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Transcript: The ReidOut, 6/23/21

Guests: Amy Klobuchar, Katie Hobbs, Christopher Rufo, Maxine Waters


Senate Republicans block debate on voting rights bill. States are using the big lie to push voting restrictions. Voting rights groups are rallying support for stalled bill. Senate Democrats will take push for voting rights on the road. Cyber ninjas transport AZ voting data to secret location in Montana. Critical race theory spurs heated debate. Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California is interviewed.


JASON JOHNSON, MSNBC HOST: Trump called the report total fake news. Even judge for yourself whether this sound like something Trump would do, because it does.

That does it for me tonight. "THE REIDOUT" with Joy Reid is up next. Joy, how are you.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: How are you doing? Good to see you Jason? I would like the Justice Department to look into why I haven`t gotten a chance to host Saturday Night Live. Because, you know, if Donald Trump can be on there, (INAUDIBLE) investigates.

JOHNSON: Keenan, Keenan, give her a call. OK, Lesley Jones, give her a call.

REID: Call me, Keenan.

JOHNSON: Joy, she really needs to be the next host.

REID: I can do this. I`m ready. Thank you, Jason. Have a good evening.

JOHNSON: Thanks, Joy.

REID: Good evening, everyone. We begin THE REIDOUT tonight with a rallying cry. It`s been roughly 24 hours since every Senate Republican joined together building the wall, as it were, to block debate on the voting reform bill, the For the People Act. And what should be crystal clear to you at this point is that Republicans at every level, federal, state, everywhere, are putting in place step by ugly step all of the tools that they need to steal the next election and the one after that and the one after that. You get the picture?

Across the country, 14 Republican-led states have enacted 22 laws that restrict access to voting. And they`re just getting started. At least 61 additional bills with equally restrictive provisions are snaking their way through 18 state legislatures. Most of these laws just so happen to target communities of color, the elderly, people with disabilities and the young.

And if that`s not repugnant enough, some of these Republican laws have stripped secretaries of state of their power, clearing the way for partisan control of state election boards and made it easier to overturn election results.

Take, for example, the partisan unconstitutional and undemocratic 2020 election inspection happening in Arizona, which Republicans across the country are keen on replicating. In Pennsylvania, Trump successfully bullied a state senator into backing a similar fraudulent review of the 2020 election, even though state and county officials have repeatedly said there was no evidence of fraud in the state.

These calls come around the same time that a similar Republican review of the 2020 election in Michigan found no evidence to prove significant acts of fraud. Say it louder for the MAGA people in the back, there is no fraud.

But that`s not stopping Republicans from rewriting the rules. The question is what can Democrats do about it. In the courts, a slew of voting rights groups with help from an election super lawyer, Mark Alias, have launched an all-out legal war against the anti-voter laws. In the streets, civil rights groups, like the Poor People`s Campaign, are hosting events with an eye on Republican and the Democratic senators.

Today, they held a moral march on West Virginia Senator Joe -- the West Virginia senator, Joe Manchin, and on Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell calling on them to kill the filibuster and pass the For the People act. Rev. Dr. William Barber and Reverend Jesse Jackson were under field arrest for, quote, illegal demonstration activity after leading nearly a dozen buses of activists from Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.

Down south, Black Voters Matter launched their freedom rights for voting rights this week. And today, they were in North Carolina and South Carolina engaging and more importantly mobilizing voters. Fair Fight Action led by Stacey Abrams, as she discussed on this very show, launched their hot call summer campaign to help educate and mobilize young voters of color and young progressives.

And on August 28th, the 50th anniversary of the 1963 march on Washington, Martin Luther King III and Reverend Al Sharpton will launch their voting rights campaign in D.C. It`s a nationwide march against voter suppression.

And that is just some -- that is just some of what`s happening out there in terms of trying to protect your right to vote. And this will be a voting rights summer.

Meanwhile, Senator Amy Klobuchar is taking her committee on the road. They`re going to stop in Georgia to hear firsthand from people who are being impacted by this voter suppression law.

Joining me now is Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, the chairman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee.

And, Senator, explain to us what you`re doing. Because I think a lot of people -- part of the anxiety that people who are worried about our democracy feel is a sense that Democrats seem a little bit calm about it. And there definitely -- we`re definitely not calm out here.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): I`m not calm, Joy.

REID: Good. Okay, so tell us what you guys are doing.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, I just see the evil out there and what they have been doing all over, as you point out, over 20 of these laws have actually passed. And I think we`ve got to do something about it. And what I loved about your lead-in is just all the action happening right now to mobilize people, to get them to vote.

And so what I`m doing, for the first time in 20 years, the Senate Rules Committee is going on the road. And we`re getting out of this building and going to where the people are and hearing exactly what`s going on in a state like Georgia, where they literally passed a law that banned volunteers from giving out water and food to people who sometimes have to wait in line for hours and hours and hours in the hot sun.

And we`re going to hear about how they -- what they did to mess up and try to limit early voting, and just like what you just heard about in Texas where the governor just today announced action on July 8th in Texas after those brave legislators tried to stop it.

