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Transcript: The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, September 29, 2020

Guests: Kamala Harris, Claire McCaskill, James Carville, David Plouffe, Mike Murphy, Symone Sanders


Biden and Trump finish chaotic presidential debate. Trump attacked Biden's personality while Biden attacked Trump's leadership. Trump aggressively interrupts throughout debate. He constantly ignored debate rules. Trump dodges and deflects when asked to condemn white supremacists and tells the Proud Boys to 'tand back and stand by.


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: And he didn't show to them a couple of times. But he was the one who was in control.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: That's right.

MADDOW: While the President was out of it, something else. All right, we are going to hand over now to our beloved colleague, Brian Williams for "THE 11TH HOUR" starts right now.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: With thanks back to you, to Rachel Maddow, to Joy Reid and Nicolle Wallace. Thank you all in our studios in New York.

And with that, good evening to you at home once again, welcome to a special expanded debate night edition of THE 11TH HOUR. This was day 1,349 of the Trump administration, just 35 days to go now until the presidential election. The first of what we still think will be three presidential debates for this 2020 campaign is now history, such as it is. As expected, it was contentious, but it also went beyond that into darkness. The candidates spent a lot of time arguing over one another.


JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not here to call out his lies. Everybody knows he's a liar.

DONALD TRUMP, (R) UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: But you agree. Joe, you're the liar. You graduated last in your class not first in your class.

BIDEN: God, I want to make sure --

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Mr. President, can you let him finish, sir?

BIDEN: No, he doesn't know how to do that. He has -- you know, you pick --

TRUMP: You'd be surprised. You'd be surprised. Go ahead, Joe.

BIDEN: The wrong guy, the wrong night, at the wrong time.

TRUMP: Listen, you agreed with Bernie Sanders and the manifesto.

BIDEN: There is no manifesto, number one.

WALLACE: Please let him speak, Mr. President.

BIDEN: Number two.

TRUMP: He just lost the left.

BIDEN: Number two.

TRUMP: You just lost the left. You agreed with Bernie Sanders on a plan that you absolutely agreed to and under that plan --


WILLIAMS: And that was the incumbent president offering real time political analysis such as it was the pandemic was a big topic and tonight's debate, Joe Biden called out the President's response and his previous statements.


BIDEN: This is the same man who told you --

TRUMP: It's all set up.

BIDEN: -- by Easter, this would be gone away. By the warm weather, it'd be gone, miraculous, like a miracle. And by the way, maybe you could inject some bleach in your arm, and that would take care of it.


WILLIAMS: Later in the debate, Chris Wallace asked the President if he was willing to condemn white supremacist groups in our country, here's how that went.


WALLACE: Are you willing tonight to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence in a number of these cities as we saw in Kenosha and as we've seen in Portland.

TRUMP: Sure, I'm willing to do that.

WALLACE: Are you prepared specifically to do it.

BIDEN: Do it.

WALLACE: Go ahead, sir.

TRUMP: I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing not from the right wing.

WALLACE: But what are you saying?

TRUMP: I'm willing to do anything. I want to see peace.

WALLACE: Well, do it, sir.

BIDEN: Say it, do it say it.

TRUMP: What do you want to call them? Give me a name, give me a name, go ahead who do you want me to condemn?

WALLACE: White supremacist and white militia.

TRUMP: OK, boys stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what somebody's got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right wing problem this is a left wing.


WILLIAMS: We are happy to be joined at the top of this hour by the Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee, California Democratic Senator Kamala Harris. Senator, thank you for joining us. My first question to you, what just happened?

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Well, America was presented with a very clear choice. On the one hand, you have Joe Biden, who has experience, who has poise who has grace, who speaks with intelligence, who speaks directly in the camera to the American people about their situation.

And then on the other hand, do you have an angry defensive, Donald Trump, who spent full time interrupting, attempting to bully the process, including the moderator?

You know, when I watched the debate, I'll have to tell you, Brian, I couldn't help but think about the people around the world who are watching the debate. And people have mentioned it on this network, just minutes ago, but what it has done in terms of -- and what Donald Trump has done continuously, since he's been in office, including tonight to debase the Office of the President of the United States. And that is our office, by his office. That's the people's office. And I think that the American people during this debate, had a clear contrast in terms of what they've got, and what is possible and what they can have if they vote.

WILLIAMS: Your name was invoked early. The Nominee, Joe Biden said, I'm the Democratic Party right now. President interjected not according to Harris. What do you think he meant by that?

