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Transcript: The ReidOut, 2/4/2021

Guest: Angela Rye, Brandon Wolf, Jason Crow, Elizabeth Neumann, Pete Buttigieg


House votes to remove Representative Greene from committees; GOP

Representative Greene backpedals on support for QAnon; All but 11

Republicans vote to back Representative Greene; Democrat leader slams

Representative Greene for advocating violence against members of Congress;

1990, Greene`s high school was scene of armed standoff.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Our thanks to him for his flexibility, Dr. Fauci on

THE BEAT tomorrow 6:00 P.M. Eastern.

And right now, on this busy breaking news night, my friend and colleague,

Joy Reid, continues our special coverage. Joy?

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Thank you, so much, Ari. It is dramatic history in

the making. As always, thank you, sir. I really appreciate it.

All right, well, good evening, everyone. We do begin THE REIDOUT tonight

with breaking news, as you just heard Ari Melber describing just moments

ago, the House of Representatives voted to strip Georgia Congresswoman and

QAnon devotee Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee post.

And the other story here is that 199 Republicans voted to back Greene

despite a recent past that includes physical threats against other members

of Congress, including the speaker. It is another chapter in the tale of

two parties, one focused on accountability and one that cowers in fear of

its apparently extremist base.

The sad truth is that Democrats in Congress had to discipline Margie Q

Greene because House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was unwilling to do so

himself. McCarthy was willing to hold a secret ballot on the fate of

Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney, his own third in command, who received

a resounding, if anonymous, show of support to remain in Republican

leadership last night, but he couldn`t muster the courage to reject the

QAnon Congresswoman.

With this vote tonight, House Republicans, many of whom stood up and gave

Greene a standing ovation in a caucus meeting yesterday, will now be

defined as supporting someone who backed calls for assassinating Speaker

Nancy Pelosi and threatened the non-white women members of the squad in

social media ads. She promoted an anti-Semitic and Islamophobic phobic

video that had reportedly been circulating among neo-Nazis, which claimed,

quote, an unholy alliance of leftists, capitalists and Zionist supremacists

have schemed to promote immigration and miscegenation with the deliberate

aim of breeding us out of existence in our own homelands, unquote, take

that in.

Mother Jones revealed that Greene was a moderator of a Facebook group that

was a hotbed of violent and racist speech. One user posted this image of a

noose in that forum with the comment, start with Hillary and Obama.

Greene backed the conspiracy theory that the Parkland School shooting was

staged and she physically harassed an 18-year-old survivor of that

shooting, David Hogg. She even said there`s no evidence that a plane hit

the Pentagon on 9/11. And just last month, she sat down with right-wing

British Columnist Katie Hopkins, expressing solidarity with someone who has

compared African migrants to Britain to cockroaches. And all of this

represents just a fraction of what Ms. Greene has said she believes.

However, with her committee assignments on the line today, she tried to

walk back at least her support for QAnon.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): I stumbled across something, and this

was at the end of 2017, called QAnon.

And I got very interested in it. So I posted about it on Facebook. I read

about it. I talked about it. I asked questions about it and then more

information came from it.

The problem with that is though is I was allowed to believe things that

weren`t true.

Later in 2018 when I started finding misinformation, lies, things that were

not true in these QAnon posts, I stopped believing it.


REID: Allowed by who? her speech was heavy on excuses and short on

contrition. For instance, she said the media is just as guilty of spreading

lies as QAnon itself, and as if to advertize that her faux contrition on

the House floor was just a fraud. Just this morning, Greene played a victim

in a fundraising appeal repeating the very same kinds of lies and

conspiracies about members of the squad that got her in trouble in the

first place.


REP. JIM MCGOVERN (D-MA): The gentlewoman from Georgia, as we speak,

continues to fundraise off these disturbing remarks. I`m not sure what she

said to the Republican conference last night, but just last night, she

tweeted about raising $175,000 off of this and said, quote, we will not

back down. We will never give up. That`s not contrition.


REID: For more, I`m joined by Angela Rye, former Executive Director of the

Congressional Black Caucus, Charlie Sykes, Editor-at-Large of The Bulwark,

and Brandon Wolf, Pulse Nightclub survivor and Vice President of The Dru

Project. Thank you all for being here.

