Key election losses rattle Democrats. Biden says, Democrats must speak the truth on racial issues. Democrats regroup after election night setbacks. Black vote turnout was in line with expectations.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Thanks for spending time with us on "THE BEAT." THE REIDOUT starts now with Tiffany Cross in for Joy.
TIFFANY CROSS, MSNBC HOST: Hi, Ari. I was hoping I would get to see you this evening. So, we`ll just have to do it the next time I`m in New York. Thanks, my friend, and I will take it up from here.
MELBER: You got it.
CROSS: Thanks, Ari.
Good evening, everybody. I`m in for Joy Reid tonight.
Now, there is no clear snapshot of where our country stands, who it is and what it wants in the results of an election. And that`s why your timeline is bogged down with these hot takes and a wakeup call about woke politics and who is to blame and why the pundits are throwing the panic room wide open for the Democrats.
One way to takeaways you definitely saw was how the election, and particularly the one in Virginia, was a referendum for the left`s failure to deliver their agenda, a rebuke on everything, from critical race theory to the Democrats` election strategy let`s be honest.
But let`s be honest, here is the thing, all those takes are like searching the edges while refusing to see what is staring back at you. And I can assure you, black voters in Virginia are not shocked by the so-called Youngkin shocker. This isn`t about enthusiasm. This isn`t about Democrats not doing enough to exercise their base, and this definitely is not about messaging or even about Beloved.
This is about the fact that a good chunk of voters out there are okay with white supremacy. Let`s call a thing a thing. Actually, scratch that. They are more than okay. This afternoon, Reporter Yamiche Alcindor asked President Biden about the results. She clearly understood the assignment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: What`s your message though for Democratic voters, especially black voters, who see Republicans running on race, education, lying about critical race theory and they`re worried that Democrats don`t have an effective way to push back on that?
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Well, I think that the whole answer is just to speak the truth, layout where we are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROSS: Some voters are also giddy over candidates who have no business governing, like Senate hopefuls in two separate states, mind you, accused of strangling their wives, one even writing a fictional thriller detailing graphic violence against women. Now, if leaders are a reflection of their voters, it isn`t looking so great for the once grand old party, is it?
Now, the elected lieutenant governor of Virginia hates the woman`s right to choose but lie from the sunken place she certainly loves her guns. And while a trigger happy congresswoman said she gave birth in a truck, so, obviously, no one else deserves parental leave because in the bizarre world, that`s logical, and yet the election narrative piercing through the timeline is how Democrats better be concerned.
And we`re here to say, no, that ain`t it. America is who should be concerned because this group, the Republican Party and voters who empower them, has the sole agenda of suppressing the other group to hold on to its power by forcing voter suppression laws that expunge and even penalize black and brown participation. They can erase white supremacy from the history books, why not, because the governors will comply. They can take up arms, why not? The judges will protect them.
And speaking of judges, we have the conservative court putting abortion rights on the chopping block at which point we have to ask who are we anymore? And we got the answer last night. This is very much who America is and always has been and there is nothing shocking about it.
Joining me now Susan Del Percio, Republican Strategist, Fernand Amandi, Democratic Pollster and Strategists, and my friend, Errin Haines, Editor- at-Large at The 19th and named today one of the Roots 100 most influential African-Americans of 2021.
So Errin, as one of the most influential, we will kick it off with you, friend, congratulations, by the way. Eerin, I think I`ve been so frustrated about hearing of these garbage tapes about what black voters didn`t do. Our friend, Astead Herndon, wrote about this in The New York Times and talked about how black voters shouldn`t be blamed for what happened in Virginia.
Let`s talk about some of the other groups. I mean, overwhelmingly, white women stayed loyal to the Republican Party, yet you don`t hear takes about that and saying, well, why is this group the problem? Why do you think that is and what is your take on the election landscape and what played out last night?
ERRIN HAINES, MSNBC POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, thank you, Tiffany, it`s good to be with you. Congratulations on your Root 100 standing in this year`s rankings.
Look, history tells black and white (INAUDIBLE) race and racism remain a potent factor in American politics because they work. This is a strategy that is not new, so we should not call it Trump-ism because the former president was just the latest white male politician to tap into this long legacy of campaigns that has deployed race, lies, conspiracy and voter suppression as a path to victory. I mean, this is the original lie.
I think we saw in exit polling, right voters breaking something like 70/30s for Youngkin, black voters breaking 86/13 for McAuliffe, and two-thirds of Latinos and Asians also breaking for McAuliffe. So, yes, it is time to stop making voters of color either the savior of the scapegoat in every cycle as a narrative and really start asking why white voters and candidates are either complicit or condoning or racist campaign strategies.
