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Transcript: The ReidOut, August 11, 2020

Guests: LaTosha Brown, Jonathan Capehart, Neera Tanden, Maxine Waters, Keisha Lance Bottoms, Glenda Glover, Wayne A.I. Frederick


It is a historic day in American politics with the selection of Senator Kamala Harris as former Vice President Joe Biden's running mate. Harris urges Democrats not to take black votes for granted. Harris reacts, honored to be chosen by Biden. Biden and Harris are said to appear together tomorrow in Delaware. Harris announces candidacy, says she's going to stand up and fight for the best of who we are. Obama says, Harris is more than prepared for the job. Kamala Harris makes history as first black woman V.P. candidate. If elected, Kamala Harris will be the first vice president who is a member of a black sorority, the AKAS.


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Thanks for watching THE BEAT with Ari Melber here on a big night for politics and a historic night for America. Don't go anywhere because "THE REIDOUT" with Joy Reid starts now.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Tonight, I'm thinking about history. In 1972, a congresswoman from Brooklyn ran for president.


FMR. REP. SHIRLEY CHISHOLM (D-NY): Friends, I am a candidate for the presidency of the United States. I make that statement proudly with the full knowledge that as a black person and a female person, I do not have a chance of actually gaining that office in this election year. I make that statement seriously knowing that my candidacy itself can change the face and future of American politics.


REID: It was a long shot and Shirley Chisholm lacked the support of the Democratic establishment and the black political establishment, but she ran.

Nearly 50 years later when she ran for president, California Senator Kamala Harris referenced Chisholm's legacy.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): And so I stand on Shirley Chisholm's shoulders with great pride and a profound sense of responsibility. But I also do know that that's why this is so important because this is so much bigger than me. I know that.


REID: And, indeed, Kamala Harris has now made history, as the first black woman to join a major party ticket. Today, former Vice President Joe Biden has chosen Senator Harris to be his running mate. And if they win, she will become not just the first black woman vice president, but also the first woman vice president of any race and also, due to the legacy of her mother, the first Asian-American vice president. It will be history thrice made.

For a lot of black women in America today, this is the ultimate affirmation. The loyalty that black women have uniquely shown to the Democratic Party has not always been returned, as Senator Harris herself pointed out during the Democratic primary debate in Atlanta, which, by the way, took place on the site of a former confederate military base which had been purchased all 200 acres of it by black Hollywood mogul Tyler Perry.


HARRIS: The larger issue is that for too long I think candidates have taken for granted constituencies that have been the backbone of the Democratic Party and have overlooked those constituencies, and have -- you know, they show up when it's close to election time, show up in a black church, and want to get the vote, but just having been there before.

At some point, folks get tired of just saying, you know, thank me for showing up and say, well, show up for me.


REID: Black women have given nine out of ten votes to the Democratic Party for decades, including Hillary Clinton in 2016. And black women rescued the candidacy of one Joe Biden in South Carolina with more than a little help from a former civil rights organizer turned political leader named Congressman James Clyburn.

And as I've said before, the vice presidential nomination is not an incentive, it's a reward, and it's quite a reward. If they are elected, the vice president of the United States will be the first member of a black sorority, the AKAs, the sister sorority of the members of Delta Sigma Theta who protested the exclusion of black women from the suffrage movement from which we celebrate the ratification of the 19th Amendment 100 years later.

She will be the first member of any administration to have come through an historically black college, Howard University. And never again will little black girls and brown girls and white girls and Asian girls ever think of the vice president of the United States and not see themselves.

Joe Biden deserves tremendous credit for making that history happen, for ignoring those who told him to avoid ambitious woman and those who cautioned him against women who would dare to hold him to account on the matter of race and for fulfilling the promise that he himself helped deliver to the world as the vice president of the United States who stood alongside the first black president of the United States.

Today is a day that history was made. And it's also a day of warning, because women are more than prepared to defend this ticket and this vice president from those who try to denigrate it. Why, because this ticket belongs to the emerging America, the America that Trumpism and anger and meanness cannot stop, and a way we go.

