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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, August 24, 2020



Coverage of the Republican National Convention.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We come together to imagine a future determined by the shining light of our hopes and values and faith. A country where we are judged by our character with dignity and respect for all. The belief that all are created equal, that lives matter irrespective of race, creed or color, committed to excelling beyond our dreams.

Four years ago, we faced a historic crossroad, career politicians promising change every election but delivering emptiness. We chose a different path, a man who is not a politician, a man who cares, a man who works tirelessly for you.

Still, politicians spun their deceptions and obstructed progress, fanning the flames of lawlessness. We all know that it is easy to criticize. It takes a true leader to solve problems.

COVID-19, while others criticized without solutions, President Trump's swift action saved lives. And as leading Democrats want to keep business close down, our president is leading the way for a full economic recovery.

We are America. We, as Americans, work together to overcome challenges and write our own stories.

America -- land of promise, land of opportunity, land of heroes, land of greatness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought I had been forgotten. I nearly gave up hope.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was so afraid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believed I would die here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: American hostages forgotten and wasting away in far off prisons, wrongfully detained by foreign governments. Americans were beaten, abused, starved and left for dead -- until President Donald Trump stepped in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three American hostages finally back on U.S. soil after being held captive in North Korea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're following some breaking news in Turkey where an American pastor Andrew Bronson has been released.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An American jailed in Egypt is back in the U.S. after an intervention by the Trump administration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A tough and skilled negotiator, President Trump successfully won the release of detainees and prisoners, among the most of any president in American history, while families waited in despair for news of their loved ones. President Trump provided a new spark of hope by bringing our hostages home.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have Danny Burch back home where he should be. He was in Yemen in a very horrible situation.

Yesterday, the United States government secured the release of Caitlin Coleman, Joshua Boyle and their three children.

Today we are bringing home another American citizen.

Just had news that Turkey released a prisoner that we were trying to get to the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Under this administration, America has not and will not turn its back on our people. President Trump will bring them home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Diplomacy, negotiation skills, perseverance, faith, the ingredients of hope when there is no hope. No American should ever be left behind. Priority, freeing American hostages.

TRUMP: We have six incredible people who were held hostage by various countries, and I'm very pleased to let everybody know that we brought back over 50 hostages from 22 different countries. We worked very hard on it, Ambassador O'Brien and others. And I will tell you we're very proud of the job we did.

But I'd like to ask maybe Pastor Brunson just a few words, so we can get through and just give us a little history of what happened and how is life treating you?

ANDREW BRUNSON, RELEASED HOSTAGE: I was held in Turkey for two years and you took unprecedented steps, actually, to secure my release and your administration really fought for me. I think if you hadn't done that, I may still be in Turkey. So I'm very grateful.

TRUMP: Twenty-eight years, right, they had you there for, they had scheduled for a long time, Andrew. We had to get you back.


TRUMP: And I have to say that to me, President Erdogan was very good. And I know they had you scheduled for a long time and you are a very innocent person. And he ultimately after we had a few conversations he agreed so we appreciate that. And we appreciate the people of Turkey. You still appreciate the people of Turkey, I understand, right?

BRUNSON: We love the Turkish people.

TRUMP: That's great. It's great to have you back, Andrew. Thank you.


SAM GOODWIN, HELD FOR TWO MONTHS IN SYRIA IN 2019: Mr. President, thank you for having me.

TRUMP: Thank you.

GOODWIN: My name is Sam Goodwin. I'm from St. Louis, Missouri. I was held in Syria for 63 days. And I think I speak for my fellow former hostages and detainees here when I say I'm as grateful as ever been for anything to be home safely.

And thank you for the invitation and opportunity to be here, particularly Ambassador O'Brien was incredibly supportive and helpful to my family. And I can't say enough nice things about him. Thank you for promoting him.

TRUMP: Good.

GOODWIN: And just really happy to be here. So, thank you.

TRUMP: We got you back.

GOODWIN: You got me back, yes.

TRUMP: We got you all back. And we have some more that we're working on right now to get back that we better do.

Please, go ahead.

MICHAEL WHITE, DETAINED FOR TWO YEARS IN IRAN: My name is Michael White, Mr. President. I do once again. It's an honor to be here, honor to meet you in person.

Basically, what had happened with me is I went, traveled over to the country of Iran. It turned out there was a major, major trap and I was apprehended there.

I went through a lot in their injustice, in the Iranian justice system. Iran is an oppressive extortionist terrorist regime. You know what I'm talking about. But what you did, sir, is you were able to get me out of that prison in record time. It was amazing.

TRUMP: Thank you very much. We really appreciate it.



TRUMP: Please.

JOSHUA HOLT, FREED FROM VENEZUELA: My name is Josh Holt. And this is my wife Tammy.


HOLT: We were held hostage in Venezuela for two years.

TRUMP: I know very well.

HOLT: And you helped us get out. Senator Hatch worked with you very well on that. And it was a great honor to be able to meet you right when we got back. I remember a lot of people asked me, what was it like meeting President Trump? And I just said I was blown away.