HARRIS: God only knows. I don't know, Brian. I so beyond getting in the head of Donald Trump, but I will tell you, I am absolutely focused on what Donald Trump has done and what he has not done. And as Joe Biden said tonight, Donald Trump was in possession of information as early as January of this year that there was a pandemic that could kill Americans. And he lied about what he knew. He covered up what he knew. And we are now looking at over 200,000 Americans who have died and over 7 million people who have contracted this virus, while Donald Trump, as Joe said, is also in court trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act that brought health coverage to 20 million people.

WILLIAMS: President held an event recently at the National Archives, and the centerpiece of that was to make a change in parts of American school curriculum, unheard of at the presidential level, the way he did it. He said tonight, it was because the curriculum was teaching people to hate our country. But here's my question, did we witness dog whistle in real time when he said the following, "If you were a certain person, you have no status in life. It was sort of a reversal."

HARRIS: Brian, what we saw was a dog whistle through a bullhorn. Donald Trump is not pretending to be anything other than what he is. Someone who will not condemn white supremacists, someone who cannot say the phrase Black Lives Matter, someone who is getting rid of training of federal employees around the issue of race and the need to be aware of implicit bias. It's not a dog whistle. Literally, he's talking through a bullhorn.

WILLIAMS: Because parts of your home state are burning up, and because as part of my job, I look at the cal fire map of ongoing fires in the state of California. On a daily basis, the President went there again tonight, on dirty forest floors. He mentioned forest city's, not clear what he was talking about, put the blame squarely on forest management, and not certainly not on climate change.

HARRIS: I mean, Brian, again, it's Donald Trump attempting to distract, attempting to distract from his failures, including his failure to embrace science. I mean, even part of the question during the debate last night, incorporated the fact that he said science doesn't know.

I mean, Brian, seriously. The man was asked one time, well, science says this. And then the President of United States says, science doesn't know. Well, science does know. Science knows that we are facing a crisis in terms of the rapid changes to our climate, most of which can be addressed by changing and adapting in terms of our behaviors. Joe Biden offered a clear plan for not only what we need to do to save our environment and our client -- our climate, but what Joe's plan will do in terms of the creation of millions of jobs.

And, again, it's an attempt to distract from the fact that Donald Trump on almost every issue that was discussed tonight, has had no plan, I was actually very impressed, not in a positive way to hear that everything that Donald Trump talked about was what he was going to do, as opposed to what he has done, like track the debate. I don't know how many times, I didn't count. He talked about what he's going to do. He's been president for almost four years.

And then when he feels like blaming anyone, he goes back to the prior administration, and blames the prior administration for what he says its failures, were without addressing the fact that he's actually had no plan that has been about addressing some of the biggest challenges facing our country, even before the pandemic. And God knows what he has failed to do because of his incompetence in dealing with the damage in terms of human life, in terms of economic harm, that has resulted from this pandemic that he has failed to get on top of and to address in a meaningful way.

WILLIAMS: Final question, Senator, as you look forward to your debate with Mike Pence, it's been observed so many times they are such disparate figures. The President relies on hyperbole and Mike Pence relies on what many have called a kind of straight faced piety. He is still the head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. We are still in the middle of a pandemic and the President on Mike Pence's watch is now seemingly getting medical advice from a radiologist from your home state.

HARRIS: There's a lot of unpack, Brian. Where shall I start? Listen, the first of all, the President has denied science since he first came in office. I'll tell you, I served for a while on the environment committee of the Senate. And do you know that when Donald Trump and Mike Pence came into office as an administration, they took the word science and climate change off of various federal websites. And we've seen actually a through theme in terms of their approach to science, in fact, because by the way, scientists are grounded in fact and proving fact. And there has been, you know, we are seeing an administration, the Trump-Pence administration that has been completely unburdened by fact.

WILLIAMS: Senator Kamala Harris, thank you so much for making time for us here at the top of the hour, following that event, whatever it was that we just witnessed for 90 plus minutes, greatly appreciate it.

HARRIS: Thank you, Brian.

WILLIAMS: And with that, we turn our discussion to our Tuesday debate night initial panel and that would be, Claire McCaskill, former Democratic Senator from the great state of Missouri, James Carville, Veteran Democratic Strategist who rose to national fame with his Clinton presidential campaign work. He's co-host to the 2020 politics, War Room podcast. And our own Lawrence O'Donnell is here with us, host of the 10 p.m. hour on this network, of course, along with Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning Columnist for The Washington Post.

