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Transcript: The ReidOut, August 19, 2020

Guests: Keisha Lance Bottoms; Marilyn Mosby; Dan Pfeiffer, Gretchen Whitmer, Phil Murphy, Malcolm Kenyatta, Mari Manoogian, Sam Park


Democrats will promote a more perfect union tonight. Obama and Clinton will speak at convention tonight. Senator Kamala Harris will speak and accept V.P. nomination. Barack Obama will address the DNC live tonight, and is expected to make case democracy is on the line. Eric Trump accuses public servants of not sacrificing enough. Last night's DNC speakers made a diverse tapestry, ranging from ex-presidents to an elevator operator, detailing an optimistic future for the Democratic Party.


JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Hello, and welcome to MSNBC's special coverage of night three of the Democratic National Convention.

And we start with a trigger warning for Donald Trump. Now, he thought the last two nights have been disquieting for him. Well, then tonight is going to be complete torture. Not only is his absolute nemesis, former President Barack Obama, speaking this evening, but so is the other resident inside his head, Hillary Clinton. Not only that, but they're appearing on the same night that Kamala Harris, who is both the first black and the first Asian vice presidential nominee, will officially be introduced to the country.

Now, we're also learning that Obama will be going after Trump by name, something he rarely does. According to newly released excerpts of his prepared remarks, he's expected to say that, quote, I did hope, for the sake of our country, that Donald Trump might show some interest in taking the job seriously, but he never did.

Going on, Donald Trump hasn't grown into the job because he can't. And the consequences of that failure are severe, 170,000 Americans dead, millions of jobs gone, our worst impulses unleashed, our proud reputation around the world badly diminished and our democratic institutions threatened like never before. Wow.

Likewise, Senator Harris will highlight the stakes of this election, describing it as an inflection point in history. She's expected to say that, right now, we have a president who turns our tragedies into political weapons. Joe Biden will be a president who turns our challenges into purpose.

Now, for President Trump, tonight's speakers are sure to have him wearing out his Twitter thumbs.

And joining me now is Altanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who will speak tomorrow night at the Democratic Convention, and Marilyn Mosby, State's Attorney for Baltimore. Thank you both for being here.

And I'm going to let each of you -- Madam Mayor, I'll go to your first, and I'm going to let each of you tell me what you expect from tonight and what you expect really from both Kamala Harris and from President Barack Obama, former President Barack Obama, and from Hillary Clinton. I'm just going to throw it to you, Madam Mayor.

MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), ATLANTA, GA: Well, thank you for having me, Joy. What I expect in my household is emotion, and I'm sure the country will feel the historic nature of this moment too. When Joe Biden committed to selecting a woman as his vice president, we didn't know that it would be a woman of color. And to watch this happen and to hear Senator Harris speak is going to be something that it's important for all of us to embrace.

So I'm excited to hear her speak, and I am thrilled to see the excerpts from President Obama's speech is what we've been waiting for, for the past several years. And tonight is the appropriate time to deliver it.

REID: Yes. And, you know, Marilyn, I know that you know Senator Kamala Harris well. And so I'm sure that you're anticipate thing speech from a personal point of view, as well as just as somebody who is also in -- both of you, in non-traditional roles for black women, breaking barriers, both of the ladies who are on our screen right now. What are you expecting from tonight?

MARILYN MOSBY, STATE'S ATTORNEY FOR BALTIMORE CITY: So, I am incredibly excited. I mean, what we have, as Mayor Lance Bottoms has already talked about, is the symbolism in this moment right now in our country's history. You have this bold, brilliant, beautiful black woman, HBCU graduate, who is going to be the first woman of color as the vice president nominee.

It's so reassuring that Joe Biden, who is going to be, I'm going to claim it, the next president of the United States of America, that he -- I'm reassured that he recognizes that in this moment, black women have carried the Democratic Party on our backs nationally and locally. And his selection of Kamala Harris couldn't be more perfect. Not just in my opinion, but the opinion of so many black women all across this country.

And what can I say about my forever president, President Barack Obama, I am so excited about tonight. I think that he is going to really bring home and reassure the country at a time when it is incredibly divided by this authoritarian dictator that we have in office.

And so I am -- I'm encouraged, not only by the past two nights, but tonight is going to be a major, major symbolism for the Democratic Party.

REID: Yes. Let me bring in -- we're going to add a third person to this mix, Dan Pfeiffer, former Senior Adviser to President Obama and co-host of Pod Save America.

Dan, I'm going to allow you to answer the question that I just asked the two ladies, what are you expecting to hear from your former boss tonight? What are you expecting to hear from Senator Kamala Harris? What are you expecting to hear from Hillary Clinton? Just throw it out there. What are you looking for?