I just got released after two years, then I'm shaking the hand of the president in the Oval Office. I don't really remember a whole lot of it. So, it's nice to meet you again. It's been great. It's been great to be back and helping people through situations that they've gone through. And we started our family.

TRUMP: Well, the great people of Utah really wanted me to do something about the two of you, and we were able to do it. And a little bit of a miracle, I think, frankly.

HOLT: It was.

TRUMP: Because it was a very hostile period. And we appreciate everybody working so hard with us. But we were able to get you both back. Are you living in Utah now, I hope?

HOLT: Yes. We're still living in Utah.

TRUMP: That's good. Well, say hello to the folks in Utah, because they're great people. Thank you very much. Congratulations.

HOLT: Thank you.

TRUMP: Please.

BRYAN NERREN, PASTOR FREED FROM INDIA: Bryan Nerren. I spent an unexpected trip in India. I was not going to India. I was going through India to Nepal.


NERREN: I had been working there for the last 18 years. But on behalf of my family and myself, thank you, President, for getting us out and getting us home. The darkest moment of our whole time together, your letter to my wife came, and it really gave her the hope and the peace.

TRUMP: That's great.

NERREN: From that time forward as more people got involved, especially the ambassador there in India, things became more peaceful, and the hope was there for the last four months that we really would get to come home because they had planned on keeping me for three to five years. The original charge thing was three to five years.

TRUMP: Right.

NERREN: And that was cleared and then they came up with new charges to do a seven-year term.

TRUMP: Well, India responded very well to my request.


TRUMP: So, we appreciate that.

NERREN: I appreciate everything you all did.

TRUMP: Thank you all for being with us.

We have a few more people we want to get back. And we will get them back and they'll be back very soon. Thank you very much. I appreciate it. Great stories.


MAXIMO ALVAREZ, FLORIDA BUSINESSMAN: Hello. My name is Maximo Alvarez. I live in Miami, Florida, not far from the Strait of Florida which is just an 80-mile wide blue strip on a mile (ph) from me. It divides freedom from fear. It divides the past from the future. I know all about the past. I'll never forget my own.

My family has fled totalitarianism and communism more than once, first my dad from Spain, and then from Cuba. But my family don't run away. By the grace of God, I live the American dream, the greatest blessing I ever had. My dad only had a 6th grade education told me, don't lose this place, you will never be (INAUDIBLE).

I'm speaking to you today because my family's do not abandon what we've rightfully earned. There's no place to hide.

I'm speaking to you today because President Trump may not always be politically correct. He's in fact a successful businessman, not your average career politician. Our president is just another family man, a friend, a most important, our elected commander in chief who puts America first.

Keep in mind the other guy running for president is mostly concerned about power. Yes, yes, power for them but not for the benefit of all Americans. I'm speaking to you today because I have seen people like this before.

I've seen movements like this before. I've seen ideas like this before. And I am here to tell you we cannot let them take over our country.

I heard the promises of Fidel Castro. And I can never forget all those who grew up around me who look like me, who suffer and starve and died because they believe those empty promises. They swallow their communist poison pill.

If you have a chance, go to the Freedom Tower in Miami. Stop and listen. You can still hear the sounds of those broken promises. It is the sound of waves in the ocean carrying families clinging to pieces of wood. Families with children who can't swim but willing to risk everything to reach this blessed land.

It is the sound of tears hitting the paper of an application to become an American citizen. Most heard and like the promises but soon after they experience the reality. Look at them, listen to them, learn the truth. Those false promises spread the wealth, free education, free health care, defund the police? Trust a socialist state more than your family and your community? They don't sound radical to my ears. They sound familiar.

Fidel Castro was asked if he was a communist. He said he was a Roman Catholic. He knew he had to hide the truth. But the country he was born in is gone, totally destroyed. When I watch the news in Seattle, Chicago and Portland and other cities, when they see the history being rewritten, when I hear the promises, I heard echoes -- I hear echoes of a former life I never wanted to hear again. I see shadows I thought I had outrun.

My parents only wanted one person to decide my fate, me, not some buddy member, not some government official, not some bureaucrat.

In America, I would decide my own future. I am so grateful to America, the place where I was able to build my American dream through hard work and determination. President Trump knows that the American story was written people just like you and I who love our country and take risks to build a future for our families and neighbors.

I may be a Cuban born, but I am 100 percent American. This is the greatest country in the world. And I said this before. If I gave away everything that I have today, it would not equal 1 percent of what I was given when I came to this great country of ours, the gift of freedom.

Right now, it is up to us to decide our fate and to choose freedom over oppression. President Trump, he's fighting the forces of anarchy and communism. And I know he will continue to do just that. And what about his opponent and the rest of the D.C. swamp? I have no doubt they will hand the country over to those dangerous forces.

