TSA will double fines on air travelers who refuse to wear a mask. President Joe Biden announced sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant. The Justice Department is seeking an injunction that would prohibit enforcement of the Texas law. U.S. Capitol Police brace for potential repeat of pro-Trump rally violence.
ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOSTL: Pocan, thanks for joining us tonight. Congressman Mark Pocan of Wisconsin and that is tonight`s Last Word the 11th Hour with Brian Williams begins right now.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: And good evening once again. Day 233 of the Biden administration and this evening the White House is taking aggressive action on two different fronts. Stepping up the fight to end this surge of the Delta variant was tough new vaccine requirements and taking the state of Texas to court over its near total ban on abortion.
Late today the President announced he was using the full force on authority -- of the office to push those remaining 80 million or so unvaccinated Americans to get their shots. Until now Biden had steered away from making vaccines mandatory in any sense today that all changed. Noting that the nation was in a quote, tough stretch of this pandemic. Biden laid out a series of new policies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: The Department of Labor is developing an emergency rule to require all employers with 100 or more employees that together employ over 80 million workers to ensure their workforces are fully vaccinated or show a negative test at least once a week. Over 200 million Americans have gotten at least one shot given patient when our patience is wearing thin and the refusal has cost all of us.
This is not about freedom, or personal choice. It`s about protecting yourself and those around you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Notably, vaccinations will also now be required for most federal workers.
President also announced that TSA will double fines on air travelers who refuse to wear a mask. All this is happening as this Delta variant drives our nation`s daily average caseload north of 150,000 for the first time since the battle days back in late January.
Hospitals are getting crushed where the virus is surging, and we are back to a daily death toll in this country of about 1,500 souls. As of tonight, just over 53 percent of us are fully vaccinated. As he rolled out new vaccine requirements, Biden also called out politicians on the right who he says are preventing our country from ending this search.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Distinct minority of Americans supportify (ph) stink minority of elected officials are keeping us from turning the corner. These pandemic politics are mega are making people sick, causing unvaccinated people to die. We cannot allow these actions to stand in the way.
Local school officials are trying to keep children safe in a pandemic while their governor picks a fight with them and even threatens their salaries or their jobs. Talk about bullying in schools. If they are not held, if these governors won`t help speak to pandemic, I`ll use my power as president to get them out of the way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: And just like that, to no one`s surprise, several Republican governors have already expressed their outrage over Biden`s new rules and staying on brand. Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel says the party intends to sue to quote, protect Americans and their liberties.
Late today another sweeping vaccine mandate was announced education. Officials in Los Angeles say all students 12 and over must be fully vaccinated by January. LA, as you may know, the nation`s second largest school district. This is the first such move by a major city school system.
As mentioned, the White House is also taking on the state of Texas over its new abortion law, which bans the procedure after six weeks.
Justice Department today sued the state of Texas stepping up the administration`s fight against the nation`s most restrictive abortion ban.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The obvious and expressly acknowledged intention of this statutory scheme is to prevent women from exercising their constitutional rights. This kind of scheme to nullify the Constitution of the United States is one that all Americans, whatever their politics or party should fear. If it prevails, it may become a model for action in other areas by other states, and with respect to other constitutional rights and judicial precedents.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: As we`ve been talking about this, Texas law went into effect just over a week ago now after the Supreme Court refused to block it and by doing so, they effectively rolled over Roe vs. Wade, which had been the standing law of the land.
The liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, who joined the minority in voting against the decision, the losing side, told NPR was quote, very, very wrong.
Tonight, there`s also growing concern about a planned rally to be held at the U.S. Capitol next Saturday, September 18. Demonstrators are expected to demand justice as they call it for the hundreds of people charged in connection with the January 6 insurrection.
Politico says Capitol Police officers will get a briefing tomorrow on security preparations. And CNBC reports the Capitol Police Chief will brief congressional leaders on Monday about those same security plans. Congress is not going to be in session on the day of the rally. But one Democratic member of the House says he is worried about what Republicans are not saying about this rally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DAN KILDEE (D-MI): I think we have to take it very seriously. I know these people they post on social media, they`re dangerous and what`s most dangerous is the silence of Republican leadership. They should be calling them off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: Capitol Police are said to be planning to reinstall all that fencing that was placed around the Capitol a little bit too late for January 6 that but ahead of next week`s rally. And just a few minutes ago, few minutes before we came on the air. The House committee investigating the insurrection revealed it has received thousands of pages of documents from government agencies in response to its initial requests.
