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Transcript: The ReidOut, 11/9/21

Guests: Joanna Freeman, Michael Schmidt, Tim Mak, Tim Miller, Michael Harriot


GOP Leader McCarthy silent on Gosar video attacking AOC. McCarthy turns blind eye to dangerous Gosar rhetoric. AOC says GOP won`t hold Gosar accountable for video. Gosar says he didn`t mean to espouse violence video threatening AOC is symbolic.


JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone. I`m Jonathan in tonight for Joy Reid.

We`ve got a lot to get to including a new round of subpoenas that today from the January 6th committee. The list includes Steven Miller, Trump`s former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and the 29-year-old aide who became so powerful in the final weeks of Trump`s presidency, he was dubbed the deputy president.

But we begin with a question. Where is Kevin? The Republican, quote/unquote, leader in the House Kevin McCarthy is missing in action after a Republican lawmaker appeared to threaten the life of another member of congress on social media. Arizona Republican Congressman Paul Gosar posted a clip of an altered clip of an anime video showing him killing Congresswoman Alexandria Oscasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden.

Now, we`re not going to show it to you, but it features a character Photoshopped with Gosar`s face using swords to kill a monster with the face of Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez and later slashing the face of President Biden. It been flagged by Twitter for, quote/unquote, hateful content but it`s been allowed to remain on the site.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned on the video and called on McCarthy to do the same and called on the ethics Commit Committee and law enforcement to investigate. The White House has also condemned Gosar but all indications point to McCarthy doing what he`s always done, nothing. He`s turned a blind eye to Gosar`s other dangerous antics, including voting against certifying the election for President Biden and being named by Ali Alexander as one of three Republican congressmen that helped him plan the rally ahead of the January 6th insurrection.

Gosar is so unhinged that in 2018, six of his siblings cut an ad endorsing his opponent and have since pushed to have him expelled from congress in part because of his involvement with January 6th. For her part, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez slammed Gosar and noted that it`s just the latest in a stream of threats against and harassment of her by Republicans. She called Gosar a creepy member who fundraises with neo-Nazism, noting he`ll face no consequences because GOP leader, that`s Kevin McCarthy, cheers him on with excuses, adding that institutions don`t protect women of color

In a statement tonight, Gosar responded to the blowback, a lengthy statement, saying he doesn`t espouse violence toward members and that the violence depicted was, quote, symbolic.

Joining me now, Christina Greer, Associate Professor of Political Science at Fordham University, Charlie Sykes, Editor-at-Large for The Bulwark and an MSNBC Columnist, and Joanne Freeman, Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University. All, thank you very much for coming to THE REIDOUT.

Charlie, I want to start with you and play this sound from Adam Schiff on The View today, what he had to say about Gosar. We`ll talk about it on the other side.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): First of all, he has no business being in Congress. He should have never been elected. He doesn`t belong there. And, sadly, sadly, the Republican conference is now characterized by numerous kooks and dangerous cranks, which he is one.

And when you consider where the leadership of that conference is, they`re talking today removing from committees Republicans who voted for a bipartisan infrastructure bill.


CAPEHART: So, Charlie, when you consider where the leadership of the conference is, where is the leader of the conference? Where is Kevin McCarthy?

CHARLIE SYKES, MSNBC COLUMNIST: Yes. Well, stop me if you`ve heard this before but he`s not going to do anything about Paul Gosar. Look, Paul Gosar is a bigot with some serious mental issues, and a healthy political party would not tolerate him. A healthy political party would say, you`re bad for our brand, you`re bad for our values, you have to go. A healthy political culture would hold him accountable.

But here we are and this is why we need to take this seriously. And I`m going to make two points about violence and standards. I mean, the threat of political violence is very real. We have lived through this.


The Washington post has an account of what school board members are going through on a daily basis, the death threats, the kinds of harassment. We`ve already seen what`s been happening with election officials around the country. Just today, Michigan Congressman Fred Upton said that he received death threats after Marjorie Taylor Greene posted his phone number then called him a traitor for voting for that bipartisan infrastructure bill. This is a very, very dangerous time.