You and I will decide. And here's what I've decided. My decision is very easy. I choose President Trump because I choose America. I choose freedom. I still hear my dad. There is no other place to go.

Thank you, and may the good Lord bless America.

MADDOW: Emotional remarks there from Maximo Alvarez, Cuban-American, talking about his family experience. They're going to be just playing a quick video here that doesn't have content. It's the only way to say that.

But we just want to interject about a couple of things that have been said over the last few minutes that are factually inaccurate. And some of them will obviously be factually inaccurate too, the claim just made by Congressman Steve Scalise that we have the lowest unemployment rate in over 50 years. We actually have the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression, which everybody knows, but you go with what you got.

Also the claim from Representative Steve Scalise. We're checking this now because this claim has been made multiple times throughout the course of the evening. Representative Scalise said, clearly, Joe Biden has embraced the left's insane mission to defund the police. Whatever you think about the defund the police idea, Joe Biden has absolutely not embraced it. He has not endorsed it at all, even though that's been said multiple times this evening.

Also on COVID, remarkable repeated claims that the president's China travel ban saved thousands and thousands if not millions of lives when he put that in place. It should be noted that about 40,000 people came to this country on planes from China in the two months after he put that ban in place. Again, context.

We're going to dip back in now. Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is speaking. This is one of the few live speeches of the night. This one's not on tape, unlike everything else, just about everything else you seen.

NIKKI HALEY, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: -- Republican president she served and she called out his Democratic opponent, a former vice president from a failed administration. That Ambassador said, and I quote, "Democrats always blame America First. The year was 1984. The President was Ronald Reagan, and Ambassador Jean Kirkpatrick's words are just as true today.

Joe Biden and the Democrats are still blaming America First. Donald Trump has always put America First, and he has earned four more years as president. It was an honor of a lifetime to serve as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations.

Now, the U.N. is not for the faint of heart. It's a place where dictators, murderers and thieves denounce America and then put their hands out and demand that we pay their bills. Well, President Trump put an end to all of that. With his leadership, we did what Barack Obama and Joe Biden refused to do. We stood up for America, and we stood against our enemies.

Obama and Biden let North Korea threaten America. President Trump rejected that weakness and we passed the toughest sanctions on North Korea in history. Obama and Biden let Iran get away with murder and literally sent them a plane full of cash. President Trump did the right thing and ripped up the Iran nuclear deal.

Obama and Biden led the United Nations to denounce our friend and ally Israel. President Trump moved our embassy to Jerusalem. And when the U.N. tried to condemn us, I was proud to cast the American veto.

This President has a record of strength and success. The former vice president has a record of weakness and failure. Joe Biden is good for Iran and ISIS, great for Communist China, and he's a godsend to everyone who wants America to apologize, abstain and abandon our values. Donald Trump takes a different approach. He's tough on China, and he took on ISIS and won, and he tells the world what it needs to hear.

At home, the President is the clear choice on jobs and the economy. He's moved America forward, while Joe Biden has held America back. When Joe was VP, I was governor of the great state of South Carolina. We had a pretty good run, manufacturers of all kinds flocked to our state from overseas, creating tens of thousands of American jobs.

People were referring to South Carolina as the beast of the Southeast, which I loved. Everything we did happened in spite of Joe Biden and his old boss. We cut taxes, they raised them. We slashed red tape, they piled on more mandates. And when we brought in good paying jobs, Biden and Obama sued us. I fought back and they gave up.

A Biden-Harris administration would be much, much worse. Last time, Joe's boss was Obama. This time it would be Pelosi, Sanders and "The Squad." Their vision for America is socialism. And we know that socialism has failed everywhere.

They want to tell Americans how to live, what to think, they want a government takeover of healthcare. They want to ban fracking and kill millions of jobs. They want massive tax hikes on working families. Joe Biden, and the socialist left would be a disaster for our economy. But president Trump is leading a new era of opportunity.

Before communist China gave us the coronavirus, we were breaking economic records left and right. The pandemic has set us back, but not for long president. Trump brought our economy back before and he will bring it back again.

There's one more important area where I president is right. He knows that political correctness and cancel culture are dangerous and just plain wrong. In much of the Democratic party, it's now fashionable to say that America is racist. That is a lie.

America is not a racist country. This is personal for me. I am the proud daughter of Indian immigrants. They came to America and settled in a small Southern town. My father wore a turban. My mother wore a saree. I was a brown girl in a black and white world.

We faced discrimination and hardship, but my parents never gave in to grievance and hate. My mom built a successful business. My dad taught 30 years at a Historically Black College, and the people of South Carolina chose me as their first minority and first female governor.

America is a story that's a work in progress. Now is the time to build on that progress and make America even freer, fairer, and better for everyone. That's why it's so tragic to see so much of the Democratic party, turning a blind eye towards riots and rage. The American people know we can do better.

And of course we value and respect every Black life. The black cops who've been shot in the line of duty, they matter. The Black, small business owners who've watched their life's work go up and flames, they matter. The Black kids who've been gunned down on the playground, their lives matter too. And their lives are being ruined and stolen by the violence on our streets.