For more, I am joined by Claire McCaskill, former senator from Missouri, and LaTosha Brown, co-Founder of the Black Votes Matter Fund. And, ladies, thank you both for being here.

LaTosha, I'm going to go to you first, because you were on a letter that made the demand, not the ask, but the demand that said, you know what, we need to have a black woman on this ticket. How do you react to the fact that Joe Biden said, okay?

LATOSHA BROWN, CO-FOUNDER, BLACK VOTERS MATTER FUND: He did the right thing. You know, I think that I am so excited. I am excited for Kamala, I'm excited for us, the hundreds of women who have been staying up late at night praying and thinking and working around this, but also the millions of black women, the nameless millions of black women who have stood in the space where they were discriminated against gender and race and they still believe this is their moment as well.

So I am so excited. He did the right thing. I am fired up and ready to go.

REID: And, you know, you screamed a little bit. I heard you earlier on T.V., Claire. And when Brian Williams said it's Kamala Harris, I could hear you in the background screaming. Why did you scream?

CLAIRE MCCASKILL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Listen, this is a strong pick, and Joe Biden deserves a great deal of credit for picking someone who challenged him in the primaries, who actually took it to him on the very difficult issue of race that we struggle with in this country to this very day.

But also I've got to just give a shout out to the pack that Kamala has traveled. I mean, this is a daughter of immigrants. This is not someone who was given millions of dollars by her parents and said, go make money. This isn't somebody who, you know, broke her teeth on reality T.V. This is someone who worked hard and overcame obstacles of prejudice against not just being black and the daughter of immigrants, but also being a woman.

And the fact that she went to a historically black college and then became the first black woman elected D.A. of San Francisco and then the first woman elected attorney general of California and then in a state, that was full of people with ambition, she rose to the United States Senate. She deserves this. She is ready. She is qualified. She is going to be a terrific candidate and she is going to be an even better vice president.

REID: Let me play a little bit of the presidential announcement that Kamala Harris made when she first was running for president.


HARRIS: I am running for president of the United States. And I'm very excited about it. I am very excited about it.

I love my country. I love my country. And this is a moment in time that I feel a sense of responsibility to stand up and fight for the best of who we are.


REID: And, you know, LaTosha, Joe Biden's theme is redeeming the soul of America. And I think what Senator Harris said then, it applies now, right? What does this ticket do for someone like you who is in the world trying to encourage people to vote? How does this change the message that you are then able to send to voters, some of whom may not have been so attached to the Democratic process?

BROWN: So I think there is a special moment in terms of where we really can show the redemption, that we can be transformed to leaders. I think that Biden is showing that in this moment and his capacity to be able to do that.

But I also think even Kamala, that even some of the critique that she had with her background as a criminal prosecutor, I think that -- literally, I think what we are going to see is we are going to see a strong vice president. I think we are going to see someone who is actually going to show community accountability, that is actually going to show how there could be a redemptive transformative nature.

And so I'm really excited about that because I think what people were looking for, we're looking for reflective democracy that oftentimes black women, who have been the backbone of this party, our voices have been marginalized and you have not seen us in positions of leadership. And so she is smart, she's strong, and I sure am happy she is very ambitious.

REID: Yes. And, listen, ambitious women do big things. Here is President Obama's statement on the pick. I have known Senator Harris for a long time. She's more than prepared for the job. She spent her career defending our Constitution and fighting for folks who need a fair shake. Her own life story is one that I and so many others can see ourselves in, a story that says that no matter where you come from, what you look like, how you worship or who you love, there is a place for you here. It's a fundamentally American perspective and one that led us out of the hardest times before. And it's a perspective we can rally behind right now.

I also want to note as I go back to you quickly, Claire, there is two pieces of history made today because Karine Jean-Pierre, our friend, is going to be the chief of staff to Senator Harris. That was also a history-making move today.

So what do you make of the fact that this double history was made both by Senator Harris' collection and by Karine's?

MCCASKILL: Yes, Karine is absolutely top notch. She has got the experience to handle the pressure of that particular job. And I think we all remember when she got up to physically protect candidate Kamala Harris during an event, she and Symone Sanders both are two strong black women that are leading in the Biden/Harris campaign. And I think that our country is going to benefit from both of them being very much in charge of running day-to-day.