Senator, let me begin with you. Same question I asked your former Senate colleague Kamala Harris, what just happened in your view?

CLAIRE MCCASKILL, (D) MISOURI FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Well, I'm 80%, sad and 20% mad as hell. It was a terrible thing to happen in our democracy. And I am really like headed up to here with anybody saying that there's some kind of false equivalency between these two debate participants.

I thought Joe Biden, by and large, showed the kind of self-control but we used to define as presidential. I thought Donald Trump showed exactly who he is, a bully, who is unmoored, who is chaotic, who has no answers, who really exposed how badly he has been impacted by having the power he's had. And I don't think it'll hurt him with supporters. But it's not going to help him anywhere, that he is bleeding votes right now, particularly among women, particularly in the suburbs, and particularly with older Americans, that no, this isn't the way we do this in our country.

WILLIAMS: Hey, James, is it comforting or disquieting to know that this President was prepped? He always hates people to know that work or a challenge goes into anything that anything is new to him? I'm afraid this was the prep to just let it fly.

JAMES CARVILLE, VETERAN DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: What was interesting is he just chased the television audience away? I mean, after 25 minutes, it is it literally was unwatchable. And he's seven to nine points down. Not even trying to win the election. It was really strange. And I didn't get my friend, Brian, he was -- I thought he was sharp. He answered the questions for me and very frustrated, obviously, who wouldn't be. But to the extent that people will have concerns about whether or not it was good on his feet, I thought she could really, really well at night. But the whole story is Trump and Trump needed a good story to get back in this race. And it seemed to me to just chase anybody in any casual observer couldn't take this out, basically, and paid to watch it. And it was a struggle for me to get to 90 minutes of it. I'll be honest with you. That was tough television.

WILLIAMS: Lawrence O'Donnell how to Joe Biden do first?

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Well, Joe Biden did what he had to do, which was go in and maintain his lead. You know, when you have polling, like James just referred to where you have a very clear front runner who, in the polls tonight is winning, and another candidate who's losing really the only thing to watch is the guy who's in second place. What did he do to move up? So for me, the only thing I was really watching from a professional standpoint was, what did Donald Trump do to move up? What did Donald Trump do to change in his direction? I didn't see a single moment where that happened.

But this is a debate that defies the tools that we normally bring to it at this hour. Brian, in the last hour, Rachel said that she feels that this debate needs something other than fact checking but she wasn't sure what it is. I'm not sure that I know what it is. I did get a lot of personal messages during this debate, and I just want to cede my time to one of them. This is a mother in Washington D.C. who grew up in Washington D.C. and on and has the unusual life experience of not working in politics or government in Washington, D.C. but she respects government.

She sent me a photograph of her 11-year-old daughter. And she wrote, my soul hurts, and I think she spoke for millions of Americans with that text. And I think she spoke for my senses that she spoke for millions of mothers like herself, mothers of 11-year-old daughters who are watching that debate.

WILLIAMS: Eugene, what do you think the reaction was in the households watching where they have lost a loved one to the coronavirus or the households watching who have a loved one in the armed forces or who God forbid have lost a child?

EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: They must have been appalled, as much of the nation must have been appalled. I mean, I just don't know what the hell that was that we just saw. I would kind of flip Claire's percentages. I think I'm 80% mad and 20% sad at this travesty.

Donald Trump did not come to, obviously to participate in the debate. He came to disrupt a debate. He came to prevent a debate because he clearly was not prepared to engage in any sort of debate on the bait on the issues on who's more qualified to lead, on anything like that. He just came to try to demonstrate his, I guess, his supposed alpha maleness and his ability to dominate the situation.

But as James Carville said and as Lawrence O'Donnell said, to what end? He didn't succeed at all in advancing the Trump campaign narrative about Joe Biden, which is that he's addled and senile and not up to the job. And no, Joe Biden was sharpen on top of it, and then right there and actually trying to engage in a conversation. So he didn't help himself there.

And I wonder if he did anything, but cast into doubt, the remaining two presidential debates, because I don't -- I'm not sure what the point would be in repeating this exercise, if this is what it's going to be like. The American people didn't, didn't learn anything really, except that Donald Trump is a bully there. I knew that.

WILLIAMS: Claire, I imagine when you were in the U.S. Senate, regardless of who voted for you, or did not you regarded the people of Missouri, as your constituents from Kansas City to Carthage, to Nevada, down to Joplin. What about the dissonance on display tonight, the president speaking in the third person about his home City, New York City and how it may never come back, mentioning a laundry list of cities and states that had one thing in common and that was Democratic Party leadership, as if there is no other connection between him and those places.