So we -- this is just the beginning. Our party was united yesterday and the Republicans stopped us, not just from discussing this, we couldn`t even debate it, not for a week, not even for a day. They stopped it in its tracks and we have got to bring our case to the people and let them hear from the people.

REID: So, I know that Senator Joe Manchin has his own version of voting rights bill. Some people love it, some people don`t love it so much. But that is in theory the next bill that could end up getting onto the floor.

Ron Brownstein tweeted this today. Jeff Merkley has said that there`s no guarantee of success but Senate Democrats do have a plan of what comes after GOP blocks this first debate. Senator Jeff Merkley said, they`ll quickly negotiate a new voting rights bill centered on Manchin`s plan that all 50 Democrats back and then see if any, much less, ten Republicans will sign on.

My guess is no Republicans will sign on to that. Let me just, let you all know in advance they aren`t. Have you discussed with Senator Joe Manchin --

KLOBUCHAR: That`s why people watch your show, Joy. That`s why they watch your show. Thank you for that insight. Yes.

REID: No, absolutely. But the reality is shouldn`t Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema, who I don`t know if they`re on your committee, are they going to go on any of this trip? Because it might -- it seems to me that it might be helpful for Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema to hear from the people that you`re going to hear from.

KLOBUCHAR: Okay, let`s step back about the Manchin proposal. And, first of all, what we voted on yesterday was to move to a debate on the bill.

REID: Yes.

KLOBUCHAR: He has done some good faith work and I know Stacey has told you about this, including now considering including same-day registration in his proposal along with the early voting, the 15 days of early voting and a number of other things. There`s clearly still language that has to be worked out and we`re continuing to work with him. So that`s really important to know, his good faith effort.

From there we have to figure out a way to get this done. And I believe in abolishing the filibuster. I`ve come to that belief after seeing years and years of obstruction on everything, from immigration reform to climate change as we`re heading into this hot summer, as well as voting rights. But even Senator Manchin has shown a willingness to talk about the standing filibuster and other ways you could do this. So I haven`t given up on any of that, especially when it comes to voting rights.

REID: So that is actually kind of hopeful. Because if -- you know, I know that there this former Senator Al Franken is part of an effort to come up with things like having 41 votes on to hold a filibuster or having people hold the floor. Are those conversations going on in the Democratic caucus, including Manchin and Sinema, to say maybe we add some of these things so that it can hang on to their precious filibuster, but that at least it would be more realistic than trying to find ten Republicans to do anything?

KLOBUCHAR: I just don`t think that`s realistic when it comes to voting rights, and I want to make that clear. It may be on other things. But they instead of changing their candidates or changing their views on issues or changing how they talk to people, they double down on it. And now they`re saying, well, we want to change the voters. In the words of Reverend Warnock in his maiden speech, some people don`t want some people to vote.

So the answer to me is look at these Senate rules, figure out what we can do to move ahead, and as Senator Schumer said many times, failure is not an option. But the exciting news for me from listening to your program is that there is so much work even outside of us taking our rules committee out on the road and continuing this push to get this done, that there`s organizing, including organizing to get people to register already for the next election going on right now. And people should view that as progress and excitement and not give up on the work that must be done.

REID: Well, you can get an amen on that. It`s not Sunday, but you can get an amen on that. We cannot give up, our democracy is too important. Senator Amy Klobuchar, please keep in touch with us as you get out on the road. Thank you very much.


REID: I really appreciate you. Cheers.

All right, well joining me now is Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, and she is running for Governor of Arizona. Let`s talk about your state. Your state has got one of the weirdest fights against the right to vote. I mean, even this story about your ballots being trucked off to another state, you know, and trying to figure out what the heck happened to those ballots where they have been trucked off to Montana or something. Do you know what the status is of these ballots that were trucked away to Montana?

KATIE HOBBS (D), ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE: You know, it`s unclear what exactly is happening because the folks in charge of this exercise have not really been forthcoming with information. And so we think it`s hard drives with ballot images going to some lab, but we have no idea of what the security is of this lab or cabin or wherever it is or what they`re planning to do there. And, again, it`s because they haven`t shared the information, this exercise that they keep saying is transparent but we know it`s not.

So we do know that they plan to wrap up their work this week, I think, and then they`re expected to issue some sort of report in the coming weeks to summarize whatever they, quote/unquote, find.

REID: I cannot wait, the chicken poop, the bamboo, the ballots that were supposedly flown off overseas or flown in from China, cannot wait for this report from the Cyber Ninjas. We definitely want to read it.

But, you know, as much as we can laugh at how stupid a lot of it sounds, I mean, the Cyber Ninjas are going to make a lot of money because it seems like every Republican in every state wants to hire them to come do that there, including states Trump won. You know, Florida is looking at it. Everybody wants to repeat the madness that`s happening in your state.

How much of a danger, as you, as a former elections official, how much of a danger are we in that that is going to be the new norm for the way Republicans react to election losses?

HOBBS: Yes, and I`m still the election official.

REID: Sorry about that. You are still.

HOBBS: That`s okay. We know that these folks are writing the playbook to take this on the road around the country. They`re trucking in legislators from all over to see the great gold standard, and I say that completely sarcastically because this is not an audit, and that the Cyber Ninjas are making a lot of money off of this.