A committee spokesman also says the national review is reviewing -- the National Archives rather is reviewing Presidential Records as part of this investigation.
With that, let`s bring in our starting frontline on this Thursday night, Yamiche Alcindor, White House correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, our moderator of Washington Week also on PBS, Cynthia Alksne, former federal prosecutor in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, and Clint Watts, West Point graduate, Army veteran, former FBI special agent and a distinguished Research Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Good evening, and welcome to you all.
Yamiche, I`d like to start with you. And your beat, the president kind of famously waved off mandates as late as this past spring, not knowing that this many million Americans were going to waive off the chance to get a vaccine. So in your view, covering the White House as you do where to from here.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, PBS NEWSHOUR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: We should also say, and you`re right, that the President had waved off the idea of mandates. But this was the president saying we are no longer dealing with the care. We`re going to start pulling out the sticks in the stick is going to be impacting 100 million Americans and two-thirds of all workers in America.
The president is essentially saying we are fed up. Now it`s going to come time for dire consequences for people who do not want to get vaccinated. White House officials, senior administration officials tell me that people are going to face the consequences.
Take, for example, federal workers, if you`re a federal worker in an executive branch, and you decide that you don`t want to get vaccinated, I`m told that you`re going to face disciplinary actions and it`s going to get progressive, you`re going to have to go to HR, and eventually that could end possibly in termination.
So what you have here really is the president saying the patience is over. We`ve been patient with people. Now that the FDA has approved at least one vaccine it is time to go get your shot.
What I think is also important here is that that`s what`s the most aggressive and forceful speech the President has given related to requiring people and encouraging people to get vaccinated and that comes out of this idea that we`re really in a scary moment in this country with kids, more kids being hospitalized with the Coronavirus, and with people coming down to and getting sicker and sicker with people coming getting sick and saying they wish they had been vaccinated.
So this was the president really trying to urge people and say Republicans, people who are downplaying this, either because you`re ignorant, or because of politics, you need to stop.
WILLIAMS: Cynthia, I want to take you up to the northern plains and play you something from South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, a big time Trumper who would this comment stays on brand we`ll discuss on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. KRISTI NOEM (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: I`ll fight to protect my people and to defend their freedoms. In fact, it was shocked me that the President actually said in his speech today that this wasn`t about freedom and personal choice at all, which I think is indicative of what`s really in his heart and his agenda that he`s got for this country.
Listen, this is not a power that is delegated to the federal government. This is a power for states to decide.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: So Cynthia, is she right or near writes on the law in your view?
CYNTHIA ALKSNE, FMR. FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: She`s not right in the lot. I think it`s interesting that she`s so caring about people`s personal rights, but it has nothing to say about the unconstitutional tramping -- trampling of rights for women of Texas.
But she`s not right -- there`s, there`s decades of law supporting this decision by Biden and they can file all the lawsuits they want ultimately, even in this Supreme Court, the Biden administration is going to win on this one.
WILLIAMS: So, Cynthia, do you -- when you make an argument like that, do you factor in the fact that someone said tonight, members of the U.S. military have over a dozen mandatory vaccinations in order to voluntarily serve our country is that the kind of linchpin you use?
ALKSNE: Well, there`s all kinds of requirements that the federal government puts on that the states are not in a position to deal with anything from seatbelts to vaccinations to requirements that you wear a mask on an airplane, there are hundreds of them. And this will not be an exception when it`s done, because it`s so affects the health and safety of Americans, and particularly, as we start school, and little kids are in school, and now we`re about to have, as our friend, Steve Schmidt has called, pandemic of children`s, it`s the children`s spike, because they`re in school and they`re unprotected.
And I just -- I think on this one, it`s so overwhelmingly clear that the Biden administration is going to win. They can require the federal employees to get vaccinated, they can require contractors, they can withdraw funds from states that don`t require vaccinations. They can require vaccinations on any federal transportation system. They`re just in a very strong position here.
WILLIAMS: So Clint Watts, the President`s message, while strong bumps up against the counter message of the anti-vaxx community and all their helpers around the world, tell our viewers what kind of shatter you`re seeing in the anti-vaxx world of late.
CLINT WATTS, FMR. FBI SPECIAL AGENT: It`s been remarkable, Brian, watched the convergence of people that you might not normally see hanging out together in a physical place, but in online communities are quite the pals from the far left traditional anti-vaccine communities that are known in California and places like that. You`ve seen strong opposition to vaccines of all types. And I know this, personally, having dealt with my daughter`s autism, this was a strong strain in the late 2000s.
