guess we won`t be swearing him in as president in 2024. First of all,
it`s always a cold day. And second, we`ve never moved the oath to Cancun.
BILL KRISTOL, THE BULWARK EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Yes, you know, it sort of gives
you the caricature, I would have said it used to but it used to be mostly
caricature, maybe not so much anymore of the Republican Party was heartless
rich people couldn`t care less about other people`s suffering, just watch
out for themselves and a contemptuous of the common good or their fellow
And then Ted Cruz sort of personifies it and destroyed a kind of second
rate T.V. series or movie about politics, you`d think, oh, come on, this is
a little bit much, right? On the other hand, it`s not funny, obviously.
It`s a piece of Donald Trump`s behavior with respect to the pandemic, I
would say. You know, I mean really fundamental lack of concern apparently,
for his fellow citizens, the ones he was elected to represent and to help.
And I am very struck by what Beto O`Rourke did. I mean, it really is, you
know, the, my colleague, Olivia Troye, whom I think has been on your show,
defending democracy together, volunteered for his phone, banking, I guess
you`d call it where they call senior citizens in Texas and help them put
them in touch with people who have resources. And it really is remarkable
with Beto O`Rourke, who is not in office did for his fellow Texans. And I
say this is no of someone who has no stake in Beto O`Rourke or the other.
And he`s not in office. He lost the election to Ted Cruz. And Ted Cruz is
flying off to Cancun.
WILLIAMS: It is remarkable all of it. Professor, I have one for you. This
is Lisa Lerer in "The New York Times" tonight quote, for a politician long
reviled not just by Democrats but also by many of his Republican colleagues
in Washington, Mr. Cruz is now the landslide winner for the title of the
least sympathetic politician in America.
Professor, I`d only add to this what experts the Republicans have become at
that kind of Orwellian insistence that it`s 13 o`clock, how good they`ve
become at insisting all evidence to the contrary, hey, let`s move on.
There`s nothing to see here.
CAROLINE RANDALL WILLIAMS, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY WRITER-IN-RESIDENCE: I
mean, I love the way you framed that question, so much of the last 18
months has been Orwellian in the first place. But I think the reframing of
how we understand behavior like Ted Cruz`s and actually acknowledging that,
it`s actually not a surprise, that we can`t be shocked, because this is
actually a dynamic that has, in some ways never been eradicated from the
leadership in this country. It`s just never been so plain, because people
have had manners.
This is really a matter of manners, not a matter of morals. And I think
that the opportunity to reframe it, because of his sort of egregious
oversight in doing his bad behavior in plain sight is actually the most
valuable part of all of this. I mean, he comes from a legacy of white men
in power in this country, Thomas Jefferson owned his children, Newt
Gingrich lied, that he had, and Ted Cruz decides to blame his children for
his bad decision to go to Cancun.
People make bad decisions and have power in this country and they have
since this country began. And I think, you know, we just have to constantly
continue to fight for context if we`re going to save this experiment. And
that`s sort of where I fall when I think about the silliness that`s
unfolded. And I say silliness in terms of his choice making, not in terms
of what`s happening to the people of Texas, obviously. But I think it`s no
surprise that he`s failed them so profoundly.
WILLIAMS: I love your point about manners not morals. Bill to the banal
topic of everyday politics, Senator Manchin not going to vote for Neera
Tanden, the insider guessing tonight is this is his way of saying to West
Virginians, look, I`m not all in on everything this guy wants. And what he
may do is be on board for the 1.9 trillion. On the other hand, every one of
Biden`s seven confirmed Cabinet secretaries has had Republican votes walk
across the aisles. So isn`t that remedy one for Biden and isn`t remedy two
an acting appointing her as acting in the job, sure worked well for the
KRISTOL: Yes, but I think remedy what is the important one, and I says as
someone who would like a strong OMB director to, you know, make sure that
when they -- when government spends money, it spends it effectively and
intelligently, which is kind of what OMB does, weed out the programs that
aren`t working, put money into the programs that are working at that kind
Your attention is kind of a tough cookie and should be good at that job
from a sort of moderate Republican point of view. So honestly, if you care
about policy, if you`d like this and bipartisan policymaking, Neera Tanden
is a pretty good OMB director, the left doesn`t love her because she`s not
a huge big government spender. So I don`t really know what Manchin is up
to. I suspect there are other things going on that is professed reasons.
I just think there`s a little bit oust. And again, I say this as though it
doesn`t usually play this card, but I think there`s a little misogyny here.