CROSS: I cannot echo that point loud enough. And, Susan, I`d love to get your take on this, because we did saw in the polling last night, the exit polling, white women did remain loyal. And, look, this is not something that started with Trump, and I think if we`re going to move forward, we have to be honest about that. Racists have always felt comfortable in the Republican Party. People who traffic in white supremacy have always felt comfortable here. Why does that happen and what can be done now to change that?
SUSAN DEL PERCIO, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Republicans use that, or some Republicans choose to use that strategy because it works. I hate to say it but that`s the ugly part of what we`re talking about. And Errin, and you both said something very important, it`s not up to women of color or white women or anybody to be the savior or to be the blame. This is how we are operating as a country.
And I think one of my takeaways from last night`s election results is that I think that Democrats may have been over ecstatic about their positioning this past January. It was a 50/50 Senate, it was a three or five majority in the House and Biden was -- did win. But that NBC poll that came out this weekend showed something really important. I think that`s where Democrats and, frankly, Republicans are going to play on, and that is that 36 percent of the people voted for Trump because they liked him or his policies, and 6 percent voted for Trump because they didn`t like Biden`s. Only 27 percent of the people voted for Biden because they liked his policies and 20 percent, 20 percent voted for Donald Trump -- I mean, for Joe Biden because they did not like Donald Trump. That was not a mandate on Biden`s policies.
And at this point, it`s not surprising given the history if you look at it`s always the opposing party that wins New Jersey and Virginia, but when we look at other races, especially in how things played out in the suburbs, and Nassau County in New York is a prime example of that. Donald Trump wasn`t mentioned once, education was not an issue. It all came down to taxes and criminal justice reform, specifically bash -- cash bail. And I think that that`s something that we all need to start focusing more and as we look at 2022. These are going to be elections that are district-based, not nationalized.
CROSS: Yes, they may be district-based. Fernand, I want to bring you in here because, look, I take Susan`s point that it`s not one particular group`s responsibility to save this democracy, however, when you do see overwhelmingly white women staying loyal to a party that will have an adverse impact on their life, just like it will people of color, and white people overwhelmingly voting for policies that have an adverse impact on all of our lives, I mean, I got to ask, what do we do about this?
Take a listen to a gentleman who is kind of -- he is suggesting violence as a result of not trusting that the votes will be counted accurately. Take a listen and we`ll talk about it on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is tyranny. When do we get to use the guns? No, I`m not -- that`s not a joke. I`m not saying it like that. I mean, literally, where is the line? How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, no, hold on. No, stop. Hold on. Now I`m going to denounce that and I`m going to tell you why because you`re playing into all their plans and they`re trying to make you do this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROSS: These are the people voting, and those are the people who they are voting in office. They have turned the internet`s comment section into real live candidates. Fernand, what`s your take?
FERNAND AMANDI, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Tiffany, I think the most disturbing takeaway and consequence of last night`s elections, not just in Virginia, but, of course, in New Jersey as well, is that we saw something that I quite frankly did not think was possible. We saw the normalization of an armed, violent, insurrection and attempted coup against the United States by the party that was the instigator, the planners and the plotters, if you will, and the voters of Virginia and the voters of New Jersey, in essence, said, you know what, not a big deal.
Let`s move on from that, also taking into consideration that in Virginia, many of the plotters laid out the plans for the armed insurrection that happened less than ten months ago.
This was the first major quasi-national test on what happened around that attempted coup, which, to me, continues to be the most important issue in America today and that you have a Republican Party that has unveiled and unmasked itself as being hostile to American democracy. They do not believe in our system of government, they don`t believe in the Constitution. And as that clip you showed, they are willing to take up arms in larger numbers and the voters of Virginia and New Jersey, in essence, said yesterday no problem. It`s okay. You get a pass.
I don`t know where it goes from here. There were no easy solutions, no easy answers. And, yes, you could look at Joe Biden`s sagging approval ratings, you can look at the fact that COVID hasn`t quite been vanquished and we haven`t gotten back to full normal yet. You can look at the messy Afghanistan pullout. I don`t think any of those things, however, explain that last night, in my judgment at least, the voters of two major Democratic states, in essence, said there is no penalty to pay for the Republican Party who was behind an armed insurrection.
CROSS: Yes, which is crazy. So, Susan, I want to bring you back in here because half the Republican Party does not believe that their votes will be counted accurately. So, yes, Youngkin won in Virginia last night but I was prepared if McAuliffe had won, will this group of people ever accept another election result that they don`t like? And I think it`s kind of scary that the Republican Party is kind of trafficking in the disbelief in democracy itself.
DEL PERCIO: It`s terrifying. And to your question, they -- if McAuliffe would have won, you would have heard it was rigged. There is no doubt about it. And they would have been wrong and it would have been playing into the big lie. And I agree in my heart about democracy being on the line, that we may not recognize this country in a few years if we cannot maintain faith in our elections and if we cannot broaden our country`s voting base. Everyone should be voting. We need to get more voter participation, not less. That will make us a better country.
