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Transcript: The ReidOut, 11/24/21

Guests: Elie Mystal, Charles Coleman Jr., Jelani Cobb, Tom Nichols, Dana Hedgpeth, Brian Weeden

Summary

Jury finds three Georgia men guilty of felony murder of Ahmaud arbery. Travis McMichaels guilty on all counts split verdict for Greg McMichael and William Bryan. Greg McMichael found guilty of aggravated assault. William R. Bryan found guilty on felony murder charges. Georgia Democrat senators praise verdict.

Transcript

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: You can see what he had to say by checking us out on YouTube. Search Fauci and Melber and you'll get his quick breakdown. We made it quick. You can always find me @arimelber or arimelber.com.

And I wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving this week including my friend and colleague, Joy Reid. THE REIDOUT with Joy Reid starts now. So, it's good timing. Hi, Joy.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: It's perfect timing. What are you cooking, Ari? What are you responsible for? Real quick. Don't say nothing.

MELBER: I'm responsible for setting up the table, but not the cooking which reflects my weaknesses.

REID: You better make some. Make some corn bread. Do something. We appreciate in. Chip in. Thank you very much, Ari. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

MELBER: You too.

REID: Good evening everyone. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with the verdict in one of the most important trials in recent American history.

A verdict sealing the fate of three white Georgia men that chased down a black man in their pickup trucks, cornered him and murdered him and what has been described as a modern day lynching. And they nearly got away with it. But today they had to stand up in that courtroom and listen as the guilty verdicts rained down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Count one, malice murder. We, the jury, find the defendant Travis McMichael guilty. Count two, felony murder, we the jury find the defendant, Greg McMichael, guilty. Count three, felony murder, we the jury find the defendant William R. Bryan guilty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Travis McMichael, the man who shot Ahmaud Arbery was found guilty on all nine counts, including malice murder and felony murder. His father, Gregory McMichael was found not guilty of malice murder but guilty of all other counts he faced, including felony murder. While their neighbor, William Bryan, who filmed the fatal encounter with Arbery, was found guilty of three counts of felony murder and other charges. All of them now face up to life in prison and they still face federal hate crime charges too.

The jubilance from inside the courtroom, to outside the courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia, and beyond, it meant something for Arbery's mom, a moment of peace.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WANDA COOPER-JONES, AHMAUD ARBERY MOTHER: I never thought this day would come, but God is good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, he is.

COOPER-JONES: I just want to tell everybody, thank you, thank you for those who marched, those who prayed, most of all the ones who prayed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Lord.

COOPER-JONES: Thank you, guys. Thank you. And now Quez -- you know him as Ahmaud, I know him as Quez, he will now rest in peace.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: For many others, it was a rare moment of justice. This was a complete victory for the prosecution, full stop. In 2021 in the state with historically the second highest number of documented lynching's in this country, second only to Mississippi, it turns out you cannot chase someone just for being a black man jogging down the street. You cannot lynch a black man in broad daylight in 21st century America and just expect to walk free.

Instead, a nearly all white jury sent a powerful rebuke of anti black terrorism a repudiation of Georgia law steeped in racism and used for decades as a justification for lynching black people.

But as much as this was an open and shut case, it was pins and needles for those advocating for Arbery and justice. The defense argued Arbery was the one to blame, scorned his appearance. Pushed to bar black pastors from the courtroom using race far more than the prosecution did while suppressing evidence of their client's racism and we need to remember this case almost didn't happen at all.

Remember a previous prosecutor declined to even arrest the McMichael's calling the shooting perfectly legal, which is all to say that today is indeed a victory, a partial victory. Partial since Arbery's family will still have to have Thanksgiving tomorrow without him.

It was a fight because even with a case like this with video of the actual murder for all the world to see, it was still a question of which way the jury would go and that perhaps says more about America's criminal justice system than seeing these three men behind bars.

Joining me now is Elie Mystal, Justice Correspondent for The Nation, Katie Phang, Trial Attorney and MSNBC Legal Analyst, and Charles Coleman Jr., Civil Rights Attorney and former Prosecutor, as well as Jelani Cobb, Staff Writer for The New Yorker.

I just want to go do through into a very round robin of whether this verdict was what you expected, I'll start with you, Elie?

ELIE MYSTAL, JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION: Yes, it's what I expected. Because as you said, it is illegal to lynch a black man in this country as long as you catch it on video. As long as you catch it on video and the dumb defendants leak that video thinking that it's going to help them and you go through one -- not one but two prosecutors and you get an all-white jury but a judge who isn't as bias as some of the judges we've seen in the recent past, yes, it is illegal to lynch a black person in that particular set of circumstances.

[19:05:11]

And this was the result I expected.

REID: I will put -- I never almost never disagree with you, Elie, but we don't have an anti lynching law in this country so in terms of federal law, we don't have an anti lynching law. It actually isn't federally illegal to lynch a black man in America, still. But you're right obviously on the way that this case turn out in the lock.

