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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, August 28, 2020

Guest: Anne Rimoin


After RNC the President went to New Hampshire to hold an outdoor rally in front of another large crowd. Trump attacks protests and Biden during New Hampshire rally. At least four people who were at the Republican National Convention tested positive for COVID-19. Swing states are those in U.S. presidential elections that could potentially be won by either candidate. The nationwide reckoning over race came to the nation's capital, where demonstrators demanded equality on the 57th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington.


YAMICHE ALCINDOR, MSNBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: So I think all the people that I was talking today they echoed that feeling.

KATY TUR, MSNBC HOST: Yes, and I think it's exemplified by how Jacob was treated and then how the 17 year old who is accused of shooting and killing two people and shooting another, just walked by police drove home and slept in his own bed, a white 17 year old.

Zerlina Maxwell and Yamiche Alcindor, thank you ladies so much for joining us tonight. We appreciate it. And that is going to do it for me, for tonight's last word. The 11th Hour with Brian Williams starts right now.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: And good evening once again on this Friday night. Day 1,317 of the Trump administration, 67 days to go until the Presidential Election.

Both party conventions are now history, both were largely virtual right up until last night when that convention came to Trump branded White House lawn, very few masks, a free-pandemic sort of seating layout. Then, came tonight an airplane hanger rally at the airport in New Hampshire, the crowd booed and announcement over the PA to wear masks. The speech was red meat for the base.

Here's just some of what we heard, starting with Trump's take on the demonstrators who were confronting some members of the RNC exiting as audience last night outside the White House.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You had to see last night in Washington, it was a disgrace. It was a disgrace that these people are representing the United States of America. It was a disgrace protesters. You know what I say protesters, URS (ph).

I don't talk about my ass. They're not protesters. Those aren't -- those are anarchists. They're agitators. They're rioters. They're looters. No one will be safe in Biden's America. I can't even call it Biden's American. Guy doesn't know he's alive.

He's going to be out in 10 days he's going to start 10 days. If the Democrat Party wants to stand with anarchistic criminals, riders, looters and flag burners, that's up to them, the Republican Party and you, I can see you, is there anybody in this place that enjoys burning the American flag? Is there anybody? Please quietly raise your hand. Be careful, it could be very dangerous.


WILLIAMS: Just a point of order here on two things. Number one, all this is taking place in Trumps America presently. Number two, it also remains true that some of the first and largest mass gatherings we've seen in this pandemic have been Trump events. The very same president, who remember is in charge of keeping the American people safe from this virus.

And as the President continues to hold these in-person political events, The Washington Post reporting the Secret Service is now dealing with several coronavirus cases we did not know about previously.

Carol Leonnig, a frequent guest of ours reports, "In the past two months, dozens of Secret Service agents who work to ensure the security of the President and Vice President Pence at public events have been sickened or sidelined because they were in direct contact with infected people according to multiple people familiar with the episodes."

Just today we learned four people at the brief in-person Republican convention in Charlotte back on Monday, tested positive for coronavirus. The RNC tells Politico the affected attendees and support staff were tested upon arrival at the convention site and sent home.

The number of new coronavirus cases in the United States continues to soar over 51,000 new cases reported today alone and the nation's death toll has now passed 182,000 souls, though tonight the President put it at 175,000.

Today the University of Washington upped its forecast for projected virus deaths to over 317,000 by December 1. That is 8000 more deaths than in their last projection.

Pandemic also a concern as thousands of demonstrators gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall today on the 57th Anniversary of the March on Washington in order to demand as they did 57 years ago, racial justice, social distancing was observed in some areas. Many of the participants were seen wearing masks at least.

Speakers included members of the families of George Floyd, Jacob Blake, we'll hear some of what was said later in our hour.

Today was also the day the president claims success for the situation in Kenosha, which has of course seen a week of protests. He wrote this, "Success since the National Guard moved into Kenosha, Wisconsin, two days ago, there has been no further violence not even a small problem. When legally asked to help by local authorities, the federal government will act and quickly succeed. Are you listening Portland?"