But I`m going to go political now. If you want to win races, you can`t tell people what they think should -- what you think is the most important issue facing them, you need to speak to what their most important issue is that they see for themselves. And that is where you -- that`s where the Build Back Better hasn`t been communicated well enough to the general public so they can relate to it, so they can say, oh, I`m getting this. Yes, I need child care. Yes, I need universal pre-K. And, yes, I also need broad brand and bridges. These are all great things for people to know that are coming their way, but you cannot just build on we`re going to change the social net of our society. It doesn`t work if you want to win races. And that`s what needs to happen.
I am a Republican who have supported Democrats and want Democrats to win because I believe in democracy and I believe in governance. We can disagree on policy but the Republicans aren`t governing and they`re still able to be influential in this process. And we have to say the only solution to that is by more Democrats winning.
CROSS: Yes. And so, Errin, to that point, because I think Susan`s point, it`s all about giving Democrats something to hold on to, but let be honest here, Errin, you could have given this message to a lot of people. It would not matter. The Republicans dangle things like CRT, critical race theory, any of these ghost philosophies they have. The subtext of all this was we can`t let black and brown people run the country. The messaging didn`t matter.
Erin, in Virginia, I think voters color have such a huge position to play in this American body of politic and the AAPI community could have made a huge difference in the Virginia race and some of these razor thin margins, and sometimes voters of color get overlooked because you`ve got the Republicans yelling like, hey, look, the black and brown folks are coming for us. Do you think messaging is the part of the problem here?
HAINES: Well, you know, Tiffany, Susan brought up history. And I think as we reflect on today, which is the one year anniversary of last year`s election, a record election which saw record turnout among voters of color in particular who were part of the coalition that delivered a Democratic victory at the presidential level and gave Democrats control of Congress, last night was an important reminder of why it`s important to know our history and to learn our history, right, because what we saw last night and we are likely to keep seeing in our politics going forward is history repeating itself.
History tells us that the culture wars in our politics have centered on the classroom before when students were legally separated on this vicious and racist theory that mixing in a public school was somehow going to lead to interracial marriage. I mean, history tells us that some of our fellow citizens actively fought against integration after the Brown versus Gore decision and the teaching of our full American story, including parents in Virginia. And, by the way, this was also considered parents` rights, right? It`s the erasure of that history, not the actual academic field of critical race theory that is not coming for anyone`s K through 12 curriculum, by the way, that all American parents should be concerned about.
And when you talk about who we`re talking about, we talk about parents, right? You know, yes, this is the conversation that we need to be having right now. These are the lessons we need to be taking a year from last year`s historic election and looking ahead to 2022 and `24 and beyond.
CROSS: Yes. And, look, I don`t want to make it seem like this is just a washout. I think that`s part of the media narrative, but, Fernand, there were some historic elections that happened last night. You had Michelle Wu, Boston`s first woman and Asian-American mayor. Ed Gainey was Pittsburgh`s first black mayor, Aftab Pureval, Cincinnati`s first Asian-American mayor, Nadarius Clarke, Virginia`s youngest Democratic delegate.
So, there were some sweeping victories and I think there is some danger in getting caught up in Democrats need to be so concerned. I think Democrats need to be concerned about voting rights. But there were some small victories last night, and I don`t think they should get overlooked. Your thought on the good part, good narrative that happened last night.
AMANDI: Well I mean, it certainly is a silver lining if you want to think about the future direction of the country. But, again, I go back to the point, Tiffany, if these were normal times, if we were dealing with a normal Republican Party pre-Trump, where -- the ideological difference but the question of democracy was not in question, you know, I think there is reason to be optimistic.
But, again, I`m of the opinion, and I say this is the son of Cuban exiles who were forced to leave their country because of an autocratic overthrow. When the Republicans are on the precipice of recapturing the Congress without a voting rights bill having been passed to protect the integrity of elections, I am not sure, as Susan Del Percio said earlier, we can count on this democracy being intact and being -- and having the full integrity of an election in 2024 and beyond and I think that`s why this is the dominant issue and really needs to be going forward.
CROSS: Yes. And, look, I mean, you heard it here from Susan Del Percio, a white Republican women, that said the key to this is having more Democratic candidates win. So, hopefully, Susan you`re shouting loud to some of your fellow Republican Party women. So, thanks so much to Susan Del Percio, Fernand Amandi and Errin Haines for joining me and breaking down some of the crazy stuff that happened last night.
And up next on THE REIDOUT, the Supreme Court appears to be all set the expand the rights of gun owners on the same Republicans in the United States Senate shoot down voting rights legislation. I mean, I don`t understand.
