Sen. Ted Cruz heads to Cancun vacation as his constituents in Texas
struggle without power and water, and people are desperate for food and
shelter. After days of blackouts, Texans are facing a water crisis. L.
Brent Bozell IV was charged with taking part in the Trump mob insurrection.
The Biden administration and Democrats unveil their sweeping immigration
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: -- to celebrate Black history month. We can`t ignore
the pair of aces that dazzled last night at the Australian open semi-
finals. 23-year-old Naomi Osaka beat 23-time grand slam champion Serena
Williams. Not only did they serve on the court, they serve as a reminder
that Black women are not only fierce competitors but uplift and inspire
millions around the world. And if I may say, Serena is the true GOAT, the
G-O-A-T in sports. Sorry, Brady.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now with special guest Houston Mayor
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight, on ALL IN. The disaster in
Texas grows. Millions without water, people desperate for food and shelter,
and their senator heads to the beach.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): We booked the flight. You know, I have to admit, I
started having second thoughts almost the moment I sat down on the plane.
HAYES: Tonight, the man-made suffering in Texas with Houston Mayor
Sylvester Turner and former Senator Al Franken on the fly-in Ted
controversy that`s so bad Fox News is dunking on him.
JESSE WATTERS, HOST, FOX NEWS: If there`s a weather disaster in your state,
you don`t go on a tropical vacation.
HAYES: Then, how Nikki Haley`s attempt to have it both ways on Trump is
backfiring spectacularly. Plus, the latest insurrection arrest is the heir
to a high-profile conservative family. The Biden administration goes big on
immigration reform. When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. There is
some light at the end of the tunnel for Texans tonight who have been
suffering through back-to-back winter storms, record low temperatures, and
power outages affecting both electricity and heat and even water all week.
The good news is that power has now been restored for millions of
residents. Less than 400,000 people still waiting for the lights to come
back on down from highs over four million earlier this week. The Texas
Tribune reporting today the state`s power grid was "seconds and minutes
away from a catastrophic failure that could have left Texans in the dark
Officials saying that if operators had not acted in that moment early
Monday morning to start rolling blackouts, that`s blackout they themselves
were controlling, it could have left Texas in an indeterminately long
crisis. Think about that, minutes and seconds away.
The state though remains in a precarious situation tonight. Freezing
temperatures around the state expected until Saturday. There is an ongoing
food crisis as disruptions to the supply chain resulted in shortages. We`ve
seen monstrously long lines for grocery stores in multiple cities. And
there`s a massive water crisis. Hospitals have been without water as they
take care of patients amid a pandemic. And seven million Texans are now
under a boiled water order.
The freezing temperatures have affected water pump systems and treatment
plants cause pipes to burst all that kind of cascade of problems.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pipes are bursting and leaving a huge mess. Look at that
inside many homes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just one more layer of misery for so many families
during this winter storm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here at the Riley home, you can see their ceiling came
crashing down into the master bedroom, caused lots of damage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Emergency officials now fielding hundreds of calls
related to carbon monoxide poisoning as people resort to desperate measures
to stay warm.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do not use grills indoors and do not run your car
inside your garage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With limited water, even fire departments are struggling
to battle blazes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With two young kids, the Grahams had already given up
on staying in their Rockwell home when the inside temp dipped to 40 degrees
Monday night. This was the scene waiting for them when they got back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It had burst through the ceiling and water had was
pouring everywhere in our living room. The water had spread to our front
entry, to our front den, to our kitchen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, the water, oh my God.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fueling frustration for people like Plano resident
Muhammad El-Hawary even after getting his wife toddler and infant finally
to a warm place.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, how many people, how many families in the
apartment with little kids that they are suffering now because of what`s
going on because the responsible people, the people in charge didn`t make
the proper calculation for the power consumption.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It has been an urgent all-hands-on-deck situation in much of the
state for the last three or four nights as we have been reporting night
after night with people opening their doors to strangers like Houston
furniture store owner Mattress Mack welcoming the community into shelter in
showrooms. Several Austin restaurants and bars doing the same ones they
have power operating as kind of warming centers, giving water out.
Beto O`Rourke organized more than 150 000 calls to check on senior citizens
across the state. And of course, the junior senator from Texas Ted Cruz
flew to Cancun. You maybe have heard about this by now. If you`re watching
this program, I suspect you have.
Yesterday evening, these pictures started to trickle out online showing
what appeared to be Ted Cruz and his family at the Houston airport taking
an outbound flight to Cancun, Mexico as millions of his constituents were
freezing, huddling around fire pits fueled by anything they could get their
hands on to burn.
Social media sleuths matched the mask, ring, glasses and the photos of
those worn by Cruz noted the timing coincided with the 4:44 p.m. United
flight. NBC News confirmed that Cruz`s staff even called up Houston police
officers to escort him through the airport as if they didn`t have anything
better to do.