And so we have to be writing the playbook of how do we stop this from coming. And there`s really nothing contemplated either in our statute or other state statutes that even contemplate the idea of this type of post- election rehashing of the results when you don`t like them.

And, really, it`s untenable that it is -- at the bare minimum, it gloms up election administration. We`re already trying to get ready for the next election and it`s consuming resources. But their end goal of continuing to try to undermine the public`s confidence in our elections is really dangerous. And so, you know, it`s important that folks are watching and that we`re trying to stop this from replicating.

REID: Do you, how badly do you and other election administrators that you talk to want and need a federal law to get this to sort of stop this madness?

HOBBS: It is very critical to have some sort of federal intervention to ensure uniform voting access across the country. And everything that we`re talking about is tied together, the big lie from the election, this so- called audit in Arizona, the rash of voter restrictive laws that we`re seeing across the country and the failure of Republicans to even debate voting rights improvements in Congress, it`s all connected together. And a federal -- federal laws to improve voting access across the country provides some minimum floor of access is so critical right now.

And it`s clear that the American people wanting this. And so I was very hard to hear from Senator Klobuchar, she`s done so much great work on this legislation and helping it forward. I`m glad that they`re taking this on the road to hear from Americans about why this is so critical.

REID: Yes, and I know that there is a law that`s winding its way through that would actually strip you of your power in election administration. Democrats did do and move to try to block it. Do you think that law is going to ultimately get through? Very quickly, I`m out of time, but do you think that law is going to wind up being on the books.

HOBBS: It sounds like it will and we`re going to challenge it.

REID: Yes. All right, we will definitely keep an eye on Arizona. Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Okay, still ahead on THE REIDOUT, conservative activist Christopher Rufo launched a campaign against critical race theory, or as he calls it the perfect villain. As I put it out on the shoe recently, everyone from Tucker Carlson to Donald Trump listened. Rufo responded on Twitter challenging me to bring him on this very show to debate. Okay. Well, he joins me next.

Plus, Speaker Nancy Pelosi drops hints about forming a select committee to investigate the Capitol insurrection. One of the officers involved in the response thinks it would be a very good idea.


MICHAEL FANONE, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE: As an American, I believe very strongly in a two-party system. Right now, one of those parties has a cancer and we`ve got to cut it out


REID: Wow. And two Republican governors battle it out to see who can be the Trumpiest Trumpster in the land, but only one, only one can be tonight`s absolute worst. Who will it be?

THE REIDOUT continues after this.


REID: The fight to vilify critical race theory occurring mostly within the confines of Twitter and Fox News is now taking over school board meetings, in some cases turning into a literal fight like what you see here in Loudoun County, Virginia, where a public meeting over lessons on race and a proposed policy on equity for transgender students devolved into mayhem with audience members displaying aggressive behavior. One man was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Another was injured.

And we reached out to Loudoun County schools and asked if critical race theory is being taught anywhere in the district. And not surprisingly both the superintendent and the school board say, no, it`s not. Raucous school board meetings are one result of a national campaign by political operatives to eradicate curriculums on racial and other forms of equity, which, mind you, is not the same thing as critical race theory.

One of those operatives, critical race theory opponent Christopher joins me now. And, Christopher, thank you so much for making some time to be with us this evening.


REID: Thank you.

OK, so let`s start out, do the elephant in the room. So,you and I started off on a little bit of a Twitter beef. I talked about you, I quoted you in an article that one of our great journalists here at NBC had quoted you in a piece, and I quoted that on TV.

And then you tweeted that you wanted to come on the show and said I didn`t have the courage to put you on.

Now, I will just note that Twitter, it`s for -- it`s a hyperbole zone. So, I -- whatever. It`s all water under the bridge.

But I just want to just get to a couple of little factual things. Why would I need courage to have you on? Are you like an expert in race or racial history? Are you a lawyer? Are you a legal scholar? Is that part of your background?

RUFO: Yes, I`m a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, where I`m running their initiative on critical race theory.

And the reason that I reached out on Twitter to you -- and I appreciate you having me on.

REID: Sure.

RUFO: I enjoy this kind of cross-partisan dialogue.

But the reason is not just because you were attacking me on air, which I think is fine. It`s politics. That`s fair game.

REID: Well, one second. Just -- I wasn`t attacking you. I was reading your quote. So that`s what I did. I read your quote.

But go on.

RUFO: Sure, but you were reading it with the framing, calling me a political operative, which I`m not. I`m actually a think tank scholar.

But let`s put all that aside. The problem that I have is that you have really spread four, I think, key false pieces of information about critical race theory.


RUFO: You have claimed in recent weeks that critical race theory isn`t being taught in schools. You have claimed that most American public school students learn what you call Confederate race theory and are taught that slavery was -- quote -- "not so bad."

You have claimed that state legislation will prevent schools from teaching about the history of racism. And, finally, you have claimed that critical race theory isn`t rooted in the philosophical tradition of Marxism.

And I think that all four of those claims are wrong, and I`d love to discuss them tonight.