MCCASKILL: I do think that Joe Biden did a pretty good job tonight. He did get in at the end about uniting the country that this shouldn't be about who runs what city? We shouldn't determine who gets aid for natural disasters or who we excoriate, based on their party. We should all come together and try to solve these problems.

And I also thought Joe Biden did a good job on health care, and COVID. In the first part of the debate, I think he really made a strong case there. I think if you dropped in from another planet and watch this, or if you just for the first time were being introduced to these people, and had no background whatsoever, I think you'd say what's wrong with that guy? And the other guy sounds like he knows how to do this job. And that's really what I think Joe Biden wanted to do. I think he wanted people to see him as the president. And I think he did that tonight. I think he's the one who looked presidential tonight. The other one just look like a joke.

WILLIAMS: James Carville, I guess, you know, I'm looking through my notes as is every journalist in the country right now, trying to pick out discussion points, points that were made. I heard from a lot of people too, most of them were chiefly scared at the when the President took a pass on supremacist groups, when his message to the proud boys and their ilk was stand down but standby?

CARVILLE: Look, I would hate to accumulate keynote years of experience that this panel has, you and the full members of the panel, all of us have seen a lot our live. We're totally ill equipped to comment on something like this because there's nothing in history that that informs us to what we just saw.

If you look just a number of times, Chris Wallace, he could combat pay. If you just look at the number of times that he had to chastise Trump, it can cut it in the back of my mind. I mean, this event -- nothing like this has ever happened in politics and presidential politics. And I never thought I'd say this, but by certain environments going to have -- they're going to have to think long and hard whether they will put the country serious again, this accomplish nothing for Trump. And I think Biden did fine, but not a very good night for American democracy at all, I don't think. It was pretty fun, tough to watch. It really was tough.

WILLIAMS: Hey, Lawrence, since you're my television brother on this panel, two things, can that serious discussion be had? Should the next two debates go on as scheduled? And would the Presidential Commission ever boldly enter this century with maybe a kill switch on mics to enforce rules and time limits?

O'DONNELL: The presidential debate commission is always decidedly behind the times, and they -- I'm sure will stick to their catechism on this, which absolutely does not work. Twitter was filled with suggestions that the next moderator is going to have to be able to turn off the microphone for two minutes of the speaker whose turn it is to listen, because it's the only way for that to happen, and of course, Donald Trump being the biggest violator of that.

Now, these rules have all been agreed to by both parties. As we all know, there's a very intense negotiation about the rules. And so turning off the microphones is something the Presidential Debate Commission is not allowed to do without the agreement of both parties. The Trump side will never agree to that because that's his entire debate strategy is to speak while Joe Biden is speaking, there is no other debate strategy, you know, if we can call it a debate strategy.

I do think, Brian, that going forward tomorrow night and not just through this week, but through history, probably the biggest headline that will live through history of this debate, is the President of the United States refusing, refusing repeatedly to take a stand against white supremacy. Each moderator must, must ask that question again. And ask that question more than once, in each one of these debates of Donald Trump. It can't be allowed to end the way and ended tonight. And if Donald Trump is going to go through every one of these debates, refusing to take a stand against white supremacy that is something we have to get indelibly etched in the history of these debates.

WILLIAMS: Eugene, do you concur with Mr. O'Donnell?

ROBINSON: I absolutely concur that that was the, you know, in a night where as James said, we're -- we've never seen anything like this. So, you know, don't ask us. But I do think that failure to just say I condemn white supremacy and white militia groups who foment violence and these situations, just to say that was absolutely stunning.

And, yes, what he said about racial sensitivity training and about how was almost as if roles were reversed. That was also more than a dog whistle. It really was a bullhorn as Senator Harris said. I mean, this is a president, running on a white supremacist platform, and he needs to be challenged on it again and again. If there is another opportunity to challenge him on it, because again, are we really going to repeat this, are we going to have another two of these?

And just one note about Chris Wallace, who I think did try his best. But he clearly lost control because the president insisted on speaking over again, as well as speaking over Biden and just wanted to make a mess of it. But one mistake I think he did, man I just don't think the integrity of the election was actually a proper top -- a topic for an entire section of the debate. I think that framing plays in into President Trump's narrative of how the election somehow is automatically going to be rigged or it's going to be a mess and it's all going to have to be litigated. I certainly would have wished he had either frame that a different way or not that an entire section on that, because I gave it -- I think it gave too much credence to President Trump's nonsense.