DAN PFEIFFER, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO BARACK OBAMA: Sure. I know from President Obama, he has two tasks tonight. One is to raise the stakes in this election. His audience is undecided voters, but it's not necessarily voters who are undecided between Trump and Biden, although, that is an audience, but people who are undecided between voting and not voting. And so he does that so well by raising the stakes of why this election is so important.

The second thing is to introduce Joe Biden to the American people. Even though he has incredibly high name recognition and people know him as Barack Obama's vice president, a lot of voters know very little about little about his personal story or his policy agenda. And so Barack Obama can testify that from a first-person perspective.

Kamala Harris, this is a huge speech for her. I think she is the most talented speaker in the Democratic Party since Barack Obama. So I'm expecting great things from her. And her task is really to introduce herself to the country to build a tremendous momentum, her election thus far.

REID: Yes. And, you know, to go back to you for a moment, Attorney Mosby, what I have had in my phone right now are -- I think every AKA I've ever met in my entire life. They have been texting me for about a good couple of -- since she was selected, both excitement about her but also really angry because of the kinds of the level of attacks, the disgusting nature of the attacks that have been meted out by Republicans against her, including selling really offensive T-shirts all over Amazon and Etsy. Those have now been taken down because black women got very active and demanded that they be taken down. And that has actually happened now.

Do you get the sense that maybe the way that people are attacking Senator Harris is actually just motivating and mobilizing black women voters even more?

MOSBY: It's absolutely motivating black women voters to get out. I think the level of vitriol for a position, any black woman in these powerful positions is different. The level of attack and harassment that is lodged against us, I can just say on a personal note, she was a source of comfort for me, an inspiration when I was under attack from police unions and the media, and right wing extremists, when I was one of the first in the country to attempt to hold police accountable for the death of a black man by the name of Freddie Carlos Gray Jr. She understood that the systems that were in place that prevented police accountability, and she stood with me and encouraged me when others deserted me.

So people may not necessarily see that side of Kamala, but I know first that she's loyal, she's a caring friend and she's eminently qualified to be vice president. She's everything that this country needs in this moment. She's bold, beautiful, black woman with ambition, with life experience that will bode well in attempting to resolve the systemic, racial inequality that has defined this nation for far too long, and especially as we attempt to rebound from the division and degradation of this quasi authoritarian leader.

REID: And I'm going to go back to Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on this as well. I'm going to read another little excerpt from -- the prepared remarks from President Obama tonight. And it's, I am also asking you, he is going to say, to believe in your own ability, the embrace your own responsibility as citizens, I want to throw that to make sure that the basic tenets of our democracy endure. Because that's what at stake right now, our democracy.

And I want throw that to you because you've been in that position as an executive, as a mayor dealing with both of the two major catastrophes, police violence and the killing of black people under authority, and also COVID, which you personally even dealt with. Do you -- talk about how you take a message like that and actually turn it into action, because it is hard for a lot of people in these circumstances to feel a lot of hope. It's just hearing from President Obama enough?

BOTTOMS: Well, I think it's important that he speak it and then it will begin to resonate throughout our communities. Because what I've said, Joy, and I shared this with Vice President Biden during my interview, in 2016, black and brown people across this country were suppressed. Our vote was suppressed. This year, on top of our vote being suppressed, we're also depressed. And so we have to have a reason to show up to vote.

And to have president Obama remind us of what solid leadership means in the White House, what it means to have somebody who is fighting on behalf of your community and seeing value in your community, it's important to us, because this has been a traumatic year across our country. And people have to be reminded that there is something better on the other side. That's the beauty of our democracy.

We can get it wrong, but we do have a democracy like we have in America, you have an opportunity to get it right, and also reminding us that this right to vote is a sacred right. It is something that we received, the right to vote, just five years before I was born. So it's something that should not take for granted. And John Lewis reminded us, if we don't use our right to vote, then we certainly can lose it.

REID: And to stay with you on that a moment, Madam Mayor, I wonder if the passing of John Lewis and the fact that you do have a Senate candidate who is actively against Black Lives Matter and is fighting with the WNBA, do all of these things change the dynamic and two Senate seats out? So there's a lot going on in Georgia.

BOTTOMS: There's a lot going on in Georgia. And I know you watched very closely the last gubernatorial race. We were very close to having this state flipped. And this state has an opportunity, obviously, for the two Senate seats, for the electoral votes, and all of the down ballot races that will be on the ballot in November. This is a historic opportunity in Georgia, one that we've not ever seen before, at least not in recent memory.