REID: OK, let`s go through some of this, all right.

So, the first thing -- and we`re going to talk about the politics, because I`m going to challenge you on whether or not you`re a political operative.

I read your -- this is your talking points memo that you have put out that definitely seems to be working, because you have seen people like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio use a lot of the verbiage that you suggest and a lot of the framing that you suggest that they should use in talking about critical race theory.

I also watched your video, very highly produced, like, well-produced video, in which you make a lot of claims, some of which I just want to go through very quickly.

First of all, I found a couple factual errors. When did you say -- when do you say that critical race theory was created?

RUFO: So, critical theory was created in the 1960s.

REID: Well, critical race theory is something different.

RUFO: And then critical race theory was based in the late `80s...

REID: Well, critical theory is different.

RUFO: ... the late 1980s and early 1990s.

REID: That`s actually not true.

So, I went on Harvard University, which is where critical race theory was born, at Harvard Law School. It actually happened in 1981, Professor Derrick Bell and some of his students, including Kimberle Crenshaw. So we have confirmed that. So that`s actually not true.

Let me go through one other thing, because you make a lot of allegations, my friend, a lot of allegations. You talk about, particularly in your video, that people, these professors, these professorial types who even acknowledge are academics, that they are looking to do such things as replace equality with equity, which is a conservative charge that -- since I was in high school, they have been saying that -- to ending individual property rights, and even to committing reverse genocide or calling for reversed genocide.

I know you`re a filmmaker by trade. You`re a documentary filmmaker.


REID: Yes, you use the term reverse genocide in your...


RUFO: No, that`s actually -- no, that`s factually incorrect.

REID: Hold on a second. What -- you did. You did.

And so -- I`m not -- we can`t play it, because we`re not going to pay you to play your video.

RUFO: Sure. But hold on, Joy. You can play the tape.

REID: But that`s what you talk about.

So, wait. What is your evidence? What is your evidence? What is your -- one moment.

RUFO: You can play the tape. This is a term -- the term is actually countergenocide.

REID: One moment.


RUFO: And it comes from -- it comes...

REID: And what is your evidence of that?

RUFO: And it comes from a book called "Rethinking Ethnic Studies," which is rooted in the critical race theory tradition.

It`s not my term that I`m loading onto it. I`m simply quoting a book that is cited in California`s model ethnic studies curriculum. I think that`s horrible. You think that`s horrible. We can agree about that.

But you can`t misrepresent where it comes from, who is promoting it.

REID: And model ethnic studies is not critical race theory.

Let me go through one other thing. You say that Ibram Kendi, Dr. Ibram Kendi, who is a college professor, you call him the guru of critical race theory.

So, we reached out to him. I have interviewed him before. So we reached out to him, because you say he`s the guru of critical race. You named him a lot in a lot of your -- both in your manifesto or your talking points memo, but also in your video.

We reached out to him. And we asked him, are -- we asked him if he`s a critical race theorist.

He said: "I admire critical race theory, but I don`t identify as a critical race theorist. I`m not a legal scholar. So I wasn`t trained on critical race theory. I`m a historian. And Chris would know this if he actually read my work or understood that critical race theory is taught in law schools. I didn`t attend law school, which is where critical race theory is taught."

It`s really the only place it`s taught. We -- NBC has looked into everywhere, and it`s not taught in elementary school.

RUFO: Well...

REID: But hold on a second.

This is the second thing he said, which is strange to me that you...

RUFO: Well, Joy, let me respond.

REID: Wait. Wait. Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. I have a question. Hold on. Hold on. Hold on.

RUFO: This is not a monologue. This should be a dialogue, right? Am I right?


REID: Well, it`s my show, so it`s how I want to do it.

So, let me read you one more quote from him, because you have made a lot of claims about critical race theory saying that white Americans are inherently racist, that racism is inherent to whiteness.

And that is one of the core charges that you`re making about these sort -- what you consider like sort of woke studies in school.

This is what Ibram Kendi has said, in his own words.

He said: "We have been taught that racist is essential to who a person is. It`s a fixed category. It`s in someone`s heart. That`s one of the reasons why people are unwilling to or unable to admit the times in which they`re being racist, because it`s not just admitting I was being racist in that moment. Basically, we`re tattooing racist on our forehead for the rest of our lives."

Isn`t that the opposite of what you`re arguing?

RUFO: Well, I will say two things.

First of all, it`s very interesting to me that so many people are now running away from the race of -- the label of critical race theory.

REID: No, that`s -- he`s not a critical race theorist.


RUFO: Hold on.

I`m going to quote two critical race theorists, Barbara Applebaum, with the book "Being Good, Being White" (sic).

She says -- quote -- "All white people are racist."

Robin DiAngelo, who`s another critical whiteness studies scholar...

REID: She`s not a critical race theorist. Nope.

RUFO: ... says that -- quote -- "All -- white identity is inherently racist."


RUFO: So, what you`re doing is you`re playing a series of word games.

REID: No. No. That`s ironic.

RUFO: You know that critical whiteness studies is a subfield of critical race theory.

REID: No, it`s not.

RUFO: How these things are all deeply interrelated.