Cruz`s wife, Heidi, reportedly sent text messages to friends saying their
house was, all caps, freezing, which I imagine it was, and invited others
to join them at the Ritz Carlton in Cancun where they had stayed many
times. Amidst the ensuing firestorm at 6:00 a.m. today, Cruz booked a new
return flight from Cancun to Houston. A source telling NBC that he was
initially booked on a flight returning on Saturday.
Late this evening, the senator gave an impromptu interview in front of some
shrubs at his home and came clean about the whole thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: We left yesterday. The plan had been to stay through the weekend with
the family. That was the plan. And, you know, I have to admit, it was --
the last week`s been tough on a lot of folks. Our girls, when they got the
news that school was canceled this week, they said look, why don`t we --
why don`t we take a trip. Let`s go somewhere where it`s not so cold.
And Heidi and I -- this had been a tough week and it`s been a tough year
for kids, kids all across the state of Texas. And so, we were trying to be
good parents and said OK, we`ll do it. And so, we booked the flight. You
know, I have to admit I started having second thoughts almost -- the moment
I sat down on the plane.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Yes, I can imagine he had some second thoughts. He`s right, it has
been hard on kids this year. At some level, you can almost understand that
from Ted Cruz`s perspective, what exactly is the big deal? I mean, Ted
Cruz`s job is basically being a guy who records a podcast. He goes on Fox
News and tweets snarky jokes. And increasingly, that`s what being a
conservative politician is. It`s a form of performative trolling. And what
is he supposed to do about frozen pipeline anyway?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN SHAPIRO, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Now, I get that it`s bad optics for
Ted Cruz to take his family on vacation to Cancun right now. I know it
sounds bad. But let`s be real about this for just one second. This is one
of the stupidest aspects of our politics. What exactly -- it`s not a real-
time crisis that Ted Cruz, this senator from Texas can do anything about.
Did they expect Ted to go there with like a blow torch and start defrosting
all of the pipelines?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Just an amazingly revealing statement from a conservative
professional talker about what conservatives think governing is. Like, yes,
what`s he supposed to do? Senators have constituent services. They have
deep networks of powerful people. They can liaison between different levels
of government. They can marshal resources. They can highlight problems to
There are a million things a senator can do in the middle of disaster. If
they don`t know what to do, just go door to door and check on people with a
mask. But none of that appears to interest a politician like Ted Cruz who
sees himself as basically Rush Limbaugh with the Senate office.
And it`s not just Ted Cruz. It`s bigger than him. We saw the apotheosis of
this with Donald Trump`s management of COVID where he turned the pandemic
into basically a daily television show doing none of the actual work to
make the crisis better. In fact, making it worse at every turn, getting
But it was simply another platform for the former president. In fact, at
one point, he was actually thinking of starting a White House radio show,
but he decided he didn`t want to compete with Rush Limbaugh.
Governing is not posting. It`s not podcasting. It`s not cable news
anchoring. Believe me, both my parents worked as civil servants in city
government and I have a cable news show and they had harder jobs than I do.
What we`ve seen this week in Texas is a total failure of governance. But
it`s not just Ted Cruz. I mean the way to climb the ladder in Republican
politics as Donald Trump showed is not to be good at governing. That
doesn`t get you anywhere. It is to performatively troll the libs. And that
is exactly what Republicans in Texas have been doing for much of the last
decade since the last time a crisis like this happened.
Instead of preparing for this foreseeable catastrophe, they`ve been doing
things like regulating who can use what bathroom, attacking Planned
Parenthood, considering the death penalty for women who get abortions,
removing discrimination protection so social workers can turn away LGBTQ,
disabled clients, protecting Chick-fil-A from religious discrimination,
removing voting drop boxes, trying to make Texas a second amendment
sanctuary state, and most recently and perhaps most importantly, fighting
with sports teams over playing the national anthem.
None of that`s going to help you when the power is out and it`s freezing
and there`s no water. THEN your performative owning of the libs looks
really irrelevant and really dumb. With me now is Houston Mayor Sylvester
Turner previously served for nearly 30 years as a Texas State
Representative. He is in a command center right now monitoring situation in
And mayor, thank you for taking a little time with us tonight. I wanted to
start first with how things are in Houston. Are they getting better?
SYLVESTER TURNER, MAYOR OF HOUSTON, TEXAS: Chris, in the last 24 hours,
things have improved. Yesterday at this time, we had about 1.3 million
customers without power. Today, as I talked to you, that number is now
under 30,000 in the Houston region.