You can tell how this rolled out. It didn't leak. I mean, this is an operation that is very tight, no drama. I think they know what it's going to take. This is not going to be an easy path. No one should think this is going to be easy. But they are putting the right people in charge and they certainly have the right people on the ticket.

REID: Yes, don't come for Kamala Harris, because, as you see in a cute little dress and heels, Karine Jean-Pierre got at that person who came near Kamala Harris. So I think she's going to be a great chief of staff. This is a pretty big day, a very big day. Claire McCaskill, LaTosha Brown, thank you both very much.

And joining me now is Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. And, Mayor -- Madam Mayor, you were also in this conversation. A lot of women that were circulated as potential veeps, you were also in that conversation. What do you make of the choice of Senator Harris?

MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D-ATLANTA, GA): Well, Joy, obviously, I was personally disappointed when I got the call earlier today from Vice President Biden, but that being said, I absolutely am thrilled that it is Kamala Harris. And I think that this is such an important choice for so many reasons. It highlights the diversity of our country. This is a brilliant woman who clearly is capable and will be an asset to the ticket, and it also speaks volumes to how Vice President Biden values who we are as Americans.

So, thank you for highlighting the HBCU and the Divine Nine connection. There is so much symbolism in this pick, but also the substance is there. And so I'm very happy for Senator Harris and I'm happy for us as Americans that this is a winning team.

REID: Well, I mean, of course, as mayor of Atlanta, you, you come from a state that has such a rich tradition and history of HBCUs. What does it mean to you to know that, if elected, we would, for the first time in the 274-year, 275-year history of the country and 400 years, if you just add it all up, with black people here in this continent, here in this country, of having somebody from an HBCU actually be in the White House? What does that mean to you?

BOTTOMS: Well, I am a FAMU grad. I just went through the college choice selection with my son, encouraging him to choose an HBCU, which he did. And this is the reason why. When you graduate from an HBCU, you believe that you can take on the world because you have the training and the capabilities to out-best anyone in any field.

And, again, I can't say enough about Senator Harris. It's more than just symbolism here. This is the substance that comes from graduating from an HBCU. This is the confidence and the competence that comes along with graduating from an HBCU.

And, you know, I have been Team Biden for over the past year, and now Team Biden/Team Harris. And I am grateful as a country that we have a winning ticket.

REID: Yes. And there has been so much pain in this country. Black Lives Matter has, you know, emerged stronger than ever but due to a lot of tragedy, in Rayshard Brooks, of course, in your community. What do you think it means to have somebody who's had that role of prosecutor, who's had to make those difficult decisions and who's actually been in the criminal justice system, opposing the death penalty, which is not a very popular thing to do when you're running statewide? How might she impact that conversation if this ticket elected?

BOTTOMS: Well, bringing her experience to the table and bringing this other side of work as a prosecutor, that you can be a prosecutor but you can also push progressive ideas and policies as it relates to criminal justice reform and to have her voice at the table, someone who obviously has worked as a prosecutor, worked as attorney general and has had an opportunity to see the good, bad, and the ugly of the criminal justice system, especially as it relates to African-Americans and has also had the ability to make a meaningful impact in terms of our policies as it relates to criminal justice reform. It's going to be an incredibly important voice at the table.

REID: And we know there are two, not one, but two seats up in Georgia. So we will definitely be coming back to talk with you about how this might impact on the ground those races. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, thank you so much. And I want to congratulate you for also for being on that list of people who was considered by Vice President Biden.

And tonight, we want to get reaction from some of the other women who were considered but not chosen as Biden's running mate. Congressman Karen Bass tweeted, Kamala Harris is a great choice for vice president. Susan Rice wrote, my warmest congratulations to Kamala Harris. And Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said, I am extraordinarily proud to support Kamala Harris and Joe Biden.

And when THE REIDOUT continues, California Congresswoman Maxine Waters joins me on the Kamala Harris she knows. We're back after this.



HARRIS: I am so proud to be a daughter of Oakland, California.