And, Angela Rye, first of all, welcome to the show. I`m really glad to have

you on. And I really wanted to talk with you about this specific topic,

because you have been staff -- you have been congressional staff. And so I

am very curious what you make of what we just saw happened on the floor

where only 11 Republicans voted to strip Marjorie Taylor Greene of her

committee assignments, including education given what I just -- the laundry

list that I just read about the things that she has said.


so crazy is people kept saying Donald Trump is not so bad. It`s fine. You

know, he is just flamboyant, and arrogant and loud but Harry Reid called

Donald Trump the Republican Party`s Frankenstein and this is why. This was

the beginning of the monster that was constructed and built. This was the

beginning of a problem that was only getting worse, right? Like this is

something that not only the Republican Party but, really, since the

foundation of America we have dealt with issues around race, white

supremacy, racism, xenophobia, all of the phobias, and she is the latest

version of the Republican Party`s Frankenstein.

So they can blame QAnon, but they also have to blame themselves. To your

point, Joy, 11 Republicans voting to remove her of her committee

assignments, they should be calling for her resignation. She has threatened

her own colleagues. This is just fresh off of the heels of what I have been

calling the Capitol Hill terrorist attack. She is part of the problem. It

is people like Marjorie Taylor Greene -- she said in a tweet last night

they don`t like me because I`m one of you. One of you is a white

supremacist. One of you is someone who would target with violence your own

colleagues and then raise money off of it. That is the exact opposite

direction of where this country needs to be.

So instead of talking about how we`re going to continue to save lives, to

ensure that people can survive in the middle of a pandemic, we are talking

about this woman who has demonstrated she is ignorant, that she is a bigot

and that she will threaten people who she has to put her own voting card in

right next to. That`s a problem.

REID: And the thing is -- to that very point, Charlie, we`re talking about

a workplace on top of everything else. Marjorie Taylor Greene was still

lying about the squad, who are women of color, young women of color who

have been elected. You had one black woman congresswoman have to move her

office because this is also somebody who evades the gun -- you know, she

doesn`t want to have her gun checked in and brags about being armed.

Let me play you what Steny Hoyer had to say because he talked about the

Facebook ad that she ran in which she essentially -- it was sort of a

fantasy about physically harming the squad members. Take a listen.


REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD): They`re people. They`re our colleagues. And, yes,

you may have disagreements, but I don`t know anybody, including Steve King,

who you precluded from going on committees, for much less, and this is an

AR-15 in the hands of Ms. Greene.

I have never, ever seen that before.

I urge my colleagues to look at that image and tell me what message you

think it sends.


REID: Charlie, at this point, Republican Party candidates are getting the

affirmation of all but 11 Republicans for essentially having a murder

fantasy ad about people who are now her colleagues. I don`t know how it

gets any worse than that.


unfortunately. Your comment about the workplace is interesting because

Republicans always said they wished that government would be run more like

a business. There`s no business in America that would not fire Marjorie

Taylor Greene for her behavior and her comments and her incitement of

violence. But, look, here`s the Republican Party today. It has no

functioning immune system to crazy whatsoever.

And I thought it was interesting that Steny Hoyer mentioned the case of

Steve King. This is really political malpractice, this vote tonight by the

Republicans. If they were concerned about political hygiene, if they were

concerned about telling the country that they were a serious governing

party, they would have taken care of this themselves, like they did two

years ago when Steve King was kicked off the Judiciary and the Agricultural

Committee when questioning why white supremacy was so controversial and

making racial comments.

Marjorie Taylor Greene is in a completely different category, but instead

of doing what they did with Steve King, we have the vote tonight.

So what`s changed? Well, what`s changed is, of course, two more years of

marinating in conspiracy theories, lies under Donald Trump, who has been

the conspiracy theorist in chief, but also watching how those conspiracy

theories lead to acts of actual violence less than a month ago.

So it`s really extraordinary to me that Republicans have the opportunity to

clean this up themselves. They`ve done it in the past. They refuse to do

it. And now, 199 of them are on record, the ads write themselves, basically

backing Marjorie Taylor Greene`s position in Congress. It`s a really bad

moment for Republicans but also it`s a good moment, I think, to draw the

line especially after what happened on January 6th.

REID: Well, I mean, and, Brandon, it`s this noxious combination of white

supremacy, which Marjorie Taylor Greene isn`t even embarrassed about. She

didn`t even -- the miscegenation piece, that`s an oldie but goodie from

like the 19th century, but a combination of that and this mania for guns,

this mania for guns everywhere.

I want to play you -- you are the person who alerted me to the fact that

Marjorie Taylor Greene actually was a high school student when there was a

gun incident in her own school so you think she would be more understanding

of it. Here she is talking about that incident and this is part of her

defense of herself today.