And then all the way to the far-right, those Trump supporters that still don`t believe that Donald Trump had a vaccine or that everyone had Fox News also had a vaccine, but continue to repeat this rhetoric over and over again. And that really lines up with nearly every conspiracy that you might imagine being converged. That`s from Bill Gates conspiracies, microchip conspiracies, all the way to effects around future birth. You can pretty much take the entire spectrum and throw it out there.
And the one conduit that brings all this together is the far right social media friends, it`s not even really the main social media platforms much anymore, but the fringe far-right, their news channels and their traditional sort of AM broadcasting channels. It is that ecosystem of information that is really stopped us in our tracks and getting past this pandemic over the past nine months.
WILLIAMS: Yamiche, think about policy wise what we`ve been reporting since the top of the hour here, just during our conversation, the Biden demonstration showing a new aggressiveness on vaccines, the Biden administration via the Justice Department showing a new aggressiveness versus the state of Texas, is there a larger message in here according to your reporting.
ALCINDOR: According to my reporting, in my conversations with White House officials, the larger message is that President Biden is going to fight for this country both to protect people from the pandemic and also women from their right to choose what they want to do with their bodies.
Democrats are in this position where they`re holding all of this power even if it`s by a small margin in the House and in the Senate, and they`re facing a base that is looking at the Republicans who are moving very quickly to take away rights and to try to go with their agenda, whether it`s abortion, whether it`s voting rights, whether it`s policing, whether it`s COVID, and they`re expecting their party to really step up and say, What are you -- to step up and say, we`re going to do something about this, we`re going to push back.
So what you heard from President Biden today, and I think also what you`ve heard from Attorney General, Merrick Garland, was really this tone to say, we are here. We understand what the assignment. We understand what people are basic and really Americans everywhere are expecting from us, and we`re going to deliver on that.
So I think that this is really the president really showing, yes, I`m emotional. Yes, I`m can be the consoler-in-chief. But let`s also remember I`m the commander-in-chief, I`m someone who can stand up, who can really fight back for you and show that I have some fire in my belly when you have so many Americans feeling anxious about all of the different things that we`re facing, including, of course, abortion rights, and the pandemic.
WILLIAMS: And Cynthia on one of those two topics, abortion rights, let`s talk about this subject of choice. This Texas law, controversial as it may be, was built to be on appealable. Is there in your view, a legal avenue for the Supreme Court, nonetheless, to take a second swing at this? Or do they have to wait now, for a similar test case, as all the downstream states are buoyed by this, the red states who want to enact similar legislation?
ALKSNE: Well, the justice department did a masterful job today in getting that done. What this lawsuit did, it`s put the issue of Roe v Wade squarely in front of a federal district judge in the Northern District of Texas, and Obama appointee. And he will have a chance to look at it very soon.
And what they`ve asked is that the law is declared invalid, and they expect that it should be stricken, or certainly enjoined from being enforced, and to protect the rights of those people whose rights have been violated who can`t get an abortion in Texas.
I mean, the abortion rule in Texas now is essentially, there is no abortion. Roe v. Wade is overturned in Texas right now. And the only way to get an abortion is to be rich enough to be able to get out of state. Well, if you live in McAllen, Texas, and you have to drive 1,000 miles to Albuquerque, and you have three other children and no money, you essentially have no right to an abortion in the state of Texas and it is created as second class citizens of all women in the state of Texas. They have fewer rights than every woman in the rest of the country.
So what we all hope is that this lawsuit, which is masterfully done under the supremacy clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment, that this law will give an opportunity to get the Texas law halted until the supreme court does take up the Mississippi case or until this one moves quickly.
The problem is, as I think we all know where this is going is that ultimately it goes to the Trump`s Supreme Court. And in a way it tees up this battle about is Roe v Wade really going to hold? Is it going to hold with this Supreme Court, and it tees that battle up and it may bring it to a head sooner rather than later.
WILLIAMS: Clint Watts, you get the final word and it`s about this Capitol rally. Nine days away. I always say that you do your job. So we don`t have to. But every time I asked you about your day job, it is scary material almost by nature. What kind of chatter are you hearing and seeing about this gathering in Washington that everyone needs to know about?