It was just a couple of blocks from this very spot nearly 30 years ago as a young district attorney, I walked into the courtroom for the first time and said the five words that would guide my life's work, Kamala Harris for the people.


REID: More than 20,000 people showed up to help that daughter of Oakland, California, launch her presidential campaign in 2019, January of 2019, surpassing the crowd that showed up for Senator Barack Obama's campaign launch in Illinois nearly 12 years earlier. She's already made history after 26 years as a prosecutor, rising through the ranks to become the first black woman to serve as California's attorney general and the first to represent her home state in the Senate. And now, she is making history again.

And I'm joined now by California Congresswoman Maxine Waters, chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee.

And, Congresswoman, I'm just going to let you talk.


REID: How do you feel about this nomination? I know that you were, first a little quietly, but you recently came out pretty publicly as somebody who was supporting Harris for this nomination.

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA): That's right. That's right.

REID: What do you think?

WATERS: I am overjoyed.

I feel that this historic moment is one that I will savor for many, many years to come. To tell you the truth, I witnessed the first woman who was selected to be vice president, Geraldine Ferraro, when I was in the women's movement. But, at that time, we couldn't even envision an African-American woman being chosen to be the vice president.

And here we are today, with this historic moment, where Kamala Harris has been chosen. And I am over-overjoyed by this decision.

REID: Yes.

WATERS: I think it's a great decision. I think she will be so good running with Biden. I think that they will make a good team.

But what's important about this moment in history is this. Many of our elected officials have arised at the point of change. And for -- when you look back at some of the decisions that they may have made, you don't have to worry about any of those decisions anymore. You can see that change is taking place.

All of those protests that we had was not simply about George Floyd and the fact that he had been killed because a police officer had held him down with his knee and taken his breath away. It was about inequality. It was about getting rid of racism. It was about changing America and getting rid of the traditions that have divided us for so long.

It was about how we're going to have pay equality, how we're going to have the ability for the black community and the Latino community and communities of color to really start to build wealth, and get rid of some of the public policy that has dominated our society for so long.

And so I feel it.

REID: Yes.

WATERS: I feel it very deeply. I'm very proud.

And you're right, I knew it was going to be Kamala, because her credentials were such that they were unmatched by any of the other wonderful women who had all kinds of great accomplishments in their career.

But her combination of success and accomplishments was such that she was at the point where you could not help but know that she was ready for all of this.

REID: Yes.

WATERS: So, again, I'm delighted. I'm happy.

And this comes at a moment when we need some joy. We need to not have to simply be focused on the pandemic right now, simply be focused on what is happening with the negotiations that are not going on, but give us this moment to enjoy what America has just done and what we now realize are the possibilities.

We will get back to the negotiation. And they better get back to that negotiating table by tomorrow.

REID: Yes. Yes.

WATERS: Thank you, Joy, so much.

REID: Absolutely. Absolutely.

I'm going to let everyone listen just a little bit to -- we were lucky enough to have Senator Harris on the show. I think it was in the first couple of days on the show, but here she is.


REID: Last night on this program, Joe Biden, the former vice president of the United States, he said that he had four women on his short list in terms of people he's considering for vice president.

Do you know whether you are one of those four women -- four black women?

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): I am not going to speak for the vice president, Joy.

And I appreciate you asking the question. I'm honored to be in the conversation. And I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure Joe Biden is elected the next president of the United States.

And every conversation you are having every night with all of these leaders make so clear why.


REID: You know, and she did that very -- I mean, we don't know what people knew and when they knew it, but, I mean, obviously, she knows how to advocate for the president of the United States.

And I want to ask you, though, Congresswoman. I think about 1992, which was called the year of the woman, so many CBC members, Congressional Black Caucus members, were elected in that year, along with President Bill Clinton.

And I know that you were elected in that era as well. But '92 was also the year of Rodney King, right? And so you had so much possibility. And I know that you, as somebody who's a history-maker yourself, I mean, you chair a committee no black person, I don't believe, has ever chaired, let alone a black woman.

Can you knit that together, the activism that it takes to deal with a Rodney King and the ability to use politics to try to solve some of our problems, some of our pain in this country?