Yesterday, the water pressure was extremely low. In fact, in hospitals,
were having a hard time getting what they needed just to run their
chillers, to stay warm, and other necessities. Today, the water pressure in
the city of Houston has increased and hospitals are in much better shape,
at the same time people -- many of the people able to flush their commodes.
So, things are improving.
We`re still not where we want it to be, but yesterday, the pressure was
below what we call 20 PSI. Today, as we speak, that water pressure is right
around 30. So, things are improving, but again, we still have some
tremendous needs out there.
HAYES: Just to zero in. The water aspect of this has been one of the more
harrowing parts of it and a kind of, you know, a kind of cascade effect of
power going out in water treatment facilities. Just explain to me what that
means. Does that mean you have pressure now? You can -- you can -- people
can run water in their homes, that the firefighters have water, that
hospitals have it. Is that -- is that where things are?
TURNER: That`s correct. Hospitals now have water that can run their
chillers to keep their patients their doctors and medical staff warm in
cool weather so to speak. People are able to take showers, people able to
flush the commode. But because the water pressure dropped below the
regulatory requirement of 20 PSI, you automatically have to give boil water
So, you have over 700 jurisdictions around the state of Texas, Houston, San
Antonio, Austin, for example, and many others where there are boiled notice
requirements. And that will continue to be the case probably through the
weekend. At the earliest, that boil water notice could probably be lifted
on Sunday, but I think for the city of Houston, it will probably be Monday.
Which means, if people don`t have power, because you`re supposed to boil
your water about two minutes, but what happens if you don`t have power?
Then people are going to rely a great deal on bottled water and that`s why
starting today we started distributing water to those persons, for example,
who don`t have the means to go into a grocery store and purchase.
Tomorrow, for example, will be a mass water distribution site in the city
of Houston where we`ll probably give out tomorrow anywhere between seven to
900,000 bottles of water primarily for people for families who are already
on the margins, Chris, and they just can`t afford to go in and purchase two
and three and four cases of water. And we`ll do that tomorrow Saturday,
Sunday, until this boiled water notice has been lifted.
HAYES: That`s really -- that`s very helpful in understanding where things
are. Let me -- let me also ask what your interfaces have been with both
state and federal government. I know FEMA is on the --- on the -- on the
ground there. Have you been talking with ERCOT that run the grid with folks
from FEMA and the federal government and with Governor Abbott? What have
those interactions been like?
TURNER: Well, I`ve talked -- I`ve talked several times with the CEO, the
head of ERCOT. And look -- and what he will say to you is that the system
that we have in the state of Texas, ERCOT, our Texas grid is designed for
the summer heat. It is not necessarily designed for winter storms.
And then as it relates to this -- what happened in this -- in the last four
or five days, there was simply not enough adequate generation, supply
available to meet the demand. And with the supply that they had reserved,
so to speak, when some -- when some of the facilities came offline, then it
made things even worse.
And let me quickly speak to those who are trying to say, oh the wind
turbines froze and you shouldn`t be looking at renewables. That`s a false -
- that`s a false line being put forth because the plants that came offline
were natural gas plants, coal-fired plants, nuclear plants came offline,
you know, wind turbines froze. So, it was a combination. But when it comes
to wind and solar, that still only counts for a fraction of the energy
that`s produced in the state of Texas. The reality is -- the reality is
that the state was ill-prepared.
The other thing that I would add. When I was in the legislature, for 23 of
my 27 years, I said on the -- on the committee that oversees our electric
utility industry, back in 2011 I filed a bill saying to the public utility
commission that we need to exert greater oversight over ERCOT to prevent
blackouts, the very kind that we have are experiencing in Texas for these
last four days. That bill, Chris, was never given a hearing.
And so, for anybody who`s just trying to place the blame on ERCOT, that`s
not enough. That`s part of the story but it`s not the total story. ERCOT is
an agency of the state of Texas. It`s the leadership that overseas ERCOT.
And what happened in this week was a failure not just of ERCOT but of the
statewide leadership, state representatives, state senators who didn`t do
enough to make the necessary structural changes to prevent what took place
this week from occurring.
And as a result of that, hundreds of thousands of Texans have paid a
horrible price and there are a number of Houstonians that lived in this
city, my city, that are not alive -- not alive today to go into next week
because some of them died from carbon monoxide trying to keep themselves
HAYES: Right. I fear and suspect we will get a fuller sense of that toll in
the days to come. My final question to you is about the junior senator from
your state. Obviously, I`m sure you`ve followed this story. But you know,
people defending him saying, well, what can a U.S. senator do. And I just
want you -- as a mayor who`s trying to make all this work, your response
the idea that there`s really nothing for a senator to do.
TURNER: There`s a lot for senators to do. Number one, it`s always important
to make sure that you`re speaking to the powers that beat to make sure that
you enhance the generation. You can talk to ERCOT in the leadership. You
can talk to the governor and those to make sure that they`re doing
everything possible to make sure that we`re increasing generation so that
people are not having to die because they are not kept warm.
