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Transcript: The ReidOut, 2/5/2021

Guest: Kurt Bardella, James Clyburn, Dean Phillips, Leslie Odom Jr., Michael Eric Dyson


GOP morphs from party of Trump to party of trolls. Greene says, committees would be a waste of my time. Gaetz praises Greene speech, so good I almost had to smoke a cigarette afterwards. Greene says, the Republican Party belongs to Trump. GOP freshmen show little interest in legislating. Biden says Trump should not get intelligence briefings. Greene deflects question on accusing Pelosi of treason. 199 Republicans vote against removing Representative Greene from committees. Biden getting high marks for week-one leadership. Biden says, I will not compromise on helping hurting Americans


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: That`s what it looks when one person is in power and someone else is out of power.

I want to thank you for watching THE BEAT. You can always find me online @arimelber on social media. That`s @arimelber on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. If you have thoughts about the Fauci interview or anything else, let me know. I hope you have a great weekend.

And THE REIDOUT with Joy Reid is up next.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, everyone. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with the troll party.

Okay, so, this is a troll. Now, while he`s cute, look at his little, furry blue hair, but you wouldn`t want him running the government, because he`s a non-sentient, plastic doll, which, in its own way, isn`t far off from some in the party I`m actually talking about, the current Republican Party, the one that elected the other kind of troll, the world`s most infamous internet bully as commander in chief.

I mean, just look at the showboat that has now thrust itself atop a smoldering heap of what`s the left of the formerly grand old party and abandoned all pretense of actually governing, as evidenced in a person of one Margie Q Greene, who, just one day after the House voted to kick her off of two committees, she had a press conference totally devoid of any contrition for advocating murderous violence against Democratic members and leaders or harassing a teenage school shooting survivor. Instead, she said that she had been freed.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): So, if I was on the committee, I would be wasting my time because my conservative values wouldn`t be heard and neither would my districts.

I`m fine with being kicked off of my committees because it would be a waste of my time.


REID: Free Margie said her constituents were being silenced. But now, with no committee business, she has got plenty of time on her hands, which would seem to be the opposite of why her constituents voted for her. But she straight up admitted she`s only in it for the trolling anyway, in a tweet prompting Illinois Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger to note, this is why I voted yes. There is no remorse here for her past comments, just a huge desire to be famous.

And you know what, he`s right. Kinzinger is just one of 11 House members who voted to strip Greene of her assignments. He also voted to impeach the animated troll doll who previously habited the White House. So, naturally, Kinzinger, has been censured by GOP officials in his district for taking actions contrary to the values of the party, because he who shall not be named took a party that has long had the cruelty and the racism and trolling and made trolling the whole purpose. There is not governing philosophy. There is just owning the libs.

The other freshman conspiracy theorist, Colorado`s Lauren Boebert, her entire M.O. is spectacle. She`s more concerned about dodging metal detectors put in after the insurrection than for delivering anything to her district or her state. North Carolina`s Madison Cawthorn turned the grand troll party notion into art byt telling his colleagues in an email, quote, I have built my staff around comms rather than legislation, which sounds a lot like perpetual Fox News guest, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, who had this to say about Greene`s performance today.


REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Bravo, Marjorie Taylor Greene. That was so good. I almost had to smoke a cigarette afterwards.


REID: Okay, first, ew, ew. But much like Greene and Cawthorn, he`s not actually much interested in doing his job. In the ultimate act of Trump sycophant gallantry, Gaetz declared that he would resign his job to defend his fellow Florida man if asked, which sounds about right, given that, today, Margie Q would only apologize for nebulous things that she said were wrong and offensive but was very precise when it came to the MAGA cult leader and the GOP.


GREENE: Republican voters support him still. The party is his. It doesn`t belong to anybody else.


REID: The party is his. It doesn`t belong to anybody but him, him, their god.

I`m joined by Kurt Bardella, former House Oversight Committee Spokesman and Senior Adviser to the Lincoln, and Michelle Goldberg, Columnist for The New York Times.

I`d come to you all with some breaking -- some things that have just broken. President Biden has given an interview, the pre-Super Bowl interview to CBS, and this is what he said about whether the apparent god, worshipped by all Republicans, who must be worshipped by all Republicans or they get in trouble, whether he should get intel briefings as an ex- president. Take a listen.


NORAH O`DONNELL, CBS NEWS HOST: Should former President Trump still receive intelligence briefings?


O`DONNELL: Why not?

BIDEN: Because of his erratic behavior, unrelated to the insurrection.