Katie Phang, you've been covering this case with us in trampledly, you and Paul Butler are our legal dream team on this, was this the result you expected?

KATIE PHANG, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: It was but I don't think it was 100 percent because it was a rule of law victory. The history to get here was too tortured to say that this was truly justice in its purest of senses and I think it was a combination of luck and a combination of courage from those 12 jurors. But, yes, I predicted this because it's exactly what the evidence supported and the law supported in the state of Georgia.

REID: Charles Coleman Jr., thank you for being here. You're a civil rights attorney, you're a former prosecutor. Was this verdict a surprise to you or what you would have expected?

CHARLES COLEMAN JR. CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Well, Joy, as a prosecutor, I've learned that you don't take any verdict for granted. And so while I did hoped and believed that this is what the outcome should have been, as I watched the case unfold I began to get tighter and tighter in terms of my anxiety around the case because the prosecution did everything they could to have gotten the verdict that they did. So, yes, this is what I should have been, this is what I expected. But, again, I don't take anything for granted.

REID: And I'm going to load your question up, Jelani, my friend. I am sorry, I'm not going to give you the easy question here. I want to play for you, this is the way police treated Travis McMichael on the day of the shooting itself. This is the Glen County Police Department encountering Travis McMichael after the shooting. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's okay. Do you have any other weapons or anything on you?

TRAVIS MCMICHAELS, DEFENDANT: Just that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Okay.

MCMICHAELS: If he would have stopped, this wouldn't have happened.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know, that's fine. That's fine, like I said, take a breath. You got your I.D. and all that?

MCMICHAELS: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Don't get blood all over yourself. I get that your pants are -- you need to move around and do what you need to do, man. I can only imagine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: The McMichaels have a history with law enforcement, Jelani. One of them is a former police officer. They are obviously friendly with law enforcement. The prosecutor, who initially saw this case, the prosecutors who initially saw this case threw it out, dismissed it, wrote a letter saying there is no crime here. So, this almost didn't become a case at all.

So, what does it mean -- give us the big picture of what it means that it actually became a case and that this mean were actually convicted. What is it means historically?

JELANI COBB, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY JOURNALISM PROFESSOR: It don't think that it mean that much, quite frankly, you know? And I can't say that this was the verdict I expected. We've become, you know, so numb to judicial outrages that we can't be certain that this is how this would turn out.

I will say that, you know, when we look at -- the reason I say that it doesn't have that much significance is that when we look at what is necessary, it wasn't simply -- to Elie's point, it wasn't simply that there was video of what was essentially a game hunt as they tracked him through this suburb. It wasn't simply that they cycled through four, the fourth prosecutor, actually, who handled the case, including a Georgia Bureau of Investigation examination -- reexamination of the evidence and the Department of Justice examination. It wasn't simply that, but also, in addition to those things, required that people get into the streets and stay in the streets for well over a year to ensure that nothing would go awry.

And so when we talk about the judicial system working, you know, as President Biden said in the aftermath of the Rittenhouse verdict, you know, the fact is, if you have to have staged months' long protests to even have the question of charges being brought, addressed, then that's evidence that the judicial system does not, in fact, work.

REID: No, you can't argue with that, impossible to argue that, right. I mean -- and the other thing is had they still be police, they would have got away with it. That's the other thing too, is they only didn't get away because they're not current police.

Let's go to what also had to be argued, and I'll go back to you on this Elie. It was necessary and I think actually wise. And, you know, we talk over this when Katie was on one of the shows I think a couple of days ago. I thought it was wise that Linda Dunikoski didn't argue race. She's facing 11 white jurors and 1 black juror. If she have tried to argue race overtly, she would risk losing one of those jurors who would then maybe take it personal and maybe take it personal in the way she didn't in the prosecution didn't want. So she didn't do that. But listen what she did argue. Let's play what she did argue. This is Linda Dunikoski, arguing what she did, which is the right to liberty in America.

[19:10:02]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LINDA DUNIKOSKI, COBB COUNTY, SENIOR ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Guess what? We're citizens of the United States, right? We live here. We have personal liberty because this is a free country. Other people can't go up and stop us and hold us and detain us, okay? They have to actually have seen us commit that crime in order effectuate a citizen's arrest. So you go around and you're start stopping people, you're doing that in violation of their personal liberty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: That's what actually worked, Elie.

MYSTAL: Look, the judge at the begin beginning of the case said that he saw evidence of racial bias in the jury selection but the judge declined to do anything about it. So, going into that courtroom, you have to meet the jury where it is. You have to know what you're up against. And here, the prosecutor knew what she was up against and kind of adjusted accordingly.

In other cases that we have really seen where the bias in the system has been also very obvious, I felt prosecutors didn't go into that courtroom knowing what to expect and knowing what they were up against in that moment. This prosecutor did and it's one of the reasons why she was able to get a conviction.