At the same time, as a senator, you can be touching bases directly with
FEMA and saying that people are without heat, without food, they need
water. Send those necessary supplies down to the state of Texas. He`s on
the federal level. You can be talking to FEMA. I touch basis with one of
our congresspersons, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. She`s gotten trucks
down here to help to provide water to people who need -- who need that
water right now. So, there are a number of things to do.
And then, if nothing else, as leaders, we stay on the ship. We don`t leave
the ship when the ship is in trouble and when passengers need us to be
doing everything that we can. Now, one thing that it does demonstrate, and
that is that our airports are open and ready for business.
But as leaders, as leaders, when people are hurting and they are in need,
you don`t lead from behind and you don`t leave from someplace else. You
stay right there in the bunker with them until such time as you can say all
is clear. And that`s my job. That`s the job of every elected official
regardless of your party affiliation. And this is when the people need us
the most. Not when everything is fine, not when everything is fine, but
when people don`t have electricity, when they don`t have heat, when they
don`t have food, when they are trying to wonder how we`re going to make
things -- how are we going to continue to go from day to day, from hour to
hour, they need us out in front saying look, we hear you, we see you, we
understand and we`re going to be right here with you until we all get past
this. Leaders lead. They do not follow.
HAYES: Mayor Sylvester Turner of Houston, you wouldn`t be a mayor without
getting a plug-in for the tourism for the great city of Houston whose
airports are open. Thank you very much, Mayor. And wishing you all the best
and all the folks in your city the best as you come out of this.
TURNER: Thank you. Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: For more on this story, stay tuned at the top of the hours. Rachel
Maddow will actually have more on what`s happening in Texas and the federal
response with the acting FEMA Administrator Bob Fenton who`s going to be a
guest on her show.
Plus, Flying Ted is back from his short-lived Cancun vacation. He`s telling
quite a story about he wasn`t really abandoning his constituents in the
middle of an unfolding disaster. That story is next.
HAYES: Back in 2016 when asked his opinions of Ted Cruz, the former
Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner made a face and responded, and
I quote him here, "Lucifer in the flesh. I have Democrat friends and
Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone but I have never
worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life."
When he ran for president in 2016, only six sitting Republican senators
endorsed Cruz, their colleague, compared to almost 30 sitting Republican
senators who endorsed his rival Donald Trump. Ted Cruz is just genuinely
disliked by a lot of his colleagues.
And part of the reason is he loves sanctimoniously dunking on everyone
else, from telling Chris Christie to go back to the beach which is a good
one in the current context, after Christie called Cruz a hypocrite for
asking for federal hurricane assistance, to blasting the governor of
California saying, "California is now unable to perform even basic
functions of civilization like having reliable electricity" to attacking
the mayor of Austin, Texas for taking a "private jet with eight people to
Cabo and while in Cabo recorded a video telling Austinites to stay home if
you can, this is not the time to relax." All the kind of glib dunking that
would never come back to Cruz in a situation like this, of course.
I`m joined now by New York Times op-ed columnist Michelle Goldberg and
former Democratic Senator Al Franken who once wrote "I probably like Ted
Cruz more than most of my other colleagues like Ted Cruz, and I hate Ted
Cruz." It`s still a good line.
Al, I have -- I mean, just from a political perspective, like, I seriously
cannot get my head around this. I just -- I mean, at a basic human level,
but at a political level, like, have you ever seen something quite this
AL FRANKEN, FORMER MINNESOTA SENATOR: No, I mean, from both the human and
political level. The one thing you don`t do when you have a statewide
crisis like this is go to Cancun. You don`t go on vacation. What you do --
I know you ask the mayor what can you do. What can you not do?
First of all, you find out what you can do. You work with -- you`re one of
two statewide federal officials, so you`re working -- you`re asking FERC,
you`re talking to FERC, you`re talking to FEMA. You`re talking to your
governor. You`re talking -- you`re finding out what to do and you`re
telling your staff what to do and you`re coordinating. You`re helping
whether it`s getting generators, whether it`s getting food.
Ted Cruz has big, big donors. Get one of your big donors to fly some food
in and fly some generators in.
FRANKEN: You have municipal officials to work with, county officials.
There`s plenty to do.
HAYES: There`s also, Michelle, I think, you know, this -- what I was saying
before about this, the warping of the view of conservatives and Republicans
about what governing is and what wins you plaudits and how you get a claim
in the Republican Party where none of that stuff matters because Donald
Trump got elected. What matters is like your takes and your podcast and,
you know, going on Fox News.