WATERS: Well, Joy, I think one of the things we must realize is that black women have arrived.

Black women are now extraordinarily influential in the Democratic Party. Black women have demonstrated that they're loyal to the Democratic Party. And they have shown that not only will they vote, but they will get out the vote, they will fight for the vote.

And so, having done that, with this influence that we have, we have come a long way. And we're recognized as important and essential to progressive politics in general, to the politics that will be about creating equality and justice for our families and for our children, and bringing people together, and arriving to the point where we're all feeling very strongly about fighting against racism and inequality.

And so this is the moment of change in America. And, as I have said earlier today, it was not simply about George Floyd and the fact that he was killed at the knee of a police officer.

When the protests took place, yes, it was triggered by that incident, but also the realization that something's wrong with this country, and we have got to change it. And it's not only about police reform. It's about reform at the public policy level. It's about reform in pay equality.

It's about reform in helping to get rid of the obstacles to building wealth in this family for minorities and for women and for blacks, et cetera.

And so I think that we move forward from here with this campaign with not only Kamala Harris and fighting...

REID: Yes.

WATERS: ... realizing the moment that they're at. But they're going to take advantage of this moment. And they're going to move aggressively to make sure that we change the way that America has been going and really take this as an opportunity to do the right thing and to get rid of the obstacles that have separated and divided.

REID: Yes.

WATERS: I'm happy.

REID: Congresswoman Maxine Waters, as only you could say it.

I think probably the only thing that could be worse for Mike Pence than having to debate Senator Harris is having to debate you.


REID: So, maybe that's one thing that he can -- he can call that a win. He's not having to debate you.

Thank you so much, Congresswoman. It's always great talking with you.

WATERS: So welcome. And thank you, Joy.


REID: Thank you.

WATERS: Thank you so very much. Thank you.

And we (AUDIO GAP) you and we appreciate you so very much.

REID: Oh, thank you. Thank you, Congresswoman. I appreciate you. And thank you.

And coming up still ahead: Where does the Biden-Harris campaign go from here? Talk about -- talking about what Kamala Harris brings to the campaign. We're going to talk about that when THE REIDOUT continues.


REID: As a former district attorney and state attorney general, Kamala Harris is well-equipped to take the fight to Donald Trump and his cronies.

In fact, Harris was so adept at pressing Attorney General William Barr at a hearing last year, that Barr was left tongue-tied.


HARRIS: Has the president or anyone at the White House that ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone, yes or no, please, sir?

WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The president or anybody else.

HARRIS: Seems you would remember something like that and be able to tell us.

BARR: Yes, but I'm trying to grapple with the word suggest.

I mean, there have been discussions of matters out there that -- they have not asked me to open an investigation, but...

HARRIS: Perhaps they have suggested?

BARR: I don't know. I wouldn't say suggest.

HARRIS: Hinted?

BARR: I don't know.

HARRIS: Inferred?

You don't know?




REID: The queen of synonyms.

There is no question that her experience as a prosecutor will be a major asset on the campaign trail. As one Harris surrogate told Politico in May, "She would kick Mike Pence's ass."

It was also during her time as California's attorney general that Harris got to know Joe Biden's late son, Beau, who served as Delaware's attorney general, before passing away in 2015.

It's a relationship the former vice president is sure to highlight at Harris' official rollout in Wilmington tomorrow.

And I'm joined now by Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, and Jonathan Capehart, an opinion writer for "The Washington Post," two pals.

I'm going to go to you first, Neera, because there's a second piece of history that was made today, because there's also never been an AAPI, an Asian American, vice presidential nominee either or a woman or a black woman in that position.


REID: So I want to just get your response.

NEERA TANDEN, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: I mean, it's really a historic moment.

And I have to say, I never thought I'd see the day where we'd have a -- the daughter of immigrants and the daughter of an Indian-American woman become a vice presidential nominee and hopefully become vice president.

I mean, it is a truly historic moment for so many communities, and I think a real testament to the diversity of the Democratic Party and the country.

I mean, I saw people today talk about Kamala as the safe choice. And the idea that a woman of color is the safe choice is breathtaking to me and a great historic moment I'm just proud that my daughter will see.