Just tonight on the tarmac in New Hampshire, Trump was asked in an interview with a local TV station about the shooting of Jacob Blake that sparked the Kenosha protests. This is the most he has said on the topic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe that officer was justified in that shooting?

TRUMP: Well, I'm looking into it very strongly. I'll be getting reports and I'll certainly let you know pretty soon but I'll be it was not a good sight. I didn't like the sight of it, certainly. And I think most people would agree with that, but we'll be getting reports in very soon and we'll report back.


WILLIAMS: That clip courtesy WMUR. Meanwhile MSNBC has obtained new audio clips from Donald Trump's niece Mary Trump talking to Trump's sister, the retired federal judge Maryanne Trump Barry. In one excerpt the President's sister offers this tough assessment of her brother.


MARYANNE BARRY TRUMP, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S SISTER: And then you get Donald who won't do anything for anybody. Unless it's going to, inure to his -- I mean, he won't do, any -- publicly. I mean, if you -- anything he did, he says, "Look what I've done, aren't I wonderful!" And he's as tight as a duck's ass. Just like dad was really.


WILLIAMS: Here for leadoff discussion it's a lot on a Friday night after the week we've had, Jill Colvin, White House Reporter for The Associated Press, Mara Gay, a member of the New York Times Editorial Board, former New York City Hall Bureau Chief for the Wall Street Journal, also happens to be a COVID-19 survivor. And Jonathan Karl, Chief White House Correspondent for ABC News. We get to talk to him periodically. In his capacity as an author, his book out now is called Front Row at the Trump Show.

OK, Jonathan, as our honored guests from another network tonight, you get to go first. The President flew in and out of New Hampshire tonight on the smaller version of Air Force One where it's frankly, tougher to avoid the press contention in the back. He came back and allowed some comments on the record.

These are about sports. It'll bring me to my question for you, Jonathan. He said, "It's a very bad idea for the NBA and it's going to prove to be very bad for football. Roger Goodell should have learned his lesson two years ago. And I'm not letting up. I'm not letting up. It's going to be very bad for football. And I think it's very bad for the NBA, maybe even NBA threatening and it's going to be very bad for baseball if they don't get smarter."

So Jonathan, obviously, the protest movement is where he's going to throw down. Obviously, he's going heavy on law and order, but again, using sports as a gateway drug for the injection of overt politics, in all aspects of our society.

JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: All aspects and he is going all in on the law and order message. And I'm telling you, Brian, I was at that incredible scene at the White House last night and as his guests were leaving, you've seen the video all over it's especially being propagated by his supporters, videos of some of the protesters taunting the Trump supporters as they left, of course, Rand Paul, making a big issue of this. Rand Paul taunted and intimidated as he left.

And I am told they're already looking at how to put this into a political ad. Their entire strategy here or a huge component of it is to try to tie Joe Biden to the violent protesters, not the peaceful protests, the violent protests, when you see cars burning, when you see broken glass in Kenosha, or in Portland, to say those are Biden supporters that are doing that. So I think the central challenge of this is, is he going to be able to pull that off? And will he be able to tie that violence to Joe Biden. That's what they're going to try to do.

WILLIAMS: Jon, I've heard it said all day to day he's running as a quazy outsider. Elect me and I'll protect you from the life we see on the city streets in Trump's America.

KARL: I mean, you know, this is all happening on Donald Trump's watch and you heard him, you mentioned he took credit for the violence coming down in Kenosha attributing it to the National Guard, suggesting that it was he who sent in the National Guard, the National Guard was, of course, sent into Kenosha by the Democratic governor of Wisconsin by Tony Evers. Now, it is true that the administration did send in some federal law enforcement mostly in an investigative capacity, but they did not send in the National Guard. Those National Guard troops are reporting to the Democratic governor. And by the way, there are reinforcements coming in from the neighboring democratic governor of Michigan.