It doesn't have to be like this. It wasn't like this in South Carolina, five years ago. Our state came face to face with evil: a White Supremacist walked into Mother Emmanuel Church during Bible study. 12 African-Americans pulled up a chair and prayed with him for an hour. Then he began to shoot.

After that horrific tragedy, we didn't turn against each other. We came together, Black and White, Democrat and Republican. Together, we made the hard choices needed to heal and removed a divisive symbol peacefully and respectfully.

What happened then should give us hope now. America, isn't perfect, but the principles we hold dear are perfect. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that even on our worst day, we are blessed to live in America. It's time to keep that blessing alive for the next generation.

This president and this party are committed to that noble task. We seek a nation that rises together, not falls apart in anarchy and anger. We know that the only way to overcome America's challenges is to embrace America's strengths.

We are striving to reach a brighter future, where every child goes to a world-class school chosen by their parents. Where every family lives in a safe community with good jobs, where every entrepreneur has the freedom to achieve and inspire. Where every believer can worship without fear, and every life is protected. Where every girl and boy, every woman and man of every race and religion has the best shot at the best shot at the best life.

In this election, we must choose the only candidate who has and who will continue delivering on that vision. President Trump and Vice President Pence have my support and America has our promise.

We will build on the progress of our past, and unlock the promise of our future. That future starts when the American people re-elect President Donald Trump.

Thank you. Good night, and may God always bless America.

DONALD TRUMP JR., SON OF DONALD TRUMP: Good evening, America. I'm Donald Trump Jr.

We're here tonight to talk about the great American story, to talk about this country we all love, this land of promise and opportunity, of heroes and greatness.

Just a few short months ago, we were seeing the American dream become a reality for more of our citizens than ever before, the greatest prolonged economic expansion in American history, the lowest unemployment rate in nearly 50 years, the lowest unemployment rates ever for black Americans, Hispanic-Americans, women, and pretty much every other demographic group.

And then, courtesy of the Chinese Communist Party, the virus struck. The president quickly took action and shut down travel from China. Joe Biden and his Democrat allies called my father a racist and a xenophobe for doing it. They put political correctness ahead of the safety and security of the American people.

Fortunately, as the virus began to spread, the president acted quickly and ensured ventilators got to hospitals that needed them most. He delivered PP-and-E (sic) to our brave front-line workers, and he rallied the mighty American private sector to tackle this new challenge.

There's more work to do, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Job gains are outpacing what the so-called experts expected. But Biden's radical left-wing policies would stop our economic recovery cold. He is already talking about shutting the country down again.

It's madness.

Democrats claim to be for workers, but they have spent the entire pandemic trying to sneak a tax break for millionaires in Democrat states into the COVID relief bill. Then they attacked my father for suspending the payroll tax for middle-class workers.

In fact, if you think about it, Joe Biden's entire economic platform seems designed to crush the working man and woman. He supported the worst trade deals in the history of the planet. He voted for the NAFTA nightmare. Down the tubes went our auto industry. He pushed for TPP. Goodbye, manufacturing jobs.

Beijing Biden is so weak on China that the intelligence community recently assessed that the Chinese Communist Party favors Biden. They know he will weaken us, both economically and on a world stage.

Biden also wants to bring in more illegal immigrants to take jobs from American citizens. His open border policies would drive wages down for Americans, at a time when low-income workers were getting real wage increases for the first time in modern history.

He's pledged to repeal the Trump tax cuts, which were the biggest in our country. After eight years of Obama and Biden's slow growth, Trump's policies have been like rocket fuel to the economy, and especially to the middle class.

Biden has promised to take that money back out of your pocket and keep it in the swamp.

That makes sense, though, considering Joe Biden is basically the Loch Ness Monster of the swamp. For the past half-century, he's been lurking around in there. He sticks his head up every now and then to run for president. Then he disappears and doesn't too much in between.

So, if you're looking for hope, look to the man who did what the failed Obama/Biden administration never could do and built the greatest economy our country has ever seen.

And President Trump will do it again. We will be stronger than ever, because, when we put our mind to it, there is no obstacle that America can't surmount, except there's a difference this time.

In the past, both parties believed in the goodness of America. We agreed on where we wanted to go. We just disagreed on how to get there.

This time, the other party is attacking the very principles on which our nation was founded, freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the rule of law.

Thomas Jefferson famously said, "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

Our founders believed there was nothing more important than protecting our God-given right to think for ourselves.

Now, the left, they're trying to cancel all of those founders. They don't seem to understand this important principle. In order to improve in the future, we must learn from our past, not erase it.

So, we're not going to tear down monuments and forget the people who built our great nation. Instead, we will learn from our past, so we don't repeat any mistakes. And we will work tirelessly to improve the lives of all Americans.

Joe Biden and the radical left are now coming for our freedom of speech. They want to bully us into submission. If they get their way, it will no longer be the silent majority. It will be the silenced majority.