But I just want to add this, it's gross and disgusting that in this day in age, because of the predominantly white jury, you couldn't actually argue, it was smart to not argue what their motive was for killing this man, right? She basically --

COBB: Can I add --

MYSTAL: -- had to (INAUDIBLE) motive in this case. Go ahead.

COBB: Can I add something to that really quickly? This is not the first time that we've seen this. If you recall that horrific outrage in Charleston, where nine people were murdered in the basement of the Emanuel AME Church, the rhetoric around that was consistently that this was the murder of nine Christians in the midst of prayer. And that was what had to be framed in order to make it legible for people, not that this was an act that recalled the worst racial horrors in South Carolina history, et cetera, but this was an offense against Christians.

REID: Yes. And --

MYSTAL: So, prosecutors always have to pretend like these people are Iago, right? Like they're always motiveless benevolence as opposed to actually arguing what their racially bias motives are and that is sad. It's a good strategy but it is sad.

REID: And, I mean, in the end, Katie, the prosecutor came out and she give us statement and this was base on facts. It was base on, you know, you can't just stop and hold people, like she really reinforced that argument. But the sad part of it is she probably couldn't have gotten away with arguing the real deal here, which is that this was a lynching. She couldn't argue that.

PHANG: But what is important is that 36-second video that was the linchpin of this case for the prosecution. You know, we have this thing called the golden rule, Joy, where you are not allowed as a prosecutor to ask the jurors to put themselves in the shoes of the victim. You're not allowed to do that, right? Just like the defense isn't allowed to ask the jurors to put themselves in the shoes of the defendants.

But that's what kind of what you did by playing that video and that's exactly what the prosecutor did when she didn't focus on race. Because she wanted those jurors to actually witness the video and picture themselves jogging down the street. She wanted to make sure it was a race neutral argument so that those jurors could envision themselves white or black, Hispanic, Asian jogging down the street, having an illegal detention and then an execution in the middle of a suburb. And that was a really smart move by the prosecution.

In the absence of the video, like Elie said, that was a leaked because you thought it would be a smart thing to do. I mean, think about this. Roddie Bryan has to be ruing the day. He did not successfully cover himself --

REID: He should have turned -- that's right.

PHANG: -- from the McMichaels, because you and I saw from that jury verdict, he didn't get the malice murder, right, but he certainly got that felony murder because he participated in that.

REID: And to quote Linda Dunikoski, everybody gets a Super Bowl ring.

Real quickly, let's just let note President Biden issued a statement saying Ahmaud Arbery's killing witnessed by the world on video is a devastating reminder how far we have to go in the fight for racial justice.

Vice President Kamala Harris issued a statement saying the defense counsel chose to set a tone that cast the attendance of ministers of the trial's intimidation and dehumanized a young black man with racist tropes. The jury arrived at its verdict despite this tactics.

Stacey Abrams issued a statement, hailing the jury for seeing the evidence before their very eyes. Both United States senators who both Democrats, thanks to black voters, thanks to black women voters and voters of color, Jon Ossoff saying there was nearly impunity for this murder, and further investigation is necessary to determine how and why officials initially refused to pursue the case.

And Senator Raphael Warnock was also the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, the justice looks like a black man not having to worry about being harmed or killed while on a jog, while sleeping in his bed, while living what should be a very long life.

And I'll ask you, Charles Coleman, sort of same question I asked Jelani Cobb.

[19:15:01]

Is there a bigger meaning to this in the criminal justice system? Does this change anything in terms of this justice system itself?

COLEMAN: It doesn't, Joy, and I think that the collective sense of anxiety that so many o us had before this verdict was read was demonstrative of that. Until this becomes the expectations and not the exception, it shows us how much more work we have to actually do.

I want to be clear about something. We have completed the concept of justice with accountability. What we saw today was not justice. Unfortunately, justice is out of reach because Ahmaud Arbery will not be here tomorrow to eat Thanksgiving dinner with his family.

What we saw today was our system hold three people accountable and while it is a positive start, it is far, far, far away from justice and I think we need to make sure that we keep our eyes on the ball in understanding the difference there.

REID: Yes, and the fact that they felt free to do this and tape it and thought they could wake away and do it. That is the problem with this country now. Thank you, Elie Mystal, Katie Phang, Charles Coleman Jr. Jelani Cobb. Thank you all very much.

Up next on THE REIDOUT, the right to new rock star is an 18-year-old who shot and killed two people and injured a third and was acquitted for it and the shooting and the killing part is exactly why they like him. Just the latest example of the right seriously misguided value.

Plus, President Biden moved to address inflation as new data shows the economy gaining major strength after almost two years of COVID.

Plus, my conversation with tribal chairman and Native American journalist about the misinformation that still being taught about the first Thanksgiving.

And tonight's absolute worst, imagine spending 43 years behind bars for a crime you didn't commit and what that tells us about our broken justice system. THE REIDOUT continues after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:20:58]

REID: Republicans continue to celebrate Kyle Rittenhouse and his acquittal last Friday.

