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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, 8/20/21

Guests: Barry McCaffrey, Jonathan Lemire, Kavita Patel, Don Calloway, Bill Kristol


Henri threatens to hit northeast as a hurricane. Biden again defends Afghanistan exit. Afghans race to escape Taliban regime. Delta Variant COVID surge delays return-to-work plans. FDA will reportedly approve Pfizer vaccine next week. Battle over masks in schools raging in the south.


BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: And day 213 of the Biden administration and we will indeed have a full look at the news of this day in just a moment. But first, we are tracking tropical storm Henri which has millions of Americans and probably a title as a hurricane in its future. So, let`s start off here for a moment with late live update. For that our Meteorologist Bill Karins standing by with the very latest. Bill all day, I`ve seen some models bring this thing up through the mouth of New York Harbor. Other models bring it right through the guts of New England. Neither place is used to hurricanes, neither is a good solution.

BILL KARINS, MSNBC METEOROLOGIST: And Brian, I`m just a seconds ago looking at this with you for the first time. The new update from the National Hurricane Center. It literally just came in five seconds ago. The forecast did have the center making landfall at the 5 p.m. East Coast advisory right into the Hamptons, right around Southampton, it is shifted westward again. Now we`re making it towards Islip. So, all of a sudden, you know, it was only 24 to 48 hours ago, this thing was into Buzzards Bay into the Newport Rhode Island area. Now everyone in Cape Cod, yeah, that pulled their boats out of the water is saying woof, we may catch a break out of this one. But the people from Long Island and now all of a sudden heading towards New York City, and all of the Long Island Sound everyone is going, you know, we got one day to prepare. That`s it. You have Saturday, because this storm is coming in in a hurry early Sunday morning. The landfall time has been up.

So, let me go into some of the graphics, give you the new update. We`re still dealing with it as a tropical storm, did not reach hurricane intensity quite yet. It`s still getting a little bit sheared. Now it`s heading towards the north, finally now at nine miles per hours. And now it`s going to accelerate northwards on its journey to New England. It`ll parallel the coastline of the Carolinas. And how about that bend at the end to the left, very unusual, doesn`t happen that often. Yes, it`s kind of similar in that bend to what Sandy did. But Sandy was a different beast than this storm. It was much, much larger, like Sandy was just a huge, immense size wise storm, it`s maybe the same intensity, but size wise no comparison.

So, this storm will have its own problems, though. So, let`s go in a little bit closer here. So, you notice that the winds will quickly die off by the time we get to Monday morning wind damage is pretty much done. The wind damage portion of the storm is as we go throughout Sunday. Notice at 8 a.m. it`s already getting close to the southern coast of Long Island. So, we`re talking probably 10:00 to maybe noon landfall somewhere around Islip and then the right dirty side could go right up through New Haven. So that would be the second landfall after across it the sound and then the storm will kind of curve and bend there around the Hartford area.

As Brian mentioned, we`ve been watching these squiggly lines. And it`s interesting the black line is the new forecast and the hurricane center, for the first time in a while, a lot of our new computer models are actually to the right of the hurricane center. Yes, that green line still does go through New York City. So, it will be interesting to see if they kind of stay on course in the central portions of Long Island or shift to the right. But if you`re anywhere from Newport, even Buzzards Bay to Providence all the way through the Connecticut coastline, you have to watch this one closely.

Obviously, storm surge will be a huge issue especially now we`re talking 8 a.m. high tide Sunday morning, Brian, and that could be close to the landfall. So that could be a problem. And here`s our wind forecast. We still think the highest gusts will be out on Long Island and even those 50 to 60 mile per hour gusts in Connecticut, Brian, there`ll be millions of people without power, come Monday morning. We`re just kind of waiting to see now how intense the storm can get tomorrow. That`s it, it`ll be over the Gulf Stream tomorrow afternoon. And if it`s going to do any rapid intensification that`s when it will happen.

WILLIAMS: Bill, usual rules apply, I don`t quite feel like thanking you though, I sure appreciate the timeliness and the updates tonight because millions of people are watching this storm. Our Meteorologist Bill Karins in the Weather Center tonight. Thank you.

Now with that we turn to the day`s other big headlines. The President closed out this chaotic week as he started defending the evacuation mission in Afghanistan. The administration has rushed troops and aircraft to Kabul to speed up the process of helping U.S. nationals and Afghan allies get out as the Taliban takes hold. Flights have now resumed after a long pause earlier today. Some 13,000 people have been evacuated since Saturday.