REID: No, they`re not. They`re not. They`re just not.

RUFO: And I`m not going to let you play word games. And this is -- this is really, I think, the most essential thing.

REID: It`s funny. Hold on.

RUFO: Hold on.

REID: No, no, no, no. I will not hold on.

RUFO: Let me respond at least once. I haven`t gotten a full sentence out.

REID: No, no, no, because I`m not going to let you -- see, one of the things that you -- and I don`t know. You probably never watched me on TV. Just we didn`t know who each other were not so long ago.

But I don`t allow people to just make up and say lies on the show. It`s just not really right to do that and let people hear...

RUFO: Yes, sure.

REID: But hold on.

RUFO: But let me at least get a full sentence in. Am I right or wrong?

REID: Wait. Wait. Wait. Robin DiAngelo is not a critical race theorist. And I want everyone to know that.

Robin DiAngelo -- I don`t know who the other woman is. But she`s not.

But let`s just go through a minute, because whiteness and racist, whiteness and racist.

RUFO: Sure.

REID: Where did the term whiteness come from?

RUFO: Sure. And I think this is an important point.

REID: Sure.

RUFO: And I hope you will let me actually get a full paragraph out about this.

REID: Go for it.

RUFO: Whiteness -- whiteness is the idea that there is some kind of metaphysical category in the world, that all white people are reducible to this essence of whiteness.

Then what happens is that they load all of these negative connotations. They say that whiteness is, by definition, that includes white fragility includes white privilege, includes internalized white superiority.

And then what they do is, they try to impose these reductive racial categories onto individuals. And I actually agree with Kendi`s approach. I think that we should fight race essentialism. But the problem is that critical race theory enshrines racial centralism. And you see it in schools.

REID: But you said he is one.

RUFO: And I will give you three examples of critical race theory being taught in schools.

REID: No. One -- hold on one second. Wait. Hold on one second. Hold on.

RUFO: In Cupertino, California -- in Cupertino, California...

REID: No. These are in your talking points. Sir, Chris, these are in your talking points.

And I know what you`re going to say, because you said it with Marc Lamont Hill. You repeat these same things. They`re in this manifesto. People can read it online.

Let me just go for a second.

On the subject of whiteness, are you aware, since you say that I guess you`re -- you`re sort of a quasi-historian in your thinking, that whiteness was actually formed in the United States, that whiteness didn`t even exist as a thing? Europeans were all European. They considered themselves Italian or Polish or whatever.

When the colonists came here, they actually created the idea of whiteness. This is from the -- from the Smithsonian.

RUFO: I agree with that.

REID: As a way to distinguish themselves from what they called the savages, the natives, and from black people from Africans, who, even if you had a little African in you, if you`re Plessy, who`s seven-eighths white, if you are African in any aspect, that you are reduced of rights.

So, people that you don`t like that are doing this sort of wokeness training, are saying, whiteness has always had power. There used to be a saying: I`m free, white, and 18. It was commonly said in the `50s and `60s -- `40s, `50s and `60s.

So, whiteness has power.

So people who don`t -- who want to decouple whiteness from power, that`s what you`re annoyed by, right?

Let me play a little bit of what you said. You did a speech.


REID: Hold on.

You did a speech at the Claremont Institute in which you talked a little bit about how you really feel about the academics of it. Here it is.

This is cut -- I think this is -- is it three? Yes, go for it. Play it.


RUFO: I`m a white guy fighting critical race theory.

QUESTION: Do you identify as white?

RUFO: I mean, I`m an Italian American. So, you tell me.

Lumping people into white, black, Asian, as you suggested, is such a crude and broad categorization.

There`s these like, very kind of pathetic and very angry graduate students that try to fight me on these highly technical Hegel interpretations. And it`s like, I don`t have time for this. I don`t give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) about this stuff.


REID: So you don`t give an S about this stuff.

You`re really just having a campaign to take everything that annoys white Americans and white conservatives.

RUFO: No, that`s not right. No, that`s not right. No.

REID: Hold on.

RUFO: I mean, you played my highlight reel. You played my highlight reel. Give me a chance to respond.

REID: You want to make a campaign and stuff everything in there that people will get annoyed...

RUFO: No, that`s absolutely wrong.

REID: And you want to stuff it all into critical race theory, right?

RUFO: What I don`t think is right is that forcing 8-year-olds in Cupertino, California, to deconstruct their racial identities...

REID: That`s not critical race theory.

RUFO: ... and then rank themselves according to power and privilege -- power and privilege -- it`s intersectionality theory, which was invented by Kimberle Crenshaw.

REID: That`s intersectionality. It`s a separate thing. Intersectionality is a separate thing.

RUFO: Which is part of critical race theory,

REID: No, it`s not, dear.

RUFO: You had her on your show. You know this.

REID: Yes, she -- yes, she invented both things. She invented both things.

RUFO: And here`s the bottom line, Joy.

What you have done in tonight`s segment is exactly what I`m fighting against.

REID: One more thing. No.

RUFO: I`m fighting against the manipulation of language. I`m fighting against language deconstruction.