This has to stop. Freedom of expression used to be a liberal value, at least before the radical left took over. Now the Republican Party is the home of free speech, the place where anyone from any background can speak their mind, and may the best ideas win.

People of faith are under attack. You're not allowed to go to church, but mass chaos in the streets gets a pass. It's almost like this election is shaping up to be church, work, and school vs. rioting, looting, and vandalism, or, in the words of Biden and the Democrats, peaceful protesting.

Anarchists have been flooding our streets, and Democrat mayors are ordering the police to stand down. Small businesses across America, many of them minority-owned, are being torched by mobs. The Democrat mayors pretend it's not happening. They actually called it a summer of love.

And that brings me to another important principle. Every American must be free to live without fear of violence in your country, in your communities, and in your homes. All men and women are created equal and must be treated equally under the law.

That's why we must put an end to racism, and we must ensure that any police officer who abuses their powers is held accountable.

What happened to George Floyd is a disgrace. And if you know a police officer, you know they agree with that too. But we cannot lose sight of the fact that our police are American heroes. They deserve our deepest appreciation, because, no matter what the Democrats say, you and I both know, when we dial 911, we don't want it going to voice-mail.

So, defunding the police is not an option. Everything starts with safety and security. You can't have anything else without it. You can't focus on building a better future for your children without the peace of mind that they can study safely in their classrooms, play safely in their neighborhoods, and sleep safely in their beds.

But safety is only the beginning. Trump's America is a land of opportunity, a place of promise. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family that could afford the best schools and the finest universities.

But a great education cannot be the exclusive right of the rich and powerful. It must be accessible to all. And that's why my dad is pro-school choice. That's why he's called education access the civil rights issue, not just of our time, but of all time.

It is unacceptable that too many African-American and Hispanic-American children are stuck in bad schools just because of their zip code. Donald Trump will not stand for it.

If Democrats really wanted to help minorities in underserved communities, instead of bowing to big-money union bosses, they'd let parents choose what school is best for their kids. They'd limit immigration to protect American workers. They'd support the police who protect our neighborhoods. They'd learn how to negotiate trade deals that prioritize America's interests, for a change.

They'd end the endless wars and quit sending our young people to solve problems in foreign lands. They'd cut taxes for families and workers. They'd create Opportunity Zones that drive investment into inner cities.

In other words, if Democrats cared for the forgotten men and women of our country, they'd do exactly what President Trump is doing.

America is the greatest country on Earth. But my father's entire world view revolves around the idea that we can always do even better.

Imagine the life you want to have, one with a great job, a beautiful home, a perfect family. You can have it. Imagine the country you want to live in, one with true equal opportunity, where hard work pays off and justice is served with compassion and without partiality. You can have it.

Imagine a world where the evils of communism and radical Islamic terrorism are not given a chance to spread, where heroes are celebrated, and the good guys win. You can have it.

That is the life, that is the country, that is the world that Donald Trump and the Republican Party are after. And, yes, you can have it, because, unlike Joe Biden and the radical left Democrats, our party is open to everyone.

It starts by rejecting radicals who want to drag us into the dark, and embracing the man who represents a bright and beautiful future for all.

It starts by reelecting Donald J. Trump president of the United States.

Thank you, and God bless America.


CATALINA LAUF (R-IL), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I'm Catalina Lauf. I work in the political space.

MADELINE LAUF, FOUNDER OF BEGIN HEALTH: And I'm Madeline Lauf and I'm the founder of Begin Health a children's nutritional company.

C. LAUF: We grew up in a really small town outside of Chicago. Our mom's from Guatemala. Our dad's a small business owner from Chicago. And so they brought two different cultures together to create us. I little bit of crazy and --

M. LAUF: A little bit of fun.

C. LAUF: Yes.

M. LAUF: They taught us the values of hard work, liberty, to love this country unapologetically. Our dad is a beekeeper and just so many different things out in the countryside and it was just such a sweet thing.

C. LAUF: We grew up selling honey at farmer's markets. So my line was, "Have you ever been stung by a bee?"

But really it was teaching us, again, entrepreneurship, small business, self-reliance. And that we're the ones that need to put in the hard work to get what we want.

M. LAUF: My mother being from Guatemala, escaping what she had there, growing up in poverty and coming here to the United States, being able to fulfill her destiny and be somebody that she couldn't there in her home country.

C. LAUF: And they really instilled in us the sense of purpose but also self-accountability in that we had to strive to do the things that we wanted and it was up to us to make those things happen.



RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: You're watching the first night of what is sort of the Republican National Convention. The Republican Party actually convened its convention in Charlotte, North Carolina this morning. Did all the business of the convention and then adjourned.

And now the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign are basically putting on this show tonight in the style of a convention. We have been jumping in and out a little bit in part because there's been a lot of things that have been said, even by various establishment speakers tonight that have just been wrong and we feel like we need to just factually correct some of the record.