WILLIAMS: So Mara Gay I always mentioned you are a COVID-19 survivor because so often it's germane to the news related conversations we have on this broadcast. It sounds very blue state of us to look upon the South Lawn last night in horror, but the fact is those of us trying not to get this thing have not had unmasked close quarters conversations with people. We have not been to mask gatherings for a reason. And as someone who has been through it, and lived to look at life on the other side, I'm wondering what it must be like to look at that gathering last night, to look at the airline airplane hangar rally just tonight in New Hampshire for you.

MARA GAY, EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Yes, I mean, on a personal level, it's very painful, very difficult because we've been this summer as I've been fortunate enough to get away a little bit and be in a small beach town or two, you look at folks who aren't wearing masks, or who refused to wear them. And as they walk by others in close proximity, and part of you just thinks, what is it that would lead someone to refuse to wear a mask if you could simply save another life. And I think when you've been really sick for months. That's very visceral. I'm thinking about the young people and old people, other Americans who died while I was sick by Valentina Blackhorse, and a young woman, who hadn't even had her 30th birthday, died back in April, as I've recovered. She was a member of the Navajo Nation. There are so many others. And it's just extremely disrespectful to them, to us.

And, by the way, also to the healthcare workers in the first responders who put their lives on the line. I also just want to say on a political note that, you know, it was so frustrating to see Melania Trump, the First Lady, talk about how she was giving her condolences to the families of those who lost loved ones from COVID. But yet, the next day, we see Trump and Trump officials and party goers gathered as though it's not happening. It's a huge slap in face to Americans. But it's just concerning. It's concerning because it goes deeper than politics. It goes to a deep cultural divide.

And it's us versus them that some people can get thick, but, you know, they can get sick, but we can't get sick. This idea that you can't get sick because you live in a rural area or because you're white, or because you're wealthy, and to that, I would say, I really hope you don't get sick, but this virus does not discriminate.

WILLIAMS: Jill Colvin, you had the rare distinction of covering what there was of the Charlotte convention, really just a couple hours of the business of the convention. There wasn't like there was a floor fight on the platform. There was none. You're looking at the platform. It was support of one man in one room. Yes, there were the state stanchions and desks. Yes, they tried to socially distance and I understand there were protocols that you witnessed, was that to satisfy the state of North Carolina?

JILL COLVIN, AP ASSOCIATE PRESS WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, so it was actually local officials that entered into a deal with the RNC where in order for the event to go forward. They had to submit was actually a pretty thorough 40 plus page plan. And the proportions there were or actually, you know, pretty thorough. You know, participants had to send a test before they flew to Charlotte, proving that they were negative for the virus. Then when everybody arrived, we all then were given rapid tests yet again.

And participants actually were given a little tracking devices on their lanyard that were supposed to track who they came into close contact with, so that later on, authorities would be able to contact trace, who people were in the you know, immediate proximity of. And but nonetheless, in that room, we still saw tons of people not wearing masks, which they were told they were supposed to be doing. We saw them all huddling together, despite lots of signage, telling them to stay apart.

But nonetheless, those precautions were so much more rigorous than what we saw when then the events moved to the White House, move to Washington D.C. where there are no local health officials who are in charge of things. It's federal property. It's up to Trump to do what he wants. And to see that scene yesterday on the South Lawn of all of those white chairs right next to each other of so few people wearing masks, so few people paying any attention to social distancing. You just look at it and wonder is that going to be the next super spreading event?

WILLIAMS: Jon, indeed, after the motorcycle get together up in Sturgis, South Carolina, the news stories start rolling in about the neighboring states that are discovering new positive cases and before long, I'm sure we will see a kind of spider graphic of the people who left Sturgis, went home and what happened to them all. Ditto perhaps the South Lawn last night.

As you look at this campaign, Jon, are we just looking at a campaign where one candidate, one party has rallies as we've come to know them, and the other candidate, the other party does not?