At the White House President Biden gave reassurances about the mission while also warning of the risks.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: This evacuation mission is dangerous and involves risks to our armed forces. I cannot promise what the final outcome will be or what it will be, that it will be without risk of loss, but as commander in chief, I can assure you that I will mobilize every resource necessary. Let me be clear, any American who wants to come home, we will get you home. We`re in constant contact with the Taliban, working to ensure civilians have safe passage to the airport.



WILLIAMS: And here`s the important part, Our Veteran NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel has the latest on the dangers faced by anyone trying to get to the airport, let alone trying to get out.


RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Taliban fighters marching through the streets, dressed in all white, the color of the Taliban`s flag and a symbol there ready for martyrdom.

Well, outside the last remaining U.S. space at Kabul airport, chaos continues. This is what crowds have to face to get inside. Shooting violence, Taliban whips, American troops worrying if they open the gates, people will flood in. There`s desperation and anguish. Marines confirmed the baby handed to them over a wall is now safe at the airport reunited with family inside the base U.S. troops play with the many children arriving trying to keep them calm as Afghans process for departure and move to the flight line. That`s where we met Gina Abaue (ph), an Afghan American from Virginia. She moved back to Afghanistan to teach six years ago, when it was much safer.

GINA ABAUE (ph), AFGHAN AMERICAN FROM VIRGINIA: It was a dream come true for me. I`ve gotten a little house by the mountains, and it was really cool. And it`s the saddest day of my life right now. I just cannot imagine leaving. But unfortunately, it`s time to go.

ENGEL (on camera): And you left obviously the house?

ABAUE (ph): Everything, everything, everything, a small little suitcase with my laptop and that`s it.

ENGEL (voice-over): She says, she doesn`t want to leave. Neither do the 25 members of her extended family going with her.

(On camera): We`re just looking at the Afghan flag.

ABAUE (ph): I don`t know how much longer it`s going to be there. But this is really sad. I don`t know if I`ll ever be back. I`m hoping, but I don`t know if I`ll ever be back.

ENGEL: Eventually, the C-17 arrives and taxis into position for boarding. For Gina, it sinks in. This is it. These are moments that change the trajectories of families for generations. Gina`s relatives say goodbye to the only home they`ve ever known, forced out because they don`t want to live under the Taliban. Finally, boarding time. For Gina, it`s a painful goodbye. For most of the Afghans on board, this is the start of their new lives as refugees.

(On camera): This was supposed to be an evacuation only of American citizens and Afghans who worked for international troops. But because of the chaos now in Kabul and people rushing the gates, it`s become an emergency airlift of refugees as well. Richard Engel NBC News, Doha, Qatar.


WILLIAMS: And Meanwhile, the President revealed today that U.S. forces did have to go outside the airport grounds into the city of Kabul to help retrieve Americans.


BIDEN: Just yesterday, among the many Americans we evacuated, 169 Americans who over the -- we`ve got over the wall into the airport using military assets.


WILLIAMS: Late today the Pentagon confirmed this incident saying three Chinook helicopters picked up the Americans from a nearby hotel because of concerns for their safety. Pentagon says the U.S. commander on the ground made the call to use the choppers to bring the evacuees over to the airport. Even with the chaos outside the airport gates inside American troops are trying to bring even the smallest sense of humanity to their mission as some of the pictures emerging from their now show. Many families with children are among the thousands of evacuees as they wait for flights out of Afghanistan. U.S. service members were trying to make that wait as comfortable as humanly possible.

We`re also following the latest on the effort to stop the surge in new virus cases in our country. The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal reporting the FDA is aiming to give their full approval finally to Pfizer`s vaccine next week. The Time says possibly as early as Monday. There have been an increase in the pace of vaccinations. White House says about 200 million Americans give or take, have chosen to take at least one vaccine dose. Many hope that full FDA approval will convince the millions of people who haven`t gotten vaccinated yet to get that first shot.

The recent surge means some companies are postponing, bringing workers back to the office. Apple, a big one, had planned to reopen corporate offices in October. Company now says that won`t happen until at least January 2022.

So, with that, let`s bring on our starting line on this Friday night, Jonathan Lemire, White House Reporter for The Associated Press, retired Four Star U.S. Army General Barry McCaffrey, decorated combat veteran of Vietnam, former Battlefield Commander in the Gulf, former Cabinet Member, former Member of the National Security Council, and Dr. Kavita Patel, Clinical Physician, former Senior Policy Aide during the Obama administration. She`s one of our public health experts and a non-resident fellow at Brookings. Good evening, and welcome to you all.