Plus, and Joy`s interview with Huma Abedin on working side by side with Hillary Clinton and the scandals involving her husband, Anthony Weiner.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In everyone of those instance, Joy, I really tried to make the best decision for my son, for myself, until I got to the point where I just couldn`t do it anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROSS: You don`t want to miss that interview.
Plus, it could be a major turning point in the pandemic as children begin getting vaccinated.
THE REIDOUT continues right after this.
CROSS: All right, let`s have some straight talk.
If you think last night was bad, brace yourselves, because just wait until November of next year, when Republicans, after securing their majority through gerrymandering, might retake the House and maybe even the Senate.
But that doesn`t have to happen. Democrats have a remedy. And, in fact, they have two, the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
Now, today, Senate Democrats, with the help of just one sole Republican -- that was Alaska`s Lisa Murkowski -- they failed to pass the bill named after civil rights icon and former Congressman John Lewis.
Now, the law would replace the part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013. You guys remember that. Specifically, the bill would bring back the preclearance requirement. That was Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. And this would be preclearance from the Justice Department or federal courts before states can make changes to their election processes.
Now, the bill would also restore voters` ability to challenge laws, like those related to redistricting or onerous voter I.D. requirements that are more than likely discriminatory.
Now, I should know that, since its passage, the Voting Rights Act has been reauthorized and amended five times. And all times, those were with large bipartisan majorities.
Now, under the last president to reauthorize the law -- that was George W. Bush -- not a single Senate Republican oppose the bill, and only 33 House Republicans opposed it. At the time, objection to the law was viewed as an embarrassment. Not so today.
Now it`s a proud talking point for the Republican Party. And, sadly, this vote is just a taste of what`s to come. What`s next? Banning abortions, weakening gun protections, and, yes, banning books.
Let`s talk about it.
Joining me now, Elie Mystal, justice correspondent for "The Nation" and bringer of the truth and the fire.
Elie, I cannot think of anyone better to reflect the collective outrage we`re all feeling tonight. I`m so incredibly frustrated.
Now, look, we saw what happened last night. Like I said, there were some positives that came out of it. But, for the most part, the Republicans did have a lot of uncomfortable victories.
I was so frustrated when this failure was laid at the feet of black voters, who are subjected to incredible, ridiculous voter suppression laws.
Talk about what happened today and the failure to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.
ELIE MYSTAL, "THE NATION": The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is the most effective piece of legislation in American history.
It did, it finished what the Civil War started. And it was massively effective, which is why Republicans hate it, which is why they have been trying to gut it, which is why, when it gets gutted in 2013 in that case that you just talked about, Shelby County, that`s what leads to Trump winning in 2016.
MYSTAL: It`s a one-to-one connection there.
And so if Democrats liked what they saw happened in Virginia last night, then, by all means, keep doing what you`re doing, because the failure to pass the Voting Rights Act, the failure to empower and protect the base of the Democratic Party, the part of the party that`s going to vote for you at over 85 percent levels, when you fail to do that, you see what happened last night.
So your choice, really, is to empower and protect black voters or run along and chase after the 75 percent of non-college-educated white women that repudiated you last night and are run around thinking that the reason why their daughters are embarrassed for them on TikTok is because of a Toni Morrison novel.
CROSS: Right. Yes, exactly, Elie.
MYSTAL: That`s their choice.
CROSS: But there are a couple of pieces.
I`m just curious your -- like, which of these pieces of legislation you like, because there is the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which some argue is weak. There`s H.R.1, which never got passed. There`s the Freedom to Vote Act, all of these efforts to save voting rights. And I also want to point out that, with Lisa Murkowski, look, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act definitely would impact the indigenous community, Alaska Natives in Alaska.
So, obviously, Lisa Murkowski would lend her support to it. But that doesn`t erase the fact that there are all of these other pieces of legislation that just can`t seem to get life into it.
So, are we kind of screwing ourselves, voting against ourselves, negotiating against ourselves with some of these watered-down versions of the bill?
MYSTAL: Hey, look, let`s start with this. Like, I will use a Chris Rock joke, right? If I`m starving, and you give me a cracker, I`m like, oh, that`s the best cracker I ever had, right?
So the John Lewis, that`s a cracker. The Freedom to Vote Act, that`s a cracker. I will take -- I will take whatever sustenance the Democrats are willing to put forward in order to protect and empower black people.
However, the real issue here is not the legislation. It`s the Supreme Court, because the Supreme Court are the people who took away the Voting Rights Act to begin with. The Supreme Court are the people who refuse still to this day to enforce the 15th Amendment that people literally died for in this country.
It`s the Supreme Court that refuses to aggressively implement the 19th Amendment, right? So, like, if you do not fix the Supreme Court, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act was trying to restore something that John Roberts and his conservative cronies took away. There`s nothing to say that, even if you pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, that Roberts wouldn`t take it away again.