Donald Trump is now bragging that Rittenhouse traveled to Palm Beach to visit him at Mar-a-Lago after he was found not guilty, calling him a Trump fan. They can be seen smiling and giving the thumbs-up in a photo-op posted by professional troll Donald Jr., who called Rittenhouse the greatest of all time.

They think that fawning over Rittenhouse is a clever new way to own the libs, never mind that he killed two people and badly injured a third man. Republicans are competing for his affection like contestants on "The Bachelor" trying to get a rose, even jockeying to be the first to hire him as a congressional intern a job that he said in an interview with journalist Ashleigh Banfield that he does not want.

It's not just gross and unseemly. It's also an insult to the dead men and their families who are grieving this Thanksgiving and this holiday season. Just a despicable was author turned professional troll J.D. Vance, the Republican candidate for Senate in Ohio, who said yesterday that Rittenhouse embodies manly virtues, which he says our youth should embrace.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

J.D. VANCE (R), OHIO SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: This 17-year-old boy saw no one protecting the businesses, the people his community. So he went down there and did it.

And instead of rewarding it, instead of saying, you know, isn't it good that a 17-year-old kid who was raised by a single mother made good decisions and decided to be a positive force in his community, they slandered and lied about him. They treated basic manly virtue as white supremacy. And I think you're exactly right. It's not just about Kyle Rittenhouse. It's about, what kind of young men do we want to raise in our communities?

We want to promote the types of virtues that exists in Kyle Rittenhouse.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: Last night, in that Banfield interview, Rittenhouse tried to address questions that still linger over a January photograph showing him with members of the right-wing hate group the Proud Boys while flashing a white power hand sign.

Here's the explanation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Why have you associated with members of groups like the Proud Boys? Why have you used hand signs that are commonly associated with white supremacy?

KYLE RITTENHOUSE, FOUND NOT GUILTY: That's a good question. I didn't know that the OK hand side was a symbol for white supremacy, just as I didn't know that those people in the bar were Proud Boys. They were set up by my former attorney, who was fired because of that, for putting me in situations like that with people I don't agree with.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: By the by, the legal team he fired also included Lin Wood, the pro- Trump attorney and conspiracy theorist, whom Rittenhouse called insane for his belief in QAnon and likening himself to God.

With me now, Dean Obeidallah, host of "The Dean Obeidallah Show" on SiriusXM and an MSNBC daily columnist, and Tom Nichols, contributing writer for "The Atlantic."

And, Tom, I have to start with you on this, because this new chic of sort of wrapping -- the right wrapping their arms around Kyle Rittenhouse as what J.D. Vance calls the epitome of manly values, this is a 17-year-old whose mom drove him to a city he doesn't live in. He wasn't being a positive force in his community. That's not his community. It's a different state. It's not his community.

These are not businesses that he knew, that he had frequented. The person who owned the business didn't even know him. He killed two people. And I have to think that, if this was my son, I'd be thinking he must be dealing with trauma. There must be something.

I didn't see it in the interview. It was a sort of blank performance. But I don't know if that was coaching or what. But what do you make of the fact that people are taking his 18-year-old and turning him into the ultimate example of manliness for Republicans?

TOM NICHOLS, "THE ATLANTIC": The saddest thing in all this is that the life they're ruining, in addition to the people who died and were injured, is going to be Kyle Rittenhouse's life.

I mean, taking a kid like this and deciding to make a hero out of him isn't going to end well. Where J.D. Vance is concerned -- let's just get this out of the way, that J.D. Vance has become functionally a troll running for Senate, that Vance is trying to out -- be more outrageous than Josh Mandel.

He's trying to keep his donors happy. That's -- that, in itself, is a pretty sad story to watch, and it's just pathetic. But to take this 18- year-old who now has two deaths to live with for the rest of his life, and to treat him like a celebrity is part of what the right is doing where anything that aggravates people on the left is a virtue.

[19:25:15]

That's really what it's about it. It's the lib-owning impulse. And it's almost this kind of oppositional defiance disorder, that anything that appalls ordinary human beings is something they will embrace, because they take that as a sign that they're right.

And, of course, that -- there's no end to that. At some point, that ends up and just more misery and mayhem and violence, because there are a lot of things that appall ordinary human beings. And if you embrace that as a political platform, there's simply no bottom.

REID: You know, there's a thing that's happening -- and I don't know the ideology of this judge in Charlottesville, but the judge in Charlottesville praised the open white nationalists for how wonderfully they did in representing themselves and for being so wonderful in the courtroom and having such a civil trial.

These people, like, danced when one of the victims talked about the pain that they felt at being brutalized. They talked -- this is about the death of a young woman. These people sort of laughed at her.

I mean, and the judge was praising that. Like, there's something happening in our society, Dean, where the right has -- this part of the right has decided that violence, killing, there's no thou shalt not kill. These are their new values, pure unadulterated violence.