And General, given the urgency of the topic, I`d like to begin with you again tonight. Gutsy call by the CEO to show that we could still pull off and extraction in the dense population, the urban confines inside Kabul, do you expect many more of these? Probably we can`t expect the kind of thunder runs that became so familiar in the Iraq war. But was this a healthy reminder, perhaps, to the Taliban that we still have this kind of air capability?

GEN. BARRY MCCAFFREY, U.S. ARMY (ret.): Well, look, Brian, the good news is we suddenly have control of the airport now. There`s 6000 U.S. troops in the ground elite infantry battalion from the army and marines. They`re backed up by Naval Air Power off a carrier battle group, the U.S. Air Force has got a worldwide surge of their airlift going in. I noticed that General Dempsey just tweeted out a comment that one of those C-17s took off with 871 Afghans aboard.

I`ve been on the C-17 20 and an assault airstrip with an M1 tank on the aircraft 72 tons. So, the situation on the ground pretty darn good. We`re talking to the Taliban, that`s good. There are -- I`m sure sensitive operations going on all over Afghanistan, to try and get key figures out which we shouldn`t know about. The problem, as we`ve discussed is, the chaos outside the airport is extreme, the Taliban are in charge at the city of four and a half million people, we are not going to retake Kabul. We could if we flew in another division reinforced, that`s not going to happen. Our purpose is to get out of there without fighting, extract all the Americans, the NGOs, the NATO civilians, and possibly some of the Afghan SIPs or Sensitive Intelligence People.

I wish the President had not said he would guarantee that all of Afghans would get out, those are tens of thousands of people, it`s not going to happen, they`re going to have to flee into adjoining states. So, we got to be careful what we say in public, both in the White House and DoD and State.

WILLIAMS: So, Jonathan Lemire, the General gives us the perspective of not only the military, but where the military intersects with the political and realism on this day in 2021. Tell us about your beat that appeared to be damage control on display in real time today, was there a feeling among those around the President that it was fixed, or at least calmed a bit today?

JONATHAN LEMIRE, ASSOCIATED PRESS WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: I think the word is stabilized, Brian, although only somewhat. This is, if we`re looking at this in sheer political terms. And of course, this is far more than that to foreign policy crisis, humanitarian crisis. But if we look at it, and there`s a politics, it`s been a tough week for this White House, of course, taking heat from both sides of the aisle, the images out of Afghanistan, simply devastating and heartbreaking. And a lot of people felt that his statement on Monday, very defiant, we`re sort of missing the empathy that has come to define this President. We`ve heard more of that today. Certainly, still an insistence that this is the right thing to do. That it`s time to pull out U.S. presence from Afghanistan. This President at least publicly is not second guessing how it`s done but probably behind the scenes. We know there`s been some regrets in the White House in senior levels of government, about the nature of these evacuations. We also heard from the President say, for the first time, a real vow to get those Afghans out to ideally by that August 31 deadline, which certainly was applauded by many as the right thing to do but will be a difficult challenge and as the General said, the airport secure but certainly the area around the airport far less so, it`s a treacherous journey. State Department has warned Americans that that they can`t guarantee their safety. Getting to that airports, we may see more missions, like those helicopters you described. But this is -- the weight of this matter is certainly well, and the White House knows this. They understand that they`re dealing with a crisis here. President Biden was supposed to be on vacation this week. He shuffled those plans repeatedly. He was supposed to go back to Delaware today. He delayed that. He`s now not going back until tomorrow. He`s made with advisors around the clock on this situation. They feel like they`ve taken a step in the right direction. They`ve got a long way to go.

WILLIAMS: So, Dr. Patel, as you well know, some of the vaccine hesitant and some of the people we have seen interviewed on television cite the following as their reasoning. Well, they haven`t been approved by the FDA. Hopefully doctor that goes by the boards next week and then Moderna will be next and we will have these two vaccines J&J possibly following that are already in the arms of 200 million people getting official FDA approval. Do you expect that to lead to more shots in arms? Or was that perhaps just a talking point?


DR. KAVITA PATEL, FORMER AIDE TO VALERIE JARRETT IN THE OBAMA WHITE HOUSE: Well, Brian, I hope it leads to more shots than arms. I don`t think it will lead to as many as we need. If you look at the age categories of who`s vaccinated over the age of 65, 91% of Americans are vaccinated, that`s incredible. Under 65 is a different story, 62%. So how many of those 12 to -- in this case 12 to 64-year-olds will be convinced by a full licensed approval. That is to be determined.