I preferred H.R.1 to the Freedom to Vote Act, because while both are similarly good in terms of voting rights, what did Joe Manchin -- I mean, think about this. What did Joe Manchin, what did President Manchin want out of the H.R.1 that he wanted -- that he did not put into his Freedom to Vote Act? All the ethics reforms, forcing a person to release their tax returns before they run for president, prohibiting presidents from funneling money from the Oval Office to their family-run businesses.
That what was in the Freedom -- the For the People Act...
MYSTAL: ... that Manchin took out of the Freedom to Vote Act.
So I think the For the People Act was better. But, again, at this point, I will take anything from this party that actually allows people to go vote easily and frictionlessly...
MYSTAL: ... and without the voter suppression done by the Republicans, and the party won`t pass it.
And, look, I don`t want to lose sight of the fact, because there`s a lot of talk Manchinema. And I got your shade there with President Manchin.
But, look, I think we give outside attention and undue attention to these two. We can`t lose sight of the fact that it`s Republicans who are obstructing being able to pass voting rights law. And with this narrow majority, that`s why these two.
But I don`t want to lose sight of the fact that it is the Republican Party who is obstructing people who look like you and me, our path to the ballot box. And we shouldn`t lose sight of that.
And, look, if it`s not going to be the state legislature to save democracy, then people look to Congress. If it`s not going to be Congress, people look to the courts. It looks like it`s not going to be the courts either. So we will have to keep our eye on that.
But I want to switch topics, speaking of the courts, because, today, the U.S. Supreme Court heard a challenge to a New York state gun law that limits firearms outside of the home. And under that law, residents seeking a permit to carry concealed weapons in public must demonstrate proper cause, which has been interpreted, Elie, as a special need for self- protection.
Now, the law has been in place for over a century. But, again, the conservative majority on the Supreme Court now appears ready to strike it down.
And, Elie, I don`t have to tell you this would have major ramifications for other states with similar laws. That means more guns in public spaces. You saw it in the last block. This guy wants to know when we can use guns and start killing people.
And like the New York City subway, for instance, where it`s a public space, they`re saying people can carry guns.
Take a listen, Elie, to Justice Samuel Alito during today`s arguments.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SAMUEL ALITO, U.S. SUPREME COURT ASSOCIATE JUSTICE: All these people with illegal guns, they`re on the subway. They`re walking around the streets.
But the ordinary, hardworking, law-abiding people I mentioned, no, they can`t be armed.
BARBARA UNDERWOOD, NEW YORK SOLICITOR GENERAL: The idea of proliferating arms on the subway is precisely, I think, what terrifies a great many people.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CROSS: Now, in contrast with Alito, Justice Stephen Breyer pointed out the obvious implications of unfettered access to guns in public spaces. Take a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
STEPHEN BREYER, U.S. SUPREME COURT ASSOCIATE JUSTICE: I think that people have good moral character who start drinking a lot and who may be there for a football game or some kind of soccer game can get pretty angry at each other.
And if they each have a concealed weapon, who knows? And there are plenty of statistics in these briefs to show there are some people who do know, and a lot of people end up dead.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CROSS: Now, I should say, Justice Roberts asked how many muggings take place in the forest. People do get shot in the forest. Ask Dick Cheney.
But this is the first time in over a decade that the Supreme Court has taken up some of these gun laws. What should we be concerned about here? Because this conservative court looks like they`re about to expand people having guns in a lot of dangerous places.
MYSTAL: It`s so bad. It`s so bad, what`s going on right now.
I mean, I imagine Sam Alito sounded exactly like Bernhard Goetz sounded in 1984 right before he plugged four unarmed black people on the subway. I bet Alito sounds exactly like Goetz would have sounded that day.
Just to put this in context, on Monday, we had conservative justices arguing that any random bounty hunter can regulate a woman`s reproductive choice. On Wednesday, we had some of those same conservatives, like Sam Alito, argue that the state of New York could not regulate a white man getting on the subway with an overt -- with a loaded overcompensation symbol to do whatever he needs to do on that subway.
Like, that is the hypocrisy that we are dealing with when we are talking about conservative control of the Supreme Court. The upshot of today`s case is that New York`s permitting requirements, which require you to show proper cause -- and, just by the way, proper cause, that`s literally the first line of the Second Amendment, a well-regulated militia being necessary for a free state.
MYSTAL: So, proper cause is in the Second Amendment.
But the conservatives are going to take that out of the Second Amendment and say that New York state must issue gun permits to anybody who can fill out a form, and that those people must be allowed to take those guns into public spaces, like our subways and other -- and bars.
CROSS: Yes, it`s a bad combination.