WATTS: September 18th was more forceful, I think a week or so ago, Brian, and that was largely due to political leaders like Madison Cawthorn, talking it up talking about going to the Capitol, and you`re starting to see them sort of back away as if they may not make it on September 18.
I also think you see that large law enforcement response very organized and prepared this time. And in the chatter in the online space, you`re starting to see some say we need to back away from this event. But what that also sort of mask is them diverting their attention to local capital, state capitals, in the discussion spaces of the militia groups. That`s really where I think we need to start worrying about more because the local municipalities have less ability to really detect this and to (INAUDIBLE) in terms of resources.
And a final one, Brian, just in terms of the white supremacist space, what we`re seeing significant discussion of is refugees or refugee location centers coming back from Afghanistan. While we`ve seen great bipartisanship in some states, you know, a lot of Americans coming together to help these Afghan refugees out. It is a lightning rod in the white supremacist space. And I think that`s something we really need to raise on our radar in the coming months.
WILLIAMS: Well, you`re right and as advertised, truly scary stuff you ended with there. We are much obliged to our starting line on this Thursday night, Yamiche Alcindor, Cynthia Alksne, Clint Watts, our thanks for starting off our conversation.
Coming up for us. The President warns patience is wearing thin with the unvaccinated in this country. And it`s no surprise to the nation`s exhausted health care workers. But will Biden`s battle plan make a difference? We`ll ask our doctors standing by.
And later ever provocative Michael Moore argues that in the end, Osama bin Laden won. We`ll get Michael`s take on Afghanistan and Joe Biden all of it as the 11th Hour is just getting underway on this Thursday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: To the nation`s family physicians, pediatricians, GP, general practitioner, you`re the most trusted medical voice to your patients. You may be the one person who can get someone to change their mind about being vaccinated. Tonight, I`m asking each of you to reach out to your unvaccinated patients over the next two weeks and make a personal appeal in that to get the shot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: As this President now passionately lays out his plan to battle the virus, Dr. Fauci warns the current level of virus transmission is way too high. He told Axios the following. Right now we`re still in pandemic mode because we have 160,000 new infections a day. That`s not even modestly good control. In a country of our size you can`t be hanging around and having 100,000 infections a day. You`ve got to get well below 10,000 before you start feeling comfortable.
It`s a lot to talk about with our guest tonight. Dr. Irwin Redlener, founding director of the Columbia National Center for Disaster Preparedness. He advises us on public health also Professor of Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Full disclosure, the doctor was good enough to take our call joined us late in the day and is in his car which in an uncontrolled pandemic is about as safe as studio as any other I can imagine.
Doctor, I want to hear you out on your view of the President`s comments and his overall tone and aggressiveness today.
DR. IRWIN REDLENER, EXPERT ON PANDEMIC INFLUENZA: Hi, Brian, and happy to join you even from my car. But I will say that this is an incredible you know, your two clips are a wonderfully interesting one to punch from the President and from Dr. Fauci. Both of them aggressive, both of them pulling no punches. And I agree with really with both of them.
But I want to say just a word about Biden`s speech today, which is that it was an amazingly powerful, full frontal assault on the pandemic, the likes of which we haven`t seen really since the last century when we took on smallpox or polio.
What he did today was lay out a very detailed plan, doing literally everything that the federal government could possibly do, to empower people to take us on to make sure that companies and public agencies are doing what they can do. And then this final plea that he made, that we just sort of clip of, to the doctors of America, basically saying, do this one last thing, go to your patients and tell them again, how critical this is.
I mean, there`s been nothing more heartbreaking to me than seeing, you know, people on their deathbeds wishing they had gotten this shot, and doctors and nurses are at their wit`s end, trying to cope with this horrible tragedy they`re seeing day after day, in hospitals, especially in those unvaccinated states, with a vaccine -- with a virus really is running totally out of control. Brian.
WILLIAMS: Doctor, I have a two part question on antibodies. What do you make of people have means with the opportunity and the money to get antibody testing to determine whether they should get the third shot the booster? And a second question on antibodies is this. If you had COVID, maybe you knew about it, maybe you didn`t, but you were asymptomatic. Are you still walking around with the same antibody load as someone who survived a more virulent case?
REDLENER: Yes, absolutely, Brian. A lot of this is really still not known is still being studied. As far as getting anybody tests are concerned, there`s a lot of different ways of measuring how powerful and strong your immune system is. One of them is by getting the regular antibodies that you can see in the bloodstream, but it really should be a particular kind. That is the type that`s related to the spike proteins.