Again, not to analyze what's happening while it's happening but, for example, Nikki Haley in her remarks tonight we all sort of jerked back when she suggested that the threat from North Korea is over.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was better than that.

MADDOW: Yes. Obama and Biden let North Korea threaten America. President Trump rejected that weakness.

North Korea is still threatening America. And there was also the whole love letters thing.

NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: Well, yes. you know, we love each other. Maybe Trump finds strength in love. I'm not sure. But the United States has never had a public posture toward North Korea more wrapped in flowery language of literally love. I mean that's not an insult. Donald Trump describes them as love letters.

He's been known to show them to people and really finds a personal connection with Kim Jong-un something that is special to him.

He's also talked about basically turning the coast of the country into Boca. I mean we do not project strength when it comes to North Korea.

MADDOW: And the threat factually is not over. It's not that North Korea has stopped issuing threats to the United States. They absolutely still are.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: And I think that you have to remember, too, that Kim Jong-un's father craved a meeting with an American president.

No American president has agreed to a face-to-face meeting with either of the Kims except Donald Trump. And so when Nikki Haley said the thing that stood up out of -- that Donald Trump had stood up to our enemies. You know, I mean we could fact check that all night based on other people beyond that. But yes, I think on North Korea, giving a face-to-face meeting to Kim Jong-un, I'm not sure is standing up to them.

MADDOW: Nikki Haley also one of a number of speakers tonight to say that Republicans, and President Trump in particular, rejects cancel culture. That nothing should because cancelled. The President is currently calling for a boycott of Good Year tires because they weren't pro-Trump enough from some story that he -- and actually an inaccurate story that he saw somewhere on Fox.

WALLACE: And Nikki Haley is -- you know, the other lie she told was that Joe Biden is good for ISIS. I mean Secretary Mattis resigned at a pivotal inflection point for the coalition fighting ISIS over a policy disagreement with Donald Trump. A lot of foreign policy watchers also sort of jumped out when he said Erdogan is good.

MADDOW: He said Erdogan was great to a man who had been held hostage in Turkey because of Erdogan.

WALLACE: Right, right. And again Donald Trump displayed epic weakness with Erdogan when he allowed the slaughter of the Kurds, our great allies there.

MADDOW: Also just -- sorry go ahead.

REID: I'm sorry. I was going to say that they were Erdogan's forces that, you know, brutalized people in our own country, in D.C. I mean that everything has gone into the memory hole (ph) but that was I think in his first year in office.

MADDOW: (INAUDIBLE) As we're all watching together.

South Carolina U.S. Senator Tim Scott is going to be the final headline speaker of the night. Let's go to him now.

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): Good evening. I'm Senator Tim Scott from the great state of South Carolina.

To all of you tuning in and participating in the political process, God bless you.

This isn't how I picture tonight, but our country is experiencing something none of us envisioned. From a global pandemic to the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, 2020 has tested our nation in ways we haven't seen for decades.

But regardless of the challenges presented to us, every four years, Americans come together to vote, to share stories about what makes our nation strong, and the lessons we have learned can strengthen it for further generations -- because while this election is between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, it is not solely about Donald Trump and Joe Biden. It's about the promise of America.

It's about you and me, our challenges and heartbreaks, hopes and dreams. It's about how we respond when tackling critical issues like police reform, when Democrats called our work a token effort and walked out of the room during negotiations because they wanted the issue more than they wanted a solution.

Do we want a society that breeds success or a culture that cancels everything it even slightly disagrees with?

I know where I stand because, you see, I am living my mother's American dream. My parents divorced when I was 7 years old, and we moved in with my grandparents into a two-bedroom home with me, my mom, and my brother sharing a room and one bed.

My mom worked 16 hours a day to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads. She knew that if we could find the opportunity, bigger things would come. I thought I had to use football to succeed in life. And my focus on academics faded away.

By freshman year, I failed out. I failed four subjects, Spanish, English, world geography, and even civics. Trust me, though, after seven years in the Senate, I know I'm not the only one in Congress who failed civics.

But even while I was failing the ninth grade, my mother always said to me, Timmy, if you would just shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you'll be among the stars. She never lost faith in me even when I lost faith in myself.

Because of her encouragement, I went to summer school and caught up. The next year I met my mentor, John Moniz, a Chick-fil-A operator. John saw something in me that I could not see in myself and started teaching me valuable life lessons like having a job would be a good thing, but creating jobs would be even better. That having an income could change my lifestyle, but creating a profit could change my community.

He planted the seeds of what would become Opportunity Zones. This initiative that the president and I worked together on is now bringing more than $75 billion of private-sector investment into distressed communities.

I took those lessons to heart and started putting the pieces of my life back together. I realized a quality education is the closest thing to magic in America.

That's why I fight to this day for school choice, to make sure every child in every neighborhood has a quality education. I don't care if it's a public, private, charter, virtual, or a home school, when a parent has a choice, their kid has a better chance. And the president has fought alongside me on that.