REID: Right. You`re fighting against wokeness. And you don`t like corporate wokeness, et cetera. I get it.

RUFO: And I`m trying to basically load all of these euphemistic terms with subversive content...

REID: I get it. Right.

RUFO: ... because, otherwise, you just say whatever you want, and then you back away from it, and you dance around it.

REID: Yes. Yes. Yes.


RUFO: It`s not going to happen.

REID: Let -- let me -- hold on. Chris...

Parents all over this country, they know what`s happening in schools. They know what`s happening in their public institutions.

REID: One second, Chris.

RUFO: And you`re seeing people revolt against this divisive identity politics.

REID: Yes. That`s...

RUFO: And you can dance all you want...


RUFO: ... but you`re not going to stop people from understanding what`s happening in their classrooms.

REID: I actually -- I actually appreciate that you said that, because, Christopher, what you basically -- and you admit it yourself, that you have taken all of these sort of wokeness moments, corporate wokeness, the corporate sort of woke money, woke capital, the things that annoy conservatives, and you have stuffed it all into the name critical race theory.

It`s really like -- it`s like Christopher Rufo theory. You stuffed it all in.

Here`s what you said.

You tweeted this: "The activists..."

RUFO: Hey, listen, I -- Christopher Rufo`s sounds fantastic.

REID: Hold on. Hold on one second.

I`m going to read you to you, and then you can respond to it. I`m going to read you to you, and then you respond to it.

"The activists are realizing that their ideas, once put into practice, are generating discontent," which as you just described.

RUFO: I think that`s true.

REID: "Their racial coalition is also breaking apart. Asian Americans in particular are revolting against CRT," which is really Christopher Rufo theory, because you made it up, "is punishing them more than any other group."

Then you said: "We have successfully frozen their brand, critical race theory, into the public conversation and are steadily driving up negative perceptions. We will eventually turn it toxic, as we put all the various cultural insanities under that brand category."

RUFO: Yes.

REID: "The goal is to have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think critical race theory." We have decodified the term and we will recodify to annex the entire range of cultural constructions that are unpopular with Americans."

Aren`t you just taking wokeness stuff that annoys you and calling it critical race theory?

RUFO: No, not at all.

The idea of the codification and decodification of language comes from the critical pedagogist Paulo Freire. And my strategy is to take these...

REID: Now you`re doing pedagogy, Christopher?

RUFO: Yes.

REID: Come on.

RUFO: To take these techniques and use them against their own ideology.

And I will tell you, Joy, my strategy has been enormously successful.

REID: Oh, among conservatives.

RUFO: According to "The Economist" magazine poll, 64 percent of Americans now know what critical race theory is...

REID: No, they know what Christopher Rufo theory is, Chris.

RUFO: ... of which -- of which -- of which -- of which 58 percent...

REID: They know what you...

RUFO: ... of them think that it -- view it...

REID: You made up your own thing. My friend, you made up your own thing. You admitted you were going to do it.

RUFO: Let me finish one sentence.

REID: And I`m going to give you credit for one thing.

You did create your own thing. Not a lot of guys in their 30s have created their own thing, labeled it something that already existed as a name, slapped that brand name on it, and turned it into a successful political strategy.

You have done that. It`s creating a lot of hell at school board meetings, but you did accomplish that.

So, Christopher Rufo, thank you, man. Thank you for being here. Really appreciate you.

RUFO: Well, Joy, I appreciate it.

And I will give you the position as the most prestigious Christopher Rufo theory scholar in the world.


REID: Christopher...

RUFO: I hope, next time, you give me at least a chance to complete two sentences. I think it would be a lot more fun. But we will try again next time.


REID: Well, not if you`re going to do talking points. They were your talking points.

RUFO: Yes, we will try again.

REID: So, people can read your talking points online, because they`re online as well. You can read all of them.

Thank you very much, Christopher. OK, Christopher Rufo.

Up next, Jelani Cobb is here to help us digest that interview and much more.

We will be right back.


REID: OK, so you heard my conversation with conservative activist Christopher Rufo about the distortion campaign that he and other conservatives and Republicans are waging over their new cultural boogeyman, critical race theory.

And joining me now to react is Jelani Cobb, an historian and staff writer at "The New Yorker."

And, Jelani, I just want to go through really quickly. And Christopher was very upset that I didn`t let him read his talking points. These are his talking points. So we printed them out.

What he wanted -- he started to do -- and I -- and this is just for our audience too. The reason that I did not let him continue is, in this manifesto, in this talking points memo -- and I used to be press secretary, so I have made these for politicians -- he wanted to start to read some of the stories that he has put in here to claim that they`re critical race theory.

He started to say Seattle public schools told teachers that the education system is guilty of spirit murder against black children, dah, dah, dah, dah.

And so he has them already here. He wants to read them on TV with people, so that he can then advance his own version of -- he made up a version of - - and he called it critical race theory.

And just to prove that to the audience, just so that we can have this conversation with some context, here he is at the Claremont Institute admitting that that is his plan. Here it is.


RUFO: People were understanding that something is going wrong in the culture, that certain ideologies and ideas were devouring institutions.