So, not only do you have someone like Paul Gosar stoking the potential of violence and Kevin McCarthy tolerating it, but this is all taking place at a time in which this is really part of the political environment. And so Kevin McCarthy`s silence is sort of same old, same old but, again, you know, be careful what you wish for in this particular case. But, again, it`s almost like an old story, is the Republican Party going to hold Paul Gosar accountable? No, just like they`re not going to Marjorie Taylor Greene or Lauren Boebert or Madison Cawthorn or Matt Gaetz. They will expel Liz Cheney but Paul Gosar is and will remain a member in good standing of the House Republican Conference.

CAPEHART: And, Professor Freeman, to pick up on what Charlie was talking about, the violence is real and this is a very dangerous moment that we`re in in our country, but is this more dangerous than it`s ever been in the history of our country when it comes to the use of -- well, they didn`t have social media back in the old days, but, you know, the threat of political violence and in any form, we`ve been here before, haven`t we?

JOANNE FREEMAN, PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, YALE UNIVERSITY: Well, we have and we haven`t. That`s a historian friendly question. There is a long trail of violence in a variety of different ways on a high level, on a low level, all kinds of violence intertwined with American politics. What is distinctive about this moment, and I guess, there are two things.

Number one is the -- I suppose you could say, in a sense, the okay for this kind of behavior, the endorsement of this kind of behavior is coming from very high up. So, it`s not as though there is a random member here or there who is doing something like this. We have a former president who encouraged it, and we have a Republican Party which isn`t really saying much about it.

We`re in the middle of basically a crisis of accountability. And I think we can see how if you look at January 6th, if you look at this current moment, if you look at any number of ways in which people are violating norms and really just sort of trashing people with no accountability at all, it`s going to encourage more of the same. There is no question that it will be encouraging more of the same and that`s what we`re seeing now.

CAPEHART: Right. And hopefully not going to the end result that we keep seeing.

Christina, let me show you this tweet from Congressman Ted Lieu that he put out today about Congressman Gosar, saying this is sick behavior from Congressman Paul Gosar. He tweeted out the video showing him killing Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez from his official account and personal account. In any workplace in America, if a co-worker made an anime video killing another worker, that person would be fired.

And so, Professor Greer, to the point that Professor Freeman just made, this crisis of accountability is very real. How is the Capitol not considered today a hostile work environment as a result of that?

CHRISTINA GREER, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: Well, we have to remember, Jonathan, don`t forget, Marjorie Taylor Greene was costing Representative Ocasio-Cortez in front of her office, that Cori Bush, Congresswoman Cori Bush, requested to move offices because so many members of the Republican caucus behaved so badly that it is a threat in the workplace.

We can`t forget that Shirley Chisholm was stabbed while campaigning, so violence against women, especially women of color is not new and it`s definitely not new in this political climate, not just for elected officials but also for journalists and academics who talk about and the report on this new wing of the party that is taking over like a cancer.

Charlie said that, you know, Gosar represents kind of a bigot with mental health issues. Well, that is absolutely true, but so is the former president of the United States. And so many are taking their lead from Donald Trump who sanctions this, welcomes it, urges it. My college from Yale, Joy, just said, encouraged, past tense. I would argue, encourages, current tense.

I mean, we can look at Donald Trump if he was still on Twitter and social media actively, we know that he would be encouraging and supporting and praising Gosar, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Gaetz in ways that he`s trying to sort of make these threats to other members of the party to say, if you don`t get in line, if you don`t support this type of really insidious, disgusting behavior towards Democrats, then I won`t support you.


And so this is where the Republican Party is. They have to be honest about this is how they have chosen to cast their luck, Republican voters have to be very honest that this is the party they support. They can tell themselves it`s about tax breaks all they want. This is the party of bigotry right now. This is the party violence right now. And that`s the moment that we`re in in the 21st century.