KARL: Well, first, as a former resident of South Dakota, I must say Sturgis, South Dakota. But I look, I think that --

WILLIAMS: What did they say?

KARL: -- the Biden campaign -- you said South Carolina and my friends in South Dakota, you know, would be --

WILLIAMS: Oh, my goodness, I'm so sorry. Oh my goodness, I apologize to.

KARL: But the, you know, the Biden campaign, I think, realized that they made a mistake this past week. Biden was, you know, out of the game entirely after the end of his convention, and basically seeded the ground to the Republicans all week until he finally came out in a series of interviews yesterday to respond to the notion that the violent scene under Donald Trump watch was to be blamed on Joe Biden. So we finally came out now, they've made it clear he's going to be out on the campaign trail as he can be in accordance with local regulations.

You know, the New Hampshire rally, Governor Chris Sununu, Republican governor of New Hampshire, made it clear that masks were required at that rally, and he said that he himself would not be going to it. And of course, we saw very, very few masks. So Biden will be out there, but it's going to be in a very different fashion from Donald Trump, who was willing to go in and basically say we're going to do outdoor events, they will be outdoor. But you know, masks are not the question.

But I think the idea of this being a super spreader event, Brian, it may be a super spreader event, what we saw in the South Lawn in a more profound way than literally the people that were there. That event last night sent a message to the country going into Labor Day. The visual message was this pandemic's over, perhaps fireworks are back. Remember all those fireworks displays that were canceled for July 4, fireworks are back, mass events outside, all those concerts that have been canceled? Hey, look, it all happened right there on the South Lawn of the White House.

What message does that send to the rest of the country? And how much of the country looks at that and says, hey, it happened at the White House. You know, let's go Labor Day. And if you remember, we -- the big spikes that we saw over the summer happened after Memorial Day when people let their guard down. And then after July 4, so the question and a big gamble for President Trump, frankly, is does this turn into a super spreader events magnified across the country because people replicated as they go into this holiday weekend? And do we see a second wave that is effectively fueled by what we saw on the South Lawn of the White House?

WILLIAMS: Great point. Great point. Mara, I want to play for you Trump's latest attempt going after Kamala Harris. This was at the rally tonight in New Hampshire. We'll talk about the tactic on the other side.


TRUMP: You know, I want to see the first woman president also. But I don't want to see a woman president get into that position, the way she do it, and she's not competent. She's not confident.

They're all saying we want Ivanka.


WILLIAMS: So Mara, what do you reckon the strategy is here?

GAY: I think that, you know, Trump's strategy, first of all, is to try and get his as many of his voters to the polls as possible because he's not going to expand his base. The one thing that I've noticed this week is that he's been going after suburban women. I'm not the first one to pick this up. But I do think that the duality of having a very large, strangely large number, I would say, black speakers at the RNC convention this week, certainly proportion to their numbers in the party, which are quite small.

And, you know, that and then again today, the President kind of speaking, I guess, maybe to some women, to the notion that some people want a woman to be president or vice president, and kind of trying to just kind of, you know, tick that box and let suburban women, white women specifically know that he's a safe person to vote for, that he's not anti woman that he's not anti black, and that he's not a hateful person. I mean, you know, I think that's the message. I don't know that it will work but at the same time, I guess, we'll see. The suburbs are huge. Suburbs are a huge, huge place where he needs to expand his base right now, so it makes sense.

WILLIAMS: Absolutely. And Jill, is it all now about the debates, aside from the small, seemingly small stories, any day between now and the election that can blow up into something that changed the course of the election?

COLVIN: Yes, look, it really seems like both parties accomplished what they wanted to out of their conventions. And so now all the focus is on the debate seeing if how that dynamic works between these two people, how their reality melds with the picture that they both tried to paint with each other.

WILLIAMS: To Jill Colvin, to Mara Gay, to Jonathan Karl, my embarrassment is complete, Jonathan, in part because I have been to Sturgis, South Dakota in a car and not on a hog but still. Thanks gang for joining us late on a Friday night after the week.