The other thing is that there`s other elements of the resistance of the immune system that will not show up in sorority has to do with T cell and B cell and other more technical issues. So you don`t really get an entirely clear answer.
And I think it`s, if you need there anybody testing that should be something determined by your doctor, but we are headed towards booster shots for everyone, starting with the people that are most vulnerable. There`s no question that that is coming. It`s inevitable. And I totally agree with it, Brian.
WILLIAMS: Knowing you as I do, The Wall Street Journal report this week has to concern you that flu season this year, is going to come on earlier in the season, and be stronger than recent years because we haven`t been out and about and in circulation as much and that must trouble you.
REDLENER: Well, it troubles me. But the other thing that`s been out about the regular influenza that we`re used to every single year is that the number of cases so far has been extremely low. We`re hardly seeing any flu. And that`s because many of the measures that we`ve taken to prevent the spread of COVID is really helped tamp down the emergence of a serious flu influenza epidemic so far this year. We`ll see what happens. There`s reason for concern. There`s so many things that we have to keep in our sights now Brian, as this flew and winter season began to unfold in full force the next couple of months.
Not to mention the fact that we`re putting 55 million children back in schools, and we just had a Labor Day holiday weekend. A lot of different factors at play, that give us lots of reasons to be concerned and to be vigilant, Brian.
WILLIAMS: Dr. Redlener permission to turn off the dome light and continue wherever it is, you are headed with our wishes to have a good day tomorrow and a good weekend. Again Dr. Irwin Redlener, our guest again tonight with our thanks.
Coming up for us. He says he gets no points for being right on the subject of Afghanistan. The Oscar winning documentary -- documentarian Michael Moore on the end of our nation`s longest war and then some.
WILLIAMS: What began as a normal workday, a normal school day. 20 years ago this coming weekend ended up of course changing our country and our lives forever. Today, some school students who were just blocks away from the World Trade Center back then are looking back on 9/11 and the enormous impact on their lives. NBC News correspondent Rehema Ellis who reported from Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks brings us their stories tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
REHEMA ELLIS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a defining moment in America. And for kids at P.S. 234 only blocks from Ground Zero.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is something that absolutely changed my life.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It taught me to recognize significant moments.
ELLIS: All grown up now Hannah Moke (ph), Ian Tellis (ph) and their fellow fourth graders and Pat Karney`s class, were witnesses to history.
10 years later revisiting P.S. 234.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I remember we were sitting right there.
ELLIS: The moment was still haunting. And even now 20 years later.
(on camera): What`s your strongest memory of 9/11?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably hearing the first plane hit the tower and the room shaking.
ELLIS (voice-over): Both of them also remember their teacher is the glue holding all the kids together.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was like our mom.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s Hannah Moke (ph).
ELLIS: Bow at a different location with a bigger job caring for a whole school.
(on camera): How has 9/11 informed how you act as a principal?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 9/11 has had her Real influence and the kind of leader I want to be. I can`t fall apart. I have to move us forward step by step.
ELLIS (voice-over): Both Hannah and Ian say the outpouring of support back then helped them move forward. Hannah works in city government and volunteers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think my entire existence now. As an almost 30 year old woman comes from the experience I had as an eight year old girl here on 9/11.
ELLIS: A painful moment in time turned into a spirit of giving.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
WILLIAMS: Extraordinary story that grew out of that awful day. I want to pass along a programming note. My friend Nicolle Wallace and I will be here with you on the air live on Saturday morning from Ground Zero in New York that begins at 8:00 a.m. Eastern time. It`s all a part of our special network wide coverage called America Remembers, 20 years later.
Another break for us, Michael Moore standing by after this.
WILLIAMS: The first international passenger flight to depart Kabul since the U.S. military withdrawal landed in Qatar today. Again this flight was non-military it was an actual commercial airliner. Those onboard included Americans, Brits, Canadians, Germans, Italians Ukrainians. The Qatari assistant Foreign Minister telling NBC News another flight from Kabul may take off as early as tomorrow.
Back with us tonight to talk about a broad range of subjects Michael Moore, proud Michigander, moviemaker, muckraker, host of the podcast Rumble with Michael Moore. Recently launched a substack and will be hosting a free screening of his film Fahrenheit 911, tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on the platform at Michaelmoore.com.