CAPEHART: Professor Greer, to your point, because you mentioned Marjorie Taylor Greene`s history of harassment, and I`m going to put up a bunch of headlines here, Representative Greene aggressively confronts Representative Ocasio-Cortez, causing New York congresswoman to raise security concerns. Democratic Congresswoman Cori Bush is moving her office after Taylor Greene berated her. Marjorie Taylor Greene fights with House colleagues during Bannon vote. Those house colleagues were Congresswoman Liz Cheney and Congressman Jamie Raskin. They`re on the floor of the House.

Charlie -- oh, one more thing, Marjorie Taylor Greene is -- where is it? She`s calling them -- this is element for her. Marjorie Taylor Greene launches furious attack on the 13 Republican, quote/unquote, traitors who voted for the Biden infrastructure bill, traitors.

Charlie, I`m old enough to remember when Republicans loved infrastructure. They would love to be there for the bill signing and take all the credit, and now it`s traitorous behavior?

SYKES: Well, yes. And, of course, Donald Trump had proposed infrastructure bill and they would have enthusiastically supported it. But, look, to what Professor Greer just said about the Republican Party being a party of bigotry and violence, Republican leaders could refute that rather dramatically, right, by kicking out Paul Gosar or Marjorie Taylor Greene. That`s what healthy political parties do, say, no, this is not who we are, but, in fact, they embrace them, they treat them like rock stars. So, this is objectively true. But the contrast between the anger against the members who voted for bridges and roads versus the absolute indifference to somebody like Paul Gosar really says something about standards.

And also just one other thing, you mentioned that she uses the word, traitor. It`s not just the overt advocacy of violence, it`s the entire thrust of this argument that we are in this massive war for the future of the country, and they mean it literally, that they are fighting against forces who hate America, who hate God, who were trying to destroy the country. And the president, when he says that the insurrection was on November 3rd, not on January 6th, is really fomenting that a apocalyptic vision that you need to fight perhaps violently to protect your country, and that will have consequences in a country with as many guns as we have, unfortunately.

CAPEHART: And, Professor Freeman, for me, reading -- well, one, it`s one thing to have Marjorie Taylor Greene who has got nothing to do because she`s not on a committees, say that these folks are traitors but reading reports that those 13 members are being targeted by the rank and file of the Republican caucus to get them yanked from their committees because they had the nerve to vote for a bipartisan bill. Why shouldn`t I be afraid for the future of the republic just based on that alone?

FREEMAN: Well, fear is the goal here, right? That`s the way all of these threats work. I mean, I read earlier today that Congressman Gosar has said, well, I didn`t really mean to threaten a member of Congress. It was just a video, right? Any of these behaviors, any of these threats, any of this language, any of this, I`m confronting you outside of your office, any of that behavior, it might not work through to violence, there might not be actual violence that comes of it but the message is clear and the implications are clear.

And there is a long history in American political history of people on the national stage saying to one another we need to be careful what we say here because the nation will follow our example. They said that in the founding period. They said that in the years leading up to the civil war. We have to be careful of our words, we have to be careful of our behavior because we are modeling for the nation what the nation is here in Congress. So, this all matters more than it might seem to.

CAPEHART: And, Professor Greer, last question to you real quick, just am I wrong to be worried, to be really worried about the republic as a result of Republicans who voted for a bipartisan bill, basically doing their jobs, now being actively threatened with their committee assignments for doing their job?


GREER: Yes, we should be. But we should also be worried that so many of our Democratic leaders are not as forceful as they could and should be. The threat is real. The Republicans have made it very clear that they will continue to support Donald Trump and his lies all the way through the end and they have to make sure that January 6th wasn`t just dress rehearsal.

And there are so many Americans, as Charlie mentioned, with guns who see this as, you know, their destiny to fight for this nation against immigrants, people of color, women of color, especially women. And so the Democratic Party needs to be a lot serious about the threat the Republican Party holds and who they have become these past few years.

CAPEHART: Christina Greer, Charlie Sykes, Joanne Freeman, thank you very much for coming back to THE REIDOUT.

Up next on THE REIDOUT, the January 6th committee issues a new round of subpoenas to former Trump administration officials, including the man who became known as the deputy president.

Also, I`m joined by who reporter that broke the story of the secret NRA conference call in the aftermath of the Columbine High School massacre.