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, OP-ED COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: Right. I mean, he`s the
progenitor of these kinds of troll politicians like Marjorie Taylor Greene
and Madison Cawthorn who very explicitly don`t go there to legislate, don`t
go there to provide any service for their constituents.
And the whole kind of Republican Party has lost sight of the idea that it`s
their job as representatives to actually represent people. I don`t think
it`s a coincidence that Ted Cruz came to the Senate after the end of
earmarks. And one reason I think it`s good that Democrats are planning to
reinstate earmarks is because they should reinstate the expectation that it
is the job of members of Congress to do things for their district, right,
not just to be trolled on the national stage.
And one more thing. I think that if it was the job of Ted Cruz to deliver
for his district, his generally odious personality would be seen as a
liability because it would stand in the way of him being able to get things
HAYES: It`s a really good point. I thought of you, Al, too because you know
your trajectory was literally the opposite, right. Like, you came from the
world of media where you were known and had a platform, and then became a
U.S. Senator, and your entire approach to the job was I`m not doing that
anymore, I`m doing this thing now that is not that thing.
It was -- it was literally that in reverse as opposed to being a person
that no one had heard of getting elected as senator and being like now,
people will listen to my podcast.
FRANKEN: You know this is one -- this is one of the most satisfying things
you can do is go where people need your help. And we have floods, we have
tornadoes. We had -- one of my most valuable members of my staff was Val
Gravseth. We call her Val the Disaster Gal. And Val -- and I would learn so
much from her. And you would learn what you can do to help people. And I
don`t think ted has invested much in in doing that. Knowing him, I don`t
think he has.
HAYES: I wonder, Michelle, if you think this does hurt him politically. I
mean, again, even though sort of trolling and sort of performatively
arguing that the libs is is the key to success in the coin of the realm, I
just can`t imagine this not being hung around his neck for a very long
GOLDBERG: Well, look, I don`t think that he`s ever going to be president,
but I don`t think he ever was going to be president. So, in that sense, you
know, it`s kind of one more -- right, I don`t know -- one more mark against
Does it hurt him when he`s running for senate again in four years -- in
four years? I mean, look, obviously, this isn`t the kind of thing even
though we have a very short attention span, a very fast news cycle, I think
this is the kind of thing that sticks like Chris Christie on the beach or
like Bridgegate, right.
There are certain things that just become part of your political biography.
And this is such a perfect, you know, this is such a perfect symbol of who
Ted Cruz is as a person that people aren`t going to forget about it. And
so, you know, who knows? Beto O`Rourke who, by the way, is out there
actually doing wellness checks on seniors, so there is stuff to do, you
know, came pretty close to Ted Cruz a couple of years ago.
The demographics of Texas are going to be even different in four years. So,
you know, obviously, somebody has a shot to overturn him. It`s not going to
HAYES: I will note that I remember this very clearly. The first ad that Ted
Cruz cut in that race against Beto O`Rourke was all about how he had helped
with Harvey and he was out there looking out for Texans. So, he even -- he
understands the political upside in that sort of thing. Senator Al Franken
and Michelle Goldberg, thank you both so much. I appreciate it.
GOLDBERG: Thank you.
FRANKEN: Thank you.
HAYES: Still to come, the unbridgeable line in the Republican Party between
dealing with facts and reality and staying in the good graces of Donald
Trump. Nikki Haley`s failed attempt ahead.
HAYES: Just about every day, we get new reports about people who have been
charged with taking part in the Trump mob insurrection. Recently, it was
this gentleman L. Brent Bozell IV who goes by Zeek, alternately Zeeker, and
who was first identified in part because of the sweatshirt he was wearing
while inside the capitol.
If that name L. Brent Bozell sounds familiar, it`s because he descends from
a long line of L. Brent Bozells who have been significant figures in
American conservatism. In fact, as this tweet noted, you can tell a story
of American conservatism by tracing the L. Brent Bozells.
The great grandfather of the man charged in the insurrection L. Brent
Bozell Sr. was an Omaha newspaperman who in 1921 found an advertising
agency that still exists today. It`s responsible for the famous rich soft
Corinthian leather commercials for Chrysler, memorably advertised by
Ricardo Montalban, as well as the extremely successful and enduring slogan
Pork, The Other White Meat, among other ad campaigns.
According to the Intercept, Bozell Sr. was a prominent member of the
American Legion when the group was proclaiming its purpose was to "maintain
law and order to foster and perpetuate a 100 percent Americanism."
Now, his son L Brent Bozell Jr. was fellow conservative William F.Buckley
Jr.`s best friend at Yale. Bozell even married Buckley`s sister. That`s
Bozell on the left and Buckley on the right. Buckley is holding the book
the two wrote together defending anti-communist demagogue Joseph McCarthy.