DEAN OBEIDALLAH, MSNBC DAILY COLUMNIST: That judge, Judge Moon, by the way, in 2010 struck down the ACA, saying the mandate was unconstitutional. So it gives you an idea a little bit about his politics and how he did it.

I will say other things he did, he did stop Richard Spencer a few times during opening statements spewing hate.

But getting back to the big point, I sort of agree with Tom, but there's something I disagree with.

I don't think they're just doing this to troll us, Tom. I think they're embracing violence as part of the arsenal of weapons they are prepared to use against Democrats going forward. That's the reality. This is not, oh, Democrats don't like people getting killed in the streets, so we're going to troll them.

I think it's deeper than that. You have in the same week, last week, over 200 Republicans defending Paul Gosar by refusing to condemn him when he put out this fantasy snuff video where he literally kills AOC in it. And over 200 are like, don't got a problem. Two of them have a problem.

Trump puts out a statement afterwards: I stand with Paul Gosar.

You got J.D. Vance, that kind of garbage going on. You have 55 percent of GOP voters in a July poll in CBS saying January 6 was not an act of terrorism, it was an act defending freedom. We have a GOP that is not just authoritarian, but, Joy, we have talked about this. Authoritarian plus violence equals fascism.

That's what we're dealing with. We're dealing with a -- so, I don't think they just trolling us. I wouldn't be surprised, at the next RNC, they have Kyle Rittenhouse come out and reenact the shooting to big cheers of the audience type of thing. But I think it's deeper. I think it's an embrace of violence. And it's a warning call for all Americans.

If you don't want violence, the GOP is -- what they're doing, they're telling us what they're doing right in front of us.

REID: And, Tom, I will come back to you on this, because they're -- we're going to have you guys back in the next segment.

But I have to say that there's been a celebration of violence as a part of American culture, whether it was the idea of sort of the Western, the Wild West kind of violence, which wasn't even the way the Wild West really was, or the kind of celebration and sort of luxuriating in violence that for a long time allowed men to believe, white men to believe that they could do what those men did to Ahmaud Arbery.

That has to be acculturated in you to believe that you are free to use violence, for whatever reason, to get what you want, including for politics. And that is what I worry about too, is that they're acculturating even a teenager into violence for political purposes.

And it is pretty scary. But we're going to have Dean and Tom stick around with us, because, up next, another big batch of good economic news ahead of Thanksgiving, as weekly jobless claims fell to their lowest level in more than 50 years.

So, why are so many Americans convinced that our economy is in trouble? We will discuss.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:32:53]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRYANT GUMBEL, NBC NEWS: We're back at 7:16.

The administration says it sees a silver lining in the dark cloud of our economy. But most people are finding that glimmer a bit hard to spot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: That was from September of 1982, when America was stuck in a deep recession.

President Ronald Reagan, who was elected vowing to cut inflation and boost the economy, watched unemployment rise and his poll numbers sink. Two months later, during the midterm elections, that terrible economy cost Reagan 26 seats in the House. How did Reagan get reelected only two years later in one of the biggest landslides in American history?

If you listened to NBC's John Chancellor on the night of the 1982 midterms, he would have heard that, while things were bad, the public still wanted to give Reagan a shot.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN CHANCELLOR, NBC NEWS: With unemployment at its highest in 42 years, with bankruptcies so high, with the recession not going away, that you would have thought that the voters would have risen up and said, enough of this.

The story of this election is that the bad economic conditions, which are really severe, did not produce the political effect you would have thought they would have, that these conditions would have produced.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: It was there that Ronald Reagan, dubbed the great communicator, saw an opportunity and launched an aggressive marketing campaign that would trigger his reversal of fortune best embodied by this 1984 campaign ad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR: It's morning again in America. Today, more men and women will go to work than ever before in our country's history, with interest rates at about half the record highs of 1980. Nearly 2,000 families today will buy new homes, more than at any time in the past four years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: President Joe Biden inherited a crumbling economy and raging global pandemic from perhaps the worst president in American history, Donald Trump.

This time last year, 21 million Americans are making unemployment insurance claims. Last week, that number was 2.4 million. This morning, the Labor Department announced that new unemployment claims were the lowest in more than 50 years.

Consumer enthusiasm and spending is up. The supply chains are becoming unclogged. And, yesterday, Biden released 50 million barrels of crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which should lower gas prices in a few weeks.

[19:35:08]

But, despite all of that, 70 percent of Americans believed the economy stinks. It sounds like President Biden might need to take a page from Ronald Reagan and learn how to sell, sell, sell.

Back with me are Dean Obeidallah and Tom Nichols.

And before we jump into this conversation, Tom, I know you had something that you wanted to add to our last segment where we were talking about political violence. I will let you do that first. And then we will talk about this economy stuff.

NICHOLS: Just quickly, I wanted to agree with Dean.

I don't think this is just simple trolling by the Republicans. These are people that are trying to create a culture of menace that's meant to silence their opponents with fear. This is what McCarthyism would look like in a party that finally at long last had no decency.