Welcome back to the broadcast. I wanted to start here for people perhaps sensitive to it who, these days see a single line or a pull quote on an aggregator on their phone who might have seen your quote, saying that in the end Osama bin Laden won. What did you mean by it?
MICHAEL MOORE, OSCAR-WINNING DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: It mean that his attack, their attack the 9/11 on this country. I don`t know how they could have guessed that we would stay in this war for 20 years, that they would - - that we would spend $300 million a day on errors was some sort of mad genius Osama bin Laden that he figured out that we would take away our own democratic rights, our constitutional rights. They create a surveillance state where there`s a camera and every other corner in this country was spying on each other that that we did not.
We spent all our time focused on the war on terror and the money on this that could have been used on our own people. We`re not better off 20 years later. We`ve created a sort of a self-option.
Now we are at war with ourselves. We have this incredible division that has turned violent. I mean, he must be smiling for his grave wherever it is, because what they couldn`t do to us, we decided to do to ourselves. And when George Bush used to brag about or stated, you know, we need to fight him, we need to fight them over there. So we don`t have to fight them here.
And what actually ended up happening was, yes, we went over there to fight them, but bin Laden, they couldn`t ever have it attacked us or invaded our country, and taken us over to in order to kill us. They had the sucker us into coming over there, and putting our young men and women, our troops on the sacrificial altar, and at the same time, allow our country to become what it`s become in these 20 years. It`s so sad.
And it`s it -- and so I said, you know, in a sense, he may have lost the battle. He may have lost his life. Al Qaeda broken up. But in the end, in a strange, sad sort of way, he won. Because we`ve allowed this to happen to ourselves, and shame on us for that. We should -- I hope the lesson of this is that we never get ourselves into war again like this.
And Brian, you know, 20 years ago, I was pretty much alone. Most liberals were all behind the war. Bush had a 70 percent approval rating. It was myself. It was Congresswoman Barbara Lee from Oakland, California, who said no, no, do not. We are not to go to Afghanistan. We are not to invade that country. This will be a quagmire. And we were pretty much shot down by our fellow Americans that did not want to hear anything like this.
And, you know, are we safer? Are we -- the real Homeland Security should be about how we take care of each other, and how we spend our money for each other. And that on a war that may have seemed right to some people at the time. Let`s go get him. I mean, he has a mass murderer, Osama bin Laden.
By the time we really organize ourselves to do that in October and November, he pretty much skedaddle. He was gone. He was out of the country. And we didn`t say he left. We stayed for 20 years.
WILLIAMS: Yes, we famously had a shot. We came close. Now at least he`s where he needs to be and humanity is better off for it.
Mike, I`m going to take a pause. Michael Moore has agreed to stay with us. We`ll resume our conversation after this break. And coming up, we`ll talk to them about what`s at stake for the President. As Mr. Biden tries to advance this three and a half trillion dollar plan to expand a quaint thing we used to call the social safety net in this country.
WILLIAMS: House committees have started the process of formally drafting sections of Joe Biden`s sweeping three and a half trillion dollar economic plan. As we mentioned before the break still with us as our guest tonight, Michael Moore and Michael, fair warning, I hate interrupting but we`re up against a hard ending on this segment. So if you hear me interrupting and waving my arms, that`s why.
I am curious to hear from you how important this money is to the American working class? And if your answer is very important, then the natural question is why isn`t everyone whose name is going to be on a ballot in 2022 and 2024 lining up to vote for it because that used to be a measure of success as an elected representative. Bringing stuff home that helps your constituents life, health, safety, the rest of it.
MOORE: They will get behind it. Because it is good. It`s good for the country. It`s good for their constituents. It`s good for -- it`s good for their reelection. I can`t imagine that they would not get behind this President Biden. They will convince the American people are important. This is I think most Americans. They want childcare and they want their kids to be able to go to college. And they want -- when they say parent to be able to take some time off and not lose money or their job, or if that`s what this is all about.
And so it sounds -- I think once this has passed, and the average American starts receiving the benefits of all the things that will make their life better, easier, safer, all of that, well, I think definitely help anybody who hasn`t been afraid to get behind us. So, I guess I haven`t -- I`m not usually an optimist, but I am on this. I think people will come around because they have to come around.
Because I`m telling you, Brian, this bill, the 3.5 trillion, this is such a game changer for this country. It will turn this country. We will go around a corner like we`ve never gone before and to have our people taken care of. They have, you know, life your pursuit of happiness. It`s right there in our original document, and they had to suffer. They have to live from paycheck to paycheck.