I wanted to get into the Kyle Rittenhouse trial with you, but we are out of time.
I`m putting you on the spot. Can I see you Saturday morning, my friend, on "THE CROSS CONNECTION," and we can talk about it then?
MYSTAL: Oh, my God, it`s not Saturday already? We still have more of this week?
CROSS: We will pick up this conversation on Saturday, Elie.
Thank you so much, Elie Mystal, for joining us.
But don`t go anywhere, because, up next, Joy`s amazing interview with longtime Hillary Clinton adviser Huma Abedin. You don`t want to miss this.
That`s coming up right after the break. Stay tuned.
CROSS: All right, Joy sat down with Huma Abedin -- she`s a longtime adviser to Hillary Clinton -- to talk about her fabulous new book, "Both/And."
Take a look.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Huma Abedin is one of Hillary Clinton`s most trusted advisers, by her side, from the Clinton administration to her presidential campaigns, to the secretary of state`s office, where she was one of the highest-profile Muslim Americans to serve in the executive branch.
You may also know her from her relationship with Anthony Weiner, but she has not told her full story publicly until now.
In her new book, "Both/And," Abedin shares her extraordinary personal journey from growing up in Saudi Arabia to being the right-hand person to one of the most important and powerful women in the world.
And Huma Abedin joins me now.
I was saying this to you off camera, so I`m just going to say to you on camera. It is sort of shocking to me to think about the fact that we have never really seen you do interviews or hear you, because you`re so familiar to those of us who`ve been following particularly Democratic politics for so long.
But you really were the person that was just off to the right. So how did it feel to move from just off to the right to center stage, telling your story?
HUMA ABEDIN, AUTHOR, "BOTH/AND: A LIFE IN MANY WORLDS": Well, to be -- first of all, I`m so excited to be on the show with you today.
But I have to say, I prefer the being behind the scenes.
ABEDIN: I prefer being invisible. Everything is new to me.
So, I`m emerging into this world where all the things I would say to somebody else -- we were talking about this earlier. Don`t forget to say this. Don`t forget to do this.
ABEDIN: I know all the mechanics.
ABEDIN: But being in the chair, it`s a whole different experience.
ABEDIN: And I`m just getting used to it.
REID: Getting used to it. And you`re doing a brilliant job of it.
ABEDIN: Thank you.
REID: So I want to talk about your family.
I am semi-obsessed with your upbringing, which was international. It was cross-cultural. It was fundamentally American and fundamentally immigrant, but also quite international. So you were around the world. You lived in Saudi Arabia.
You`re -- you come from -- I wrote this down. You come from free people, free women who were true to their faith, but within the constructs of that faith really insisted on education, insisted on being free.
ABEDIN: That`s right.
REID: Talk about what that did for you growing up, as a young girl, as a young Muslim girl.
ABEDIN: Well, Joy, it is one of the reasons I start the book saying that I grew up surrounded by stories.
I was raised to honor a legacy of my forefathers and my foremothers. And the arc of my book ends where I really do honor the matriarchs in my family, because I came from -- my father was Indian. My mother -- my mother was a refugee who had to leave India, and they migrated to Pakistan after the Partition.
And they -- for them, education was almost a religion. And I owe it -- I write the story of my grandmother 100 years ago demanding to be educated, which was not the norm for girls at her time. And she was able -- actually, my grandmother never went to a formal school.
ABEDIN: My mother was mostly homeschooled.
And then, at 21, to get a Fulbright -- or 23 to get a Fulbright, to come to the United States, she gave up everything, her family, her...
ABEDIN: People thought her parents were crazy. What are you doing sending your unmarried daughter, leaving Pakistan, getting on an airplane and going to Philadelphia?
ABEDIN: And she did. I mean, she followed her dreams.
And I am so conscious of the sacrifices that my parents made. My father struggled with terminal illness. He was ill most of my life. But they did this for their children. I mean, they pursued the American dream.
And, boy, did I get to live this extraordinarily privileged life because of them.
REID: I have to tell you, everyone, it is worth -- it is worth getting a copy of this book just because it`s an incredible story, but just the first 100 pages, talking about your family, it`s brilliant.
I mean, you`re in Queens, you`re in Michigan, you`re like all over, and then you`re in Saudi Arabia. It`s brilliant.
I have to talk about your relationships, because you -- it feels natural one, having read about your upbringing and your background, that you gravitated toward these relationships with people who were so different from you.
Talk about Hillary Clinton, somebody so formidable in your life that she almost could have been in your family.
ABEDIN: That is an observation that nobody has made. But it is true for me that I left -- one of the reasons I liked growing up in the Middle East is having this really strong sense of community and support, and you`re kind of involved in each other`s lives.