One thing is clear, though, you`re seeing more and more mandates in place, the full approval will give employers the justification they needed if they didn`t need one, they don`t need it legally. But many pushed back on employers. This lead the way for employers to put mandates in place.

WILLIAMS: General, I`m going to play for you something that was said earlier today by Congressman Seth Moulton, who, as you know, in addition to being a marine veteran is the democratic congressman from Massachusetts, he made the following comment on CNN that for a lot of people kind of summed up the frustration and worry. We`ll discuss on the other side.


REP. SETH MOULTON, U.S. MARINE CORPS VETERAN: We learn that a tremendous amount of the success of this operation is in the hands of the Taliban right now, that we`re counting on the Taliban to allow us to get people safely to the airport, that we`re counting on the Taliban to allow us to continue this operation and not massacre people long enough for it to be complete, that we`re counting on the Taliban not to attack our forces on the ground. It`s extraordinary that we`ve put ourselves in this position.


WILLIAMS: General, I know you share in the frustration, do you agree with his central holding there?

MCCAFFREY: Sure. Seth Moulton is very knowledgeable, decorated marine, multiple tours in combat, a very thoughtful man. I think we need to remind ourselves, though, look President Ghani came to President Biden and said, don`t pull the plug, leave people in place, if you evacuate your embassy, he will trigger the collapse of the government. I think that`s what happened. Then it came apart almost immediately over the course of a month or so. So, I have great sympathy for what happened to the President of United States. Now he`s got a match. There`s even going to be a pretty picture from now until index.

WILLIAMS: Jonathan Lemire, my list of agenda items for this White House has uncontrolled pandemic and a mess in Afghanistan. What else is on their agenda for next week dare I ask?

LEMIRE: Brian, they`ve got their hands full to be sure. But next week, the House of Representatives also comes back. That means back to domestic agenda as well. Look, there`s no question. The situation of Afghanistan to dominate the headlines, as is the surging Delta variant with the president time and again about vaccines. But this also will be the next steps towards that infrastructure deal, both the bipartisan portion and the reconciliation package as the White House tries that very difficult balancing act of trying to convince both progressives, I think the package is not big enough. And those moderates, who think it`s far too big, they`ve all got a vote. They`ve all got a vote around the same time, because it does seem despite what`s a moderate say that the only way for this to get passed is if they do these two things in tandem. That`s the President wants. That`s how Speaker Pelosi wants, that`s also going to move to center stage next week.

WILLIAMS: Dr. Patel, you get the last word tonight in the corporate and tech community when Apple speaks, people listen. And when Apple pushes their back to work date in the first quarter of 2022 it got the attention of a lot of people. What do they know that we perhaps don`t?

PATEL: I think what they know, Brian, is that we`re not done with Delta. We haven`t seen cases decreasing. We`re still going to be in this for many weeks. And candidly, if we can`t raise our vaccination rates way, even above what we`ve achieved to date, we are going to probably expect a dismal Thanksgiving and Christmas because we know that this virus spread largely through these gatherings and social network. I think Apple has kind of forecasted that and realize better to be safe than sorry.

WILLIAMS: Well, the news isn`t happy, but it rarely is and from politics to the military to medicine, we are so grateful to our starting frontline on this Friday night, Jonathan Lemire, General Barry McCaffrey, Dr. Kavita Patel, our thanks.

Coming up, why Lindsey Graham was on Fox News today talking about President Biden and the subject of impeachment.

And later the Lieutenant Governor of Texas had some rather controversial thoughts when it comes to who`s to blame for the spike of cases in his state, spoiler alert, he`s not blaming his boss. Footnote, his boss has COVID and is anti-mask. All of it as THE 11TH HOUR is getting underway on this last week night of this busy week.




BIDEN: For 20 years, Afghanistan has been a joint effort with our NATO allies. We went in together and we`re leaving again. And now we`re working together to bring our people and our Afghan partners to safety.


WILLIAMS: On those rescue efforts, here is what Republican Senator Lindsey Graham had to say today.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: The only way in hell we`re going to get our people out is for the President of United States to tell the military use the full force in mind of the U.S. military to get every American out, and all those who fought along our side. Unless the President gets out order, we`re going to leave thousands of people behind and if we do, President Biden should be impeached for dereliction of duty.