Oh, okay. So -- well, we don`t have the sound of her actually defending

herself, but that`s okay. This happened when she was in 11th grade and a

student at her high school held other classmates hostage for more than five

hours. She defended herself in a media interview as well as on the House

floor today. How does that in your way -- what do you make of that as a

defense, saying that she had been in that kind of a situation in high

school? What do you make of that as a defense of herself?


told you initially was that I was shocked and I think I can speak for

everyone in this country that in 2021, it takes a whole lot to shock

people. But I was shocked because I have been harassed by people like

Marjorie Taylor Greene before. For the last five years, I have been stalked

in public parks. I have been confronted in restaurants. I have been

followed around at events. I`ve had phones thrust into my face asking me

how can I sleep knowing that I invented a tragedy and the best friends that

I buried in the summer of 2016.

And every single time it happens, you know what I told myself? I didn`t

find myself angry. I just felt myself sad for those people. I told myself

that it was because they couldn`t process the pain of what I had been

through, that they were using this conspiracy theory as sort of a way of

escaping it, a way to avoid grappling with the idea that anything so

horrific could happen in this country.

And I told myself that if anyone had ever had to grapple with that pain of

staring at an empty seat at the dinner table, they would not be capable of

treating someone like they were treating me.

So I was shocked when I learned that this congresswoman, by the way,

someone who helps to run one of the most powerful countries in the world,

has spent the past few years traumatizing survivors like me when she is

also a survivor of school violence herself all along. It is almost

incomprehensible for me how she can lay her head on her pillow at night

knowing the harm that she has inflicted and continues to inflict on people

who are in incredible pain.

REID: And, Angela, to that very point, you can wield incredible power on

these committees. Lay out for us, what has she lost being stripped of these

committee powers? I mean, education is pretty important and also she`s on a

labor-related committee. What kind of power is she now losing?

RYE: Yes. So the Education and Labor Committee chaired by Congressman Bobby

Scott, they consider everything from wages to funding for schools, ensuring

that schools are authorized at the same levels. If it`s an HBCU, a TWI, an

HSI, a Hispanic-serving institution to a traditionally white institution,

all of that is in consideration. Her ability to question and oversee the

Department of Education, of course, it`s an administration that she

wouldn`t be too friendly towards so she would probably help her

constituents, whoever these people who voted for her, to ask them really

interesting questions, probably conspiracy-latent (ph).

I think the other thing that we should be aware of is she was also stripped

from the Budget Committee, which, of course, ensures that they would enact

the president`s budget and make any revisions and changes based on wherever

there maybe disagreement, which there`s not likely to be in the House given

they`re in the same party.

I think the challenge that she has now is what do you do when you don`t

have committee assignments? How are you serving your constituents? How are

you serving the country? How are you serving the greater good?

And so, to me, the real question is why wouldn`t she be expelled? Is it

going to be really tough to get her expelled with two-third votes required?

Absolutely, seeing as how most of the Republicans want her there. In some

ways, they wouldn`t even proceed with removing her from her committee

assignments through the Republican conference, which they could have done.

So them taking a more courageous step to vote with Democrats to expel her,

I don`t think that`s likely to happen.

REID: Yes. And really quickly, Charlie and then Brandon, she had the free

speech sign over her face on the mask that she`s probably very reluctantly

wearing, but that`s the thing that she cares about most, right? She

represents a part of the conservative movement of the Republican Party that

cares less about policy than they do about being able to say whatever it is

they want no matter however offensive and hurtful it is and they feel

aggrieved if they can`t do it in polite society. That`s all they care

about, it seems.

SYKES: Yes. And they don`t want to take responsibility for their words and

don`t want to be held accountable for their words or actions and they don`t

think that there should be consequences.

Now, until about five minutes ago, conservatives believed in that sort of

personal responsibility. But, look, she wants to play the victim. She wants

to make this about the cancel culture as opposed to a consequence culture.

And that`s why she is raising money on all this and why her contrition was

so phony.

But this is a problem for Republicans that they now reflexively regard any

sort of criticism, any sort of political hygiene as an attempt to censor

them. This isn`t censorship. This is about saying, if you promote violence,

there is no place for you in this body. And that is not cancel culture.

REID: And very quickly, Brandon --

WOLF: Yes.

REID: -- at the same time, they want to be able to call normal, political

and social -- things like social security communism. So they think that

that kind of speech is okay.

WOLF: Yes. Well, I think you`re right. This is not a Marjorie Taylor Greene

problem, this is a Republican Party problem. Let`s be clear about this.

Marjorie Taylor Greene is not an aberration or an outlier, she was an

eventuality. This is what the lack of accountability looks like. This is

the price we are all paying for political leaders embracing the white

supremacist fringe in order to amass power.

This is the cost of lowering the bar so far. You elect a racist, misogynist

president who gets hundreds of thousands of people killed with his total

disregard for the truth all because you want to pack the courts with your

favorite judges. These are Republican leaders who have for years weaponized

the images of elected Democratic women of color in order to scare voters

into believing that there`s an America they won`t recognize on the horizon.