O`DONNELL: What is your worst fear if he continues to get these intelligence briefings?

BIDEN: I`d rather not speculate out loud. I just think that there is no need for him to have the intelligence briefing, what value is giving him in the intelligence briefing, what impact does he have at all, other than the fact that he might slip and say something.


REID: Slip and say something or deliberately say something. Kurt Bardella, I wonder, given the worship, the abject worship of Republican members of Congress of the ex-president, what good does it do to deny him briefings? Two of the members of the gang of eight are Devin Nunez and Jim Jordan. Do you trust them to just not get on a plane, fly down to Mar-a-Lago and tell him anything that he wants to know? Are we now at a point where the whole party represents a national security threat?

KURT BARDELLA, FORMER HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE SPOKESPERSON: I think there`s no question, Joy, that the Republican Party has constituted, led by conspiracy theorists, led by people like Matt Gaetz, led by people who have completely, time and again, undermined American values, who are undemocratic, who have sold out our country, are in the same boat as Donald Trump.

But President Biden is right here. Listen, the word Donald Trump and intelligence have no business being in the same sentence with one another. We`ve learned that after four or five years of this. And we`ve seen, time and again, Donald Trump willing and able to say things publicly in meetings with Russia, in meetings with Putin and the White House that are classified, that he shouldn`t reveal.

I don`t think anybody has any question that this is somebody who would sell our secrets to the highest paid bidder if given the opportunity to do so. So keeping him away from this much information as possible, blocking him from those intelligence briefings, that is an issue of national security. It is an act of self-defense for our country, and the president is right, that`s what needs to happen.

REID: And, you know, Michelle, the whole Marjorie Q Greene, the QAnon lady, the whole exercise, I think, has been really instructive, right, because there was a lot more heat and a lot more anger at Liz Cheney for daring to speak the obvious about the former president than there ever was at her. Let me let you listen to what she had to say to a CNN reporter when she asked would she apologize for basically saying that she`d like to see the speaker of the House killed.


REPORTER: Do you stand by the fact that you said Nancy is guilty of treason?

GREENE: I think you heard my speech yesterday. You owe the people an apology. You lied about President Trump. You owe the people an apology. I`ve done mine yesterday.


REID: Jim Jordan -- speaking of Jim Jordan, has basically made this whole thing about cancel culture and said, who`s next? If we cancel Margie Greene, okay, she said wanted to kill the speaker of the House. Who is next if we throw her out? What do you make of this turn for the Republican Party?

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Right. Yes. First, they came for the people who threatened murder against the speaker of the House and they didn`t speak out. Look, I think that she -- you know, it`s been obvious for a while that she represents the vanguard of this party.

The one thing, Joy, that I would disagree with you about is when you said earlier that that`s not why her constituents sent her there. I think it`s very possible that that`s why a lot of her constituents sent her there to be a troll, to own the libs, to go beyond owning the libs and threaten to kill the libs.

And so I think it`s very instructive that you saw 60 something people vote to discipline Liz Cheney, and 11 members of Marjorie Greene`s caucus voted against her. And I think -- I wonder if that number would be different if it was a secret ballot the way Cheney`s was, because the fact is, that`s where the voters are in a lot of this party.

You see that in state Republican parties all over the country. It`s not just -- you see it Nebraska, they just censured Ben Sasse. You see it in Arizona, they first tweeted out a call for martyrdom on behalf of Donald Trump, and then censured Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain. You see it in the Texas Republican Party, where the head of that party is talking about secession in Wyoming, where a member of that party is talking about secession, right?

The Republican Party has become a radicalized cult, and I think that there`s a lot of members of the House -- a lot of Republican members of the House that may not like that, but they are accountable to their voters.

REID: And, you know, you would know that firsthand, Kurt. I mean, you`ve dealt with Breitbart up close. They are one of the people who created this journaling (ph). And they`ve created a situation where -- isn`t Michelle right? I mean, you worked on House staff. If she doesn`t have any committee assignments, what`s she going to do all day but troll?

Madison Cawthorn is getting lit up by The Charlotte Observer for saying he`s just going to troll, and that`s why he went there. You have people like Ben Sasse who was saying, you`re not supposed to worship one dude, this voting with Trump was 84.8 percent, he voted with Trump. Liz Cheney`s is 92.9 percent. Kinzinger is 90.2. They have all been loyal when it comes to whatever legislation Trump wants, but you have to be 100 percent loyal otherwise the base, I guess, hates you.