And when I saw the lines of people out to vote during the June primary, I was encouraged, because it was voter suppression at the highest level. And people still stood in line for eight and nine hours and they still stayed in line until 2:00 in the morning, saying, I'm not going to be turned away. And you may make it difficult for me to vote, but I'm still standing.

REID: Yes. And, Dan Pfeiffer, you have the unpleasant responsibility of now responding to the man who gave a trigger warning to, his family is out trying to defend him and sort of trying to counterprogram against what we're going to see tonight. Here is the other son, the one you don't hear from that often other than sometimes on Saturday Live, where he's portrayed in a less than flattering way. Here he is talking about his father.


ERIC TRUMP, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S SON: There's no one that's ever sacrificed more for political office than, frankly, my father.

There's no one that's ever sacrificed more than he has. You know, personally, professionally, financially. Look at these people, they're all living in beautiful houses on the water in Wilmington, Delaware, and they've been public servants their entire adult lives. I mean, how has that happened? And they've only sought to enrich their families.


REID: The irony of that, I'm going to show the interior of President Trump's apartment at Trump Tower. That's from 1995. I can't speak to the level of taste.

But the question, I guess, I have for you, Dan, is just in staging a convention where you're telling the story of a family and telling a story of the character of the people who are seeking high office, just prognosticate for us how next week the Republicans can possibly counter the messages we're hearing from the Obamas, who came up literally just from nothing, from no money, no inherited wealth, the Bidens, same thing. They're the most normal couple in the world, and then you've got the Trumps, who are anything but sort of a typical American family. Do they have any prayer of being able to do anything like what we've seen in the -- what we're going to see tonight, next week?

PFEIFFER: Well, my message to Eric Trump would be don't throw stones when you live in a house with a gold toilet. Look, the Trumps have sacrificed nothing. You know, historically, presidents walk away from their businesses, their private interests when they become president. Jimmy Carter sold his peanut farm. President Trump not only didn't sell his businesses, he also continues to profit off them as he directs taxpayer money to his hotels, his golf clubs every single weekend.

And so the idea that there is some sort of sacrifice Trump just speaks to the incredible level of narcissism that exists within that family. And the contrast between the Obamas, the Bidens, Kamala Harris and everyone else with what you're going to see next week, which is not a convention about America, it's going to be a convention that exists in the extended Fox News universe, where we're going to see essentially a bunch of trolling and absurdity.

And so I think the contrast between a Democratic Convention that's about America, about people who are the American story, as we truly understand it. And what you're going see in the Republican Convention is a contrast that's going to work very, very well for the Democratic Party and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

REID: So I think a lot of people are very excited about tonight, but I want to think back a little bit to last night, to you, Marilyn Mosby. Because you come from the state that showed that it is the home of Harriet Tubman, which was one of my favorite moments last night in the roll call. This is not a state up for grabs, Maryland, but it's still a state where the governor is not the most helpful when it comes to encouraging people to vote.

Talk about how you motivate voters in a state where people know -- they usually think they know how it's going to go? And do you think that tonight will provide additional motivation given the impediments that are there because of COVID?

MOSBY: So, I'm hopeful that tonight will provide that additional motivation, because at the end of the day, Baltimore City and so goes Baltimore City, so goes the State of Maryland, right? 28 percent of Baltimore's population lives in poverty. 35 percent of children live below poverty. There are over 18,000 vacant houses, 60,000 vacant lots. We know that the health disparities are disparately impacting communities of color, especially in Baltimore City.

And so the stakes could not be any higher. We have got to get out. We have got to get this man out of office. And I'm encouraged tonight that we will hear from my forever president and my role model and my friend, Kamala Harris, and they will motivate us, even as a Democratic state to not take any of this for granted. Our life literally depends on this election.

REID: Well, I think for a lot of young black girls out there, you two ladies are role models to them. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, from the great City of Atlanta, the home John Lewis, Marilyn Mosby from the state that is the home of Harriet Tubman, and we appreciate --

MOSBY: And you.

REID: Exactly, my new home. And Dan Pfeiffer, who got the -- he got the booby prize tonight by having to respond to Eric Trump, and he did a great a job. Thank you very much. I appreciate all of you.

And still, no national strategy. Up next on THE REIDOUT, still no national strategy on the coronavirus.

And what was the president of the United States busy doing today? Why, he was calling for the boycott of a major American employer, of course.

And also a new video of postal sorting equipment, in pieces, outside of a Michigan post office. While in New Jersey, the Trump campaign is suing to make it harder for people to vote because, of course.