So Kevin McCarthy is wholly owned by the QAnon caucus. And the question now

is, with two years, what can Democrats do to protect voting rights and

deliver real tangible results for people.

REID: Yes, indeed. That is the essence of politics. Angela Rye, Charlie

Sykes, Brandon Wolf, great panel, thank you all very much.

And coming up, much more on tonight`s House vote to strip Marjorie Taylor

Greene of her committee assignments. She`s still there in Congress.

Plus, a REIDOUT exclusive, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg joins me

in his first interview since making history, sworn in yesterday as the

nation`s first openly gay cabinet secretary, and he has big plans. Mayor

Pete is now Secretary Pete and he`s coming up.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.


REID: We are following breaking news tonight.

The House has taken the rare step of stripping one of its members of her

committee assignments. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a former QAnon devotee, has

backed calls for assassinating Speaker Nancy Pelosi, promoted vile racist,

anti-Semitic and Islamophobic statements, and peddled conspiracy theories

about school shootings and 9/11.

And yet only 11 Republicans joined Democrats in punishing her.

Joining me now, Congressman Jason Crow of Colorado, who was an impeachment

manager during the former president`s first impeachment trial, and

Elizabeth Neumann, former assistant homeland security secretary in the

Trump administration.

And I first want to get your response, Congressman Crow, to the fact that

only 11 of your colleagues on the Republican side thought that Marjorie

Taylor Greene should be stripped of her assignments that include the

Education Committee.

REP. JASON CROW (D-CO): Yes, well, there obviously should have been more. I

mean, it should have been a unanimous vote.

And I think it says a lot about where we are as a nation right now that

only 11 folks on the other side of the aisle would come across to do that.

It`s disappointing, to say the least. I mean, that`s not the word to really

capture it.

But we have to continue to press. And I`m reminded about something that

President Biden said in his inauguration address, where he said, the story

of our country is not overwhelming majorities coming together. He talked

about enough of us.

When we make progress and stand up against injustice and stand up against

violence, enough of us can step forward to move things together. So, I`m

going to draw some inspiration and hope out of that there were 11 that were

able to show courage to do.

REID: I`m going to stay with you for just one moment, because you have got

one of these in your state too, Lauren Boebert, who also tries to evade the

mags and bring guns on to the floor, who`s also said some pretty wacky

things that. She might be a little QAnon-curious as well.

I mean, you serve in the United States Army, 82nd Airborne. You have been

deployed overseas. The reality is, we go into countries that have

insurgencies against a stable government, right, and that may have ties to

elements in the government.

It`s hard to argue that we`re not that kind of country right now, isn`t it?

CROW: It makes it very hard for us to continue to promote democracy and

rule of law throughout the world.

I remember, when I was in Iraq in 2003, right after the invasion, and

Iraqis in Baghdad started to come to me to adjudicate their disputes

because they said that there was no justice in Iraq. There were no courts.

There was no recourse.

And it was then when I really started to realize how special our system is

and how unique it is, but also how fragile it is.

So, the thing about rule of law is, you don`t choose when you`re going to

apply it. You either do it all the time, or you don`t.

And your last guest Brandon said this really artfully. We have to stand up

against this, because it`s not just about Marjorie Taylor Greene. We`re not

talking about somebody standing on a street corner shouting absurdities.

We`re talking about a member of Congress sitting on Capitol Hill sowing

conspiracy theories and inciting violence.

And when that happens, it carries a hefty weight to it, because we hold our

leaders to a higher standard. And we see what happens when we don`t push

back against that. We have seen that with President Trump, that it leads to

violence. That`s why we took a stand tonight.

REID: And to go to you now, Elizabeth Neumann, I mean, when it`s in Iraq,

it`s the Sunni-Shia divide, and you have a country that`s mostly Shia that

had a Sunni dictator for a while.

And then, when they were knocked out, there was an insurgency that they

were sort of the main component of. There was a governmental connection to

the insurgency, those who were out of power then forming an insurgency.

You now have this woman, who is connected not just to racism, extreme

racism, Katie Hopkins-style white nationalism, but also to violence,

violent fantasies that she put in her ads to run for Congress.

We now have inside of the state of Georgia, where she`s from -- she`s from

North Georgia -- the leader of a private paramilitary group. They`re called

the Georgia III% Martyrs. This group provided security to Marjorie Taylor


The leader of that group has now said that he has formed alliances with

other far right groups to advocate for Georgia`s secession from the union.

Georgia is not going to secede from the union. It`s basically now a blue

state. But how concerned are you that Marjorie Taylor Greene, despite not

having committee assignments, she still has ties to what sure does sound

like a paramilitary insurgent group in Georgia?


let`s start with facts first.