If there`s a funeral, everyone shows up. If there`s a wedding, everyone shows up. But it`s kind of this culture. When my father had to go to the hospital for his kidney transplant, our friends took us in, moved our furniture over for us to be comfortable. And my parents really taught us -- I think one of the most important lessons my parents taught us was radical empathy.
Like, they were not parents who told us, so much as showed us by example. And then, in the end, it was our choice to do whatever it is. All they required is we be educated.
ABEDIN: To land in the White House and to have a boss like Hillary Clinton, I felt like that same kind of culture of community -- Hillaryland, there`s a whole chapter -- was very similar.
REID: Yes. Yes. Yes.
I`m going to find -- I`m trying to find this quote here about Hillary Clinton staying with Bill Clinton, because your family was so loyal to one another, that it had to be jarring to work for somebody who, in the end, her husband had some failings with loyalty.
And you write: "In all the frenzied speculation about why Hillary Clinton stayed in her marriage, that it was a political arrangement, that he did it -- that she did it so she could launch a political career of her own, skeptics tended to rush over the very obvious explanation. She did it because she believed it was the right thing to do for herself and her family."
And with that, I want to set up an issue that happened in your own relationship, because, obviously Anthony Weiner, who was somebody obviously so different from you, different in religion, different ethnically, in every way, you`re married.
What drew you to him, first of all, initially?
ABEDIN: I fell in love with his exuberant -- he was smart, and he was interesting, and he was in public service. And it felt like our values and principles are very much aligned.
And as I tell him the story, I mean, we met in 2001, kind of just went our separate ways, but he -- there was an attraction to him, and I really felt like he was my friend before he was anything else. And I -- we sort of fell in love by accident.
REID: With all the things that happen between 2011 and 20 -- I think you guys left -- separated in 2016. Why did you stay?
ABEDIN: Well, I think a lot of people look at our relationship now through a 2021 lens.
ABEDIN: And I think, in the moment, the first time that the story broke about Anthony`s scandal, I -- we were newlyweds. We were living this extraordinary life. I was at Buckingham Palace, deeply, madly in love with my husband. He was the first man I had ever been with.
And so I was in shock, but I was also carrying his child. I mean, I really -- I -- we just talked about my father. I did not have a choice when my father was taken for me.
ABEDIN: And knowing I was carrying his child, I knew that I wanted to give my son the opportunity to be raised in a household with two parents.
ABEDIN: Obviously, over the years, things escalated.
And in every one of those instances, Joy, I really tried to make the best decision for my son, for myself, until I got to the point where I just couldn`t do it anymore.
CROSS: All right, much more of Joy`s interview with Huma Abedin after the break, including James Comey`s role in the 2016 election, and Michele Bachmann`s baseless attacks on her family.
Don`t go anywhere.
CROSS: Welcome back.
We have got more now from Joy`s interview with Huma Abedin.
REID: Let`s talk about something that involves your husband, involves Anthony Weiner, but also involves the election.
The 2016 election was so traumatizing for so many people. I want to play for you -- this is three for my producers. And this is the moment James Comey made an announcement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LESTER HOLT, NBC ANCHOR: Breaking news tonight, a bombshell from the FBI director 11 days to the election, the feds investigating newly discovered e-mails related to the Hillary Clinton private server case found during a separate probe into sexting allegations against her top aide`s husband Anthony Weiner.
New information still coming in. Donald Trump seizing on a stunning turn of events.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: You write about your feelings in that moment toward Anthony Weiner, but also toward Jim Comey. Talk about that.
ABEDIN: Well, in that moment, what I felt, and as I recount in the book, I walk into this restroom, and I -- it felt selfish to feel for myself.
It was -- I was so shocked. I had thought I had controlled the situation. I thought I had figured this out. I had tried to help Anthony in as best a way I possibly could, even though I really was not capable and was not successful doing that.
To me, I just didn`t understand why nobody had reached out, and to make this earth-shattering revelation 11 days before the election, an unprecedented move. It`s not something I`m saying. I mean, others have said, in the history, the past 70 years, no FBI director had done anything like this.
ABEDIN: And, for me, part of the shock, Joy, was the fact that I would have gladly cooperated, provided whatever information that I was asked.
And I write the story in the book right at the beginning of the campaign, when the FBI investigation started, and I`m sitting in a conference room with Hillary and I see some article saying that State Department aides were asked to provide information to the FBI, see my name, and no one had contacted me.
I go back to my office and contact a lawyer friend saying, OK, this is saying that I need to provide information. I would have been happy to provide that information. That is why the shock at that announcement, and then, obviously, two days before the election, the second bombshell, which I think helped her opponent even more.
I think it`s not even arguable that that changed absolutely the trajectory of the last -- end of that campaign.