I mean, the one person he chooses to oppose is a woman of color. I mean,
there are plenty of liberal Cabinet nominees. The President Biden is
nominated who I would think Manchin might want to oppose more than Neera
Tanden. But gee, she had some mean tweets reported for Joe Manchin, fellow
senators, you know, those people who are just suffering so much. They just
can`t take it with Neera two years ago, called, called a few of them, you
know, in the normal matter of politics in our days, I was slightly nasty
I mean, of course I have a personal stake in this if people are going to be
disqualified for things that are said on Twitter. I guess I`m just not
going to be confirmed for a Cabinet level position in the near future,
which is a big surprise of course.
WILLIAMS: We`ll let all the reporters file their stories coming off that
comment, your last comment during this break. Fortunately for us, both of
our guests have kindly agreed to stick around. We`ll just get this
commercial break on the other side.
Coming up, looks like we`re about to hear more from a certain Florida man
who come to think of it as the only twice impeached private citizen in all
of the Sunshine State.
WILLIAMS: I`m tempted to remind everybody who`s been mostly quiet for a
full month now but Axios is among those reporting Donald Trump and his
allies could soon emerge from exile and we quote, Trump family members are
weighing political races, a slate of former Cabinet members are set to
speak it next week CPAC meeting, and after laying low through his
impeachment trial, Trump is vowing to battle Senate Minority Leader Mitch
McConnell, what a good idea, to shape the GOP field for the 2022 midterms.
Oh and by the way, the impeachment vote wasn`t even a week ago. Still with
us, Professor Caroline Randall Williams and Bill Kristol. Professor this is
a vexing question how to hold a president and his enablers accountable in a
new and changed government while doing the business of that government.
It`s a fancy way for people like me to ask smart people like you if we can
walk and chew gum at the same time.
RANDALL WILLIAMS: Myself first answer is I hope we can. I`m certain that
the three of us can. I think we`re in a really complicated position, Brian,
because I am genuinely concerned that we`re reliving 1860 to 1861. And not
sort of the transition at the very, from the 18th to the 19th century is,
you know, some more generous historians have liked to pull the parallel
I don`t know that it`s not right to just ring the alarm right now. I think
that we might just be in a position where trying to make peace with or
renormalized people who have been performing these irregular behaviors is
actually very dangerous, because this is a country that is totally capable
of turning on its neighbors. We are completely capable of turning on one
another and dividing along very similar lines to the ones that face us now.
And I think if we don`t openly and explicitly acknowledge that, I think
again, if we fall back on this notion of American manners as some part of
American morals, and refuse to call, you know, brazen, you know, malignant,
neglect what it is, and hold people to account for it, that we could be
heading for something that is scarily and profoundly historic in ways that
I`m struggling to grapple with, but that I`m sort of bracing myself for.
WILLIAMS: Wow, Bill, that was beyond powerful to hear. And I`m ill equipped
to follow it. But you are well equipped. I was going to ask you something
else. But now I just want to hear your response to that powerful point, the
essence of which is that this may be the time to ring the alarm.
KRISTOL: Yes, I think it may well be, we don`t know, obviously, what might
happen. And things might sort of appeal themselves. But that`s never a good
thing to count on. And they don`t always. And they -- we`ve kept hoping
they would over the last year or two or three at times, and it hasn`t
happened. So I`m on the alarmist side of this. And I was thinking about
this during the break actually about Ted Cruz that we hadn`t mentioned that
whatever his insensitivity and foolishness and going to Cancun and lying
about it, it doesn`t -- it begin to compare to his reckless this and really
the wrong he did in denying the -- and participating in the big lie, and
denying that Biden had won the election and challenging the election
returns, I don`t believe to this day.
He`s apologized for what he did prior to January 6th. He was one of the
leaders, not quite at the level of Trump, but certainly one of the
encouragers of all -- everything that led up to January 6th. And so we
shouldn`t forget about that, as we sort of mock Ted Cruz and take some
pleasure perhaps. And he`s heard his political chances a little bit. But
there he is, senator from Texas hasn`t apologized for challenging, you
know, leading the challenge to the election returns, for -- as far as I
know, hasn`t said that Joe Biden was elected freely and fairly, that the
election was conducted well, that the Trump and he himself was somewhat
responsible for what happened on January 6th. So I`m very much, yes, we
need to hold those, I think to keep that standard up and not just try to
move on pretending that all is well.
WILLIAMS: He was named checked, in fact, by the rioters in the chamber. To
our viewers who`ve been struck by the quality of this conversation, we were
too. It`s precisely why we will keep inviting these two guests back on the
broadcast. To our guests, Caroline Randall Williams and Bill Kristol,
nothing but thanks for coming on and helping us out on a Friday night,
Coming up for us, the encouraging news about vaccines coming from a country
with the most doses given out per capita in the world.