There is no such thing as a legal private militia. All 50 states have laws

on the books that ban private militias from conducting law enforcement

activities, meaning, if she was using them for security at her campaign

rallies, that`s illegal. So, the states need to do a better job of

enforcing their laws.

And, quite frankly, we need to do a better job of educating people in the

country that there is no such thing as a legal private militia. There`s a

lot of beliefs out there that it is a Second Amendment activity. But, in

fact, the militia referenced in the Second Amendment, which has been upheld

by a conservative Supreme Court justice in 2008, that is the National

Guard. It is not a private militia.

So, if -- that fact alone tells me that she is, at a minimum, ignorant, if

not willfully acting with an enemy, what we would consider a domestic enemy

of the state. And, as an elected official, where you swear an oath of

office, swear an oath to the Constitution against all enemies foreign and

domestic, you have got a conflict there that needs to be resolved.

I personally think that there are enough grounds here for expulsion. I`m

glad that she had her committee assignment stripped. We need to stop

playing footsie with these extremist groups. They have a radical ideology.

They want to overthrow the United States government. They are an enemy. We

need to treat it seriously, so more people don`t accidentally stumble into

this extremism.

And the more you have a person like her talking about this, it creates this

mainstreaming effect, where it seems like it`s OK to join a militia, it`s

OK to join a white supremacist group like the Proud Boys.

It is not OK. It is illegal. And they have very violent aims at the end of

their ideology. You don`t want to be associated with them. Therefore, get

anybody in or government that`s associated with them out. That`s the best

way to start to stem the threat that we`re facing.

REID: And, Congressman, we have already got now the Pentagon ordering what

they`re calling a pause, the first African-American defense secretary,

Lloyd Austin, the former General Lloyd Austin, ordering each branch of the

military to stand down at some point over the next 60 days to discuss the

threat posed by white supremacy and similar extremism within its ranks.

We had people with military credentials that were a part of the insurgency.

We had on the off-duty police officers that were a part of what happened on

1/6. We have now essentially had a domestic -- not essentially -- we had a

domestic terrorist attack inside our country, and it`s led by a guy named

Donald Trump.

He`s still a free man right now in the state of Florida. He still commands

the absolute allegiance of people like Marjorie Taylor Greene, who`s still

in Congress, still wields power.

How concerned are you that this man, who`s now said he`s not going to

testify in his impeachment trial, still, essentially, is the head of an

insurgency movement, a paramilitary white nationalist insurgency?

CROW: Well, I`m very concerned. And anybody paying attention should be very


You should be concerned about the fact that a very large number of the

people that were in that mob on January 6 were people that come from

positions of public trust, either current or former military, law

enforcement and others. And we have a problem. We have a domestic homegrown

terrorist movement that actually is not new.

The origins, they go back decades, looking at Waco and Ruby Ridge and other

incidents that have helped grow this movement. But, certainly, January 6 is

a catalyzing event. A lot of these terrorist movements have catalyzing

events that really propel the movement forward.

And we have to be very diligent. We`re going to be dealing with this for

years to come. This is not new, and it`s not going to go away tomorrow. So,

we have to make sure that we are dealing with this first by ensuring the

integrity of military and law enforcement organizations that are going to

be called upon to deal with this, that are going to be on the vanguard of

addressing the domestic terror threat.

I`m going to be pushing Secretary Austin very hard to make this a priority

and make sure that we`re rooting this out of our military.

REID: It would help not to have people who have sort of OKed violent white

nationalist ideas in Congress, but we are where we are.

Congressman Jason Crow, thank you very much. Elizabeth Neumann, thank you,

as always.

And still ahead: America`s newly minted transportation secretary, Pete

Buttigieg, is here for his first official interview. We will talk about how

he is making history, plus how he plans to address racial and social

inequities and high-speed rail.

You won`t want to miss it. Stay right there.


REID: So, unless your train is late or your car literally won`t start,

people don`t generally spend much time thinking about transportation. But

it can be the greatest equalizer or do tremendous harm, sometimes all at


Take, for example, highways. Dwight D. Eisenhower`s greatest achievement,

besides being a hero of World War II, achieving the desegregation of some

Southern schools, and, in my humble opinion, being the last truly great

Republican president, his greatest achievement was the creation of the

great national interstate highway system during the 1950s.

He would later write that he made it a personal and absolute decision to

see that the nation would benefit by it. And it was a breathtaking

achievement, connecting the country with more than 40,000 miles of highway.