And then we put a label to it, critical race theory. Actually, they put a label to it in the 1990s. We just appropriated it, attacking it at a very practical political level, and providing political leaders with a cudgel.


REID: He says he`s not a political operative, but you just heard him say it`s a political cudgel.

Just your thoughts, Jelani.

JELANI COBB, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: In so many lies, I don`t know where to start, I mean, just lying.

And it`s a very difficult thing to hear, because, as scholars, we actually care about definitions. We care about meaning. We care about nuance. We care about scholarship and historiography.

And for a person who just wants to throw grenades and play with shrapnel, he`s been able to take a idea devoted to the pursuit of equality, devoted to understanding why equality has been -- has been so evasive in the span of our history, and then turn it into a weapon to further the inequality that was the problem in the first place. So there`s so many things to start with. Let`s start with the idea of whiteness.

So we are looking at a project which is trying to understand the power afforded to a political category. And that is a political category of whiteness. We`re not talking about individual white people. We`re not talking about the person at your job or next door neighbor or your friend who you went to school with. That`s what you would believe. We`re trying to have a crusade which is going to marginalize Americans, white Americans and turn the rest of the country into Wakanda and they`re playing on these fears in that way.

That is not what critical race theory was concerned with. If we look at the 1790 immigration act at the beginning of the country, which relegated immigration, restricted immigration to people that they categorized as white, making the contention that only white people, this fictional category, could hold the rights of citizens. And so this is the ancestral legacy of the country that we`re grappling with.

So, there`s a few things that I want to say about it in terms of reading. Go back and read Linnaeus and the founder of taxonomy and his role in creating the categories of race.

Read Thomas Jefferson`s notes on Virginia where he as an intellectual is looking at the cutting edge currents of racial theory in Europe and the creation of these subordination ideas of Africans and applying them to the context of this newly created country.

Read Nell Irvin Painter`s book "The History of White People." Read even Kendi`s book, "Stamped from the Beginning". Read Gazettes` history on race.

There is an entire -- we could talk about this for another 15 minutes with me just listing historiography. There`s an entire body of knowledge that will explain what this is.

And Mr. Rufo was just lying. It upsets me as a historian to see someone just lie about work we care so diligently for.

REID: And the thing about it is that, you know, he even admits that he doesn`t give an S about these things, right? He`s not going to read these books. He doesn`t care about it. He literally said and he tweeted and admitted at the Claremont Institute while sitting next to Michael Anton, by the way, "The Flight 93 Election" guy who said that the immigrants coming into this country who were nonwhite have no sense or feel for democracy. Basically they shouldn`t be here and then ended up in the Trump administration.

He admitted that he`s just taking the things that irritate white conservatives and just conservatives in general. They don`t like wokeness. They don`t like, you know, trainings on white Americans being sensitive to non-white Americans. They don`t like woke capital. They don`t like those things. And so they`re going to call them all critical race theory and use them, as he said, as a political cudgel to get Republicans elected.

I guess -- let me play for you one last thing before we go and this is joint chiefs of staff, General Mark Milley, who I thought was brilliant, pushing back against this because they were also saying, the military is too woke. Take a listen.


GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: What is wrong understanding, having some situational understanding about the country which we are here to defend, and I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States military, our general officers, our commissioned, noncommissioned officers are being, quote, woke or something else because we`re studying some theories that are out there. That was started at Harvard Law School years ago and it proposed that there were laws in the United States. Antebellum laws prior to the Civil War, that led to a power differential with Africans, with three quarters of a human being when this country was formed. It matters to our military and the discipline and cohesion of this military.


REID: God bless that man.

Is it more -- is it more worrying to you that this kind of a sort of amygdala campaign is working out there in school boards and people are being whipped into a frenzy because they`re just irritated about wokeness, or does it make you hopeful to hear something like General Milley?

COBB: It`s alarming, but also I think these people are not students of history in any regard because one of the things they would know is that the public gave Joe McCarthy a great deal of rope and leeway to spread his lies. Do you know when he got in trouble? When he said that the Army was full of communists.

People were not prepared to hear that. They don`t want to hear the institution -- the army is the institution that has the most trust from the United States. It`s in the top three consistently. No one is going to believe that. I`m really glad to hear General Milley speak out in that way in a voice that people can hear some sanity from.

REID: Yeah, God bless that man. I`m telling you, he said it exactly perfectly.

Jelani Cobb, thank you so much. I really appreciate you being here this evening.

We`ll be right back after this.


REID: A member of the far right group the Oath Keepers has pleaded guilty in federal court to charges stemming from the January 6 insurrection. Graydon Young became the second Oath Keepers member to plead guilty and the first to plead guilty to a charge of conspiracy, admitting that he conspired with roughly a dozen other Oath Keepers.

In doing so, he`s agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and testify against his former associates. And that`s no small thing. In fact, the first Oath Keeper who agreed to cooperate with the government back in April was offered sponsorship in the witness protection program. The need for witness protection would seem to contradict the idea that these were a bunch of peaceful tourists as some Republicans would like you to believe.

In a new video released by the Justice Department, it shows that they were anything but.