WILLIAMS: That's a great point. I'm going to use it to inform questions to subsequent guests during our coverage, with our thanks to friends of this broadcast, Senator Claire McCaskill, James Carville, Lawrence O'Donnell, Eugene Robinson.

Just ahead, two political insiders on what was accomplished, if anything at all on that stage in Cleveland, Ohio tonight as our special edition of THE 11TH HOUR continues.



BIDEN: I'm not going to answer the question because the question is --

TRUMP: Why wouldn't you answer that question? You want to put a lot of new Supreme Court Justices, radical left.

BIDEN: Will you shut up, man?

TRUMP: Listen, who is on your list, Joe? Who's on your list?

WALLACE: Gentlemen, I think we've ended this --

BIDEN: This is so un-Presidential.

TRUMP: He's going to pack the court. He is not going to give a list.

WALLACE: We have ended the segment. We're going to move on to the second segment.

BIDEN: That was really a productive segment, wasn't it?


WILLIAMS: That's about how I went tonight and back with us this evening David Plouffe, former Obama campaign manager and senior advisor to the President. He's also on the board of directors for the Obama Foundation. His latest work "A Citizen's Guide to Beating Donald Trump" and Mike Murphy is back with us as well, Republican strategist, co-director of the Center for the Political Future at the University of Southern California. Memo to the University of Southern California. I'm glad you think there's a political future after tonight.

Hey, David, I'll start with you. Why are we bothering a -- with a discussion of the rules, of format, of time limits, of moderators at all when we have just seen what is going to happen?

DAVID PLOUFFE, FORMER OBAMA CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, Brian, you know, going back to 1960, in every presidential election, there's fierce negotiations around rules and moderators, but both sides play along. So Trump now has broken all the norms.

So here's the thing. No moderator going forward is going to be able to control Trump if he acts that way. I also think Joe Biden cannot debate. I think you cannot, you know, cower to the bully, because I don't think that debate help Trump. At the end of the day, Trump's losing, he's got to pull vote off by, he's got to win all the undecided voters. I don't think those cohorts he did anything to help them tonight, he probably hurt himself quite a bit, actually.

So there's going to be at second debate. I don't think Mike Pence will act that way, by the way. But I think if the second debate, you know, if Trump acts that way, we're going to have the same debate. So it was a terrible night for Trump's chances for reelection. A terrible night for American democracy. I think it did nothing to hurt Joe Biden's chances.

Now maybe Trump will come out and be somebody completely different. But, you know, if that's -- let's look back at 2000, Brian, and Mike knows this as well. If Al Gore had side throughout all three of those debates, it wouldn't have been as close in Florida. OK. So if Trump does these three times in a row one, I think the ratings are going to fall off a cliff. It was hard for me to get through it. And I'm a practitioner. I think by the third debate, you're going to have half the audience.

But at the end of the day, you can't expect him to change. So whatever conference calls or had, whatever Zoom meetings are held between the campaigns and the Commission and the moderators, Trump's not going to listen even what his campaign says. He's going to do what he wants to do.

WILLIAMS: Mike, you've had an R after your name for all your years in politics. What's your guess? Are their high fives going on in the Trump base and political circles tonight?

MIKE MURPHY; REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I think he pleased his most loutish supporters, but they don't matter. They're called the sack. They're a losing team. The question is, did Trump do anything tonight to get some of the votes he needs to win? And the answer is no.

If Trump is in trouble because men are split on him and women hate him particularly in the suburbs. So this performance, this childish tantrum, this destruction of norms that he put on tonight, not only didn't help him move the ball forward, I think it reframed the race a little bit. This thing is now a question almost regardless of ideology. Do you believe in democratic norms? Do you believe in respecting the rules that elections count? I mean, I'm a conservative Republican, I can disagree with Joe Biden all day long. But I watched tonight and I've never been more one embarrassed and to certain that Donald Trump is unfit to be President. I mean, what does he have to do set himself on fire? It was embarrassing.

The question becomes now and I think I disagree a little bit, my friend David on this, I do think the Biden people could start a nice fight for about 10 days over the idea of the next moderator having either a mic cut off switch or a fire hose, then try to regain some control. Trump will never agree to it. In the end, I think Biden does have to debate again.

But I think they can make a thing out of this because the centerpiece of our democracy affair and civil debate was trashed and vandalized tonight and there ought to be a price paid.