Does the base of the party not care if you don`t bring home any money for your district?

BARDELLA: Yes. I mean, listen, if the voters of the Republican Party actually cared about tangible results, we would have a very different country right now. Listen, we have got how many hundreds of thousands of Americans dead from the coronavirus, we have got how many Americans out of work and struggling, who didn`t benefit from the corporate relief package that Republicans and Trump passed just earlier last year.

Time and again, the interests of the Republican Party voters is constantly betrayed by the people they send to represent them. It`s the ultimate con, actually, because the people who are they, they don`t care about Republican voters, they don`t care about these people`s lives, they don`t care about improving their livelihoods and making anything better. They are just there to be pundits, commentators and to try to get famous, enrich themselves, and troll and, quote, unquote, own the libs. That`s their only purpose.

They don`t care about legislating, policymaking, substance, fact or truth. They are there for one reason only, and it`s to just continue this ongoing caricature of basically a Fox News segment brought to life every day, that is the House Republican Conference right now. That`s the Constitution of the Republican Party.

And at some point, the voters are going to wake up and see, and we`re seeing a little bit of that, Joy. I mean, For all the talk about the election, let`s not forget, they`ve lost Georgia twice now. They lost Arizona. They lost in Colorado, in Pennsylvania. The Republican Party is in very big trouble as they continue this retreat to the conspiracy corners of the internet. They are losing more the majority of this country is.

Joe Biden has a very high approval rating. The majority of the country agrees when he thinks like gun control, climate change, minimum wage, a living wage, equality, equity. That`s what most of the people in this country are.

The Republican Party is continually alienating themselves from that, and the result will be a permanent loss of elections if they keep going down this radical road.

REID: And it strikes me, Michelle, that what you`re saying is true, that you do have a class of Republican voters who actually don`t care about legislation because they`re relatively affluent. That`s why I get annoyed when people try to put Trump and Trumpism on poor folks. Poor white folks don`t vote.

But as you saw, Biden did better with people who make under $50,000 a year. Because when you actually need the $15 an hour, you might actually vote differently. When you`re a little more affluent and you`re comfortable, you can afford to say, I only want to send Madison Cawthorn there to own the libs.

Do you think that the risk for the Republicans then is that as the economic pain starts to drift up into the working class, into more of the middle class, then they have a problem if they`re not delivering anything, because Biden said tonight that they might have to do that $15 an hour separately because it might not make reconciliation.

If Republicans are just for trolling the libs, I mean, how many elections can you even win at a congressional level based on that?

GOLDBERG: Well, I actually think it`s incumbent on Democrats to show that they can deliver for the whole country. Because part of this phenomenon, I think, is people who have given up on the idea that government is going to help them. And so if government isn`t actually going to help you materially, at least it can give you the psychic rewards of kind of punishing and outraging the people that you hate if there are actually real material stakes that changes.

But it`s really, really important that Biden and this Congress take the very narrow window that they have before the next midterms to show they actually can deliver for people.

REID: That is so smart, because you`re absolutely right. If you think government can`t do anything, then you just -- as you said, you just want the feel good of them pummeling people you hate. It`s very true.

Michelle Goldberg, Kurt Bardella, thank you both very much. Have a great weekend.

And up next on THE REIDOUT, President Biden, as we mentioned, his fast start, he`s popular, and so are his policies, and his party is united behind him.

And the great Leslie Odom Jr. is her tonight. I`m so excited. (INAUDIBLE) his Golden Globe nominated performance as soul legend Sam Cook in One Night in Miami.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got it you got it, sounds so good, yes. Oh, yes that`s the sound of the man working on the chain, the gang. That`s the sound of the man working on the chain, yes.


REID (voice over): Leslie Odom Jr., ladies and gentlemen, here tonight. You do not want to miss it. Back with more of THE REIDOUT after this.


REID: Have you noticed how quiet your Twitter feed has been recently? No late night all-caps tweets full of misspellings and exclamation points? Do you feel less stressed these days? I`m guessing you`re not spending a lot of time talking about the latest episode of the reality coming out of this White House. You know why? Because we finally have an adult sitting behind the resolute desk again, one who is more concerned about you and your family than feeding his own narcissism.

Today, President Biden said that he is going to act fast in getting millions of Americans the aid they desperately need.


BIDEN: I`ve told both Republicans and Democrats that is my preference to work together. But if I have to choose between getting help right now to Americans who are hurting so badly and getting bogged down in negotiation or compromising on a bill that is -- that is up to the crisis. That`s an easy choice. I`m going to help the American people who are hurting now.