They have 40 percent of the other people in this country that have more than $400 to their name. On any given day, this is not the country that is the proponent of the American dream. This is not a dream. But a lot of people have been living a nightmare. And to turn this around, I think that this is what the Biden plan is going to do.
Why not? Why wouldn`t we? Why we were willing to spend all that money on war, and we`re willing to spend all that money on all these other things that don`t really help us. Thank God, we had a president, a commander-in- chief that stood there in front of cameras today, and said, I`m sorry, I just ended one endless war. I`m not designed over the endless war of COVID, that we`re bringing this to an end, everybody watching me, you`re going to get vaccinated. We`ve proven that it`s safe. You do (INAUDIBLE) for those of you not getting a shot for political reasons. I`m sorry for you. I hope you come around.
But, if we -- if he`s able to pursue what he just said this afternoon, that where we can get another 80 to 100 million Americans vaccinated. Man, we can get through this. We can turn this around. This is the guy who ends and I didn`t vote for him in the Michigan primary. I voted for Bernie but this -- he is so impressed me and how he is just not backing down. Doesn`t walk it back. And we should all get behind this. The plans a good plan, and we need this now more than ever.
WILLIAMS: Michael, I have 60 seconds remaining. Can you hazard a guess if our parent`s generation had had the level of anti-vaccine sentiment when it came time for Jonas Salk to cure polio in this country as we know it?
MOORE: Oh, no, my God. My parents are both -- I think if they were witnessing this, they would not understand it. They would say what has gone wrong with people. Where -- What is wrong? You know, one thing that we`re all good selfish about is our children. We want to protect the children of the next generation and old people. And the fact that they`re the ones that now are going to the children are now starting to suffer from this. Who are we? What do we become?
MOORE: I mean, everybody says, Come on, man.
WILLIAMS: Yes, that used to be the idea, that used to be the American ideal. We have changed and things have changed around us. That`s why we have you on from time to time to sum it all up. Michael Moore has been our guest tonight. Thank you very much for being with us as always.
Coming up for us. Sometimes it takes a big man to deliver a tough message. And right now that would rule out most Republican governors.
WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight is about West Virginia. It is a state of stunning physical beauty and tough people, some of whom have only known tough times during their lifetimes.
Back when coal was king, so were they, but the national economy has been especially cruel to West Virginia. They ranked first in the nation and opioid use and deaths from it per capita. In poverty, they rank sixth in the nation. Obesity, they ranked second. Education, they ranked 45th, fifth from the bottom. And in vaccinations, they ranked 47th out of 50 states.
If you buy into the theory that Democrats have become the whole foods party and have forgotten how to speak American. Well, West Virginia is the living proof of that theory. Trump carried the state twice by just under 70 points each time. That may help explain why Joe Manchin is the most Republican Democrat in Washington.
National Democrats have stopped in West Virginia, JFK and RFK, come to mind. Two guys from New England campaigning and Brooks Brothers suits. Hillary Clinton famously promised green new jobs to the out of work coal miners, and they`re still waiting on those.
Jim Justice is the Republican governor of West Virginia. And as a billionaire businessman, he also happens to be the wealthiest man in the whole state. But he speaks West Virginia because he`s from there. What the bearing of an Appalachian sheriff in a 70s movie, that kind of character whose dialogue would include lines like you`re not from around here, are you? Well, he uses that exact bearing to get his point across and unlike his counterparts like Abbott and DeSantis, he really seems to want to get his constituents to get vaccinated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JIM JUSTICE (R), WEST VIRGINIA: Get vaccinated. Absolutely getting yourself vaccinated and we`re running out of time. A bunch of people will die. I don`t know how we can be more explicit. Oh, boy, we have got to get vaccinated more people die. All you`re doing is entering the death drawing.
What in the world? I mean, I would run over top of somebody`s. Death after death after death if we don`t get ourselves back tonight. You know, for God`s sakes a living. How difficult is this to understand? Why in the world do we have to come up with these crazy ideas and their crazy ideas that the vaccines got something in it? And it`s tracing people wherever they go. And the same very people that are saying that are carrying their cell phones around? I mean, come on. Come on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: You heard the man for God`s sakes a living. West Virginia Governor Jim Justice to take us off the air tonight.
And with that, that is our broadcast on this Thursday evening, along with our thanks to you for being here with us. On behalf of all our colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.