WILLIAMS: Let's talk Mike about another centerpiece of our democracy. And that is the presidency itself. We only have one at a time and they live in a house that belongs to the people, as we like to say, built by slaves first occupied, I guess by the Adams's and then the Madison's that was on display tonight, you get to be a temporary holder and keeper of that office. That was that guy on stage?

MURPHY: Yes, look, the President is not only the head of government, but the head of state. It's kind of in a unique American thing. So you have responsibilities to reflect our values as a country regardless of R versus D and by refusing it. There's so many things I could list them all, but they're pretty obvious. The white supremacy, you know, ignoring that not condemning it. The fact is, he showed no respect to Joe Biden's son who served admirably, I mean it just goes on and on.

This guy is don't even have a word for him. He's kind of like a virus where he just consumes thing for his own gratification, including the presidency, which is probably the main reason he's so terribly unfit to be president. And that was crystal clear. If you sat through this nightmare tonight and didn't get that, then you need your head examined.

WILLIAMS: David, for all the good people who had the good fortune of missing this debate, and perhaps join us. For a recap, we've mentioned this white supremacist, proud boys mom, and I'm going to play it this runs all of 47 seconds, we'll talk about it on the other side.


TRUMP: I'm willing to do anything. I want to see peace.

WALLACE: Do what sir?

BIDEN: Say it. Do it. Say it.

TRUMP: Do you want to call him -- what do you want to call them? Give me a name? Give me a name?

WALLACE: White supremacist --

TRUMP: Go ahead, who do you like me to condemn. Stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what, I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about ANTIFA and the left because this is not a right wing problem.


WILLIAMS: So David Plouffe, what in your view, there was a lot there. What happened in that moment?

PLOUFFE: Well, Brian, first of all, is you know, with every presidential debate, there's the night of and then there's the day after, and the day after that in a day after that. And it's really those moments that live on that you talk about in the media that now get shared on social media, and that's going to be one of them.

It's not that he didn't just condemn white supremacists. It was a rallying cry to the proud boys. They already have a new logo out saying, stand back and stand by. OK. That was a call that Trump wants them out at polling places, certainly after the election.

So I think that's going to be a moment that the media is rightly going to cover, there'll be a lot of chatter. About the other thing Mike mention this, I mean, the moment where Joe Biden talked about his son, Beau, his service, that he was not a loser, as Donald Trump called other service member who tragically died from cancer, Trump offered no sympathy ignored, it just went on the attack.

And my suspicion for a lot of the swing voters out there that are still left or people who are soft Biden, but weren't sure that really was going to turn them off. So I always look for in debates, I mean, I tried to orchestrate these back in the day.

But now, what are the moments that the average citizen will be sharing on social media that we'll still be talking about, and this proud boy moment, it wasn't that he refused to denounce them. He basically gave them a rallying cry, and they're running with it right now.

WILLIAMS: Mike, back to your point, if you're a sentiment citizen, if you can fog up a mirror, if you learn in conversation, that someone lost a child, you have to suppress your human reflex to say, I'm sorry for your loss. If you learn from someone that they have or had a kid in the service, you -- it's reflexive to say, well, thank them for that, you know, thank them for their service. That's easy. That's as easy as breathing in and breathing out. The President of the United States took a pass on both.

MURPHY: Yes, it's really amazing. And I think one thing that even though this was such a train wreck, besides showing, you know, restraint, that was impressive, I think Vice President Biden, you know, these things are an electron microscope on who you are. And we saw what Trump is.

We also saw Biden's empathy, which is one of his defining things. And several times he turned to the camera, or when he was defending his son and everything you can tell that Joe Biden is somebody who cares about people. You know, he's got a big heart.

Donald Trump doesn't. It is just his nature. I would say it is his tragedy, that he is almost sociopathic, and it just doesn't affect him. He doesn't think that way. It doesn't have that wiring. And it was pretty glaringly obvious.

And I think again, as the very few undecided voters who are left, who by the way, Trump needs all of, are still weighing needs to people. Despite the mess of this tonight, that was pretty crystal clear to people, I agree with David. I think that'll augur dividers benefit.

I mean, Biden has some shaky moments tonight, but he was in an impossible situation. I thought he came to it pretty well. But the biggest thing that happened was Trump took what Lily has left. And he blew it up. You know, he just pushed himself way over the line. It was an epic fail.

WILLIAMS: And as Nicolle Wallace was first to point out that actually was the strategy he was prepped. That was the result of his prep what we saw tonight. Two pros in the business and friends of this broadcast, David Plouffe, Mike Murphy. Gentlemen, great to talk to you. Thank you for coming on, on this night of all nights.