But, in some ways, it showed that the price of progress in this country is

often paid by people of color, as many of the highways cut an ugly swathe

through neighborhoods like historic Overtown in Miami, once considered the

Harlem of the South.

Its Little Broadway with a mecca of black culture, anchored by the Lyric

Theater. Jazz greats like Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong,

and Billie Holiday would perform into the night after their performances on

segregated Miami Beach.

They would say: "I`m going over town." And that`s how it got its name,

since even the biggest black stars weren`t allowed to sleep in hotels in

segregated white Miami Beach.

The thriving Overtown, with its own little shops and theaters, was

vivisected by Eisenhower`s highway and became a slum, which is now emerging

as the latest target for gentrification in Miami.

In fact, transportation has long been a highly racialized issue in cities

across this country, not just Miami.

But, on the flip side, transportation could be the key to making America a

more equal place. But, post-Eisenhower, Republicans don`t love that idea at


Take Florida`s Republican Senator Rick Scott. In one of his first acts in

his former role as Florida governor, in 2011, he turned down nearly $2.5

billion in stimulus money from President Obama for a high-speed rail line

from Orlando to Tampa.

And who was the man in the Obama administration pushing for massive

national investments in high-speed rail? Why, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.

That`s right. Amtrak Joe championed the plan to promote the construction of

a national high-speed intercity rail network, because he gets it, having

logged thousands of round-trips between Wilmington and Washington, D.C., on

Amtrak during his decades as a senator.

It would seem Republican opposition to transportation advances is based on

nothing more than a mania for letting private entities be the only ones to

benefit from everything, including transportation, evidenced by Rick

Scott`s own backflip on high-speed rail years later.

The wealthy former hospital executive and his wife invested in a company

linked to a private company building high-speed rail in Florida.


Scott tried and failed to grill President Biden`s nominee for

transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, during his confirmation hearing.

And here`s how that went:


SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): There was one study that said the Green New Deal

will cost, what, almost $100 trillion.

So, how low impact -- if we did something like that, what impact would that

have on our economy and jobs and all of our businesses that are competing



president`s climate proposal, or...

SCOTT: No, the Green -- the one that was proposed and everybody talked

about during the presidential race.

BUTTIGIEG: The president won our primary and the election, and that will be

the vision that goes forward.


REID: Bloop.

After the break, the brand-new secretary of transportation, Pete Buttigieg,

joins me live.





I, Peter Buttigieg --


HARRIS: -- do solemnly swear --

BUTTIGIEG: -- do solemnly swear --

HARRIS: -- that I will support and defend --

BUTTIGIEG: -- that I will support and defend --

HARRIS: -- the Constitution of the United States.

BUTTIGIEG: -- the Constitution of the United States.

HARRIS: That I will well and faithfully discharge --

BUTTIGIEG: That I will well and faithfully discharge --

HARRIS: -- the duties of the office --

BUTTIGIEG: -- the duties of the office --

HARRIS: -- which I am about to enter.

BUTTIGIEG: -- which I am about to enter.

HARRIS: So help me God.

BUTTIGIEG: So help me God.

HARRIS: Congratulations, Mr. Secretary. Congratulations.

BUTTIGIEG: Thank you so much.




REID: Yesterday, the nation`s first black and Asian woman vice president

swore in the country`s first openly gay cabinet secretary, Pete Buttigieg,

one-time presidential candidate and former mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

And I`m joined now by the self-same Secretary of Transportation Pete


I want to first thank you for making this your first interview since your


I`ve got to take you back to that moment. What was going through your mind?

I mean, you`re standing there making history, and breaking the Internet --

you, Chasten, and the vice president. What was going through your mind at

that moment?

BUTTIGIEG: That was extraordinary. You know, the vice president said to me

just before we step out there -- make sure to be present because it will go

by quickly. And she was right. And I`m glad she did.

But when I pause just to think about what it meant, you know, to have my

hand on the Bible that my grandfather gave my mother when she was a child

held by my husband, being -- taking an oath administered by the first

woman, first black, first Asian vice president, what an extraordinary

moment. The second gentleman stopped by and joined us. He`s friends with


And just to be able to say a sentence like, you know, the vice president

and her husband were there with me and my husband Chasten, just to say a

sentence like that tells you how much has changed in 2021, even though

we`ve got a long way to go as a country.

REID: Now, see, I could spend the whole rest of our interview asking you,

have you moved yet, like, how are you loving D.C.? But I`m not going to do

that because my -- I am one of the maybe small number of people in America,

that I am obsessed with trains. I love trains. I think trains are the most

civilized way to travel.

I`m ex -- I am actually excited about the secretary of transportation

position in general, but you being in it changes the game. Not only is it

making history but you have a chance as a former mayor to really dig in and

make some changes.