WILLIAMS: Here`s what Dr. Padilla was talking about earlier in the hour,
nearly half the population of Israel has already received at least one dose
of the coronavirus vaccine. Tonight our foreign correspondent Richard Engel
has more on how Israel admittedly a small nation came to lead the world in
the vaccination effort.
RICHARD ENGEL, MSNBC CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They`re
getting creative in Israel to encourage people to be vaccinated. At a bar
turn vaccination center, a free shot for every shot. Teenagers are now up
90 percent of people over age 60 have already had at least one dose.
Doctors say the impact is profound.
DR. YAEL FARAN, INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST ICHILOV MEDICAL CENTER: We
can find some small amount of patients that are positive, but they are not
sick. So the vaccine gives very, very good protection from severe disease.
ENGEL (voice-over): Its proof vaccines here it`s mostly Pfizer can end the
pandemic. But per capita, the United States remains far behind.
(on camera): How many people had to get vaccinated by percentage?
ERAN SEGAL, COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGIST WEIZMANN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE: And it`s
only at this point that we are beginning to see the effects. So the
equivalent in the U.S. would be at the point where you vaccinated 150
ENGEL (voice-over): Israel`s population is small. Health care is
centralized and mandatory. And the country`s many wars have made it quick
to respond to a crisis. All factors helping Israel lead the world in coming
out of COVID lockdown.
ENGEL: And with a look at a possible future. Israel is setting up a two
tier system. Fully vaccinated people will receive green passes allowing
them to go to gyms and attend cultural and sporting events. They`re setting
up special travel certificates as well. Brian?
WILLIAMS: Thank you my friend, Richard Engel with our report tonight. You
can catch the latest episode of On Assignment with Richard Engel, COVID
Mutants, it`s on this Sunday night 10:00 p.m. Eastern on this very network,
couldn`t be more important or more timely.
Coming up, it`s a small low budget super right wing cable T.V. network
headquartered in Florida. They promoted the big lie big time, some may
believe what Newsmax has done now is worse. We`ll show you the video when
we come back.
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am
accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself such as that old,
worm-eaten chestnut that I have represented myself as indispensable. But I
think I have a right to resent, to object to libelous statements about my
WILLIAMS: FDR in 1944 having healed a nation in the midst of fighting a
World War forced to defend his beloved Scotty named Fala from a false story
floated out by his Republican critics, which somehow tonight brings us to
Greg Kelly, an anchor at Newsmax. And Greg Kelly has just gone after the
Biden`s dog, Champ. He said it out loud and he said it on television.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREG KELLY, NEWSMAX ANCHOR: Did you see the dog? Let`s get -- I want to
show you something I noticed. Doesn`t he look a little rough? I love dogs.
But this dog needs a bath and a comb and all kinds of love and care. I`ve
never seen a dog in the White House like this. I remember buddy I remember
Millie I remember lots of dogs but not a dog who seems, I don`t know, I
don`t know how much love and care he is getting. Let`s bring into
historians. I haven`t fun with this obviously. But I do want to talk about
Craig Shirley, Reagan biographer, presidential historian, Craig, welcome
back and Doug Wead, presidential historian, former adviser to George H.W.
Bush. That`s the White House where I remember Millie. Millie had like a
staff and they really took care of her, very beautiful dog. This dog looks
like from I`m sorry, from the junkyard and I love that dog. But he looks
like he`s not being well cared for.
CRAIG SHIRLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: No, not at all, Greg. Thanks for
having us. No. He looks very dirty and disheveled and very unlike a
presidential dog like Millie or Victory or something else in the past from
the president in the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: I know because Champ can speak for himself, here`s what you
should know about the Biden`s very good dog. First of all, he`s 12. And if
you know German Shepherds, you know that`s old for that breed. They got
Champ when Biden was vice president. He was so named because Biden`s dad
used to say to young Joe, anytime you get knocked down Champ, get up. And
they got their rescue puppy, Major, two years ago in large part because
Champ was getting so old.
And think of it this way, if Champ were to meet Greg Kelly, he would
probably love Greg Kelly unconditionally, because that`s what dogs do.
Probably also why there are no dogs anchoring on Newsmax.
Well look at the time. That is our broadcast for this Friday night and for
this week, thank you for spending some time with us. Have a good weekend
unless you have other plans. On behalf of all my colleagues at the
network`s of NBC News, good night.
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