REID: It`s against that backdrop that Speaker Nancy Pelosi is weighing whether to appoint a select committee, a la Watergate, to investigate the events of January 6th.

And joining me now is Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California.

Congresswoman, it`s always great to see you.

I want to ask you about the possibility of a select committee. Scott Dworkin of the Democratic Coalition tweeted earlier today that a Republican consultant has said to him that they`re urging the Republican senators to publicly push for a new vote on January 6 -- a January 6 commission, saying a select committee would actually be devastating for the GOP.

That`s very interesting that any Republican would think that it would be devastating to have a select committee.

I`d love to have your comments on that, and what are you hearing about whether or not such a select committee is going to happen?

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA): Well, let me tell you, Joy, we`re all disappointed, very disappointed that we could get not -- we could not get bipartisan support for a commission. You know, for them to resist, the Republicans, to resist a commission, speaks to whether or not they are interested in really having the facts come out about the insurrection and what took place, who was involved in it, who supported the transportation for so many of those people to come by airplane, by bus, what have you.

I know that there have been some reports that talked about those who signed up for the permit as being the same people who worked in the president`s campaign.

And so, we wanted a commission that would be bipartisan. They have resisted it. And so yes, we have to think about, what is the alternative?

Yes, a select committee is being talked about. And I think that we`re going to have to go forward with a select committee. I support that.

The speaker has not announced it yet. But I know that it is being discussed. It is being thought about, because we have to. We have to do something.

And we have to get the facts out about who invaded our Capitol, this insurrection that took place, where our police officers, the Capitol police, were in hand-to-hand combat. They did not have the kind of protection that they should have had. And they were being beaten up.

And you saw the officer that got killed. He was crushed. And then the sight of the American flag on the pole used to beat up police officers is more than one can bear.

REID: Yeah.

WATERS: And so, I`m anxious for us to move forward and get a select committee. And I`m very hopeful that it will come about soon.

REID: And do you believe that Republican members of Congress who may have given tours or in any way helped and found -- aided in this insurrection should be subpoenaed by such a committee?

WATERS: Yes, I do believe that. I do believe that, first of all, we have members of Congress, Republican members, who are aligned with and associated with QAnon, who know many of the Oath Keepers, and some of the Proud Boys, and not only do we have some that know them and have worked with them, I believe that there were tours that were given. I saw some of them the day before over in front of the Rayburn House Office Building.

And at that time, I warned our Capitol police to look out because strange characters was roaming around, and I saw some inside the House Rayburn Building. And so, yes, I do believe that some members of the Republican Party know more than they are telling or want to tell.

REID: Yeah, and maybe that`s why they`re opposed having a commission.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters, thank you very much. Always great to speak with you.

All right. And up next, mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the Trumpiest of them all? Tonight`s absolute worst is next.


REID: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is no longer just sucking up to his state`s most infamous and orangest retiree to score political points. He`s going Trump twinsy on steroids in his quest to become the nation`s top MAGA culture warrior. Starting with, you guessed it, critical race theory.

At Ron DeSantis` urging, this month, the Florida board of education banned the teaching of critical race theory in Florida schools. You`ll not be surprised to learn that as "The Miami Herald" noted, state officials acknowledged it`s not being taught in any Florida districts. Oh, well.

But Ron is fighting for re-election in 2022, and not so secretly angling to be the orange man`s successor in 2024 or maybe his running mate. Oh, best friends.

When it comes to the pandemic, the two shared a similar do-nothing attitude that worked out great. Last month, Governor DeathSantis, as his not so fans called him, basically said COVID is over and banned businesses from requiring proof of vaccination.

"The Orlando Sentinel" now reports that Florida ranked 37th in the nation in a study measuring three areas of pandemic recovery, consumer confidence, job market strength, and COVID-19 safety. But wait, there`s more. Ron is also getting into a MAGA warrior arms race with Texas Governor Greg Abbott on the issue of fearmongering about immigration at the border, the brown scare.

DeSantis said he`s sending Florida law enforcement officers to the southern border at Abbott`s request, the same day Abbott said, hold my beer, I`m building a wall, and fronting $250 million of Texas taxpayer money for it.

Of course, not to be outdone by his fellow red state baby Trump, who signed a bill promoting patriotic education in Texas. Same thing that happened in North Korea. Ron signed his own patriotic education bill in Florida, requiring students in Florida to be taught that communism and totalitarian governments are evil, but as we`ve noted before, patriotic education is what China called its propaganda efforts after the Tiananmen Square massacres, so there`s that.

What garnered Ron with this honor of absolute worst tonight is one of the bills he signed, requiring public universities and colleges to survey students, faculty, and staff about their beliefs and viewpoints, and suggesting budget cuts could be looming if universities and colleges are found to be, quote, indoctrinating students. The thought police, except he wants to indoctrinate students by mandating patriotic education like we`re, you know, China, while banning certain things that students are taught, and also using the state to intimidate educators -- which honestly, sounds a lot like authoritarianism.

And for that, you, Ron comrade DeSantis, you have once again earned the dishonor of being the absolute worst.

And that`s tonight`s REIDOUT.

And you know what happens now.

"ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts now.