Plus --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have lived that feeling of helplessness when someone you love is very sick and access to healthcare is a matter of life and death.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When doctors, nurses and home healthcare aides in Philadelphia have to risk their own lives to protect others.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're banning business practices that have exploited workers and cost them hundreds of millions of dollars in lost wages.


REID: Young, Democratic leaders get a chance to shine at the DNC, and three of them will join me.

Back with more of THE REIDOUT after this.


REID: With more than 170,000 Americans dead, and more than 30 million unemployed during a pandemic that he completely mismanaged, Donald Trump, who, last we checked, is still the president of the United States, started his day tweeting again and calling for the boycott of a major American company.

Intriguingly, for a man who says that he despises cancel culture, but keeps trying to cancel companies who displease him, Trump tweeted: "Don't buy Goodyear tires. They announced a big ban on MAGA hats. Get better tires for far less," like he's a tire salesman.

The president seemed to be referencing an image posted by a Goodyear employee of a slide of items that company claimed were unacceptable to wear. Goodyear denied that the slide was created or distributed by the corporate office, but confirmed that they do ask employees to refrain from wearing politically affiliated items, outside the scope of racial justice and equity at work.

Goodyear's global headquarters are in Akron, Ohio, with factories in Virginia and North Carolina, in America, for those of you who still have your America-first bingo cards.

It's also closely aligned with the heavily Midwest-based auto industry. In fact, Goodyear tires are the choice for Trump's own car, the Beast.

Ohio's senior senator, Sherrod Brown, slammed Trump's attack, writing: "It is absolutely despicable that the president would call for a boycott of an American company based in Akron that employs thousands of U.S. workers."

The Midwest has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to kill nearly 1,000 people a day across the country.

The unemployment rate in Ohio stood at 11 percent in June. In Michigan, its Great Lakes neighbor to the west, unemployment stood at 9 percent last month.

And, for more, I'm joined by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. She was on Joe Biden's short list for vice president and spoke on the first night of the convention.

And we enjoyed your part of the convention. Thank you so much for being here, Governor.

And I want to let you respond back.

The auto industry is so crucial to Michigan, is so associated with Michigan. And, obviously, Goodyear tires are an extended part of that mix.

What do you make of the president calling for the boycott of an American company like Goodyear because he's mad at them for not letting people wear MAGA hats?

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): Well, I think Sherrod Brown said it well. It is despicable.

It is -- I can never fathom taking on a company in my state that -- because they asked people not to wear political things into work. I think that that's totally appropriate. And you know what? They're just doing the best they can to survive with all of the trade by tweet that we have all been suffering in the Midwest and in manufacturing and in the auto industry in particular.

What we need is a rational person in the White House who is going to be focused on growing American jobs, not attacking American workers and American companies.

REID: I mean, he's attacked you, personally. He's mad. He was mad at you. I mean, there have been threats. He said that he would punish states that he didn't like the way that you handled your COVID policies and mask policies, that he would punish people by taking away money.

And he's encouraged people who've shown up inside of your statehouse with guns because they're mad at mask orders.

I mean, this -- talk a little bit about the stakes of the election, because, in your mind, how might things have been different, in terms of the pandemic and as it's played out in your state, if you didn't have a president that was attacking you personally because you wanted to have a mask order?

WHITMER: Well, I mean, I think, for our whole nation, we would have saved so many thousands of lives.

In Michigan, we have saved thousands of lives simply by getting aggressive, following the science, obtaining PPE where we could, in the face of a federal government that didn't have a national strategy, that didn't use the DPA for these critical items like swabs and N95 masks.

We saved lives. If the White House would have done something similar, our economy would be stronger, more lives would have been saved, we would be a leader on the globe, instead of a laggard, which is what we are.

As many said during this convention, Donald Trump is not responsible for the coronavirus, but he's responsible for America's response. And, as the most powerful country in the world, for us to be one of the laggards and have such a huge death count, an economic toll, with so many unemployed, this is on his watch.

And that's why we have got to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

REID: I want to just -- by the way, 6,618 deaths, unfortunately, sorry to say, in your state, 104,091 cases. I just want to make sure that we get that out.

I want to play a piece of video for you, Governor. And this was taken by Heather Walker, who's with WOOD-TV in your state, and she's reporting from the Patterson location, if you can see the screen there. And she reported finding a graveyard of sorting machines, and also found a dumpster that an employee told her was filled three times since last week.

And these are discarded parts of postal sorting machines. And this is yesterday.

Do you believe that Louis DeJoy, who claimed that he was backing down on trying to dismantle the post office and dismantle the Postal Service, do you believe him, based on seeing that? Do you think that he's still at it?