REID: And it appears his approach is resonating, at least right now, with 61 percent of the American people approving of his job over the past two- and-a-half weeks.

But, of course, you haven`t heard that from Biden, because he doesn`t need to impress you. He just wants to do his job. Refreshing.

Joining me now is the House majority whip, Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, one of the men who was very much responsible for us having the calming president right now. People are sleeping at night for the first time in four years.

But one of the things that people kind of anticipated if Biden became the nominee and then became president was that there might be like a fractional war between the left and the center in the Democratic Party. That has not happened.

I`m looking at a Politico headline here that says that the -- the progressives that said, we have learned to love the guy. His approval ratings are really high. His policies are popular. People support the dreamers getting citizenship, the stimulus payments, the $1.9 trillion relief bill that just cleared another hurdle in the United States Senate, with the vice president casting the tiebreaking vote, the minimum wage.

So far, so good, right? Do you foresee any problems and any breakups in this pretty good narrative so far?

REP. JIM CLYBURN (D-SC): Well, thank you very much for having me, Joy.

Absolutely. I have always expressed great admiration, great respect, even love for Joe Biden. And you may recall, when I made that endorsement that everybody talks about, I said at the time, I know Joe, we know Joe, but, most importantly, Joe knows us.

And I think the vast majority of the American people are beginning to see that Joe Biden knows the people of this country. And he has them at heart. And he will do what is in the best interests of the American people, irrespective of what his personal interests might be.

You`re hearing it now. He wants to work in a bipartisan way, but he`s not going to neglect the American people is search of bipartisanship.

REID: And it`s a good thing you mention that, because we did just see this hurdle passed to the United States Senate, with Vice President Harris having to cast a tiebreaking vote. It was a pure party-line vote when it came to pass through the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill.

President Biden has given an interview to CBS, the pre-Super Bowl interview that everyone does. And he said that he doesn`t think the $15 -- the increased to $15 an hour will survive the bill, and that the Democrats might have to do it separately, because of -- when you have to do reconciliation, there are all these technicalities of what can get into reconciliation.

If the $15-an-hour increase doesn`t make it into the $1.9 trillion bill, do you foresee it passing the House and then being able to pass the Senate as a separate bill?

CLYBURN: I think so. I really believe so.

I heard a few people that we were concerned about on the Senate speak to this a couple of days ago, Joe Manchin for one, one who I admire a whole lot. We don`t agree all the time, but I hope we can get together on this $15 issue.

He`s for the $15, as I understand it. He doesn`t want to do all $15 at one time. He wants to see it phased in over a period of time. And that makes sense in many ways, so that people can digest the new expense. So, I think we`re going to get that done.

As you know, we have to tie reconciliation issues directly to the budget. And we have not been able to make the case for the hourly wage, but I think we can make the case for increasing it at a later date.

REID: Do you agree with the other thing that President Biden said, that he -- that Trump should not be getting intel briefings? Are you concerned that the former president might, for instance, sell U.S. intelligence or use it improperly? Do you think he should be denied intelligence briefings?

CLYBURN: Or give it away.

I do believe that he is an intelligence risk. We saw it time and time again. Any time you would accept Putin`s views over the views of your own intelligence people, it tells me that something is amiss here.

And so why should this administration share with him information that they have, when they know full well he`s already said he prefers Putin over our own intelligence?

So, no, he should not get intelligence briefings at all.

REID: Mm-hmm.

My last question for you, sir. You are serving in a very narrow majority in the House. On the other side of that majority are some really strange people, who believe in conspiracy theories and oppose miscegenation in the 21st century.

Are you concerned that Kevin McCarthy cannot control his caucus?

CLYBURN: Well, I`m concerned that he is to differential to too many in the caucus.

Now, you may recall, we have had similar issues, nothing as extreme as that that he has. And we have dealt with it. And we have said to those offenders, this is the way to go about this. We know what your intentions were, but they have come across a little different than you intended. Apologize, if you must.

And we have had that.

But here`s a guy refusing to in any way call into question these crazy -- idiotic is not -- is too good a word -- stuff, and he won`t do a thing about it.

No, I am concerned that Kevin just does not have whatever it takes to control his caucus.

REID: It is a concern, I think, for many, many more people than yourself.

Leader Jim Clyburn, thank you so much. Really appreciate you being here. Have a great weekend.

And still ahead: Congressional Democrats deliver emotional testimony on the traumatic events of January 6. We will talk with one of them next.