WILLIAMS: So on that and for more, we are joined again by two of our friends Don Calloway, Democratic Strategist, and Founder of National Voter Protection Action Fund and Bill Kristol, Author, Writer, Thinker and Politico Veteran of the Reagan and Bush administration`s, editor-at-large over at the Bulwark.

Don, now we`ve heard from the cheap seats, let`s hear from you. Do you think it is a little bit over amped, what do you make of the criticism of this president? What do you make of the President`s response?


DON CALLOWAY, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think that the President`s response has evolved over the course of the last week somewhat from what we saw on Sunday when this crisis first broke to his most recent statements today and yesterday. I think we`re starting to see some more of the empathy, as was pointed out in your last statement -- or excuse me, your last segment. And I think far more importantly, with the statements he made regarding NATO today, he made it clear that there was strategy serious, militaristic thinking behind this, that there was predetermination behind this, and ultimately, that it was not a unilateral effort on the part of America that this has to involve NATO, this has to involve global peacekeeping and peace enforcement forces. And we heard that in a way that we hadn`t heard that earlier in the week, and it gave me a little bit more comfort about the strategy on, Lindsey Graham can shut his mouth. Impeachment, I mean -- you know, and this was the danger of the rightful impeachments that were inflicted upon the Florida retiree. That we just knew that come January, Republicans would be wanting to find any old reason to throw out the impeachment term. We heard from Senator Rick Scott last week and the 25th amendment that craziness, and we`ve heard it from Lindsey Graham now. And that`s just -- that`s exactly what you said, that`s from the peanut gallery in the cheap seats. That`s for the Fox News audience.

WILLIAMS: And we don`t likely quote the insurrection and big lie enthusiasts, we merely do so in this case, to let people know it`s out there.

Hey, Bill, this one`s coming to you. And this is Aaron David Miller, the veteran State Department, Middle East hand, he wrote this on social media tonight, "Media coverage is turning Afghanistan into the fulcrum of Western civilization and Biden`s withdraw, however incompetent, into a narrative of cosmic betrayal, incompetency, galactic compromise of security and liberal values and the end of U.S. influence. Enough already."

Bill, is there a good chance he might be right?

BILL KRISTOL, THE BULWARK EDITOR-AT-LARGE: I don`t really think so, actually, I mean, it`s nice to sound sophisticated by saying, oh, why one shouldn`t be so upset, calm down, take the big picture. People said that in 1979, I guess during the Iranian Revolution, and then during the hostage crisis, and of course, we got through it eventually. Iran is still, on the other hand, governed by a pretty cruel and troublemaking theocracy, 40 years later, Afghanistan was decided 9/11. And what`s happening in terms of U.S. values, and U.S. foreign policy is very serious, I think. I hope it ends up being a kind of footnote in the history of this decade. And something that was difficult, and we made our way through and we may, we may. We`re strong country. We have strong military. We may have got off to a very bad start this last week. We may get most of our people out, get most of the Afghan, all our people out, get most of the Afghans out, and we`ll sort of heave a sigh of relief. But there`s an awful long way to go until we get there. And an awful lot of things could go very wrong. And then we`ll have a Taliban governed Afghanistan, which could still have consequences in Pakistan and the consequences of giving a jumpstart once again to the most radical forms of jihadism.

So, I know I`m not one of those who thinks people are overreacting. I think -- I`m sort of with Lindsey Graham on the substance of this most of the way, but it`s so discreditable than to just play that impeachment card the way he did. And I think you played Seth Moulton earlier, some of the best criticisms, soundest, toughest that measured and constructive criticisms of Joe Biden have come from Democratic Congressman, a lot of them in the younger post 9/11 veterans, like Seth Moulton, but others as well, Jason Crow, and several others, Tom Malinowski, who serves in the Obama State Department. So I`m encouraged that there`s a decent level of discourse in Washington accepts Lindsey Graham, who knows a lot about foreign policy and why I tend to agree with some of these issues then just can`t resist playing that ridiculous, you know, mentioning impeachment and turning it all into a political carnival.

WILLIAMS: Both of these gentlemen have agreed to stay with us, thankfully.

Coming up on the other side of this break when our conversation continues, what`s next in the battle over voting rights? Remember those in the state of Texas after three of those quorum busting Democrats returned to the state Capitol, when we continue.




JASMINE CROCKETT, (D) TEXAS STATE REPRESENTATIVE: I`m devastated. I`m devastated because I can tell you with all absolute certainty that my Democratic colleagues have just heard all of Texas, I have no plans of returning because I went through an entire session dealing with my colleagues. And every time you would try to just make a logical argument or have a logical conversation, we couldn`t get that done.