Coming up for us, a coronavirus fact check with Dr. Vin Gupta as our special debate night edition of this podcast continues.



TRUMP: When needed, when needed I were a mask.

WALLACE: OK, let me ask --

TRUMP: I don't have -- I don't wear mask like him. Every time you see him. He's got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from it he shows up with the biggest mask I've ever seen.


WILLIAMS: Over 206,000 of our fellow citizens have now died from this virus. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicts that by Election Day the death toll in this country will surpass 239,000. We have a friend of the broadcast back with us tonight. And that is Dr. Vin Gupta is an ER doc specializing in exactly these kinds of illnesses also an affiliate assistant professor with the University of Washington Department of Health Metrics Sciences.

Doctor, I won't give a long preamble. I'm curious as given your life's work, your work with this virus. What did you make of the Coronavirus portion of what the president the leader of our country had to say tonight?

DR. VIN GUPTA, PULMONOLOGIST AND CRITICAL CARE DOCTOR: Brian, good to see you. So there's three categories I'd like to talk about that all related to coronavirus. Number one is the discussion on health care that the president the vice president had. Let's be clear the President made a claim that 100 million people in the United States don't have a diagnosis or under diagnosed preexisting condition. That is false.

If he was at the bedside, caring for patients at any have his health officials are actually caring for patients to remember what it was like to care for patients, they would know preexisting illnesses are rampant throughout the country HHS analysis show that up to 129 million Americans have a preexisting condition.

Why does that matter, Brian? The President and his surrogates push forward the American Health Care Act in 2017. They wanted it passed that would have resulted in 30 million Americans without coverage for health insurance. That would have been devastating if the American Health Care Act actually got passed as we're dealing with this pandemic.

Let's move to COVID-19. The President likes to cite I'm saying this as a faculty member for the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, this 2.5 million lives saved number. He's inventing it. I've been talking to colleagues all night. No one knows what that number is coming from. It's invented. It was the number that you can take to the bank 120 to 150,000 lives would have been saved if the following things happened.

A one week -- a shutdown one week earlier nationally is a strong federal directives, he did not do that. We know that. If he had acted when he found out that the virus was airborne on February 7, Defense Production Act producing N95 masks, or these three ply surgical masks if the USPS actually delivered on their promise and sent five of these to every household in the country, lives would have been saved. So that's top line number two.

There's a whole host of things that we can talk about regarding COVID-19 testing has been terrible. People still do not have PPE, Brian. Right now, again, dealing with wildfires here on the west coast. Combination of COVID exposure and wildfire smoke in a high quality mask, we don't have it. And then finally, I'll say on wildfires, specifically wildfires. The President does not take ownership for his own responsibility. 60 percent of forest on the west coast on federal control, the majority of those lands are under federal control that are burning, and he's not doing a darn thing about it. So he needs to take ownership for his own inaction.

WILLIAMS: Let's talk about masks, doctor. The President mocked his opponent for wearing one out of an abundance of caution. He did not give a full throated endorsement of masks. And he keeps wanting to frame it as if there was debate or dissent over mask as if people were saying no don't wear one.

I have to say one thing his Surgeon General will never live down was early on his first public utterance on television about this virus was about the President's stamina and virility. And he is the one who said he didn't think people needed masks.

He later admitted that was because he was worried about hoarding, and worried about getting masks to people like you on the front lines who need it, but the time has come to be full throated in the endorsement of mask wearing because the math is right there. We know how many lives it will and is saving.

GUPTA: I have two comments to that, Brian, number one, the Surgeon General solution to his mixed messaging up front was to tell us how to put up videos showing how to fashion underwear and jean jackets into robust cloth masks. That is not a solution. Our country is better than this. We can do high quality mass that protect all of us, teachers, custodial staff, bus drivers, not just doctors and nurses. We're still struggling too, so that's number one.

And then number two to your point and this gets to the point, Brian, everybody deserves a high quality mask. The president, the Surgeon General, they don't want to own this because they know that to be true. We all deserve high quality masks. We can do this, Brian, we can teach people what a well fitting mask looks. How to fit them for a welding mask, it's not above our capability. We just need leadership.

WILLIAMS: I am so sorry for the dual challenges you are facing in the Pacific Northwest these days. Thank you for your passion as always in your expertise as always. Our guest tonight Dr. Vin Gupta.

Coming up after a break for us, more of our special coverage of this first presidential debate in what's supposed to be the first of three.