WHITMER: I believe my eyes.

And I'll tell you this. We're getting reports from across the state. Despite what the Trump administration said yesterday, that they weren't pursuing this, we're getting reports across the state of Michigan that this, in fact, happening in Pontiac, Michigan, in Grand Rapids, opposite sides of the state.

And so we're asking anyone with information to come forward and call the attorney general's office, 517-335-7659.

We're encouraging postal workers across the country, if you are seeing something similar, contact your attorneys general in your state and make a complaint, and document it, if you can.

We have to told them accountable. We have to fight back to protect the U.S. postal system. And this is about our election, at the end of the day, and we have got to ensure every vote gets counted. And this -- this is despicable. And that's why we have got to take this very seriously.


REID: Can you say that number again?


WHITMER: ... security checks. And we need to make sure we get our ballots out.

REID: Absolutely.

I'm sorry. Could you say that number again?

WHITMER: 517-335-7659 is the Michigan attorney general's number.

REID: Thank you.

WHITMER: And we're asking anyone with information to call.

REID: Thank you so much. And I apologize for interrupting you there.

I also want to give you another piece of news. You're, Governor -- I mean, I know that you this already, that you're joining a coalition of governors to protect voting rights and access. You have joined Democratic governors in seven other states to create a coalition to protect voting rights and voter access.

Very briefly, what will that coalition do? And do you think you can get the voting machine -- the voting -- the postal sorting machines put back in?

WHITMER: Well, that's our hope.

We're taking them to court. And we're doing a work-around in terms of ensuring we have secure drop-off boxes at our clerk's offices. We want to make sure that, when people get their ballots, that if they don't have confidence that they can mail it in, in time, that they have a place to drop it off safely, so that they don't compromise their health in the midst of this pandemic as well.

REID: OK, so people can drop off their ballots. If they get them and they're nervous about mailing them, there will be drop-off boxes for folks in Michigan to be able to vote?

WHITMER: And anywhere across the country, if you want to drop your ballot off at your clerk's office, you can do that.

REID: Great. That's great advice.

Thank you so much. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, thank you very much. Really appreciate it.

And up next: The Trump campaign is suing yet another state over mail-in voting. This time, it's New Jersey.

Governor Phil Murphy joins me next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I know you're suing New Jersey for -- because they have decided to vote by mail.

And if you show up in person, it's now provisional. What do you hope to accomplish there?

MARK MEADOWS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, listen, if you -- if it's OK to show up to protest, it's certainly OK to show up and vote in person.

And we see Democrats with this hypocritical point that says, somehow, that we shouldn't be able to show up at the polling place and cast a vote?

That's just ridiculous.


REID: Fearful that mail-in voting will hurt his chances for reelection, Donald Trump has been relentlessly attacking any state that's making it easier for voters to fulfill their civic duty.

His campaign has already filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Nevada and Iowa for expanding vote-by-mail options.

And, yesterday, the Trump campaign added New Jersey to that list. The campaign is calling Governor Phil Murphy's order to send mail-in ballots to all registered voters -- quote -- "a brazen power grab that will violate eligible citizens' right to vote" because they say "fraudulent and invalid votes dilute the votes of honest citizens," et cetera.

Joining me now is New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.

Your response to their apoplexy over New Jersey's attempt to let everyone vote and the lawsuit?

GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): Joy, it's really good to be with you.

REID: Mm-hmm. Thank you.

MURPHY: I won't comment on a legal matter, because it's a legal matter.

REID: Sure.

MURPHY: But we're just in a wholly different place here.

First of all, we're in a pandemic, and we're trying to balance public health with the sacred right at the core of democracy to exercise one's right to vote.

Putting that aside, vote by mail is tried and true in America and, indeed, in New Jersey. We, in fact, just had a very successful primary, which was a hybrid model, which is exactly what we have put forward for November.

You can either vote by mail -- and, by the way, to Gretchen Whitmer, who I'm a huge fan of's point, you can either mail your ballot back in, or you could drop it at a secure box, or you could hand it to a poll worker on Election Day, or you could show up and vote on Election Day.

It's a hybrid model. We think it balances public health and democracy. And it's hardly revolutionary. This is something that we have been doing. I have voted by mail. The president himself has voted by mail. This is a -- it's becoming a regular, secure element of our democracy. And we're going to give people that choice.

REID: And just to clarify.

Based on the information that Trump's man gave out, his chief of staff gave out, is it true that, if you show up to vote in the traditional way, voting in person, that it will be treated as provisional automatically?