REID: I cannot disagree with you.

But let's talk about this, because this is all happening at a time when there's like a normal political conversation going on among Democrats about what to do about the economy, because Joe Biden, who is not a Ronald Reagan -- he's not a seller, right? But he is like a normal guy, so that, when he talks, he sounds like a normal person.

So he could, in theory, get out there and say, look, I get that it's taken a long time to get your couch you ordered, but the economy's really good.

Tom, I will stay with you on this. A, do you think it would matter in an environment where the other party has gone full political violence and fascist? Would it even matter at this point if Biden tried to do the normal political thing of selling the economy?

NICHOLS: Yes, I think it might.

But there's a problem in the Democratic Party, where if there's a -- if people say, look, but I'm unemployed, or I'm suffering, or my family is running into trouble, Democrats, by their nature, say, OK, then things aren't good.

REID: Right.

NICHOLS: Whereas the Republicans and Reagan in particular had a real talent for saying, I understand that, and -- but things are improving, things are better.

And I think Democrats almost feel guilty about doing that, when they know that people suffering.It feels wrong to them. The Republicans, Reagan in particular, could say, unemployment is X-percent. Someone would say, I don't -- but I don't have a job. Democrats say, you're right.Things are bad.

Reagan would say, I understand, but you're going to have a job soon.

And that's the difference. And I think, especially with a Republican Party that has no optimism left, that has no positive message left, that Biden needs to step forward and to be that happy warrior, because that's what Joe Biden used to be. And the office clearly weighs on him.

But he could -- he could make that case, I think.

REID: And here's the thing, Dean. I think that Tom is right.

Democrats are sort of weighed down by their empathy, where they're like, if one person is down, they go, oh, my God, you're right, everything is terrible. We're just -- and then they go down and they started to do the beans. And we're going to fix these beans, and we're going to make it work, other than Bill Clinton, who, if he was in the same situation, would be out there going, you know, I know things seem bad right now, but let me play this saxophone.

And then they would be like, whew, and everybody would be distracted.

Democrats in general don't have that talent. So, what do you think that they are going to be able to do about it, now so that they don't get shellacked? Because, by the way, this isn't me as a partisan. If they go down, democracy goes down with them.

OBEIDALLAH: Yes, I agree.

By the way, that Reagan commercial was the whitest commercial I have seen in a long time. It was unbelievable.

(LAUGHTER)

REID: But that's why it worked.

(CROSSTALK)

OBEIDALLAH: Exactly, all different shades of white people. And that's what he was going for. Let's be blunt.

Look, Joe Biden and the Democrats -- Biden, you have got the Biden economic miracle. Go out there and talk about it. Unemployment in Trump's last full month in office, 6.7 percent, today, 4.6 percent, black unemployment down. Hispanic unemployment is down. The stock market, all-time highs.

Remember, when Trump would get a high, he would tweet about it and there would be press everywhere. Biden doesn't want to talk about it. They don't want to brag.

And, Joy, it's about messaging. You get two Democrats on TV, you get three opinions. Democrats, you have got to work on your messaging. You got to work with someone in Hollywood. And you have to understand this. The media is not going to tell your story because you have accomplishments. The media is not your friend. It's not your enemy either.

It's a business vehicle. You have got to come up with messages that work in a vehicle, in a vessel that's about getting ratings and revenue. It's not a secret, what I'm saying. This is the truth.

So, Democrats, get yourself together. You have got buddies in Hollywood. Come up with messages. Come up with commercials, sell it and be proud, and stop feeling bad about yourself, for a change. You're doing something great here.

REID: And the thing is also, I think what Democrats -- what Republicans are really good at, Tom, is sort of allocating a villain and saying, OK, maybe the economy looks bad, but the real villain is communism. The real villain is the Russians. The real -- back when they were anti. Now they're really pro-Russian. It's a whole weird thing.

But their real vision is them. It's something out there. It's the border. It's the brown people. It's the Muslims. It's somebody.

Democrats have another party that they're facing that is tearing democracy apart. But they don't want to say that. They have Louis DeJoy sitting there destroying the Postal Service, but they don't want to say that.

I don't know. Your thoughts.

(LAUGHTER)

NICHOLS: One of the great triumphs of the Republican Party -- and I say this as a former Republican -- is that we got Democrats to internalize our criticisms of the Democratic Party.

[19:40:03]

REID: Yes.

NICHOLS: That -- by telling them that, if you criticize Louis DeJoy, you're -- oh, you're taking out -- you're dumping on the United States of America.

REID: Yes.

NICHOLS: If you don't -- if one person is suffering, you're not living up to the promise of your party.

REID: Yes.

NICHOLS: And I think Republicans really got inside the heads of Democrats about this.

REID: They did. They did.

NICHOLS: They really need to let go of that.

REID: And it's time for them to step up, because it's not about party. It's about them being the only party left that cares about democracy. Get it together.