Plus, the right-wing echo chamber gets even more revolting, if that`s possible, as Dennis Prager rewrites the history of the AIDS crisis.

And he dedicated his life to public service, remembering a true patriot, Max Cleland.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.



CAPEHART: The January 6 Select Committee issued a new round of subpoenas today targeting more Trump associates.

The list of 10 additional subpoenas contains familiar names in Trump world, including former Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, former Deputy Chief of Staff Chris Liddell, former senior adviser Stephen Miller, as well as John McEntee, the former Trump bag man turned White House personnel director, and Keith Kellogg, the former national security adviser to Vice President Pence.

According to the committee, seven of those subpoenaed were at the White House on January 6, and most interacted with Trump throughout that day, giving them firsthand knowledge of Trump`s actions as the Capitol was under siege.

This new batch of subpoenas comes just a day after the committee expanded its investigation with its demand to hear from six others close to Trump.

Last week, committee Chairman Bennie Thompson told NBC News he`s signed about 20 subpoenas, which means that there are more to come in the days ahead.

Joining me now is "New York Times" Washington correspondent Michael Schmidt and Neal Katyal, former acting solicitor general.

Gentlemen, thank you very much for coming back to THE REIDOUT.

Michael, could you please talk about the significance of John McEntee being subpoenaed by the select committee?

MICHAEL SCHMIDT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": John McEntee was someone, as you were pointing out, who started at the lowest rungs of Trump`s -- in Trump`s orbit, someone who was at the bottom of the campaign, who didn`t have a lot of political experience, but really thrived in a Trump White House that did not have a lot of order, and found himself in the final days of the administration as someone with an enormous amount of power, the power over personnel, someone that Trump was listening to.

You have to remember what those final weeks of the Trump administration were like. The John Kellys of the world were long gone. The Don McGahns of the world were long gone. Even the Bill Barrs of the world and the Pat Cipollones, the White House counsel, had been pushed aside.

And that allowed people like Rudy Giuliani, Mike Flynn and McEntee to have direct access to the president at a time that Trump was looking for anything to stay in office. He was willing to entertain any idea, to push any norm and, to essentially fortify himself in the White House to stay there as long as possible.

Now, we know that these efforts failed. But, as you`re pointing out, the committee is going back and looking at all this. And McEntee is an important person in Trump`s orbit at that crucial period of time.

CAPEHART: And to that point, Michael, our colleague over at ABC Jonathan Karl has a new book on Trump.

And I want to read to you what he writes about John McEntee`s efforts to overturn the election. Get a load of this.

"When White House counsel Cipollone told Trump that Pence did not have the power to overturn the election, McEntee drafted his own constitutional analysis with an assist from his own rogue legal advisers, directly contradicting Cipollone and every other serious expert in the country."

Neal, as a former acting solicitor general, I can only imagine how offended you must be that someone without even a law degree, maybe not even law school classes, providing a constitutional analysis, his own constitutional analysis.

NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. No, you`re absolutely right.

And this story somehow manages to make John Eastman look even worse. Eastman`s ostensibly a law professor. And he couldn`t come up with a better legal theory than this, frankly, KGB bag boy Johnny McEntee.

Nobody ever heard of this guy. Michael`s absolutely right, Johnny McEntee, and certainly nobody in legal circles. And now, all of a sudden, he`s the guy who`s writing the legal strategy for the president of the United States during a contested election?

I think this demonstrates a real big problem in government. It`s true in every administration. There are always yes-people who surround themselves with Cabinet officials of presidents who say, don`t worry about that pesky law, this or that, here`s some way around it.

And it`s invariably bogus. But that`s why process matters so much. And, here, that Jonathan Karl reporting, Jonathan, that you mentioned says that -- basically, that this guy set up a rogue legal team to plot a coup.


And even Bill Barr, according to this reporting by Mr. Karl, thought that Johnny McEntee`s lackeys were crossing the line of political influence, Bill Barr, whose whole entire theory is a unitary executive one, that the president controls the entire executive branch.

I mean, this is like AOC saying your health care plan provides too much coverage.