One other thing. Now, you being known and not known, like, people know who you are. You are the sort of glamorous presence that people know vaguely who you are. Unfortunately, one of the ways that people know who you are is, the right was vicious towards you. They used you and, in some ways, the fact that you couldn`t respond because you were the person off to the side.
And they used you as sort of a battering ram. Michele Bachmann, many people may or may not remember her. She wrote the following. She wrote a letter accusing you of being connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, saying influence operations and Muslim Brotherhood and security concerns, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Talk about being a Muslim woman in a country that -- as you said, being American is so fundamental to who you are, and yet you`re being attacked by somebody. You know that you can`t hit them back. And if you could, also include in that being in a country that did the Muslim ban.
How did you feel about those two pieces of...
ABEDIN: That incident as a whole was probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to deal with in my adult life, and, in part, because I was raised in the Clinton school of politics.
You`re used to the smears, you`re used to the negative statements, you`re used to the lies. And back in the `90s, with the 24-hour news cycle, you did not acknowledge a lot of the fake news. You drove the provocative message of the day.
Well, now we have -- and by 2012, we had moved into the social media world, where you are in a 24-second news cycle. And I felt so paralyzed because they were attacking my family and my father, who was not even allowed or able to defend himself. And when you know who my father is, and his whole approach to the world was talking to the other, was going into conversations where his friend -- as his allies would say, don`t go into these conversations where even angels fear to tread.
He was fearless about talking to the other side. So, to do that, to me -- and it`s why throughout the book I write -- I write about the bombings in Africa, when President Clinton was president and in 1993, and the USS Cole, all these ways, all these horrible incidents that took place, but which, as a result, kind of made my religion into this boogeyman.
I mean, Muslims became this sort of suspicious character. And I, to some extent, felt like that whole experience was a little bit of an appetizer for what was about to come in 2016.
ABEDIN: She really presented this bomb, and it worked. It really worked.
ABEDIN: It was very, very difficult for me.
REID: It`s difficult. It`s a difficult story, but it`s beautifully written. You`re a good writer.
ABEDIN: Thank you.
REID: If you ever decided to write a novel, you would do well. This is a brilliant book.
ABEDIN: Thank you.
REID: It`s called "Both/And." I`m going to hold the copy of it.
You all should get a copy of this, both because it is -- it is a truly American story. It`s an international story. And it`s a well-told story.
ABEDIN: Thank you.
REID: Thank you so much, Huma Abedin. It`s such an honor.
ABEDIN: It`s an honor to be with you.
REID: Thank you very much.
ABEDIN: Appreciate it. Appreciate your time.
REID: Author of "Both/And." Get that book.
CROSS: That was a great interview, .
Still ahead: a potentially major turning point in the fight against COVID.
Stay with us. We will be right back after the break.
CROSS: All right, well, today, a collective sigh of relief could be heard from millions of parents across the country. And that`s because, starting this morning, children ages 5 to 11 are finally getting COVID vaccinations.
This is after the CDC gave the green light last night for the child-sized doses. Now, this could be a game-changer for more than 28 million kids now eligible.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I have my vaccine, and life is just going to be better.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: And I can be back to normal in my classroom and in the school, so we can have recess all together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROSS: But the latest Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds that a third of parents are just not quite yet ready for their kids to roll up their sleeves, and 30 percent say their children definitely will not get the vaccine.
Today, President Biden implored hesitant parents to reach out to their family doctors to get their questions answered.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: After almost 18 months of anxious worrying every time that children -- your child had a sniffle or started to cough, well, you can now protect them from this horrible virus. Because that would always worry that it was coming along.
Twenty-eight million more young Americans are now eligible for the protection of a vaccine, and my administration is ready -- we`re ready from day one, today -- organized, and have a plan for this vaccination`s launch.
As soon as next week, we will have enough vaccine in enough places, and parents will be able to schedule appointments to get their kids their first shot.
And we`ve already secured enough vaccine supply for every single child in America ages 5 through 11.
And weeks ago, we asked states and pharmacies to put together their detailed plan to start placing their orders for these specially formulated vaccines for young children.
But I also know that some families might have questions. So, trusted messengers, like your pediatricians, family doctors, will be able to answer your questions, talk to parents about the importance of getting their kids vaccinated, and put your mind at ease.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROSS: Family doctors, not social media.
And in other positive COVID news, it appears that the vaccine mandates are actually working. For all the fearmongering that the mandates would lead to these mass firings of first responders, police officers and firefighters, it ain`t happening, like right here in New York City, where the police unions threatened to -- the mandate would relieve upwards of 10,000 officers.
That number at the beginning of the week was only a whopping 34. And according to the police commissioner, they`re -- 85 percent of the NYPD staff are now vaccinated.
All right, that is tonight`s REIDOUT. Don`t worry. Joy will be back tomorrow.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.