Later in life, I started my own small business. That's why I know it is critical for us to have a tax code that encourages growth. We actually saw revenues to the treasury increase after we lowered taxes in 2017. Rest assured, the Democrats do not want you to know that.

After starting my small business and spending some time in local government, I decided to run for Congress in 2010. The district is based in Charleston, South Carolina, where the civil war started against a son of our legendary Senator Strom Thurman.

You may be asking yourself, how does a poor black kid from a single-parent household run and win in a race crowded with Republicans against a Thurman? Because of the evolution of the Southern heart.

In an overwhelmingly white district, the voters judge me not on the color of my skin but on the content of my character. We live in a world that only wants you to believe in the bad news racially, economically, and culturally polarizing news.

The truth is our nation's arc always bends back towards fairness. We are not fully where we want to be, but I thank God Almighty, we are not where we used to be. We are always striving to be better.

When we stumble, and we will, we pick ourselves back up and try again. We don't give into cancel culture or the radical and factually baseless belief that things are worse today than in the 1860s or the 1960s. We have work to do, but I believe in the goodness of America, the promise that all men and all women are created equal. And if you're watching tonight, I'm betting you do, too.

Over the past four years, we have made tremendous progress towards that promise. President Trump built the most inclusive economy ever. Seven million jobs created pre-COVID-19, and two-thirds of them went to women, African-Americans, and Hispanics.

The first new major effort to tackle poverty in a generation, Opportunity Zones. We put hard-earned tax dollars back in people's pockets by cutting their taxes, especially for single-parent households like the one I grew up in, cutting single mothers' taxes 70 percent on average.

President Trump supported these tax cuts for those single moms and other working families and signed these policies into law, and our nation is better off for it.

So, I'm going to ask you, the American people, not to simply look at what the candidates say, but to look back at what they've done. This election is about your future, and it is critical to paint a full picture of the records of Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

Joe Biden said if a black man didn't vote for him, he wasn't truly black. Joe Biden said black people are a monolithic community. It was Joe Biden who said poor kids can be just as smart as white kids.

And while his words are one thing, his actions take it to a whole new level. In 1994, Biden led the charge on a crime bill that put millions of black Americans behind bars. President Trump's criminal justice reform law fixed many of the disparities Biden created and made our system more fair and just for all Americans.

Joe Biden also failed our nation's historically black colleges and universities, heaping blame on them as they fought to ensure our young folks had access to higher education. Once again to clean up Joe Biden's mess, President Trump signed into law historically high funding for HBCUs as well as a bill to give them permanent funding for the first time ever.

And now, Joe Biden wants to come for your pocketbooks -- unless, of course, you're a blue state millionaire. I'm serious, that's one of their solutions for the pandemic. They want to take more money from your pocket and give it to Manhattan elites and Hollywood moguls so they get a tax break.

Republicans, however, passed President Trump's once-in-a-generation tax reform bill that lower taxes for single moms, working families, and those in need.

So when it comes to what Joe Biden says he'll do, look at his actions. Look at his policies. Look at what he already did and what he didn't do while he's been in Washington for 47 years.

Ladies and gentlemen, people don't always see those failures because they think we're having a policy debate on two sides of an issue. That is not what is happening. Our side is working on policy while Joe Biden's radical Democrats are trying to permanently transform what it means to be an American.

Make no mistake: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris want a cultural revolution, a fundamentally different America. If we let them, they will turn our country into a socialist utopia. And history has taught us that path only leads to pain and misery, especially for hardworking people hoping to rise.

Instead, we must focus on the promise of the American journey. I know that journey well.

My grandfather's 99th birthday would have been tomorrow. Growing up, he had to cross the street if a white person was coming. He suffered the indignity of being forced out of school as a third grader to pick cotton and he never learned to read or write.

Yet, he lived long enough to see his grandson become the first African-American to be elected to both the United States House and the United States Senate in the history of this country. Our family went from cotton to Congress in one lifetime.

And that's why I believe the next American century can be better than the last. There are millions of families just like mine all across this nation full of potential, seeking to live the American Dream.

And I'm here tonight to tell you that supporting the Republican ticket gives you the best chance of making that dream a reality.

God bless you. And, Father, please continue blessing the United States of America. God bless.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott wrapping up the first night of this Republican National Convention.

Brian Williams here with you. And good evening once again.

A new week brings the telecast or telethon, perhaps, from another political party. As we welcome you to a special two-hour edition of "THE 11TH HOUR", let's begin with what we have just witnessed, and let's begin with our friends.

Remaining with us in our New York studios to react to what we've just seen, Rachel Maddow, Nicolle Wallace, Joy Reid. Rachel, you first.

MADDOW: Oh, Brian.

This is in some ways, actually if you looked at this on paper, if you kind of looked at this as a television production, it's more similar to the Democratic event from last week than we thought. For example, there were very few live events even though the Republicans have produced this from a central hub, so everybody is standing at the same podium speaking from the same place -- almost everything that you just saw tonight, with a few exceptions, was recorded basically live to tape where they had people prerecord their speeches, and they rolled them in a way that made people think they were live.