Dean Obeidallah, Tom Nichols, thank you very much. Have a great Thanksgiving.

Still ahead, I recently talked with a member of the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe, Haliwa-Saponi Tribe, of North Carolina and the chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe about how indigenous people really feel about Thanksgiving.

It was a fascinating discussion. And we will bring that to you right after this quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:45:06]

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REID: This year marks 400 years since English Pilgrims and the Eastern Wampanoag allegedly sat down and broke bread.

The meeting, now known as Thanksgiving, is an annual holiday celebrated by many Americans, but not all. Flip open any children's book about that day, and you will read about the hardscrabble Pilgrims who landed on mostly uninhabited land and, thanks to Native Americans festooned in feathers, they survived and celebrated that feat around wild turkey and corn exit, except that's not how it happened.

As "The Washington Post" recently noted, the Wampanoag, a name that means the People of the First Light, have lived on these lands as far back as 10,000 years, far longer than any American. By the time they had met the Pilgrims, their community had already been devastated by an epidemic brought to their shores by previous English settlers.

So, in 1620, when they watched Mayflower strangers invade their land, they thought they would try things differently. And by the spring of 1621, they made contact. In the fall of that year, the Pilgrims, who struggled through a harsh winter and learned how to plant beans and squash, thanks to the Wampanoag, celebrated the success of their first harvest.

They didn't think to invite the people who helped save their lives. Bet you didn't know that, because they don't tell you that part in the textbooks. In fact, the Wampanoag showed up later, only after the Pilgrims fired off their muskets.

Naturally, the Wampanoag heard the gunfire and thought war was afoot. Realizing that wasn't the case, they wound up sitting down with the people who would become their colonizers.

For many indigenous people, Thanksgiving is not a day to be celebrated, but, rather, a day to be mourned, because while we gorge ourselves on turkey and stuffing, for Native people, that day represents the start of hundreds of years of genocide, colonization, disease, and forced indoctrination of children stolen from their parents and forced to abandon their language and their culture in government-run boarding schools.

With me now is Dana Hedgpeth, "Washington Post" reporter and member of the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe of North Carolina, and Brian Weeden, chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe.

Thank you both for being here. Really appreciate you.

I want to start with you, Dana. Thank you so much for being here this afternoon.

And why did you write that piece? What prompted you to do it? There have been a lot of attempts, I think, over the years to sort of reimagine and sort of rediscover what Thanksgiving ought to be.

What prompted you to write this piece?

DANA HEDGPETH, "THE WASHINGTON POST": You know, it came about from a conversation with a very good editor at "The Washington Post," Lynda Robinson.

And we were chatting. She said: "How do you celebrate Thanksgiving?"

I'm Native American. I'm from the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe in North Carolina. And I sort of chuckled and said: "It's not -- we don't celebrate the same way you do. Thanksgiving doesn't mean to Native Americans what it does to many others in the country."

And so that got us thinking, what's the best way to tell that story? And the 400th anniversary brought about a great opportunity to do that. I was very fortunate to meet Chairman Weeden through introductions and to really listen to their side of the story, that, as you said, is so often not shared.

REID: Yes.

And, Chief Weeden, I think that's an excellent point, because I think there is an American tick of sort of looking at the arrival of Europeans here as just a triumph, right, a triumph of will, a triumph of the Mayflower and the Nina and the Pinta and the Santa Maria, and sort of whitewash the fact that there were people here, and then to take those people and just make them, well, those were their friends.

And they gave them corn and then everybody did Thanksgiving, and to wipe out really what was a really tragic history, including for the Wampanoag, of encountering European settlers, getting wiped out by disease, maybe smallpox or whatever germs they were carrying, and then encountering them again, and then being colonized.

How do the Wampanoag look at Thanksgiving? And what would you be doing on that day?

BRIAN WEEDEN, CHAIRMAN, MASHPEE WAMPANOAG TRIBE: I think, first and foremost, it's important to understand that the Wampanoag people have always been welcoming.

One of the reasons why we didn't wipe out the English was because they brought their women and children. We never brought our women and children to fight into battle. So we thought that they had come in peace. It's kind ignorant bliss on our side, I guess, and we were more welcoming, and taught them how to grow their corn and their crops and to stay here.

We have always been welcoming people, and we still are welcoming people. It hasn't really worked to our advantage over the past 400 years. We're now witnessing another pandemic here on the nation with COVID.

So, all the diseases that come through, we're still having diseases and these problems still today. I would say that Thanksgiving is a day of mourning. The fact that our tribe only owns half of 1 percent of our ancestral territory, and 400 years later, we're still waiting for our fair share from the federal government and the commonwealth, I think, is pretty unacceptable.

REID: Yes.

And I was just looking. Dana Hedgpeth, you write about the division of land and taking what had been vast lands the Wampanoag had, dividing it up into like 60-acre chunks, and defying the culture of these great people, who didn't divide them that way and tax it that way.