And, today, as you can see, I`m wearing red for Wear Red Day, in solidarity with women battling heart disease, the leading cause of death here in the U.S.

So, eat smart, get your exercise, manage your blood pressure, and wear red.

We will be right back.



REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI): So, what happened on January 6, all I could do is thank Allah that I wasn`t here. I felt overwhelming relief. And I feel bad for Alexandria, so many of my colleagues that were here.

But, as I saw it, I thought to myself, thank God I`m not there.


REID: That was an emotional testimonial from Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib on the events of January 6.

As a Muslim woman and the target of frequent death threats, she described what it`s like for people of color to live in fear of the very kind of extremists who laid siege to the Capitol that day.

And she was one of several House Democrats who offered their reflections last night on the insurrection.


REP. DEAN PHILLIPS (D-MN): We know the feeling of being trapped in this room and believing that being taken hostage may be the best-case scenario.

REP. ADRIANO ESPAILLAT (D-NY): This is a traumatic experience for all of us on both sides of the aisle and for our nation. It cannot be swept under the rug.

REP. CORI BUSH (D-MO): How can we trust that you will address the suffering that white supremacy causes on a day-to-day basis in the shadows, if you can`t even address the white supremacy that happens right in front of you in your house?


REID: Congressman Dean Phillips told the dramatic story of what it`s like - - of what it was like to be inside the chamber when the mob was clamoring at the doors to get in, and he described the moment he realized that many of his Democratic colleagues would not be able to escape as easily as he might.


PHILLIPS: I screamed to my colleagues to follow me, to follow me across the aisle to the Republican side of the chamber, so that we could blend in.

But, within moments, I recognized that blending in was not an option available to my colleagues of color.

So, I`m here tonight to say to my brothers and sisters in Congress and all around our country, I`m sorry. I`m sorry, for I had never understood, really understood, what privilege really means.


REID: I`m joined now by Democratic Congressman Dean Phillips of Minnesota.

And, Congressman, I just want to say I saw that the first time last night on Lawrence O`Donnell`s show. And it`s very moving to hear you speak that way. So, I want to thank you for saying what you said.

What`s been the reaction to what you said, both from your Democratic colleagues, and if any Republicans have reacted to it?

PHILLIPS: Well, thank you, Joy.

And I`m grateful to hear those kind words.

You can imagine, in this day and age. I received some wonderful comments of joy and gratitude, some tearful messages, and I received some disgusting, dismaying vitriol that, unfortunately, is part of our national discourse right now.

But I have to say, Joy, it only inspires me to tell this story more, to encourage more people to open their hearts and minds. And if I can affect just one person, it makes it all worthwhile.

REID: I don`t know how I would go into a workplace, personally, where I was not sure if some of my colleagues were on the side of the people who maybe would have killed me, and very likely would have killed a lot of the more prominent people of color, women of color, people like women in the Squad, who were definitely targets, or the speaker.

You already have had Louie Gohmert of Texas, who was one of the people whipping up that mob in advance, Representative Andrew Clyde of Georgia. They both already accepted the fines, $5,000 fines for evading the magazines.

You still have fellow members who are trying to bring guns onto the floor. Are you ever afraid to work with these people?

PHILLIPS: Not afraid, but I`m disgusted.

These very people who are willing to pay the fines, who are willing to shell police officers who are trying to protect us in the House chamber, yes, I wonder, do they do the same when they go through airport security with the TSA agents? I think not.

No, it`s quite ironic, Joy, that in the people`s house, the legislative chamber in which laws are started, that even members, elected members of Congress aren`t willing to abide by the very rules that we set to govern ourselves. And I think it`s a sad, sad commentary.

But, no, I`m not afraid. I`m emboldened, I`m energized, and I`m resolute, as are my colleagues, Democrats, and many Republicans, Joy. I want to point that out. There are many Republicans that feel exactly the same, many who want to recapture the traditional center-right Republican Party.

And I hope that happens, because America, frankly, needs it.

REID: Well, Adam Kinzinger is obviously one of them. But, so far, he`s gotten rebuked by his home state Republican Party.

Anyone who pokes their head up, even people who have been loyal voters on the Trump agenda, like Mr. Kinzinger, like Ben Sasse, are just getting pummeled by their state parties.

Are more than -- do -- when your Republican colleagues come and talk to you, do they tell you that that makes them afraid to go public the way he did? Do you think they`re actually even maybe afraid, frankly, of their own voters becoming violent toward them and their families?

PHILLIPS: Absolutely, Joy.