WILLIAMS: So, you sense the disappointment there just enough Democrats have returned to the Texas State House to make a quorum, meaning that Republicans can now get back to their work of pushing through their voting restrictions bill. Still with us thankfully, Don Calloway, Bill Kristol.

And Bill, I know we`ve had versions of this conversation before but in the real world, and especially in Washington, how -- what is the last best way, in your view now to federalize voting rights, not just in Texas, but everywhere?

KRISTOL: Yeah, the House has to pass the new version of the John Lewis bill next week. And then Senator Schumer and Joe Manchin have to sit down and work out what will be Manchin narrower, targeted combination of the old H.R.1 and the old H.R.4 in other words, the big election voters or anti- voter suppression and anti-election overturning bill as well as the more targeted John Lewis bill, put it all into one bill, I would say in the Senate. Manchin is apparently is working on this. He`s working closely with other sponsors of the legislation and Schumer. They can get 50 votes for that. I don`t know if they can get any Republicans maybe one or two, then will Manchin break the filibuster? So, there`s some chance that will happen.

You know, one reason I`ve been -- one of the additional reasons to be upset about just what`s happening in Kabul apart from the -- its own importance, obviously, is to the degree that it weakens, Joe Biden, I`m worried that it weakens his ability to push very hard for the pro democratic cause in the U.S. It`s not only democracy in the world at stake, its democracy in the U.S., a weakened Biden administration from my point of view, someone who was supported Joe Biden cares a lot about the, you know, liberal democracy, elections. And like, this is one reason I`m -- I find the current moment very worrisome and I hope the Biden ministration does well on foreign policy, so they can actually see, you`ll see some of these reforms that are necessary through here at home.


WILLIAMS: Useful reminder of what we just witnessed and what it all means that democracy is not a given in this country.

Hey, Don, I changed his subject but a subject you and I have discussed on this broadcast. And that is, the pandemic. The following took place, it happened last night. It aired last night. I`ve been wanting to talk to you about it today. Here is the Lieutenant Governor of Texas.


DAN PATRICK, (R) TEXAS LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: The COVID is spreading, particularly most of the numbers are with the unvaccinated and the Democrats like to blame Republicans on that. Well, the biggest group in most states are African Americans who have not been vaccinated. And the last time I checked, over 90% of them vote for Democrats in their major cities and major counties.


WILLIAMS: Don, have at it?

CALLOWAY: I`m going to do my best to have at it without cussing (inaudible). So, first of all, African Americans about 13% of the population in Texas. So statistically, if there is a COVID spread, which apparently there is in Texas, apparently according to the lieutenant governor has nothing to do with failure to mask up or anti-mask policies. But it has something to do with black folks who are a substantial minority of the population, well-behind white folks and well-behind Latino in the state. You`ve seen how statistics lie here.

Second of all, it`s easy to spout such statistics without pointing out a very real and very painful history of the United States, the American Medical system intentionally using black bodies as essentially guinea pigs and lab rats. Of course, we`ve heard the term Tuskegee, but we`re talking about forced sterilization and eugenics and brain experiments throughout the American South. We`re talking about black maternal health in which African American women`s pain complaints are still not taken seriously. And you see black maternal mortality at a substantially higher rate than their white counterparts.

So, when we`re talking about African American vaccine hesitancy, and yes, we are substantially behind white counterparts in terms of vaccine adoption. That is because it doesn`t turn off overnight, a very real and very recent history of American Medical malfeasance, intentional and sometimes just neglectful malfeasance toward black bodies, it doesn`t turn off just because we`re trying to save ourselves from a global pandemic.

So, Dan Patrick had any sense. He would be using his platform as an elected leader in the state of Texas to invest in communications and resources and talking to and defeating disinformation, African American communities, instead of blaming the miner`s canary, of course, that`s a literary reference, which he probably wouldn`t understand. But ultimately, this is the same guy who told us we should sacrifice our grandmothers and grandfathers because being old and dying in a pandemic, ain`t the worst thing. He said that just a year ago. So, Dan Patrick is a moron and in the words of my dad, he could probably get somewhere and sit ass down.

WILLIAMS: That is why I asked it is why we continue to have these two gentlemen on the broadcast our friends, Bill Kristol and Don Calloway, Jackson State Tigers, we see you tonight. Thank you, gentlemen, try to have a good weekend.

Coming up for us, one of the nation`s preeminent presidential historians, is here with us to reflect on a chaotic week for the President and his team, when we come back.