[19:50:16]

How has -- what did you discover about how life has changed for this tribe in the century since and how much of that culture remains? And I will ask both of you that question, but I will ask you, as somebody who just finished doing this piece.

HEDGPETH: Well, they are alive and strong, as the chairman said, very welcoming people.

And ask Frank James, who's a very well Wampanoag activist, who made a very famous speech in the 1970s, whom was dejected, in fact, from giving that speech publicly at the time.

But perhaps the best line from his speech was, befriending the Pilgrims was perhaps our biggest mistake.

And if you think about that, and let that resonate for a moment, it did open up a long, slow, painful process of genocide, at taking of lands, at taxation, ownership, things that were the antithesis of the very culture that American Indians and the Wampanoag especially prided themselves in.

REID: And, Chief, we didn't -- you're young. I'm just looking up your age. You're only 28 years old.

So you're a young man who's growing up both in -- within your tribe and in your culture, but in this country. And I wonder, what do you say to people who just want to move on, who just want to do the tomahawk chop at an Atlanta Braves game, who are like, why are you making such a big deal out of that? Why can't we just do Thanksgiving the way we want to, including some younger people, who don't want to deal with this history, and especially don't want to deal with anything like reparations?

WEEDEN: I think it boils down to this nation.

I mean, look at all the monuments and all these people that we classify as heroes and our founding fathers. When you actually look into the history of what these people did, President Lincoln was one of the ones who had one of the biggest massacres of Native Americans in his time.

I mean, he wanted to bring the nation together, so he decided to make this a holiday. I think that the country and the nation has played their part. And we don't do a good job at putting out the accurate information. It's very one-sided. And that's why we're here today, to put our story out there, so that we can bring awareness to this issue.

I think that it's ignorance on a lot of parts. But, as young people, I believe that it's our generation that will make that change and start uniting our nation.

REID: Dana Hedgpeth, thank you for writing this very important piece. Hopefully, everyone will read it.

Brian Weeden, Chief Brian Weeden, Chairman Brian Weeden, more accurately, thank you very much.

WEEDEN: Chairman.

REID: Really appreciate you for being here. Thank you very much, sir. Thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

WEEDEN: Thank you.

HEDGPETH: Thank you.

REID: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

REID: And up next, you have heard the phrase justice delayed is justice denied?

Well, yesterday, justice finally delivered after 43 years, and it put a big bright spotlight on America's broken justice system.

Tonight's "Absolute Worst" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:57:30]

REID: So it has turned out to be a much more positive week for the criminal justice system than last week, with today's guilty verdicts for the men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery.

There's also good news from Missouri, where Kevin Strickland has been exonerated after 43 years in prison. Strickland, a black man, was convicted of triple murder in 1979 by an all-white jury, despite no physical evidence linking him to the crime scene, alibis, and an admitted killer who said Strickland wasn't there.

But while it's good news that Strickland has been released from prison, he will never get those 43 years back. It's just one of many examples of the corruption and unfairness at the heart of our criminal justice system.

Last week, two black men were exonerated for the murder of Malcolm X more than 55 years after his assassination. Our system is so messed up that Julius Jones was almost executed for a conviction that many people now believe was a miscarriage of justice.

But it's not just the many, many wrongful convictions out there. It's the number of white men who seem to get away with crimes. And the disparity is glaring.

As Qasim Rashid tweeted, 17-year-old white boy Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted, claiming self-defense, but 17-year-old black girl Chrystul Kizer, who killed the man she accused of raping and trafficking her, was convicted.

As Rashid pointed out, the system isn't broken. It was built this way.

Hmm. If only there was some critical theory that talked about race and criminal justice that could address this. Hmm.

Anyhoo, the Rittenhouse case was influenced by the judge, who seemed to take quite a liking to Mr. Rittenhouse. He wouldn't let prosecutors call the people Rittenhouse gunned down victims, and he even let him draw the names of the jurors who would be dismissed, so that he would feel in control, because that's a luxury that this young white man was afforded.

It's one of many examples of outsized power that judges hold, like the judge who decided last week to not send a convicted serial rapist who pleaded guilty to prison after praying about it.

It's reminiscent of Brock Turner's 2016 sexual assault case, where the judge gave him a light sentence because of the severe impact that jail would have on him.

We know for sure that not all defendants are afforded prayer and concern for their well-being, with black men often getting longer sentences for the exact same federal crimes that white men commit.

As I mentioned earlier, it says something about our system that it was a shock to many of us that Arbery's killers were convicted at all. After the Rittenhouse trial and the Zimmerman trial and so many other cases where we have seen -- where we have been disappointed over and over again, justice in America seems to be much more likely for white Americans.

And until that changes, our U.S. criminal justice -- so-called criminal justice, justice system will remain the "Absolute Worst."

And that's tonight's REIDOUT. Happy Thanksgiving.

All in with Thanksgiving starts off -- "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.