BIDEN: Speaking of my son, the way you talk about the military, the way you talk about them be losers and being and just being suckers. My son was in Iraq, he spent a year there. He got the Bronze Star, he got conspicuous Service Medal, he was not a loser. He was a patriot. And the people left behind there were heroes.

TRUMP: Really? Are you talking about Hunter?


WILLIAMS: That was not the proudest moment for the President of the United States. I think we can all agree to that. For more, we are pleased to welcome to the broadcast Symone Sanders, Senior Advisor for the Biden campaign.

Symone, I know your campaign has put out the fact that for an hour tonight, during the 90-minute debate, you raised more money than any other hour of the campaign thus far, other than the optics of saying we don't want to do this anymore. What's the upside in doing two more of these?

SYMONE SANDERS, BIDEN CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: Well, look, Brian, first and foremost, you know, tonight, you saw Joe Biden multiple times turn to the camera, and speak directly to the American people at home. And so I think that's the upside. Look, people are hurting. You know, this pandemic, we're experiencing multiple crises, a climate crisis, a crisis of racial injustice, a cry an economic crisis, and a public health crisis.

And so folks want to hear, you know, what is your plan to help us get out of this? I think one of the most powerful moments tonight was when Vice President Biden turned to the camera at the end and talked about voting, and reminded the American people that it's us who has the power here. And if we go to the ballot box, if we participate in early voting, we can change things that it doesn't have to be this way. And we don't have to continue to live to this chaos. Very powerful, and I think it was effective. And that's what he plans to do in Miami.

WILLIAMS: It was weathering. Your candidate chose not to engage on each point where he could have it clearly picking his targets, clearly relying on debate prep. Were you happy with the percentage of times he did choose to engage?

SANDERS: Well, look Brian, you know, what I'm happy with is that we saw a leader on the debate stage tonight. And that was Joe Biden. We also saw a liar and that was Donald Trump. Look, I think Joe Biden was like many of us out there tonight. You know, he's talking, he's trying to talk about the pressing issues facing the American people. And you've got this other guy over there just yapping about something that doesn't even make any sense. You know.

So I think what you saw from Vice President Biden frankly, is how the many people across this country feel. They want to hear the plan for families across this country. They want to know, how are we going to get out of COVID? What would -- how are you going to help me put more money in my pocket to put more food on the table for our families?

And every single turn tonight, Donald Trump had an option and an opportunity, frankly, to speak to the American people to talk about his plans for them to make a forceful case. And we've heard a lot from him tonight, but we didn't hear a plan on how he was going to turn the corner and COVID-19. We didn't hear plan for working families in this country. We didn't hear -- we didn't hear him call out white supremacy, what I heard was a shout out actually, instead of a call out and a condemnation.

So it is just -- it was frankly, unfortunate and despicable what we saw from the President of the United States tonight, but I was hopeful and what I saw from Joe Biden.

WILLIAMS: So Symone, final question, please share confidential inside stuff with our audience. If I have been in the inner sanctum Joe Biden comes offstage and meets with all of you guys, the campaign staff, did no one on the payroll say, I don't know why we're going to do this again. All the norms were blown up tonight, why bother with rules or moderators? Or time limits? Why are we doing any more of these? No one expressed that view.

SANDERS: Brian, when Vice President Biden came off the debate stage tonight, we went back and told him he did an excellent job. He broke through speaking directly to the American people. And all Donald Trump did was so chaos and he lied. But Joe Biden, he was empathetic, he exhibited leadership. He gave false hope. And he encouraged them.

And look, and we also said, Look, we're going to come back. We're going to do this again in Miami, because the reality is that when you're running for, as senator Harris likes to say, our vice presidential nominee, that, you know, this is about the people for the people. And when you are running to be President of the United States, and when you're running to represent the people, you have to be accountable to them.

And Joe Biden is going to show up and he's going to answer the people's questions in Miami. He's going to take questions from voters across the state of Florida, and about the most pressing issues facing them.

Now, Donald Trump, we all know what he's going to do. I hope he's not going to belittle and be rate (ph) voters in Florida. But you know what, you never know why Brian, but Joe Biden will be there to show you exactly what you can get. Post November 3rd, if folks go to the polls and elect him as the next president of the United States.

WILLIAMS: Fair enough. Good to see you again. Symone Sanders with the Biden campaign outside the venue tonight. Thank you very much for joining us.

Final break of this hour. Coming up at the top of the hour, we're going to continue beyond our usual time period, extended coverage of what it was we just witnessed in Cleveland, Ohio tonight when we come back.



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