That`s, unfortunately, the state of affairs right now. I think many -- as Adam Kinzinger pointed out, I think many have used their voting cards more out of fear than out of possibility and out of principle. And that is the truth.

I have to tell you, Joy, we should be saluting those courageous Republicans that are doing the right thing right now, not with any political reward, if anything, with the likelihood that they could lose their seats, and, most importantly, even their lives.

And I don`t want to diminish the fact that, just like my brothers and sisters on the Democratic side of the aisle are receiving threats, so are Republican colleagues, some horrifying, disgusting threats to themselves, their families.

And we`re all in this together. We`re all humans. I really think it`s time that we take a step back and, like I said earlier, open hearts, open minds, recognize that the greatest risk to our country right now is not foreign threats. It`s ourselves.

And we have a choice. We`re at a fork in the road right now.

REID: Yes.

PHILLIPS: And my hope and expectation and all my energies are going to be directed to pursuing that path with any like-minded, principled person of decency, no matter their party, no matter their perspective.

And I think we all have a role to play.

REID: And I will be the first to join you. And, listen, I disagree with everything Adam Kinzinger has probably ever voted for. His voting record, to me, I totally disagree with it.

But I will be the first one to praise him for at least having the guts to speak up, because I know that you get a lot of blowback and threats when you do it. So, I will absolutely join you in praising him, in particular, for that.

What do you make of the fact that the people who are -- who committed this terrorist act are getting what looks to me like really light treatment by the federal magistrates that are hearing their cases? They`re being allowed to go home. They`re being led to wait at home. One of them has sort of lost -- been lost in the bail sauce, like, not shown up for -- they`re not being treated the way, for instance, regular ordinary black folks who are arrested for having a bit of marijuana are treated.

One federal judge, magistrate judge, has allowed one of these women, one of these defendants to travel to Mexico. Her name is Jenny Cudd. She`s a florist from Texas. She`s been given permission to go on a work retreat outside of the United States in Mexico.

What do you make of that?

PHILLIPS: Well, Joy, part of my mission, my personal mission, is to ensure that everybody is treated the same under law, no matter your race, religion, your geography, your politics.

And when that doesn`t happen, we have problems. I don`t want to opine on any of the specifics. I don`t have the data in front of me and I`m not an attorney. But it troubles me, of course, when I see those being allowed to travel to Mexico.

It troubles me when I see different people being treated differently for the same offenses in different jurisdictions or of different colors. And I think that`s something we have to reckon with. That was the heart of my speech last night, Joy, was to recognize the privileges afforded to so many of us.

I had that moment. I had that singular, distinct, lightning bolt moment when all of these issues that are on our news screens every night, on our TVs, on our laptops, on our phones, really struck me. And I considered myself woke before.

But, no, I really learned what that meant the other day. It has to do with our judicial system, our justice system, our law enforcement system, our economy, so many elements of our country.

And the best news is that we will be a much better country, an extraordinarily better country when we address these issues.

REID: Yes.

PHILLIPS: And we all have some work to do. We all have some work to do.

REID: Congressman Dean Phillips, I want to thank you, a true ally, and we need them these days out here in the world. You are a true ally. And I want to thank you for that.

Have a wonderful, wonderful weekend.

And still ahead -- thank you.

And I want to -- next up -- OK -- "Hamilton" star and Golden Globe nominee Leslie Odom Jr., he will be here.

Don`t go anywhere. If you have to run to the restroom or something, do it fast, because he will be with us. Don`t go anywhere.


REID: "One Night in Miami," which is streaming right now on Amazon Prime, is a fictional account of a very real meeting that took place on February 25, 1964, between four legends, soon to be boxing legend Cassius Clay, who had just won his first heavyweight championship, Malcolm X, the charismatic minister of the Nation of Islam, who had recruited Clay, but was on his way to a break with the nation`s leader.

Soul singer Sam Cooke, whose popular music career had begun to give way to an activist voice that was not exactly welcome at the time, and NFL great Jim Brown, who "The Nation" had once called -- who "The Nation" magazine had once called part of the holy trinity of athlete activists, with Ali and basketball legend Bill Russell.

They got together in Malcolm`s room at the Hampton House in Miami`s Brownsville neighborhood, a place in the segregated city that actually allowed -- quote, unquote -- "Negroes" to stay, and where many famous names of the era did, just hours after Clay had stunned the boxing world in the ring, and the night before he would shock the country by declaring that he was renouncing his Christian religion and changing his name to Muhammad Ali.