As staunchly conservative catholic, Bozell Jr. was the more hardcore of the
two. He`s also a speechwriter for McCarthy. He ghostwrote Barry Goldwater`s
manifesto. At one point, he even left America, land of the free, to live
under the authoritarian dictatorship of Francisco Franco in Spain.
When he returned to D.C., Bozell Jr. was reportedly arrested for breaking
into an abortion clinic to disrupt its procedures where he reportedly
slugged a police officer with a five-foot wooden cross. Asked about his
defiance of law and order, he reportedly replied, if disorder is necessary
to stop this murder of babies, I`m in favor of disorder.
Then came L. Brent Bozell III who has spent decades running various
organizations dedicated to attacking any news that isn`t in line with
conservative beliefs as liberal bias. His groups including the media
research center implore people, don`t believe the fake news media. And of
course, he regularly appears to make this case in right-wing media,
including, on the day of the insurrection, when he falsely claimed the
election was stolen, but also condemned the rioters as "absolutely wrong."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
L. BRENT BOZELL III, CONSERVATIVE WRITER: I am heartsick about that element
that has been so destructive and has done so much damage to a very noble
cause. But the damage they`ve done to conservatives like me is profound.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was just hours after his own son apparently L. Brent Bozell IV
was allegedly spotted inside the capitol. L. Brent Bozell IV is now charged
with obstructing an official proceeding, entering restricted building and
disorderly conduct for his alleged role in that January 6th insurrectionist
From the American Legion to alleged insurrection for generations. Exciting
to imagine what the future has in store for us and this august line.
HAYES: A major dividing line in conservative politics today is between
truth and lies, between democracy and insurrection. As Republican Senator
Mitt Romney of Utah said in his statement about his impeachment vote, "Now
the impeachment trial is behind us. It falls to each of us to affirm what
we all know. President Biden won the election through the legitimate vote
of the American people. The division in America will only begin to heal in
the light of this truth, a truth which must now be affirmed by each of us
in this chamber."
That line between fact and fiction is unstraddlable as former ambassador to
the U.N. Nikki Haley just found out. When after writing an op-ed in the
Wall Street Journal about how any divisions within the Republican Party are
just about the bad liberal media trying to force a wedge in there, Donald
Trump turned her down for a meeting because of criticisms she`s leveled at
him over the capital insurrection.
David Jolly is a former Republican congressman from Florida who figured out
a long time ago which side of that line he wants to be on and he joins me
I thought that Romney`s statement here was really important because I do
think it`s actually in some ways gotten a little lost because of how
shocking the violent insurrection was that a majority of Republican members
of Congress, a big majority in the House and I think seven or eight in the
Senate, voted to overturn an election, voted to give air to this lie that
the president himself, the ex-president, is still spinning yesterday and
there is no reckoning with that.
DAVID JOLLY, FORMER REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE FROM FLORIDA: Yes, Chris. I
so appreciate how you`re framing this identity crisis within today`s
Republican Party because conventional wisdom seems to default to this
identity crisis must be an ideological one, right? Conservatives versus
moderates are different degrees of conservatism.
That`s not today`s identity crisis in the Republican Party. It is as Mitt
Romney suggested the defense of democratic values or not, the defense of
our democratic institutions or not, the recognition of valid elections or
not. Those are now the litmus tests.
And I think the problem for this identity crisis, but honestly, culturally,
to have one of the two major parties be viable with this platform, the
problem is the candidates we will see on the Republican side for House,
Senate, for President, whatever it might be, they have to start from the
place that Donald Trump should have been acquitted, right? They can`t
disagree with that or they`re not viable.
Well, if you back up from that, that then suggests that his culpability was
permissible as well which ultimately suggests we`re going to agree that
undermining elections must be permissible as part of the Republican dogma.
HAYES: Well, and it`s not only that. You know, it sort of clicked for me
this obvious point today for the first time which is all the work the big
lie is doing which is this. Parties jettison losers. When someone loses,
people do a whole bunch of autopsies, they do a lot of -- there`s a whole
circular firing squad. I mean, you saw this among Democrats when they lost
House seats. Oh, did we -- was our messaging wrong on this, how did we lose
If you get people to believe you didn`t lose, you totally forced all that
process, and that has been successful. There is zero process debate
conversation among Republicans of what did we do wrong to lose after one
term which doesn`t happen that often in American history.
JOLLY: Yes. Chris, I can tell you, there is zero self-reflection in today`s
Republican Party. They don`t see an electoral crisis, right? Kevin McCarthy
would tell you, they`re on track to take back the House under the Trumpism
view of Republican politics. Maybe they can take back the Senate and they
could take back the White House.
They don`t see the electoral challenge and they don`t recognize the
identity crisis either. And like I said, I think that`s the great challenge
for the party going forward. But I don`t think we can expect them to change
because they see this message as the most competitive message they have.