CAPEHART: You know, Michael, I want to put up a calendar, because I noticed yesterday, when the subpoenas came out, that there was an interesting pattern happening, and then the new subpoenas came out. And now this pattern is now clear.

If you look, from November 29 basically right through December 15, every day, someone who has been subpoenaed is due to appear to give a deposition before the select committee, every day, with the exception of maybe one day I can see there, December 7.

Do you think that the what the committee is doing is basically defying these folks on a daily basis to not show up?

SCHMIDT: I don`t know. I`m not sure. And I`m not sure what the committee will ultimately get from these individuals.

Some of them are the most loyal of the loyal. Mike Flynn was pardoned by Donald Trump. Bernie Kerik was pardoned by Donald Trump. Trump essentially gave them a second lease on life. And now they`re being asked to respond to a congressional committee that the president has said is essentially a sworn enemy.

And, look, the Justice Department has not moved yet into show how -- what they`re going to do about trying to enforce these subpoenas that are not being responded to by Congress.


SCHMIDT: But the committee is in a difficult spot, because it wants to get its work done before the 2022 midterm elections. And that`s a difficult way to run an investigation, because an investigation should be a large fact- finding exercise, where you go out and you spend as much time as possible looking at things.

They want to do it on a shorter period of time, and want it to be done by early next year. And that undermines what they will be able to do, because they -- because let`s say that Steve Bannon doesn`t want to comply with the subpoena and wants to take that all the way up to the Supreme Court. That could drag the investigation on.

Does that mean that, by the time we get to the midterm elections, if your legal stuff with Steve Bannon is not resolved, do you not have his testimony? So you`re seeing here some of the faults in a congressional investigation like this.

CAPEHART: And, Neal, real quickly, last question to you. And I`m sorry we are out of time, almost out of time.

But, to Michael`s point, the fact that the DOJ hasn`t moved on the criminal contempt citation from the House against Steve Bannon, who was not even a member of the administration on January 6, makes me wonder if the -- if, let`s say, McEntee or Kayleigh McEnany defies the subpoena, and the House votes them in contempt of Congress, criminal contempt of Congress, because they were employees of the executive, do you think DOJ would move faster than it is moving now in the case of Bannon because they were working for the president of the United States at the time?

KATYAL: Jonathan, I think DOJ will move faster, but not because of their executive branch status or not. It`s rather just the first contempt referral just is going to take more time to set up procedures and personnel to review it.

And that`s Bannon. Bannon has really a totally bogus claim of executive privilege, since he never even worked at the time in the executive branch. At least these other folks do, so they have like a terrible, flimsy, awful claim, but it`s 1 percent better than Bannon`s.

So both of these are bogus. I understand lots of people are upset that the Justice Department hasn`t moved quickly enough. But I do think it takes time for these processes to develop. And if Garland doesn`t move in the next week or two, I will be incredibly concerned, and I think we all should be, because the American people need to find out the truth.

And, as Michael said, these people are all loyalists, but, darn it, you have got to try, and you have got to seek contempt actions and the like and try and get them to tell the truth under oath.

CAPEHART: All right, in the next week or two. Now we got another calendar item to look forward to.

Neal Katyal, Michael Schmidt, thank you very much for coming to THE REIDOUT.

Coming up: We`re used to hearing the NRA make the argument that gun control isn`t the solution every time a school shooting happens. But after the 1999 Columbine massacre, they weren`t so sure how to respond.


NPR`s Tim Mak obtained recordings of that conversation. And he joins me next.


CAPEHART: In the spring of 1999, the nation was shocked by the massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado, at the time, the worst school shooting in U.S. history.

Shortly after, the National Rifle Association met to decide what to do about their upcoming convention scheduled in Denver. For the first time, we have an insight into what those conversations sounded, like with NPR`s Tim Mak obtaining recordings of that discussion.

While Mak notes that the NRA considered a strikingly more sympathetic posture toward mass shootings than the uncompromising stance it has taken publicly in the decades since then, there was still a debate over how to respond.


Here`s what happened after the officials broached the possibility of canceling the convention.