We've all had one more thing before we get to our first break, the terrible news tonight that Chadwick Boseman has died after battling colon cancer for four years. He of course starred in Black Panther. His other roles, though included Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall, and elegant and talented young actor, Chadwick Boseman was just 43 years old.

So, coming up for us as we continue, we will sum up just with it what it is we have seen this week. No masks, no problem. What could go wrong? If it's Friday, it must be a Trump rally in New Hampshire. So we'll ask an expert if these rally goers or rally planners know something about the virus that the rest of us don't.

And later, as our country continues to measure just how much people can take we will listen to some of the voices demanding justice during a hot August afternoon at the Lincoln Memorial, all of them as the 11th Hour just getting underway on a Friday night.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies and gentlemen, according to the New Hampshire executive order 63, please wear your masks.


WILLIAMS: That's how that went shortly before Trump spoke before a large and largely unmask crowd in New Hampshire at that hangar a few hours ago. Indeed, there's concrete evidence of the risk this illness poses to the people around him.

Already positive cases traced back to the President's brief visit on North Carolina on Monday, and the Secret Service story we reported to you at the top of the broadcast.

So back with us tonight is Dr. Anne Rimoin, professor of epidemiology at UCLA where she runs the Center for Global and Immigrant Health specializing in emerging infectious diseases.

Anne it's great to see you again. I am reminded the New Hampshire state motto on every license plate is Live Free or Die. Let's hope that is not the binary choice that people face in the era of COVID. But when you see an event like that, when you see the White House, South Lawn and event like that last night, what do people know that we don't? And is outdoors enough of a mitigator to allow this kind of thing?

DR. ANNE RIMOIN, UCLA SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH EPIDEMIOLOGY PROFESSOR: Brian, what we're seeing, as I've said before, is an acute infection of politics in our public's health. We are infected. And in fact, what we should be is we should be sick of being infected with politics, not sick with it.

The fact of the matter is super spreading events can happen anywhere. Of course, they are more likely to happen indoors, but they can happen outdoors. It has to do with the fact that people are in close proximity for an extended period of time. So, you know, what we're seeing I think on the last segment when we were -- when you said that this could be a super spreading event, because you'll see this replicated in other places because people think it's OK, is going to be a real problem.

WILLIAMS: Anne, not helping things is the confusion out of the CDC. Again, this is supposed to be a national institution. This is supposed to be the business of public health. And instead, it's just confusing?

RIMOIN: Well exactly. We saw first, the CDC say that we didn't need to test contacts. And then it was walked back by Dr. Redfield, the Director of CDC. And then he -- by saying, well, no, we can test other people as well. But the guidelines on the CDC website still remained. They are -- the information is not correct. And that's why you've seen such pushback from the medical community, from the Academy of Pediatrics, from the Infectious Disease Society of America. We know that the best way to control this virus is to test people who have been in contact with others who've had it. That is how we stop the virus. We need to follow the science and again, not the politics.

WILLIAMS: Anne, I'm going to play for you what the President said tonight about playing football. Here it is.


TRUMP: I want football back. These are young, strong guys. They're not going to be affected by the virus. If you look at it, it's generally older people. Older people that have heart conditions that have diabetes, that have problems have been calling for football to be back including Big Ten. Big Ten get with it. Open up your season, Big Ten.

WILLIAMS: Anne, even as a New York giants fan, I want football back but I recognize it may not come back. What's the reality in your view?

RIMOIN: The reality of it is that everybody is at risk here. We've seen young people get this. We know that there have been increases in cardiac sequelae. So long-term effects. And we know that nothing happens in a vacuum. If you get a lot of young people infected, you're eventually going to get a lot of older people or people who are vulnerable infected. Sports is amazing. We miss sports, we all do. But sports is entertainment and there are serious risks to these young people into others for entertainment value.