How long is it going to take before I get my high speed rail?


BUTTIGIEG: Well, I`ll tell you, I can`t wait. I feel the same way you do.

As you know, the president is a big believer in passenger rail, too.

Look, we`ve been asked to settle for less in this country. And I just don`t

know why people in other countries ought to have better train service and

more investment in high speed train service than Americans do.

You know, Amtrak has done a heroic job with the constraints that have been

placed on them. Now, we`ve got to take things to the next level. You know,

you look at what not just famously, you know, let`s say our fellow -- you

know, our counterparts in Japan are able to enjoy, but, you know, really

across the world, a place like the U.K. or Turkey.

I want the U.S. to be leading the world when it comes to access to high

speed rail, and I think we have a real opportunity to do that, especially

with the bipartisan appetite for real investments that we have before us

this year.

REID: It felt bipartisan at a certain point. I mean, we had infrastructure

week like literally every week during the previous administration. They

never actually did it.

Republicans talk a good game saying they want it, too. It creates lots of

jobs, creates lots of opportunity. But they keep hedging because they want

it to be privately owned.

You know, that was the Rick Scott issue, that they didn`t like the idea of

the public investing in high speed rail. They wanted it to just be private


How do you break that logjam? If you could answer that. And then also, how

do you ensure we don`t get another Overtown? That we`re not, you know,

vivisecting communities of color and putting people of color in the worst

situation than they started?

BUTTIGIEG: Yeah, that piece is especially important. In fact, today is

Transportation Equity Day because it`s the birthday of Rosa Parks. I know

when you think about all the years of federal government to deal with

racial justice, people don`t always think first of the Department of

Transportation. But the example of Rosa Parks reminds us how much is at


As you said, you know, it`s not just about things like what the Montgomery

bus boycott was about and equitable access to transit, but it`s the fact

that sometimes investment came to black neighborhoods all right but it came

in the worst possible way, a highway destroying that neighborhood.

You shared the Overtown example. There are examples from Nashville, to

Richmond, to Pittsburgh. And we`ve got to make sure, first of all, that our

policies recognize that history, that history of harm where this

magnificent thing of creating the interstate highway system was so often

done with terrible consequences for communities of color.

And now, we have a chance to get it right. We have a chance to make

investments that expand opportunity instead of cutting people off from

opportunity, that build and enrich neighborhoods instead of breaking them

up. And that`s got to be central to the federal transportation policy

vision, but also as we`re working with different communities, with states,

and cities, and towns, and counties, and territories, and tribes.

You know, tribal citizens in this country have a lot at stake in whether we

have equitable transportation funding. Now, it`s our chance to do all of

that and more.

So, it`s the right moment to be looking at the equity implications of

everything we do in the federal government, but certainly when it comes to

transportation and transit.

REID: Yeah.

So everyone has lots of ideas. I`m sure that you`re getting lots of people

who are calling you, texting you, everyone who has your cellphone number is

probably reaching out and saying, hey, I`ve got ideas. "New York Magazine"

did nine transportation projects, we`ll just put them up on the screen,

that they said you should get involved in. First, electrify every fleet,

eliminate the gas tax, dig the gateway tunnel. There`s like so much.

But we had another viewer who also had another idea and a question. And

this was Sam Houston, one of our viewers who asked, I`d love to hear about

investments in bridges/highway and infrastructure to help us prepare for

rising sea levels.

Do you have an idea about dealing with that?

BUTTIGIEG: Yeah. You know, our planning has to reflect the realities of

climate change. I mean, first of all, we`ve got to act to prevent climate

change from getting worse. Remember, if you look at greenhouse gases, the

biggest sector in the U.S. going into that is transportation, which means

we can also be the biggest part of the solution.

But no matter how good we get as we must with electrification and reducing

emissions, we still know that sea level rise is happening right now. And,

you know, the reality is a flood plain map 50 or 100 or even 30 years from

now is going to look different than it might have when it was drawn up.

So these are the things that our transportation plans need to take into

account. You look at the experience of Sandy just one example of how, you

know, planning -- and when it comes to roads and bridges and tunnels --

needs to account for the increased frequency and severity of these weather

events. And, in fact, the water is just plain higher. And whether you`re in

a coastal community or a river city in the Midwest, like where I come from,

this change is happening. We`ve got to make sure it is factored into our


And, you know, a lot of cost benefit goes on, rightly so with any

government spending. We`re talking about transportation, we`ve got to make

sure the costs and the benefits are done in a way that actually accounts

for climate reality and climate opportunity.

REID: I think this is why you were called potentially Biden`s secret to the

climate agenda. We`re going to keep you here, please, if you don`t mind,

over one commercial break.