MURPHY: Yes, you have to, Joy, because the poll worker won't at that point have a record necessarily of whether or not a ballot was mailed in or dropped in a secure box.

The other thing we have done, by the way, out of deference to the fact that the Postal Service has had its challenges, we actually, as long as you're postmarked by Election Day, we're going to give another seven days for those ballots to get there.

It used to be only two days in our state. We have now extended it to seven. We had a great experience with this in the primary. No reason to believe we won't in the general.

REID: Yes.

In other words, you're doing the thing that prevents voter fraud. So that's interesting, an interesting twist on the story.

The reason that you're having to extend and give people extra days, obviously, because of what's being done to the post office. Speaker Pelosi has given a statement about what Louis DeJoy, the poster general -- postmaster general, has done.

And she says: "The postmaster general's alleged pause in taking away voting machines," et cetera, "is wholly insufficient and does not reverse the damage already wreaked. The postmaster general, frankly, admitted that he had no intention of replacing the sorting machines, blue boxes and other key mail-infrastructure that had been removed, and that plans for adequate overtime, which is critical for the timely delivery of mail, are not in the works."

And to that very point, I want to show you a couple pieces of video. Here are high-volume sorting machines being removed from a Waterloo, Iowa, post office. They're sitting in a garage. You did watch the -- Governor Whitmer's interview, and you saw that that's happening in Michigan as well.

Representative Mikie Sherrill on Saturday tweeted a picture showing postboxes being removed in New Jersey. And he put an update that at least one postbox has been replaced, but it remains unclear how many have been removed.

I mean, it appears that the postmaster general is still dismantling the Postal Service, even though he said he was going to stop. Is there anything that your state can do about that?

MURPHY: Yes, listen, I'm a huge believer and supporter of Speaker Pelosi and completely endorse investment in the U.S. Postal Service.

It's an institution -- you would think, Joy, that, with all this politicizing of it, that it only exists to deliver mail -- votes, rather. It exists for seniors from -- their medicines, veterans, rural communities, small businesses.

My contact in our day-in-and-day-out contact is Dave Williams, the chief operating officer of the U.S. Postal Service. We had a constructive relationship with him during the primary we ran. It wasn't perfect. We were tough. But it was -- it was an open line of communication.

We literally spoke this morning. I went through in great detail our plan for November. He raised one item with me, which we're following up with. We will stay very much on top of the Postal Service to make sure they're as big as they need to be, not just in getting ballots back, but doing the job that they do day in and day out as an American institution.

REID: And would you recommend, as some Democrats are, that if people haven't gotten their mail-in ballots in their hands by October 15, that that -- they make that a deadline to just decide that they're going to take their ballots in or vote in person?

MURPHY: Yes, so our executive order has said that ballots have to be mailed to the -- to voters no later than October 5.

At this point, we don't see any reason why they cannot do that or will not do that. But we certainly reserve our right to take whatever action we deem necessary.

REID: Do you -- well, I think I'm out of time, but, very quickly, I will ask you, do you believe that lawsuits will actually change what's happening?

Or -- and, also, do you think that Louis DeJoy should step down?

MURPHY: I don't have a view on -- again, I'm not going to get into the legal matters.

But this is an American institution that has a huge, broad mandate that touches every single American, particularly the most vulnerable, particularly our seniors.

Let's put this nonsense to the side. Let's fund it. Let's lead it properly, let it do its job.

REID: All right, Governor Phil Murphy, thank you so much. Really appreciate your time tonight. Thanks for joining us.

MURPHY: Thanks for having me, Joy.

REID: Cheers.

And a quick reminder: NBC's interactive Plan Your Vote guide has everything that you need to know about casting a ballot, voting rules and deadlines in your state. Check it out and plan your vote.

And still ahead: Last night's speeches spotlighted some of the impressive up-and-coming voices in the Democratic Party. Three of them will be joining me right here on THE REIDOUT.

Stick around.


REID: Last night's DNC speakers made a diverse tapestry, ranging from ex-presidents to an elevator operator.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the short time I spent with Joe Biden, I could tell he really saw me.

DENNIS SHEPARD, MATTHEW SHEPARD'S FATHER: Joe understands more than most, our grief over Matt's death.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a decent, compassionate man. He will bring this nation together.

JIMMY CARTER, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: He's a person with integrity and judgment, someone who is honest and fair.

JOHN KERRY, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: America deserves a president who is looked up to, not laughed at.

COLIN POWELL, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Joe Biden will be a president we will all be proud to salute.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We must elect Joe Biden. We must act together and put on his desk a bill that guarantees us all the health care we deserve.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: It's a clear choice. The future of our country is riding on it.