It`s not rooted in ideology any longer. It`s grievance politics now
translated to the undermining of democracy.
HAYES: And they`re not -- here`s the thing. They`re not wrong. This is not
the other problem, right?
JOLLY: That`s right.
HAYES: You gerrymander enough seats in this next census, you have a spatial
-- a spatially distributed coalition that -- with the United States Senate
and the Electoral College kind of put some wind at your back, right? So,
all of that means you are -- you can remain competitive this way. You know,
you can remain within 45 to 50 if things break your way. So, they`re not
even wrong about the calculation they`re making which is the most unnerving
part of it.
JOLLY: Yes. Two very important implications to that. You`re right. They
don`t suffer an electoral viability crisis. It`s an identity crisis.
Electorally, they`re very viable, so two important implications. What does
that mean for us culturally that one of the two major parties can pervade
this message and succeed? Because ultimately the American public follows
their political leaders. That is a dangerous moment for us as a nation, as
And secondly, the implications for Democratic strategy over the next two
years are very important. How do you wrangle with the fact that the
opposing party is viable on this platform, and that`s a challenge, right?
JOLLY: That`s why some Democrats say go big now while you have the
opportunity because you might not have it in two years. Others suggest
they`re going to run against the identity of today`s Republican Party as a
way to put the stake in the GOP.
HAYES: Yes. There`s some great reporting in the New York Times about
Michigan where, you know, they`re just sort of all in on the Trumpiness and
they want a primary Peter Meijer who is one of the Republicans who voted to
impeach the President.
But the one thing I do think is a misreading of the politics that you saw
with Nikki Haley here, for -- in a narrow sense of Republicans that want to
be the next president or nominee, the idea you can straddle the line to me
does seem unworkable. Like, it`s either going to be Donald Trump and his
son or someone else.
JOLLY: That`s right.
HAYES: But you can`t -- there`s no way -- you can`t -- like, you can get a
Trump face tattoo if you want but that`s not -- it`s not going to give you
JOLLY: That`s right. This is Donald Trump`s party. Nikki Haley knows that.
She`s learned that. Listen, a woman who`s now blaming the media took the
opportunity to spend more than four hours with Tim Alberta of Politico over
multiple visits to get her story out there, and now doesn`t like what was
written, so she`s blaming the media for Republican problems.
This is Donald Trump`s party. That`s not going to change. I would maintain
the actions of Kinzinger and Cheney and others that we saw, even Mitt
Romney. That is not the return of a fight for the heart and soul of the
party. Those are the last gaffes of the party we used to know. This is
Donald Trump`s party going forward for as long as he chooses to play in it.
HAYES: Yes. I mean, I think he individually may not animate it, but what he
was giving people whether that finds some other vessel which I think is as
equally likely, like, that to me seems the thing that I feel quite certain
of. Although, who knows. Things change in American politics. Hopefully,
David Jolly, thank you for making time tonight.
JOLLY: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Ahead, the White House drops its first major non-COVID-related piece
of legislation. What it is and what it reveals about the lessons learned
from stalled Obama-era policies after this.
HAYES: The Biden administration announced their first big piece of non-
COVID legislation today which is an immigration bill introduced by
Democrats that offers one of the fastest pathways to citizenship of any
proposal in recent years. What`s really notable is how different the
approach is from what President Barack Obama did which was try and meet
The administration jacked up deportations to record numbers in the first
few years and they threw a ton of money at border security in their
legislation. The result was they got a bunch of votes in the Senate, but
the Republican House just refused to even take up immigration reform.
Then Trump got elected and we got an immigration policy of unceasing
cruelty led by Stephen Miller. So, this time, Joe Biden seems to have
learned that lesson. Joining me now to talk about today`s big announcement
is someone who has the scars to show from all of her years in this very
battle, Lorella Praeli, president of Community Change Action, a group that
fights for policies for marginalized communities.
Lorella, I was -- I was remembering that I had a weekend show back in 2011,
2012. So, nine years ago, I think we had you on the program to talk about
immigration reform fight. So, I thought of no one better to sort of check
in with you about what lessons have been learned. What do you see in this
bill that reflects the last nine years of fights on this issue?
LORELLA PRAELI, PRESIDENT, COMMUNITY CHANGE ACTION: I mean, the top line
lesson, Chris, really is that movements build power that change and have
the capacity to change the politics, right? And so, this bill is without
question ground breaking in more than a few ways, right. You led with eight
year path to citizenship for the 11 million generally, a three-year path
for DREAMers, for TPS holders and farm workers. It addresses the root
causes of migration from Central America. On border, it signals a shift
away from border security framework, to really a border management
Now, the crucial, crucial paradigm shift here, I think this is the biggest
lesson learned, right, the bill doesn`t include new enforcement as a trade-
off. This is a sea change from proposals we`ve seen passed, right.