REID: Yes, absolutely.

All right, Jonathan, I got to get the auntie report, because I know your auntie has been very opinionated about who should the president should as his vice president.



REID: So, how is it auntie feeling? And what is her -- what are her thoughts? And then you can give yours too?



Well, my aunt Gloria, who said from the very beginning, you all, it's going to be Joe Biden. So, she was right about that.

REID: Yes.

CAPEHART: But she thought that -- actually, she thought that Vice President Biden should have picked Senator Elizabeth Warren.

She was on record as having said that. She had a little flirtation with Kamala Harris at the beginning of June, but went back to Elizabeth Warren, because she's listening, as she was saying, to the young people in her life.

But I e-mailed to her, because Twitter's like, what is aunt Gloria saying, what is aunt Gloria saying?


CAPEHART: And aunt Gloria is thrilled. She thinks it's a fantastic choice.

For her, I mean, she's an African-American woman in North Carolina.

REID: Yes. Yes.

CAPEHART: And she wants this president out.

And so, for her, the overriding issue and goal is to remove Donald Trump from the White House. She would have been over the -- kill, overjoyed if it had been Elizabeth Warren. But she is extremely happy that it's Senator Harris.

REID: Yes. Yes.

I think there are a lot of people who where a moldy slice of bread could have -- would have been -- right?


REID: I think that a lot of people were like, pick anybody. Just pick somebody.


REID: Right?

But I think that -- I don't know if you're finding this, Neera -- and I will ask you the same question similarly. There are people who said they didn't care.


REID: But then even people who were -- even some of the people who in my texts were saying, I will take anyone, were so over-the-top happy today, and I think because there are a lot of women of color, and I know a lot of black women who did have some non-buyer's remorse, in saying they had the opportunity to vote for Senator Harris, and they didn't.

They didn't -- they didn't trust white America, quite frankly, enough to pick her as the presidential candidate, to vote for her then, who thought, oh, we missed an opportunity.

Are you hearing a lot of that, of people who are saying, oh, we missed this chance, and were elated that they now get the chance to vote for her on the ticket?

TANDEN: I mean, I have heard a similar idea, which is essentially that women are making up so much of the energy.

And, really, the gender gap in this election is transformative. And so having a woman on the ticket is vital, but also having a woman of color really demonstrates the strength of the diversity of the Democratic Party.

And I have heard so many women who are over the moon, because, even though we didn't have a woman president, presidential nominee, like we did in 2016, there's a certain justice to have a woman of color who represents -- who helps Joe Biden represent the full breadth of the diversity of our party.

REID: Yes. Yes, absolutely.

And, also, Maya Rudolph is going to be playing her on "SNL."


REID: And I think a lot of people are excited. I know that's the least important thing here, OK? I get that that is not important, but it's also great.

Neera Tanden...

TANDEN: I mean, maybe second to last, maybe second to last in importance. I don't know.

REID: It's on the list.


REID: Neera Tanden, Jonathan, I will text you all both later.


REID: Thank you very much. I will text you both later.

OK, the president of Kamala Harris' alma mater, Howard University, and the president of her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., they're both going to join us next.

So, grab some coffee, some tea, a cocktail, and stay with us.


REID: As I mentioned earlier, if elected, Kamala Harris will be the first vice president who is a member of a black sorority, the AKAS. And she will be the first member of any administering to have come through a historically black college, Howard University.

For more, I'm joined now by Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick, president of Howard University, and Dr. Glenda Glover, the president of Tennessee State University and the international president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Thank you both.

I am going to ladies first. Normally I would go to the college president first, but I have to go to you first, Dr. Glover.

Your thoughts on your sorors, Senator Harris, getting on the Democratic ticket?

DR. GLENDA GLOVER, TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY: Well, thank you so much for the invitation. Joy, this is a great day for our country, a great day for African-Americans. It's a great day for women. We are so excited and congratulate Senator Kamala Harris for having been selected as a running mate to Joe Biden.