WILLIAMS: Anne Rimoin always a pleasure. Thank you for having us and on a Friday night. Coming up for us as we approach our next break, the focus on the battleground states intensifies Steve Kornacki. Back at the big board with new numbers for us tonight.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're not protesters, those aren't. Those are anarchists. They're agitators. They're writers. They're looters. If you ask him, who's George Floyd, they couldn't even tell you. These are just bad people troublemakers. And they shouldn't be representing our country.


WILLIAMS: The President has yet to say Jacob Blake's name, but in his name, there are people in the streets and not just in Kenosha, Wisconsin. All of it, of course against the backdrop of the coming election. In fact, The New York Times reporting it this way today. Chaos in Kenosha is already swaying some voters in Wisconsin. Well, that's where our friend Steve Kornacki comes in our national political correspondent back at the big board tonight. Hey, Steve.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey Brian. Yes, and I want to start with this. This is old, but this is what was the situation in Wisconsin was in June. I want to show you that because the situation has changed. And as you mentioned, it may be changing further.

So the numbers you're seeing right here, were back in June, just after George Floyd's death when the protests began, in that moment, and this was what you're seeing here. Wisconsin, voters were asked in the poll, do you approve? Or do you disapprove the Black Lives Matter movement.

And what you see or saw, I should say, back then was widespread support 61 percent. Again, in Wisconsin, where this story is all playing out this week that cut across racial lines, that cut across party lines, that was the story several months passed in early August.

This became the story in Wisconsin, very different approval 48, disapprove 48. And I want to know, that shift took place, that's a dramatic shift. These numbers are from about two weeks ago. So these numbers are from before Kenosha.

So if before Kenosha the events of this summer, and how voters in Wisconsin processed them brought this to 48-48, the question becomes, will -- what we're seeing in Kenosha right now change these further in a critical, critical swing state.

Now take a look at the party breakdown on this. Again, this was the standing in Wisconsin of Black Lives Matter back in June. And you can see the shift here. It fell kind of across the board, but most dramatically, look at that, among Republicans, it became 62 points in the disapproval side, and among independents from plus 30 in terms of approval, down almost flat. So you see dramatic changes right there.

There is also this finding voters asked do you think the protests are mostly peaceful, or do you think they're mostly violent, 41 percent now say mostly violent, and again, this is before some of the stuff we saw in Kenosha earlier this week, just in terms of, you know, businesses burning down, that sort of thing.

So, the context here in Wisconsin, one of the closest states state that Trump flipped state he needs to hold on to if he's going to have a shot in the Electoral College, in Kenosha itself. Kenosha County, this is one of those counties we talked so much about in 2008.

For Obama by 19 points. In 2012 for Obama by 12. By the way, the local Congressman Paul Ryan was on the Republican ticket in 2012. Obama still won the district but in 2016, the county I should say, in 2016, Trump flipped it. Obama. Obama, Trump is the story of Kenosha County. It's the story of why Wisconsin flipped in 2016 because there are a lot of counties like this throughout the state.

And when you hear Donald Trump with the message you just played tonight. He is aiming to get those voters back to hold on to Wisconsin and to preserve his chance at the Electoral College.

WILLIAMS: Great stuff, Steve, fascinating numbers and you're right. We did pay close attention to it and will again for good reason. Steve Kornacki have a good weekend, my friend.

KORNACKI: You too. Thanks.

WILLIAMS: Thank you for spending some time with us. Coming up, the reality TV president does something with his convention we have never seen in the television age or any age for that matter. Presidential historian Michael Beschloss, standing by to talk about the night politics visited the people's house.



TRUMP: The fact is I'm here. What's the name of that building? But I'll say it differently. The fact is we're here and they're not.


WILLIAMS: The President last night destroying all previous known norms and likely the law to accept his party's nomination from the Trump branded South Lawn of the People's House. It's a lot to talk about. And luckily our friend, the historian, author, presidential historian, Michael Beschloss is with us to do so. His latest volume is "Presidents of War."