Each of these men in their own way exemplified the demand of black American men to be treated as men, not objects of scorn or fear to be lynched or denied or marginalized in the world of sports entertainment, in politics, and in the voting booth, and really in just everyday life.

Each of them represented the plaintiff demands of black American men, women and children to at long last be treated simply as human beings and as Americans, something that in 1964 was still far from a given.

Cooke would become one of the few African-Americans to own their own record label, meaning that he and not just some group of white moguls would be able to benefit financially from his dozens of top 40 hits.

Unfortunately, one of his most iconic songs, "A Change Is Gonna Come," came out after he was already dead.

And when we come back, I will talk with the man who plays Sam Cooke in the epic film "One Night in Miami," directed by the great Regina King, "Hamilton" alum and Golden Globe nominee Leslie Odom, along with my friend Michael Eric Dyson.

You do not want to miss it.




But, tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.


REID: That was a very youthful Barack Obama the night he was elected the first black president of the United States, quoting Sam Cooke`s posthumous civil rights anthem, "A Change Is Gonna Come."

Now, if the past four years taught us anything, it`s that the work continues. From George Floyd, to Breonna Taylor, we are still facing the same struggles. And now, in the wake of the 2020 election, we`re still fighting the same old battles over voting rights, with more than half of the state`s majority Republican legislatures pushing to make voting harder in reaction to the November results.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

And for more, I am joined now by Michael Eric Dyson, distinguished university professor of African-American studies at Vanderbilt University and author of "Long Time Coming: Reckoning with Race in America," and Leslie Odom Jr., the Golden Globe-nominated actor who stars as Sam Cooke in "One Night in Miami."

And, listen, I love Michael Eric Dyson. He`s my true friend. But I`m going to Leslie first.

I`m so excited to talk to you.


REID: Thank you so much for coming on. I`m a huge fan, loved "Hamilton," loved -- love you, and can`t wait to see this film.

Talk about what it meant to play Sam Cooke, who is such an important figure, not just in music and culture, but really in the civil rights narrative.

LESLIE ODOM JR., ACTOR: Well, you know, when I grew up, I remember the saying, your arms are too short to box with God.

And it felt like my arms were a little too short to box with the God Sam Cooke. But Regina saw something in me that I didn`t see in myself. And I trusted Regina. So, it took me a while to believe it, to believe that there was a Sam in me, but I trusted Regina.

REID: I think there should be T-shirt that just say, "Trust Regina King," because, literally, she could make a movie about the ABCs, and I would be like, that`s going to be a hit and I`m going to watch it. It better get all the Oscars, or I`m going to protest.



REID: Michael Eric Dyson, talk a little bit more about this night, because this is the meeting of my personal hero, Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke.

This is like a meeting of, like, the gods of black history. Can you talk a little bit about the context of it and what it really meant for the culture of the country?


Well, it was an extraordinarily important night.

Glad to be here with my dear friend Leslie Odom Jr. I am a huge fan as you are, my brother.

But the thing is, is that it was an epochal night. Here, you had a young, brash Cassius Clay, the Louisville Lip, soon to become Muhammad Ali, 22 years old. You had Jim Brown, at the peak of his career, about to announce his retirement from the gridiron to become a movie star starring live alongside Raquel Welch and other stars.

You had Malcolm X, an extraordinary leader, who was going through a tremendous transition to find his own voice. And, of course, you had the remarkable Sam Cooke, a singer of extraordinary capacity, one of the greatest ever.

Jerry Wexler says he was the greatest singer ever. And he was just talking about Sam as a gospel singer, even before he began to sing pop. So, you had the convergence of four epochal black men, who, at the heights of their career, were building with each other, finding compact with each other, arguing in a beautiful and sublime way, but also forging connections in order to change history.

But in order to change history, they had to change their minds about some things. They had to test each other, because they were so famous that only each other understood what the other was up against. And so that coming together that night was extraordinary.

And I`m telling you, when you see that film, it`s a remarkable film. Regina King is to be given all the kudos in the world for unpacking what each man was about, and then giving us the power of their togetherness.

But I got to say one thing, though. I don`t want to break anything here tonight, but I passed up on the Sam Cooke part, so that my man Leslie Odom Jr. could have it.



DYSON: That was my part.

ODOM: Hey.

DYSON: That was my part.


DYSON: Let Leslie have it. Let Leslie have it. I want him to have it.

REID: Man, whatever, Michael.

Leslie, can you talk about the -- embodying this character? You are a phenomenal singer. I will say, you are one of the greatest singers in this generation. Just your voice is perfection.