Having said that, this is such a wonderful moment. It's a full-circle moment for Senator Harris, having been initiated into Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority on the campus of Howard University and now to come back now to be on the ticket, presumptively on the ticket with Joe Biden. That is so wonderful.

We appreciate all of the Divine Nine, the organizations, for what they have done to help thus far, and Alpha Kappa Alpha that we train, this is how we train young ladies. When they come in, we train them to be leaders and to live up to be the leadership that we have asked them to be. We train them to do.

So, this is such a special moment. And not only she, will she bring her wisdom for the ticket and excitement, she brings experience and credentials and a political record and has un-impeached integrity. We are so proud about Senator Harris. I really appreciate this moment to spend with you.

REID: Well, first of all, by the way, we see you with your pink outfit and green in the background. Those in the sorority know what that means. I see you in your pink and green.

Let's go to President Frederick. Here's "The Washington Post" headline, Kamala Harris grew in a mostly white world and then went to a black university in a black city and she has talked a lot about how being at Howard University shaped her and what she learned there. Your reaction to her selection by former Vice President Joe Biden to be on his ticket?

DR. WAYNE A.I. FREDERICK, HOWARD UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT: Yes, it's an extremely proud moment. She called me yesterday not to discuss this specifically, but just to have a conversation as we do from time to time. Her humility, how, you know, calm she was, it almost seemed surreal. To be honest, I think the country needs to take a collective breath, the breath that has been denied to so many. We need to take a breath in this moment and really appreciate the moment that is upon us.

This is a moment of historic significance. But I think we also need to make sure we take pause and recognize that she is well prepared. She is extremely intelligent, which is what you want in a nominee.

She is someone of the people. Her life story suggests she understands what common Americans are facing every day, and she has the experience as pointed out along the way. And so for us at Howard University, it's a signature moment. She stood on the shoulders of many before her, and now she gets to clear a path for many who will come after her.

REID: Yeah. And I hear the accent. So I know she has a Caribbean-American background. So, it's a Diaspora moment, too. I would think that our Caribbean brothers and sisters are going to be excited, too, no?

FREDERICK: No, absolutely. Growing up, she has Jamaican heritage. I think tonight I am going to be listening to the radio all night from them. So, absolutely.

REID: All of the Jamaicans, all the Jamaicans I know are in my phone. I will respond to all of your text messages later. Become back to Dr. Glover.

I want to show you this picture, you know, this was the sister sorority, one of the Divine Nine, of course, Delta Sigma Theta, they were a part of the resistance to the apartheid that existed within the women's suffrage movement.

And so, we know that black fraternities and sororities have been on the ground in terms of all of the great fights in this country from something like 100 years ago. What does it mean, do you think, and what will the divine nine, do you think, do to ensure this ticket is successful?

Are we going to see all of the Divine Nine get in formation the way they did for Loretta lynch whether she was nominated for attorney general?

GLOVER: Exactly, of course. I have spoke to four of them tonight, this afternoon, this evening, we have had conversations. A beautiful picture. Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, we were all involved in this. Alpha Kappa Alpha took a stand early in this movement and civil rights and equal rights, and were joined by several others.

So, our Divine Nine, the Divine Nine are fighting for the same basic humanity. And black women in general have just been very -- have had an allegiance in the Democratic Party and made the difference elections across the country. As you know, they training the trajectory of the Democratic Party, the country, in various elections.

We are happy that we can invite the divine nine in to assist, because I talked to the president of the Divine Nine. I talked to four already and they are excited about what we can do, let's raise money. So everybody is excited. This is an excitable moment for all of the divine nine and black women everywhere.

REID: Yeah. And I'm going to say, I'm assuming the links, too, because I think she is a lynx. I think a lot of people will be in formation. Dr. Wayne -- yeah, Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick and --

GLOVER: (INAUDIBLE) Yes, this is huge (INAUDIBLE).

REID: Absolutely.

GLOVER: Thank you so much.

REID: Absolutely, because you are also a president of an HBCU. Thank you very much. Dr. Wayne A.I. Glover -- Frederick, Dr. Glenda Glover, thank you. Wayne A.I. Frederick and Dr. Glenda Glover, reading is fundamental.

THE REIDOUT continues after this.