Most of them were not live. It is distracting to have a lot of false information broadcast. I think it's distracting to us as broadcasters doing this because we feel a responsibility to correct stuff. And it is awkward to have to interrupt, and it makes us make hard decisions about what we're not showing so that we can clean some stuff up that was otherwise said that people might otherwise believe is factually true.

I will just say personally I feel like there's no clean, easy, and perfect way to do it, but we do our best. And my priority at least is to make sure that we broadcast as little false medical information as possible, and we had a bunch of that tonight around COVID. Not only lying about the President's record, I don't know what Don Jr., meant when he said the President has delivered PP and E to our brave frontline workers. It's just PPE, but that didn't get delivered in a hurry.

The President making some false claims about therapeutics and immunity and other things about COVID that just makes me -- it's really bad on a night with this many people watching to still be broadcasting false information to a country where we've lost 176,000 Americans already.

And the last thing we need is more lies and misinformation about what this virus is, how it works, and how you can or can't protect yourself from it. So I'm -- I get -- I feel that acutely, but technically they did -- they did pull it off.

WALLACE: You know, Brian --

WILLIAMS: Joy Reid --


WILLIAMS: Go ahead, Nicolle. I'm sorry.

REID: Go ahead Nicolle.

WALLACE: No, no, no. No, you go.

REID: No, you go.

WALLACE: You go.

REID: You first.

WALLACE: All I was going to add, first of all, you know, Rachel, we didn't know exactly where the lies would come. And so it is sort of this on the fly thing.

But for me, my political (INAUDIBLE) why they lie. And it's (INAUDIBLE) I said that. Why the lies and why the sugar coating of the pandemic because if they really thought that 177,000 Americans was the best America could do, there wouldn't be all these distractions. They would have just gone to the heart of it. And this whole night would have been COVID night.

If they really thought that they could run on their response to the pandemic -- and, again, since we were anchoring the hour together, Brian, every day as the numbers ticked up in alarming and heartbreaking ways, the case that the president has to make to his base, every single one of them needs to still be alive and vote for him, is this is the best we could do.

Nobody thinks that this is the best we could do, not one person. So it's not just that they lied and that it was awkward and we had to pull out and we had to get Dr. Gupta, you know, out of whatever he was doing, saving a life or something.

It's why the lies? And the lies are there because nobody thinks that the best that America can do is 177,000 dead people.

REID: Yes, except that, you know, the latest polling showing that while like 10 percent of democrats say they think it's acceptable, so it's maybe not the best we can do, but you have 67 percent of Republicans in the latest polling saying they think it's acceptable that 180,000 people are dead. A number that I choke on, and I'm sure we all do, trying to get it out every night.

I mean, Nicolle, when you do the piece at the end where you talk about the people who died, I literally have to, you know, not have my -- I want to cry and listen to it. It's so hard to see those faces and 180,000 -- 67 percent of Republicans think that that's acceptable.

That shocks me in a way that I can't get over. And I've known this piece of data for 24 hours. I'm not over it.

But the why they lie thing, I mean why say that Donald Trump saved HBCUs? That isn't true. I mean I was literally Googling it on my phone. You can find it in like two seconds. It just isn't true, but they're claim -- this was a -- it's not a convention. I'm so glad that Rachel pointed that out in the beginning because it made it make so much sense.

MADDOW: It was a pageant about a convention.

REID: It was a pageant about a convention but it was also a pageant about convention versus a candidate who doesn't exist. They could have done this, they should have produced this like two months ago because it doesn't matter who the Democrat is because this person is a communist who wants to destroy the bible and burn it, who wants to, I guess, make us into Cuba, who is not standing up to our enemies, and somehow Donald Trump is.

MADDOW: Donald Trump Jr. warned that whoever this person is will also destroy the rule of law.

REID: Will destroy the rule of law --


REID: -- which is amazing coming from -- it's bizarre.

Then, you know, they ended with the least unpleasant person currently working in Republican politics, Tim Scott, who is a nice enough guy. But nothing they're saying about what this -- the reality is Trumpism is, is true.

Nikki Haley piecing through which black lives matter. Thanks, Nikki. I really needed to know which of our lives matter. I really appreciate you pointing out that it's everyone except people killed by police. Appreciated that.

Herschel Walker who touts Donald Trump's, you know, being involved in the USFL. Donald Trump destroyed the USFL. Ok. Take it from an old fanatical football fan as a kid. Donald Trump destroyed the USFL. Like everyone who knows about the USFL's history know that.

So everything that they portrayed was a pageant about things that are just a made-up reality. And as a pageant, it wasn't -- it didn't even have the vibrancy that you saw last week. We just saw people just pounding at that same podium, people who seemed quite angry when they're in power.

I didn't get it. I have to be honest. I'm just saying as television I didn't get it.


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