JILL BIDEN, WIFE OF JOE BIDEN: How do you make a broken family whole? The same way you make a nation whole, with love and understanding.


REID: But I'm just going to go ahead and say the best part of last night was how Democrats re-imagined the roll call, with the leaders of state delegations casting their votes in a series of videos from across the country. It was a literal mosaic of America, celebrating the diversity of our people and our geography. Needless to say, it will be very hard for Republicans to top that next week.

The party also did something different for their keynote speech, choosing 17 speakers instead of one to lay out the future of the party.

The Trump campaign immediately put out a statement, calling them radicals and far-left fanatics. I'll talk to three of those speakers next and see how fanatical they are.



PENNSYLVANIA STATE REP. MALCOLM KENYATTA: A new generation of leaders is rising up. We've lived the insecurity and the indignity of an eviction notice.

GEORGIA STATE REP. SAM PARK: We have lived that feeling of helplessness when someone you love is very sick.

MICHIGAN STATE REP. MARI MANOOGIAN: But Joe knows we can never let hard times turn us against each other. He understands that leadership means fighting for the people who built this country. All of you.

GROUP: All of us.


REID: Last night's speakers detailed an optimistic future for the Democratic Party. I'm joined by three of those speakers, Pennsylvania State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta, Michigan State Representative Mari Manoogian, and Georgia State Representative Sam Park.

Thank you all for being here.

I'm going to go right down the middle and go, ladies first.

Mari, let's talk about what you think the vision that the Democratic Party, what vision should they be embracing? We saw a lot of variety last night, all the way from a Colin Powell, you know, you saw some old school people like Bill Clinton.

We know that Joe Biden is also very old school, but then he's got this brand new, shiny VP. And then, of course, you also had Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Stacey Abrams who are speaking.

So what do you think should be the vision and the message to younger people?

MANOOGIAN: So, I think the message and vision for the younger people is that the Democratic Party is inclusive of everyone. We are the big tent party where, yeah, folks hike John Kasich can come and speak at our convention. But you also saw a keynote address with myself and 16 others from around the country who represent a new generation of leadership, who are leading on bold issues in our communities like replacing the led pipes in Michigan, and fighting for public education in Georgia. And, of course, my good friend Malcolm Kenyatta, doing great work to make sure his constituents are getting the unemployment they need, as well.

REID: Yeah, so, Malcolm, you've been called up, so I'm going to go ahead and let you go next. Because, I mean, the thing, is I think there's a media perception that tries to separate younger and more progressive voters from the party writ large, you know, in part by looking at what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the position she was given, last night in the -- in the lineup, right?

And people who don't know conventions don't understand that somebody nominates the second place person. She wasn't doing some crazy thing showing up and saying she nominates Bernie Sanders, like her literal job was to nominate -- to place his name in nomination, because it's a courtesy that's given to the person who finishes second. So that happens every time for everybody who freaked out.

But I think that was an opportunity for the media to go along the wrong path and try to say, well, the party is split. Do you see the -- do you see the party as being split?

KENYATTA: So, listen, this is what people are asking for. Beating President Trump is the floor in terms of what we need to do. You know, so much of what America says about itself was written right here in Philadelphia, in a hot summer a lot like this one. But what we need right now is to get rid of the destructive, divisive president that we have in the White House and replace him with somebody like Joe Biden that has clear plans about what he wants to accomplish and also is the type of person and the type of leader that knows how to lead as well as listen.

And that's why I think he's been able to unite the after one of the most competitive primaries in a long time. And I think that's the type of president Joe Biden is going to be as well.

REID: And, Sam, let me get you into this, too, because, first, I love the patina of the three of you, because this is what America -- this is the new America, right? It's an America that is diverse, that is diverse in every way, and that, you know, this is something that's welcome and making our country stronger.

And you, Sam, I know you are Korean-American, and we have seen as part of Donald Trump's messaging a very anti-Asian. I mean, he directs it at China, but, you know, I have friends that are Korean-American who also take it personally, just as anyone who feels included in the diss. And he's as made that a cornerstone of even how he talks about coronavirus.

In your -- among people that you know, among your family, is this activating people more into politics or discouraging them?

PARK: Absolutely. I think it's another indication of why we need to get involved, because we have the power to hold Trump and other Republicans who have and continue to spout these anti-Asian, harmful statements accountable. We, the people, have the power. And I think this November, we're united in our desire to give folks like Biden and other Democrats elected to do just that.