Michael, because we glean so much from your social media, I'm going to start by airing something you posted a 1968 Nixon campaign ad we'll talk about it on the other side.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is time for an honest look at the problem of the border in the United States. The sand is a necessary ingredient of change. But in a system of government that provides for peaceful change, there is no cause that justifies resort to violence.


WILLIAMS: And Michael, of course, you're a step ahead us here, which is why you posted it. You just modernize those pictures, put in Minneapolis, put in Portland, some Seattle, some Kenosha, maybe have Jon Voight or Trump himself voice it. You've got a Trump app. What does that tell us?

BESCHLOSS: Well, that's exactly what we are about to see. I would presume because Donald Trump is using the George Wallace and Richard Nixon playbook of 1968. And one of the things that Nixon says in that ad is the most basic civil right is freedom from violence. You can expect to hear a lot of that old Nixon, George Wallace language, I think, from Donald Trump this fall and also you saw there was a sign advocating socialism, how current could that get.

WILLIAMS: Exactly. You've also posted scenes from the people's house going back through our American history as far back as photography will allow us starting with this one. Military event during the Civil War with President Lincoln whose top hat can be seen there, the sheep on the lawn during the 1918 pandemic or the 1917 pandemic, as the President calls it, FDR being sworn in the middle of the war in 45. Of course, he only lived what three more months. And then a photo of his funeral procession that follows.

Jackie and young John sledding in 1962. Their father John F. Kennedy's last public appearance before Dallas in 1963.

And of course, Richard Nixon's take off Marine One, 1974, with members of his family and the new President Gerald R. Ford, looking on and now we have last night the gathering on the South Lawn, all but a branded structure. You saw the lit up signs Trump Pence, Michael, how do you process it?

BESCHLOSS: It baby's sick, because presidents since the founding of the White House, which was, as you know, Brian 220 years ago, this year, have respected the fact that those 18 acres or ground have -- ground our sacred space. You don't use them for politics. You use them for national events with a president as largely chief of state, usually unifying the nation.

When before have you seen a situation that you saw last night with campaign signs and donors and clapping, and other things that made this place into more of a fairground or a convention hall than the South grounds of the White House? What I tried to do with those photographs is to show the history that's on the back lawn. That's the history that we and who's ever present should be thinking of, not some local version of the republican convention.

WILLIAMS: Michael there's also so many other anniversaries in the news, just in the past week we've seen 65 years since the day Emmett Till walked into a grocery store changed the course of the civil rights struggle, sadly paid with his life. 57 years today, I have a dream. Four years since Colin Kaepernick took a knee and event which is only going to be added to as time goes by. The people have a way of getting the President's attention in our country. It's the President's option to pay attention or not, I guess.

BESCHLOSS: That's exactly right. And it just, you know, it's so disheartening to think that here we are 400 years after the introduction of slavery in this country here we are still dealing with these issues and yet again, another presidential campaign.

And what Donald Trump really does not remember is the founders thought that quiet, peaceful protest was the highest form of citizenship, just as important, if not more so, as serving President because that points out the flaws in our society, flaws that the courts and the Congress and the President has have to respond to by fixing. That's what John Kennedy did with the Civil Rights Act, and LBJ did with the Voting Rights Act.

What we did have was a president with no empathy, no compassion, no moral sense will respond to this purely in terms of a disturbance that might help to get them reelected this fall.

WILLIAMS: What a luxury to be able to put these questions to you after the week we've had Michael Beschloss, our thanks. Have a good weekend.

BESCHLOSS: Thank you.

WILLIAMS: Coming up for us, it sure looked like history. Thousands take to the Hot August streets of the nation's capitol to send the country and this president a message, some of what they have to say after this.


WILLIAMS: Welcome back and speaking of history, what a call back today to assume 57 years ago today, Americans descending on the nation's capitol. Peaceful crowds surrounding the reflecting pool with urgent pleas for voting rights and then to police brutality, a call for racial justice and equality.