BIDEN: I`m President of the United States of America. And the buck stops with me, the basic choice is, am I going to send your sons and your daughters to war in Afghanistan, in Afghanistan, in perpetuity. Plan is for every adult to get a booster SHOT Eight months after you got your second shot. Now we have a mission, a mission to complete in Afghanistan.


WILLIAMS: Back with us tonight to reflect on all that we`ve seen this past week, celebrated author, Presidential Historian Michael Beschloss, whose latest work is Presidents of War.

Michael, indeed, you`ve given us reason to think about you this week, as has the President and considering your studies are almost exclusively about the U.S. presidency. I`d love you to put this week in this presidency in context, is it as indelible, as it seems, in the fierce urgency of now, especially when you even glance at social media?

MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, NBC NEWS PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Yeah, I think maybe a historian 40 years ago would do well not to take a look at social media this week, not because a lot of what was said was not right. This was not a textbook of great presidential leadership in evacuating in a country that we`d been -- at war in 20 years. And Joe Biden certainly did not get every word right. He spoke this week. And those have been horrible images from Afghanistan, terrible human stories, which we`ll be learning more about, I think, probably for a very long time.

But historically, it`ll all come back to did Joe Biden make the right decision to end American involvement in the war in Afghanistan. This is a campaign promise that he made. This is something when people voted for him last year, they knew that this was his view if they paid attention. This is something that could have been expected. And I think above and beyond that, you know, you were kind enough to mention presidents of war. The big lesson that you get a good look at American history for 200 years is, if you`re an American president who`s conducting a war, the war doesn`t work if Americans don`t understand it, if they don`t support it, and the war in Afghanistan, sadly, unlike 20 years ago, when we did it in response to 9/11, properly, in my view, 20 years later, it turned into nation building, turned into a corrupt government, it turned into something that many Americans not only have not supported, but an amazing number, according to polls, are not even aware that we have been at war in Afghanistan.

WILLIAMS: The further reason of thinking of you this week is the talk of LBJ comparisons and parallels and your intense concentration as an author and historian on President Johnson. In fact, there was something written in the Post yesterday by David Ignatius that I wanted to read and get your take on.

He writes it this way, "The reversals in Afghanistan are confounding for a Biden national security team that has rarely known personal failure. Jake Sullivan, National Security Adviser went to Yale, Oxford and Yale Law School. Antony Blinken, Secretary of State attended Harvard, Columbia Law. These are America`s best and brightest who came to the messy end game of the Afghanistan war was spotless resumes. That`s one of the parallels to the Vietnam War, where a similar group of brilliant policymakers, who had rarely experienced failure was confounded by an obdurate enemy from another century."


And Michael, this is a direct callback reminding everyone that with the death of JFK, LBJ inherited all those advisors and cabinet members. He used to call them the Harvards. And certainly it can be said that during his youthful years in Texas, he never met anyone named McGeorge until he got to the White House.

BESCHLOSS: And maybe later on he feels that was not a bad thing. That`s him, (inaudible) did not end up to well, they were on opposite sides. But, you know, I understand where David is coming from, a much too polite to note that David Ignatius himself went to Harvard, so he knows where Avi (ph) speaks. But I think, you know, if you try to explain this in terms of people who were, as Lyndon Johnson would have said, too smart for their own britches. As you know, Brian, that comes from a talk that LBJ had with Sam Rayburn in 1961. And LBJ was saying how great all these people under JFK were the new president. And Sam Rayburn said yes, they all sound very smart. But I sure wish Lyndon that one of them had run for office. Well, the people that you have mentioned, have not run for office. But Joe Biden has. And Joe Biden has a national political career of 50 years. And as you and I know, there`s a lot of failure there. And there`s a lot of tragedies that personal tragedy, his lost for president on several occasions, or at least did not first time he ran in 1987 even get to run beyond a short period of time. So, I think the fault does not lie in a president who is over educated or perhaps doesn`t have enough emotional rage.

WILLIAMS: This is unfair to limit you to 45 seconds, but I must, what has more staying power to remain as a stain and an embarrassment on our country, our capital ransacked by our own citizens, or this botched kind of debacle unfolding in Afghanistan?