REID: It is, of course, an historic day in American politics with the selection of Senator Kamala Harris as former Vice President Joe Biden's running mate.

For more, I'm joined by Jelani Cobb, professor of journalism at Columbia University.

All right, Jelani. Put this all in perspective for us.

JELANI COBB, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: I mean, there are a lot of perspectives to put it in. For one, there's been this question over the course of the 20th century, certainly the second half of the 21st century, about the extent to which the Democratic Party would recognize how essential black votes were to the electoral success.

And now, we've seen that question resolved on multiple levels, certainly on the level of national politics. We're seeing two consecutive presidential tickets with the exception of 2016 actually. But the 2008, 2012 and now 2020, where there's a black person, a person of color who was on the ticket as the primary or secondary slot. And so, that's huge.

The fact that there was no question that the nominee -- the vice presidential pick would be a woman, that also, I think, suggests a coming of age of American politics in terms of the influence women have in this the centennial of the 19th Amendment.

So I think that there are a lot of different ways that you can look at this. And then just practically and pragmatically, I think Kamala Harris, Senator Kamala Harris was the person people expected. And anyone else would have probably been something of a plot twist.

REID: Yeah. And that's the thing, plot twists are bad in politics. The thing I -- here's a picture.

Here is Senator Biden -- former Vice President Biden on Skype, I guess. He's either on Skype or he's on, you know, one of the things, you know, calling Senator Harris and letting her know that she had gotten the gig. There it is. There's that high tech moment that Joe Biden is happy to like move into.

There's this generational marriage that you're seeing there, too. This is marriage of somebody who is blunt with him on race, and his ability to take that. And say, you know what? I can deal with that, right? That feels important to me, that he was able to do that.

COBB: Well, it does feel important to me. I also think that given what has happened in this country, in the past three months, the past four months, and the kind of reckoning that people have had, you know, you can look at Senator Harris as having done him a favor with that baptism by fire in the midst of the debate.

You know, she spoke her mind and that would help endear her and help give her credibility with the people who are in the streets saying what are we going to do about these issues going on right now? She spoke straight to him and it suggests that he's willing to have a vice president that's going to talk to him and tell him things he doesn't necessarily want to hear.

REID: Yeah. I think that's important in this moment. I have to tell you, when we were traveling around, and this was after -- this was while Senator Harris was still running for president and the most consistent thing we would hear, particularly from black people, was that the ticket they wanted, wanted was Biden/Harris. So, I -- it seemed the people before Biden made this decision, I heard this in four or five different states, this is what they would say, because they didn't necessarily trust white American voters to vote for a black woman on the top of the ticket.

COBB: Right.

REID: But they're like, do you really wanted her to be the V.P.? Do you think part of it is, what do you think that means to you? I heard that everywhere. It shouldn't have been a surprise, just took a long time.

COBB: I heard some variations of that going out, especially in South Carolina when I was reporting in South Carolina. I heard people say similar things.

The other thing I hear quite a bit when they talk about Senator Harris is there's a pugilism aspect to this. When people have seen the way that she gives like a high intensity questions in the Senate, when people are giving testimony in the Senate, they've seen how she has handled herself. And there's an eagerness to see how she will take it to her Republican counterparts.

And so, I think one of the conversations I've had since this emerged now an hour and a half, two hours ago, has been what a debate between her and Vice President Mike Pence would look like. And I think the biggest odds makers would have their money on Senator Harris.

REID: A lot of people think it might look like Ali/Frazier.


REID: I think he should get in the gym and start getting ready, because he might get punched in the face, verbally punched in the face.

COBB: Right --

REID: Thank you very --

COBB: Thank you.

REID: Huh? Oh, sorry. We'll be right back. Thank you, Jelani Cobb.

We'll be right back.


REID: An historic day is ahead, as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris make their first public appearance as the Democratic ticket. They'll appear together tomorrow in Wilmington, Delaware, the state Biden represented in the Senate for 36 years. We'll have complete coverage tomorrow night on THE REIDOUT, and what it means for the fight against Donald Trump.

That is THE REIDOUT for tonight.

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts right now.


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