So, Secretary Pete Buttigieg is going to stay with us.

And when we come back, one senator`s unique criticism of Secretary

Buttigieg`s commitment to justice.

And we, too, remember Rosa Parks on her 108th birthday. Secretary Buttigieg

tweeted today that his department, as he just mentioned, is committed to

honoring her legacy by ensuring equity is central to everything we do.

We`ll be right back.


REID: After Pete Buttigieg`s confirmation on Tuesday, one of the

Republicans who voted against his confirmation, Tennessee Senator Bill

Hagerty, cited Buttigieg`s plans, quote, to use the department for social,

racial and environmental justice causes in his reasons for voting against

the confirmation.

And Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg is back with me.

I certainly hope you do plan to do what you were accused of in that moment.

Do you? To use your position for equity.

BUTTIGIEG: Absolutely. I thought that was something that everybody could

get on board with.

Look, why would we want social, environmental or economic or racial

injustice to be attached to our transportation policy? This is a chance to

get it right.

And, look, every time you are spending taxpayer dollars, every time you are

shaping American lives, you`ve got to be thinking about whether that`s

being done in a way that`s just or unjust. And, you know, at this moment,

where the country is wrestling with these issues, that should be part of

even the most mundane decisions, because it affects every part of life in

this country.

REID: Yeah. Let`s talk quickly about airlines. We talked about trains.

There are furloughs happening, a lot of layoffs going on. The airline

industry is hurting because of the pandemic.

Do you -- in your view, should there be another airline bailout? Or is

there some other way to help that industry?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, there`s a lot of active conversation going on right now to

make sure that there is the support to get everybody safely in the air. And

a lot is making sure that we have that perception and reality of safety so

that the demand returns. You know, one thing that airlines were compelled

to do earlier was kind of figure out one at a time what their policies were

going to be. It`s why I think the president`s swift action on a mask

mandate for airplanes and airports really helps the airlines focus on

business and clears up the question and makes it the same across all


There are so many Americans whose livelihoods depend on the aviation

sector. You know, folks we think about like pilots and flight attendants

and ground crews at airports, but also folks you might not think about as

much who are involved in the supply chains, even building aircraft who are

involved in this, too. We`ve got to make sure that we support this vitally

important sector in our country. And we`re going to work very hard to do

that in the department and in the administration.

REID: And you can`t leave out cars, and we talk about the whole

transportation kind of matrix. Most people, that`s the way they get around

if, you know, are not using a bike, et cetera.

My lease is coming up very soon for my truck, and I`m thinking, you know

what, I want to try to get a hybrid or try to get electric. But in a lot of

cases, these are really expensive, right?

How can we get to the scale where we can start to convert our automobile --

sort of the glut of cars that we have on the road to more electric, to make

that more accessible?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, I think you used the right word, which is scale. There`s

remarkable invention and innovation going on. What really drives the cost

down is when it represents a big chunk, or even the majority of sales

instead of a small percentage.

Now, if you look at what companies are doing, including some of the

traditional automakers in Detroit, who are getting very ambitious about

electric vehicles and not just smaller cars, but pickups and other

vehicles, too, it`s incredibly exciting.

Now, two things need to happen for most Americans to be able to make that


First, cost has to pencil out. And, you know, they are generally cheaper to

own. Obviously, you don`t have to fill them with gas. There are fewer

moving parts. But that up front sticker, we need to watch that come down.

Then, also, we just got to make sure everybody knows they can be confident

of being able to find a charging station. The president`s commitment to

create a half million charging stations across the country I think is a

very important piece of that.

REID: Yeah.

BUTTIGIEG: Last thing I`ll mention, the federal government buys a lot of

cars. So, we`ve got to make sure we`re leading by example. That`s another

thing the president is challenging the agencies to do.

REID: Well, Secretary Pete Buttigieg, if anybody can make transportation

cool, you`re now the captain of planes, trains and automobiles, I think you

can do it. Straddle (ph) over to Fox at some point, see if you can talk

some Republicans into voting for this stuff because I think it would be

really helpful.

Secretary Pete Buttigieg, congratulations. All -- all the best to you and

Chasten. Thank you very much. Appreciate you.

As I mentioned earlier, it was on this day in 1913, 108 years ago, that

civil rights hero Rosa Parks was born. She`s notably remembered for

becoming the symbolic spark of the 1955 Montgomery busboy boycott and

fighting against racial segregation when she refused to give up her seat

near the front of the bus to a white man.

But her activism went beyond that. For more than 30 years, Parks worked to

reform our judicial system so black women who were assaulted could have

confidence they would be heard, a fight that continues today.

That is tonight`s REIDOUT.





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