BESCHLOSS: Not even close. This is what disengagements from war looks like. It can be done more gracefully and more competently than we`ve seen this week. General McCaffrey, our great friend Barry said a little bit earlier, there`s a reason for that, which is that the Americans right or wrong, did not want to look as if, you know, this war was being lost, the struggle with the Taliban, but at the same time, you know, you compare that and disengagements like the end of the Hungarian uprising, 1956, 70,000 refugees, Vietnam, 1975, 130,000. You know, those are turbulent rocky exits. But compare that to the sixth of January, Americans encouraged by a President of the United States, Donald Trump to attack the Congress, attack the Capitol, almost a hostage crisis, possibly an assassination could have been of a vice president, Speaker of the House, we could have lost our democracy that day. No comparison.

WILLIAMS: Michael Beschloss, what a treat to be able to hear from you at the end of a week like this. Thank you so much as always for coming on.

BESCHLOSS: Thank you, Brian.

WILLIAMS: A break for us, coming up. Keeping children safe from the virus as they return to school and the fight their parents are raising against masks that are intended to keep them safe.



WILLIAMS: As the virus searches in different parts of our country increasingly aiming at young people, schools have become the battleground on the topic of masks. And increasingly, it`s their parents who are willing to slug it out not wanting their kids to wear a mask that`s intended to keep them safe in many cases. Our report on all of it tonight from NBC News Correspondent Sam Brock in Florida.


SAM BROCK, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The country`s long-standing clash over wearing masks has now flooded the sanctuaries of America`s children, schools. Parents and demonstrators screaming after this Tennessee school board meeting.

In Louisiana, a state board meeting shut down by attendees refusing to wear masks and bans on mandates by governors from Florida to Texas forcing the courts to intervene. The Texas Supreme Court relenting overnight, allowing school districts to keep their requirements in place for now.

Florida`s Governor will face legal action from parents Monday, with some just asking to keep politics out of the equation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don`t want to spread any sickness and we don`t want to get it ourselves.

BROCK: But now just maybe a breaking point from this Tennessee father of a kindergartener.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She went to school and was one of just a few kids in her class wearing a mask which made her ask me why she had to. My answer was because we want to take care of other people.

BROCK: Justin Canoe (ph) says it`s a basic calculation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It seems like a pretty simple choice. If we`re wrong, they had to wear a mask. If they`re wrong, someone gets sick and dies.

BROCK: Canoe`s words resonating as hospitalizations continue to climb. In Florida cases just crossed 3 million with staffing shortages ravaging hospitals.

DR. RANDY KATZ, MEMORIAL REGIONAL HOSPITAL CHAIRMAN OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE: The health care providers in this country are frustrated, we`re tired. We`re exhausted physically, emotionally, mentally. It`s been a long year and a half, and it`s just getting tougher for us.

BROCK: Young people and students are increasingly getting infected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These school boards are having to essentially protect kids from their own governors.

Sam Brock, NBC News, Hollywood, Florida.


WILLIAMS: And coming up for us, one last look a late live update on what`s in store for millions of Americans this weekend.



WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight, one last look at Tropical Storm Henri, important here for several reasons. First of all, it`s headed up on over a huge population center that includes areas that are not used to these kinds of storms and that would be Long Island, New York City, New England. The last big one to hit New England was hurricane Bob that was 30 years ago this week.

If you`re watching from the northeast figure you have 24 hours, give or take to get where you`re going. And this is changeable for a large part of the day, forecast models range from the storm slamming into New York Harbor to making a direct hit on the tip of Long Island New York either way, it looks like Long Island coastal Connecticut, coastal Massachusetts will likely get tossed, that means the cape and the islands Block Island, Eastern Nantucket, and Martha`s Vineyard from province to province town, it is time to pay attention to this. That`s because hurricanes move counterclockwise, the eastern side of the storm always gets the lashing. That will also mean close to airports and suspended ferry service, don`t forget at the height of the vacation season. Flooding rains and storm surge guaranteed. Not helping, full moon, very high tide starting Sunday, the day of arrival.

Here`s the best we can do with this hour the 11 p.m. Eastern Time advisory, the bad news is a bit of a left hook veering the path a bit more westerly over Long Island into the Connecticut coast then kind of meandering North, remnants of this storm will still linger when we see you next at 11 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday.

One point here of personal privilege from an old school broadcaster, your local news on your local affiliates, your local meteorologist will know your area better and will be better able to pinpoint your forecast then the app on your phone. So, stay safe out there that holds for folks on the run from wildfires in our west just as it stands to everyone in the cone of uncertainty here in the East tonight. And that`ll do it for our Friday night broadcast and for this week with our thanks for being here with us. Have a good weekend. Stay safe out there. On behalf of all our colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.