REID: Yeah, and you guys are in some critical, critical states. I'm going to play a little bit of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, again doing the things she was tasked to do, people. This is the part of her speech, this isn't the nominating part, but here is the part of her speech.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): A mass people's movement working to establish 21st century social, economic, and human rights, including guaranteed health care, higher education, living wages, and labor rights for all people in the United States; a movement striving to recognize and repair the wounds of racial injustice, colonization, misogyny, and homophobia.


REID: I'm going to start again with lady's first, Mari.

How -- how does that get done? Because, listen, you all are state representatives. A lot of this work takes place in the states, not the federal level. How do you pragmatically, and I'll ask each of you to answer that question, how do you pragmatically do those things?

MANOOGIAN: I'll tell you right now here in Michigan, we are absolutely deeply focused on flipping the state legislature. We are four seats down from taking majority. You had our amazing governor, Gretchen Whitmer, on earlier on your show and we adore her in my caucus for sure, and we need to give her a majority to work with. And so, that is what we are focused on here right here.

And, of course, you know, our caucus is reflective of the diversity of the Democratic Party. You have folks who are born and bred in the labor movement, and you have brand new, folks who are brand-new to politics that ran for office the first time in 2018, who see, you know, environmental justice as their most important cornerstone issue.

And so, this is a big tent party, and our caucus is a big tent caucus. So, in Michigan, we're focused on flipping the legislature.

REID: And, Sam, you are in a tough state. Georgia is difficult for a lot of reasons. You don't have a cooperative secretary of state or state government. So, how do you make those kind of changes in a state where you are getting that kind of fight?

PARK: I think Stacey Abrams demonstrated it perfectly, which was to empower people by getting them registered to vote and fighting for free and fair elections. It's we the people who, despite our diversity, are united in our desire for progress, but to continue that march for justice, to ensure justice and liberty for all.

And I don't -- I don't think those are just mere words. I think all of us can find a desire to join that effort, especially in light of what we have seen under the Trump administration.

REID: Yeah. And, you know, Kenyatta, Malcolm, let me go to you because you're in a state -- you're in the city where President Obama is going to be speaking. You won the roll of the dice on that one.

Before I ask you my question, I want to show you guys some poll numbers. This is the polling by age. So you can see that Joe Biden is just crushing Trump among the youngest voters. It gets closer as you get to older voters.

What message do you want to hear from President Obama to motivate that slice there, that 18 to 34, to get -- and I know that black voters are over-indexing on coronavirus and on the suffering of coronavirus that black and brown voters are all vexing on. What do you want to hear from President Obama to motivate voters, especially younger voters.

KENYATTA: You know, I think a part of what younger voters need to see, Joy, is this panel you have right now. I think so often, people are not talking about the state and local offices, and ultimately, everybody who is engaged and talking about the type of country we need to have, that change does happen at the state and local level.

And so I hope that President Obama talks about the young leadership that's bubbling up, the folks who after the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor whose killers have still not been arrested that they understand that if you care about changing our criminal justice system, if you care about educating our kids, if you care about ensuring that we have a planet to live on, it is at the state and local level where not only can you have an impact but where we need more young people involved.

And so, I do hope President Obama touches on that as well.

REID: Is Pennsylvania going to go for Biden this year? Because Pennsylvania gave people a lot of heart burn in 2016.

KENYATTA: You know, I think it absolutely is, Joy, and this is why. You look at what the president did last night, right? As soon as we finished speaking or maybe while we were speaking, you know, he was tweeting out, his campaign was tweeting out nasty things. But that's what we have come to expect from the president.

The president is a cyber bully. But here's the reality: Donald Trump is dangerously dumb. And his incapacity when it comes to being a leader has led to the loss of lives and livelihoods, not just here in Pennsylvania but across the country. We have hundreds of thousands of people who have died because of his mismanagement of this pandemic. And we also have millions out of work. And so, he president would be best served by getting off the golf course, not bullying millennial leaders on Twitter, and actually doing his job.

REID: Yeah. I wish I had time to spend more time with you guys. And I know that, Mari, I would love to ask all three of you because these are the swingiest of swing states, but I will guess you will all say, yes, Biden will win. And you guys didn't radical or dangerous to me at all. I think you guys seem wonderful, and best of luck to all of you.

And thank you very much.


REID: Thank you to State Representatives Malcolm I'm sorry, Malcolm Kenyatta, we're out of time. Mari Manoogian and Sam Park. I wish we had more time.

That's THE REIDOUT for tonight.

But stay right here. After the break, I'll be break with Rachel Maddow, Nicolle Wallace, full coverage of the third night of the Democratic National Convention is coming up next.


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