MARION HAMMER, NRA LOBBYIST: Screw the insurance. The message that it will stand is that the even the NRA was brought to its knees, and the media will have a field day with it.


CAPEHART: We should note that NBC News does not know what may have been included or left out in these recordings.

In a statement to NPR, an NRA spokesperson said: "It is disappointing that anyone would promote an editorial agenda against the NRA by using shadowy sources and mystery tapes in order to conjure up the tragic events of over 20 years ago."

Joining me now is Tim Mak, Washington investigative correspondent for NPR and author of "Misfire: Inside the Downfall of the NRA."

Tim, thank you very much for coming to THE REIDOUT.

It sounded like, at least from the clip that we played -- and you have listened to the entire conversation -- how long did the sympathetic part of the conversation go on in the aftermath of Columbine in that conversation?

TIM MAK, NPR: Well, they consider such a dizzying array of different options, whether it`s canceling their convention, or even setting up a $1 million fund for victims.

But a really overarching theme of this throughout their conversations is that, if they were to do something like that, it would be kind of seen as a sign of complicity, that they might be seen as responsible if they were to do something that was -- that includes canceling their convention or giving money to victims.

CAPEHART: And, I mean, I think -- oh, Tim, you will know this.

The lobbyists, the NRA lobbyists, Hammer, is she the one from Florida?

MAK: Yes, she is.

CAPEHART: Yes, so she`s like the most powerful person, aside from Wayne LaPierre, within the NRA.

I want to play this sound from then NRA president Charlton Heston. This came after the NRA decided to go through with that -- with their conference in Denver. Have a listen to what he had to say.


CHARLTON HESTON, FORMER NRA PRESIDENT: When an isolated, terrible event occurs, our phones ring demanding that the NRA explain the inexplicable.

Why us? Because their story needs a villain. The dirty secret of this day and age is that political gain and media ratings all too often bloom on fresh graves.


CAPEHART: OK, so that was -- he said that publicly. It looks like that that was at that convention.

He just doubled down. You can take from that tone there that the NRA in that moment decided, we`re not -- we`re not only not going to take responsibility. We`re going to be proactive in pushing back against it.

MAK: What is so amazing about these tapes is that you see, in real time, really, the NRA strategizing behind the scenes and landing on what is going to be their strategy for dealing with school shootings in the decades to come.

Columbine and the shootings at that high school were kind of the start of this modern era of more common school shootings. And, of course, you hear echoes of this strategy over time as the NRA responds to other school shootings.

CAPEHART: Actually, and, to that point, let`s put up this graphic that we pulled together.

Here`s what they said in 2007 after Virginia Tech: "This is not a time for political discussions or public policy debates."

In 2012, after babies basically were shot at Sandy Hook: "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

And then after the Parkland shootings in 2018: "Many in legacy media love mass shootings," which, Tim, sounds very much like what Charlton Heston just said, what was that, back in `99.

MAK: That`s right.

I mean, the NRA has definitely gone through an evolution over the last 20 years. Behind the scenes, behind the curtain of what`s happening inside of NRA H.Q., there`s a really interesting story that`s told in both these tapes and in my book "Misfire," which goes into what happens behind that curtain and a lot of the personalities inside the NRA over the last decade.

The NRA is now in an enormous amount of trouble, facing financial challenges. In 2018, it almost couldn`t make payroll. And now it`s facing these legal challenges from the New York attorney general, Letitia James, who has filed a lawsuit to attempt to dissolve the NRA completely, arguing they`re so corrupt from top to bottom, they shouldn`t be able to exist as a nonprofit.


CAPEHART: As the book behind you says, the name of your book is "Misfire: Inside the Downfall of the NRA."

And you get into the inside of the downfall from Wayne LaPierre, to Mrs. LaPierre, and a whole host of other characters as well.

Tim Mak, thank you very much for coming to THE REIDOUT.

Up next: A conservative talk show host is trying to rewrite the AIDS crisis.

We will be right back.



DENNIS PRAGER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: How did people get governed by irrational fears, whether it is of the non-vaccinated, who are the pariahs of America, as I have not seen in my lifetime any pariah group like -- like this?