Legalization coupled with enforcement is a failed strategy and it`s morally
indefensible. And I commend President Biden and the Democrats for finally
HAYES: Yes. So, that point -- I mean, that has been -- I`ve covered this. I
have some -- I mean, I have personal scars to show for it because I`m not
on the front lines of this, but as a reporter, I covered McCain-Kennedy
back in 2005, right? And you know, it`s always been the same recipe,
enforcement, you know, jacking up enforcement and border security is the
trade, and then you get -- you know, try to stop future flow and then the
Republicans, you can bring them along on legalizing the 11 million.
And this is the first bill I`ve seen in my life in the 15 years I`ve been
covering it that just blows that up and says no, we`re not going to do
PRAELI: Yes, it`s a really important start and it helps us frame the
conversation, right. Chris, you have to remember that also in 2010, we
couldn`t even get all of the Democrats in the Senate on the DREAM Act,
right. So, what`s happened between then and today is really the movement.
The movement was strong then but it`s grown exponentially since then,
right? It`s the same movement but only bigger and more powerful and more
vibrant. Now, here`s the thing. It gives us the framework from which to
have the fight. We need to fight for the principles of President Biden`s
bill, but that alone is not enough, right?
A good faith attempt here is not going to cut it. You can`t win the
elections. You can`t do it because low-income people of color, because
Latinos and immigrant voters delivered it for you, and then come home
empty-handed or tell us we tried. So, this really gets us into a question
of and a conversation of strategy, right?
HAYES: Well, so what`s that? I mean, I don`t know if there are 50 votes for
this, right? I mean, like, the flip side of this is when you say OK, we`ve
gotten rid of the -- we`ve gotten rid of the old framework where we trade
these things like border security enforcement and e-verify and all this
stuff for this, we`ve gotten rid of that, but like, then are the votes
I mean, there`s a lot of people who are very conservative on immigration
both in the American population and in the Republican Party and some
probably in the Democratic Party.
PRAELI: Well, the American public is there. They`ve long been there on a
path to citizenship for the 11 million, for DREAMers, for farm workers. And
I actually think now we`re having a conversation about essential workers,
right. So, we are -- listen, our movement for justice is nonpartisan,
We are calling both on Democrats and Republicans to deliver for immigrant
communities this year. But I will be blunt. We are not holding out for
Republicans. We know that Trumpism did not disappear with Trump`s departure
from office. And every day Republicans make the choice to continue to align
with a party that has shown itself to be fundamentally opposed to the
multiracial democracy that we seek to build, right.
So, we do not have the luxury in our movement of performing gestures of
bipartisanship with actors who we know are acting in bad faith. So, what
does this all lead us to, right? We`re going to fight like hell. We`re
going to fight fast to hit 60 votes for DREAMers, for TPS holders, for
farmworkers, for essential workers. We will never stop until we win
citizenship for all 11 million.
But I want to be clear, if we do not have that by the time the next
reconciliation package is moving, right, it is now a question and a matter
of choice for Democrats. It is solely within their power to either secure a
historic win for immigrants or once again fail us. That`s really the
HAYES: Yes. Well, and I think it`s -- you know, I mean, I don`t know what
the future holds but it is striking to me that, you know, the country`s in
the midst of a bunch of crises as President Biden has said and I think is
accurate. The first obvious build is the COVID relief package, and I don`t
think there`s basically anyone in the entire broad coalition of the, you
know, center left that disagrees with that.
It is striking that this is the -- this is the number two which I think
says something about precisely the politics you spoke to before.
PRAELI: Yes. I think it`s -- listen, I think that the movement really
delivered this and I think President Biden campaigned on it. And now he has
to deliver, right? So, I think the question -- so it is an incredible
acting act, right? It shows the commitment. But you`ve got to follow
promise and aspiration and vision with concrete change in people`s lives,
Like, in 2010, Chris, right before I came on to your show when I was still
undocumented, I watched from the Senate gallery as the Dream act is called
for a vote. The Democrats had the majority in the Senate and yet they
failed to get the votes to overcome the filibuster.
We lost that vote, and with it we lost our hope for stability, for
protection from deportation, for a path to citizenship for two million
young people in this country. We cannot have a repeat of 2010. And as the
president begins to lay out his framework for this next recovery and jobs
bill, there is this procedure he can use to make sure that he comes through
HAYES: I have to -- on reconciliation. I`m sorry to cut you off. I got to
get -- hand -- pass the baton to Rachel Maddow. Lorella Praeli, thanks so
much for making time tonight. That is ALL IN on this Thursday night. "THE
RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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