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
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
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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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
Later in 2018 when I started finding misinformation, lies, things that were
not true in these QAnon posts, I stopped believing it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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.
ANGELA RYE, POLITICS AND CULTURE COMMENTATOR: Yes. You know, Joy, what is
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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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.
CHARLIE SYKES, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It will get 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?
BRANDON WOLF, PULSE NIGHTCLUB SURVIVOR: Well, it makes it worse. What I
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
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 --
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
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
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
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?
ELIZABETH NEUMANN, FORMER U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY ASSISTANT SECRETARY: Well,
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
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
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,
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:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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
PETE BUTTIGIEG, U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: So, are you referring to the
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
After the break, the brand-new secretary of transportation, Pete Buttigieg,
joins me live.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Okay. Raise your right
I, Peter Buttigieg --
PETE BUTTIGIEG, SECRETARY OF TRANSPORATION: 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.
CHASTEN GLEZMAN, PETE BUTTIGIEG`S HUSBAND: Thank you so much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
Copyright 2021 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the