During the AIDS crisis, can you imagine if gay men and intravenous drug users, who were the vast majority of people with AIDS, had they been pariahs the way the non-vaccinated are? I mean, it would have been inconceivable.


CAPEHART: Can you imagine?

That was conservative radio talk show host Dennis Prager swearing that COVID anti-vaxxers have suffered a worse fate than gay men and I.V. drug users during the AIDS epidemic.

But history reveals an entirely different story. While AIDS was first identified in 1981, President Ronald Reagan didn`t publicly acknowledge the disease until four years later. At that time, some called it the -- quote - - "gay cancer." Homophobic and demonizing headlines were splashed across the front pages of papers around the globe. The religious right considered it some sort of divine punishment for the alleged sins of gay people.


REVEREND JERRY FALWELL, CHANCELLOR, LIBERTY UNIVERSITY: AIDS generally caused and believed to be caused by homosexual promiscuity. We pay the price when we violate the laws of God.


CAPEHART: Many people with HIV were shunned by their families and rejected by society. Thousands more were left to die alone, deprived of the simplest compassion, like a hug. Hundreds were buried in anonymity in mass graves.

In 1986, 10-year-old Ryan White was kicked out of school, stigmatized for contracting the disease through a blood transfusion.

So, back to Mr. Prager`s initial question. How did the majority of America allow themselves to be governed by an irrational fear? I think those with AIDS who were shunned and shamed would like to know. Sadly, his revisionist history is a central tenet of right-wing victimhood best exemplified by people like Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the new right-wing darling, because, while they claim he`s a pariah to the -- quote, unquote - - "woke mob," the reality is, he`s been called out for what he did, which is lie.

With me now is Tim Miller, writer at large for The Bulwark, and Michael Harriot, senior writer for

Guys, thank you very much for being here.

Tim, when I heard what Dennis Prager had to say, I was like, say what now? Is he -- what gives that every time right-wingers get bent out of shape and put out it`s always they`re the first ones to ever really feel any kind of being shunned or pushed aside?

TIM MILLER, THE BULWARK CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, boy, they love the victim status, don`t they, Jonathan? Not a lot of empathy there.

Some of the viewers might be like, well, right-wing talk radio guy says obnoxious thing. Like, why does this rise to the level of our attention? But here`s the thing. Dennis Prager is not just some random person.

PragerU on YouTube gets tens of millions of views. And on a wide variety of issues, it`s indoctrinating people into anti-climate change kind of views, and (AUDIO GAP) is a hoax and COVID is a hoax, and all these sorts of things.

And so when somebody like that shows that they have just thought so little -- I mean, he lived through the AIDS crisis, for starters. So the idea that someone like that could run such an influential quasi-university, whatever you want to call it, online -- online video program, and not have -- had even taken a moment to just think, that could come out of your mouth, without even at all reflecting on what happened with those in the gay community in the `80s and `90s and beyond, who`s suffered just unbelievable indignity when it comes to AIDS, I think, reflects just how bad the rot is all the way down.

And just other thing, Jonathan. To be honest, I think that it shows an entirely revisionist history, that the entire right wants to run on this. I don`t mind if -- there are candidates that I worked for that had changes of heart on this. And we want people to have changes of heart.

But to have a change of heart, you have to recognize what was wrong in the past and how people were wronged and reflect on that and change. To pretend like your old hateful views didn`t exist and to pretend like the suffering of people didn`t exist is not a way to move forward. It`s a way of just absolve yourself of any sin and turn yourself into the victim.


And, Michael, this is happening at the same time everyone`s talking about Aaron Rodgers and his lying about being vaccinated. He -- in an interview last week, Aaron Rodgers invoked the name of Martin Luther King, in claiming that King would have agreed that he had -- quote -- "a moral obligation to object to unjust rules and rules that make no sense."


He gave an interview -- he gave an interview to -- I believe it was today, where he apologizes for lying, and claims that he doesn`t care about the debate.

Here`s what he said: "The right is going to champion me and the left is going to cancel me. And the whole time, I don`t give a `blank` about either of them. Politics is a total sham."