Back on August 28 of 1963 it was called the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom remembered forever for the "I Have a Dream" speech by the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

It had to be modernized for 2020 so today's gathering was billed as the Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks. An obvious reference to the late George Floyd. It comes days after Jacob Blake was shot seven times by police and just like 57 years ago, today's speakers called for justice equality and an end to systemic racism.


REV. MARK THOMPSON, SOCIAL JUSTICE ACTIVIST: It was on this day in 1963 that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and our newly beloved ancestors, John Lewis, and CT Vivian spoke from this very spot.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA) VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: For Congressman Lewis, the brutal murder of Emmett Till his blood shook loose, the activists inside him. It was the start of a lifelong journey towards service and driving change the same journey that countless young leaders are building upon as we speak, as John put it, Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Rayshard Brooks Sandra Bland, and Breonna Taylor.

REV. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK PRESIDENT: We've gone from a mean spirited Sheriff to a mean spirited President, Mr. Trump, look right down from the White House. We come to Washington by the thousands, we got called a name.

JACOB BLAKE SR., JACOB BLAKES' FATHER: There are two systems of justice in the United States. There's a white system and there's a black system. The black system ain't doing so well. But we're going to stand up every black person in the United States is going to stand up. We're tired.

BRIDGETT FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S SISTER: However, the history books remember you? What would be your legacy? Well, your future generations remember you for your complacency, your inaction. Oh, they remember you for your empathy, your leadership,

MARTIN LUTHER KING III, SON OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: There's a knee upon the neck of democracy. And our nation can only live so long without the oxygen of freedom.

TAMIKA PALMER, BREONNA TAYLOR'S MOTHER: What we need is change and we're at a point where we can get that change. But we have to stand together. We have to vote.

REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY (D-MA): We will meet the moment, we will work towards healing justice and collective liberation, like our lives depend on it, because they do.

YOLANA RENEE KING, GRANDDAUGTHER OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: We will stand more love and we will fulfill my grandfather's dream.


WILLIAMS: Powerful day on this August Friday, another break for us. Coming up, an update on all that has happened while our attention has been focused elsewhere.


WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go tonight and update on two fronts that didn't get the follow up coverage they deserved, amid all the political news. First to the west and the California wildfires. Here's tonight's incident map from the folks that Cal Fire crews from neighboring states and foreign countries have streamed into California to help with the effort.

They're turning the corner on some of the bigger fires though some of the newer startups zero contained as of tonight. And now we turn our attention to the south to Louisiana where it's been just days since the arrival of one of the most powerful hurricanes to hit the U.S. and the strongest ever in that part of Southwest Louisiana.

The worst of the storm, Laura, didn't materialize that storm surge. Sadly though, the winds beat the predictions and a lot of the damage looks a lot more like tornado damage from those 150 mile an hour peak winds.

Down in the south Cameron Parish and Holly Beach along the Cajun Riviera got hit hard before and after photos of that region show the destruction.

City of Lake Charles got torn up badly the storm peeled the glass windows off the side of the Capital One tower. So many homes and businesses are damaged, so many trees and wires down, so many without power or running water there because of the damage to a sewage treatment plant. It's going to be a long recovery for a whole lot of people.

And to top it off just when you think there's no relationship between these two natural disasters of fire and rain. Here's the government satellite maps that tracks the smoke from the fires indicated here in that yellow and red. Starting late this week, there's been a haze over the sun in the northeast, the blue sky have taken on a gray sheen. That's the smoke from California.

But look at where it's clear on that map from yesterday where the hurricane had just pushed up from the Gulf through the center of the country bringing with it new smoke free air. It's a lot as we keep saying on top of the week we've had and here's hoping you have a good and safe weekend.

That's going to do it for our broadcast for this Friday night. And for this week, on behalf of all my colleagues at the networks of NBC News, good night.


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