How did you -- did you connect with the songs by singing as Leslie Odom or by trying to sing the way that Sam Cooke sang?

ODOM: Well, singing is an oral tradition.

So, Sam, in many ways, is one of my teachers. You only learn how to do this by listening to the greats and imitating them along the way. So, Sam has been in my ear for most of my life. I never in a million years thought I would play him. But getting cast in the role, I went back to those early days of training, of listening to mom and dad`s records.

And I -- yes, I did. I tried to sound as much like Sam Cooke as I possibly could.

REID: Yes.

And, Michael, your book even sort of is that hint of that homage to Sam Cooke. What do you -- where do you think he stands? We don`t talk about him a lot when we talk about civil rights. But he really did do a thing that was dangerous at the time, which was to start singing about liberation, when the music industry wanted him to just do pop music.

DYSON: Absolutely right.

He owned his own record company, SAR Records. He was a young man who was a pop matinee idol. The women loved him. The men wanted to be him. He was flawlessly handsome, as is Leslie Odom Jr.


DYSON: An extraordinary capacity to evoke empathy through his voice.

And that melisma, when you stretch one note, one syllable over several notes, and able to yodel, and it came from a mistake, and then he turned it into one of the most prized possessions of any singer.

But, as a civil rights figure, growing up in Chicago, coming out of gospel music, on the road, recipient of some of the most brutal forms of Jim Crow racism, he turned it into a craft and an art, and a vocal art, in the same way Leslie Odom Jr. -- you listen to Leslie sing, and you think he`s going to talk like, hey, how are you? Fine. And here he is, yes, hey, you doing?

And then, when he gets to singing...

REID: No. I mean...


DYSON: And then you hear -- but this is exactly...


REID: It`s extraordinary.

DYSON: It`s an art.


ODOM: You didn`t tell me this was going to be a roast. Joy, you didn`t tell me I was showing up for a roast.



REID: It`s an homage.

I have to ask you one more question that`s not on the -- on just this movie, Leslie Odom Jr., if you don`t mind.

A lot of people are so hungry to see theater again. And the industry is hurting. My son was ushering at, actually, "Hamilton" before the whole collapse of COVID.

Do you feel like we`re going to get theater back anytime soon?

ODOM: I certainly hope so.

Two of the projects, they were transforming -- the only reason why we`re talking today is because of "Hamilton," of course. And "One Night in Miami" started as a theater piece as well. So, the theater is still really the life`s blood of some of the great American art of the last 25, 30, 50 years.

So, I definitely want to be -- we`re going to have to remind people about why it`s necessary and why they need it in their lives, because they`re going to have been without it for so long.

REID: Yes.

ODOM: But I want to be a part of that -- of that reminder, because it`s -- we need it.

REID: I can -- anything that you`re in, trust me, I will just get advanced tickets and get there. I would literally.

I mean, you have to kind of sell a house to get a ticket to something that you`re in, because you`re really great.


REID: Leslie Odom Jr., I promise I will invite you back on to roast Michael Eric Dyson. You will get a full seven minutes to just roast him.

ODOM: Thanks.


REID: Michael Eric Dyson, my friend, I appreciate you guys. Have a great weekend.


Now, before we go, if that was not joyful enough, because that was amazing, it is Friday after all. So, it comes from our, not -- our "Moment of Joy" will come from our not-so-favorite Florida retiree, who quit the SAG actors union, which represents actors, musicians and media folks, before they could quit him.

Classic move. See, apparently, the union wanted to reevaluate his membership, after he egged on the January 6 attack on the Capitol. So, El Naranjo, who clearly has nothing better to do with his time than to golf and to write deranged letters, announced his departure in epic fashion, writing: "Who cares? Well, I`m not familiar with your work, I`m very proud of my work in movies such as `Home Alone 2,` `Zoolander` and `Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,` and, of course, one of the most successful shows in television history, `The Apprentice,` to name just a few."

And that right there sparked many moments of comedic gold last night, which brought us joy.



STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": Yes, who could forget his role as himself in "Home Alone 2," or his total immersion as himself in "Zoolander," or when he disappeared into the role of himself in "Wall Street" 2.

He`s a chameleon.

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": He is now out of the actors union. That`s too bad. I was positive he was going to be the next James Bond.

JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": Trump is out of work and just quit his union. Even worse, now, if he wants medical coverage, he`s got to sign up for Obamacare.



REID: And that is tonight`s REIDOUT. Happy Friday.