Just your views on what Aaron Rodgers is doing right now by avoiding any kind of responsibility or accountability here.

MICHAEL HARRIOT, THE ROOT: Right. This is the real Critical Race Theory, if you will, like the revisionist history, the false narratives that they have put forth.

And I think we have to be careful, because I always make sure that I distinguish between vaccine hesitancy and anti-vaxxers, right? There`s some people who have legitimate concerns and have fears about a disease that just sprang up the last couple of years, and then there are people who say, not only is it my belief, but it should be everyone`s belief.

And that`s the thing that we should be concerned about, right? And for Aaron Rodgers, this privilege that he has -- like, first of all, the idea of him being canceled, because he`s still got to make $22 million a year. He`s still going to be allowed to play football. He literally is sitting home because he might kill someone.

And that`s the only thing that is preventing him from completing the rest of the season, right? So, he -- I don`t see how he`s been canceled. And if he was canceled, right, when he lost those endorsements, when he had had criticism, faced public criticism, they were because of a thing that he did, right?

It wasn`t like people made stuff up to vilify Aaron Rodgers, right? He did a thing, and people reacted to it. And somehow now that`s become cancel culture, because the truth is, right, that there are other players in the NFL who aren`t vaccinated, and who came out and said, look, I am not going to be vaccinated. They didn`t lie about it.

And people -- there was a difference of opinion amongst the public. And then it now went away.


HARRIOT: Lamar Jackson from Baltimore and Kirk Cousins over in Minnesota, they had the same views as Aaron did. But what they didn`t do is lie about it. What they didn`t do is try to have some homegrown cure and sit -- print out a bunch of stuff on their inkjet printer and send it to doctors who actually know what they`re talking about.

And the hubris of Aaron Rodgers and the lies of Aaron Rodgers are what people are objecting to. And that is something that he did.

CAPEHART: You know, we just have maybe like -- well, actually, we have one minute left.

But, real quickly, both of you, when I when I see what`s happening with Aaron Rodgers and Dennis Prager, and then you throw in Marjorie Taylor Greene calling people voting for bipartisan bills traitors, is the train running off the tracks of civil society in the United States, real fast, Tim and then Michael?

MILLER: I -- yes, my answer really quick is just, look, people are living in these bubbles.

And we need to -- and people need to get out of their -- you start to sound like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Aaron Rodgers when nobody ever challenges you. But if you go on a show, and you sound like a complete idiot who doesn`t understand what the facts are because you`re living in a world where that`s what the media tells you and that`s what your friends are telling you, then we need to break down this (AUDIO GAP)

CAPEHART: Michael?

HARRIOT: Well, for the idea that the train is running off the track assumes that the train was ever on the track.


HARRIOT: And what we`re seeing is the thing that they have always been doing from the beginning.

CAPEHART: Michael, you said a word.

Michael Harriot, Tim Miller, thank you both very much for coming to THE REIDOUT.

And up next on THE REIDOUT: He lost his legs and an arm in combat, then devoted his life to public service. We remember an American hero, Max Cleland.

We will be right back.



CAPEHART: Max Cleland, former U.S. senator and Vietnam veteran, died today at his home in Atlanta.

Cleland became a triple amputee after a grenade exploded during one of his missions in Vietnam. He was later awarded the Silver Star for his duty. After the war, he turned to politics. In 1970, at the age of 28, he became Georgia`s youngest state senator.

Cleveland later served as director of the Veterans Administration in the Carter administration, where he became a key figure in modernizing the VA, officially recognizing PTSD as a pressing health issue and providing care for soldiers and their families.

He continued to advocate for veterans rights as a United States senator through 9/11 and the beginning of the Iraq War. In a speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, he addressed his wartime experiences.


FMR. SEN. MAX CLELAND (D-GA): I was 25 years old. My body was broken and my faith was shattered.

I was angry in those days of war, saddened that veterans were not getting good care, and frustrated that people in power were not listening. Those were difficult days for me. And they were difficult days for my country.

But I ultimately realized that, although I had lost a lot, I still had a lot left.


CAPEHART: Max Cleland was 79.

And that`s tonight`s REIDOUT.